Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ghost Hunting at South Pittsburgh Hospital in Tennessee

Hiding in the verdant hills of Southern Tennessee, hidden in the rural landscape of the South is a famously haunted hospital  that was once the South Pittsburg hospital.  Situated  at the base of a hill by the housing projects the old hospital decays.   You would expect it to be a silent place, filled with ghosts and old tears, but it is strangely alive, living someplace on the edge of a surreal dream.

The hospital is broken and decaying and filled with random odds and ends that don't always fit the setting.  The smell when you step in the door is so overwhelming I almost turned and headed to the first Holiday Inn available, but I pushed forward because the place was so surreal it felt like it belonged in a Tim Burton film rather that part of the real world.  This hospital isn't dead, despite the decay.   When you pull into the parking lot the front entrance has been taken over by an antique store.   Fountains and water features cover the steps that lead up to what used to be the main entrance to the hospital.   This sound of running water cuts through the loud music blaring out of the projects across the street.   It cuts through the broken, overgrown parking lot and adds a magic to the hospital that looms above it.   Only a small portion of the hospital is taken by the antique shop, and the rest sits empty, glaring out at you with vacant windows.

To enter the ghost hunting section of the hospital you must drive past the housing projects to the back of the hospital, which is pressed right up against a very steep and very large hill.   You enter through the emergency room doors.   The emergency room waiting room has been converted into a large sitting room that seems like a temple to Tim Burton.  Movie posters and art celebrating his movies line the walls.  After you get over the the heat, you move forward into a hall  with an alpha romeo parked in it.  Pressing on is imperative at this point as the oddness of the place only grows with every step forward.  

I was then introduced to the hospital's keepers.   A family lives in an apartment amidst all the rubble and stench with their little boy giving ghost hunting teams access to this strange place.   This little family was interesting and their story I will save for another day.   The ghost hunting team I joined was lead by Steve from Southern Ghosts.   His team were very professional and set up their many infrared cameras, DVRs, EVPs, etc at different points throughout the dark hospital.  Electricity was limited to only a few rooms so flashlights were imperative.   I will discuss the actual ghost hunting in more detail later too.

Exploring the hospital was like walking through a horror movie.  Walls molded and pealed.  Junk sat cluttered in rooms.  The clothes of the dead had never been removed from the hospital and sat piled up in the rooms people had died in.   As we travelled from room to room the KP and EVP meters went off from time to time, indicating some supernatural presence.  The darkness grew and stretched and your eyes played trick on you turning shadows into monsters.   The trigger items left to record paranormal activity moved.   A pair of little girls boots flipped. There was a strange mattress in the basement that lit up the EVP's like a Christmas Tree.   The hospital wrapped around a courtyard with a gazebo and an incomplete fountain that was overgrown and filled with mangy looking dogs that barked at you when your light shone out the window.  At night, when you wonder alone,  the sounds of the water outside fill the dead silence and the whispers you hear could be formed from a collection of your imagination and the ever running water. 


I was lucky enough to go to this hospital with Courtney from Haunt Jaunts!   I just hope I get to ghost hunt with her sometime again soon she was a really joy to meet and work with.  She was even more wonderful in person and I know she will have some very interesting things to say about our journey into darkness.   So,  over the next week I am going to post blogs about the different aspects of our trip to South Pittsburgh.   If you still crave more, visit http://www.hauntjaunts.com/ to hear Courtney's take on the visit.    Also visit http://www.southernghosts.com/ to see the ghost hunting data collected at the site.  Keep an eye on http://www.ghosteyes.com/ for more information too.  Tomorrow I will blog about the ghost hunting itself and then I will blog about the amazing family that calls this bizarre place home!!  

On a side note,,,, Unfortunately,  I never got to sleep here because the sleeping arrangements here were not good.   Most of the team stayed to ghost hunt all night, but I retired to the Comfort Inn at 3am and put my pj's on there.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What PJ's Does One Bring to Stay in a Horrifically Haunted Hospital?

A group of regional paranormal travelers and investigators recently invited me to stay with them at a very haunted hospital in South Pittsburgh's Tennessee. This team includes people that are much more experienced than me.   It includes Jeremy Morgan of Rocket City Paranormal (RCP_GatorFan on twitter), Ghosteyes_Steve, Courtney Moroch from Haunt Jaunts, and GhostEyes_Angie.  This sounded like a fun night so I said yes.   I'm not sure I knew what I was in for.  I think I still don't know what I'm in for.

