Friday, October 28, 2011

Haunted Alcatraz


I wrote a post about one of the most famous ghosts of Alcatraz, Robert Stroud. Stroud is not the only ghost that has been seen at Alcatraz over the years. Alcatraz first housed prisoners in the late 1850s. These first inmates were military prisoners who were put to work building a new prison. The U.S. Army used the island until 1933 at which point the U.S. Government decided to use Alcatraz or “The Rock” as  a maximum-security prison that could house the most incorrigible inmates.

When a prisoner was bought to The Rock they knew that life was not going to be easy. Alcatraz was structured to only provide food, clothing, shelter and medical care. All other basic needs had to be earned. Some of the incorrigibles that were sent to Alcatraz included famous criminals such as Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, Alvin Karpis and Arthur “Doc” Barker. Unlike other prisons the prisoners could not manipulate special privileges from the guards.

Alcatraz was known for its tough discipline. Any prisoner refusing to follow the rules risked being placed in the Strip Cell. This cell was located on the lower tier of Cell Block D. It  was a steel cell, where inmates were stripped naked and given only water and bread. A mattress was placed on the floor at night and then removed every morning. The cell’s toilet was a hole in the cell floor also there was no sink in this cell. When prisoners where placed in the Strip Cell they had no contact with other inmates and their time was spent in pitch-darkness.

Other punishment cells located on D Block were known as “holes” they were also located on the lower tier. In these cells prisoners were kept in isolation for nineteen days. They had a sink, toilet, one light bulb, and a mattress that was removed in the morning.

Alcatraz was closed in 1963 because it was found that it would cost too much to repair the crumbling prison. In later years the Parks Service reopened parts of the island and prison for daily public tours. At this point rumors of torture began to emerge. It was felt that since Alcatraz was on an isolated island away from public view that the inmates were probably tortured and that “their tortured and bitter spirits were now haunting the halls of the prison.”

One area that is known to be haunted is the Utility Corridor. It is here that inmates Coy, Cretzer and Hubbard were plummeted with bullets during their attempt to escape. In 1976 a security guard making his nightly rounds reported hearing unexplained eerie clanging sounds coming from this corridor.  

Another active area is Cell 14D this is one of the original “hole” cells. Both visitors and employees have reported feeling cold chills along with an intense presence in this cell. It was in this cell in the 1940s that a prisoner who was locked in-- screamed the whole night-- claiming there was a creature with glowing eyes trying to kill him. The next day the guards found this prisoner dead, he had apparently been strangled. Later that day several guards reported seeing this same inmate in line with others and then he just vanished.

There are many more areas that are haunted at Alcatraz. In a future post I will describe these areas and their ghostly presences.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paris Catacombs


The Paris Catacombs or l’ossuarie municipal contain over 6 million bodies that are placed along underground tunnel walls spanning more than 186 miles. These bodies were placed here starting in the late 1780s because the cities cemeteries were overcrowded and were condemned because people who lived close by were becoming ill. These catacombs have been a tourist attraction for over 100 years and not surprisingly are considered to be very haunted.

The Paris Catacombs came into being because the city was built from limestone that was quarried from underground tunnels. Over the centuries these tunnels became a large complex network that supplied Paris’ ever expanding building needs. In the 18th century the weight of several buildings built above these hollowed out tunnels began to collapse. In April of 1777 sections of these tunnels deemed dangerous were closed off.

A second problem arose for Parisians in the 18th century, as the city grew its graveyards became very full. The “Cemetery of the Innocent” alone held more than thirty generations of human remains. At first this problem was solved by establishing “chariers” which are mass graves built above ground for the poorer residents of Paris.  These mass graves rose ten feet above the ground.

For the people who lived close to these graveyards the smell became intolerable. This problem worsened when several of these mounds broke open literally spilling rotting bodies into nearby roads. Disease started to spread among the living in the vicinity. People began dying from the pestilence spread by the corpses.

The decision was made to start emptying the cemeteries and place the bones in the cities underground tunnels. In 1785 the first bones were placed underground in these established quarries. These quarries became known as the Paris Catacombs. It is a universal belief that disturbing the dead is taboo. It is felt the dead should be left in peace. In this case like many places around the world the living took precedence.

