Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One Wedding Tradition Wards off Evil Spirits

Today, when one thinks of weddings they don’t think of evil spirits. Weddings instead are seen as celebrations—happy events.

But one wedding tradition still observed today came about because of an ancient Roman belief. The Romans believed brides had to protect themselves from evil. They thought merriment attracted evil spirits—not to mention rejected grooms.

So a tradition began during this time to assure the bride and groom were protected from demons and angry ex-boyfriends.

All the females in the wedding party dressed the same as the bride. This was to confuse anyone or anything with ill will. It was a trick to keep the wedding couple safe—so they could get through their vows unhindered.

This belief of demonic wedding crashers persisted well into the Victorian era when it finally petered out. At this point brides began to dress more elaborately than the maids in their wedding parties.

What lingers from this protective ritual is the fact bride maids still dress in matching dresses—most of them unflattering.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Johnny Morehouse and His Dog

Many claim Woodland Cemetery, located in Dayton, Ohio, is haunted. * 

The most famous story is about the ghosts of a five-year-old boy and his dog.

Woodlawn Cemetery
Like many ghost stories about young children, this one is more charming than scary.

In the mid-1800s residents of Dayton used a series of man-made canals to transport goods and people.

Miami and Erie Canal
The Morehouse family lived in the back of their shoe-repair shop in downtown Dayton. 

Behind this shop ran the Miami and Erie canal. In August of 1860, the Morehouse’s youngest son Johnny was playing near the trench with his dog. 

The young boy lost his balance and fell into the water.

His dog jumped in after him. He was able to pull his master out of the water, but it was too late—Johnny had drowned.

The Morehouse family buried Johnny at Woodlawn Cemetery. Within days of his funeral, people began to see an unusual sight. Johnny’s dog was lying on his grave and would not leave.

As the days passed, people worried this dog would starve to death, so they began to bring him food. 

Because of this dog’s constant vigil, a new headstone was carved for Johnny’s grave. It has “Johnny Morehouse” inscribed on the front and “Sweet Slumber” engraved on one side.

It depicts a large dog enfolding Johnny tenderly.

Today, this gravesite is the most visited in the cemetery. People leave offerings of coins, stuffed animals, various toys and food—in fond remembrance of this child and his devoted companion.

Offerings in remembrance.
For three months in 2008, a rumor was spread that the gravestone was vandalized. These stories were false. 

The head on the statue of the dog did disappear –the reason for this was with age it had fallen off. It was repaired and placed back on the figure.

Over the years, witnesses have claimed to see the ghosts of Johnny and his dog throughout the cemetery. They are seen running and playing together.

Many have heard the sounds of Johnny’s laughter as his dog barks.

Most impressive are the reports that people have seen what appears to be the statue of the dog breathing. Some have put their hands directly under the dog’s stone nostrils and felt these breaths.

*  Woodlawn is the 5th oldest garden cemetery in the U.S., Orville and Wilbur Wright are buried here as well as Erma Bombeck.

Monday, October 31, 2016

An Unusual 911 Call

This is from a first-person account.

I used to work as a 911 operator in a large urban area. One night shift I worked, at around 3:00 a.m., I answered a call from an elderly woman.

She told me she didn’t feel well. I tried several times to illicit more information from her. Was she having chest pains, trouble breathing etc.?

The only response I got was her stating over and over again she was not feeling well. She did give her address and phone number. She also volunteered that she was alone and her front door was unlocked. 

She said when the paramedics arrived they should walk right in.

I put the call out as a “general illness” and continued to talk to her. After several minutes she told me in a weak voice, “ I don’t feel well.” She then stated, “She needed to go to the bathroom.”

I tried to encourage her to stay on the line but I heard her put the phone down. Every few minutes I called her name but received no response.

Eventually a firefighter whom had been dispatched to the callers’ home came on the line. He asked if the call had come in from a third party or family member. I replied “no.”

He sounded puzzled as he told me they had found an elderly lady in the bathroom. I told him that was the lady who had made the call. He slowly stated “no” and then informed me that the lady in the bathroom had been dead for at least 12 hours. That rigor had set in.

Afterwards my supervisor and I pulled the tapes on this call to see if I had missed something. We checked the timestamp, address and phone number. No one else was in the home.