This kind of feels like that opening scene in every horror movie when the protagonist does something no one in their right mind would do.   That scene when the heroine decides the most haunted hospital in the country would be a great place for a birthday party.  Or the scene when the group of kids decide to go into the old abandoned ghost house on a dare.  I guess I'm that idiot.  The sad thing is, what scares me most is that no one else is planning on sleeping or even bringing Pajamas.  I love sleeping and putting my pajamas on at the end of the day is what I look forward to most in the world, and now I don't even know what pajamas to bring or if I should even bring them at all.

 I googled the South Pittsburgh Hospital to try to begin to understand what I was in for and maybe make myself scared of more than the pj situation.   I found an article in which the hospital's owner's son is interviewed and he describes the haunting.  "Telephones will ring when there's no power, you'll have things fly at you, you'll have little girls, as they've caught on tape, saying 'play with me, why won't anyone play with me'," he says.   The hospital has no power and apparently lights still flicker on and off.  Some members of the Ghost Hunter's team did investigation there and found many things that couldn't be explained.

I'm still more worried about sleep and pj's. 

Anyhow,  outside of that,  I can't wait.  I'm hoping that a little girl will ask me to play and I won't be to sleepy to say sure and pull out a deck of cards.  I will be twittering from the hospital all night long.   Friday night is going to be a long night. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ghosts and Goosebumps

I have been really enjoying a collection of Alabama Ghost Stories lately called Ghosts and Goosebumps by Jack and Olivia Solomon.  It is essentially a collection of ghost stories from Alabama told in first person, collected from letters.   I've been enjoying these stories so much, I thought I would share a few.

Enchanted Trees

There was a man who had the power to put a spell on trees.  He had several children and every time one was born, he would plant a fruit tree.  Because of this spell he put on the fruit trees, every time one of the children would die the tree planted for that child would die too.  He had one son who had gone to join the services.  A few months later, the tree planted for the son began to die so they knew their son was dead.  Sure enough, two days later they received word that he had been killed..... told by Mary Glenn Merritt

The Bewitched Hunter

Once a man was out hunting squirrels.  He had killed two when he walked up on an old woman washing clothes.  She asked him for one of the squirrels and he said no.   He said he would kill another one for her and she said he would never kill another squirrel again.   The man walked into the woods and began hunting.  He shot, but couldn't hit a single squirrel.  Days and weeks went by and he wasn't able to hit a single thing he shot at.

He got worried and told a Friend about what had happened.  His friend told him that if he carved an outline of a woman on a green tree and drive a twenty -penny spoke into he heart for nine day that on the ninth day the witch would die and the spell would be broken.  He performed this ritual and after he could shoot and hit his targets as good as he ever could.... told by J.D Fowler

Flaming Lady

Just outside the city limits of Dothan there is a place where a man used to live who had a beautiful wife.  She had been unfaithful to him, so he took her and chained her to the bridge.  The chains can still be heard rattling when you drive a car over the bridge.  After she died he burned her.  If you drive up in the driveway you can see it still burning on a post.  No one can go up to the burning head and put it out because he will shoot anyone who tries to come within range.  So, anyone can see where he has his flaming lady...told by Judy Jones.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Phantom Cats: Omens of Death?

I was reading a book called Ghosts and Goosebumps this morning.   It is a collection of Alabama ghost stories and folklore.  One of the stories that stood out to me was told by an Alabama woman named Peggy Ham.  In her story a big white cat just appeared in her sister's room while her sister was sick.   No one saw it when it came in and everyone tried to drive the cat from the room.  There was nothing they could do to scare the cat away.  The next day the sick child died and the cat was gone.   After the funeral the family moved t another place.  In about a month another child got sick just like the first child.   One night,  the same cat appeared again.  No one saw where the cat came in.  The cat appeared three nights in a row and then it vanished.  On the third nigh the second child died.  The cat was never seen again.

In a previous blog,  I discussed a mutilated cat ghost that has been seen at Oxenby Manor.  This phantom cat was the ghost of a cat that had been tortured and killed in order to be cruel to a little boy.  The cat ghost was frequently seen at Oxenby Manor and always came just prior to some one's death.