These disturbed spirits haunt the catacombs today. In fact the Paris Catacombs are listed as one of the top ten haunted places in the world. Visitors have claimed unseen hands have touched them, some state they felt the sensation of being followed. Yet others had felt cold spots. More unfortunate visitors have claimed they were strangled and there has been cases where people have even had hysterical breakdowns as a result of what they experienced while in the catacombs. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

James Dean’s Cursed Car


On September 23, 1955 the British actor Alec Guinness met James Dean, a teen idol and an up and coming American actor outside a Hollywood restaurant. Dean invited Guinness to take a look at his new car, a silver Porsche Spyder a much coveted car that had been built for speed and racing. Dean called his new car “The Little Bastard.”

Guinness upon inspecting the car became very agitated and he told Dean “if you get in that car, you will be dead in it by this time next week.” Alec Guinness’ advice was spot on for seven days later Dean was dead at the age of 24. 

He was killed in a head on collision with another car. The Spyder was wrecked. Guinness was not the first to warn Dean about the car, several of Dean’s friends had already warned him about driving it. 

The irony is Dean an avid racing enthusiast had only bought the Spyder as a fill in until the Lotus he had ordered arrived. He owned the car a total of only nine days before the accident.

George Barris whose specialty was customizing vehicles bought The Little Bastard, which was now mangled badly. He had customized the 550 Porsche for Dean before his death. 

Barris hesitated over the purchase admitting to friends the car gave him “a bad feeling.” As it turned out his gut feeling was right because as the wrecked car was unloaded from the delivery truck at his garage it slipped and fell on one of his mechanics, breaking both of this mans’ legs. 

Dean’s Spyder was salvaged for parts and the curse continued curiously in these separate parts. 

During a race in October of 1956 a doctor by the name of Troy McHenry drove a car with salvaged parts from Dean’s Spyder’s, his rival in this race William Eschrid’s Lotus contained the engine from the Porsche. 

McHenry was killed when his car skidded out of control and hit a tree. Eschrid’s car turned over and he suffered critical injuries. He stated later that the car suddenly “locked up.”

Shortly after this race a youngster slipped and injured his arm while trying to steal the Porsche’s steering wheel. 

Barris reluctantly sold two of the Spyder’s tires. A few days later both these tires blew out at the same time, the odds of two tires blowing at the same time is considered a very unusual occurence, the driver of this car barely escaped death.

In light of these accidents Barris considered sinking what remained of the wreckage in the Pacific Ocean but instead he loaned the car to the National Safety Council for an exhibition on road safety. 

During this time the garage where Barris was storing the wreckage burned to the ground. Every vehicle in this garage was destroyed except for the Spyder.

The curse continued when a truck driver who was hauling the wreckage died. His truck skidded off the road and he was thrown from the cab at which point the wreckage of The Little Bastard fell off the flatbed crushing him. 

What remained of the Spyder mysteriously disappeared from the back of another truck, which was returning it to California after a safety exhibition in Miami. This eerie disappearance appears to have ended the curse but since it is not known what happened next to the car this story is left with unanswered questions.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Phone Calls from Beyond


In September of 2008 a commuter train carrying 225 passengers collided with a freight train in California’s San Fernando Valley. 135 people were injured in this crash 86 people were rushed to local hospitals, 25 people died. 

One of the deceased passengers was a 46-year old man by the name of Charles E. Peck who lived in Salt Lake City. Peck was traveling to California for a job interview because he wanted to move closer to his fiancé. The two planned to wed as soon as they lived in the same state. This was to be Peck’s second marriage; he had two grown children.

His fiancé, accompanied by Peck’s parents and siblings were driving to the train station to pick him up when they heard about the crash. Peck’s body was not recovered from the wreckage until 12 hours after the accident. For the first eleven hours of the 12 his cell phone placed call after call to his various family members. 

His son, his brother, his stepmother, his sister, and his fiancé all received calls. When they picked up their phones all they heard was static: when they attempted to call Peck back their calls went directly to voice mail.

These calls gave his family hope that he was still alive but possibly trapped somewhere in the wreckage. This barrage of calls prompted search crews to trace the whereabouts of the phone through its signal and to look through what was left of the first train, the location the calls came from. The searches finally found Peck’s body about an hour after his phone calls stopped.

It was determined that Charles Peck died on impact but long after his death, his cell phone continued to call the people he cared about. This cell phone, which led rescuers to his body, was never found.

