Sunday, August 30, 2015

An Oath vs. Family Honor

“What is a Scotsman without his word? Aye, but what is a Highlander without his kin and clan to count on?”

                              --Storyteller Duncan Campbell Crary

A choice Major Duncan Campbell, made one night in 1747, sealed his fate.

The major was an officer in the Scottish 42nd—Highland—Regiment. This group of soldiers was a fierce fighting force known as the Black Watch.

Original Inverawe.
Duncan Campbell was the Laird of the Scottish house of Inverawe. The legend states one night, a desperate man with blood on his hands and kilt came knocking at his door. He begged the laird for sanctuary.

Duncan swore on the ceremonial dirk at his side that he would shelter the man. This oath was not taken lightly for Highland lairds were duty-bound by their promises.

Fate took a dark twist when just hours later, a group of men showed up at Inverawe to inform Duncan a highwayman had murdered his cousin, Donald Campbell. The men told the laird they had seen this man head toward Inverawe.

Duncan duty bound by a “sacred oath of protection” had no choice but to protect this man from the gang that stood at his door—so he told them he knew nothing.

Later that night, he was awakened from his dreams by an awful moaning. When he opened his eyes, he saw the ghost of his cousin Donald, standing at the foot of his bed.

In a deep voice, Donald stated, “Inverawe! Inverawe! Blood has been shed. Shield, not the murderer!”

Donald’s ghost appeared several more nights pleading with Duncan to hand over the murderer. Duncan conflicted confronted the killer, but remembering his promise, he had to back down.

The ghost appeared one last time, stating, “Farewell, Inverawe! Farewell, till we meet at Ticonderoga!”

This name held no meaning for Duncan, and as the years passed, he forgot these words. That is, until 1788 when the Major’s regiment was sent by the British Crown to help fight the French and Indian War in the Colonies.

The Major and his men marched north from Albany, New York to attack the French-controlled Fort Carillon—later named Fort Ticonderoga—on Lake Champlain.

On the eve of this battle that occurred on July 8th Donald Campbell’s ghost once more visited Major Duncan Campbell in his tent. He told Duncan that he soon would pay for his betrayal.

The battle the next morning was the bloodiest of the war. There were more than 3,000 casualties. The Black Watch suffered the most of any unit on either side. Over 200 men of the 1,000 Scots that fought were killed. Over 250 were wounded—including Major Campbell.

Campbell’s grave marker.
On it, Inverawe is spelled wrong.

He suffered a flesh wound to his arm, but this wound festered and turned gangrene. Nine days after the battle Major Duncan Campbell died.

When the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson was fighting Tuberculosis in the late 19th century in the Adirondacks of New York he heard the tale of Major Duncan Campbell.

In December of 1887, in Scribner’s Magazine, he published a poem entitled Ticonderoga, a Legend of the West Highlands. His poem quickly became famous around the world.

Here is a link to this poem. In it, he misnames Duncan Campbell—Duncan Cameron.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Haunted London App

Now this is my kind of app . . .

Make it Digital Ltd has created a very fun app for those interested in haunted spots in London.

This app can be bought in the iTunes app store for 99 cents.

The first thing that pops up is a “Featured Haunted Location” where the user can read a short overview of one haunted spot in London.

The user then from this window can hit the “map” button and this goes to Google Maps, which pinpoints the exact location of where this haunting occurs--all the haunted locations featured on the app are integrated with Google Maps

This app highlights the ghosts from London’s darker past and provides short descriptions and stories about each haunting.

Its main menu lists various haunted locations, which include: Possessed Pubs, Ghostly Graveyards, Haunted Buildings, Jack The Ripper and Haunted Underground—the Tube.

One of my favorite sections highlights the various sections along the London Underground where ghostly activity has been reported.

Under each description is a “Report a Disturbance” button where the user can report activity on the apps’ Facebook or Twitter accounts.

The app also has an ”Extras” section where users can find spooky sounds with sound effects or suggest a story that should be included on the app.

This is a great way to experience a virtual tour of London’s haunted hot spots.

The developers of this app also have a “Haunted Edinburgh” app that is available for purchase on iTunes. These two apps can be found here.

The Roommate

When Brien Sykes a 35-year-old massage therapist moved into his Burien, Washington apartment dealing with an unwanted roommate was the last thing on his mind.

The building that housed his new home was built in the 1940s. The first odd activity that Sykes noticed involved his cat, Sam.

When Sykes left for work he always locked his cat into his apartment but within weeks of moving in he would return home to find his cat outside.

Perplexed as to how his cat managed to get outside Sykes started to put barriers at his door and made sure the apartment’s windows were shut tight.

