Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Stone Storm

Stone-throwing poltergeist phenomena cases date back, at least, to 530 CE when it was recorded that Deacon Helpidium, King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths’ physician, was besieged by stones.   One of the more interesting cases of stone throwing poltergiest activity is the Grottendieck case.  In 1903,  a Dutch engineer living in Inodonesia, Grottendieck,  awoke to a storm of rocks falling through the roof of his hut and hitting him in the head.  Of course,  this was concerning to Grottendieck who awoke a servant to help him figure out the origins of the rock storm.  They explored the outside area around the hut and they found nothing that explained the rocks.  Inside, the rocks continued to fall.  They also began to change directions and started falling horizontally.   Grottendieck was perplexed, but the serving boys was horrified and he ran away into the jungle.

No sooner had the boy fled than the rocks stopped falling.  Grottendieck saved several of the stones and went to be. Grottendieck published a story on this incident in the Journal of the Society of Psychical Research.  His hypothesis was that the stones had been sent by the ghost of his dead sister who was trying to communicate with him from beyond the grave.   Many other researchers disagreed and believed that the rocks were a product of poltergeist activity brought on by the serving boy's subconsious mind.  There was never any consensus on the cause of this strange case and people still conjecture as to what might have causes the strange falling stones.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Resurrection Mary

Resurrection Mary is the most often seen ghost in Chicago.  She is also the most famous ghost in Chicago.  She is a beautiful young woman with long blonde hair and bright blue eyes.  She is seen in a long white gown and dancing shoes.   Those who have seen her,  describe her standing by the side of the road.  Sometimes she is hitchhiking.  Other times she just wanders the cold, dark streets.

According to legend,  Mary was hit by a car in 1930.   She was killed in front of the gates of Resurrection Cemetery, where she would later be buried.   She is always seen wandering by this cemetery.  Countless travelers have seen her over the years.   One cab driver graphically describes his encounter with Resurrection Mary in the book Chicagoland Ghosts.  He describes picking her up and her vanishing from the back seat like she had never been there.  

One of the most famous incidents involving Mary was in 1976.  In 1976,  Mary was seen by a passer by standing just inside the gates of the cemetery.  The passer by did not stop to help Mary,   but called the police.   The police did not find a ghostly girl locked in the gates of the cemetery,  but they did find a section of gate that had been bent and had small finger prints burnt into the metal.  Although the gates have been fixed,  her fingerprints remain on the bars forever reminding the world of Mary's tragic death.  As time has passed,  Resurrection Mary has been seen further and further from the cemetery.   People have seen her blocks anbd even miles from the cemetery wandering in the dark.   People often say they stop to pick up the lovely blonde and she vanishes like a mist, back to the world of the dead.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Horror of Hull House and the Story Behind Rosemary's Baby

One of the most haunting and bizarre stories in Chicago history is the story of Hull House.   This story is so odd, that it was taken by Hollywood and fashioned into a movie called Rosemary's Baby.  As in most cases,  the real story is nothing like the movie, but it is none the less fascinating for the differences.  

Jane Addams was an amazing woman.  She was responsible for so much good that the world will forever be in her debt.   One of her major contributons to history was to initiate many of the child labor laws that were inacted in the late 19th century.  She also founded Hull House.  Designed by architect Charles Hull,  Hull house was rented and renovated by Ms. Addams as a sanvtuary for youg girls who had lived hard lives.  She eventually built an entire complex around Hull House to better serve the community.

Oddly,  Hull House isn't most known for any of the good that happened there.  It is most famous for the devil child that was supposedly born there.   According to legend,  there was a party at Hull House one night and a particularly handsome man showed up for the party.  All the girls were taken in by him and fought for the opportunity to dance with the dapper stranger.  It was easy for him to seduce one of the young women and it wasn't long after that night that she found herself pregnant.   The man vanished and was never heard from again, but the stories surrounding him grew into legend.  Visitors at the party that night claimed that they had seen the man lose a shoe and that his foot had been a cloven hoof.   Others said that he had done impossible dancing feats and that he had hypnotized the young girls into falling madly in love with him.