The crash that killed Peck became known as the Chatsworth crash, it was the deadliest in Metrolink’s history. 

It was determined that the commuter train engineer failed to heed a red signal light, instead he continued on a track that a Pacific freight train coming from the opposite direction had been given the right of way for. 

Tragically, it was another cell phone that caused the crash, the National Transportation Safety board found that the Metrolink engineer was texting messages as his train left the station and that he continued to text messages—the last one he sent was just 22 seconds before the collision.

Here is a news report with Charles Peck's fiancé talking about these phone calls.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Haunted Playground


In Huntsville, Alabama there is a very unusual playground. This playground is located within the walls of Maple Hill Cemetery. The locals call it “Dead Children’s Playground.” During the day there is nothing unique about it but at night it takes on a very dark or scary aura.

Maple Hill Cemetery was founded on 2 acres of land in 1822, today it covers over 100 acres of land. It is the final resting place for many Confederate and Union soldiers. It is also the final resting place for some of Alabama’s former governors and U.S. senators. Maple Hill is the oldest and largest cemetery in the state of Alabama.

Huntsville is a small charming southern town that is nestled within a picturesque valley. It is said that when you enter Huntsville’s cemetery it is as if time has stood still. Three rock cliffs and a very beautiful wooded path surround Maple Hill’s children’s playground. Despite its beauty during the day most are advised to stay away at night because it is said the spirits of dead children come out to play. The reason for this is in the 1960’s peaceful Huntsville was plagued by a number of child abductions. Some of the bodies of these children were found at the playground dead.

There is no documented proof to support the above story but many residents of Huntsville stand by it. The reason being ever since the abductions and killings there have been reports of swings moving on their own, the voices of children heard calling out to each other and children are heard giggling. Strange mists have been caught in photos that have been taken after dark. Most of the activity that has been noted has occurred between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.

One strange phenomenon that has been reported is that when the swings move “they are in sync with one another even if they are stopped.” Witnesses have even seen dust fly up from the ground under the swings as if someone just jumped off the swing. Some photos taken have a misty light in them that resembles the height of a child. Other witnesses have seen a man sitting on one of the cliffs above the playground watching the children play. It is said he is the man who abducted and killed the children.

At one point the city of Huntsville removed the playground equipment in order to make room for more burial plots. The residents protested and new playground equipment was installed. After this the mysterious activity continued.

Today no one is allowed in the cemetery at night but many state you can see lights around the playground after dark. This is unusual because there are no lights to illuminate the area.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Mystery of the Moving Coffins


This mystery took place in the West Indies at Christ Church Parish Barbados in the early 19th century.  It involved several incidents of moving coffins within the Chase family vault. This vault is located seven miles from Bridgetown in a cemetery in Oistins, Barbados.

The first coffin to be placed in this vault which is built half above and half below ground held the body of a Chase family friend by the name of Mrs. Thomasin Goddard. She was placed in a simple wooden coffin built in July of 1807. 

Next to be placed in the vault was two year-old Mary Anna Maria Chase in 1808. Her older sister Dorcas Chase was placed in the vault on July 6, 1812. Both girls were buried in heavy lead caskets. Some people at the time said Dorcas starved herself to death because she was in a deep depression at the time, a state brought on by having to live with her ruthless father.

A few weeks after Dorcas was placed in the vault her father, Thomas Chase died, at his own hand, and was placed in the vault. His casket was so heavy it took eight men to carry it. Legend states that Thomas was one of the most despised men in Barbados. It was at this juncture the mystery began.

As Thomas Chase’s coffin was placed within the vault the pallbearers who carried his coffin noticed that the two coffins of his daughters that had been put in the vault earlier where not where they had been placed. Mary Ann’s coffin was lying upside-down in the opposite corner from where it had been placed. 

The family coffins where moved back in their original positions side by side, with Thomas’ coffin next to them. Mary Ann’s coffin being small was set on top of one of the larger coffins; the crypt was resealed with its heavy stone door.

The locals began to whisper about this unusual event. The mourners blamed the Chase slaves who had assisted in the burials. It was stated that they were taking revenge upon a very cruel master. In reality, his slaves did hate Thomas Chase for he was a cruel master but their superstitions would have prevented them from disturbing the dead. The whispers stopped eventually.

