A Thrilling Collection Of American True Ghost Stories, Scary Haunted Houses And Chilling Unexplained Happenings
By Seth Balfour
Table of Contents
[+ Chapter 4:+]
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Have you ever tried to use a Ouija board? Perhaps you were just curious. Maybe you are a believer of ghosts and you want to prove that they are real. Or maybe you are not a believer and you wanted to prove everyone else wrong? Whatever your reasons are, if you decide to use one, be careful.
How do you feel when you are at work, aside from the stress of unfinished work and the joys of being with work friends? During those times when you had to stay there late, did you get the feeling that someone was watching you? Perhaps you even heard it whisper your name or touch your hand…
The road you usually travel, are you sure it’s safe? Do you ever see someone trying to hitchhike? If so, are you sure that he or she is alive?
In this book you will learn that our world is thinly separated from the world of the no longer living. In schools, at home, on the roads, and in that pleasant hotel room-- spirits are lurking.
Most of the ghosts had a history; they must have been tortured and killed brutally, or maybe they enjoyed the place too much that they don’t want to part from it. You’re lucky if you encounter friendly ghosts, but what if they are malevolent?
Are you ready for a chilling reading experience? If so, then proceed…
Thanks again for downloading this book, I hope you enjoy it!
Copyright 2015 by Seth Balfour – All rights reserved.
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Cover image courtesy of David Ohmer – Flickr –
Chapter 1 -
The Bell Witch of Tennessee
The Bell witch story begins in 1804, when John Bell, his wife, 6 children and slaves moved to Red River, Tennessee, from their former residence in North Carolina. The father, John Bell bought a house and a small parcel of land, where over the next couple of years managed to accumulate more than 300 acres. The Bells had 3 more children after their move, Richard, Joel and Elizabeth, whom they all called Betsy- the apple of John’s eye. Their lives carried on as a typical American family of that time.
A decade later, as John was roving amid his crops, he noticed a strange animal sitting between the corn rows. It had a head of a rabbit and the body of a dog. Swiftly, John fired his shotgun, but the creature disappeared in the blink of an eye. John didn’t think of it much, but later that night, strange things started to happen.
The family heard loud pounding noises on their house, coming from outside. When they came outside, the noises stopped, so they believed wild animals must be roaming nearby.
This wild animal continued to ramble around every night, louder and more frequently, and every night John and his sons ran outside to try and kill it. They always came back empty handed and without an apparent culprit.
In the following weeks, the creature showed its true intentions. John’s kids woke up every night, frightened of the clatters they heard from under their beds. They said it must have been rats, chewing on the bedposts. Soon after, their nightly hours became even more terrifying. They told their parents how something kept pulling their covers off their beds and yanking their pillows on the floor.
As time passed by, the invisible creature from under the bed started whispering hymns to the family. They could hear her all through the day, like an old lady singing in a murmuring tone. Their younger daughter Betsy had the most vicious encounters with the ghost.
The ghost had grown accustomed to pulling her hair and slapping her so hard she often had hand prints and welts on her face and body. They told their neighbor and friend James Johnston about these odd encounters, so he and his wife decided to visit the Bell family for the night.
The ghost didn’t stay shy that night. The wife of James got struck repeatedly, until James got up and confronted the ghost. The ghost didn’t show up, of course, but at least it disappeared for the night. This was not an evil ghost, at least not for every member of the Bell family. To John’s wife, the ghost was even friendly. To the other family members, though, it was a malicious presence, especially John and Betsy.
In a short time, the ghost went from shy and whispering, to rude and troubling. It knew to spill their milk over the table, punch and sting the kids with needles and laugh at their discomfort. The word spread out and got to General Jackson, the general under which three of Johns’ sons served in the battle of New Orleans.
He took several men with him to visit the Bell’s home and verify the ghostly presence. They arrived in Red River on a wagon pulled by well-groomed horses, but just as they were to enter the Bell’s property, the wagon stopped as if it was nailed to the ground.
The men got off the carriage and started pushing it, but even though they were few and strong, they couldn’t move it, not even an inch. The general then shouted that it must be the witch, and to their surprise the witch responded. She told them that they could carry on for now, but to expect her that night.
The witch didn’t appear until the man who claimed he’s a poltergeist tamer started waving his gun, provoking any evil spirit to come out. A little later, he started jumping around the room saying he’d been stuck with needles and beaten severely.
Soon, one kick on the man’s back sent him right out the front door. The general and his men left the Bell’s property the next morning, and little is known what happened that night in their tents.
Over time, the Bell family got used to their phantom friend. Especially because she didn’t bother all of them, only the father and Betsy. By the time she became a young girl, ready to be married, the ghost could even carry an intelligent conversation and meddle in her everyday life.
Everyone was happy to hear that her neighbor and friend, Joshua Gardner wanted her hand. Everyone except the ghost. The entity kept following them everywhere, talking to them and getting them into fights. Finally, one day, Joshua couldn’t take it anymore, so they broke off the engagement.
Betsy’s father got sicker and sicker. He thought he must have had a stroke, because he was often heard saying he couldn’t breathe and had difficulties swallowing. His bad health had him bedridden in the fall of 1820. By December 20th the same year John passed away, after falling into a coma the day before.
Right after his death, the family found a vial in his cabinet, containing a liquid that didn’t match his medications. They fed their family cat with the liquid and the pet died immediately. Their son, John Jr. threw the vial in the fire, where it burst into bluish, bright flames and shot out of their chimney. The witch then spoke up saying: I gave old John a large dose of that last night, it fixed him!
The horror continued to follow John on the day of his funeral. The witch kept singing joyful songs until the last person attending the funeral left. After that, it disappeared.
It reappeared again to John’s wife a few years later, in a friendly manner, only to tell her that it will come back 7 years later. The witch came back in 1828 as promised. Most of her visits thereon were fixated on John’s son John Jr. They talked about wars, civilizations, the origin of life and Christianity.
The most significant discussion of theirs circled around the Civil War, which happened many years later. After three weeks, the witch said goodbye to John Jr. and told him she’ll contact his descendant 107 years from then. That descendant was Charles Bailey Bell, who published a book in 1934, titled the Bell Witch.
Researchers and enthusiasts of the paranormal have divided opinions of who the Bell witch actually was. Some say, it was the old lady that lived next to the Bell family, from whom John deceitfully acquired part of his property. In the few books written about this evil witch, it was detailed that John used to call her Kate, which was the name of his old neighbor.
Other sources say that the haunting was staged by the occult practitioner Richard Powell. Powell was Betsy’s school teacher, who grew very fond of her over the years. The Bell family became close with Powell and he was their frequent visitor. He mannerly told her that he didn’t agree with her marrying her sweetheart Joshua. Betsy and Powell got married soon after his first wife died, which is the same year when she broke off the engagement with Joshua.
Today you can visit the Bell’s house and the cave nearby on a tour. Some say taking photos is difficult in the area, because photos turn out blurred, shadowed or foggy.
Chapter 2 -
Chilling Experience in Hotel Monteolene
Skeptics might say that the paranormal activities happening in Hotel Monteleone are just a product of an overly active imagination. Still, people sensitive to otherworldly energies can testify that something definitely haunts the 14th floor of Hotel Monteleone.
Hotel Monteleone was a quiet and uneventful place to stay up until the late 1800s. The wealthy Begere family was a fan of the opera shows playing at the French Opera House on the neighboring Bourbon Street, so they frequently stayed at the hotel Monteleone.
The opera house was not an entertaining place for their 3 year old toddler, Maurice, so they usually left him with his nanny. One evening, while Jacques and Josephine Begere attended the opera, Maurice developed a high fever. His nanny provided the required help and care, but Maurice had a seizure and died the same night in his room.
His parents were devastated and couldn’t bear the pain of losing their only child. His mother, Josephine could not accept leaving him behind, so the parents kept coming back to the hotel year after year. Josephine believed that her son’s ghost would come to her one last time, and ultimately, he did.
