Thursday, August 29, 2019

Oregon’s Spooky McMenamins Edgefield

McMenamins Edgefield
Located in Troutdale, Oregon is an impressive hotel named McMenamins Edgefield.

This large hotel has a brewery/winery, and offers fine dining, concerts, a movie theater, gardens, a spa, and a golf course.

Gardens and vineyard at Edgefield

It is also, without doubt, one of the most haunted hotels in the U.S.

The reason for this is how the site was used, for the seven decades before it became a hotel.

In 1911, the Multnomah County Poor Farm opened where the Sandy and Columbus Rivers come together.

Multnomah Poor Farm
This 345-acre farm was a progressive new idea, to help families, the disabled, and the mentally ill to become self-sufficient.

Even with overcrowding during the Great Depression, the Multnomah was still thriving. Residents in Portland would often visit the farm to buy handicrafts made by the residents.

After WWll, with Roosevelt’s New Deal, most of the residents were able to move on—leaving only the more disabled and sick residents on the farm.

A county jail was established on one section of the land in 1954. The inmates refused to work the farm, so it fell into disrepair. The decision was made to sell the livestock and lease the farmland.

The main building was used for the Edgefield Nursing Home starting in 1964.

When the nursing home closed, the property was abandoned for over 20 years, it was extensively vandalized. It was about to be torn down when the Troutdale Historical Society stepped in and saved it.

Spa with soaking pool.
Winery tasting room.
Then with financial support, the McMenamins brothers were able to renovate it.

After the hotel opened, it became apparent to both staff and guests that the grounds and buildings are haunted. A nurse wearing white, a former janitor, and a ghost dog have all been observed by many.

The phantom dog, besides being seen, wakes guests up late at night, by sticking its’ wet nose into people’s faces. Others state they heard the unmistakable clicking of a dog’s nails as this canine moved through their rooms.

One guest hearing this sound, spoke to the dog, telling it, “You are good fella,” at which point it jumped on her. She never saw it.

A phantom janitor, wearing a uniform of a different era, is seen, smiles, and even talks to guests. He is spotted in the same spot each time.

One time he gave a guest the direction to the ladies room as she left the ballroom, but it was where a restroom used to be. He often just disappears after people spot him.

Tasting Room
Allison Berliner, a wine server, has seen the ghostly nurse. She saw this entity walking with keys in her hands in the winery, at 11:00 in the morning. This ghost stopped as if to unlock a door and then just vanished. (The winery was previously the poorhouse infirmary.)

Mural near where entity walked
through Berliner.
One night, as she walked between the second and third floor, she felt an energy go right through her chest. It took her breath away, and she hyperventilated.

At one point Berliner was transferred to work at the hotel’s Black Rabbit Bar. She encountered a shadowy figure that had “very dark energy,” so, to her relief, she was transferred back to the winery.

Maids at the hotel report a variety of experiences. One housekeeper as she stood at the foot of a bed had her ankle grabbed firmly. This unseen hand wouldn’t let go until she jumped away. (Several guests have had this same experience.)

Another maid had just cleaned a room when she returned to retrieve an item that she had forgotten—she entered the room to find everything in disarray.

The night before this happened, a guest staying in this room told the front desk that she awoke to find a dark figure standing over her bed.

Several rooms on the second floor are very active. Guests report awaking to someone tapping on their chest or being poked in the side, or their feet being grabbed while they are in bed.

One guest had her backside grabbed by an unseen hand as she showered. She screamed and retrieved a towel, as she watched one of her shirts in the next room, lift up and fly across the room.

Another guest, who has visited the hotel several times, tells the story of kissing her boyfriend in one elevator when her hair was yanked violently. No one else was in the elevator with them, and her friend’s hands were both on her waist.

Haunted room.
One guest awoke to find an old man standing over her—he had his hand extended as if he wanted her to shake it. He only disappeared after she obliged him.

Guests often take pictures, knowing the hotel’s reputation. Many have captured mists outside. One guest who snapped many photos during his visit found that all the ones he had taken inside had just disappeared. This had never happened with his camera.

A female guest lost her brush. She poured her purse out on the bed in an attempt to find it—only to see it lying on top of the contents she had spilled out, moments before.

Haunted room.
A couple that stayed in a corner room on the third floor—another room with a lot of activity—had a disturbing night. The wife was shoved off the bed, only to see her husband was asleep and turned away from her.