The gossip grew as the baby in the young girl grew and by the time the baby was born,  everyone was breathless with anticipation.  The young woman was allowed to raise her baby in the sanctuary of  Hull House, but the rumors had turned ugly.  People claimed the baby had horns and looked like the devil.   Strangers started knocking at the door demanding to see the devil baby.  Finally, the truth defused the gossip and the baby and mother were left to some degree of peace.  Over time, many different devil baby stories have been linked to Hull House,  much to the annoyance of Ms. Addams who even wrote a book about the situation. 

There are those that still claim satan's spawn was born at Hull House, despite the lack of any proof of such an occurence.  Others say the ghost of Hull House is most likely the ghost of Mrs. Hull, who died in an upstairs bedroom of the house. Those that say the devil's spawn was born in the house also report to witnessing an evil in the house.  Many claim that the lights still flicker on and off on dark nights and that ghostly apparitions can be seen gazing out at those that walk by often see shadows of the devil that once wandered the old house.  Today,  Hull House is a museum.  It is closed on Mondays and Saturdays, but can be visited by the public any other day of the week.  The picture to the left is a photograph of a ghost that was taken at Hull House.  On a personal note,  this is perhaps the creepiest place I have written about and one of the odd places that actually gave me a bad feeling.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beautiful Death

I had a book called Beautiful Death when I was young.  I spent hours flipping though its pages and sketching from the photographs in the book.  It was a photographic journey thought the most amazing cemeteries in the world.  These cemeteries included such famous cemeteries as Pere Lachaise in Paris, La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenes Aires,  High Gate Cemetery in London, and Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.   I've seen Pere Lachaise and today I saw Graceland Cemetery.

Every cemetery is different.  They tell the story of those within.  They speak of culture and history and death in a way that is unique to them.  Each cemetery has stories and ghosts.   Graceland's ghost is the face of death himself.    When you drive into this overwhelming cemetery in Chicago,   you'll pass many enormous monoliths and great mausoleums.   They are so big they dwarf the ancient trees that surround them.   Yet,  these oversized monuments are overshadowed by the unnaturally realistic statue of death himself that stands near the entrance of the cemetery.  He is wrapped in a dark cloak and the cloak falls over his face so only a portion of his features can be seen, but those features are so real you are almost waiting for him to open his eyes.

Death stands on the final resting place of former hotel owner and businessman Dexter Graves. Created by Lorado Taft, the artist christened the design "Eternal Silence" but the brooding and menacing figure has become more commonly known as the "Statue of Death".   Many people say that if you stand and stare at this grim statue you have visions of your own death.  They also say that cameras break and electronic equipment fails in the presence of death.  Of course, as evidenced by the photo above,  this didn't happen to me.  I tried to look at death and see my future doom,  but I saw nothing but the cold statue and that was enough.

Other ghosts are said to wander through this beautiful necropolis.   It is trully a wonderful place and amazingly beautiful.   Among the other ghosts haunting this example of art in death, is a little girl named Inez, who died many years ago.  It makes sense that many ghosts wander this cemetery because if I were a ghost,  I certainly would want to linger in Graceland Cemetery.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Legend of Seaweed Charlie: A Photographic Journey Though Cavalry Cemetery

According to the Daily Northwestern, In Evanston, the dead overwhelmingly outnumber the living.
The living  in this suburb of Chicago are about 75,000 souls.  However, 218,000 people lay buried underneath Calvary's 92 acres of superb lakefront property.  These posthumous residents include some of the most accomplished people in Evanston history. Among the more elusive dead who inhabit the area is a World War II-era pilot known only as "Seaweed Charlie."

Local legend states that Charlie crashed into Lake Michigan during a training exercise and drowned. He is fabled to crawl out of the lake at night, dripping wet and covered in seaweed, cross Sheridan Road, and disappear as he enters the cemetery.

A story in The Daily Northwestern discusses Seaweed Charlie.  Here is part of that story:
Cemetery clerk Tom Berry says it's a fact that Navy pilots trained over Lake Michigan during WWII and that some crashed, but beyond that, he really doesn't buy the legend.

"Just about every cemetery has some ghost story associated with it," he says.  "People always look for something to make up to be scary."

