Friday, July 31, 2015

Nottinghamshire’s Clifton Hall

Clifton Hall was built in the 11th century. It was later named after the Clifton family that lived there for over 700 years, starting in the 13th century.

Hall at time Clifton family lived there.
The hall has stood for over 1000 years.

Many feel this house retains much of the Clifton’s family’s energy-- both their joys and sorrows. People point to this as an explanation for why the home has been haunted for many years.

In 1958 the family sold Clifton Hall. It was then used by a series of schools. One of these—Clifton Grammar School that occupied the hall in the 1970s experienced a variety of paranormal activity.

Students and staff heard a baby crying behind a bricked up or sealed room in the house. Others have claimed to see a woman pacing back and forth through a window in this room.

The cause behind this haunting is said to be a disappointed maid who lived in the hall hundreds of years before the school existed.

A teenage maid who had a child by the lord of the manor found herself jilted. It is said she took her revenge by taking this baby and jumping out of a third story window, killing herself and the baby.

Students who attended this school often reported seeing ghostly apparitions in the house.

They experienced something even more disturbing when they started to see “doppelgangers” or entities that took on their appearance. They would encounter these entities that looked just like them as they walked through the halls of the house.

More proof the hall is haunted is the activity the Rashid family experienced after they bought the manor house * in 2007.

Clifton Hall today.
* The house has 17 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, 10 reception rooms, a private gym and a cinema.

Anwar Rashid at the time he bought Clifton Hall was warned the house was haunted but he ignored these warnings not believing in ghosts.

From the very first night the family—which included Anwar's wife Nabila and their four children-- spent in the home they realized something strange was going on.

Anwar Rashid
Anwar and Nabila heard a knocking sound and then a male voice said, “Is anyone there?” When these sounds repeated Anwar went to discover who was at their door late at night only to find no one.

After this, his wife saw who she thought was her oldest daughter watching the television one night. She called out her name but did not receive a response. She got a funny feeling and left the room-- only to discover that her daughter was in her bedroom asleep.

The activity after this increased in intensity. The family saw dark forms and often heard a young child and other voices talking.

Friends and family members of the Rashid family started to refuse to visit Clifton Hall stating the activity scared them.

At one point Anwar brought in a paranormal team hoping they could get rid of the ghosts. This team experienced some of the activity and proclaimed it some of the most scary they had ever experienced but they didn’t manage to banish the ghosts.

In August of 2007, just eight months after the Rashid family moved in they experienced something they considered to be “the last straw.”

Random marks and stains that appeared to be splattered blood started to appear around the house. When one of these splatters appeared on a quilt that belonged to the family’s 18-month old son—the family left the hall.

Several months later Anwar defaulted on the home loan and the bank took back the property—this was not because he could not afford it.

Anwar Rashid stated afterwards that it became obvious to him that the ghosts did not want him and his family in the home—and they got their wish.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Totem Pole and the Curse

Totem Pole

The sewer system in the town of Livermore, California was once cursed because of how a totem pole was treated.

This totem pole still stands in Centennial Park on the corner of 4th and Holmes.

Adam “Fortunate Eagle” Nordwald, a member of the Ojibwa Nation, carved this totem pole in 1969 for a local shopping center but when they refused to pay him, he donated instead it to the city of Livermore for their 100th anniversary.

This totem pole depicts scenes representing Livermore’s history. Every ring on it represents ten years. It has a carving of the city founder—Robert Livermore and another that shows Atomic energy used for peaceful purposes.

The pole when given was 18 feet tall and was dedicated in May of 1974.

At the time it was installed in the park, city workers for some unknown reason chopped off a few feet at the bottom of the pole. Nordwald felt this desecrated his work. He demanded that it be restored to its original height.

But his demands fell on death ears. The city council refused to restore the pole.

So Norwald placed a curse on the city’s sewer system. Within two weeks Livermore’s entire sewer system backed up.

Article in Independent in March of 2015
After this Livermore restored the totem pole to its original height but they never issued an apology to Nordwald so he did not lift the curse.

Some believe this curse has impacted the city in other ways. In 1974 during the centennial celebration a Time Capsule was buried in the park. In 1999, when the town went to unearth it could not be found.

It later was found underneath the totem pole.

In more recent years, two deaths have been blamed on the Nordwald curse. A former city manager and a prominent city resident that were both interviewed in a documentary about Livermore’s history mentioned the totem pole and curse.

They both died within a few short weeks after this documentary’s release. Were they victims of this curse or was it just an eerie coincidence?

Adam Nordwald also became known because of his activism in various Native American protests.

He was the main organizer for the Native American occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 until 1971.