Every year they stayed in the same room their boy died, on the 14th floor, which in fact, is the 13th floor. One day Maurice appeared, wearing a striped shirt, like many other boys from that time. Their first encounter after his death left Josephine in tears, when her son told her: Mommy, don’t cry. I’m fine. Josephine was dazed with bliss and joy because she was once again given the chance to see her son.
To this day people staying in the hotel and on the 14th floor, report of seeing the boy in the striped shirt. Those who didn’t actually saw Maurice said that there is definitely a heavy, inexplicable atmosphere occupying the floor. The International Society for Paranormal Research also confirmed that this floor of the hotel is the focus of paranormal activities.
One regular guest of the hotel, Phyllis Paulsen, shared intense details about her encounter with Maurice’s ghost. She said she was relaxing one day in her room, while her husband was at a meeting. Out of nowhere, a 3 year old boy was walking next to her bed. She went to see if the door was left open and to look for the boy’s parents, but the hall was empty. “It didn’t take me long to realize that I had seen a ghost.” She said.
Chapter 3 -
Villisca Ax Murder House
Image Courtesy: Ryan Moomey
In the early 1900’s, a nameless serial killer was running loose in the Mid-West of America. The weapon of choice was an axe; the victims were sleeping men, women and children.
Villisca was a nice place to live in, much like the meaning of its name, “Pleasant view” or “Pretty place”. What its residents didn’t know is that the name Wallisca in Indian means – “Evil spirit”. Its residents also didn’t know that soon all of the town’s merits would be overshadowed by several brutal murders.
This dreadful story starts with a joyful Sunday church visit. It was the yearly Children’s Day event held in the Presbyterian Church, where Lena and Ina Stillinger were invited to a sleepover at their friends’ house, the Moore family. After the carefree day spent on the church’s ground, around 10 pm, the Moore children and the Stillinger sisters walked home.
The next morning, their neighbor Mary went out to hang her clean laundry, when she noticed that the Moore home was unusually quiet. Their livestock and chickens had not been let out yet, so she decided to investigate closer.
She tried knocking on the door, but no one answered. She tried opening their front door, but it was locked. Mary thought it would be wise to call Josiah’s brother, Ross. She asked him if their father was alright, because his brother and his family seemed to have left home.
Ross arrived soon and with Mary on his side, tried to look through the window, but the blinds were closed. He tried shouting and knocking, but once he realized that no one would answer, he used his spare key to open the door. One quick survey no farther than the guest room, the first dead bodies were discovered. They called the city marshal to come to the house, where he confirmed 8 dead people.
What the city marshal saw in the blood dripping rooms was not a fairytale, in fact, far from it. Somewhere after midnight, the murderer took Josiah, axe and bludgeoned two adults and 6 children in cold blood.
Each victim, the killer struck in the same merciless method. He entered their rooms, upraised the axe and beat them to death. There was no evidence found of struggle or resistance, which means he must have used a lot of strength in one single blow to kill them before they woke up and started screaming.
But the investigation showed that the killer actually used the blunt side of the axe and beat them repeatedly, 20 to 30 times each. Some of the victims were not recognizable. One of the Moore boys was heartlessly slaughtered and covered with an undershirt. The shirt was fixed to his skull, and they couldn’t remove it to see his face. The expert doctor said that when blood and brain mix in cases like this, they form a gluey mass that grips on the clothes. The murderer covered almost all of his victims with a piece of cloth.
Sometimes he took bedclothes from nearby, other times he searched through drawers and closets. The kid’s beds were tainted with blood, with their dresses sprayed red and garments scattered around. Two kerosene lamps lit the way for this ‘monstrous creature’ in the dark and he covered himself by covering all windows with bedclothes.
The lamps were found with their wicks turned down and knocked off in different locations. At last, the perpetrator left the axe leaning on the wall on the ground floor, next to a piece of bacon. He pitilessly cleaned his murderous hands in a bowl full of water in the kitchen and left forever.
The murderer was never found, although many people were suspects.
The Reverend George Jacklin Kelly was attending the Children’s Day program and left Villisca in the morning after the massacre. He told people on the train that there were murders in Villisca, even though the bodies were not yet discovered. He was accused and arrested, but found not guilty by the jury.
Henry Lee Moore was sentenced to many years of prison for very similar killings all over the Mid-West, but not enough evidence was found to imprison him for the Villisca Ax Murders.
Andy Sawyer was another suspect who enjoyed talking about the axe murders many years after the tragedy. He had a habit of sleeping with an axe and showed special interest in the Villisca ax massacre. His name came up in several testimonies, but not enough evidence was collected for his imprisonment either.
Whoever it was that executed this heinous bloodshed in the cozy town of Villisca, buried his secret with him. Was it a ghostly figure? A troubled soul? The Moore home is left intact in hope that after 100 years, someone will solve the mystery and finally let the spirits of the victims rest in peace.
Chapter 4 -
The Friendly Ghosts at the Stanley Hotel
Image Courtesy: Flickr
Stephen King wrote the book The Shining, after staying in this hotel. Only after a daring visit there can you decide whether his ghost stories are historical evidence, or just fiction.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Freeland Stanley built an exclusive hotel, with running water, telephones, hydraulic elevator and electricity available in every room and every floor. Mr. Stanley was an inventor who didn’t just own a hotel; he owned the most modern hotel in Mississippi at the time. The guests were happy to be there and the staff enjoyed doing their jobs.
One unfortunate evening, on June 25th 1911, a thunderstorm cut the electricity out. The staff gathered the guests in the hotel lobby, while acetylene lanterns were lit as a backup system for the hotel electricity. Elizabeth Wilson was the chief housekeeper in the Stanley Hotel from its early days. She entered room 217 with a lantern in her hand, unaware that there was a gas leak.
Once the gas met with the flame from her lantern, a vast explosion shattered the entire west wing of the hotel. The massive blow got Ms. Wilson blown away right in the McGregor dining room, right beneath room 217. She survived the explosion, but broke both of her ankles.
Years went by and this incident was forgotten. Ms. Wilson recovered and kept working as a chief housekeeper in the Stanley Hotel until her death, in the 50’s. Her death however, activated a hotspot for ghosts, haunting not only the floor where the explosion happened, but the entire Stanley Hotel.
In the beginning, people reported someone packing or unpacking their clothes. Their beds were made before the housekeeper got in and their clothes folded and put away. Ms. Wilson loved her job so much, she was happy to do it after she died. Some guests even said she took their blankets off while sleeping and they found them tidily folded elsewhere. Young couples who were not married yet, were not Ms. Wilson favorite guests though. They said, she was climbing in their bed to force them apart.
Every now and then, the hotel was enhanced with new ghosts wandering the estate. Years after Freeland Stanley and his wife Flora died, they have been spotted haunting their hotel. Mr. Stanley can be seen around the administration office, keeping an eye on the hotel’s paperwork.
Flora can be heard playing her piano in the ballroom. Both of them often greet their guests from the main staircases, in formal dress code, just like they did when they were alive. The owner of the land where the hotel was built can also be seen peeking from the window of room 407. He used to smoke cherry tobacco from a pipe, and the room often smells like cherries and smoke.
Many of the guests who stayed in room 418, or on the same floor could hear children’s voices and footsteps running around, making noises in the middle of the night. They reported the banging and jabbering, but they were told there are no children currently staying in the hotel.
These and many other spooky episodes have happened in the Stanley Hotel. Although this famous hotel is not for the faint of heart, you can still visit it and get to know the friendly un-departed souls of all the people who choose to haunt this place.
Chapter 5 -
Hauntings in Alcatraz
Image Courtesy: Flickr
The most notorious prison in history is unmistakably Alcatraz, or more commonly known as Hellcatraz. It was the home for gangsters, serial killers and all kinds of other wrongdoers. The most despicable prisoners were transferred here because they had little to no chance of escaping.
Image Courtesy: Flickr
It was built on a small island on the San Francisco bay, where the prisoners were shot before they got the chance to leave the island. Al Capone, Alvin Karpis, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, along with Arthur “Doc” Barker were some of the most infamous captives in this hell of a prison. In other correctional facilities throughout America, criminals could work out a deal with the guards to get more privileges, but not here. They were only given food, medicine and clothes.