But Chicago historian and supernatural explorer Richard Crowe has gathered some "very consistent" witness accounts of one of Seaweed Charlie's appearances in 1993.  That year, two Columbia College students driving south on Sheridan noticed as they neared the cemetery that the cars ahead of them were swerving wildly. Then, Crowe says, they saw a tall and thin, glowing figure crossing the road toward the cemetery, wearing a heavy coat and apparently unaware of the traffic.

Crowe thinks the ghost could be a flight instructor from Glenview Naval Air Station, about seven miles south of Evanston. A pilot crashed in Lake Michigan near NU's Evanston Campus on May 4, 1951, and washed up two days later near Calvary -- the south Evanston coastline is "a natural catch basin for flotsam and jetsam," Crowe says.

I am staying in Evanston tonight.  I drove by Cavalry Cemetery several times last night.  We drove slowly and looked at the lake and cemetery and saw no sign of the ellusive Seaweed Charlie, so we returned in daylight to wander this breathtaking necropolis.  It was quiet and we were the only visitors.  A lonely coyote prowled the grounds.  He seemed oddly out of place in  Chicago, but he seemed happy amongst the dead.  Although there were no ghosts,  the gravemarkers were impressive enough to speak for the dead.  I was awed by the enormous beauty of many of the markers below. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Ghosts of Lincoln Park

I have been travelling around Chicago today.  The architecture is amazing.  Many of the buildings are little works of art.  They stand out from each other and whisper of secret histories waiting to be unlocked.   Although I haven't been able to unlock the history of the city,  I was able to explore the ghosts of Lincoln Park.  Lincoln Park is filled with little restraunts and shops.   There is a University and students seem to clutter the street with an atmosphere of youth. 

Slightly to the side of this and directly across from each other,  sit two of Chicago's most famous haunts.  The first is the Biograph Theater.  It is the oldest movie theater in Chicago and is still a functional theater.  Today it shows independent films and plays.  Tongiht's show is the Lost Boy's of the Sudan

The Theater is most famous for it's association with the famous public enemy John Dillinger.  It was in front of this theater that John Dillinger was shot next to the notorious and trecherous lady in red.   Of course, there are many that believe Dillinger wasn't shot here, but that it was an elaborate set up.  They believe Dillinger set up a two bit hood who looked a lot like him to take the fall for him.  This hood's name was  James Lawrence.  Those that support this theory say that there were many physical differences between the two that were noticed at the autopsy.   Most Historians maintian that it was Dillinger that was shot.  They point out that Dillinger had little to no willpower and was a chronic criminal his entire life.  He would have popped back up somewhere if he had lived.  He certainly would have returned her his much loved girlfriend if nothing else.  They also argue that despite the small differences,  many people who examined the corpse identified it a Dillinger.

It is said that Dillinger's (or Lawrence's) ghost still haunts the Biograph and the alley behind the Biograph.  I was able to sneak a peak inside the theater and it has been completely renovated and is very modern.  I didn't see any ghosts, but I certainly felt uneasy (maybe because I snuck in).  The alley beside the Biograph is boarded up now and a look behind the boards reveals a disgusting, trash filled gutter that I think even ghosts would be afraid to tread.

Directly across from the Biograph, is the boarded up remains of the Red Lion Pub.  The Red Lion looks haunted.  It's presence seems to radiate a ghostly qaulity and without even knowing its story,  I knew it was haunted and snapped a picture of it.  Later in the day, I picked up a haunted Chicago book and discovered its story.  The Red Lion Pub was haunted for years by an unknown ghost.  This ghost appeared between three and four every Sunday for years.  Author Dylan Clearfield describes his encounter with this ghost in Chicagoland Ghosts .  He said that he ate at the Red Lion Pub every Sunday for years and for a long time he thought the commotion up stairs was a waitress or staff.  He heard banging and slamming and all kinds of commotion above him as he ate.  It was a long time before he finally asked what they did up stairs to make all that noise.  The owner confessed that no one was up there.  It was the ghost.    Mr. Clearfield hypothesized that the ghost up stairs may have been associated with the night Dillinger was killed, but no one know for sure.  Whatever the case,  this little street in  the Lincoln park are is a popular haunted location and a fun place to sit and eat and contemplate the paranormal. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Ghosts of Flight 191

