Showing posts with label museum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label museum. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2016

Woodruff Fontaine House

Woodruff Fontaine House
This old mansion is a museum that offers tours today. It was originally built in 1870.

Amos Woodruff came to Memphis, Tennessee in 1845. He was a carriage maker that made his fortune fast. He then delved into a variety of other enterprises.

All were successful. He ran two banks, a railroad, and a hotel. He had a hand in construction and the lumber and cotton industries.

A leading member of Memphis society he ran for mayor twice. He had a fancy mansion built for his family in 1870. It was in the French Victorian style with Mansard roofs, arched windows and stately columns on the porch.

A carriage house, courtyard fountain, elaborate gardens and a sweeping front lawn surrounded his new mansion.

In 1871, his daughter Mollie married in the home. She became Mollie Fontaine Henning and inherited the property when her father died. None of her children lived to adulthood. She lived in the mansion until she died.

Her ghost is one of three that haunt the home to this day.

Another successful family by the name of Fontaine moved into the mansion. Noland Fontaine was a cotton baron.

In 1929 the mansion became an antique shop and then in 1959 an art school moved in. By 1961, the once grand mansion was in desperate need of repairs.

A local Memphis preservation society (APTA) came to the rescue. They restored the mansion and opened the Woodruff Fontaine Museum in 1964.

Mollie Woodruff Henning

Rose Room named after patterned
wallpaper in room.
It was around this time that Mollie Woodruff Henning’s ghost became more active. She often hangs out in her old bedroom, known as the Rose Room, on the 2nd floor.

She is known to sit on the bed leaving dents so people know she was there. Since the Rose Room is roped off to tours no one is allowed close to this bed.

Visitors have seen the rocking chair move in this room and the bed covers rustle. It is here where people note drastic changes in the temperature.

Indent in bed in Rose Room.
Lights go on and off in this room as well as the rest of the mansion without explanation.

Mollie’s ghost startled a museum docent one day when she appeared in the Rose Room. She informed this lady that she preferred the furniture in the room be placed back in its original arrangement.

Her ghost wanders throughout the mansion. She likes to follow people that are doing something different or interesting. One paranormal team investigating the mansion went down into the basement.

Evidently Mollie followed them for they captured her voice on one recorder. She told them that she rarely went into the basement.

Unlike Mollie, who is a friendly ghost, another entity in the mansion is an angry male. He ripped off the necklace from a staff member one day and his negative spirit is sensed on both the 1st and 3rd floors.

A paranormal team caught his gruff voice during one EVP session. He answered “no” to their questions. His ghost has not been connected to anyone who once lived in the home.

Yet another male ghost in the home is believed to be the Fontaine’s son. Another docent who works for the preservation society saw his ghost one Sunday afternoon when she was the only one in the mansion.

Elliot Fontaine
As she made her way up to the 3rd floor she spotted a man sitting at the foot of the stairs that lead to the 4th floor tower room. He was so lifelike she at first thought he must be a man that found himself locked in the mansion after a tour.

But when she looked closer she realized he looked just like a photograph she had seen of the Fontaine son, Elliot. Frightened she backed down the stairs and closed her eyes. When she looked once more he was gone.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Haunted Doll: Ghostly Attachments

This doll created in 1740 was used as a “plaything” in order to distract spirits while two men performed exorcisms.

After these rituals were performed many felt various spirits must have attached themselves to this this doll during these rituals.

The reason for this belief is it changes its facial expressions.

Click to enlarge.
In 1888, this doll was given to Cedric Argyle Brown in London. He and a friend, the Rev. Thomas Blythe used it while performing exorcisms, around the UK, at stately homes that were haunted by ghosts.

The reverend was the first to notice something odd. He felt it followed him with its eyes and he noticed that it changed its expressions.

A friend of the two men photographed the doll twice—the second picture taken twenty minutes after the first. When he developed these plates he became spooked for the expression of the doll in the second picture had changed. It was now smiling.

All the people who viewed these two photos were amazed by the difference in the expressions on its face—the facial features had definitively changed.

Rumors began that the some of the spirits that had been exorcized must possess the doll. It appeared they were trapped—so it was now considered to be haunted.

In the late 1950s, Mr. Brown’s grandson sold the doll to a dime store in America.

While it was displayed here—old photos taken of the doll were displayed around it. A red line of tape was placed on the floor.

Thousands of visitors stood behind this tape and took photos of the “possessed doll.” In most instances its' expression changed in each picture taken.

