Friday, February 22, 2013

Mexico’s Haunted Doll Island

This island today is known as “La Isla de la Munecas”—The Island of the Dolls. This ghost story has one of the strangest reactions to a haunting I have ever heard. 

In the 1950s a man by the name of Don Julian Santana Barrera came to live on a small island on Teshuilo Lake just 18 miles west of Mexico City. 

This island is located in Mexico’s ancient Xochimilco district. Santana a hermit at, a hermit at heart,e and family and choose this area for its isolation.

Santana was unaware of the island's dark history when he moved to these wetlands accessed via a network of intricate canals.

Local legend states that in the 1920s, three young girls were playing on the island when one of them tragically fell into the murky waters of the canal and drowned. 

After this, the local residents came to believe this young girl’s spirit was trapped on the island. The area soon gained a reputation for being haunted. People refused to go near it at night.

Julian Santana claimed that soon after he came to the island, the spirit of this little girl began to talk to him. 

She told him how she had died and requested he get some dolls for her to play with. She said these dolls would also ward off evil spirits that wandered the wetlands. 

To please her, Santana started to acquire these dolls. He fished old dolls out of the dirty canal that ran past the island, he traveled back to more populated areas to raid garbage dumpsters for dolls and he even traded some of the fruits and vegetables he grew on the island for old dolls.

For many years Sanatana was left to his hermit existence. But then in the 1990s, Mexico invested over a million dollars to be used to clean up the Xochimilco canals. This brought more water traffic past Santana’s island. 

Seeing over a thousand mutilated dolls hanging from every other tree on the island caused most of these outsiders to feel Santana was nutty. 

But as time passed most people realized that he was just a harmless “odd” old man. It was at this point the island was dubbed “The Island of the Dolls.”

As for the multitude of dolls, Santana explained that no amount of these toys seemed to satisfy this young spirit’s thirst. 

In April of 2001, Santana expressed to his nephew; it was becoming more difficult for him to resist the strange voices that beckoned to him. He felt these voices wanted him to join them in their watery grave. 

This same day when his nephew returned from some errands, he found his uncle floating face down in the canal. His body was in the same spot near the small pier where the girl had drowned seventy years before.

Today “The Island of the Dolls” is an eerie tourist destination. Visitors often state that these doll’s soulless eyes glare at them. Others say they hear these dolls whisper to them especially after sundown. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Corrupt Mortician

E. R. Butterworth was a furniture maker in Seattle, Washington in the early 1900s. At this time, there were many deaths in Seattle because of fast spreading diseases and frequent mine accidents. 

Butterworth ended up making more coffins than furniture. 

By 1903 he realized that death was a booming industry. So he opened up "Butterworth’s and Sons Mortuary." His mortuary was located in what was to become the E.R. Butterworth building. 

This building still stands today, and Kells' Irish Pub occupies the basement where the mortuary once was. Not surprising this pub is considered haunted.

Butterworth mortuary provided a chapel, a crematorium, and a morgue where autopsies and embalmings were performed. Some feel this space is haunted today because of Butterworth’s unethical and corrupt practices. 

There were so many deaths in Seattle the bodies literally stacked up. To alleviate this problem the city paid it’s citizens $50 to bring the deceased to Butterworth’s mortuary. Butterworth collected half this amount and prepared these bodies for burial.

It seems collecting these generous fees was not enough for Butterworth because he became greedier. He started to have people killed. 

At this point in history, people did not concern themselves overly with the cause of death and the fact that Butterworth immediately cremated these bodies destroying the evidence allowed him to continue this practice for some time. Later, it was rumored that Butterworth had an accomplice.

Dr. Linda Hazzard performed extreme treatments on her patients to supposedly cure them. She basically staved them to death. * 

Hazzard was caught and convicted of murder for one such case. She served two years in prison and then moved to New Zealand with her husband, where she continued to practice medicine. Butterfield’s handled the cremation of several of her former patients—hence the rumored connection.

The Butterworth and Sons Mortuary was in business from 1903 until 1923. 