The ground floor of the prison was a torture floor for the inmates who defied the rules. On this floor, the block D cumulated the most loathsome cells, like the strip cell and the hole. In the strip cell, inmates were ordered to take off their clothes before they entered.
They were given a mattress only at night, and it was taken away in the morning to guarantee their punishment and discomfort. The cell didn’t have a sink, or a toilet, only a hole in the ground. The convicts who earned the strip cell were given water and bread only once a day. A regular meal was served once in three days.
The hole on the other hand, was a cell with one sink, a toilet and a light bulb. Rebels were kept there up to 19 days if they disobeyed the prison rules. Prisoners were regularly beaten if they got to these isolation chambers. When the guards punched them, they shouted as loud as they could, to be heard by other inmates in all block D. The prisoners from block D shouted with them, to cause a chain reaction in the entire prison.
Image Courtesy: Flickr
The haunting stories of Alcatraz are not a novelty. Even while the prison was still a functional facility, the convicts reported seeing ghostly critters. Many times the inmates told the guards that they were attacked by a man with glowing eyes. The guards ignored their claims, thinking they were just hallucinations.
But there was one night when one prisoner kept calling for help, because a man was trying to kill him. The officers ignored his calls because all cells on D block prisoned only one convict. They found the dead man in the morning, with a haunting grimace, purple face and handprints on his throat.
When the guards were counting the inmates the next morning, they totalled one extra inmate. One guard could swear that he saw the dead man, but soon he disappeared. The strangled man may have been the first ghost of Alcatraz, after the man with the glowing eyes. From then on, the guards were on the prisoner’s side when ghost stories were shared.
Before Al Capone died he was allowed to play the banjo in the shower rooms. Many guards, prisoners, and later, visitors could hear the music coming from there. Prisoners could often hear chains clinking and moaning from empty cells. Some of them could even see the ghosts, but they quickly disappeared when a guard approached them.
The warden’s house was also built on Alcatraz Island. During a party held for the warden’s visitors, a few of the guards saw a ghost of a man with sideburns in a gray suit. He left the room ice cold with its presence.
In 1963, the prison was closed. Years later, the haunting ghost stories attracted visitors, so it was reopened for tours. People who went there claimed to hear voices, footsteps and crying. Paranormal experts say that the entire prison is swamped with unearthly activities.
Block D and especially cell 14 is the place where your blood will curdle. Visitors say that this cell is where you can feel the cold clutching its chilling fingers all around you. Cell 14D is always 30 degrees colder than other cells, whether you visit in the winter or the middle of the summer.
Doors open and shut without human interference, and you can hear them squeaking in the distance long after your tour is over. You can hear the ghosts walking behind you if you go through the utility corridor and hospital. One tourist reported someone touched him on the shoulder when he stayed behind during their visit. A psychic said she contacted a spirit of a violent man called Butcher, who according to the prison records, is a man called Abie Maldowitz, Butcher, who was murdered at Alcatraz.
Indians believe that a place where many people are tortured and killed, becomes a portal for evil spirits. No wonder a place like Alcatraz is haunted to this day. It had all the elements to keep a soul captive even after its death.
Chapter 6 -
Paranormal in Wolfe Manor
Wolfe Manor was a private property built in 1922, for the young, opulent tycoon Anthony Andriotti. Unfortunately, his dream of living a long and happy life in the little piece of heaven called Clovis, California, got shattered by the Great Depression. He was bankrupted a few years later, drowned his hopes in alcohol and died at a young age of 36.
The 8,000 square foot manor, with a huge ballroom, five bedrooms and basement swimming pool sat vacant for several years, until in 1935, when it became a hospital for the terminally ill, named Hazelwood Sanitarium. The hospital was housing patients with tuberculosis until 1942, when the Telfort family bought it, and turned it into the Clovis Avenue Sanatorium, for the mentally ill.
As years went by, the sanatorium in Clovis got more and more crowded. The intentions of the owners and the state alike, took a wrong turn along the way, because the patients were neglected and abused.
In the 50’s, 10,000 square feet were added to the sanatorium and 18 new rooms housed a new group of people unwanted in society – the elderly. There were 10 beds in each room, people were sleeping in every nook and cranny, the sanitary conditions quickly declined. One nurse had to take care of more than 20 patients, and rarely someone stayed working for more than a few months. The conditions were unbearable and inhumane at best.
The situation got out of control and no one could get the sanatorium back on track. The records showed that there was at least one death each day, but there were a couple of birth certificates, as well. The staff was limited and they couldn’t handle the workload, so they had to tie or cuff difficult patients to toilets and showers to keep the situation under control.
Two murders were reported between patients, and several suicides took place as well. In those days, coroners and morticians were not available within hours like today, so the staff had a special room in the basement where the dead bodies were loaded, until a service came to take them away. Sometimes, they stacked up to 8 bodies, while waiting.
The sanatorium turned Clovis, from a nice little jewel in California, to a black hole where death, insanity, disease and torture accumulated. Every employee who left that horrifying place told their friends and family of the things they saw there. Clovis residents became scared that maybe the evil spirits who died in pain and horror will one day leave the grounds of the sanatorium and roam their harmonious and friendly town.
They started hanging crucifixes at the facility fence, blessed rosary beads with holy water and prayed for the ghosts to find their way to the afterlife. But holy water and prayers were not working on these tortured souls. They insisted on staying and haunting the place that took their last breath.
In those terrible conditions the facility kept working, taking patients in and spreading the horror in Clovis throughout the 80’s. Finally in 1992, it was shut down. But that didn’t drive away the lost souls who continued dwelling the building.
You can sense their presence there and if you are quiet enough you can even hear them. Even during the day, the inside of the building is darker than the darkest hour of the night.
Crews from “My Ghost Story”, “Mystery Quest”, “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures” have visited and documented phantoms that still refuse to leave the earthly realm. They will touch your hair and whisper your name. They will pull you by your ankles to make you fall. They will not let you leave their home until your blood starts running cold.
The spirits who got left behind have settled in this old sanatorium building, and are not leaving. Closing your eyes and screaming will not make them disappear either, they will only get more fun out of you.
Chapter 7 -
Ouija Board Experiences
Ouija Boards are capable of connecting us to the spirits, if you have one lying around your house, would you use it?
Image Courtesy: Flickr
Whole Town – Ouija Mad!
One small city in California banned this possessed talking board in 1920, because it drove its population mad. Seven friends gathered to play with the board and after they had their fun, they were seen acting crazy, walking the streets naked and yelling. The police arrested them, but the spirits they unleashed didn’t want to go away.
They stayed and crazed the little sleeping town of El Cerrito. One girl who was found dancing naked, said she stripped because that way she could communicate with the ghosts better. Even a police officer was overcome by the great power of the Ouija board. He ripped his clothes off and joined the crazy Ouija gang.
Finally, after arresting 1200 people, the city council decided it was time to handle this hysteria once and for all. They brought in mental health specialists from all over the country, to examine the frenzied people and end this raving madness. The Ouija board was proclaimed dangerous and banned, for both possessing and selling.
From Fun and Games to a Mental Hospital
You can never know what kind of ghost will be summoned with the Ouija board. Sometimes it may be a good and friendly ghost like Casper, other times it may be a demon waiting for a chance to get out of the underworld. And in rare occasions, your friendly ghost may get switched without your knowing, with a malevolent knight who will drive you insane.
This happened to a little girl named Cindy. Cindy and her sister took the Ouija board once, but nothing came out to talk to them. Cindy was intrigued and overpowered by the might of the board, she took it the next day and called for a spirit by herself. Her joy went through the roof when she contacted Jake, her long lost friend who died several years ago.
She started talking to Jake through the board every day after school. But soon, Jake was gone and she was dominated by an infernal being. Her sisters found her one day, stooped in the corner of her room, crying and pale, banging her head against the wall. She didn’t want to talk to anyone, because the demon told her that if she told anyone that they were contacting each other, she would die. Her parents had to take her to a mental hospital, where she recovered from emotional disturbance.