In 1973, he “discovered” Italy. He showed up in this country in full tribal regalia and announced in the name of the American Native people that he was taking possession of Italy “by right of discovery” just like Christopher Columbus had done.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bannack: A Ghost Town with Ghosts


Bannack, Montana was established in 1862 when gold was found along Grasshopper Creek.

Like other gold rushes, miners flooded into this settlement in search of their fortunes. It was not long before the hills surrounding the community were filled with as many as 10,000 miners.

With this large population came violence.

In 1883, a fast-talking, handsome, well-dressed newcomer, by the name of Henry Plummer, impressed several leading community members. It wasn’t long before he was elected sheriff.

Henry Plummer
But what the unsuspecting citizens of Bannack did not know is Plummer was actually the head of a secret band of road agents called the “innocents.”

They began to terrorize travelers between Bannack and Virginia City, robbing and killing more than 100 men within a few short months.

In December of 1883 the miners formed the Montana Vigilantes and during the next 42 days they hanged 24 gang members, including Henry Plummer.

Later, the authenticity of this story was questioned by historians—some believed it was just a cover the vigilantes used to mask their own nefarious activities in the area.

Today the ghost town of Bannack is a state park. Many people believe that the ghost of Henry Plummer—wrongly hanged—haunts the area. His motivation is said to be the need to clear his name.

Hotel Meade
Another ghost that resides in Bannack is seen on the second floor of the Hotel Meade.

This structure built in 1875 was originally used as a courthouse. In 1881 when Bannack lost its county seat status to nearby Dillon the building was abandoned until 1890.

It then was remodeled and reopened as a plush hotel. It remained a hotel for many years—in its final reincarnation it was used as a hospital.

Today visitors experience cold spots and see the apparition of a teen-age girl on its second floor. Others report hearing the sounds of children crying. One investigator caught these sounds during an EVP session.

The first sighting of this ghostly girl happened over 100 years ago. It is said she is Dorothy Dunn a 16-year old resident of Bannack who drowned while swimming in a dredge pond along Grasshopper Creek.

Shortly after her death, Dorothy’s ghost first appeared to her best friend who was with her at the time of her death.

Since this initial encounter numerous witnesses have reported seeing a teen-age girl wearing a long blue dress on the second floor of the old Hotel Meade.

Children most often see her. One 7-year old saw Dorothy and she states this ghost tried to talk to her. She saw Dorothy’s mouth moving but heard no sound.

Others have seen Dorothy’s ghost standing at an upstairs window as they stood in the street below.

Yet other witnesses have seen ghostly women dressed in their best finery in various places around the old town.

When the mines played out in Bannack it quickly was abandoned. By the 1940s it was a ghost town.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks stepped in to save the town from the elements and vandalism by making it a state park in August of 1954.

Today, over 60 structures remain and the staff gives tours—as well as allowing individuals to explore this historic site on their own.

The following photograph was taken at Bannack’s General Store. Two photos were taken one right after the other. In the second photo this mist appears—it is believed to be paranormal in nature.

Gettysburg: Farnsworth House

Farnsworth House
Brigadier General Alton J. Farnsworth who died during the Gettysburg battle built this farmhouse located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1810.

Today this building is run as a nine-room B&B and is known to have many restless spirits.

Some haunt this house because they died in the bloodiest battle of the Civil War—the Battle of Gettysburg-- others died during different points in time—regardless they all died tragically.

During the Civil War, Confederate sharpshooters used the house to strike down Union soldiers. They shot the enemy through the home’s windows. Later the house was used as a makeshift hospital.

Several of these fallen soldiers, haunt five of the rooms plus the attic in the modern-day Farnsworth Inn.

These sharpshooters are often heard moving about the attic. Juice harp music is heard playing, and a soldier’s footsteps are heard as he carries a dying comrade downstairs to the basement. He is heard softly singing in an attempt to comfort this wounded man.

Especially at night, shadowy figures are seen throughout the house. They are often spotted in the dining room. One soldier is heard pacing up and down the main hallway.

Other ghosts observed at the house that have no connection to this famous battle include a youngster named Jeremy, who one afternoon was playing tag outside with his friends, he was tragically trampled to death by a passing buggy.

His ghost is seen being carried in a blanket by his sobbing father, who brought him into the house after the accident.

Jeremy’s apparition is seen roaming throughout the house. He is known to steal items, leaving his toys in their place. His ghost is seen at nearby homes and a shop as well.

A former resident of the house, a midwife, named Mary died in the Sarah Black room in the Inn. She is often seen in the Catherine Sweeney room. Several guests have observed her sitting on the edge of their beds.