When the owner and manager of Kells Irish Pub started to renovate this old building they quickly became aware something odd was going on. One workman that demolished an upper floor took pictures to show the two the progress that was being made. In one of these photos, something unexpected appeared. 

This workman had captured a man who was deathly pale, with very dark gaping eyes. But what was most unusual was the man’s mouth was sewn shut with thread. At this point, the owner looked into the history of the building.

People at Kells' today feel that many of the souls of Butterworth’s victims are making their presence known. 

Glasses are pushed off the bar without apparent cause, and dirty handprints are discovered on the windows after they are cleaned. 

The spirit of a little girl without legs is sometimes seen playing by an unused staircase. At one point a large wall mirror fell and broke in an empty room. It oddly fell to the floor in neat, clean-edged pieces. 

The activity in the pub seems to be most active in November. It is believed this is because in November of 1918 Seattle residents were dying in droves from Spanish influenza. People at the time wore surgical masks to avoid becoming ill.

* Two sisters, Claire, and Dorothea Williamson, were both victims of Dr. Hazzard. Claire had already been cremated at the time of Hazzard's trial, but her sister Dorothea who died later was still skin and bone.

The following link is a news story about the pub, and it shows the photo that was taken by the workman on the demolition crew. The manager and the owner are interviewed. The television show Ghost Adventures with the Constantinos are highlighted as well.

News story about ghosts at Kell's Pub

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Parapsychology: Information all Ghost Hunters Should Know

If you are a  ghost hunter or investigator I recommend you read some books written by parapsychologists. 

A man who wrote two of my favorite books about ghost hunting is Loyd Auerbach. Auerbach has his masters in parapsychology and his book entitled Hauntings & Poltergeists: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide is one of my favorites.

Instead of giving a laundry list here of what parapsychologists believe and how they use these beliefs to inform their scientific studies I will share a case that Auerbach participated in and how he determined if the activity being experienced was indeed what parapsychologists consider a real haunting. 

Having stated the above let me mention one thing I learned from Auerbach’s books that hadn’t occurred to me before. This item is obvious but often overlooked.

Here is ammunition that can be used when dealing with skeptics who brush aside other’s belief in ghosts. Skeptics often state people who see ghosts are just experiencing a hallucination caused by an environmental magnetic field –so it is just their brains playing tricks on them. 

What skeptics don’t address in this scenario is that these supposed hallucinations often include historical facts that the witness had no prior knowledge of. For example, a person might be able to describe a ghost ship they witnessed from another era in detail—even though they have no prior knowledge of sailing ships through history.

When I do investigations, I remember the following case conducted by Loyd Auerbach, which he considers as one of his favorites. 

This case involved a family that had moved into an older established home in Livermore, California. This family—a father, mother, a grandmother and a twelve-year-old son all saw an apparition. The family had not discussed this with each other until the mother found out that her son was talking to a ghost in the home on a regular basis.

She discovered her son’s interactions with the ghost when one day he started telling her specific details about several of the antiques and dolls that had been left by the previous owner. The mother first felt her son must have gotten his hands on some papers or diaries hidden away in the home that had supplied him with this unusual information. 

When she ruled this possibility out she took her son to see a psychologist. This man reassured her that her son was happy, healthy and didn’t appear to have any emotional problems. 

The son told his family that this ghost was a female by the name of Lois and that she had lived in the home from when she was born in 1917 until her death in 1980. 

Wanting to learn more about what was going on the mother decided to contact JFK University where she was referred to Auerbach. He and two others drove to the home in Livermore to interview the family. Auerbach was impressed with the twelve-year-old son and his articulate descriptions of what was occurring.

The family and team sat down in the living room where the son announced Lois was sitting with them. Auerbach asked if he would help them communicate with Lois. 

The team watched as this boy conveyed their questions to the ghost, listened and then gave them her answers. 

Auerbach asked why she was still there, Lois via the son told him that while alive she had been a socialite who often threw parties in the home. She stated that she had spent many happy years there. When Auerbach asked why she didn’t “move on,” Lois told him that she was afraid, for she believed in heaven and hell and since she had never been a churchgoer and lived a “party” lifestyle she was afraid she might end up in hell.