Four years later in September of 1816 the vault was once again opened to bury an infant Charles Brewster Ames. Just as before the coffins where not where they had been left. In fact this time it appeared they had been thrown about, including the coffin of Thomas Chase, which weighted two hundred and forty pounds. Again the vault was put back in order and sealed.

Shortly after, the vault was reopened to bury Samuel Brewster. This time a large group of witnesses were brought to view the vault as it was opened. 

The stone slab that covered the door was carefully examined. No trace of tampering was found but when the vault was opened once again the coffins where found out of place. Mrs. Goddard’s coffin, the only wooden one was badly damaged so it was wrapped in wire to keep it together.

This time the vault was investigated to see if a reasonable cause for the moving coffins could be found. 

One witness the Reverend Thomas D. Orderson who examined the vault was perplexed when nothing was found that could explain the strange happenings. Orderson later made detailed drawings of how the caskets were found. Once again the vault was set to rights and sealed.

It was determined that an influx of water could not be the cause because the vault was one hundred feet above sea level and water would have to flow through flint rock. It was also determined the vault was too far inland for water to reach.

In July of 1819 the vault was opened to bury Thomas Clarke, again the coffins were in disarray. Ironically, this time the one coffin left untouched was Mrs. Goddard’s wooden one. One of the witnesses present was the governor of the island, Lord Combermere who ordered a professional investigation. 

The entire vault was looked over carefully but no explanation could be found. This time the coffins were restacked and Mrs. Goddard’s coffin was placed against the wall. Sand was placed upon the floor in an effort to catch the footprints of any who might enter the vault. The vault was reclosed and the personal seals of the governor were placed in concrete.

One eyewitness, Nathan Lucas stated, “Thieves certainly had no hand in it, and as for practical wit or hoax, so many were requisite to be trusted with the secret of it to remain unknown.”

Combermere’s widow wrote about the mystery years later, “the events were so inexplicable—that they may be supernatural.”

By this time the entire island awaited the next opening of the vault. In April of 1820 the vault was opened not for a burial but to satisfy the governors curiosity. Thousands of people were present as the governor and several friends approached the vault, they discovered the seal was unbroken. 

When they attempted to remove the stone that sealed the entrance it would not budge. They enlisted the help of more men and discovered the cause—Thomas Chase’s huge coffin was standing on its head with its end resting against the middle of the entrance slab.  

When the governor and his companions entered the vault they found the coffins had all moved once again. Some were even flipped upside down. “The coffin of an infant had been hurled with so much force against the opposite wall, near where it was lying, that a deep indentation had been made in the stonework by the corner where it struck.” 

To their amazement the sand on the floor revealed no footprints.

Another witness, Sir Robert Schomburgk described the vault in this manner, “The coffins were flung about as if they had been toys in the hands of some gargantuan child, and no human agency could have possibly contrived the disturbance.”

After this the mystery still unsolved, the vault was abandoned at the request of the Chase family. The coffins inside were buried in other locations. The vault itself still stands at Christ Church but it is vacant.

A side note to this story: 

Governor or Lord Combermere was struck by a horse drawn carriage and killed. The entire household was attending his funeral when a photographer took what is now a very famous photo of his ghost sitting in his favorite chair in his Combermere Abbey Library located in Chesire England.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Gravedigger



A retired couple was visiting their son in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since he and their daughter-in-law worked during the day they were left to explore the area on their own. 

They had never seen the Great Salt Lake so they decided to drive north of the city to see it. It was a pretty spring day as they got out of their car and walked hand in hand along its southern shore.

As the sun set to the west a chill took hold of the air around them. Having left their jackets in the car they decided to leave. They had been so wrapped up in the magnificent view that surrounded them that they had walked further down the path then they had originally intended.

It quickly became dark and the air became even colder, the man put his arm around his wife to keep her warm. As they finally neared the spot where they had parked their car a strong blast of cold air hit them. As quickly as the wind came it then stopped. 

The couple wondered at how quiet everything had became. The wife now frightened tugged upon her husbands sleeve urging him to move faster.

All the sounds that had accompanied them on their walk, the birds chirping, the water lapping at the shore, and the breeze through the grass at their feet all now disappeared. It was like a giant glass jar had been placed around them muting all the normal sounds. 

A man appeared in front of them seemingly out of nowhere. He stared at the couple with a look of loathing upon his face and then turned abruptly and walked slowly along the lake.