I have also discussed Oscar the Therapy Cat in a previous blog.  I read the book Oscar the Therapy Cat  and it followed the interesting story of a cat that lives in a nursing home and always lays on the bed of patients just prior to their death.  Many doctors and scientists have tried to prove that Oscar is responding to changes in body temperature or some physical, tangible manifestation of death, but they have been unable to.  Oscar predicts death.

These three case studies lead me to my question.  Are phantom cats omens of death?  I know Oscar isn't a phantom, but he still seems to be able to predict death.  Can cats sense death and once they have died to they continue to predict death?   It seems to me that through the many cases of phantom cats I've read about this is the case.  I am by no means an authority on cat ghosts, but it seems that if you see one,   you should definitely make your peace. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Haunting on Larrabee Street

This haunting story has always been one of my favorites because it does not have a history. The haunting on Larrabbee Street has often been compared to the Amityville case, however, the house on Larrabee Street didn't have the history the Amityville house had. It is a haunting that is unexplainable. The spirit that haunted Allen and Deborah Tallman came from nowhere.
The Tallman's moved into the house on Larrabee Street in Horicon, Wisconsin in 1986. At that time, they had a little girl and a boy who was about 6 years old. Deborah Tallman was pregnant. The Tallman's loved their new home and began a fairly typical America life in their new home. Although they loved their new home, The Tallmans immediately began having difficulties in the house. They were plagued by a rash of sicknesses and their cat went crazy, climbing the walls and screaming all night. Deborah was close to her family and her family usually spent a considerable amount of time visiting Deborah. These visits began to decrease in frequency following the Tallman's move into their new home. Both Deborah's mother and sister indicated they felt sick in the Tallman home. They felt sick and suffocated.
It took more than a year for the haunting to escalate and culminate in the events that lead to the Tallman's fleeing their comfortable home. Deborah had her baby girl and the children began to complain more and more about things in their room. The little boy said that a hideous, diminutive, old woman would come into his room at night. The little girl was plagued by visions of monsters. The Tallman's grew more and more tired as their children kept them up night after night. Even their attempts at time away from home were thwarted when the babysitter saw furniture moving on it's own.
The children's nightmares could be brushed off as childhood fancy, but when Allen began to hear things and see things the Tallmans called their preacher. The preacher came into the home and told the Tallmans that their home was in the grips of something from the devil. He told them that the only way to dispel the evil that had been growing in their home was to go to church more. The Tallman's listened to the preacher to no avail. Things got worse. Windows in the basement relocated on their own, the refrigerator door remained open on it's own, the children continued to be visited by nocturnal terrors. Allen saw the garage catch on fire and when he rushed to extinguish the flame he saw a green eyed demon above the door. Allen even saw a full bodied ghost that rose from the floor in a a kind of fog and took form just long enough to tell him that he was "going to die."
Desperate, the family called the preacher again. The preacher came and told them to play church music all the time. The family listened. They listened and their was a brief reprieve before the entity came again. This time the entire family and the babysitter saw the specter just long enough to turn them all white with fear and send them fleeing into the night.
After the Tallman's left their home, the house became a local sensation and lines wrapped around the neighborhood with curious spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of some random terror. Many spectators claimed to have been successful in their desires. Many claimed to see snow blowers running up and down the driveway by themselves and furniture being flung around inside the house. Of course, none of these stories have ever been confirmed, but the stories themselves turned the Tallman house into a local legend that grew with time. Stories of the house being a gateway to hell and blood dripping from the ceilings proliferated and a media frenzy swept incidents out of control.

Despite this, and despite accusations that it was a hoax on the Tallman's part, the Tallman's have shown nothing but the desire to stay out of the spot light. They've turned down interviews and even rejected Oprah when she invited them to be her guest. They seem happiest forgetting the horror on Larrabee street.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hikyes Tomb

I've been dragging a bit on the blogging lately.  Long hours at work and family pressures have kept me too busy to write, but I am going  on several adventures in the next few weeks that may bring more wonderful ghost stories.  I am going to Cheboygan, Michigan in a few weeks to make plans for our old family house and bring some family heirlooms home in case the house is sold.  The Newton-Allaire house is haunted and it will be fun returning to the house where my passion for the paranormal began.  Although it might be a challenge getting my boys to sleep in this old, haunted house, it will certainly be heaven for me.

