Thursday, December 31, 2009

The USS Alabama



The USS Alabama is a large and impressive ship that is a major tourist attraction for Mobile, Alabama. It has been retired and docked in the Mobile bay and sees thousands of visitors every day. At night, the ship hosts many cubscout campouts so the battleship is rarely empty or quiet. Despite the fact that officials claim the ship is not, nor has ever been haunted, many claim to have seen ghosts on this ship. There have been reports of phantom foot steps and odd noises. It is said that late at night bulkheads open and close by themselves and odd tapping noises can be heard throughout the ship.

The Alabama’s first two deaths were of men who were in the Norfolk shipyard as she was under construction. She was finished in 1942 and served 37 months without any deaths due to enemy fire. As for death under friendly fire, however, there were 8 deaths on gun mount #5 when gun mount #9 fired upon them. It seems that the safety feature that was supposed to prevent the turrets from firing upon each other had failed. The men were completely destroyed; the only thing left of the his gun commander was his boots.

My boys were fortunate enough to spend the night on this wonderful ship this summer. Both of my boys claim that they saw and heard ghosts the night they stayed on the ship. Of course, as normal parents, we shook our heads and said there is no such thing as ghosts. So when I began researching haunted places in Alabama, I was surprised to find out the ghosts may not have been the products of their young imaginations. My oldest son says he saw a barefoot ghost by turret five. I have attached a picture of their overnight to this blog that clearly shows an orb by one of the turrets. The orb is directly above my son's head.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hell's Gates

Today we took a trip to Hell's Gates. Hell's Gates is a set of broken, rusted gates on Green Mountain in Alabama. There are many stories about these gates although there is no story as to how these gates aquired their diabolical significance.

The most commonly told story about Hell's Gates is that when you pull up to them and wait, a car will pursue you down the mountain. The car will vanish at the bottom of the mountain. My husband reports that he tried this when he was young and he was pursued by a ghostly car that vanished. Another of my friends cooberates this story, however, when we tried this today nothing happened.

A final source told me a more diabolical story about Hell's Gates. The story is that a group of her acquantances once went into the woods behind the gates to participate in some pagan ritual or another. They built a large fire and one of their group wandered off into the woods. That friend was never seen again.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chickamauga Battlefield


One of the most interesting things about looking for ghost stories is discovering history. Most ghost stories touch on some piece of history. In my journey to Chattanooga, TN today, I went in search of history and didn't know what I would find. I did no research. I just popped in to the Lookout Mountain Battlefield and started to read about the Battle of Chickamauga, which saw some of the civil war's hardest fighting. The battle began in a fight for Chattanooga, TN which was the rail center of the South. It started in 1863 when General Rosecrans brought his army of 70,000 men to Chattanooga and faced off against The Confederate General Braxton Bragg's army of 43,000 men. General Bragg dug his army in and the fight for Chattanooga began. The fight lasted from June until August when Bragg withdrew southward, abandoning Chattanooga and retreating 26 miles South to the final site of the Battle of Chicamauga.

The battle began on Sept 19th. The Confederates used the site I visited on Lookout Mountain to bombard the battlefield below with cannon fire and were able to push the Federals back to Chattanooga, but causalities for both sides were heavy. It claimed an estimated 34,624 casualties (16,170 for the Union; 18,454 for the Confederates).

Since that time there have been claims of every type of haunted and ghostly occurrence in this area. There have been mysterious deaths, numerous ghost sitings, and even claims of a mysterious "green eyed beast" that roams the battle sites at night. Apparently, these supernatural specters come out at night and casual observers from all walks of life have reported seeing a woman in white haunting the battle field looking for her lost love. They have seen glowing orbs and dead soldiers. According to www.hauntedamericatours.com, this battle field ranks #3 in the most haunted battle fields in the country.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Riverhaven


Most ghost stories are creepy. They hint at some unhappy soul lurking just beyond reality waiting to do us harm. The Riverhaven cabin is haunted, but the ghosts there seem pleasant and inviting.

Riverhaven is a cabin in Gatlinburg, TN. It is described by the reality company as plesant and comfortable. This historic log home is an antique Chestnut log approx. 200 years old built in 1800. It has unique wormy Chestnut paneling inside. The cabin was constructed in the National Park and was moved in the 1930's to its current location in downtown Gatlinburg. The realtors website shows many pretty pictures of the cabin and if you rent it, when you enter you'll be pleasantly surprised by it's comfort and warmth.