I flew into Chicago today.   My airplaine landed in one of the more haunted places in Chicago.  Believe it or not Chicago O'Hare Airport is reported to be very haunted.  Ghosts have been seen traversing the halls of this crowded and boisterous airport.  It is hard to imagine anything creepy seeping in through the throngs of people that push their ways through the halls of O'Hare.  Even if there were ghosts there,  I can't imagine noticing.   If a ghost sat on my head there,  I probably wouldn't have seen it in all the commotion.  Never the less,   there have been multiple reports of phantom pilots and stewardesses within this airport.

Thirty years ago,  tragedy befell this famous airport.   In 1979,  Flight 191 crashed and exploded into flames on the runway in front of the terminal.   271 passengers and crew members died in the fiery inferno that followed and their ghosts haven't rested since then.  The common reports of the supernatural at O'Hare are the phantom aircraft that is often seen flying in the skies.  As I wandered the terminal,  I tried to imagine ghosts.  I looked for them, but I saw nothing.   I suppose the ghosts may wait for nightfall.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

I am leaving for the windy city tomorrow.   While I am there,  there are many things I would like to do and see.  The Biograph Theater is high on my list.   Another famous haunted place in Chicago is the Bachelor's Grove Cemetery. 

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery is an old cemetery.  It was built in 1844 and was  filled mostly with the bodies of poor imigrants brought in for cheap labor.  The cemetery hasn't been used in several decades.   For many years, it was vandalized and fell into disrepair. It has become known as one of the most haunted places in the world.  There are enough strange stories coming from this little cemetery to wallpaper the outside of my house with.   There have been many reports of strange red lights coming from the cemetery.  There are stories and photos taken of a ghostly woman sitting on a tombstone.   There have even been reports of a floating house that hovers above the graves at night.  Phantom cars vanish in the dark. 

The history of the cemetery is complicated by the small ponnd behind it.  This pond was a favorite dumping spot for corpses during the gangster period in Chicago history.  There are many ghosts that linger around this pond.  A two headed man and a glowing yellow man have both been seen wandering the boundaries of this little body of water.

The most famous ghost of  Bachelor's Grove is known as the Madonna of Bachelor's Grove.   She only appears on nights with a full moon and she wanders the cemetery with her baby son in her arms.   I'm hoping to be able to stop by this wonderful haunted location during my trip and if I am lucky,  I'll see a few ghosts.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I'm hoping to see wonders.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Phantoms of Flight 401

Every ghost story is different, but few are truly unique. Many tell similar stories that are part of recognizable archetypes. Gray ladies, faceless specters, forsaken lovers, and murder victims fill houses and hospitals and museums. The story of the ghosts of Flight 401 is truly unique. Their story is different from the rest. Their story doesn’t fit a pattern.

American Airlines Flight 401 crashed into the Everglade on December 29, 1972. One-hundred and one people died in the crash. Captain Loft survived the impact, but died as they were removing him from the aircraft. Another gentleman, Officer Repot died one day after they removed him from the airplane.

In a desperate attempt to salvage some of what they lost, Eastern Airlines salvaged much of the airplane and redistributed the parts among other aircraft in their fleet. Not long after the redistribution the sightings began. People reported seeing the ghosts of Repot and Loft in the planes that had received spare parts from Flight 401. Repo’s ghost was said to appear often. He appeared in the cockpit and the galley and seemed to be very concerned about safety. He pointed out fire hazards and safety concerns to whoever was present to listen. Loft’s ghost was also seen sitting in first class. One stewardess reports seeing him and thinking he was a stow away. She reported him to her Captain. The Captain recognized him immediately and then Loft vanished before his eyes. There were numerous reports like these from the dozens of planes containing 401 parts. The reports became almost epidemic. 