While I'm there,  I thought I might explore some other famous Michigan haunts.   One of the more famous and fascinating ghost stories that comes from Cheboygan is the story of Hikyes tomb.  According to legend, the farmer who lived here went insane and killed his entire family and then killed himself.     It is said that if you cross over the tomb, you will be filled with dread.  If you take a stone from the tomb,  you are carrying the tomb's curse with you.  Many report seeing ghosts and describe paranormal activity from this site.

Finding this one may be a challenge as I can't find any description of the location, however,  I have never minded humiliating myself by asking everyone I meet if they know where Hykes tomb is located.   Maybe someone in the family knows.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Terrifying and Ridiculous Haunted Attractions of Gatlinburg Tennessee


Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a perfect juxtaposition of the sublime and the absurd.   Some of the most beautiful landscape in the nation, haunting views and smoky valleys, cradle silly, black light minigolf  establishments and trashy motels.   Old wood forests lurk just miles away from every manner of silly tourist attraction.  Of course,  I do love the tourist attractions and I'm not going to lie and say I've never played a round or two of black light mini golf, but I do appreciate the irony of situation as a play.

The haunted attractions in Gatlinburg are not so different from the town.  Some are just terrible and silly, others are cheesy and fun, and some are real.   The worst haunted attraction in Gatlinburg has to be a tiny hole in the wall establishment located in between a black light golf facility and a fudge shop.  It is called Hauntings and terrible party city quality ghouls dangle from the front of this cheesy attraction.   Once you go inside it isn't much better.  You are quickly escorted back to a small room.   The entire attraction is in this one room.   The poor quality of the show is made worse by a little hope that you have that something more interesting may happen, but nothing does.   I took my six your old with me to Hauntings and he got tired and fell asleep.  If a ghostly attraction puts a six year old to sleep,  it really needs to rethink itself.

On the other hand,  The Ripley's Haunted House a few blocks a way is actually quite creepy.  I've never really been afraid of the pretend kind of haunted houses.  It's hard to be afraid of what you know is pretend.  Even though it seems like a serial is chasing you with a chainsaw in your heart you know it is just some fool with a leaf blower.   Ripley's Haunted House on the other hand did give me a few moments of pause.   Maybe the actors just caught me unexpected, but I actually jumped a few times.  One fellow came at me from the ceiling and I jumped like a little girl.  I didn't expect that. 

So if you like haunted houses and happen to be in Gatlinburg,  Ripley's is definitely the best fake haunted house.  Of course, if you want real ghosts I still think the Rocky Top Village in is one of the creepiest haunted places I've ever been to.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bloody Murders and Tortured Ghosts

The Story behind the Rocky Top Village Inn captivated me from the very beginning.  It had everything dark and sinister imaginable in a ghost story.  The story began with a group of four men planning a robbery.  They broke into the old office at the Rocky Top Village Inn and held the night clerk and the night watchman at gun point and stole all the money from the inn, but that wasn't enough.   The men saw their weeping victims and wanted more and they took what they wanted in such a violent and perverse fashion that I have been unable to find any descriptions of what they did. It was too horrible to describe.  It is known that the bodies were taken to room 1 and dumped and that the officer in charge found the bodies covered in gunshot wounds and knife wounds.   One of the murderers fled from the crime.  He had only agreed to participate in the robbery.   He left a note and a knife behind him in a nearby phone booth.  In the note,  he apologized for his crimes and said he never wanted to be part of the murders.   A man named tattoo Eddy was the ring leader of this brutal crime and he still sits on death row today.

I went to the Rocky Top Village Inn not knowing what to expect. Exploring haunted places is unpredictable.  Places that should feel terribly haunted seem vacant and places that should seem calm seem like you've stepped into Shirley Jackson's Hillhouse.  I went with some of my girlfriends.  One of my friends is psychic.  She doesn't tell many people this and she would never advertise it, but if you give her a few glasses of wine she opens up about it.  She agreed to go with me and help me explore my haunted locations.  I can sense some things, but I am no where near as gifted as she is.  With a glass of wine in hand, she once predicted my mother-in-laws death.

 When we pulled into the back parking lot of the inn, my friend didn't want to get out of the car.  She hesitated.   It wasn't just the ghosts.  The Rocky Top Village Inn is a pretty low brow motel and seedy people eyed us from their perches on the banisters above us as we crept out of our car, but even if the motel had been empty, she would have hesitated. The ghostly presence at this haunted motel was tangible.  Finally, we all got out of the car and explored the dingy, old motel.

