Friday, August 18, 2017

Do Ghosts Set Off Smoke Alarms?

For the past week,   our smoke alarms have been going off every night at 9:00pm.   Nothing has been on fire.  There has been no smoke.  The alarms just go off.  We live in a new house we purchased from the builder 5 months ago.  The smoke alarms are brand new, but every night the alarms go off.  This is a huge pain in the ass.   It is loud and wakes up the kids.   Everyone panics and runs around.  You never realize how hard it is to stop those things from going off until you try to get them to shut up.  I knocked the things off of the ceiling and they still went off in my hand.  I mashed the button.  I took the batteries out.  If one goes off,  they all go off.  It is maddening.

This maddening smoke alarm behavior got me thinking about whether or not a ghost could produce this type of behavior in a smoke alarm.  My preliminary research showed that many people have this problem.   I found countless message boards where people have asked if a haunting could produce an alarm going off every night at the same time.   One person hypothesized the following on a yahoo message board, "If the theory about ghosts being a collection of energy is true, then yes, they could manipulate electrical equipment to do such things, powering if from their own energy."  This made sense to me.  This theory is supported by the large number of people that describe this type of  smoke alarm activity in haunted locations.    Stories like this one from Castle of Spirits http://www.castleofspirits.com/stories03/smokedet.html are prolific.    Another interesting smoke alarm ghost story can be found a http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=3449.

While my husband was in medical school, he worked in the Morgue.  The morgue was located in the basement of the hospital and was isolated from everything else.  The work was easy and we could sit together and watch movies and play games.  Bodies didn't come in often and we were the only ones there.  Every night the smoke alarm went off  in front of the cooler where the bodies were kept at 3am on the nose.  It was like clockwork.  It went off for five or ten minutes and then went quiet.  It was more than creepy, especially when you are spending the night alone at the morgue. 

So, theoretically a passing spirit or ghost could produce the type of behavior we've observed in our smoke alarms here.    I also wanted to investigate non supernatural possibilities for my faulty smoke alarms.   I did my reading and found that there are many things that can contribute to smoke alarms going off at the wrong time.  Many modern smoke alarms are also triggered by intense heat.  So, if it is very hot and your attic is excessively hot sometimes that will heat the ceiling and trigger the smoke alarm.  Also, if  hot steam from a shower rises up this could trigger the smoke alarm.  It is also always possible that the things are broken and need repair.  I could easily rule out the smoke alarm being broken by talking to my builder.  I could also rule out the attic heat hypothesis by going up into my attic and finding that it was not really hot up there.   That left the steam possibility.  My son does shower every night around nine and after examining his behavior, I think he was setting off the alarm by opening the bathroom door and releasing all the hot steam onto the smoke detector.  

Our house is not haunted, but that doesn't make the number of cases of smoke alarms going off without any reason less interesting.   I have never found an explanation for the alarm that went off at the morgue.   The alarm was a hospital alarm that was checked regularly due to tight hospital regulations.  It was in front of the cooler and the air around it was cooler than the rest of the hospital and since the morgue was in the basement there was no attic above it.   My husband and I still tend to believe that the phantoms of the dead locked up in that rancid smelling cooler drifted out late at night, setting off the alarm.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dragsholm Castle

I love history.   The reason I first fell in love with ghost stories is because of the many layers of history that lurk behind each story.   In Europe,  the layers of history go deeper because the history is so much longer.   Dragsholm Castle is one of the most haunted places in Europe and it is filled with history and ghosts.  Dragsholm Castle was was constructed during the 12th century by Bishop of Roskilde. When the castle was finally completed it became home to royalty and nobles alike.  Dragsholm is one of the oldest secular buildings in Denmark and its history is long and dark.


In the 16th century,  the castle became the residence of the royal family.  During the period from 1536 to 1664, Dragsholm Castle was also used as a prison for noble prisoners. In the large tower at the northeast corner of the castle, prison cells were made.  Some of the most well-known prisoners at Dragsholm Castle include the last catholic Bishop in Roskilde, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the mad squire, Ejler Brockenhuus.   The Earl of Bothwell was subjected to particularly horrible treatment in the tower and was tied to a pillar and left to rot.  He was given just what was necessary to keep him alive and he was said to have gone mad.

The Earl of Bothwell is one of the most famous ghosts of Dragsholm.   The Earl has been seen riding into the courtyard of the castle with his horse and carriage.   Many visitors claim to have heard the horses hoof beats upon the cobbled yard.


The castle is also said to be haunted by two other ghosts. There is a white lady who is said to be a daughter of one of the bovles who owned the castle.   She fell in love with a commoner and when her father found out he was so angry that he imprisoned her in the dreaded tower. She was more than imprisoned, legend says that he walled her up in her prison cell and left her to die.   It is said that every night she returns to the castle and walks around the corridors.  There have been numerous sightings of her.  There is also factual evidence to support this story.  In the 1930's, when the old walls of the castle were torn down, workers found a hole in the wall and a skeleton with a white dress in it.

The last ghost to haunt Dragsholm Castle is a gray lady.  She is the rarest of the three ghost and is seldom seen or heard. She is believed to be the ghost of a young serving girl who died of a tooth ache.   She lingers in the shadows, hiding from sight, looking for a light in the darkness.

If you would like to visit Dragsholm Castle,  you are very much in luck.  During 1937, the castle came into the ownership of the Bottger family who have since converted it into a hotel.   Their website explains their many services and tells about the castle, its history, and the wonderful food that can be eaten where others once died.  You can plan your visit by going to  http://www.dragsholm-slot.dk/en  .

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Ghosts Beneath

Chattanooga, TN doesn't seem like a city that would have and something beneath it.  It is a small, Southern city. However, beneath the streets of Chattanooga, there is a forgotten, haunted city.   In March of 1867,  the city of Chattanooga was completely flooded.   The city streets were totally submerged and everything grinded to a halt.   In order to get from one building to the next,  residents and tourists had to travel by boat.  This was a disaster on an epic scale, dozens of people died, livestock was lost and homes drifted away in the water.   It was a catastrophe and during these times there was no help.  Residents had to wait it out and pray that none of their loved ones vanished with the constantly moving waters. This wasn't the first time Chattanooga had flooded.  The city had flooded two times prior and residents were desperate for a solution.

According to Chattanooga writer, Cody Maxwell, sometime during this disaster the city came up with the idea of raising the streets of the city.   It seems that the flooded and waterlogged citizens decided that if they just raised half the city streets up 20ft it would take care of the flooding because the water would be under the streets.  Not only did they imagine this idea, they did it.   All of this was very poorly documented and it wasn't until one gentleman noticed that the top parts of windows and doors were sticking out of the street  that anyone remembered that a large portion of Chattanooga was under the street.  Twenty feet beneath Market street there is an entire city waiting to be discovered.

This underground city is a regular stop on the Chattanooga ghost walk.  According to the Chattanooga Ghost Tours owner, Amy Petulla,  there is an entire city of ghosts under the streets of Chattanooga buried beneath the roads like part of the lost city.  Amy Petulla regularly takes groups to parts of the underground to tell them about the haunted history of the city.  She says that this is the most haunted part of the city and visitors have claimed to have been pushed, bitten, and grabbed in Underground Chattanooga.

Amy wrote a book about the ghosts of Chattanooga called, Haunted Chattanooga, and many of her terrifying stories of the things that happen beneath the streets can be found there.