But when he returned home he found these barriers undisturbed and he continued to find Sam outside waiting for him.

He then began to shut his cat in his bathroom with he left but every time he came home he found him outside the apartment building.

It dawned on him something otherworldly was occurring. With the onset of strange noises and items being moved Skye concluded he must be living with a ghost.

Several months after he moved in, he had several friends from work over. As they sat talking they all heard footsteps heading down the hallway to his apartment’s door.

When Sykes went to greet the new arrival no one was there. He reluctantly admitted to his friends that the apartment was haunted and what they heard was probably his ghostly roommate.

He went on to explain that he was not afraid because he never felt threatened. One reason was because the ghost liked to do housework.

If he left his bed unmade he would return to find it made. If he fell asleep with dirty dishes in the sink he would find them in the morning washed, dried and put away.

Sykes was so comfortable with his unusual roommate when he moved to a new apartment he invited the ghost to come with him.

But this didn’t happen and he now complains he has to do his own dishes.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Good Spirit: Grey Robe

The stories about Grey Robe and why the Navajo’s believe in him were highlighted in the May 1969 edition of Frontier Times in an article written by John R. Winslowe.

In Robert F. Turpin’s 2014 book, Old West Ghost Legends he includes a chapter on stories that have been told about encounters with Grey Robe.

In more recent times Navajos have referred to Grey Robe as a “good spirit.” But traditionally, he was never referred to as what other cultures call a ghost.

Instead, the Navajo considered him merely a mysterious entity or benefactor that saved many Native American lives.

All the sightings of him occurred in the Red Valley near Tuba City in Arizona.

Descriptions of Grey Robe state he glides instead of walking, his facial features are rarely seen and some accounts state his form when seen was surrounded by a grey mist or fog.

He is seen wearing a grey robe tied at the waist with a cord—hence his name. Witnesses state he never talks he points or gestures instead.

This entity was first seen in the early 1800s and reports of encounters continued into the late 1940s.

He is credited with saving lost children, an isolated crippled woman who had fallen and a boy that broke his leg on a remote ridge.

It also is stated Grey Robe warned many people of impending dangers—such as washed-out roads and flood waters heading their way.

It is said he led a sheepherder to water during a drought, so he would not lose his flock.

Black Hat’s Encounter

One Navajo named Black Hat, who was new to the Red Valley in north-central Arizona, had never heard the stories about the mysterious Grey Robe when he encountered him.

He was traveling through the valley when his horse slowed down and perked up his ears. He saw a grey figure up ahead, standing near the trail he traveled.

The figure was wrapped in a robe, and a grey mist or grey smoke seemed to surround him. Black Hat stopped his horse and asked, “Who are you?”

The shadowy figure did not speak but instead motioned for him to follow him. Black Hat noticed the figure made no sound as he moved through the sagebrush—his body appeared to float instead of walk.

Several hundred yards further down the trail, the figure stopped and turned toward Black Hat. It then pointed toward a rocky ridge in the distance.

As Black Hat turned back he saw the figure slowly fade away. He realized this encounter had not scared him, but instead, he felt a feeling of serene kindness settle over him.

Black Hat headed to the rocky ridge where he found an unconscious Indian boy. He saw that the boy’s leg was broken in several places.

He gathered dry brush and made a signal fire. It wasn’t long before a party of Navajos rode in. They lived nearby and had seen the light.

It was discovered later that the boy had been thrown from his pony when a rattlesnake frightened it.

If Black Hat had not found the boy, he would have died. The other Indians asked him how he had happened upon the boy since the ridge was quite a distance from the trail he traveled.

Black Hat hesitated and then told then about the grey figure. The others seemed not to be surprised by his description—especially the part where he stated the figure wore a grey robe and was faceless.

The elder of the group nodded and said. “It was Grey Robe.” He then told Black Hat about the friendly spirit that helps the Navajo people.

This legend is not lost today, for the Navajos remember the stories about Grey Robe fondly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Spirit of Mr. Jeeves

The Spirit of Mr. Jeeves

A popular post on this blog is about ghost cats—it is located here.

One interesting story about a ghost cat returning happened in St. Augustine, Florida, in the late 60s.

A chef who worked a second shift started to notice a sizeable Himalayan cat that accompanied him as he walked home. Someone in his apartment building evidently owned this cat, for he always veered off around the corner when the chef reached his front door.

He befriended this cat and noticed on its collar was the name “Mr. Jeeves” clearly printed.

The cat was friendly and often rubbed against his legs but the chef found it odd Mr. Jeeves would not let him pet him or pick him up.

After a month had passed and the cat was still accompanying him home. When he went to pay his rent, he asked the landlords if they knew who owned the large cat.