The motel looked like it had been built over several decades and the two halves of the motel didn't match at all.  There was a newer portion with a more modern office and a pool.  It was still green and off putting, but in a general motel sort of way.  The other half of the motel was much older and made from stone.   It was in the old office here that the murders were committed.   My friends and I wandered the grounds of the motel and I took pictures of the office and room number one.  My psychic friend shifted uncomfortably and described the feeling coming from the building as beyond bleak.  She wouldn't stay long.  We left as soon as the pictures were taken.   It began to rain as we fled the scene and lightning painted the blackening sky.  My friend broke into a jog and we fled so quickly I felt like we were being pursued by something I couldn't see.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lydia's Chocolate Suicide For Two

I spent last week in the mountains outside of Gatlinburg, Tn.   While I was travelling,  I had very few ways to keep in touch with the outside world.  The one thing that seemed to work for me was the twitter application on my iphone.   Thanks to this application and Chris Love, otherwise known as smokies_r_great on twitter,  I was able to find a wonderful haunted restaurant just off the main drag in Gatlinburg.  The Greenbriar Restaurant is on the top of a hill. The road to the restaurant creeps and curves through dark woods.   I almost thought I was lost and gave up.  GPS was no help in guiding me through the forest.  The restaurant was obscured by the mountain.  It was hidden from view  behind trees and nature.  I never would have found this secluded gem without help.  

The restaurant itself is in what looks like an old cabin and has an atmosphere that lends itself to ghost stories.  A mist hangs about the front door and clings to the old brown building.  The cabin was originally built in 1939 and then converted to a restaurant.  The restaurant doesn't hide from its ghostly history.  It wears it proudly.    In fact, one of its most popular deserts is Lydia's Chocolate Suicide for Two.   The staff all say the restaurant is haunted.  The haunting is as much a part of this extravagant dining experience as the logs that make up the building.

The story of Lydia, the ghost that haunts The Greenbriar, is a sad one.   According to legend,   Lydia was left at the altar on her wedding day by her one true love.  At the time,  Lydia was a resident of the cabin and ran home weeping.   She hung herself from the rafters of the old cabin.   A few days later the body of Lydia's true love was found mangled in the forest.  He hadn't left her at the altar.  He had been killed by a cougar.   The story grew and spread and the staff insists that Lydia's lonely ghost is still a frequent visitor.   Of course,  with deserts like Lydia's Chocolate Suicide for Two,  I may be a frequent visitor as well.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Haunted North Alabama Cover Art: The Cover For My First Book

I am travelling and unable to do much on the internet right now.  I'm lost in some kind of twilight zone where the internet no longer exists and cell phone signals are few and far between.   I call this twilight zone the woods.  They are beautiful and I've found many ghost stories, but I won't be able to share anything until I get back home to the real world on Saturday. 

I was, however, able to upload the cover art for my new book today!!!  Yay!   Thank you to the wonderful team at History Press for the wonderful presentation.  Thank you to my editor for his patience with me.  I'm so happy I had to post the cover art today despite having to drive to McDonald's free wi-fi zone to do it.   So here is the cover art for my first book.  I couldn't be happier.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chasing the Ghosts of Local Legend


My family and I went looking for the final picture for my Haunted North Alabama book today.  We went in search of the infamous Cry Baby Hollow.  The legend of Cry Baby Hollow is one of the best known ghost stories in Alabama. Many people know the story.  They know that somewhere on a lonely road off of Hwy 31 a baby died.  However,  every time I've heard or read the story it has been different.  Even the location changes with the telling.  One local guided us to the Cry Baby Hollow pictured above.   It was on a crowded stretch of road, but the evidence of death around it added to its haunting appearance.   It is clear there have been many car accidents in the area and that makes it seem more haunted.  Crude wooden crosses with names and dates on them marked the places where people had died.

The second location we went to looking for the legend of Cry Baby Hollow was deep in the woods off a rural road.  It was isolated and alone and the murky water that stagnated beneath the bridge could drive someone crazy imagining what haunted creatures lurk beneath its depths.   After considering all the evidence,  we decided the second location was the more probably location for the Cry Baby Hollow legend.  In my book,  I discuss many of the stories of  Cry Baby Hollow, but there are a few I just learned on this trip.