In this same room, another couple both awoke to the sound of something substantial, hitting a hardwood floor. They turned on the lights and discovered the floor was carpeted, and nothing was on the floor.

A third couple heard creepy footsteps circling the bed. The husband saw what appeared to be a grandmother sitting in the corner, watching them.

These couples state they can hardly wait to revisit the hotel. Others say they are too scared to return.

Other activity includes: Cold breezes inside where they shouldn’t be, the feeling that something is watching, a child’s loud cries in what was the infirmary and lamps turn on by themselves.

Concert on the lawn at Edgefield.
The hotel doesn’t deny these hauntings. In fact, they have had the structures cleansed in the past.

Edgefield's' wines and beers.
But they also do not publicize them. The owners don’t have to. The McMenamins Edgefield is a popular destination for a myriad of reasons. Hot mineral springs—anyone?

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Lake Bomoseen’s Phantom Rowboat

Even the simplest unexplained activity can cause terror *, especially when the same sight is seen for over a century and a half.

Abandoned industrial site.
In the mid-1800s Castleton, Vermont was a booming mining town with several mills and a quarry.

By the early 1900s, the town had slid into a financial decline. Castleton by the early 1920s was abandoned.

In 1929, the area became Lake Bomoseen State Park. Years before this, the lake already had a firm reputation for being haunted.

Lake Bomoseen at sunset.
The cause for this was connected to three Irish quarry workers that lived in the area during its boom years.

One night, these three men rowed across the lake to visit a local tavern to celebrate and drink.

After they left this bar drunk, they were never seen again. It was believed they must have drowned in the lake, on their way home.

Their bodies were never found. But their rowboat was discovered several days later when it drifted ashore.

This incident would not be remembered today—except for the strange sight it caused.

One artist's depiction of the phantom rowboat.
Ever since the loss of these three men, witnesses have claimed to see a strange rowboat gliding across the lake—especially if there is a full moon.

The boat is described as empty and completely quiet.

People report seeing the oars rowing, but what is creepy, is they don’t see anyone in the boat. Even scarier is none of these witnesses heard a splash as the oars hit the water.

Also strange is there is no ripple on the surface of the water as the rowboat passes.

So are these three men doomed to row this boat for eternity?

*  People don’t need to experience a lot of activity for it to be frightening. 

When I was in high school, every time I was alone at home, a lamp in our den would turn on by itself. It never happened when others were there.

My family had it checked. There was not an electrical short etc. But this pattern of it happening when I was alone in the house—freaked me out.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Haunted Kansas Aviation Museum

“There are things that have happened that can not be explained.”

Art Deco style.
The original Wichita, Kansas, Municipal Airport operated for nineteen years from 1935-1954. Its terminal reflects the much admired, art deco style.

Wichita, for years, was known as the “Air Capital of the World.” And at one time its airport was one of the busiest in the U.S.

Kansas Aviation Museum
Today the old airport terminal is surrounded by McConnell Air Force Base and is an aviation museum.

This museum displays forty of the oldest and most rare airplanes plus some of the earliest engines. The visitor can also get up close to a B-52, and a variety of other hands-on exhibits.


But be forewarned, the staff claims that there are as many “dead as the living” at this old terminal.

Barb Kramer had only worked a few months at the museum when she began to experience unexplained activity. She was often assigned to close the museum at night.

In a room, just after she had shut off the lights, she felt an extreme cold spot. It was summer, and the room had no air-conditioning. (For many years this terminal had no air-conditioning or heat.)

One night as she shut down the museum after a special event, she heard what she thought were children’s footsteps and laughter on the stairs. She then heard one of them say, “shhh.”

Thinking some visitors were still in the terminal she went to investigate. She found no one.

Saff have also reported, slamming doors, happy, excited voices, and a disappearing man wearing a 1940s hat.

Several employees have heard both public announcements and music from another era. Lights on dimmers are known to turn to bright and then turn completely off on their own.

Several apparitions have been spotted, and the sounds of children playing are often heard during the day.

Others report the feeling someone is following them or watching them.

Most of these hauntings have been connected to events that happened at the old airport in the past—some tragic—but one haunting was brought to the museum via an airplane.

Jernigin's Crop Duster
Duke Jernigin, was a pilot of a crop duster when he crashed and died in his plane.

His bright, yellow plane is displayed in the museum, and paranormal groups that have investigated, state his spirit remains with his aircraft.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Hanging of Rose Butler

The land where Washington Square Park is located in New York’s Greenwich Village was used for over a hundred years as a burial site.

