Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Demon of Brownsville Road

This is the title of a book written by Bob Crammer.

The Crammers state a demon terrorized their home located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for 10 years.

When Bob first purchased this home in 1988 he was surprised for the owner accepted his first “low-ball” offer. He had expected to haggle over the price.

Soon after the Crammer family moved into the home odd things started to happen. At first they were benign in nature. Water taps and various radios would turn on. The family got used to this quickly and “didn’t think much of it” at first.

In 2003, the odd activity intensified. Bob began to believe that something was out to get them. The family not of the Catholic faith asked for help from the local bishop. Several priests blessed the property. While in the home several of their crucifixes and crosses were bent or broken in half.

After this, the Crammers started to see a mysterious foul substance splattered across the home’s wallpaper. When this liquid was tested it was determined it contained human skin cells.

Bob and his wife would wake up some mornings with scratches and bite marks on their bodies. Rosary beads or crosses worn around people's necks would always be mangled by the evil entity in the home.

An expert demonologist was called in to preform an exorcism--this process actually took 3 years. Bob states that after this his family finally had peace--they still live in the home. More information about Bob’s book, Demon of Brownsville Road can be found here.

One place book can be purchased.

Here is a link to an interview that Bob Crammer did with Mike Pintek on KDKA News Radio. The details he shares are horrifying.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Forepaugh Mansion: Molly’s Fate

In the 1800s Joseph L. Forepaugh was a respected businessman in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the age of 36 he was the senior partner in the Midwest’s largest dry goods store. His store provided needed supplies to the Union troops during the Civil War.

To show off his success he bought not 1 but 5 lots in an exclusive neighborhood, which today is near historic downtown St. Paul. Forepaugh had a grand mansion built on this property. His home was designed so each window looked out over the manicured grounds and beautiful gardens that surrounded it.

He filled the interior with the finest furniture.

In 1870, Forepaugh's wife, Mary, and their two daughters moved into the sprawling 3-story home. A larger staff was hired to cater to all the families needs.

One young woman named Molly was hired as a serving maid, for Mrs. Forepaugh. Molly had a natural beauty that outshone her drab uniform, she also had a pleasant personality.

It wasn’t long before Joseph took note of this new servant. In the months that followed he found many reasons to keep Molly nearby. It was noted by the other household staff that these two often disappeared into rooms in the mansion for hours--the doors closed to prevent prying eyes.

Mary found out about her husbands illicit activities when one afternoon she discovered Joseph and Molly in bed. Furious she demanded Joseph end the affair immediately. He did. But her intervention was too late, for Molly afterward discovered she was pregnant.

In despair, Molly tied a rope to a third-floor chandelier and looped the other end around her neck. She then threw herself out the window ending her life.

The Forepaugh’s sold the mansion after this and moved to Europe for a time in an attempt to repair their marriage. When they returned to St. Paul they had a new home built on the same block within sight of their first mansion.

By 1892, Joseph Forpaugh had sunk into a deep depression. The family excuse given was he was worried about his business, but it was doing fine. The real reason was he still mourned Molly's death.

At the age of 58, Joseph went to a secluded area on the grounds of his original mansion and shot himself in the head--ending his life.

After his death, his original mansion quickly gained the reputation as being haunted.

Molly and Joseph’s Ghosts

In 1970, the Forepaugh mansion was renovated and turned into a French restaurant. It recently changed hands, was once more remodeled and has opened again as a restaurant.

There have been numerous sightings of what people feel are both Molly’s and Joseph’s ghosts in the building.

Molly’s ghost is considered to be a prankster.

The third floor dining room is often active. It is in this room where Molly hung herself.

One night, an employee who closed the restaurant noticed as he drew near his car that a light was still on upstairs. He went to check but found the 3rd-floor dining room dark. He locked up once more and headed to his car only to see a brighter light on upstairs.

This time as he entered the dining-room he saw a candlelit on one table. Frustrated, he announced out loud, “Molly, I am tired and I want to go home. No more games.” He blew out the candle and left.

This time the room stayed dark. Molly normally obeys when asked to behave.

During a costume party, several employees saw Molly’s ghost. An unknown woman appeared in authentic period clothing and glided past a server. She was then seen walking down a hall where she vanished into thin air.

Molly has also talked to guests. The restaurant frequently hosts wedding parties and she likes to talk to new brides.