One legend says that a local coven got hold of a baby.   They sacrificed in the woods and cast its body into the waters under the bridge.  Ever since then the baby's ghost has haunted the bridge.  If you stop on the bridge,  the ghost will push and shake your car.    Another legend says that if you leave candy on the bridge,  the ghost will come and take the candy from the wrapper.



Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Rocky Top Village Inn Murders


I have another journey ahead of me, which means I get to explore more haunted places.  I'm going to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, home of some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country and many of the cheesiest tourist attractions in the country as well.  It is also home to some wonderful haunted hotels.  

I have walked past the Rocky Top Village in on many occasions before.  We travel to Gatlinburg often enough and this Inn is hard to miss.   It blends in with the scenery and isn't very noteworthy.  It is just another motel that looks like it fell out of the 70's.  However,  this motel is quite different.  This motel was the site of two grisly murders.  Troy Valentine and Melissa Hill were brutally stabbed and shot in the back office of this little motel. Troy was a security guard at the motel and Melissa was a night clerk.  The murders occurred in 1986 and the bodies were found in room 1.   Four men were arrested for the murders and convicted.   One of the men, Tattoo Eddie, was sentenced to death.   According to many,  the motel hasn't been the same since these murders.

Visitors to this very haunted motel have described seeing ghosts around the fountain and hearing screams at night.  Some say they can still hear Melissa screaming out in anguish.  Usually,  I love staying in haunted hotels and this would be high on my list,  if it weren't for the cabin with hot tub and pool table and view that I am already committed to. It is a shame, really.  This trip I will just have to settle for an evening walk through and some pictures.   Wish me luck.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guest Blogger Camiele White Shares Her Paranormal Encounters

I love it when people tell me interesting ghost stories.  I also love it when people share their paranormal experiences with me.   I especially love it when people write to me with a story of the paranormal that is engaging and interesting.   Ms. Camiele White wrote to me with just such a story recently.

Night Whispers


There is a space in the darkness of a room that can’t be accessed through the physical. Your body is afloat in time-space, your eyes shut. There’s a definite still that keeps you accessible to those things that you deny or from which you’ve closed yourself off and it’s in that still that the trembling of voices between air creep into your psyche.
Since I was a child there were moments between wake and dream that kept me from getting a good night’s rest when the lights were off. No, I’m not afraid of the dark, but I do have those moments when I’m completely torn from night thoughts and am forced to watch the silent pictures on my television screen until the soft lull of the moving images rock me back to sleep.
Okay, enough with the poetry. The truth of the matter is I’m 24 years old and I’m terrified to shut my eyes at night. Yes, I’ve had a keen intuition when it comes to what some have simply dismissed as the wind. I know that it may seem somewhat childish, but when you’re most vulnerable, most perceptive to the spirits around you, you tend to hear things. I call them “Night Whispers”. They’re phenomena that seep into moments when you’re completely quiet. The understanding is that if a ghost wants to communicate it will do so physically, manifesting as an apparition, a drop in temperature, or even alleged specks of dust. What I’m made to believe is that the only real way that spirits have been known to be actually heard is through technology, manifested through television snow as the phenomenon known as white noise or through the interstitial spaces of sound in older video recordings (if that’s inaccurate, by the way, I’m not above being corrected). However, I’ve been shaken awake by the soft voices of a woman who both knows my name and has become very intimate with me.
I’ve not spoken to her, in fact I can’t even prove that she exists except when I’m drifting right between those minuscule seconds that separate consciousness and dreaming. But, I do know her moods very well. When she wants to caress me and ease my thundering nightmares, she softly says my name, “Camiele”, like a mother’s song. However, there have been moments when, for whatever reason, she was sincerely displeased with me when she’s lashed out at my thoughts and screeched my name, scratching it like a slither into my dreams and bringing me to an unbreathing wakefulness. This woman has no name as far as I know; she has not taken any physical form or tried to harm me in any way. However, her intimate knowledge of what soothes me in sleep or what frightens me to death is jarring.
I know I have no right to assume I know more than anyone who heralds himself as an expert on the issue of paranormal life or spiritual activity. I’m not even saying that I have ruled out the possibility that such whisperings are nothing more than a figment of my imagination; however, I know what her voice does to me. When she whispers to me at night, I’m always jarred awake freezing cold. She’s a sweetheart and a savage. She can be a mother or an angry babysitter. It’s only in those dark moments of quiet do I ever notice her existence. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this?
Article writer by day, renegade poet by night, Camiele White loves any and everything film. She chases only the original (or incredibly funny) and has been known to talk for hours about subjects that most people just don’t care about. Right now, she gets her jabberjaw jollies at http://www.starcostumes.com/%22%3EHalloween
StarCostumes.com. If you want to give her a buzz, she can be reached at cmlewhite at gmail.com.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Family Ghost