Auerbach and his assistants asked specific questions about Lois’s life and her existence after death, in turn, they received specific answers. She told them about her life and that she still had one living relative. She gave them a specific description of herself –in the present—she described herself as a ball of energy and told them she communicated with the families’ son on a telepathic level. 

The son told them that he had seen her appear in various stages of her life—meaning on one occasion he had seen her as an old woman, on another, she had appeared as a young child of 6 or so and yet another time she had appeared as a woman in her thirties. 

The team was surprised because his description of her changing appearances fit into what parapsychologists believe which is ghosts depending on their mood often appear at various ages. Since the son had no knowledge of parapsychology, this information stunned the team.

Another interesting fact was that this son was communicating with the ghost on a telepathic level. 

Parapsychologists believe since ghosts no longer have a human form they appear to the living in the form of a kind of hallucination and that they communicate with their minds. The son and his mom understood that they perceived a projection of Lois instead of actually seeing her. Amazingly, the son also understood that Lois was projecting her thoughts to him. It appears Lois had explained all of this to him.

Auerbach asked if she would appear for them which she refused, she stated she didn’t quite trust them. She expressed a concern that they were there in order to make her leave. She asked if they had brought any ghost traps. 

The team, which included a woman and a male student, asked if Lois had any questions for them. Her response basically shocked them. Since she was afraid they meant to get rid of her-- she had ridden in the car with them when they left the university that morning to drive to the home.

She had listened to their conversation in the car to discover their intentions. Auerbach had mentioned he wanted to buy a new car. Lois asked if he knew what color car he wanted. 

The woman had mentioned she wanted to quit her present job, Lois asked her if she knew what kind of new job she wanted. 

The male student had mentioned that he had been a dancer for ten years. This had surprised his two companions in the car because they didn’t know this part of his history. Lois asked this male student how long he had been a professional dancer.

Auerbach spent time after this interview verifying the information Lois and the family had given him. He tracked down her one living relative and this man told him essentially the same history Lois had shared with him. 

He then talked to the psychologist, with the mother’s permission, this man confirmed his impression that this twelve-year-old was a normal, well adjusted young man who had no emotional issues. 

The multiple family witnesses, the fact that the son had information that he could not have gotten otherwise and the fact that the family were not afraid but instead curious led Auerbach to conclude that this haunting was real.

This case highlights information that the ghost hunter can use. First, the fact that ghosts communicate with their minds and secondly that they can appear or project themselves at various ages. It is interesting that parapsychologists view what the living see as ghosts are actually in their mind's eye and not physically there—even though it seems as if they are.

Here is a recent bio about Loyd Auerbach.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Montana: The Ghost of Miles Fuller

On an overcast morning in May of 1906, Miles Fuller, feeble, frightened and wearing his tattered old hat, was led outside of the Butte, Montana county courthouse jail and hanged. * 

Hundreds of locals, without invitations, climbed the rooftop and walls, to get a better view of the gallows behind the courthouse. 

This execution was the fastest one in Montana history. It only took two minutes from when Fuller entered the yard to when he was pronounced dead.

As Fuller’s casket was placed on the funeral wagon a loud clap of thunder startled the crowd, it is said that this clap was the only one heard that day. Many folks considered it an evil portent. 

After his execution, no one would volunteer to carry the coffin to the waiting wagon. At the time there was a superstition about performing such a task for a condemned man. Finally, two ministers, two city officials, and two newspaper reporters volunteered.

Miles Fuller had been found guilty of the grisly murder of Henry Gallahan, one of his fellow prospectors. These two men had been sworn enemies for a long time. 

During his trial, Fuller claimed that Gallahan laced his flour with powered glass and his sugar with strychnine, but other witnesses testified it was the other way around. 

Fuller stated that the longstanding quarrel between him and Gallahan had begun when he had stopped the other prospector from molesting a child. 

But it appears no one believed him, for Fuller was a hermit with a surly disposition who was always armed with a wicked-looking knife. The locals openly admitted they were afraid of him.

Gallahan’s brutalized remains had been found in a brickyard behind the Mckinley school. He had been shot in the head, and his throat had been slashed from ear to ear. 