One photo, the original restaurant displayed, has a mysterious woman with dark hair in it. She is looking with adorning eyes at someone just outside the frame.

It is said that when Molly is seen, Joseph’s ghost is not far away.

He has been spotted roaming all over the mansion. He is seen in the mansion’s basement frequently. In this room cold spots are felt, lights flicker on and off, and odd rustling noises are heard.

The lights are always kept on in the basement for if they are shut off his ghost has been known to make a huge mess. 

Often tables and chairs in the dining rooms are found rearranged.

Joseph’s ghost is described as wearing a black waistcoat, silk vest, derby hat, and pinstriped trousers. He is seen rushing up and down the mansion’s main staircase.

His ghost, like Molly's has been captured in photographs. One photo shows his hand reaching out to touch a bride’s knee. This photo disappeared shortly after it was displayed. Many believe Joseph himself stole it not wanting Molly to know about his wandering eye.

Other photos depict him always standing near the prettiest lady in the room.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Texas “Murder Mansion” Haunted

Nir Golan recently signed a lease to rent a “million-dollar” home in the Houston, Texas suburb of Seabrook. He thought he had gotten a good deal for the home’s rent was priced low considering its size.

Golan was ready to move into the waterfront property when he discovered its grisly history.

Another mansion that had sat on the property in the 1980s had been demolished. It had a reputation for being a “murder mansion.” In 1984 a millionaire, Bill List had owned the home. List was a vicious predator who let local teenage boys stay at his home, and then gave them food and drugs in return for sexual favors.

These boys one night rallied together and shot and killed List.

The original mansion.
Golan found out the home was considered haunted after he signed the lease and paid a substantial deposit. He discovered that a lot of people had seen, “shadows of children on the property.”

Most of his friends informed him they would not visit his new home.

Golan, whose religion does not allow him to live in an area that is haunted, requested his deposit back.

The realtor had not informed him of the properties history or that it was considered haunted. Evidently, in Texas, the law, does not stipulate that people are required to disclose a property as stigmatized--either because of past violence that results in a death or because of a haunting.

So far, the homeowner has agreed to let Golan out of the lease but Golan is suing to get his money back.

One argument that is being used in this case is the fact that the murder occurred in the former mansion--over 30 years ago. But just because this house was torn down does not mean the haunting has stopped.

Read my post here about the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas that was gutted in a bad fire. A new hotel, Bally’s was built on the same property and is still haunted by the victims of this fire.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boone Hall: The Sunset Ghost

The Avenue of Oaks
Boone Hall Plantation was established in 1681. It was given as a land grant to Major John Boone. It originally was 17,000 acres, today it is located in the Mount Pleasant suburb near Charleston, South Carolina. The plantation first was used to grow rice and later cotton.

Two brothers, John and Henry Horlbeck, bought this plantation in 1817. They converted the back of the farm near the Wampancheone Creek into the Horlbeck Brickyard.

The soil near this creek contains clay that is ideal for making earthenware, bricks, and tiles. The Horlbeck’s brickyard quickly evolved from a few kilns used by some of the plantation’s 225 slaves into a thriving enterprise that served all of Charleston.

In the decade before the Civil War, it is estimated that the brother’s brickyard produced 4 million bricks each year. The plantation’s slaves made all of these bricks by hand.

Most of the buildings and churches that still remain standing in downtown Charleston today were made with bricks from the Horlbeck Brickyard. The slave quarters on this plantation were also made from these bricks.

Slave cabins along  Slave Street
The Horlbeck brother’s had large pecan groves planted on their land-- this is the reason why Boone Hall is one of the last remaining active plantations in America today.

In 1843, they also planted a spectacular mile-long drive called The Avenue of Oaks that leads to the entrance.

The Ghost of a Slave

Brick Kiln
Witnesses today, report seeing a strange sight near the creek and one of the brickyard’s kiln chimneys.

At sunset, these witnesses all describe seeing a strange woman standing in the grass nearby the road. She is seen moving her hands in a repetitive thrusting motion. *

She wears ragged dark clothes, and her face is tilted downward toward her jerking hands. Because of this, no one has ever seen her face for her loose hair covers it.

Many witnesses have stated they saw the pale light of dusk pass right through this figure. Since she is always seen in the same area, it is believed that she is the ghost of a slave that worked at the 18th-century brickyard. 