Its amazing how many stories can be taken from one drunken night.  The lights dim, the beer flows, and people talk about things they would never discuss in daylight hours.   People whisper of old traumas and secrets so long buried they had almost forgotten they existed themselves.  Of course,  remembering such wonderful stories when you've drank too much yourself is a bit of a feat.   This story was wonderful, but it may be a bit blurry around the edges because I had too good of a time.  So,  if you happen to have been at the party in question and remember this tale better than me, please let me know.  I did the best I could recalling all the events through the muddy haze of my dimmed mind.

A gentleman at the gathering I was at leaned over the table to tell me that he believed in ghosts.  He said that his wife drew them to her and that since he had been married to her he had seen things.  He didn't want to call them ghosts, because he was uncomfortable admitting it, but he had seen things.  Things were around her and with her and he could sense them.   He said that his wife's grandmother told a story.  She said that her father had fought with Pancho Villa and had saved his life.  Pancho Villa promised to return the favor.

I'm not as up on my Mexican history as I should be so I gathered a little information on Pancho Villa.    Villa was one of the most prominent Mexican Revolutionary Generals and was in prominence from 1910-1920.  He became a Mexican hero.  Villa and his men took hacienda land from the rich and gave it to peasants and soldiers. He robbed and commandeered trains and printed fiat money to pay for his cause.  He was made Governor of Chihuahua from 1913-1914 and retired in 1920.  He was assassinated in 1923 after he tried to go back to politics.

According to my gentleman narrator,  Villa was never able to return the favor in life, so he kept it in the after life and every member of his wife's family since has felt his presence from time to time watching over them.  I was able to speak to the gentleman's wife as well.  She was much more sober and admitted the story was true but didn't want to go into much detail.  She just said that she's always known he was there from time to time.  She also knows when other spirits and ghosts are present.  She doesn't speak of it often, but it is part of her daily life.   Villa stays with her and her family and may stay with her children, watching out for them and waiting to repay his debt.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book Review: The Little Book of Curses and Maledictions for Everyday Use

Curse aren't exactly ghost stories, but their black shadow can hang over many people's lives and spread outwards leaving ghosts behind them.   They dip into the paranormal and remind us that there are many things beyond our control.  They whisper of dark forces and remind us to be very careful who we piss off.  For all these reasons, I couldn't resist this little book.

Dawn Rae Downton's book of curses is fabulous, not so much because I practice witch craft and curse those that give me the stink eye in my spare time, but because it presents old curses and spells like other books present recipes.  It lays them out with an ingredient and instruction list,  all it lacks are the colorful photos of the finished project (cursed man with warts all over his face perhaps?)  It wraps these recipes in colorful jokes and stories that make this a fun bathroom book for anyone whose ever dreamt of getting back at their boss or finding a way to get back at their ex-husband.  It uses wisdom from the Simpsons  such as "revenge is a dish best served three times."  It also lists some of the most famous curses.

My favorite curse in this book is the superman curse.  Apparently,  the  2006 Superman almost didn't get made because of this curse.  Every actor offered the role turned it down.  Problems plagued it from the beginning.  Similar problems have plagued every production of  Superman from the beginning.  From Margot Kidder's nervous breakdown, to Marlon Brando's daughter's suicide, to George Reeves untimely death.  Every Superman ride ever made has broken.  The Ride of Steel in Massachusetts failed injuring several riders.  Who set this terrible curse is motion?  They say the pair who created the comic book character and 1938 cursed Superman after they were swindled out of the rights for $130.

So if you are looking for a recipe for revenge or you just have a wicked sense of humor,  you might want to sneak a peak at The Little Book of Curses and Maledictions for Everyday Use.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Ghost of Wellbeck Abbey

I was talking to a British officer last night and he told me the most wonderful ghost story.  Dinner parties are great for collecting ghost stories.  After a few glasses of wine,  everyone wants to share a story or two.  Although I  gathered several stories and a bit of a hangover last night,  this story was the most historically rich and easy to research so I went with the path of least resistance.