The Ouija Board Never Lies
In 1986, a group of friends gathered one day to test the Ouija board. From laughs and cheers, the game took a deeper and darker tone. Their friend Jonny was suffering from a fatal disease, so one of them asked the board to tell them a little about their ailing pal. They asked the spirits how much longer did their friend have to suffer and the board spelled a date.
That date was June 24th, 1987. The friends were ecstatic to hear the good news and even wrote the date on a piece of paper and sealed it in an envelope. They thought they’d give the envelope to Jonny on that day, as a “Congratulations” card for defeating his illness. Just as the board predicted, June 24th was the day when Jonny’s sufferings ended, but unfortunately, it was also the day when he died.
So, be careful what you ask of the Oija Board, in case you ever want to hold and use one.
The Ouija Board That Gives Orders
A 14 year old boy and his friend were hanging around in the woods near their school, when one of them took out a Ouija board and they decided to have a little fun. It wasn’t long until one of the boys said the board was talking to him, ordering him to stab his friend.
He followed the orders and stabbed his longtime friend in the stomach. When the police found them, the boy was still demonized and kept repeating: “The board made me do it. The board made me do it.”
After they took the board, the boy quickly snapped out of this state of possession, claiming that the stabbing was just an accident and that he didn’t want to do it. The police charged him with an attempt of murder. His lawyer pleaded him not guilty by means of diminished capacity and insanity. His friend recovered quickly, but their friendship was destroyed by the board.
Chapter 8 -
Haunted Roads and Highways
Not all roads are haunted, but some sure are. By any chance, have you travelled on these roads?
Be Careful in Archer Avenue
If you ever have traveled to S.W. Suburb of Lemont, Illinois from State Street, Chicago, you will have to pass through Archer Avenue. You better drive fast and you better watch the road, because things might show up that will make you question your sanity.
This road is not new. The Indians have smoothed it out long before it was cemented. They believed it led to other realms. Between the St. James-Sag Church and Resurrection Cemetery, strange things would happen, whether you drive there during the day or at night.
Back in the 1800’s, paranormal phenomenon was shushed and whispered. A rector at the St. James Sag church waited until his deathbed to talk about the sinister souls he saw over the years. Recent stories of the haunted avenue are more vividly documented. Several drivers reported of picking up a young girl, dressed in a white formal gown, with blue eyes and blond hair.
The girl was very quiet and the drivers had to ask her the same question several times before she answered. She always requested to be let out near the cemetery, where she would disappear. One police officer from the Cook County said he drove one night by the cemetery when he noticed eight shadows of people walking slowly through the woods.
He thought they were pranksters looking for trouble, so he got out of the car to catch them and give them a lesson. The closer he got, the more he realized that they were not pranksters and that they were not even alive.
They didn’t even notice him, just slowly glided over the bumpy grounds and tombstones. When they got really close to him, they vanished into the air.
The first, but not the only people who say they saw a glowing coffin of a child being carried in a hearse, were two musicians who were invited in the recreation hall, near the rectory of St. James Sag. Other people also heard young women mourning, while tree branches were moving without any wind. The locals describe a legend of the devil himself attending a dance many years ago.
It was in the Willowbrook Ballroom, where one night a local girl danced with a stranger. While dancing, she looked at his feet and screamed in horror. The local men started chasing the stranger, thinking he wronged her. They cornered him next to a second story window, but he jumped out. The boys ran after him, but he was gone by the time they got out. It wasn’t long until they noticed a hoof print on the very same place where he landed. From the same clattering hoofs that scared the girl.
All Kinds of Unworldly Beings Down Clinton Road
Image Courtesy: Flickr
The meek and the weak are not advised to drive alone down Clinton Road. They may come across albino animals, hooded KKK members and druid rituals. You may have heard about ghost stories about hitchhiking girls who disappear in the night, but the boy who lives under the bridge on Clinton road is a unique story.
The story says that if you toss a coin down the bridge, the invisible boy who dwells there will toss it back at you. There is more than one bridge along Clinton road, though, so if you want to test this story you will have to try them all. Nobody knows where this ghost boy actually lives. If you toss the coin in the lake, the legend says, the boy will leave it on the road. If you are not up to testing these legends, keep your eyes open and on the road.
Drivers reported seeing phantom trucks, cars, even moving headlights without a vehicle, and they would try to chase you down the dangerous Dead Man’s Curve. If you happened to see Halloween masks when it’s not Halloween, don’t look for other details. You may see things you’ll never forget.
Clinton Road is a watering hole for witches, wizards, Satan worshipers and whatnot. Mutilated animals and hanged, bloody cloaks are just the tip of the iceberg. Paradiso Road is parallel to the Clinton Road, only more isolated and less traveled, which makes it a paradise for criminal activities. The police have found a victim of a serial killer along this area too, so you may even catch crooks disposing of their trails.
Mona Lisa Drive
You will forget you are in the middle of an urban city when you drive through the fairylike Mona Lisa lane in New Orleans. You are safe if you’re among friends, but if you snuggle with a loved one, you better expect a haunting incident. The legend tells of a young girl named Mona, who fell in love with a sailor. He claimed his love to her, although he did not have such feelings.
When he got bored, he wanted to break up with her, but her reaction was far more troubling than what the sailor expected, so he killed her. Her father, a famous and rich philanthropist from New Orleans donated a collection of statuary to the city park. He had only one wish: the statue of his late daughter, Mona to stand alone in the midst of bayous lagoons, cypresses and ponds.
The Parkway Commission granted his wish and the park became a dreamland for cruising young couples. One night things got out of hand, when a car chase ended up crushing Mona’s sculpture. From then on the haunting spirit of Mona is said to appear to couples all over the park. She would float over their car and slide in the passenger side. The ghost was dressed in white, with a painful, grim face, sometimes just moaning, other times scratching on the glass of the car. Later, she was known as “Moaner Lisa”.
Chapter 9 -
Dreaded Schools and Universities
Schools can be both fun and stressful. What with all the experiences and dramas, but don’t forget… they can also be scary.
The Haunted Ohio University
Ohio University in Athens is one of the oldest universities in the state. FOX TV, through the Scariest Places on Earth series, filmed an episode about this place, forgetting to mention some of the creepiest ghost stories that surround this university. FOX featured mostly Wilson hall, as the place where most of the paranormal incidents have happened.
According to the pagan traditions, a pentagram will protect any place from paranormal activities. But the pentagram over Ohio University is made of 5 scattered graveyards and cemeteries, which might make it a safe playground for phantoms of the other side.
In the center of the pentagram you will find Wilson Hall, the most haunted place in the entire University. There are actually more than 5 cemeteries around Athens, which makes the entire University a vortex for supernatural beings. Many stories have been told about this part of the campus, maybe more glorified, than actually true.
Other legends are scarier than the hall stories, like the slave ghost that has inhabited the sorority house for more than 100 years. A private residence on the way to the Underground Railroad was turned into a sorority house. Before the young students moved their activities there, the residents were known to hide slaves from the state.
The locals started gossiping however, so government officials were sent to investigate. They only found a slave named Nicodemus, who was shot and killed trying to escape through the secret tunnel. His ghost continued to live there and scare off many sorority girls for years to come.
West Green is another haunted building of the campus, allegedly, built over old Indian graveyards. Some say you can still hear spooky chants and drumming, and you might even meet the headless buffalo that was killed during the Civil War.
The Convocation Center is a place that houses student dorms, where one ghost of a young student who died in his sleep might take your clothes out of your closet and throw books at you while you sleep. These lost souls are said to be very interested in new technology.
A student from Voigt Hall said he heard his laptop keyboard clicking when he was alone in his room, and the next day he found a torn newspaper on the floor. The Washington Hall lodges most of the ghosts. A basketball team died in an accident many years ago, and their ghosts are said to replay the good times they had in this building.
The Lady from Huntress Hall
Huntress Hall is a student house at the Keene State College. It was built in 1926 and was designed as a dorm for female students only. It got the name after Harriet Lane Huntress, an executive on the board of education, who died in 1922.
The dorm was a quiet place until World War II, when the navy trained pilots had to stay somewhere. Huntress Hall housed them, which made Ms. Harriet very mad. She firmly condemned the circumstances of men and women sleeping under the same roof, and ever since, she haunts the attic. Students can often hear her squeaky wheelchair rolling upstairs, even though the dorm accommodated girls exclusively after the war was over.