It was initially used as an Indian burial ground.

Then after the Revolutionary War it was a potter’s field for criminals that were hanged in New York in the 1700s.

A Vault full of bones found
beneath the park.
There are an additional 20,000 souls buried in a mass grave, lost to a yellow fever epidemic that lasted from 1791 to 1821.

As New York’s wealthier citizens moved into the area, this extensive graveyard was covered over for a military parade ground.

It was at this point that the shallow graves of the potter’s field began to surface. As a result, several bones of the deceased poor were crushed underfoot.

The military parade ground at what was to become the park.

This stark history, plus the disturbance of these graves—point to this ground being haunted. After this location became a park in 1828, people began to note unexplained activity.

Today, the buildings that surround Washington Square, house the various NYU departments. The young people that flock to this park often do not know, about the morbid history of their favorite hangout.

Many bodies lie beneath the famous fountain and arch at this park.

Hangman's Elm
Most of NYUs students have never heard of Rose Butler, even though some have encountered her ghost. On windy nights, she is seen swinging from a large tree in the park’s northwest corner known as the “Hangman’s Elm.”

She is described as a shadow dangling in the tree that appears to disappear when witnesses move closer, to get a better view. Others have noticed this dangling figure from the various windows that overlook the park.

Some have seen her apparition walking through the park. Cold spots accompany her, even on hot summer days. Most disturbing is the witnesses who claim they felt her walk right through them.

Rose Butler was a house slave owned by the Morris family. At age sixteen, the family accused her of stealing. Previous owners had also caught her stealing.

Rose resentful, was also angered at the fact many blacks that were “free” lived near the Morris household.*

She hatched a plan to kill the family. She tried to burn down their house. She set it ablaze and tied their only exit shut.

But she only managed to burn part of the staircase, the family escaped unharmed.

Rose was arrested and tried for arson.

Arson was a heinous crime at the time—for there were not firefighters, and many perished in house fires.

Butler was condemned to death by hanging. This was a harsh penalty—for a woman. The case went all the way to the New York Supreme Court, but they upheld the ruling.

Some state this was because New York was in transition at the time. Slavery was on the decline, and there was a lot of tension between slaveholders and non-slaveholders.

At the age of nineteen, in 1799, Rose Butler was the last criminal hanged in what would become Washington Square Park. She was buried in the nearby potter’s field.

Some feel her grave was one of the many desecrated—hence the haunting.

*   She should have been free, slavery was an abomination, but some because of this sentiment, claim she was innocent--the fire was just an accident. But my research reflected otherwise.

But another question remains--

Since Rose didn't succeed, should she have been hanged? 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Screaming Hotel Guest

This video has been floating around the net for several years. It has been the subject of a hot debate.

Is it real? Or just a fledgling film director’s attempt to sensationalize the interest in ghosts?

Regardless, this video captured something that is both scary and captivating.

It was filmed in 2003, at a Wingate Hotel, in Illinois.

Guests staying at this hotel, reported they heard screams on the second floor, near, or in Room 209.

This confused the hotel staff, since no guests had checked into this room—it was supposed to be empty.

A hotel security manager, and a desk clerk, Amy, sent a workman, John to check out what is going on.

The hotel security cameras with John at door to Room 209.
This video records the sound of screams, while John hears them at the same time, near Room 209.

This man is encouraged by the manager, who also hears the screams, via security camera and radio, to wait for the police to be called in. Instead, John enters the room.

Open door after John enters the room.
Observe, at 1:31 on the video, a bilious cloud figure exits the room just seconds after John enters the room and at 1:32 walks down the hall—to right of the door. (The video at the end shows this figure again.)

Flashing lights are recorded, not just his flashlight beam, coming from the room and John exits, noticeably scared a minute or so later.

John immediately demands the other staff, call the police.

He describes, to the two other two employees, what he found.

All the furniture in the room is upside down and the shower water is running, but no one is in the restroom.

The carpet in the room has been ripped up. But again, no one is in the room.

The security manager, whose voice is only heard on the radio, admits he is now officially freaked out.

Here is the video.

Many have tried to debunk this video, stating it was just staged.

But a variety of hotel guests heard these screams, as well as these three hotel employees claiming what they saw and heard was real.

And one cannot ignore the fact a repairman was contracted by the hotel chain to restore the room.

So this incident remains a mystery.