Mouth is now open.
Click to enlarge.
Sometimes the doll looked like a boy and in other photos it looked like a girl. It sometimes was smiling and in other photos it appeared to be sad.

The doll made its way back to the UK and was exhibited at the Museum of Curios in Cornwall for 7 years—until 2007.

It again was photographed thousands of times. It became the most popular exhibit at this museum.

This doll is made of cloth with glass eyes. It is nine inches long and because of its age it is in delicate condition.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Olivas Adobe Family Ghosts

Located south of Ventura, California near Highway 101 is an adobe home built by Don Raymundo Olivas in 1841.

Ranch house at Rancho San Miguel.
Olivas was given 2,250 acres from a land grant by the Mexican Governor, Juan Bautista Alvarado in appreciation for his service in the Mexican Army.

Olivas called his new home Rancho San Miguel. In 1849 he had a second story built onto his home-- making it a one of a kind in the region. He and his wife, Teodora had 21 children.

Teodora Olivas
Being the wealthiest cattle rancher in Alta, Don Raymundo held fiestas at his home that often lasted 3 to 4 days. But this attracted undue attention, which resulted in bandits rounding up the family and holding them captive as they looked for valuables.

In one version of this story it is stated Don Raymundo sent a servant with a box containing gold coins worth upwards of $75,000. This servant buried it while Don Raymundo stalled.

Unfortunately when this servant returned the robbers killed him, before finding out the location, so to this day no one has ever found where this gold is hidden.

When Don Raymundo died in 1879, his land was parceled off to his heirs. By 1899, the property was no longer owned by the family.

Max Fleischaman

Front view of Olivas Adobe.
In 1927, Max Fleischman—of the yeast and butter fame—bought the ranch house and restored it. When he died in 1972 he gifted the property to the city of Ventura.

The Olivas Adobe was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The home is run as a museum today and tours are offered on the weekends.

Employees, volunteers and visitors all feel the old home is haunted.

The most active ghost is a female known as the Lady in Black. Many feel this spirit that is dressed in black mourning is the ghost of Don Raymundo’s wife, Teodora.

Numerous witnesses have spotted her ghost over the years. She is often seen pacing back and forth. She is seen both day and night moving from one room to the next or on the upper porch at the rear of the house—many have watched as she disappeared in mid-stride.

It is stated she wrings her hands nervously—a throwback to the time she and her family were held captive by bandits. It is said they ruthlessly ripped her earrings out.

Nicolas Olivas
Another ghost seen is that of a man with a beard. His face * is seen hovering outside a second story window. It is said it resembles, Nicolas Olivas, Don Raymundo’s eldest son.

This ghost is seen looking in at the room that once was the “Children’s Room.” This window is 16 feet above the ground and has no ledge or balcony attached to it. Some speculate he is looking for his finger—chopped off by the bandits.

The ghost of a little girl has also been spotted in the home--it is believed she was Nicolas' daughter, Rebecca. On one Halloween over 100 people witnessed her at the same time.

Rebecca Olivas 
* In 2004, Richard Senate the manager of Olivas Adobe who is a ghost hunter, captured this bearded face angrily peering into this window on his digital camera.

The Lady in Black has also been seen gazing out of this same window onto the courtyard below. She has startled more than one visitor.

Volunteers at the museum report hearing footsteps going up the stairs and on the floorboards above. When these sounds are investigated no one is ever found.

Other activity includes rocking chairs in the home moving on their own and the dolls in the Children's Room have been moved around overnight when the home is closed.

The following 5-minute video is Richard Senate talking about the ghosts that have been captured in EVPs and photos in the Olivas Adobe. 

Here is another more recent video Senate did about this haunting.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Yosemite Indian Museum

Half Dome and Merced River in fall.
Nestled in the mountainous terrain of the Sierra Nevada in California, the 1,200 squares miles that encompass Yosemite National Park was first preserved in 1864 by Abraham Lincoln. The park opened in 1890.

At the beginning of this month, Yosemite commemorated its 125 anniversary.

Yosemite is known for its spectacular waterfalls, valleys and mountains. It offers grand meadows, ancient sequoias trees, lakes and streams and some of the world’s best rock climbing. Four million people visit the park every year.

The areas first inhabitants were Native people—the Tsa’lagil or Miwok. The park first celebrated this fact with the establishment of the Indian Village in 1920. Today, nearby this village is the park’s Indian Museum.

Yosemite Museum
According to Antonio R. Garcez’ book, American Indian Ghost Stories of the West Yosemite Park and this museum are both haunted by Native Americans.