The Ghosts from the University Of Iowa
Currier Hall is a complex of buildings designed to house more than 600 students from the University Of Iowa. Somewhere along its rich history, this building was the home of three room-mates who fell in love with the same guy.
After a long argument, none of them wanted to give up their man, so they all committed suicide. After they went to the other side, they probably realized their silly mistake, so now their ghosts emerge to everyone who has a fight. It is said that they can make a room call or call for counseling services, if they hear that students can’t find a reasonable solution to their problem. Many parents knowing this story have a hard time letting their kids live in this building, but it’s good to know that someone is controlling their juvenile reactions, even if it is in fact, a spiritual entity.
The Gunman from Gettysburg College
The Confederates, as well as union troops, used and held Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College. The ghost of a soldier from the civil war may hold you at gun point from the Cupola at Pennsylvania Hall. Many times, serious reports have alarmed the campus security, about a man aiming a rifle at students, but it was later proven that the tower was empty and the locks secured. Another, more frightening sight appears at the Stevens Hall.
Sometimes a shaking ghost might pass by the third story window and peek inside. This phantom appears as a light blue spectrum of light with purple lips and fingers. According to the legend, this dormitory used to house young girls, preparing them for their college application in the Gettysburg College later.
One night, a few of the girls took in an orphan boy to save him from the frosty winter cold. The house mother found them hiding the boy and she pushed him out of the third story window to stand on the windowsill. When she left, the girls decided to take him in again, but he wasn’t there anymore. From then on, the story of the blue ghost started to spread.
The oldest building in the Gettysburg College is the Pennsylvania Hall, an old dorm, which was later reappointed as a central administrative building. During the civil war, the basement of this building was used as a morgue and an operating room.
The times and conditions did not allow for anesthesia, so soldiers were operated and amputated in ultimate pain and horror. In the 80’s, two administrative workers, came across one of these screaming operating scenes and ran out to alarm the security chief.
They told the guard they had been asked to hold down a man while his leg was being cut off, but they escaped. Because the bloody history of the building basement was somewhat forgotten, they didn’t even think of the sights from the civil war. They logically expected to find a scene with a river of fake blood and mannequin limbs and heads. When they got to the basement floor, the scene was gone; there were no patients, or doctors and certainly no blood.
Ghost Stories from Wells College
There were so many ghost infestations in Wells College, the students had to open a database to keep the details tidy and the facts authentic. The ghost of the security guard is still trying to protect students in the Morgan Hall, as they go down the stairs.
According to the myth, the building was on fire, so the guard had to push the students down the stairs in order to save their lives. He didn’t manage to stay alive, though, but his spirit still protects the building.
One political science major never set foot again in the library after her encounter with the ghost of the guard. It was very late when she finished studying, so she called the security to escort her to her dorm. In a second, the ghost of the guard appeared and walked right through her.
The ghost from Zabriskie Hall on the other hand, is not so friendly and attentive. The story goes: she was a student who was often highly appreciated by her professor. But soon she realized he’d been stealing her efforts and publishing it as his own work. She confronted him one night and he stabbed her with a knife.
Ever since, if you stay up too late there, her ghost appears and asks you to pull the knife out of her. If you assist her, she will attempt to kill you with it.
Chapter 10 -
The Many Ghosts of Jerome, Arizona
Jerome Arizona was once a flourishing copper mining town, now it’s just a ghost town with rich history, once magnificent historic sites, and a certain number of lingering ghosts.
As of now, the total number of residents only reaches 400 people, but before, during its affluent period, it catered to at least 15,000 citizens, most had vices, forcing newspapers to name Jerome as “The Wickedest City of the West”.
People died not just of natural sickness and copper mining accidents, but also of gunfights and overdosing on opium. These unnatural deaths guaranteed the ghosts of the future.
Image Courtesy: Flickr
The Haunted Community Center
Jerome’s Community Center went by many names: first, it was called J.C. Penny Building, after one of the major contributors of Jerome Historical Society. Then, it was christened as the Lawrence Memorial Hall. Now, people only call it the “Spook Hall” because of the resident ghosts lingering in and out of the building. And before you think that something horrible happened during these transitioning periods, let me tell you directly: No, that wasn’t the case.
The ghost present was apparently from way back when the community center was just an unnamed shack of bricks used by sporting women (ladies who offered sexual favors in exchange of money) as their rendezvous point with customers.
According to stories, one of the sporting women was stabbed to death by a miner, and that since then, her sad soul has been haunting the Spook Hall; she could be seen standing at the front of the building before moving and vanishing towards an adjacent hotel.
And it’s not only her-- since Jerome was known as a city of vices, as many as 100 women were pushed into making a career out of being a prostitute, and all of them felt violated. The loss of reputation, according to some residents, made their souls agitated: they haunt the area to look for the respect which was not given to them in their previous life.
The Mile High Inn
Still, there were women like Madam Jennie Banters; she was famous not just in Jerome, but in the entire Arizona, for her “talent” to give entertainment to men. In fact, her talent was so celebrated that she became one of the richest ladies in Arizona.
The Mile High Inn of Jerome was once the home of Madam Jennie and her lady friends who also made a living out of entertaining single (and even married) menfolk. Reports said that before it became Madam Jennie’s bordello, a burnt building stood in its place. Over the ashes, the brothel was erected and it was named as the Clinksdale Building; the walls were 18 inches thick, so as to prevent it from being consumed by another fire. After some time, the Madam acquired the property and used it as her home and as a brothel.
Since then, the bordello flourished: men from all over Arizona visited it; many rich bachelors and husbands considered it their hobby to visit the place, while those who were not rolling in money considered it as a luxury.
In other words, Madam Jennie made a lot of money out of her business. However, it also didn’t last.
When the state decided to become more “civilized”, brothels, bordellos, and prostitutes in general were forced out of the picture. Instead of directly operating in the Main Street, they were transferred to a more hidden area, which later bore the name “Husband’s Alley”.
Madam Jennie’s popularity slowly dwindled, and by the time prostitution became illegal, it was rumored that she had already died. The exact cause of death was never determined, but many believed that she too, had lost her life to a customer.
Meanwhile, the Clinksdale Building was used for multiple businesses: once, its lower level was turned into a hardware store while its upper level was turned into an apartment. To date, its name is already Mile High Inn-- a small hotel sporting 8 elegant guestrooms which not only cater to tourists in Jerome, but also to Madam Jennie herself.
Reports said that she is often seen AND felt at various areas of the hotel, particularly in the Lariat and the Lace Room. From time to time, she also supervises the chores in the kitchen: when materials are not kept away properly, Madam Jennie would grab it and toss it to the floor, as if she was reprimanding the workers for not doing their job.
Her habit of moving objects happens anywhere, and sometimes, even without justification. Guests and staff would report on seeing small items (and furniture) being moved. When maids enter a room to clean it, the radio would suddenly turn on.
Aside from the Madam, a phantom cat was also seen roaming the inn. Guests said that it roams the halls and visits the guestrooms-- leaving behind footprints on the bed. The experience, according to witnesses, was both entertaining and confusing: apparently, the cat is “cute” and guests, when they see it, would often stoop down to pet it or pick it up.
However, before they can complete the act, the spectral cat would vanish before their eyes! Guests also reported on hearing its “Meows” and its sharpening of claws; kitchen staff reported that it would brush up against them. No one knows for certain whom the cat belonged to before, but many surmised that it was Madam Jennie’s pampered pet.
If not the Madam or the cat, then guests would be welcomed by the ghost of an elderly man dressed in old-style clothes. There is nothing sinister about the man, guests and staff said; in fact, he appears to be friendly and “playful”. He could be seen at the “Pillow Talk” room while looking down at the alley; sometimes, he would rearrange the framed pictures on the walls of the “Kiss and Tell” room.
If you enter a previously locked room and saw that the bed sports an indentation, don’t panic. There isn’t a burglar in the hotel-- it’s just the elderly ghost who vacated the area because he knows that you’ve checked in and would use the room.