Hotel employees, to this day, state they avoid or are uncomfortable offering this room to guests when they check-in.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Ghost Followed Me Home

When I do ghost investigations, I am acutely aware I do not want the activity I encounter to follow me home.

This is why I find the following account from Britain so scary.

Bored one evening, Abby, at age seventeen accompanied several of her friends into a nearby village cemetery. The group proceeded to trample across several graves, disrespectfully.

They spent an hour making jokes about the dead, and laughing.

Abby was about to pay, for this prank.

Three days after this escapade, she awoke to see a transparent apparition sitting on a chair next to her bed. The figure appeared to be an old woman.

The next morning Abby brushed off what she had seen, as just a bad dream. But she discovered it wasn’t.

For weeks after this first appearance, Abby saw the spirit of this old woman repeatedly. This ghost would follow her throughout the house. She saw it both day and night.

At first, this did not disturb her, for she felt this presence was harmless.

But it did start to annoy her. She decided to confront this old woman, but every time she approached it, the spirit would freeze and then disappear.

Soon after this, the encounters became more threatening.

One day boiling water for tea, Abby felt an unseen force grab her hands. It was if the old woman was trying to scald her.

Then the spirit began to trip her, especially on the wet bathroom floor, or when she stood at the top of the stairs.

Now frightened, Abby decided to admit to her parents what she was experiencing. They were skeptical at first, but they quickly changed their minds, when both saw the old woman drift down the hall on the second floor.

This entity ripped the vacuum out of Abby’s Mom’s hands, and it held various doors open so firmly, no one in the family could shut them.

Loud rapping noises and bangs resulted in the family having several sleepless nights.

Water began to spill from the kitchen ceiling. A plumber was called, but this man found no leaks. The family had to put up with weeks of incessant dripping sounds.

Objects and furniture began to be moved, from their usual places.

One afternoon as Abby watched television with her father, she fell into a trance. The entity spoke through her.

Her father listened, as a strange voice described being the daughter of a French physician, in the 1800s.

The family made the tough decision to move from the home they had lived in for eleven years.

Abby had one last encounter with this ghost. Weeks after the family moved out, she returned to retrieve some posters she had forgotten, that were tacked on her bedroom wall.

She picked up the phone, curious to see if it was still connected.

Suddenly, two icy-cold hands encircled her throat. She was being choked. Terrified, she managed to break free.

She ran from the house, and didn’t return for her posters.

Scandinavia’s Kraken

Kraken attacking merchant ship, 1830
Pierre Denys de Montfort

Original illustration from
Jules Verne's book, 1870.
In Nordic folklore, the kraken * (hafgufa) was a giant, sea monster that devoured ships and their entire crews.

The belief in this creature terrorized several generations of sailors and fishermen.

This monster dwelled at the bottom of the Greenland Sea off the coasts of Norway, Iceland, and Greenland.

Scary stories of the kraken were told throughout the 1700s and 1800s. The kraken was associated with many superstitions that sailors held. Especially since they loved a good “tall tale.”

It was stated that this enormous monster could swallow men and the largest ships, and even the most immense whales whole. It was believed its many arms could reach up from the depths of the sea and pull down its prey.

Its movements at the bottom of the Greenland Sea was said to resemble underwater volcanic activity.

It was so large—that when it gradually surfaced, bubbling, it was sometimes mistaken for an island.

It would burst up to the surface. Spurting water from its large nostrils, causing circular waves that would go on for miles, which resulted in dangerous currents.

It is believed there were only two krakens for it took massive amounts of fish to sustain them. They would just open their jaws and let the fish swim in, then when their stomachs were full, they would clamp their jaws together.

Fishermen would often take the risk of fishing around the kraken for the catch was exceptional. It is said the kraken would stretch its neck out, and belch out thousands of fish.

There were even stories of ships sailing right through its open jaws and living to tell about it.

Pen and wash drawing
Pierre Denys de Monfort, 1801.
In the 18th Century it was described as “octopus-like” (cephalopod) with spikes protruding from its suckers.

In the Swedish and Norwegian languages, kraken or krake means an unhealthy animal or something that is twisted. In its plural form--kraken, it means octopus.

At one time the Nordic people even felt it was taboo to say the word “kraken” out loud, for it was believed this would summon this horrible monster.

It is believed a real sea creature inspired the origins of this tale—a giant squid that could reach up to 60 feet in length.

*  Note "kraken" is not capitalized in Nordic culture.

In 1830, Alfred Tennyson wrote a sonnet about the kraken.

"Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in teh abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many wonderous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die."