My only explanation is I took a call from a dead woman.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Goliad: Presidio La Bahia

Two hours south of Houston, Texas on Highway 59 is Goliad, Texas. Just south of this town sits the most fought over spot in Texas history—nine different flags have flown over the Presidio La Bahia.

The Presidio
The presidio’s history is clouded in violence. This is why so many people believe the area is haunted.

The most atrocious act that occurred at La Bahia happened during the Texas Revolution in March of 1836. During the Battle of Coleto, General Santa Anna’s troops were able to retake the fort from the Texas troops.

The nine different flags that flew above the fort.

Over 300 Texas soldiers surrendered. Several days after this battle, Santa Anna ordered the massacre of all these soldiers. They were marched out of the fort in three different groups and shot at point-blank range. 

These men were buried in a mass grave at La Bahia. Today a memorial stands at the site to honor them.

This is the reason why a month later, in April of 1836, Texas soldiers' rallying cry was “ Remember Goliad” * when they defeated the Mexicans and gained independence for Texas during the Battle of San Jacinto.

     * They also yelled, “Remember the Alamo.”

La Bahia continued to be occupied by soldiers, and then by priests. Today, the Catholic Diocese of Victoria owns the “Quarters” at the presidio. It is a National Historic Landmark.

In the 1960s, La Bahia was rebuilt. A museum was opened that highlights the fort’s bloody history. The architecture at the presidio is considered one of the finest examples of the Spanish Colonial style in America.

Once opened, visitors began to report strange encounters at La Bahia.

These reports back up the claims that restless spirits remain in the area.

Common encounters include the sounds of footsteps heard on the roof, while visitors are in the Quarters and the sound of distance canon fire. There are also many other reports of strange unexplained sounds around the fort--including footsteps in the wee hours.

Most chilling of all is the eyewitness reports of seeing spectral soldiers walking around the grounds.

Because of these encounters, various paranormal groups have investigated La Bahia. Their evidence is presented in several videos on YouTube.

The Quarters
Today, tourists can stay overnight in one of the rooms in the Quarters area—the cost is $200.00.

In the spring—the presidio, despite its otherworldly residents, is quite peaceful. Wildflowers bloom on the gentle slopes that surround it. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Golden Eagle

In Stephen King’s book entitled Christine, a car, a vintage Plymouth Fury, named Christine, possesses its teenage owner, Ernie. Ernie does not know this car had been responsible for the deaths of the previous owners’ wife and daughter.

This car eventually also is responsible for Ernie’s death. King’s book and the film based upon it are still popular.

King is a master at writing horror stories—this genre is compelling entertainment—but what is interesting is there is a car that people point to as being a real-life Christine.

The Golden Eagle is a 1964 Dodge Limited Edition. Its history reflects eerie similarities to King’s fictional car. Some consider this car haunted. Others believe it is “the evilest car in America.”

This vehicle was initially used as a police car in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The three officers that drove the car all died in bizarre murder-suicides. Each of these officers killed their families and then themselves.

This Dodge after this was sold quickly for it now had a dark reputation. Wendy Allen’s parents bought the car. The Allen family used it regularly for many years without incident. Except for one thing-- if they drove it on the highway random doors would fling open without cause.

The Golden Eagle
Wendy states her family was never harmed by the car, but in the 1980s and 90s, several local churches decided the vehicle was demonic. Allen thinks this is because the car gained a bad reputation for killing at least 14 people.

Wendy feels people’s fears about the car are based in superstitions.

The most bizarre stories about these deaths involve children. One child in the 1960s and another in the 1980s were both hit by cars and flung across the street. Their bodies were both found under the Golden Eagle. Both died before paramedics arrived.

In 2008, another child was dared to just touch the Dodge, he then died along with the rest of his family, including their dog, two weeks later in a house fire.

After being vandalized.
In the 1980s, members of local churches hearing about this strange car began to vandalize it. After this damage was done, two leaders from these vandal groups died in two separate horrific car crashes where they both were decapitated by 18-wheelers.

Yet another four members died after being hit by lightning. Today the old Dodge is in pieces. Members of another church stole the car, chopped it up and placed these parts in various junkyards.

Wendy Allen upset, and not believing the rumors the car is demonic requested people help her locate and retrieve the vehicle. The Dodge’s parts today are hidden so people can’t find them.