Startled the couple stood frozen to the spot where the man had first materialized watching him make his way down the path they had moments before walked. Stunned they saw him disappear in mid stride. 

The husband grabbed his wife and stated, these dark shadows must be playing a trick on my old eyes; he seemed to vanish into thin air. The wife her heart beating fast agreed that what they had seen was probably just some sort of optical illusion.

The couple quickly proceeded to their car and drove back to town. At dinner they told their son and his wife about what they had seen and experienced. 

The husband concluded with a detailed description of what the man had held in his hands. He was carrying an old-fashioned dress and a pair of man’s trousers clutched close to his body. They appeared wet and rotting as if he had taken them from a garbage heap. 

His wife chimed in, never mind what he was carrying, did you see the way he looked at us, I thought for a moment he meant us bodily harm. I shutter just at the memory.

When the son heard that the man had just vanished before his parent’s eyes he broke in. I think you saw the ghost of Jean Baptiste he was the grandson of Sacagawea the woman who led the Lewis and Clark expedition. People state that he moved to Salt Lake with his wife seeking anonymity.

He worked as a gravedigger in 1862. It was discovered that he had been stripping bodies of their clothing after they were buried. He would then sale the clothes making a tidy profit. When they searched his house they found clothes from children to the very elderly that he had dug the graves for.

Angry Mormon mobs stood outside the courthouse the day he was convicted of grave robbery. He was first exiled to Antelope Island because they could not guarantee his safety at the prison but it was feared he would wade ashore so they moved him to Fremont Island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake where he disappeared and was never seen alive again. 

Since, many people believe his restless spirit haunts the south shore of the lake. You two are the first to have seen him in quite awhile.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Haunted Whaley House


The Whaley House in San Diego, California is so haunted it is one of only two houses that the United States government recognizes as being haunted. 

San Diego Pioneer Thomas Whaley built his home in 1856. Unfortunately, the land he chose to build it upon was a Kumeyaay Indian burial ground. 

In the early 19th century when San Diego became a booming city, disease and conflict dropped the Kymeyaay population in a brief ten years from 16,000 to 9,000.

The ghosts at the Whaley House have been witnessed by large numbers of people—often by groups of people who witness the phenomenon at the same time. 

One ghost often seen at the Whaley House’s is that of Yankee Jim Robinson. In 1853 Robinson was a colorful character who tried to steal a boat—it is said he did this so that he could become a pirate. During his attempt he was hit over the head with a butt of a sword and badly injured.

The story goes he was put on trail right away still suffering from a bad concussion. The judge at his trail was drunk, he convicted Robinson immediately. Then while he was still semi-conscience Robinson was hanged on a makeshift scaffold. 

Because of Robinson’s height his feet could just touch the floor, which resulted in a slow suffocation; it took him nearly an hour to die. This exact spot was where the future Whaley House was built. 

Yankee Jim is said to haunt the stairs heading from the first floor to the second, specifically the ninth step, which is believed to be where he dangled during his drawn-out death. 

Some visitors to the Whaley House have experienced the feeling of a noose tightening around their necks as they tour the house. Yankee Jim has also been spotted standing behind tour guides during their presentations.

The builder of the house Thomas Whaley, is another ghost that is very active. 

Visitors and volunteers often smell the sweet aroma of a Cuban cigar—Thomas Whaley's favorite brand—in fact this aroma is sometimes so overpowering that some visitors have to leave the home. 

Thomas’s ghost is seen wearing a long coat and top hat. His spirit roams the house but he is most often seen at the top of stairs or in the master bedroom. People hear his booming laughter throughout the house regularly.

Thomas’ wife Anna is yet another ghost often spotted downstairs and in the garden. A distinct smell of perfume is associated with her presence. 

One volunteer walking through the garden noticed a young woman picking flowers without permission. She approached the young woman who was wearing a long cream dress with her hair swept up in an old-fashioned hairstyle. When the volunteer got within ten feet of this woman she just vanished.

Thomas and Anna had a red-haired daughter who died at the age of eleven under mysterious circumstances. It is known that she ate some poisonous powder. 

She is by far the most playful ghost in the house. She often appears to children her own age. She is so real they don’t at first realize she is a ghost. She likes to pull hair and tickle the house’s young visitors. It is said that she is responsible for the swinging meat clever in the kitchen, which hundreds of visitors have witnessed.