* The above sightings are a classic example of a residual haunting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Portland’s Shanghai Tunnels

Thousands of able-bodied men were shanghaied up and down the west coast from the 1800s well into the 1900s to provide men to work on ships. Portland, Oregon’s Underground, or Shanghai Tunnels were used for this illegal activity. 

The Shanghai tunnels are a series of underground passageways that run from basement to basement, connecting buildings for 9 miles. They lie beneath Portland’s Old Town and downtown areas.

These tunnels were built by Chinese forced labor and were used when Portland became involved in the trade, in 1850 during the California gold rush. Ships were losing their crews to the gold fields, so sea captains needed the shanghai trade more than ever.

One victim being lifted onboard.
The saloons in the area were willing partners for everyone was paid off. This trade was kept quiet for years. Police officers would not enter the tunnels for they felt they were booby-trapped.

The victims were mostly transients who had no family to miss them. Loggers, cowboys, miners, seamen, and sheepherders--just to name a few--all drifters, would drink or were drugged, and then they were dropped down through trap doors that each bar had installed. Most of these establishments had at least three of these traps.

These doors were named “deadfalls” by the locals. They were called this not because the victims died but because they were now condemned to 3 to 6 years of working for sea captains that did not pay them--so they might as well consider themselves dead.

Portland’s trade was unique for they kept a steady supply of men ready to be sold at a moments notice.

The Portland Underground motto:

“There was always an able-bodied crew waiting for a captain.”

Once the victim dropped through these traps, they hit a mattress where men were waiting to remove their shoes and lock them in the various small cells in the underground. These rooms had little air, and the men were packed in like sardines.

A Dead Fall
Their shoes were removed because the kidnappers had spread broken glass over the tunnel floors. If they tried to escape their captors could just follow the trail of blood to find them.

The Shanghai trade boomed from 1870 until 1917. In these years the Portland Underground shanghaied over 3,000 men. Each kidnapped man was sold to a sea captain for fifty dollars.

In 1941, the Shanghai trade finally ended in Portland.

The Hauntings

There have been many sighting of ghosts in the Shanghai Tunnels.

One area is even considered to have a portal or entrance from the other side. Apparitions are often seen walking through this area.

Visitors have reported feeling a hand placed on their backs or necks.

Lights go on and off, doors open and shut, and footsteps and voices are heard.

Visitors are warned that their cameras will malfunction in the tunnels. Once back up on street level they find their cameras work again. Visitors often report their equipment’s batteries drained.

One story highlighted on Ghost Adventures when they investigated the tunnels mentions a young boy’s ghost. Joshua is believed to be a 9-year old orphan who was hired to empty the chamber pots and buckets in the cells.

People have seen his ghost and he sometimes holds the visitor’s hands.

Another ghost often seen connected to these tunnels in "Nina". I tell her story in my post about haunted Old Town Pizza.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Legend of White Wolf

This ghost story was first passed from frontier wagon train to wagon train in the 1860s. Oral storytellers often tell this story today.

A long wagon train rolled into Texas 150 years ago on a hot August day. The train followed the trail blazed by the army just a few short years before.

As they crossed into Texas, these pioneers saw their first rattlesnake and promptly shot it. The second day they encountered a band of peaceful Delaware Indians. Once they reached the Brazos River, they stopped to rest at a nearby military fort.

One couple, and their son--the Millers-- had experienced more than their fair share of bad luck since they had joined the train. Their hope was their son Jack would regain his strength soon, for he had been ill for the past ten days.

When his condition worsened, the Millers stayed behind when the train moved on. They promised they would catch up as soon as possible.

Despite a persistent fever, Jack seemed to rally, so the Millers headed west on the trail three days later. Jack spent his time sleeping in the wagon, then one night he begged his parents to let him sleep outside under the stars--they reluctantly agreed.

Under a full moon, he fell asleep. Hours late, he awoke to see something sitting not far from his bedroll. He spotted red, red eyes staring at him in the dim light.

Jack watched the form, but when it didn't move, he wondered if his fever might be playing a trick on him. He fell back into a restless sleep.

When he awoke again, the moon was higher, and the form was sitting closer, staring at him with its red, red eyes. 

Now nervous, he rubbed his eyes and looked once more, the figure was still there. But again, it didn't move, and his head hurt, so he gradually drifted off to sleep once more.

The third time he awoke, the form was sitting right beside him, looking down at him with those red, red eyes. Jack realized it was a dog. He reached out to pet it. 