Catherine Sweeney Room
She likes to mess with people’s personal belongings and to touch their hair. One guest who was ill with a cold saw Mary several times—this makes sense since while alive, she often tended to the sick.

The Inn gives ghost tours, and Mary’s ghost is sometimes seen accompanying these tours.

Yet another ghost at the Inn is spotted in the kitchen. This spirit appears first like a black mist and then slowly changes into an older woman, she likes to check out the modern gadgets in this room.

She wears 19th Century clothing and she vanishes when approached. It is thought this lady must have been employed as a cook in the house at one time.

The Farnsworth Inn also experiences a lot of poltergeist activity. Employees are often touched, their aprons are tugged on, and trays overturn on their own.

One recent incident involving the Civil War ghosts in the house happened on Halloween.

A local radio station was about to broadcast live from the Inn—the crew was all dressed in blue jeans and blue shirts. When one of them called the station to check on their feeds, he addressed a person on the other end who was nicknamed, “Captain.”

A psychic who was part of this broadcast, later that day, reported that the ghosts of the soldiers were in an uproar. Hearing people dressed in blue, reporting to their Captain had given them the idea that they had been discovered by Union troops.

They were convinced they had a spy in their midst.

The psychic tried to convince them the war was over, but they didn’t believe her.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sweden: The Haunted Vicarage

Old vicarage
There is an old vicarage located in the small village of Borgvattnet *in Jamtland County in Northern Sweden, it is believed to be one of the countries most haunted houses.

* Borgvatten Spokprastgard in Swedish

Several of the vicars that lived at the vicarage over the years experienced strange activity while living there. It is their accounts that have given the old house such a strong reputation for being haunted.

This old vicarage was built in 1876 but it wasn’t until ninety years later in 1927 that the first encounter with a ghost occurred. The chaplain, Nils Hedlund at the time experienced several things he could not explain.

One incident involved his laundry. As he made his way to the attic to gather more of his laundry he saw an unseen force outside tearing down his clothes from the line.

The next priest to reside at the vicarage in the 1930s was Rudolf Tangden. While he was sitting in one room he spotted an old woman wearing grey appear in a nearby room, he got up to ask what she wanted but as he entered the room she just vanished.

Tangden’s successor, Otto Lingren lived in the vicarage in the 1940s. He and his wife heard unexplained sounds and saw objects move. They heard disembodied steps in the hall and also heard music coming from this area.

One female visitor, Inga Flodin that stayed in the guestroom was awakened in the middle of the night with a feeling she was being watched. She saw three old women sitting on a sofa against one wall in the room. They all appeared to be crying.

Guest room
She quickly turned on the light and they were still there but now appeared blurry. When she had gone to bed the sofa had not been in the room and when she awoke the next morning it was not there.

Erik Lindgren, another chaplain assigned to the vicarage in 1945 recorded several unusual experiences including one that occurred as he moved in. Tired from unpacking he sat in a rocking chair and read a book.

Moving rocking chair.
Suddenly, this chair tipped forward and he was thrown out. Lindgren stated that when he sat down again he felt a strong force enter his body.

Today this rocking chair is seen rocking on its own.

In recent years the vicarage has been used as a small Bed and Breakfast, it is also a restaurant and café. Many of the guests that have stayed here report strange activity.

These reports include: shadow people, footsteps on the stairs, a woman screaming, someone crying, knocking sounds, and a Madonna is seen in one mirror.

One couple was making their way down the stairs when an unseen entity grabbed the husband’s arm. He was dragged down the rest of the steps and out into the yard.

This couple refused to reenter the house—they slept in a tent on the lawn instead.

Several guests have reported being awakened to find an unseen cold hand pressed to their foreheads.

Several theories have been put forth as to why the old vicarage is haunted. Many believe it is former vicars that haunt the house others recount stranger stories.

One of these involves a maid who worked at the vicarage. She found herself pregnant and out of desperation she killed and buried her baby next to the house.

Yet another one told involves one priest, Per Hedlund who lived at the vicarage. His wife Marta died while delivering their 11th child.

Per took her body from the morgue and in a strange twist, the villagers had to convince him to bury her. It is said when he moved away from the vicarage he dug her body up and took it with him.

A strange side note about this story involves Nils Hedlund who was the first vicar to notice paranormal activity in the house, he was one of Marta’s sons.

Today, when people are willing to stay the entire night at the old vicarage—Bed and Breakfast--they receive an “overnight-stay-certificate” to honor their bravery and to prove they did it.

The following video has many interior shots of the vicarage including the mirror and a video of the rocking chair moving.