So did these deaths actually happen? Wendy Allen says they did, but that the connections to her family car are all just coincidence.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Scary History of Ouija Boards

In 1890 a group of businessmen came together to form the Kennard Novelty Company.

They had noted an instant interest in talking boards. These boards had been developed by spiritualists to contact/ communicate with spirits in a more efficient way than tapping on tables.

These businessmen decided to mass market this new phenomenon in America, and cash in on its success. Their first hurdle was what to call this board. One of the men’s sister-in-law was a medium.

Helen Peters and the group decided to ask the board what was its name? Peters led the session and told the group the boards’ response was “Ouija.” She then asked the board what this word meant—its response was “Good Luck.”

Ironically, most who have gotten real responses from Ouija boards have not experienced what they consider good luck.

The group patented the board in 1891. This newly named Ouija board became an instant success and has continued in popularity since.

William Fuld factory.
By 1893 one of the stockholders, William Fuld took over ownership of the company—he guided the company through its boom years. 

He fell off the roof of one of his factories and was killed—he sadly was up there following the advice of a Ouija board. Fuld’s company was sold to Parker Brothers in 1966.

In the 1960s the board gained more notoriety with a rising interest in the occult. By this time, the sale of boards brought in millions of dollars.

In 1973, with the release of the film The Exorcist, the boards gained a reputation with the general public as being evil—a portal to hell. In this film, the main character, a girl named Regan, used a Ouija Board and connected with a spirit named Captain Howdy, who was actually the demon who possessed her.

This fictional film brought to light something that many already knew. People felt the Ouija should not be used as a parlor game, for they knew how dangerous playing with one could be.

In John Harkin’s book, Ouija Board Nightmares he gives many examples that support the fact these boards are not toys.

Early on in his book he shares several stories of how Ouija boards have caused mental distress, and even insanity in people who played with them.

Throughout the 1920s and 30s there are several documented cases of people who committed murders—they claimed their Ouija boards told them to do it.

One vivid example Harkin shares happened in 1930, in Buffalo, New York. Two Native American women were put on trial for murdering the wife of the famous sculptor Henri Marchand.

They beat Clothilde Marchand to death with a hammer. One of them told the authorities, they had communicated with her husband while using a Ouija board. He described to her that Marchand was a witch who had killed him.

Another example Harkin shares involves an entire town.

In the 1920s over a few short weeks, the police in El Cerrito, California arrested seven people. All were driven insane after playing with boards. A national headline at the time read, Whole Town Ouija Mad.

A 15-year-old girl was found naked and acting crazy, after communicating with the spirits. In the following days, this madness spread. It even affected a local police officer that ran naked into a bank screaming.

As a result the town officials banned Ouija boards within the city limits.

John Harkin goes on to share numerous modern-day stories of how Ouija’s have scared and caused danger to those who have used them.

Note--I don't know what to make of these stories, but I do find them interesting.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Stolen Ghost

Ye Olde Man and Scythe
I wrote about the Ye Olde Man and Scythe pub in England being haunted in a previous post, here. Along with this story I share a compelling video of a ghost that the pub captured on video.

Last month, an article published in a local Bolton newspaper, Bolton News caught my attention.

To be honest, I am not sure, whether to laugh or cry at this news . . .

A Chinese artist, Lu Pingyuan traveled all the way from Shanghai to Manchester in order to steal the decapitated ghost that haunts this Bolton pub.

It is believed this ghost is that of James Stanley—he was the Seventh Earl of Derby. Stanley was a Royalist whose family originally owned the pub—the Scythe is the 4th oldest pub in Britain.
Video is on my original post.
The Earl is thought to have spent his last few hours in the inn before he was taken out and executed—he was beheaded in 1651 near the end of the Civil War.

The chair where the Earl sat before his death is still in the pub.

Pingyuan upon seeing a video of the Earl’s ghost in 2014 decided he must capture it. He followed the spirit into the Scythe’s restroom and then performed “an incantation” to trap it in a bottle.

Recently, Pingyuan has had this ghost on display in a traveling exhibition. When Richard Greenwood, the pub’s owner found out this exhibition was on display at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester he wrote Pingyuan a letter.