Mile High Inn also houses the ghost of a younger gentleman. Though he still hadn’t hurt anyone, he seemed to be less friendly and more sinister than the old ghost. According to reports, he liked startling guests by blowing cold air onto their skin, and he liked showing himself as a scary shadow in the Victorian Rose Room and at the restaurant.
When guests chanced upon seeing his face, they related that the man looked grumpy, as if he disapproved of everything that surrounds him.
All around the small hotel, locked doors open on their own, the scent of roses could be noticed, faucets turn on by themselves, and statues change positions without any help. When asked about the most haunted areas in the hotel, staff said it is probably the kitchen and the adjoining restaurant.
There, a singing woman could frequently be heard, the glass doors slide out of the blue, and someone always whistles as if to inform the staff that an otherworldly spirit is there with them.
It seemed like the ghosts of the Mile High Inn didn’t want to be forgotten.
Guess what? Just down the street from the Mile High Inn is another haunted hotel.
Unlike the Mile High, which only has 8 guestrooms, the Connor Hotel is larger-- it has three stories with 20 rooms. First built in the year 1897, the “Connor’s Corner” had the rich people in mind, that’s why it had a saloon, a billiards room, and a cards room on the first floor.
Since this was erected way before the laws about brick buildings were passed, many people thought that the owner, David Connor, only wasted money on the building. They thought: why build a brick hotel when you can erect it using wood? For them, the bricks ordered from Cottonwood, Arizona were a bit too extravagant for the purpose he had in mind. Despite these negativities, David persevered.
For $1.00 per night, first class citizens and travelers could get a taste of the hotel’s luxury.
David knew for a fact that his hotel would be successful, but he didn’t think that its history would be colorful; in fact, it became too colorful, if one would be honest about it.
The first tragedy happened a year after the hotel’s opening: on September of 1898, a fire broke out and it destroyed the building. Good thing David invested in good insurance. Since he was one of just two business owners in town who carried an insurance, he was immediately granted with $14,500 (more than $400,000 in 2015), making it possible for him to rebuild quickly.
In the following years, more fires would happen in Jerome and Connor’s Corner would be subjected to destruction each time, only to be rebuilt using the insurance money again and again.
In a town filled with mining camps, wooden houses, and weak tents, the thick walls of the hotel saved the downtown district from being completely burnt down. In other words, despite the mocking he received from building a brick hotel, David was viewed as an accidental hero.
When it reopened in 1899, the Connor Hotel became famous for its state of the art services and amenities, including full electricity, a bus used to deliver guests to and from the train station, and a call bell placed in each room to make room service contact easier. This solidified the hotel as one of the most luxurious hotels in the West.
For around three decades, the hotel thrived-- it had a lot of patrons and each night it was fully booked. However, when the mining business in Jerome shut down, the hotel’s popularity also sank. By the 1930s, when the ownership was transferred to the hands of David’s son, the hotel’s second and third floors were already vacant; only the first story was rented out to various business owners.
When the 1950s came, Jerome was already a ghost town and many establishments sat abandoned by their owners. It would be another decade before the Connor’s Corner breathed a new life again.
In the 1960s, a certain group of people (one that was interested in art and history) became fascinated with Jerome’s olden facet, so they moved into the town and opened it as a community for artists and as a tourist destination. The Connor Hotel opened once more, but instead of offering 20 suites, it offered 10 larger ones. That time, too, the rooms were not for the high class citizens and travelers, but for those looking for a budget board and lodging.
In 1980s, the hotel closed down again because it ceased operating at the acceptable safety standards. It only opened in the 21st century when the owners renovated it. Now, guests of the Connor Hotel are treated with a spectacular blend of past and present luxuries, with a twist of one or two haunting ghosts.
In Room 1, it is believed that the first ever guest was none other than the hotel’s electrician and he wasn’t satisfied with the accommodation. According to the tales, during his stay in the room, he was disturbed by the giggles and laughs of women on top of their creepy, whispering voices.
When the disembodied women also started blowing cold air onto his skin, he finally called it quits-- he ditched his room and slept in his van. It wasn’t comfortable, he said, but at least it was more peaceful. Since that report, other strange things happened in the said room, including cabinets opening by themselves, and weird images appearing on photographs.
In Room 2, guests and staff report on seeing objects move, from small items to furniture. Down in Room 4, several witnesses attest that they heard a man coughing and a dog growling.
Who these ghosts are, no one knew for certain. The hotel didn’t have any record of death, even when the fires happened. Perhaps, they were former guests who had a great (or not so great) memory in the hotel that they think it was only proper for them to haunt it.
The Ghost of Sammie Dean
In 1931, a woman named Samantha Dean was murdered. During that time, as we have mentioned, violence was at its peak, but Sammie Dean’s death stood out among the rest. Her case, up to this day, is still shrouded with mystery.
Sammie’s real name was Marie Juanita Loveless; she was born in 1892, in Texas, to parents Virginia “Jennie” Lee Ludwig and Oscar Loveless. Unlike most women of her time, Jennie was complex; she wasn’t hindered by rules or morality issues.
In 1887, she married her first husband and had a child with him (a daughter, also named Virginia), but several years later, they divorced (although it was a shunned process).
She married a fellow widower named James Landwermeyer, who already had 4 children from his previous marriage. Jennie and James rented a farm and decided to raise the family there. By 190o, they already had a total of 7 children: James’ 4 offspring, Virginia, Sammie, and Leo-- the couple’s son.
5 years later, James died, making Jennie a widower once more. She left James’ children and moved out together with Virginia, Sammie, and Leo. Eventually, Virginia married in 1910; she lived together with her husband at his parents’ house in Bryan Street, Dallas, Texas. Jennie, Sammie, and Leo lived a few doors away from the newly weds.
Without a man in the house, life became difficult for the family, but Sammie, in particular, was a fighter. Records show that she attempted to make a better life for herself and her family by applying to various jobs. In 1910, she worked in a factory of overalls together with her mother; they were hired as “cutters”.
In the same year, she worked as a clerk in a dry goods and clothing company (Sanger Brothers). In 1914, Sammie appeared to have left her mother; in fact, it was evident that she moved out of Dallas. Many believed that it was during this moving out period that she met George Dean, an esteemed gambler, who would also sweep Sammie off of her feet.
It is important to note that no records could show when or where Sammie and George exactly met. The truth is, Sammie’s tracks went cold for almost a decade. It was only in the year 1920 when she appeared again in Dallas together with her sister Virginia and her own family.
The house, to put it simply, was packed full: members included Virginia, her husband, Hugh, their three children, Hugh’s father and brother, and Sammie and George. In that year, George was recorded to have worked as a proprietor in a cigar store.
After 1920 though, Sammie disappeared again. It wasn’t clear what she did for a living, but many speculated that she worked as a prostitute in Colorado before moving to Arizona. Her love, George, also disappeared from the public records, although people thought that he left Sammie in Arizona, particularly in Jerome.
There are confusions about their separation up to this day: others argue that it was Sammie who left George and that when they separated, she was already having a good life. Rumors had it that she owned a car and had sets of expensive jewelry. Sammie was also known to carry lots of cash in one of the most famous bordellos in Jerome. Before long, she gained a lot of friends and admirers.
Until the 10th of July in 1931.
In the morning of that day, Sammie was still seen by a neighbor, but come noon time, she was already missing in action. Friends went to her house, but she didn’t answer the door. The neighbors and her friends let it go-- perhaps, she was just busy with chores that she forgot her other appointments.
They didn’t think that Sammie was unwell or that she was in danger until a man named Leo Portillo did some snooping. According to reports, Leo tried the front door but it was locked, so he snooped at the back door, which, surprisingly, was wide open. When he entered, Sammie was there, bruised and mangled, and dead from being strangled.
Since the room was ransacked and Sammie’s gun and purse were missing, police assumed that robbery was the motive. However, when they noticed that the expensive jewelry sat untouched, they began thinking outside the box. Perhaps, there was another reason for the murder-- but what? And who would do such a heinous crime to a well-liked citizen?