Fuller never admitted his guilt. In fact, he went to his execution, stating he was innocence. Because of this, some accounts of his death, still claim he was wrongly accused. 

Regardless of his guilt or innocence, soon after his death, his ghost began to appear at the Butte, Montana courthouse, jail and jail yard.

Invitation to Fuller's
The primary witness to this haunting was a deputy sheriff, Tom Mulcahy who had witnessed Fuller’s execution. 

He reported several strange occurrences. Mulcahy had kept three souvenirs from the hanging— an invitation to the event, a piece of the hood that was placed over Fuller’s head, and a section of the hangman’s rope. 

He came to the conclusion that Fuller’s ghost appeared to be drawn to these items.

Mulcahy like many sheriffs over the years bunked in a room in the county jail. His bedroom’s window was on the ground floor and looked out over the jail yard, where Fuller was hanged. 

The galloping gallows **, as they were called, stood just thirty feet from this window. 

Mulcahy kept his souvenirs in a scrape book, which he placed in a chest of drawers near his bed. He awoke several times to see a ghostly form coming through this window.

Mulcahy described this ghost as being surrounded by a foggy, dim light. He stated it would always head to the chest of drawers where he kept his souvenirs. 

When he would turn on the light, the ghost would just vanish out the window. After several similar incidents, Mulcahy decided to take his scrapbook and place it under his pillow. 

One night he awoke when he felt something tugging at the scrapbook beneath his head.

The roommate who bunked with Mulcahy had his own encounter with this ghost. After he fell asleep one night, he was awakened when something grabbed his neck. He then saw what appeared to be a cloth and rope dangling over his face. 

At the time of this incident, he did not know about Mulcahy’s souvenirs. When the two deputies encountered skepticism about what had happened—Mulchary offered his bed as proof to anyone who wanted to sleep in it. No one volunteered.

Yet another witness to Fuller’s ghost was a janitor that worked for the county. 

One night as he was in the jail yard where Fuller was hanged, he spotted a shadow in the exact spot where the scaffold had stood. Knowing the yard was locked, he ran to investigate who might be there, but after a thorough search, he discovered no one. 

Fuller's ghost has also been seen in the basement of the courthouse, near the storage room where the heavy boards for the “galloping gallows” are still kept.

In the over 100 years since Fuller’s execution, countless others have reported seeing his ghost. 

Many witnesses-- not knowing anything about Fuller or his appearance-- have described his ghost with specific details. 

He still appears the way he looked the morning of his execution--with a grizzled beard and wearing a tattered hat. 

There is also a second ghost who haunts the courthouse. This man was a deputy at the same time as Mulcahy, I will share his tragic story in another post.

New Courthouse
* Today a newer courthouse stands on the same location on Granite Street. It is called Butte-Silver Bow County Courthouse. Construction on this more modern structure began just one year after Fuller’s execution.

** “Galloping gallows” got its name because its’ heavy boards could be broken down into pieces and transported to other counties to be reassembled for hangings when needed. 

These gallows have no trap door in which the condemned fell. Instead, a loose 350-pound weight would jerk the unfortunate victim into the air. The rope used was ordered from Chicago, which was tied into a regulation noose--with the required nine wraps and proper knot. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Mysterious Train Passenger

The following story is considered a first-person account told by a very reliable witness. Therefore it is regarded as a true tale with just a legend tacked on to make the ghost more interesting. 

Stories about ghosts connected to trains I find especially fascinating. I guess this is because trains in a bygone era were the ultimate way to travel. The mysterious spirit this tale focuses upon was seen on a train in 1936.

Lord Halifax wrote a book about ghosts in the 1930s. In this collection, he included a story that happened to a friend of his. 

This man, Colonial Ewart was a stuffy sort who did not believe in ghosts. Heading to London, he arrived late to the Carlisle station hoping to find an empty compartment. The colonial did not like sharing his space with strangers. 

The train was crowded, but he was in luck for he spotted one compartment that was still empty.

Making himself comfortable, he slipped off his boots and coat. He settled in to read the Times, but with the trains soft motion and the warmth in the compartment, he found himself dozing off. 