Eastern Airlines rejected these claims and referred employees making them to see a counselor. When these stories didn't stop Eastern  Airlines threatened to fire anyone who told ghost stories about flight 401.   Despite their consistence rejection of the notion that the pieces of flight 401 were haunted, they finally did remove all the salvaged parts from their fleet. As soon as this was done, the sightings ended. A book was written about this very odd haunting called The Ghost of Flight 401. John Fuller wrote it. I haven’t read it yet. It is an older book, but I’m going to definitely put it on my list of reads.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Faceless Gray Man Who Comes With the Storm

Natural Disasters seem to be epidemic lately.   The volcano in Iceland is one in a chain of disasters that have spread acround the globe.  Every day there is another story of a disaster.  News of  the newest catastrophic disaster has become a regular occurence.   Tonight's ghost would be a gift in times like these and it is a shame that every community couldn't have one, like a kind of more prepared and more helpful FEMA.

The faceless gray man of Pawley's Island is said to warn residents of impending natural disasters.   Pawley's Island is off the coast of South Carolina, so he is usually warning of hurricanes and tropical storms.  The faceless apparition is only sighted when dangerous storms are coming and  has appeared before the hurricanes of 1822, 1893, 1916, 1954, and 1955.  He has saved innumerable lives.   Locals believe that if you see him,  your house will be spared. 

Locals aren't sure who the ghost is, but the legends are numerous.  Some think he is the ghost of Percival Pawley, the first man to settle on the Island.  Other's think he is the ghost of young man, scorned in love, who died running out into a terrible storm after his lover broke his heart.  Whoever he is, he is terrifying to behold.  He is faceless and gray but the sight of him means that you are safe and no harm will come to you.  

I wonder if there is anyway to capture this ghost in a bottle.  He certaintly would be useful.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Ancient Apparitions of Russell Caverns

Today we drove North again.  We went on a road trip to find the last pieces of the haunted North Alabama puzzle.   We took our time and stopped to view the oddities along the way.   We stopped at Unclaimed Baggage to view the puppet used for Hoggle in the movie "Labrynth".  He's an odd thing to leave in your luggage, but no odder than the ancient manuscripts and other oddities that are placed behind glass at the Unclaimed Baggage Museum. 

Our final destination was Russell Caverns.  Many visitors to these ancient caves have reported seeing ghosts there.   Many have photographed ghosts and others have had ghostly encounters.   The caves were occupied by Native Americans for over 9000 years and archealogical evidence is on prominent display in the cave museum.   It is a short walk to the cave from the museum and it was a lovely day.  They sun filtered through the leaves painting the forest floor like stained glass.   We were the only ones there and the quiet was almost unnatural.  There was no guide and there were no crowds.  We entered the mouth of the cave alone and my son clutched my hand and said he was afraid.

The caves definately had a presence.  It was the type of presence that fills me with an odd calm and a desire to linger.   So we wandered through the small wooded area around the cave and the short path within the gaping mouth of the cavern for some time looking at the displays and reading the plaques.    I took dozens of photos while my boys climbed over the rocks.   My last set of pictures, taken in the same set as the ones above and just a few seconds later, show some very interesting movement.  It was a clear day with no fog or cloud cover.  I'm not sure what is going on in these photos, but I'm open to speculation.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Paranormal Doctor and His Ghostly Cures

For the better part of history,   mental illness was believed to be caused by the paranormal.  Of course,  no one in history would have said it this way.  They would have called it demon possession or spirit possession, but ancient cultures usually attributed the symptoms of psychosis to the supernatural world.  They turned to treatments like trepanning and exorcism to cure  the infected soul.

Beginning with such revolutionary minds as Galen,  this notion began to fade.   A medical model replaced the spiritual model and the medical model has prevailed for  thousands of years in Western society.  None of this seemed to  matter to Dr. Titus Bull.   Dr. Bull practiced medicine in New York in the 20's and 30's and he believed that modern medicine was too short sighted in its approach to mental illness.  He believed that  bipolar disorder, shizophrenia, and alcoholism were all caused by possessing spirits that entered their victims through the base of the brain.   He didn't think these spirits were necessarily evil or demonic.  He just thought they were very confused and lost.   He believed these spirits were the ghosts of the dead that needed help passing over to the other side.  He treated mental illness by helping the possessing spirits cross over.  He even published a book on the topic to help other physicians use similar techniques. In his book, he cites case studies and success stories.  He presents arguements that his ghostly cures are the effective cures.