Every cabin in Gatlinburg has a log or journal for visitors to share their experiences in. Typically, these logs are filled with stories of family vacations. Every page has the same bland pleasantries. It is as if they came from a script. Guests tell about their family, what they did, and the great time they had in the cabin. Riverhaven's journal is different. Each guest tells about flickering lights, moving objects, vanishing items, and odd noises. Not every resident there concludes the cabin is haunted, but every page indicated there is something odd about this pleasant cabin nestled by the river.

I only stayed at Riverhaven for three nights and for the most part it was quiet. I stayed with my family and we complained to each other about the lack of linens in the cabin. We searched it from top to bottom, pulling it apart in a futile quest for a table cloth or anything to cover the splintery, ancient dining table. Finally, on the first night we gave up and ate on our laps. We went to bed and dead bolted the door and locked the door with the sliding lock that even someone with a key couldn't open. In the morning, we awoke to find every table set with table cloths and silverware. The cabin was clean and pretty and we certainly hadn't left it that way when we went to sleep. We often laugh about this cabin as we flounder to explain our experiences there, but when I think of the strange journal there and the consistency of all the stories, I have to assume it was haunted by ghosts that liked us.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The LaLaurie Mansion


This is a famous ghost story and any google search will produce a plethora of conflicting information on this site. I first learned about this location on a haunted New Orleans tour and although parts or the story may be fiction, if even a portion of the story is true it is horrible. As on most such tours, I never saw anything to indicate a real haunting, but the story is horrifying enough.

Th LaLaurie Mansion

According to haunted New Orleans tours and sources, The LaLaurie Mansion is the most haunted sites in New Orleans. Sources say that the house is filled with tormented screams and terrifying wails. They describe chains rattling at night and the apparitions in chains wandering the halls. The house has been many things since the famous Delphine de LaLaurie abandoned it, but it hasn't been anything for as it has been quickly abandoned by every resident afterwards. Some stories indicate that the ghosts here are aggressive and that they have attacked residents with whips and some even claim that multiple deaths have resulted from the hellish, supernatural residents of 1140 Royal Street.

The history of this mansion can only be confirmed to a point. It is known that Delphine LaLaurie was a wealthy, socialite who resided until 1833. Many accounts from contemporaries show that Madam LaLaurie was uncommonly cruel and beastly to her slaves, even for a time when cruelly to slaves was somewhat common. Following a kitchen fire in the house in 1833, the remains of over 100 dead slaves were found. After this, the evidence becomes weaker. Many sources indicate that firefighters entering the house found a room in the house in which slaves had been tortured in the most gruesome ways. It is said that some slaves had been subjected to many unnecessary surgeries and had had their sex organs remove, mutilated, or sewn onto other slaves. Other slaves had their mouths sewn shut with feces in them and their intestines removed and nailed to the floor. The list of atrocities goes on and on.

Whether the more gruesome elements of this story are true or not, it is true that LaLaurie was a beast and a serial killer and that reports continue that this house is tormented by constant ghosts and spirits. Anyone curious about this house will be easily appeased, as it is a regular part of all haunted New Orleans tours and the guides stories about the house are beyond chilling.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Haunting of Amber's House


Christmas day! In the spirit of the season, my sister has reminded me of this story to keep the feeling of family in the blog.

The Haunting of Amber's House

Many years ago, when my sister was nothing but an angst filled teenager, she had a friend who was also an angst filled teenager. This friend lived in an ordinary brown brick house in the South of Huntsville, Alabama. According to Amber, the house was haunted by two cruel spirits that came in the form of an old man and a little girl. She said that at some point, the little took over her body and actually possessed her. My sister can't say any of that is true. But she saw the old man on one occasion. The old man was mostly diaphonous and walked down the hall right past her. The little girl was seen more than once. The first time was a reflection in a mirror and the second time her crying filled the room before she strolled through.