Thomas Whaley died at the age of 67 in 1890; Anna lived until 1913. The last Whaley to live in the house was Corinne Lillian Whaley who was the youngest of six children. She died in 1953. 

After this, the Whaley House fell into disrepair. Its' demolition was prevented in 1956 by the Historical Shrine Foundation of San Diego County, which bought the land and building. Today the house is an historical museum and has been restored to its original splendor.

A recent curator of the Whaley House Museum a Mrs. Reading arrived at the house early one morning in order to prepare things for the days' visitors. 

She was making her usual inspections when she rounded a corner into the dining room and came face to face with a Native American Indian who looked to be as real as anything else in the room except that he had no feet. He hovered in view for a few minutes and then faded away.

There are so many eyewitness accounts that I will not attempt to list them all. Here are just a few compelling ones. 

One tour group was being shown the rooms upstairs when they all heard the piano being played downstairs. The piano music was still heard as the group gathered at the the bottom of the stairs but then the music just stopped. The music room was silent. 

Anna Whaley while alive loved to sing and play her piano. She also loved her music box and this box is heard playing when no one has wound it. 

Other witnesses have heard singing in the building late at night, when everything is locked and the lights are out. Window shutters are seen opening and closing at night as well.

Many witnesses have seen a young boy playing in the Whaley House master bedroom. The Whaley’s lost one son while he was a toddler, people hear him laughing and crying in the house.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Disneyland and Walt Disney World Ghosts


Disneyland and Walt Disney World have more ghosts connected to them than any other theme parks in the United States. The most active area of the park ironically is the Haunted Mansion attraction. Disney employees most often spot these ghosts when the park is closed to the public, early in the morning or late at night.

One story is of a young “crying boy” whose apparition is seen at the Haunted Mansion. He is seen most often in the area where the public exits the ride. He is described as hunched over and weeping into his hands. 

No one knows why he is so upset but it is known that one mother after her son died requested that the park allow her to spread her son’s ashes close to the mansion since this was her son’s favorite attraction. Walt Disney World denied her request but she ignored this and late one night near closing she spread her son’s ashes in the area without permission.

When the Haunted Mansion was first built a sound engineer was setting up equipment before the attraction was opened to the public. He kept hearing music. He thought maybe the sound was coming from behind one of the walls. He wondered if a radio had been left behind by accident. Although, as time passed no radio announcer came on but the music continued to play. 

The engineer spent quite a lot of time searching for the source but it was never found.

“The man with the cane” is another ghost seen in the Haunted Mansion. In the 1940’s a small plane crashed into a lake near where the Haunted Mansion was built years later. The pilot’s spirit is said to haunt the mansion today. 

An employee spotted him while working alone in the area that is used as a loading dock for the mansion. This employee looked up and saw a man in a suit holding a cane sitting in one of the ride’s Doombuggies. Surprised the employee tried to speak to the man but he did not respond. After a few seconds, parts of him started to slowly fade away.

The staff have encountered yet another ghost at the mansion who they call “the man in the tuxedo.” His identity is not known. 

One attendant who was working near where the passengers disembark from the ride saw a figure in a mirror behind her that is used by the employees to see the cars approach. She kept seeing this image throughout her shift but when she turned no one was there. She described the figure as wearing a tuxedo. During the same shift she felt a chilly hand rest upon her shoulder when she turned around no one was there. This employee quit her job at Disneyland.

Several other ghosts have been encountered at these parks by the employees. 

One ghost nicknamed “George” haunts the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. George was a worker at Disneyland who was involved in a fatal accident when a beam fell on him. He is seen in the early hours of the morning and is often mistaken for an intruder.

One interesting piece of evidence that points to Disneyland being haunted is footage that was captured on security cameras where a figure is tracked as it moves through four screens. The figure appears to walk right through closed gates and even across water. Some claim this apparition is Walt Disney himself walking through the grounds.

Here is the video:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Ghost of White Rock Lake


This story has been told in Dallas, Texas since the 1930s it is sometimes called the “Lady of White Rock Lake.” 

It is a very similar story to the traditional “vanishing hitchhiker” story where a young woman in a party dress is given a ride. The driver normally finding something she left behind, a sweater or scarf etc. tries to return it only to find out the young lady had died weeks or years before. Chicago’s Resurrection Mary, also told since the 1930s, is one version of this traditional hitchhiker story.