Greenwood expressed he wished he had known about Pingyuan’s intention before he removed the ghost. He feels this removal has unbalanced the natural order of things and he misses this spirit.

Greenwood also states he would have allowed the ghost of Stanley to be exhibited—for the world to see—but that he would have insisted the spirit be returned to its home at the pub after this.

This article did not mention if Greenwood has received a response.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Versailles Time Slip

The following story is about one of the first and most famous Time Slip encounters recorded.

Palace at Versailles
Two English ladies Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain in August of 1901, visited the Palace of Versailles in France. As they toured the palace, they became bored and went outside to explore the gardens and see the Petit Trianon—a small chateau on the grounds.
Petit Trianon

But they were informed that the Petit Trianon was closed for the day, so the two women decided to continue exploring the grounds. At one point, they became turned around and discovered they were lost.

It was at this point, a feeling of weariness and oppression overtook both women. They noticed the pleasant sunny day took on a fuzzy appearance. Things now seemed out of place.

They watched a woman shake a white sheet out one farmhouse window, and noticed there was an old fashioned plow in front of this structure.

They observed the people around them were all dressed in funny old- fashioned clothing. Several of the men wore three-cornered hats. Jourdain commented later that these figures reminded her of the wax figures in Madame Tussauds.

Eleanor Jourdain
Jourdain also noted that everything around them all of a sudden looked unreal . . . unpleasant.

The trees even appeared flat and lifeless. She stated there was no play of light and shadow, you usually see on a sunny day.

One man the pair spotted was so rough in appearance--pockmarked face, dark expression, wearing a floppy hat and large cloak-- that Jourdain admitted he repulsed her. The two women decided they didn’t even want to walk past him.

A more pleasant tall man with curly hair approached them and showed them the way to the Petit Trianon.

Charlotte Moberly
After they crossed one bridge, Moberly spotted a stately woman with fair hair wearing a large white hat sketching on the grass. This woman wore a pale summer frock and looked directly at her without interest. Moberly afterward came to believe that this woman was Marie Antoinette. 

Once the two women reached the entrance, they were joined by a group of modern-day tourists. They stated that the strange feelings that had overtaken them vanished at this point.

When what both women saw and experienced, that day in early August, was made public, they were ridiculed. 

But they both were reliable sources. Moberly and Jourdain were not young girls, they both were well educated, and had met while they were principals of a women’s residence hall at Hugh’s College in Oxford. Jourdain also ran her own school.

Portrait of Marie Antoinette
that reminded Moberly of
women she saw.
It wasn’t until years after their encounter they wrote about it and published it in a book entitled, An Adventure in 1911. They used pin names. It wasn’t until four months after Jourdain died, in 1931, that their real names came out.

The two women were firmly convinced that the grounds at Versailles were haunted, and what they saw that day were ghosts. 

Their experience of walking out of the 20th century directly into the 16th century was later labeled a Time Slip experience.

I talk about what Time Slips are, and share several modern-day encounters here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Killed for Revenge

This story is an old legend that is told in Maine.

Major Thomas Means fought bravely during the Revolutionary War. He was at Valley Forge with General Washington and served under “Mad” Anthony Wayne at the battle of Stony Point.

He returned home to North Yarmouth, Maine in 1779 having reached the rank of Major. Years before, in 1756, he had lost his father and other family members when the Micmac Indians attacked the settlement.

The Means farm was a half-mile from the settlement’s fort. When news of a pending Indian attack was spread most of the community took refuge at this blockade. The Means family decided to wait until the next morning --they were attacked before they could leave their farm.

Thomas’ father Thomas Sr. was killed instantly his mother was wounded. Months later she gave birth to a baby who was named after his dead father. Thomas Jr. at the age of 18 joined the army as a private. As mentioned, he fought bravely alongside the other Colonial forces.

In 1807, now a respected gentleman, his peers still called him Major, Thomas bought a home once owned by the town’s minister. Situated on Main Street he opened it as a tavern.
Yarmouth Harbor
One evening Means and his patrons watched as a tall older Indian entered his establishment. This man ordered rum. As Thomas served him this man bragged about being a member of a war party that years before had massacred a family that lived near the fort.

As Thomas served him several glasses of liquor the Indian talked more. It dawned on Thomas and his patrons that this was the man who killed his father. Once the Indian was drunk Thomas escorted him to a small guest room above the tavern known as the “monitor room.”