Later, when he awoke, he found a woman sitting opposite from him, she wore a veil and was dressed in black. Embarrassed, he apologized for his untidy appearance, but his travel companion did not respond. She sat as if holding a baby, rocking and humming a lullaby to her empty arms.

Suddenly, there was a screech of wheels, and the train came to an abrupt halt. Colonial Ewart was thrown violently forward and then back. Within moments he was knocked unconscious by a falling suitcase. 

Slowly, he awoke, rubbing his bruised head. He left the compartment to check on the condition of the train. Things were chaotic in the forward carriages, but fortunately, it appeared no one was hurt.

Remembering the mysterious woman, he headed back to his own compartment to check on her. But he found no one inside. Concerned, he tracked down a train conductor to give the woman’s description. 

This rail man to his surprise, laughed and stated, “So it happened again.” Spotting the Colonial’s ire the man calmly explained his reaction. He told Ewart she was a well-known ghost passenger and he should not concern himself.

It seems this woman and her husband newly married had departed on this train from the Carlisle station. They were headed to their honeymoon destination when the husband leaned too far out the of the compartment window and was decapitated by a wire. 

His head fell into his young bride’s lap. When the train arrived in London, she was found later still sitting in the compartment. It appeared she had lost her mind, for she was cradling her husband’s head in her arms like it was a baby.

She never regained her senses, and she was placed in an institution where she sat for hours rocking back and forth. When she died, her ghost began to appear in one particular compartment on the line that ran to London. 

“I was surprised to see you picked that compartment, sir. Everyone knows it is haunted.”

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Haunting of Al Capone

At the height of the Prohibition era an incident of gangland violence stands out above all the rest—the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. These murders that took place in February of 1929 where especially brutal—even for the time. This bloody violence in Chicago resulted in two distinct hauntings. One at the location where the murders took place and one that plagued the man responsible, Al Capone at the end of his life.

Bugs Moran
In the 1920s violent gang shootings in Chicago were not uncommon as warring fractions battled for control of the cities various lucrative bootlegging, speakeasy, gambling and prostitution operations. Alphonse Capone, a rising gangster who ruled Chicago’s south side and George “Bugs” Moran who controlled the north side where two of the most powerful gangland leaders in 1929. Capone, ever ambitious, decided to hit Moran where it hurt so he could eliminate his only competition.

Moran operated out of a garage, S-M-C Cartage Company on North Clark Street. Capone who had this garage under surveillance for weeks arranged for a man, who Moran trusted, to call and tell him to expect a shipment of bootlegged whiskey on the morning of February 14. On this date, seven of Moran’s men where inside the garage as what appeared to be a police car drove up. Five men, three in uniforms and two in plains clothes got out of this car and entered the garage. Ironically, Moran who was late that morning spotted this “police” car and he and one of his men ducked inside a nearby coffee shop.

Meanwhile, in the garage the fake cops had informed  Moran’s men that they were there for a raid. They ordered these seven to stand facing a wall and to place their hands above their heads. These men thinking they were caught did as they were told. Capone’s thugs then pulled out Thompson machine guns and shotguns and brutally shot them in the head, chest and stomach, killing them.

The bullets they used had been brushed with garlic—a superstition that it was said ensured death. These fake officers then led out their two buddies dressed in plain clothes at gunpoint in order to make it look like they had made arrests. They got in their car and drove off unchallenged. A passerby discovered the slaughtered men inside when he heard a German shepherd owned by one of the murdered men, crying pitifully inside. One man was found barely alive—he had fourteen bullets in him. He was rushed to the hospital where he refused to say who had shot him. He died shortly afterward.

At the time of the massacre Capone was in Florida. Both he and Moran accused each other of the killings. The identities of Capone’s five hit men have never been definitely established. No charges were ever filed against Capone for this massacre. This violence did succeed in breaking apart Moran’s north side operations. But ironically Capone was never to reap the rewards of this power grab for these brutal murders caused a major public outcry. Federal agents headed by Elliot Ness—the Untouchables—were brought in to crack down on crime in Chicago.