The spirits of these Indians are seen moving throughout the park. Some are even heard singing. Reports of this activity are common near streams and waterfalls.

One female Native American park ranger and storyteller states that in the corner of the Indian Museum building there is an Indian burial ground. This location is not widely shared—out of respect for the dead.

This park ranger feels that other spirits are drawn to this area because the museum displays fine artifacts, such as baskets *, that these spirits are proud of and attached to.

* These baskets are valued at between 10,000 and 15,000 dollars.

Shadow people are seen in this museum as well as display lights tend to flicker. But by far the most compelling activity revolves around the museum’s mannequins.

This paranormal activity has startled more than one person.

These mannequin’s faces were cast or molded from real Native American’s faces that were deceased at the time.

An unusual sound often heard in this museum is the shrieks of visitors. When they are approached to find out what is going on they all describe seeing various mannequin’s heads turning and looking at them.

Other reports include details of these mannequin’s eyes and mouths moving.

What is interesting about this activity is the fact that the local Native Americans believe that it is disrespectful to stare or look straight at the spirits of the deceased.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Haunted Doll: Robert

The story that surrounds this doll is scary. Multiple witnesses have stated Robert can move about on his own, change expressions and eerily giggle.

So is any of this true? Witness reports about this doll’s behavior appears to be authentic--even though in some cases it is exaggerated.

This large doll that eventually would be named after its owner is a one-of-a-kind handcrafted piece made at the turn of the 20th century. It is stuffed with a wood wool known as excelsior. Robert wears a sailor suit and at one time had a painted face similar to a jester.

Robert (Gene) Eugene Otto
A disgruntled servant--who supposedly practiced voodoo--gave Robert Eugene Otto this doll in 1906. As a boy, Gene considered Robert his best friend.

It wasn’t long after the doll was in the Otto mansion in Key West, Florida before strange things began to occur. 

Neighbors reported seeing this doll move from one window to another in the turret room. Other neighbors claimed they heard the doll giggle maniacally.

Guests that visited the home told the family they saw the doll blink and even change expression.

Strange stories about the doll became commonplace.

Otto Mansion in Key West
One night the family awoke to Gene’s screams. They rushed to his room to find it in disarray. Most of the rooms’ furniture was strewn about. Gene pointed to the doll and shouted, “He did it!”

After this, whenever Gene was caught misbehaving he would accuse Robert. Since, many have speculated that the doll absorbed all of Gene’s emotional turmoil as he grew up.

An exaggerated account states that Gene’s other toys were often found mutilated.

Despite these odd occurrences Gene kept the doll until his death in 1974. Myrtle Reuter purchased the home after Gene’s death. The doll was kept in the attic.

Several tenants that lived in the home during this time reported hearing footsteps on the floor above them. One plumber that was called in stated he heard giggling and turned to find the doll had moved across the room.

A Solares Hill newspaper reporter, Malcolm Ross visited the home.

“. . . At first when we walked through the attic door, the look on his face was like a little boy being punished. It was if he was asking himself, who are these people in my room and what are they going to do to me?”

As the small group talked about the doll’s back story Malcolm noticed that Robert’s expression changed--it was as if he was following our conversation.

One of the group mentioned that Gene Otto must have been an old fool at which point the doll’s expression changed to distain.

“There was some kind of intelligence there. The doll was listening to us.”

After owning the doll and the Otto mansion for 6 years Myrtle Reuter moved. She donated the doll to the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West Florida. She told the staff the doll moved around her house on its own and was haunted.

Another exaggerated account states a ten-year old girl owned Robert after Gene’s death. She supposedly stated 30 years later she was convinced the doll was alive and was going to kill her.

Robert remains active. After his arrival at the museum staff noticed a different more intense energy in the building.

Once Robert was placed on display visitors knowing the doll’s history flocked to this museum to see him.

In display case with
letters in background
begging for forgiveness.

Others unaware were shocked to see if they treated him with disrespect that their camera’s and electronic devises malfunctioned while near the doll’s display case.

Now, the museums’ staff was surprised by a barrage of letters from former visitors that apologized for their disrespectful behavior and asked for forgiveness. These letters continue to arrive on a regular basis.

Ghost hunters and psychics wonder what causes the strange activity.

Is Robert the result of a voodoo curse? Is he the product of all the evil energy once placed upon him?

Another expression
In contrast, could he be just a misunderstood playful spirit.

Some wonder if the spirit of Gene, his life-long companion, might be with him still.

Despite all this speculation the activity that surrounds this doll remains a mystery.