None of the townsfolk saw this Indian again. Shortly afterwards, Thomas began to be awakened by “flashing lights and uncanny sounds” coming from the monitor room.

He then began to see the figure of the Indian moving back and forth across this small room. This activity was relentless especially during storms.

These sightings continued for years and almost drove the Major crazy. On his deathbed in 1828, Thomas confessed to his son that he had killed the Indian with a hatchet. Seeking revenge he had scalped the man as well.

Means confession did not settle down this activity. The small monitor room continued to be haunted for 50 years after his death.

It wasn’t until the late 1970s after the new owners of the tavern renovated the upstairs that this troubled ghost finally settled down.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ohio’s Engine House No. 16

Engine No. 16
This fire station located on North Fourth Street first opened in 1908 in downtown Columbus, Ohio. At first, a horse-drawn wagon was used then later a more modern fire engine.

While in use, Engine No. 16 was a favorite gathering place for all the area firemen. It was used for 70 plus years. When it closed in 1981, its rich past made it an ideal place for a museum about Columbus’ firefighting history.

Today the Central Ohio Fire Museum is a favorite destination for Columbus’ school children. They learn about firefighting and fire safety.

Central Ohio Fire Museum
One item that is not talked about is the firehouses’ resident ghost.

Most of the museum staff believe that a beloved ghost haunts Engine No. 16.

This ghost is Capt. George Dukeman—known more affectionately by his men as Captain D. He supervised the firehouse for many years. It is said he loved it so much he rarely went home.

He was known to make nightly rounds checking on his men and making sure everything was in its proper place in the firehouse.

No one in recent years has seen Captain D’s ghost, but his presence is often felt. It is believed that he often returns to “check on everything.”

Doors open and close on their own—they often close one after another as if someone is walking through the house.

Lights that are left on are found turned off and even stranger if someone forgets to turn on a light within seconds that light turns on without assistance.

It appears a children’s display at the back of the museum is one of Captain D’s favorite spots. This display shows the dangers of fire. Cloth flames spring to life at the touch of a button.

These flames turn on inexplicably several times each day.

Another ghost that haunts the building is a horse. In the area that once housed the stations’ stable, snorting and other strange sounds are often heard.

Engine House No. 16 is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Terrifying Tale: Road Accident

I was driving through the California desert on my way to Arizona when I became bored with the scenery. I decided to take a shortcut.

The smooth highway I traveled quickly became a bumpy two-lane back road.

The landscape that sped by remained desolate. There was nothing for miles around. This was during the 1980s and I had heard a satanic group had taken over a nearby ghost town.

As the sun set the road became very dark. My truck headlights swept across a canyon I traveled through. I noticed the high grass that lined the road appeared to take on eerie shapes.

As the canyon ended, I saw shapes silhouetted in the middle of the road up ahead. As I drew closer I realized they blocked my path.

I slowed my truck to a crawl as I realized another pickup was turned sideways across both lanes. I saw an open suitcase with clothes strewn around it.

To my horror I then saw two bodies, one a man, one a woman who where laying face down on the blacktop. They appeared to be dead. It must have been a terrible accident.

I stopped several yards from this scene. I went to open my door but then I hesitated. For some reason the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Something wasn’t right but I couldn’t pinpoint what.

I turned and retrieved my rifle from the hooks above my back windshield. I placed a round it the chamber. It then hit me, the scene in front of me didn’t appear real it appeared staged.

Was this a carefully laid ambush or was my imagination getting the best of me? I broke into a cold sweat and my heart began to pound. Something was wrong.

I decided not to get out of my truck. I looked at the road that lay before me and laid out a path I could take to avoid the truck and the bodies that lay on the ground.

I slowly zigzagged my way around these three obstacles. I then sped up and drove down the road several hundred feet. Curious, I slowed down and looked in my rearview mirror.

As my breathing became normal I noticed the two bodies were no longer lying face down. Both figures now stood.

My line of vision shifted. I saw a least twenty more figures emerging from the tall grass on either side of the road.

In a panic my foot hit the accelerator and I didn’t slow down or look back until I reached the 4-lane highway.

I refuse to think about what would have happened if I followed my first instinct and had gotten out of my truck. I have a feeling it would not have gone well.