Dr. Bull practiced during and after the spiritualism explosion of the early 20th century.  Although he was rare as a doctor, taken in context of the times his beliefs make sense.   He is fascinating, however, and sometimes, when I am working with a patient who has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals dozens of times and is completely resistent to all modern medicine,  I have to wonder if maybe he Dr. Bull wasn't on to something.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Gray Lady

Gray Ladies are the ghosts of women who died violently for the sake of love or through the heartless actions of a family member.  They are tragic figures and many ghosts fit this description.  They are the lonely women ghosts who wandering the world, lost.  There are grey lady stories throughout the world and they are as prolific as any ghost story, but my favorite Gray lady is a girl named Kate.

Her story as much legend as anything and is tragic and beautiful.  According to legend,   William Oatway lured a ship ashore one night so he could plunder it.   A survivor washed ashore from the ship.  The young woman had been beaten up pretty badly and her face was mangled beyond all recognition.  William tried to save the poor woman, but he couldn't and when she died he robbed her blind.  He took all her jewellery and her money belt and cast her body back into the water.

Not much time had had past before the authorities came to Mr. Oatway's.    They informed him that his daughter had recently boarded a ship and that the ship had been found crashed upon the rocks not too far from his house.   Mr. Oatway was devestated.  He had killed his own daughter.   Her body was returned to him and he walled it up in a secret room.   A century or so later the room was discovered and the bones were buried, but Kate's ghost still lingers in the house were she grew up with her murderous and trecherous father, William Oatway.    Her ghost is said to wander Chambercombe Manor all clad in gray, forever mourning her own death.

Chambercombe Manor,  where Miss Kates ghost still linger's is also said to be haunted by Lady Jane Grey whose tragic story as Queen for 9 days has been depicted in many movies and books.  The secret room where Ms. Kate's body was found is below.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Greenbriar Ghost

In the movies and on television, ghosts often have a mission. They want the living to avenge their death or find their murderer or bring some sort of closure to their life on earth. In movies such as A Stir of Echoes and The Sixth Sense, the spirits of the living that were murdered assist the living in finding their killer. In life, this is not a common thing. In fact, this has only happened once that has been recorded and documented. The only known case in the US where the ghost of a victim is thought to have helped expose and convict the murderer is the case of the Greenbriar Ghost.

Elva Zona Heaster Shue was married to a man named Erasmus Trout Shue in 1886. Shortly after, a young boy found Zona’ body on the floor of the house. A doctor was called, but couldn’t investigate her death because Erasmus had moved the body and redressed her in her best dress. He also wouldn’t let the body go and clung to her sobbing and wailing like a child. The doctor said that Zona died of an “everlasting faint” and left well enough alone.

Zona’s mother, Mary Heaster, wasn’t happy to leave well enough alone. She prayed for God to help her avenge her daughter’s death. God did help her. He sent Zona’s ghost. Zona came to her mother at night and described in detail how her husband had been violent and abusive and how he had killed her in the heat of one of his blind furies when she had failed to prepare the dinner he wanted. Zona told her mother that he had broken her neck. Mrs. Heaster urged the prosecutor to investigate based on the information her daughter had given her. Zona’s body was exhumed and autopsy revealed that Zona had died of a broken neck. Shue was convicted and imprisoned for life. The ghost’s testimony was used as evidence in court.

So in this case, the movies are right. Ghosts can come back and work with the living to convict their murderer. I wish there were more cases like this. People might be more reluctant to beat their wives if they knew that their wives would come back for them in the afterlife.

On a side note,  Zona's sad story has become so popular it is now being made into a musical.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Murder of Crows

Recently,  I blogged about the many ghosts of The University of North Alabama.   It is the most beautiful university in the state and it is also one of the most haunted locations in the state.   It is a place with a long history that seems to occupy some kind of magic space.  

This morning I found an article about the university that only seemed to add to the atmosphere of  mystery and shadow that circles this old university.  Apparently crows have been dying in swarms around the UNA campus.    According to the Times Daily,  15 crows were found dead on the streets on Thursday alone.   The Times Daily had the following to say about the odd occurence:

FLORENCE - A rash of crow deaths in Florence has caught the attention of health and wildlife officials.