Woodrow Wilson High School students in East Dallas told this story in the 1930s but it is not known if they originated it. This version of the story begins with a young couple in an effort to escape a hot July summer evening decide to drive out of the city to park along the cooler shore of White Rock Lake. 

When they switch on their headlights to leave they spot a white figure approaching. As the figure draws near to the driver’s side of their car they see it is a young woman dressed in a shear dress that is dripping wet.

The drenched young woman looks at them and in a faltering voice says, “Sorry to bother you but I must find a way home immediately, I was in a boat that overturned, the others are safe but I must get home.” The couple offers her a ride and she climbs into the rumble seat, stating she doesn’t want to get them wet. She gives them her address, which is in Oak Cliff on the opposite side of Dallas.

As they travel across town the young couple becomes ill at ease. They can’t help but feel there is something odd about their passenger. As they draw near Oak Cliff the female of the couple turns to ask for specific directions only to find that the rumble seat is empty, but is still wet.

After a brief search for the girl the couple drives to the address the girl gave them. As they approach the front door a man greets them with a worried look. They explain why they are there and he replies in a troubled tone, “This is very strange, you are the third couple who has come to my door with this story. Three weeks ago, while sailing on White Rock Lake, my daughter was drowned.”

One version of this story that is told in Dallas gives much more specific details. 

The couple that encounters the wet young lady are the directors of the famous Neiman-Marcus store—a Mr. and Mrs. Guy Malloy. The girl is described as a beautiful blonde with an educated voice who is wearing a fine dress that was purchased at Neiman-Marcus. The couple is identified to make the point that even hard-working no-nonsense people see ghosts. 

Yet another version has a doctor returning home from a country club dance, he slows down to admire the lake and spots the young woman beckoning him for a ride. Of course each vanishing hitchhiker story has its own nuisances but they obviously are all similar.

In Dallas some speculate that the wet young lady, whom many have seen over the years, is the spirit of Louise Ford Davis who committed suicide by drowning herself in the reservoir in July of 1935. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Mexico Ghost Story: The Haunted Ride


This story is told in my state close to Halloween. It is stated that it is a true story. * I really like it because it is a ghost story with an unusual twist. 

There are many ghost stories that have a “hitchhiker” in them. This story also has a hitchhiker in it but it is not your typical hitchhiker story. For one thing in this story the hitchhiker is not the ghost…

This happened near a small mountain town in northern New Mexico. A young man was hitchhiking across the state on his way back to college. It was late at night and he was walking alongside the road when it started to thunder and lightning. 

Very quickly this young man was drenched in a typical desert rainstorm. Now cold and wet he can hardly see two feet in front of him. In despair he wonders if a car will ever pass.

Finally, he sees a pick-up truck coming toward him. It approached him slowly and stopped where he stood. The student without hesitation got into the truck and closed the door. 

As he wiped the water from his face he realized that no one was behind the wheel. He clutched the door handle intending to get out but the truck started to move and being on a hill it picked up speed quickly.

The man watched as the truck approached a sharp curve; terrified for his life he starts to pray. In the next moment he spots a black shadowy hand emerge from the rain through the drivers’ side window as the truck hits the curve. The hand grasps and moves the steering wheel. Now in shock, the student watches as the hand reappears each time the truck hits a curve to steer the truck.

As the rain finally stops the young man is able to muster enough courage to open the trucks’ door. He stumbles out and hits the road at a dead run too frightened to look back. 

At the bottom of the mountain he finds a cantina on the edge of a small town, he enters and orders a shot of tequila. Shaking and visibly upset he gasps out his story to the locals in the bar as he waits for his drink. The patrons at first think he must be drunk but when they realize he isn’t they start asking him questions in concern.

Fifteen minutes later two men walk into the same cantina. The taller one states to his companion, “Mira, Pedro, that’s the parasito that got in the truck while we were pushing it.”

I have read various versions of this story from Africa, Australia, and of course Ireland where I believe it originated. This story is told because of its humorous ending.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Traditional Versions: Knife in the Grave


One modern day version of this story was retold in Alvin Schwartz’s book “Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark.” 

The basic structure of this story begins with a group of teenagers who are attending a Friday night party near a graveyard. The conversation always evolves into a discussion about the graveyard. 