There were few suspects, but no solid evidence could link them to the crime. For instance, Sammie wrote back to her family telling them that the son of Mayor Thomas Miller asked her to marry her; when she refused the proposal, the son allegedly vowed revenge.
Residents said that the son in question disappeared after the murder, but it cannot be proven; in fact, it seemed to be a total sham. Mayor Thomas’ two sons were both 20 years younger than Sammie and the two had lived a peaceful life in Jerome up to the 1940s, so how could they possibly be guilty of the crime?
The next obvious suspect was Sammie’s boyfriend, a miner who was not questioned. At the time of the killing, George Dean’s whereabouts were still unknown.
Virginia and her family took care of Sammie’ funeral in Dallas, but they were not able to take care of the killer. Perhaps this is the reason why Sammie is still haunting Jerome.
Reports say that she has been haunting the town’s Crib District since her murder. Crib District was also one of the places where bordellos and brothels transferred when the town became more “civilized”. Crossing the district now is enough to give you the chills, but more so if you hear the giggles and whispers of the sporting ladies, particularly of Sammie Dean who appeared to be looking for her murderer, whom, many assumed was one of her patrons.
If you see a shadow at a distance, smell an old perfume, or perhaps feel that someone is watching you, just think of Sammie and her search for justice. If, all of a sudden, you hear disembodied footsteps, you might as well consider walking in haste-- the ghost of Sammie Dean isn’t harmful, but she could be a little scary when persistent.
Chapter 11 -
Mounds of Haunting
Image Courtesy: Flickr
When a person is asked what he thinks about prisons, the immediate response would be “They are evil.” And this is not a surprising reaction; after all, it is in prisons where hard criminals like murderers, rapists, and robbers stay after they were caught.
But, if you think about it-- prisons SHOULD NOT be evil in nature: their purpose is to help the violators learn their lesson and assist them in starting anew.
Truthfully so, penitentiaries have both sides: the bad people and the good intention people. Honestly speaking though, when it comes to “haunted-ness,” the bad side dominates the good. Why? Perhaps it is because people cannot discount the fact that many prisoners never had a chance of redemption-- for them, the prison was their last stop.
It was the place where they would await their execution, and in some instances, it was the place where they were executed. Their souls probably felt not just disappointment and fear, but also anger and hostility.
For at least 1000 men, the Moundsville Penitentiary was that last stop. An even sadder truth? Not all of those who died in this prison were executed (through hanging or via the electric chair); some were killed in a riot, while others committed suicide. In other words, the penitentiary had seen various situations where the evil were punished, where dreams shattered, and where survival was the primary goal.
No, the Moundsville Penitentiary was not a happy place.
Originally named as the West Virginia Penitentiary, the Moundsville Prison began its operation in the year 1863. Moundsville, even before the establishment of the prison, was already an area of death; did you know that it got its name from the mounds of Adenia Indian burial sites?
Inside the newly built correctional, the life of an inmate was hard-- remember that the era was still in the 1860s, a time when criminals were thought as devil incarnate; due to this, people thought that they should be stripped of their human rights. The situation inside the prison was so dire that The US Department of Justice included it in their Top 10 List of Most Violent Correctional Facilities.
Not one inmate was safe inside the wall of Moundsville Penitentiary; all of them had to watch their backs. For instance, the recreation area was far from being a place of leisure; it was a place of sin where gambling, fighting, raping, and even murder took place.
As much as prisoners could help each other out, they could also torment someone whom they thought did not belong-- someone whom they considered a “glitch” within the pack. One good example of this glitch was R.D. Wall, the prisoner who had the number 44670.
On October 8, 1929, Wall was complacently trudging the prison halls which led to the boilers when three inmates ganged up on him and cut him open, painfully, using dull knives and razors. When the “activity” was over, Wall was highly mutilated to the point that he was butchered literally into pieces. And to think that Wall was just one of the 36 violent homicides that occurred within the penitentiary walls.
Unsurprisingly, R.D. Wall was one of the earliest manifestations in the Moundsville Penitentiary.
More than 80 men were hung in the gallows of the prison from 1899 to 1949. Each time a hanging took place, crowds would gather around the execution site to witness the end of a hard criminal. This ultimately brought humiliation and discomfort to all those who were subjected to die.
In 1951, the state ruled hanging as a cruel form of execution, and so, they removed it entirely; especially after one prisoner was decapitated after a botched hanging.
The last man hung in the penitentiary was Bud Peterson of Logan County; he was charged after killing a woman because of some poker debts. After Bud’s death, his family refused to collect his remains, so like other unwanted dead bodies, the penitentiary grounds became his final resting place. In 1951, an electric chair was made and it executed 9 more prisoners until 1965-- the year when West Virginia finally outlawed death as a capital punishment.
Despite the removal of the death penalty, life in prison was still excruciating; in many cells which only measured 5 by 7 foot, three prisoners stayed! Two of them had to sleep in the narrow bunkbeds while the third had to sleep on the mattress on the floor. In other words, they were no better than caged animals.
In time, the state also ruled this as inhumane, so in 1995, the Moundsville Prison closed down for good. Ironically speaking, it seemed like the spirits of the prisoners were now free, for they roam the area like they owned the place.
Frequently, shadows would show up at the cells and weird human images would show up on photographs. The presence of strange noises still manages to scare the staff out of their wits especially when coupled with breaths of cold air. In some occasions, several staff had been accosted by invisible forces.
If you want to have a glimpse of the haunting, you can avail of the tours they offer: there are group tours, day tours, photography tours, and historic tours (usually on Mondays). If you want to investigate on your own, you can buy tickets for their 3 Hour Investigation Package; simply choose between 9:00 pm to 12 am timeslot or 7:00 pm to 10 pm slot.
If you want to take the investigation to a new level, why not stay overnight? The West Virginia Pen Tours also offer Private Paranormal Investigation from 11:59 pm to 6:00 am or 11:00 pm to 6:00pm.
Chapter 12 -
Courage is Needed in Battery Carriage
Image Courtesy: Flickr
Deemed as the Most Haunted Inn in Charleston, South Carolina, The Battery Carriage had numerous testimonials from guests which prove that previous residents still lurk the area. For Drayton Hastie, the owner of the inn, the place was truly haunted, even though he and his wife were never given the opportunity to witness one ghost. For him, the almost similar stories which came from the staff and the guests were proof enough.
Below are samples of the reports received by Drayton:
In 1992, guests reported on having seen two ghosts: one was of a gentleman, and another of a headless man. The exact identities of these ghosts were never revealed, but the gentleman ghost seemed to belong to the previous owners of the inn; he was most likely a college student, who, for reasons known only to him, jumped from the roof of the building and killed himself.
The headless torso, according to rumors, was a man from the Civil War period; back then, The Battery Carriage was an artillery instillation. There are no reports that indicate any harm done by these two ghosts, although staff and guests alike admitted that the headless torso gives off a threatening aura.
Below are the even more detailed reports of haunting PER ROOM:
The account was from a couple who stayed several nights in the room. In the first night, they were awoken by strange noises. When they opened their eyes, the man saw that his cellphone was blinking; it was weird he thought, because before he went to sleep, he turned it off due to the lack of signal. The blinking phone happened several times during the night and each time, after the glow subsided, they would see that it was indeed off.
Stranger was the fact that whenever the cellphone glowed, the faucet at the bathroom would also turn on. They also saw a “giant firefly glow” in the bathroom; on the second night, they saw it again, but in the sitting room. Various figures were also present and they seemed to be moving about in the room.
Disturbed by the nights spent in their room, they talked to a clairvoyant, Susan, who was also a guest in the inn; Susan went inside their room and admitted that there was a strong energy presence, so she asked the spirits to leave. After that “conversation”, the couple’s following nights became more peaceful.
In Room 8 resides the infamous Headless Torso. In 1993, Drayton received a call from an engineer who stayed at the inn a year ago. Confused, Drayton asked him what the call was about and the man answered that he wanted to ask if other guests had experienced anything strange while staying in Room 8.
To balance it out and prove that he meant no harm, the engineer said that he was a practical person and that he didn’t often believe in paranormal “stuffs”; however, since their stay in the inn, the disturbing feeling wouldn’t leave him so he decided to talk to the owner.