As he described the cat he noticed the elderly couple clammed up and refused to talk about it.

Later, another tenant told him that the landlords had a daughter named Helen. She was killed seventeen years before while she crossed the busy street in front of the apartments. Her cat was killed with her.

She mentioned she had also seen the ghost cat over the years.

He now understood why the cat never let him pick him up.

The chef tried to take a photograph of Mr. Jeeves but when the prints came back, the cat was not in the photo. Mr. Jeeves had been in the center of the frame when the chef snapped the picture.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Past Life Experience: The Fire

This is a classic story of a Past Life Experience.

Victoria was born in London in 1946 just after WWll ended. Growing up she often heard stories about the war.

Shortly before her 10th birthday Victoria’s started to have an unusual nightmare.

In each dream she saw herself running through a burning house. Most disturbing she could hear a baby crying. In her dreams she always tried to reach this baby but she never could get to it in time.

For over 20 years Victoria had this same dream.

After she married and her first child was born this dream intensified. Concern for her mental state drove Victoria to see a psychologist.

This man told her this dream represented a deep-seated fear she had of losing a child—but he did not address the fact she had experienced the dream for many years.

Victoria then did research on where she grew up and quizzed her family and friends but there was no incident in her childhood involving a fire.

For several years after her second child was born the dream ceased but when both her children went off to school it returned.

Desperate now, a friend suggested Victoria go to a licensed hypnotherapist that specialized in past regressions. After several sessions Victoria was able to piece together a story that made sense.

Four years before she was born in 1942 she was a woman by the name of Ellen who lived in a townhouse in London with her husband and grandson.

One night a German bomb hit near her home, which then caught their house on fire. This fire spread quickly and Ellen although she tried several times was unable to go upstairs to get her grandbaby.

Ellen passed away a year later—never having recovered from the loss of the infant.

Victoria eventually was able to find the graveyard where Ellen and her grandson were buried. She often visits and leaves flowers. She no longer has the dream.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Witch of Yazoo

Updated book

This story was first made widely popular when Willie Morris * mentioned it in his book Good Old Boy published in 1971. 

Residents of Yazoo, Mississippi have passed it down for several generations.

According to the legend in the late 1800s an “old ugly witch” who lived along the Yazoo River was caught torturing fishermen, she lured in off the river.

In this tale, a young boy by the name of Joe Bob Duggett in the fall of 1884, while passing by the witches’ house heard loud screams. He peered through one window and to his horror, he saw two dead fishermen on the floor as the witch danced around them chanting.

He then alerted the sheriff and when the two arrived at the house they found no one home but they discovered two skeletons hanging from the rafters.

Hearing the witch outside they chased her into the swamp. By the time they caught up to her, she had fallen into quicksand. It was too late to rescue her.

As she sank deeper into the sand with her last breath, she cursed, “I shall return from my grave in twenty years and burn down the town.” Then she disappeared beneath the muck.

Glenwood Cemetery
When she was buried in Glenwood Cemetery heavy chains were placed atop her grave to ensure she stayed buried.

As the years passed, few remembered her threat—that is until the morning of May 25, 1904. What began, as a small fire soon became a raging inferno driven by what some described as fierce winds:

“The flames were said by witnesses to have leaped through the air, as if driven by some supernatural force.”

This fire destroyed 200 homes, and every business in Yazoo City. In all 324 building were damaged.

Old Main Street Yazoo City
It was said the fire started innocently enough in one young woman’s—a Miss Wise’s-- kitchen as she prepared food for her wedding later that day.

But since the force of the winds were such a strange occurrence for the area many believed it was the witches curse that spread the fire so quickly.

The Witches Grave with large chains.
It was exactly twenty years since she had cursed the town. A group of citizens headed for the cemetery and found that several of the large chains surrounding her grave were broken.

Today the locals still like to retell this story. Children in the town affectionately call the witch—The Chain Lady.

No one knows the witches real name, the original stone that marked her grave is long gone with only had the letters "TW" engraved on it—The Witch.

The heavy chains still surround what is known today as The Witches Grave.

The newer headstone that replaced the old one mysteriously cracked in half shortly after being placed on the grave. Even more mysterious is the heavy chains near the witches' grave have to be regularly repaired. It is stated because they fall apart shortly after they are fixed.

After publishing this post a reader, Joshua Ray Lancaster contacted me and shared a photo he took at the Yazoo grave in 2006. It appears to have a ghostly figure hovering near the witches grave. Here is his picture.

Click to enlarge.
* Willie Morris grew up in Yazoo City and when he died in 1999, he was buried close by The Witches Grave.