One teenager states that you should never stand on a grave after dark because the dead occupant will pull you under.

At this point in the story a brave person in the group, usually a girl announces that she doesn’t believe this—it is just a superstition. The group then always “dares” the brave one, in this scenario a girl, to stand on a grave that very night. 

She accepts announcing she isn’t scared. The group gives her a knife and tells her to stick it in a grave as proof she was there.

This brave teen then has no choice but to follow through on the group’s dare because if she doesn’t she will lose face. So the story follows the “girl” into the graveyard where she tries to put up a brave front but she is very scared. She reassures herself by talking aloud, since everything is so quiet, she hastily picks out a grave bends down and sticks the knife into the soil.

The catch here is as she turns to leave she finds that something is holding her. In a panic she struggles in the dark but what ever has her will not let her go. She screams in terror and collapses. 

Meanwhile, at the party it is getting late and her friends notice she hasn’t returned so they go look for her. They find her body sprawled across the grave. 

It seems that when she had plunged the knife into the dirt it had caught her skirt pinning her to the ground. At this point the reader or listener is left with the fact that she died of fright.

Another version of this story takes place in New Orleans in the French Quarter. This story involves three young male tourists who have drunk too much. They are bored so their talk turns to one of New Orleans’s famous Voodoo witch queens “Marie Laveau.” 

One of these three men is enticed into a wager—thirty dollars if he has the courage to climb the wall of St. Louis Cemetery #1 and drive an iron spike into Marie Laveau’s final resting place. Courage is needed for this task because Laveau’s tomb is considered haunted.

The foolish young man takes the thirty dollars and throws himself over the wall. His friends wait for him to return for over an hour. They drink more and pass out. 

In the morning they curse their friend for he has not returned. Angry now, they walk through the cemetery gates calling to their inconsiderate comrade. 

They find him by the side of the witch’s grave dead—thirty dollars in coins strewn about. In his drunken state he had hammered the spike through his coat and into the stone sarcophagus.

The misguided nail had held him in place as he rose to leave. Panic and fear must have settled over his drunken hazy mind for his stressed heart gave out as he struggled to free himself. 

When his friends find him dead his frozen features tell the story of his last emotional moments: horror and despair.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Haunted Arlington Cemetery


Arlington National Cemetery is located just outside Washington D.C. in the state of Virginia. It spans 624 acres; it is the resting place for veterans, military heroes, American presidents, supreme court justices, and civil rights leaders. There are also 3,800 Civil War fugitives and liberated slaves buried in Arlington.  

The Tomb of the Unknown is the cemeteries most famous landmark. It first opened to the public in 1932. This tomb holds the remains of unknown soldiers from WWl, WWll, and the Korean War. The cemetery is overseen by the Department of Army, and is divided into 70 sections. Its earliest graves date back to 1864. The land Arlington sits on was once owned by Martha Washington’s son John Parke Custis.

For many years the Old Post Chapel across the street from Arlington has been considered a very haunted area. Thousands of military funerals have been held in this building. People feel that many of these soldiers do not rest in peace but most of the spirits seen at this location are not soldiers.

Witnesses over the years have seen and heard unexplained activity in and around this chapel.  Soldiers report that doors that were left locked are found unlocked. They also report that doors they unlock for the public are sometimes mysteriously locked when people try to enter the chapel. This happens so often several of the soldiers talk about it with obvious frustration.

Another report connected to the chapel is one involving people hearing a woman crying loudly at the front of the chapel but when investigated no one is in the building.  Mourners before and after funerals have reported seeing a beautiful Spanish lady dressed all in all black with a veil covering part of her face. Witnesses to this phenomenon state that as they approached this lady she then just disappeared into thin air.

Countless numbers of soldiers on guard duty late at night have reported seeing lights going on and off in the chapel. Others have reported hearing loud organ music coming from the building but as they approach the chapel the music stops. Further investigations revealed the doors were locked and no one was there. Soldiers, tourists, and mourners have also seen an apparition of a small boy running through the chapel and then he just vanishes.

In recent years sections #68 and #69 of the cemetery are considered to be very haunted and there are several witnesses that have seen and felt strange phenomena in these sections. People who visit the cemetery regularly, such as priests and clergymen who conduct the funerals report that their drivers are afraid to return to Arlington because of what they have seen and felt in the past.