Amber's house had no history haunting. However, the house Amber lived in before had also been haunted by similar malevolent spirits. The spirits seemed to follow her.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dead Children's Playground



Dead Children's Playground

Those who reside in Huntsville, Alabama are very familiar with dead children's playground. It is part of the unique history of this region. Dead children's playground is set in the middle of Maple Hill Cemetery, which is the largest and oldest cemetery in Alabama. Built in 1882, the cemetery covers over 100 acres of land. Dead children's playground is a small playground in the heart of this picturesque grave yard. It is surrounded on three sides by a rocky cove and faces out onto the ancient stone garden.

Local legend has it that Huntsville suffered a rash of child abductions in the 1960’s, and the bodies of the children were found in the area of the playground. Since that time, there have been reports of swings moving on their own, children calling out, giggling, and when photos are taken, orbs of light believed to be the spirits of the children are captured. Much of this phenomenon occurs between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., far too late for any live child to be out playing.

Local teens and other curious locals, often make pilgrimages to the playground at night to witness this activity. I have made this trip on several occasions, and although I have never seen any ghosts myself, I have heard many reports of swings moving on their own and bright lights drifting through the darkness.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cry Baby Hollow


This story was told to me by a coworker. It is a little bit of local lore and shows the colorful history of the South.

Cry Baby Hollow

Cry Baby Hollow is located just outide of Hartselle by Decatur, Alabama. It is said that long ago, when white people were a new addition to this area a local Native American Woman was taking a walk with her baby. She carried the baby on her back. Cry Baby Hollow is apparently prone to flash flooding and the young mother clearly didn't expect the torrent of water that swept her and her baby away. The young mother survived the flash flood, but her baby did not. He was swept away down the ravine to his death.

The local legend is that the baby still haunts this place. His ghost lingers waiting for visitors and if you leave a candy bar on the tracks by the hollow and walk away, when you return, it will have been claimed by the ghost of the lost baby.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Newton-Allaire House



The first ghost story to grace these pages is one of my own. It is the story of my family house, which has haunted my dreams with it's many ghostly encounters since my early childhood. This first story came from my parents who have spent many long nights in the gold room of the 150 year old house my family has always lived in. My father does not believe in ghosts.

The Allaire-Newton house has been in the same family since it was built. It is a beautiful and stately 8 bedroom home in the small town of Cheboygan, Michigan. Many people have lived and died in this beautiful home. The week my parents went to visit my grandmother the house was filled with family. It was late at night in Northern Michigan. In the North, it gets so cold you can usually hear the walls groaning at night, so the occasional moaning of floor boards and creaking noise doesn't ever bother anyone. This is doubly true of old houses that make constant noise. The family has always ignored these usual noises. This is why it was particularly odd when my father was woken up in the middle of the night by a very loud banging at the window. He and my mother got up to examine the window. There were no trees by the window. It was not windy. There was no way to explain the increasingly loud and resonant banging that filled the cold, gold room.

My parents, being reasonable adults, tried to shrug off the noise and return to bed, but the noise remained, making it impossible for them to sleep. My father then got my uncle from the neighboring room to help him find the noise so they could sleep. Although he heard the noise, neither men could find any explanation for the noise that had become ceaseless. In the morning, the noise went away.

My mother attempted to take a nap that afternoon. She crawled into bed and turned off the light. It wasn't long before she felt someone crawl into bed with her and take her hand. She smiled and held the hand of what she thought was my father, but when she rolled over to kiss him she found the bed empty. That night they switched rooms with my aunt and uncle and the noise returned, louder and angrier than ever. In desperation, my aunt and uncle fled to the colder, smaller room at the other end of the house, unable to bare the noise any longer.

This was not the first time things like this happened in this house and not the last. Every member of the family has a story.
I started writing horror stories three years ago. I have enjoyed coming up with my only little pieces of fictional fear. I've talked to many people about my stories and the same thing always happens. People say they like my stories, and then they tell me their own stories. They tell me real stories. They tell me about the haunted places in their lives and the ghosts that live in their attics. They tell me about mad aunts that speak to dead uncles and ghost babies that crawl through shadowy swamps. These stories are far more interesting than anything I have ever dreamed up. This blog is my challenge and my way of honoring everyone's story. I will write one ghost story a day. I will tell all the stories that have ever been told to me. I will post pictures and listen to every story and dig and wait and fill this blog with all the real stories that serve as evidence of a world outside of our own or at least our faith in it.