Saturday, January 31, 2015

Chimera House

I'm sure some of you have heard about a supposedly haunted house attraction the Chimera House or "13 Floor Money Back House" so frightening that no one has been able to complete a full tour of it. Sorry to burst your bubble but this house doesn't exist.

It started to circulate among the population around in the mid-1980s. Like most urban legends, there are many variations of this one. However, they have some common links. The location of this house is usually set in the South or Midwest, but it is believed this legend may have started in Kansas City. Some have it located in an actual supernatural location or an abandoned hospital. Rumor also has it that the haunted attraction Britannia Manor may have also been the inspiration for the Chimera House.

The "house" has a specified number of floors or levels (most of the time it's 13 floors), and visitors are charged an exorbitant fee for entering, but get back a specified dollar amount for each floor or level completed. Those who complete the full tour get back every cent they paid to get in. In the same breath, however, one hears that no one has yet managed this feat — this place has proved to be too scary for those who've accepted the challenge in the past. The alleged horrors one can find in this house are deadly/poisonous animals, paranormal activity, and even deformed humans. Some versions include that a few visitors never came out of the exit and were later found dead on the top floor.

Many have filled the need for the interest in this legend. Richard Garriott, the creator of the Ultima series of computer games, use to Halloweenify his home and open it to the public. For fours years, 200 guests a night were allowed to explore the interactive theme park for free, witnessing a real-life sword-and-sorcery adventure, complete with monsters and mayhem.

Amusement parks even join in on the fun, turning into a fright-themed after-dark attraction. Of course, not everyone is looking for the ultimate scare. A woman in January 2000 filed a $15,000 lawsuit against Universal Studios in Florida, claiming their annual Halloween Horror Nights was too scary. Ms. Cleanthi Brooks, 57, said she knew it would be scary but not that scary. She said that when she and her granddaughter were visiting the Florida Park in 1998, an employee wielding a (chainless) chainsaw chased them toward an exit, with the result that they slipped on a wet spot and suffered unspecified physical injuries.

I believe the Chimera House will never be found, but think of the haunted attractions you may discover while looking for it.

Source: 

Snopes

Wikipedia - Chimera House

Gravedigger's Local 16

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Oliver House

Today, the Oliver House in Bisbee, Arizona serves as a bed and breakfast to guests of all kinds. In 1909, it was built to accommodate Calumet & Arizona Mining Company executives. Mining tycoon Henry Oliver's wife Edith Ann Oliver oversaw the construction of the 12 room red brick structure in 1908. Since then, it has been a residence, boarding house, and business office. The building may have a pleasant appearance but also a violent past. There have been allegedly 27 deaths (mostly murders) on the property. The actual number can not be verified due to fires destroying historical records.

One known murder is that of a miner named Nathan Anderson. On February 22, 1920, Nathan attended a social affair, walked a woman home and had a light supper prior to returning to his room in the Oliver House. Approaching the door of Room 13, an unknown assailant shot Nathan three times and fled the scene. Some believed a theft a day prior to the murder may have been connected. However, most believe his murder was more personal. The story circulating say Anderson was having an affair with the wife of a man he owed money to. That man discovered the affair and decided to confront Anderson and settle things with a pistol. His murder remains unsolved.

Alleged cheating and murder seems to be a theme at the Oliver House. It is believed a mass murder may have taken place on the property as well. Supposedly, in 1932, the wife of a police officer chose the formerly known "The Blue Room" at the Oliver House as the place to have an affair. One night, her husband tracked her down. He killed his wife and her lover in the bed they shared. There is a bit of a dispute as to what happened next. Some say the policeman killed a lot of people out of panic, trying to get out of the building. Then, committed suicide once he was out of town. Others say the policeman went on a rampage. Killed his wife, lover and anyone else he could find before committing suicide.

Another reported death wasn't considered violent at all. An older woman passed away of natural causes in what is known as "The Grandma Room". When Dennis Schranz bought the Oliver House in 1986, he removed a rocking chair and a coo coo clock from this room. Why? This woman is believed to haunt the room. She loved to make the rocking chair rock and a broken coo coo clock chime at 2 am. People who have spotted her ghost have reported she smiles and winks before disappearing. All sounds rather benevolent, right? After her two favorite items were removed, she became a bit violent, hitting a little boy who was sleeping in her room.

This is by far not the only reported paranormal activity at the Oliver House. A shadow figure is often seen around Room 13 where Nathan Anderson was murdered. People have described hearing the sound of firecrackers followed by footsteps, running down the hall. Doors and shutters open and close by themselves. Witnesses have heard voices, running water as well as work being done on pipes that no longer exist, furniture moves on their own, feelings of being watched, cold spots, sounds of parties on the second floor when no one was there.

The Oliver House was up for sale last year. Not certain if anyone purchased it or not, but their Tumblr page has plenty of photos of the property.