Apparently, while the engineer and his wife walked from a diner to their room, they saw several cats which were “supposedly drawn to the spirit world”. Then, in the middle of night, the man got the feeling that he was being watched, so he opened his eyes: looking around, he saw the headless torso of a man who appeared to be well-built.
He added that the headless man seemed to be strong, and that it was wearing several layers of clothing. Still unsure whether he was awake or dreaming, the engineer touched the chest of the headless apparition; he said that when his fingers touched the coat, the raspy breathing of the ghost turned into a threatening moan.
It was then that he “woke up”-- he was drenched in sweat because of fear and his heart was pounding; when he looked around the room, he noticed that he was alone except for his wife.
As it was, the engineer knew that it wasn’t just a dream. His theory was further solidified when he learned that The Battery Carriage had been a site of pirate hangings in the past.
Another report in Room 8 was that of a woman who was only named as Mrs. S. She said that, one night, at around 2:00 am or 3:00 am, she woke up to the noise of interior shutters moving by the door. When she looked at the direction, she was entranced to see that the topmost shutter was moving. When it stopped, the two bottom shutters moved at the same time, then, the two top sets moved simultaneously.
Narrowing her gaze, she noticed that a shadow was cast at the uppermost shutter set, but no shadow was seen on the bottom half. Strange, she thought. Then, all of a sudden, the opened shutters closed one by one, until only the top left was left opened. Afraid that it would be dark if the last panel closed, she went to the bathroom and turned on the light.
Because of the unease she felt. Mrs. S. awoke several times during the rest of the night, and she noticed that the top left panel remained open. In the morning, she related the events to her husband, and although Mr. S didn’t see the moving shutters, he admitted that he too, saw something strange before he fell asleep.
According to him, while waiting for slumber to come, he felt compelled to look at the mirror -- what compelled him, he didn’t know -- but when he did look, he saw a misty apparition. Mr. S. could make out the eyes, nose, and mouth, but not the gender; after a few moments, the frosty image also disappeared and Mr. S went to sleep.
Another guest shared her horror story by sending a letter to the Inn keepers. The letter began by saying that the inn keepers should be praised because of their wonderful service and that the hotel was admirable-- they were thrown back into time the minute they set foot in the inn.
In the next paragraph, she related that she wanted to share a ghost story-- one that she and her husband had experienced during their stay. According to her, when it came to paranormal things, she was the believer and her husband was the skeptic; yet, it was him who constantly felt the presence of the ghost.
Each night, her husband would be awakened due to the feeling of being watched, in fact, he felt like someone was “hovering” over him. Annoyed and a little curious, he took hundreds of photos in the room and managed to capture “reflective lights” and several orbs.
After taking photos inside the room, she took the camera from her husband and let him sleep. She thought, if there were orbs and lights in the room, then, perhaps there were more outside and around the inn.
When she reached the courtyard, she purposely took a picture of the door to their room. Upon downloading the photos, she noticed that there was a torso floating by their door. She thought that perhaps it was just a shadow or a condensation, but when she checked the other images, none of them contained the floating torso. Besides, the apparition was dimensional enough: she was able to see the neck, the shoulders, and the body.
In the end, the letter sender said that the haunting experience along with the soft bed and sheets, powerful AC, and delicious breakfast, made their stay at the hotel action packed and exciting.
From the letter sender who only gave her name as DC, another story of haunting was revealed. According to her, she and her twin sister were celebrating their birthday, so in the light of the occasion, they decided to pamper themselves by staying at the Battery Carriage Inn.
The date DC had provided was May 19, 1992.
Both her, and her sister, DS, loved historical places, so the fact that the entire hotel was decorated using the 1800s ambiance was a plus. By 11 Pm, they were already at their room and were ready to hit the sack. Being cautious, DC took the antic chair and placed it by the door, telling her sister that should anyone attempt to come in without permission, the chair would serve as a barrier.
Well, the barrier was useless.
DS immediately fell asleep, but DC lied awake; she was feeling restless but she didn’t know why. All of a sudden, she saw a grey apparition by the door-- it passed through the chair and moved swiftly on her side of the bed. Without hesitation, the ghost laid down beside her and even put his arms around her shoulders!
DC didn’t feel any pressure on her shoulders nor did she feel frightened-- the man seemed harmless enough. Thinking it was an interesting experience, DC called to DS several times, willing her to see the ghost; when her sister stirred and asked what was wrong, the ghost vanished before DC could answer.
The rest of the night happened without any more sightings.
In her letter, DC expressed that it could have been better if she just stayed quiet. Perhaps, the man became frightened when she spoke, so he left. In her opinion, it was as if he only wanted to share the bed and didn’t mean any harm to the guests.
It was because of these reports made by DC that CP, the next letter sender, chose Room 10 when she and his parents visited the Battery Carriage Inn. In her account, CP said that from the very beginning, she felt unnerved-- someone was watching her every move. While she was unpacking, she was almost sure that an entity was behind her.
In her desire to keep calm, she took her Bible and read Psalm 23 aloud-- for about 10 times. In each repetition, she made sure to give more emphasis to the passage that says: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I feel no evil”. After 10 recitals, the ambiance of the room totally changed: from merely unnerving, it transformed into something totally sinister.
Thinking that reading the Bible only made it worse, CP stopped and decided that she would just sleep the whole matter of. Only, she wasn’t able to get enough shuteye. Even sleeping with the Bible didn’t alleviate things.
The next day, after getting out of the room, CP heard the distinct sounds of heavy footsteps; since she thought that it was another guest, she turned around to say a greeting. Well, no one was behind her, but she did see someone come around the corner. Looking back, she finally admitted that a ghost might have followed her from Room 10.
On CP’s second night, she vowed not to recite the Bible, and guess what? Everything became calm. At the end of her letter, she expressed her desire to check into the hotel again, even at Room 10-- because now, she knew exactly what not to do to be spared of the hauntings.
Another set of guests even set up a camera in this room and taunted the ghost to come out and to not be camera shy. They didn’t see a ghost, but they believed they had recorded one. When they reviewed the video recording, they noticed that the lens was focusing on something, although what it was, they couldn’t figure out.
All they saw was the significant blurring-- as if the camera was trying to focus on a moving thing that passed by it. And this happened for the entire 2 hour video.
Looking back, the witness realized that perhaps, it was because of her husband’s taunts. The ghost definitely showed that he or she was not camera shy.
I’m sure some of the places mentioned here are familiar to you. Maybe you even had an opportunity to go there. Back then, you may not have felt anything (or maybe you already had), but try to return there now, equipped with its history and the horrors taking place there… feel the difference.
Whether you are a believer or not, you must accept one thing: there are certain things happening in our life that, try as we might, cannot be explained. We can choose to dismiss them as mere hoaxes: products of an imagination gone wild, but the feeling that something other worldly is happening cannot be relinquished.
The next time you travel an unfamiliar road, or visit a university, relive the stories we’ve had. Your travel or stay there will surely be interesting.
Thank you and good luck!
Check Out My Other Books
Below you’ll find some of my other popular books that are popular on Amazon and Kindle as well. You can visit my author page on Amazon to see other work done by me. (Seth Balfour).
If the links do not work, for whatever reason, you can simply search for these titles on the Amazon website with my name to find them.
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Links to Pictures
Jerome, Ariona –
Clinton Road –
Ouija Board –
Stanley Hotel –
Villisca Murder House –
Battery Carriage –
Have you ever tried to use a Ouija board? Perhaps you were just curious. Maybe you are a believer of ghosts and you want to prove that they are real. Or maybe you are not a believer and you wanted to prove everyone else wrong? Whatever your reasons are, if you decide to use one, be careful. How do you feel when you are at work, aside from the stress of unfinished work and the joys of being with work friends? During those times when you had to stay there late, did you get the feeling that someone was watching you? Perhaps you even heard it whisper your name or touch your hand... Whether you are a believer or not, you must accept one thing: there are certain things happening in our life that, try as we might, cannot be explained. We can choose to dismiss them as mere hoaxes: products of an imagination gone wild, but the feeling that something other worldly is happening cannot be relinquished...