The bloodstained garage where the massacre occurred was torn down in 1967 for an urban renewal project. Before the building was torn down countless witnesses heard screams, sobbing, and moaning sounds coming from inside. Today what remains of the site is a grassy area with five trees. It is said that dogs that pass by the area whine, bark and snarl at something unseen.

Capone and one of his men were arrested in Philadelphia in 1929. They were charged with carrying concealed weapons. Capone was sentenced to one year in prison. When he was released he returned to Chicago but he found the city now was much less tolerant of crime. In 1934 he was nabbed for tax evasion and sent to Alcatraz prison. Finding himself beaten by guards and evading threats on his life from fellow prisoners he spent most of his time in isolation. It is said he played a banjo his wife sent him and wept for all that he had lost.

Suffering from the advanced stages of syphilis his guards reported that they heard him pleading with someone in his cell. It appears that the ghost of James Clark, one of the men killed in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre was haunting him. He claimed that Clark would not let him alone. He was often found in his cell babbling and crying about this ghost that tormented him. At the time he was released one of his mobster compatriots stated Capone was, “nuttier than a fruitcake”. In 1947 Capone died of a brain hemorrhage caused by syphilis.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Haunted Mission La Purisima

New Spain

Franciscan Padre Fermin Lasuen founded Mission La Purisima on December 8, 1787. 

La Purisima was the eleventh mission of twenty-one Spanish Missions in New Spain established by the Spanish Empire in what later became the state of California. 

When the Spanish established this mission located in central California— its furthest outpost at that time, it was their goal to baptize the native Indians in the area, the Chumash, into the Catholic Church. 

Once baptized, they then would teach them Spanish ways so that they could later become productive citizens of the Spanish Empire. 

But the reality is harsher then the history books for these Chumash Indians were basically forced to give up their beliefs and way of life, and then they were enslaved--they were forced to work at the mission and not allowed to leave. 

La Purisima thrived with the use of this Indian labor. 

Over a thousand Chumash Indians were baptized over one hundred large and small adobe structures were built, a water system was developed, and crops and livestock were raised. 

But in 1812, several earthquakes hit the area. This and drenching rains destroyed several of the mission’s structures.

Original Mission
Father Mariano Payeras, now in charge of the mission got permission to move La Purisima four miles northwest of the original site. 

This area, “canyon of the watercress” proved to be more advantageous for it had a better water supply, climate, and was closer to the El Camino Real—the main travel route at the time. 

In just a few years this new location again became a thriving community with the help of its 1,000 Chumash Indian Neophytes (converted Indians). 

The mission became known for its hides and blankets and at its peak the Spanish Mestizo and Indian Vaqueros tended 24,000 cattle and sheep.

La Purisima also was known for its training school. But in the 1800s, Father Horra, who was formally at the Mission in San Miguel, accused the fathers at La Purisima of mistreating the Chumash Indians in their charge. 

The Spanish Viceroyalty found them not guilty—but because of any Chumash Indian who tried to leave the mission was punished severely makes one believe Father Horra’s account. 

Regardless, these Indians suffered greatly at the hands of the Spanish.

In 1804 and 1807, smallpox and measles killed 500 Chumash Indians. By 1811, Mexico’s war for Independence from the Spanish cut off the supplies and money to La Purisima. 

Tensions multiplied among the Spanish soldiers, and they took their displeasure out on the Chumash Indian Neophytes. 

By 1824, the neophytes rebelled and took control of La Purisima’s grounds. But within a month, a hundred and seven Spanish soldiers descended on the mission and gained back control. 

Sixteen Chumash Indians were killed during this struggle, another seventeen where executed for their involvement, yet another twelve were given hard labor for their involvement.

In 1834, Mexican officials enforced an order to secularize all of California’s missions. After this, La Purisima fell into ruins-- after one hundred years of neglect and vandalism. 

In the 1930s, Union Oil bought the property and through the combined efforts of the city of Santa Barbara, the State of California, the National Park Service, and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) the buildings and grounds were reconstructed and restored to the mission’s original 1820 appearance. 

Today, La Purisima is the most extensively restored mission in California. It is a Historical Landmark, California State Park, and museum, which hosts over 20,000 visitors each year.

