Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Brooklyn Ghost

At one time newspapers all over America published stories about people’s strange experiences with “ghosts.” In the late 1800s and early 1900s The New York Times published many of these stories . . .

Clinton Street, Brooklyn, NY 1878
Here is just one, published in December of 1878, that was eventually solved with a “wing and a prayer.”

Edward F. Smith, his wife, two daughters and a border began to experience strange activity at their home on Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn, N.Y.

For three weeks, shortly before Christmas, between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and midnight their doorbell began to ring. When Smith would go to answer it no one was there.

New York Times article
“Their quiet life was seriously disturbed three weeks ago, when one night Mr. Smith went to the door three or four times in response to the ringing of the bell, and every time was surprised to find no one there.”

After the doorbell would stop ringing, a loud rattling or banging was heard coming from the home’s two back doors.

“They rattled as if they would part from their hinges.”

Concerned that this disturbance was becoming a nightly occurrence, Smith elicited the help of family and friends to determine what was happening.

But even with people stationed throughout the home and outside no one was able to pinpoint the cause.

Smith sprinkled ashes and flour along the paths that led to his doors—expecting to see footprints but none appeared.

Not getting any sleep, Smith finally was able to persuade the police to investigate. A captain and a detective visited the home but they were unable to determine what was going on, so the next night they brought reinforcements.

This night besides the noises, a brick flew through the dining room window. The officers outside “swore” they had seen no one near the path that passed this window.

The police searched the home for hidden wires or anything else that might be causing this activity but they discovered nothing.

At first, Smith stated he was skeptical that the strange phenomena taking place was supernatural * in nature—but later he became convinced this must be the cause.

In a follow-up article on December 21, 1878, The New York Times reported that Smith had finally solved his problem. Determining the devil himself must be causing this commotion—he prayed—and the activity stopped.

Sag Harbor’s Armed Ghost is a another ghost story I wrote about that the Times published in the late 1890s.

* The word “supernatural” was widely used in this era. The word paranormal had not been invented yet.

Brooklyn Brownstones, 1898

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Pink Palace’s Helpful Ghost

Pink Palace, Louisville, Kentucky

Located at the end of St. James Court in Louisville, Kentucky is a magnificent Victorian mansion. The Pink Palace was built in 1891.

Pink Palace's Turret
This three-story mansion displays a French Chateau inspired turret and a grand staircase. It has been lovingly maintained for over a century.

It was initially used as a classy Gentleman’s Club where its members came to unwind and enjoy cigars, brandy, cards, and the women upstairs.

The mansion was then used as a private family home until 1910.

An organization that influenced Prohibition, The Women’s Christian Temperance Union bought the mansion next.

Appalled and embarrassed to find the home was once used as a brothel they had its red brick walls painted “pink” to wipe this history clean.

Since the mansion has been referred to as the Pink Palace.

By the 1970s and ‘80s, the home was being used as apartments. These residents and past owners all have mentioned the mansion is haunted.

Elegant Rooms, click to enlarge.
One specific entity is seen—Avery is believed to have been a butler in the home before he died.

He is an older, southern gentleman who wears a crisp dark suit with a string tie. He is tall—six feet in height, and he is a friendly ghost.

View from the front.
When Avery appears it is to warn the living something dangerous is about to happen.

One female resident describes the time Avery stood in front of her at the top of the stairs. He would not let her pass.

She looked down and realized there was a rolled edge on the upper carpet that she had not seen. She would have tripped down the stairs if Avery had not stopped her.

Years later, another female who lived in the basement apartment encountered Avery in an embarrassing moment. She was taking a bath when Avery appeared.

One bathroom.
Startled, she jumped out of the tub—just in time to avoid a huge cement block that came hurling through the window. If she had not moved, this block would have hit her head.

Two burglars had thrown it in an attempt to break-in. This female was able to alert the other occupants, and they called the police.

Several residents have claimed Avery has saved them.

He appeared several times to warn residents that a fire was about to break out in their kitchens. They then were able to unplug appliances or turn off stoves just in time.

This spirit is obsessed with sharp objects--they are dangerous. Residents would find their scissors, pins, pocket knives, etc., lined up on one table in the entry hall, regardless of where they were kept in the home.

Two of the kitchens.
Avery has been seen for over a century at the Pink Palace.

The mansion in recent years has been for sale. It has beautiful grounds, a large swimming pool, and a two and a half car garage in the back—and one very helpful ghost.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Bullock Hotel’s Intense Ghost

Seth Bullock
A stare that could stop a man from shooting.

In the 1990s a little boy, staying with his family in the Bullock Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota, became lost when he was locked out of his room. A tall man, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, boots, and long mustache helped him find his way back . . .

In the late 1800s, Seth Bullock traveled to the Black Hills gold strike, with a wagon full of supplies to sell to the miners that worked in Deadwood, South Dakota.

He spent the rest of his life here as a merchant, rancher, sheriff, U.S. Marshall, and hotel owner.

At age 21, he was a Montana Territorial State Senator who played a role in establishing Yellowstone as a national park.

Main Street in Deadwood, 1876.
When he and his partner arrived in Deadwood Gulch, in 1876, he found a hell-bent, rowdy mining community.

Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the head and killed the day after he arrived.

Within a few short months, he was appointed sheriff, and with several handpicked deputies he was able to clean up the town.

Bullock was a tall, imposing man with a steely-eyed stare, who demanded respect. He was an honest and fair businessman who often solved potential violent situations with intelligence and creativity.

A territorial judge liked to tell the story of when Bullock stopped a “dangerous miners strike.” These men hadn’t been paid, so they camped out in the mine—refusing to come out.

Bullock not wanting to injure anyone dropped a “foul, smelly substance” down the airshaft. The striking miners eventually surfaced in search of fresh air.