Sources:

Haunt Spot

4 Girls and a Ghost

Legends of America

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Vintage Vampire Stories Review

Skyhorse Publishing, May 1, 2011
Paperback, 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1616082348
Ordering Information: 

Long lost to the public in out-of-print pulp magazines, dusty Victorian anthologies, and the pages of now defunct newspapers these vintage vampire stories have truly proved immortal. Resurrected now for the year 2011, this is a stunning collection of nineteenth-century vampire stories by heavyweights such as Sabine Baring-Gould and Bram Stoker. 

These 15 rare stories are arranged in chronological order from 1846 to 1913 and are compiled by two of the world’s leading vampire anthologists and experts. Also included are rare images of Bram Stoker’s handwritten manuscript pages for Count Vampire (1890) courtesy of the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia.

Now, it took me awhile to finish this book but I'm finally starting to get caught up on my reviews. This book didn't grasp my attention as much as I would have liked. 

I was looking forward to reading other author's interpretations of the vampire pre-Dracula. The way they look. How they feed on human life. Most tales weren't what some have come to known as "traditional". "A Kiss of Judas" written by Julian Osgood Field could easily be the subject of a Supernatural episode. However, this book has a couple of things working against it. Some stories have a rather....long winded feel to them, a lot of telling versus showing. Makes reading them all that more tedious. 

I must add this collection needs some serious editing. There were way too many misspellings to overlook. I spotted some words that didn't fit with the prose such as "clay" instead of "day" and "of" instead of "or". Each tale was accompanied by a short introduction about the author separated from story except in the case of Morley Roberts' "The Blood Fetish". For some reason, the Appendix font is tiny compared to the rest of the book. Not sure why (maybe to save space?).

Vintage Vampire has some interesting versions on this type of monster. However, if this kind of prose is not something you are use to, prepare to fight through it. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays



Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Ghost Stories!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Krampus

On Christmas Day, most celebrate with presents, stockings and Christmas trees and traditionally believe the naughty kids receive lumps of coal for all the trouble they caused throughout the year. However, there are those who believe Santa Claus turns to a much darker character to dish out the punishment. Krampus is known throughout the world but mostly in Alpine regions like Austria and Hungary as a beast-like creature who enjoys punishing naughty children.

Descriptions of Krampus vary but he is mostly known to be devil-like. He is covered in brown or black hair with cloven hooves, long horns and a pointed tongue. He has also been described as a sinister gentleman in black or a man beast. He is known to swat at bad children with switches and chains and carry them away in baskets and bags.

His origins dates back to pre-Christian Germanic traditions, sharing characteristics with the satyrs of Greek mythology. Despite efforts to rid the world of this creature, Krampus figures continue to find its way in to our culture especially after being paired up with St. Nicholas. Since the 1800s, greeting cards containing humorous rhymes, poems and Krampus looming over naughty children have been exchanged. He is celebrated in Austria, Northern Italy, France, Finland, and other parts of Europe on Krampusnacht. People dress up as devils, wild men and witches and participate in Krampuslauf or Krampus Run. All dressed up carrying torches, they carouse through the streets terrifying both children and adults.

Here in America, Krampus has become apart of our culture. BLAB! Magazine curator Monte Beauchamp reintroduced his to Krampus cards in 2004 with his art books. Since then, a Krampus character has been featured on Adult Swim's The Venture Bros, CW's Supernatural and has made an appearance on The Colbert Report. The G4 channel created a Christmas commercial featuring Krampus in 2003. He has been seen in comics such as Chickenhare and Something Positive. U.S. cities such as Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California participate in rare Krampusnacht celebrations.

As this evil St. Nicholas sidekick continues to grow in popularity you being to wonder, have you been naughty or nice this holiday season?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Villisca Ax Murder House

Villisca, Iowa was a close community in Iowa but everything changed on June 10, 1912 when the bodies of eight people were discovered. The Josiah B. Moore family and two overnight guests were founded murdered in their beds. Over 90 years later, the murders still remain unsolved.

What happened? All is known is that Sarah and Josiah B. Moore, their four kids Herman, Catherine, Boyd and Paul and two of their two friends Lena and Ina Stillinger walked home after a children's program at their Presbyterian Church at around 9:30 pm. The next day, a concerned neighbor Mary Peckham noticed the family was strangely quiet most of the day. She didn't see Moore leave for work. Sarah wasn't cooking breakfast or doing chores. No sounds of their children running and playing. She examined the house, looking for signs of life prior to calling Josiah B.'s brother, Ross.

When he arrived, he unlocked the door with his set of keys and along with Mary, began searching for the family. When he discovered the bodies of Ina and Lena, he told Mary to call the Sheriff. The rest of the Moore family were found upstairs brutally murdered, all their skulls were crushed by an ax that was later found.

The news spread fast and it has been said that hundreds of people wandered the house before the Villisca National Guard arrived to regain control of the crime scene but not before they touched everything, stared at the bodies and taking souvenirs. As a result, all potential evidence was either contaminated or destroyed.