Stevens said Vinny Grosso, animal control director for the city, alerted the Alabama Department of Public Health about the dead birds. Dr. Karen Landers, regional health officer for the agency, said her office is aware of the situation and has asked city officials to report any additional bird deaths.
"Any time there is an unusual occurrence with animals, we look into it to see if we need to do any further analysis," Landers said. "If needed, we will collect a specimen and send it to a testing lab for analysis."

The article went on to say that there is no known cause for the deaths at this time.   All of this got me thinking about locations and the power of certain locations.  Some places seem to draw energy in and are magnets for odd occurences.  I have to wonder, is Florence and UNA one of those places?  What brings such dramatic and odd events to this location?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Passing the Beautiful Blogger Award Along to Some of My New Favorite Blogs!

Last Friday, Courtney from Haunt Jaunts stopped by to let me know she’d named Ghost Stories and Haunted Places among one of fifteen other blogs she was passing along a Beautiful Blog Award to.  She had listed many of my favorite blogs in her top 15.  I would like to mention that although they didn't make the list, Para-blog and Above the Norm would have been on my list if Courtney hadn't already grabbed them.    She has a great eye for good blogs and I'm honored to be on her top 15.

THANKS, Courtney!


1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.


1. Labrynthian Creations
2. Magikal Seasons
3. Dark Destinations
4. Beyond the Wire
5. A Haunting We Will Go
6. Poetic Zombie
7. Giardian Diner
8. The Ghost Lounge
9. Zen and the Art of Zombies
10. Frog on a Pumpkin
11. Zombie Zadie
12. Illiteration Nation
13. Court’s Corner
14. Lady Lovecraft
15. Allison Gregg

7 Things About Myself:

1.  I have two books coming out at the end of this year.  Both are ghostly.  One is a Haunted History book and the other is a horror novel set in a haunted institution.

2. During the day,  when I am not writing,  I work on the psychiatric floor of a hospital.  I run psychotherapy groups, do individual therapy, and do intakes. 

3.  I always try to see the best in every situation.  Life is hard and the world can be horrifying, but every tragedy has a ray of light and every dark place hides beauty.   I travel to find this beauty and I work to find this beauty in the most broken and lost of human souls and I hope that I can help these people find the beauty in themselves.

4.  I love the outdoors.  I've hiked most of the Appalachian Trail and I have climbed Mt. Kilimajaro.  I'm a den mother for my's son's cub scout den and I love taking the boys into the woods to hike and discover nature.

5.  I have a lot of pets.  My sister and I breed corgis.  I have two corgis, 1 cat, 1 snake, and 2 frogs.  My sons also fill the house with all kinds of bugs in jars and plastic containers.

6.  I have an interesting family.  My father is Filipino.  My brother is a concert pianist and composer of some repute in the classical music world..My parents spent much of my early childhood travelling from place to place with their band.  My 2 sisters and 1 younger brother grew up  in a boat with my father.  My mother's family has had a haunted house that has been in the family for 150 yrs and her mother had a love affair with a ghost via the ouijia board.  We are a strange lot, but we are never boring. 
7.    I love reading.   I read almost every kind of book,  but my favorite will always be history.  I love historical fiction like Bernard Cornwell and  real history and everything in between.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Broken Hearted Beauty of McCandless Hall

McCandless Hall is part of Athens State University. The building is a Greek revivial style auditorium. MCandless today is used to house the theater department and his been used for many contemporary plays and musicals. In the early 1900’s it was used to show case the talent of the famous opera singer Abigal Burns. While Ms. Burn’s was staying in Athens, she met a local attorney and the two fell in love, almost at first sight. In between performances, the two lovers would meet in the shadows of McCandless hall. Their love blossomed and on the night of her final performance Ms. Burns sung Verdi’s opera La Traviata with such emotion those that watched wept for the beauty of it.

That night Ms. Burns had to leave. Her art called her elsewhere and she could not linger any longer in Athens. She met her lover one last time and made him a solemn promise. “I will return,” she promised. She kissed him and vanished into the night. That night a terrible storm came to North Alabama, as they often do. Ms. Burn’s carriage was capsized and the lovely Abigal Burns met her death in the mud and rain.