Deadwood, Sout Dakota, 1876
He managed to keep law and order in Deadwood without ever firing a shot or killing anyone.

In 1884, riding on his ranch, Bullock ran into three rough-looking characters. One of these men was Theodore Roosevelt, the future president of the U.S.

Rough Riders

Bullock and Roosevelt
The two men became life-long friends, and during the Spanish-American War in 1898, Bullock enlisted as one of Roosevelt’s famous Rough Riders.

After a fire destroyed Bullock’s hardware store, on Main Street, in 1894, he and his partner Sol Star had a luxury hotel built on the site—the Bullock Hotel, which remains open today.

An early photograph of Bullock Hotel.
Seth Bullock passed away in 1919, at the age of 70.

Many eyewitness reports indicate his ghost haunts his hotel.

A long-time employee of the Bullock Hotel shares several compelling guest experiences.

Bullock photograph displayed
in the hotel.
One morning, he saw a little boy point to a photograph of Seth Bullock, that the hotel displays, and explain the following excitedly.

Dad, that is the man who helped me, last night, when you and mom went downstairs. The boy tugged on his arm, I told you I left the room to explore and got locked out. I was lost, and he approached me, he said he could help.

He led me back to our room and opened the door, without a key.

See, he has a big mustache, but he was wearing a big hat and wore cowboy boots. He pointed to the photo—“That man has the same eyes.”

This employee states this incident was the first of many that convinced him the stories about Seth Bullock haunting the hotel were true.

Working the front desk, late one night he received a frantic call from a guest staying on the second floor.

She complained, there is a dirty man out in the hallway smoking a smelly cigar—I was told there is “no smoking allowed.”

The employee asked her to describe this man. “He is tall, has a large mustache, he stared at me rudely. He is dressed like a cowboy with a large hat and boots tucked into his pants.”

There was no one of that description staying in the hotel.

The employee goes on to explain that many guests have given similar descriptions of a man they saw in this same hallway—he appears to be real . . .

In Room 211, where Seth Bullock died, guests have experienced everything from items being misplaced to objects being thrown across the room.

Room 211
Witnesses state while walking in this hallway, they heard their names whispered.

Music is heard in this area with no source and maids state they often find themselves locked out. One used a towel to keep the door propped open only to see it fly across the room.

Maid carts also move without assistance on this floor.

A reflected image
of what is believed to be
Seth Bullock.
Electrical items turn on and off in this room even when they are unplugged. Guests report they felt a “strong presence” that appeared to be watching and then later followed them.

The Bullock staff keeps a notebook in their lobby so guests can record their experiences. It is believed many other ghosts besides Bullocks remain at this hotel.

The hotel’s kitchen, bar, and basement, etc. all have had multiple incidents of unexplained activity.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Haunted Beringer Winery

Fog over Beringer vineyards.

In Napa Valley, a running joke is if a winery is known to be haunted--it then has “more than one kind of spirit to offer.”

There is so much paranormal activity at the Beringer vineyard located at the northern edge of St. Helena that the staff keeps a running log of the encounters.
Beringer vines.

Beringer has a history of firsts. It was one of the first wineries in Napa, founded in 1876. It was the first to offer tours to the public in 1934—which began Napa Valley’s lucrative tourist trade. And it was the first winery to win recognition for both its white and red wines in the 1980s and 90s.

It was also one of the first wineries to use cellars and caves to store and age its wines.

It is California’s oldest continually operating winery. The wine was made even during Prohibition—Beringer sold its bottles to the church for religious purposes.

Beringer brothers.
Two brothers, Jacob and Frederick Beringer, emigrated from Germany. They purchased 215 acres and established a genuinely stunning vineyard that easily competes with the beauty of the French Bordeaux countryside.

Jacob made the wines and managed the winery, and Frederick acted as the financier and promoted the wine.

The late Kathleen Kernberger, a local Napa historian shares the vineyard’s first ghost story—told to her by her aunt.

Jacob brought in Chinese laborers in 1877, to hand-dig tunnels in the side of Spring Mountain—so the wine could be stored in a cool place.

Beringer Winery cave
Rumors abounded for years that some of these workers were killed when cave-ins buried them. Numerous reports were given that people heard the “wails and moans” of these unfortunate workers on windy nights.

This haunting, however, was debunked years later when the winery had liquid cement sprayed on the tunnel walls. This effectively filled the cracks—so no more moans were heard.

There are also not any records that indicate laborers died in this tunnel.

But to this day, employees at the vineyard claim they hear phantom whispers that are believed to be the voices of the Chinese laborers in this cave as well as feeling freezing, isolated cold spots.

Photographs taken have captured strange lights—which is curious for this tunnel is normally kept in soft light.

Fog over Rhine House.
The most active spot at the winery is the Rhine House that Frederick Beringer built.

The home is the vineyard’s showplace. It is a seventeen bedroom Victorian mansion.

Incidents include, shoved furniture, flying objects, phantom footsteps heard descending the stairs, missing items that turn up later in another part of the home, unexplained noises, and doors opening and shutting on their own.

And a full-bodied apparition is seen—which is believed to be Frederick who died in 1901.

One evening as two employees cleaned the first floor, they heard a loud crash coming from upstairs. They each took a separate staircase, but no one passed them.

Tasting Room
They entered the Founder’s Tasting Room—which was Frederick’s bedroom. They found a large silver tray had been flung across the room. There was also broken stemware covering the floor.

It seems Frederick does not like his private quarters being used as a public space.

It is not unusual for employees to be so frightened they just quit. Many have seen Frederick’s spirit in the hallway upstairs—he is also spotted walking through walls.

Rhine House
The Rhine House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

Jacob’s great, great grandson, Mark Beringer is the wineries Chief Winemaker today.