The gentle hills and peaceful surroundings of the mission with its chapels, gardens, and fountains, however, do not relay what some have felt in the area. 

Many visitors feel a sense of great sadness and heaviness in the air as they walk around the mission’s grounds and buildings. 

These witnesses, which include Park Rangers, tour guides, and tourists have seen and heard things that can not be easily explained, for La Purisima is haunted by many ghosts.

Cold spots are felt in several locations around the mission. Witnesses have heard music throughout the grounds. Male voices have been heard in the weaving room, and hoof beats are listened to after dark. Many witnesses, including Park Rangers, have seen apparitions.

One apparition that is seen is believed to be that of Frey Payeras. He was in charge of the mission for many years. His grave, which was discovered during the restoration in the 1930s, is located in the main chapel. 

Witnesses describe him as an old padre in white robes. He is seen near his grave and in his bedroom in his former quarters. It is in this room where the sheets on the bed are often found mussed. He is also seen in the hallways in this building.

Other apparitions that are seen include another monk who is spotted wandering one of the gardens in the early morning and at dusk. A ghost of a Spanish soldier is seen near the jail, chapel, and living quarters (barracks). 

A more unusual sight is the padre’s pampered greyhounds who are seen near the buildings and walking down the hall that leads to the mission’s wine storage area. 

Another spirit is seen in the padre’s kitchen. This ghost is said to be, Don Vincente, who was murdered in the area in the 1820s.

Many witnesses have seen and felt the presence of the Chumash Indians that lived and worked in the area. The music of a flute is heard throughout the complex. The Chumash people consider the flute a sacred instrument. Native chanting has also been heard in various areas around the park. This spirit activity is accredited to the many Chumash who perished at La Purisima.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Ghost of White Woman Creek

The “White Woman Creek” winds it way through Greeley, Wichita, and Scott counties in western Kansas. Legend states this creek got its name because of a Cheyenne Indian attack that happened in the late 1860s. Others state the creek was actually named after an incident where Indians kidnapped a white woman in the 1870’s. These two stories are both tragic but regardless of which tale earned the creek its name—there is one thing about White Woman Creek, which is not in doubt—this area is haunted.

This creeks abundant underground water was one feature that made this area in Kansas attractive to the early white settlers. The local southern native Cheyenne Indians who stopped to water their horses in the creeks’ springs and pools also used this creek as their main source of water. This fact alone guaranteed these two cultures would eventually clash.

In the late 1860s a group of Cheyenne warriors attacked an isolated western settlement in retaliation against the white men who had raided their camp recently. After these Indians killed several men in the settlement they reclaimed items that had been stolen from their camp. As they left they kidnapped 10 men and 2 women from the settlement. After several months had passed the two white women adopted this Indian tribe as their own. One of them even married the chief and bore him a son. Of the ten white men nine adopted the ways of their captors but the tenth man remained restless, after a year had passed he stole an Indian horse and left.

This tenth man managed to reach Fort Wallace where he convinced the army that the remaining captives were being held against their will. This man then led a detachment of soldiers from this fort back to the Cheyenne Indian camp. They attacked in the early morning, killing the chief and his infant son. The chief's Anglo wife then retaliated by killing the man who had lied to the soldiers. She continued to fight alongside her adopted Indian family and was killed by the soldiers.

The second tale that is told happened in the 1870s. An Indian war party was activity attacking white homesteads along the creek when they ran into an army ambulance. These Indians promptly tortured and killed the white soldiers and took the one white woman hostage. That night as these Indians made camp along the creek this woman still in shock from seeing her army escorts tortured and killed feared for her own fate. It is said she stole a rope from one of the horses and headed toward the creek. Before her captors could prevent it she hung herself from a tree that stood near the creek.

This is an unusual sight
today for the creek
is normally dry.
Since the late 1800s many witnesses have seen and heard a ghostly spirit along the White Woman Creek basin. On moonlit nights people have reported seeing a woman running along the now dry creek bed. Others have seen a similar figure wandering slowly near this old stream bed. Many more witnesses report hearing a woman’s voice singing a sad song—in the Cheyenne language.