Ms. Burns kept her promise, however. Her ghost returned to McCandless Hall and went to the room where she and her lover met and exchanged their vows. According to legend, she still waits in the shadows. She looks down from the window, waiting for her lover to return to her. Many have seen her face looking out, filled with longing and desire. Others have heard her footsteps and heard her weeping in the dark. When Ms. Burn’s died, a beech tree was planted in her honor in front of McCandless Hall. The tree still stands there today.

It is possible that Ms. Burns story is only a legend. Research shows no record of her presence at McCandless Hall and there is no firm evidence to support any of her romantic story, however, those who have seen her ghost and heard her weeping say there is no need for paper documentation. They know what they have seen and they know that her ghost still roams the halls of McCandless hall.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Top 10 Best Zombie Movies Ever!

I have been watching more zombie movies that any human being probably should watch lately.  I'm trying to run daily and I find these movies keep me in motion on the treadmill.   Something about zombies keeps me going. Last night I was able to tackle the Zombie Diaries,  Return of the Living Dead III, and Return of the Living Dead:  Rave to the Grave.   None of these were the best zombie movies ever.   However,  as my zombie movie collection spreads across the house,  I thought it would be fun to rate the zombie movies that I believe are the best.  These are the ones that keep me watching the genre and waiting for more.

10.   Zombieland:       This new film made me weep with joy.  In an ocean of crappy new zombie movies,  this movie proved that there are still wonderful things to be found and made in the zombie genre.

9.   Fido:         This is a boy and his dog story with a zombie instead of  a dog.   This is Pleasantville meets Night of the Living Dead.  It is a beautiful movie,  worth watching twice.

8. Shaun of the Dead:   This comical love story is a wonderful homage to the genre.

7.  Zombie:   No zombie top ten list would be complete without this movie that began an era of Italian zombie films that are both wonderful and horrible.   This movie also features an amazing zombie fighting great white shark scene that is too good to be missed.  

6.  Return of the Living Dead:    This is camp zombie horror at its best. 

5.  Dawn of the Dead:  I'm going to do something shocking here and not choose a version.  I enjoyed both the remake and the original and they both belong on this list.  

4.  Cemetery Man (Delemorte Delamore):   This Italian zombie film brought an end to the wonderful era of Italian zombie films.    It is beautiful, bizarre, and bewitching and is defintately one of the best.

3.  Dead & Buried:   This shocking and disturbing film is slow moving and deliberate.   The ending is unexpected and the film itself is surprisingly wonderful.  This is one of the rare scary zombie films.

2.  Dead Alive.    As far as I'm concerned,  this is Peter Jackson's masterpiece.  Featuring zombie stew, zombie sex, and zombie babies,  Dead Alive spirals downhill to an ending so grotesque and bizarre I've never seen it's equal. 

1.  Night of the Living Dead:   I'm not choosing between the original and the remake again.  I know this is unpopular, but they were both Romero at his best and I love them both!

My passion for zombie movies is explored more deeply at  

Friday, April 9, 2010

Looking for Homer's Ghost in an Abadoned Hospital

I went exploring today.   I travelled to Cullman, Alabama to find the ghost of Homer who lives at the          abadoned Woodland Hospital.  We found the hospital easily and spent an hour or so wandering the  grounds and photographing the hospital.   We saw no signs of Homer outside of the hospital, but  it would  have been hard to see anything malevolent on such a beautiful spring day.   After much exploring,  we found an open door and asked a construction worker if we could come in and look around.  The workers have been renovating some parts of the hospital in hopes that they can find new tenants for the building.  The worker let us in and we were able to wander the quiet, empy shell of a hospital for some time.  We saw no evidence of any other workers and the quiet was beyond unnerving.   Finally, the foreman came stomping down the hall and told us we had to leave immediately.  He seemed quiet angry and he escourted us out with a frown and a wag of  his finger.                                                                                                                                                     
Although I saw no sign of Homer at the hospital,  as I reviewed the pictures I stopped when I saw a picture of myself taking the picture reflected in the glass.  What sent chills down my spine was that there was              someone standing behind me in the picture and I had been very alone when I took it.  The picture is at the bottom of the page.