The officer I was talking with told me a story from his youth when he was still in military school.   He and his classmates were placed at Wellbeck Abbey.  Wellbeck Abbey is in Nottinghamshire and has a long history.  It was founded in the 12th century as a house of God.  After Henry VII dissolved all of the Catholic Church's holdings it was placed in private ownership.Welbeck became the family seat of the early Dukes of Newcastle. In the 18th century, it passed through an heiress into the Bentinck family and became the main seat of the Earls and Dukes of Portland.  While these Dukes owned the Abbey,  the renovated it and extended it a made it larger and more luxurious. The 5th Duke also excavated underground chambers.    

According to my source,  part of the abbey was used as a school and he and his peers were placed in these underground chambers.  They were used as dorms.   He knew nothing of the history of the abbey and is a sensible gentleman,  but he recalls the room he stayed in at Wellbeck as being quite haunted.   He recalls one night waking up in the middle of the night to see what he thought was his roommate waking up and brushing his hair and washing his face.   It was very early, but since it was the military this seemed reasonable and he went back to sleep.  When he woke later to his roommate getting ready he asked him if he hadn't already gotten ready and his roommate said no.  

Later his other roommate (there were three to a room) described seeing a similar event early in the morning.   The officer also describes feeling someone tapping him on the shoulder while he was brushing his hair in the morning.   All three young men, believed their room was haunted.  They felt no malevolence, but they felt sure they weren't the only ones staying in the small room at Wellbeck Abbey.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ghostly Giveaway Winner

Happy 4th of July!  Everyone in my neighborhood is lighting fireworks to rival Disney World and I'm celebrating by giving away books to Andrea Allison from Ghost Stories which is located at http://paranormalstories.blogspot.com/   .A few weeks ago I  posted a giveaway.  I announced I would be giving away a collection of Lovecraft short stories and a hardback copy of The Thirteen Tale.   Several people entered to win the ghostly summer reads and I used the most scientific methods available to me to randomly determine the winner.  This, of course, means that I used the famous iny miny miney moe technique that I mastered in grade school.   Have a happy holiday!  Don't set your hand on fire,  I already have and it wasn't as much fun as it sounds.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Iphone App Review: Ghost Tour

I love my iphone.  It is my best friend (besides my husband) and new apps make me happy.  Of course,  the new app called Ghost Tour has made me really happy.   Ghost tour is a new iphone app that uses the built in GPS to locate all the haunted locations around you.  It locates haunted locations around you and gives you directions to them.  It also has pictures and stories for each location.  This app is a paranormal tourists dream.  It will have a data base for every location in the world and be able to direct you to each haunted location.

However,  since this is a user driven program, those of us who visit haunted places have to build its data base.  Currently, there are only two haunted locations in all of Alabama listed.  There is only one haunted location listed in Tennessee.    Arizona only has one haunted location and Michigan has yet to have any haunted locations added at all.   All of this to say,  that right now it isn't very useful for finding off the beaten track haunted locations that may be fascinating and wonderful.   However,  I think I'm going to start adding to their data base.  I love haunted trips, so every trip I take from here on out I'm going to register with  Ghost Tour.  If everyone does this,  it will soon be the best app out there.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

No One Dies in Lily Dale


I received some information from HBO asking me to post information about their new show.  The show is called No One Dies in Lily Dale.  I'm not a huge television fan, but something about this show's premise caught my attention.   I went to the show's site and looked at the content on it.  I looked at the trailers and the pictures.  The show is about a town filled with mediums who communicate with the dead.  What was most interesting about this show to me was the fact that the people in Lily Dale refer to themselves as spiritualists.  I have often been fascinated with the early 20th century spiritualist movement and its birth and decline and it is amazing to see that it seems to be alive and well in a small town in New York.  Here is the show's press release;

Located just south of Buffalo, tiny Lily Dale, NY, is home to the world’s largest concentration of mediums, people who claim to be able to communicate with spirits of the deceased. Every year, thousands of visitors from all over the world flock to this quaint Victorian community to have their questions answered and grief assuaged. Directed by Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Steven Cantor (HBO’s “Devil’s Playground”), NO ONE DIES IN LILY DALE follows visitors on their emotional quests, chronicling their mysterious and deeply personal interactions with the town’s unusual residents.

The show will air on HBO on July 5th at 9pm and I think I might actually watch TV that night.  This one seems interesting.