“You’re just a big white dog, aren’t you.” The animal leaned down and licked him on the face. Jack laughed and fell back asleep.

But Jack never woke up again. The high fever had taken his life. On a nearby mesa top, a lone white wolf howled long and low.

The next day his parents buried him under a mound of sand with a cactus growing on top. As their wagon rolled on, they wondered at the set of animal tracks in the dust that had surrounded Jack’s bedroll. But stricken with grief, their thoughts soon wandered elsewhere.

From high on the mesa red, red eyes watched them go.

Wagon trains that stopped in the same area for the night often stated they saw a ghostly white form with red eyes walking near their camp. 

One family that camped near Jack’s grave spotted white bones sticking out of the sand. They saw a huge, white wolf with red eyes come bounding over the mound of sand. It snarled at them, and they packed up and left quickly.

After this, people came to believe the white wolf protected the grave. Others stated the wolf had killed the boy in the grave.

As more years passed, the story changed. The legend now passed from wagon to wagon said the white wolf was actually the ghost of the boy.

"Post on the Clear Fork of the Brazos"
Fort Phantom Hill
The fort near the Brazos River was christened Fort Phantom Hill. Many believed that it was named for the boy who once traveled on a wagon train--and now was a white wolf with red, red eyes.

Victoria's Haunted Speakeasy

This is a 1st person account from a long-time employee at one of the oldest hotels in Victoria B.C., Canada.

The Speakeasy

No one was in the hotel’s basement in the early morning hours. 

Every day as a part of my job in security I checked all the public rooms in a 100 plus year old hotel. I would start on the 3rd floor and work my way downstairs to the hotel’s basement.

This room had been used as a speakeasy 80 years before. It was long abandoned and gathering dust in the years I did my rounds.

There were still remnants of this 1920s era visible. The mosaic Romanesque tiles originally placed with care, the tall stately wooden columns that lined the large ballroom floor, the dark wood that paneled the walls, and the large stone fireplace with its prominent hearth that once warmed the room all remained.

Feelings of Anger

As soon as I would hop on the old creaky elevator that took me down to the basement feelings of trepidation would surface. This was one part of my job I did not enjoy.

Few people ventured down to this room, except to retrieve supplies that were stored or random maintenance men who were called in to repair something.

I normally entered the old creaky elevator around 6:00 a.m. when the hotel was still quiet. The elevator would make its way slowly down always stopping with a thud. This is when it would happen.

In the few moments before I slid the door open I would hear the distinct sounds normally associated with a rowdy party. The first time this happened I thought the loud chatter and laughter must be guests who had stayed up all night. But when I opened the elevator door no one was in the basement.

I heard these jubilate sounds every morning moments before I exited the elevator. Once I opened the door these conversations ended in mid-sentence-- I sensed that I was an unwelcome intruder.

Typical speakeasy 1920s

I felt many eyes turn in my direction. Even though there was no physical evidence of what I heard and sensed the resentment at my presence became more pronounced as the days passed.

One unseen partygoer seemed more hostile than the rest. I felt this was a man who stood near the elevator as I entered the room. I sensed he followed me around the room. I often heard female voices before I slid the door open telling him that I meant no harm.

I became determined to catch sight of these ghosts before they disappeared. I would hold my breath as the elevator stopped then I would jerk the door open rapidly trying to take them by surprise but this never worked even though I still felt their presence.

Sometimes they even surrounded me. I picked up a wide range of emotions in the room--these included everything from anger to curiosity.

One Sighting

In the year before this hotel was torn down to make way for a modern parking structure and a new glass building I had two more unusual experiences.

One morning as I a stood in hotel’s main nightclub I looked up to see a yellow shimmering object pass in front of me about 30 feet away. I was amazed as this form took shape. It was a young woman wearing a yellow t-shirt with black corduroy pants.

Below her knees her legs were transparent, I could see the wall through them. This figure became aware of my presence and locked eyes with me. She then smiled kindly and continued to move through the room. As she approached the wall she disappeared.

Six months later, down in the old speakeasy I was describing to another worker what I had seen upstairs. He and several employees recently had sensed a strong unseen presence as they moved an old ice machine into the room.

At the exact moment I described what she looked like a fuse blew with a loud bang. I feel strongly that this was the same female ghost letting me know she heard our conversation.