There were many suspects. Frank F Jones was a prominent resident of Villisca and a senator. Josiah B. Moore worked for Jones until he opened his own company in 1908. Jones was considered one of the most powerful people in Villisca. He was a man who didn't like to be "defeated" and was upset when Moore left his company and took the John Deere franchise with him. There were also rumors that Moore was having an affair with Jones' daughter-in-law, but nothing was ever proven. However, it was motive to Jones and his son Albert. William Mansfield was believed to have been hired by Jones' to carry out the murders. He was arrested and later released after payroll records showed he was in Illinois at the time of the murders.

Revered George Kelly was a traveling salesman who supposedly confessed to the crime on a train heading back to Macedonia, Iowa. He claimed the reason for killing them derived from a vision telling him to "slay and slay utterly". He was arrested on unrelated charges and eventually was sent to a mentally hospital. His obsession with the murders and numerous letters sent to law enforcement made him appear as a viable suspect. However, after two trials, he was acquitted.

There was a common belief a serial killer may have been responsible for the murders and Andy Sawyer was number one suspect tied to this theory. He was a transient fingered by his boss on a railroad crew as knowing too much about the crime. Sawyer was also know to sleep and have conversations with his ax. He was brought in for questioning but was released when records showed he was in Osceola, Iowas on the night when the murders took place.

The house had many owners over the years. Darwin and Martha Linn had purchased the house in an effort to preserve and save it from being razed. They restored the house, turning it in to a museum. As much as the Josiah B. Moore family home became a part of American crime history, it also has a place in ghost legend.

Ever since the house was opened to overnight visitors, ghost enthusiasts have flocked to it, seeking the strange and the unusual. They witnessed the sounds of children’s voices when no children were present. Others have experienced falling lamps, feeling of heaviness, sounds of dripping blood, moving objects, banging sounds and a child’s laughter.

There are those who lived in the house who say they never experienced anything paranormal. No ghosts at all were believed to be inhabiting the dwelling until 1999 when Nebraska ghost hunters labeled it "Haunted". Some believe the house gained it's status after the Sixth Sense gained popularity.

So, is it really haunted? Spend $10 to tour the house during the day or $400 to spend a night there with a group of friends or family and find out for yourself.

Source: 

Prairie Ghosts

P.R.I.S.M. - Villisca Ax Murder House

Villisca: Living with a Mystery

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dick Duck Cemetery

Many cemeteries have their own "rock star" that draws in visitors and Dick Duck is no different. Dick Duck Cemetery in Catoosa, Oklahoma was already being used as a cemetery when Richard "Dick" Duck donated it in the early 1830s. However, people don't come to see Richard. It's a different "Duck" that lures them in.

Bluford "Blue" Duck (no relation to Richard) was born in Cherokee Nation and an outlaw who participated in stage hold-ups and rustlings. On the long list of famous outlaws, his name didn't rank high. However, stories have circulated that Blue not only knew female outlaw Belle Starr but had an affair with her prior to her marriage to Sam Starr. Only a single photograph is proof the two knew each other which may have helped him later on in his life. Also, Larry McMurty used Blue as inspiration for his book Lonesome Dove.

Blue, also known by his Cherokee name Sha-con-gah Kaw-wan-nu, got drunk on the night of June 23, 1884 and was riding with William Christie in the Flint Districk of Cherokee Nation. They crossed paths with a farmer named Samuel Wyrick and for unknown reasons began firing his revolver at him. Then, reloaded and shot a nearby Native American boy who worked by Wyrick as he was attempting to get help. Then rode to the next farm over and shot and missed Wyrick's neighbor. Duck and Christie was later tracked down and arrested. Both were sentenced to hangby Judge Issac Parker on July 23, 1886 but with the help with Belle and his lawyer Thomas Marcum, Blue's was later changed to life in prison in 1886. He was transferred to Menard Penitentiary at Chester, Illinois on October 16, 1886. Christie was cleared of all charges. Nine years after his sentence, he became ill with consumption. President Grover Cleveland pardoned the outlaw on March 20, 1895, allowing him to spend his final month with his friends and family. On May 7, 1895, Bluford "Blue" Duck was laid to rest in Dick Duck Cemetery.

Many believe Blue along with the spirits of children haunts the cemetery. Visitors have spotted shadow figures of sizes throughout the property. Some have heard voices, speaking in Native American languages, and whispers and felt cold spots as well as the sensation of someone running their fingers through hair. The other spirits are believed to belong to kids who have "Half Breed" marked on their headstones who died between 1882 and 1883. Not much more is known about them. According to Find A Grave, there are a couple of adults with "Half Breed" on their headstones as well. I'm not sure it has any more significance than a reflection of the times they lived in. People have seen and heard these children spirits in the cemetery at night and have an overwhelming feeling of dread whenever they stood near their graves.

Sources:

Examiner - Haunted Cemeteries of Oklahoma

Find a Grave - Bluford "Blue" Duck

Examiner - Seeking Paranormal Answers at Cemeteries

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mandy the Doll

I’ve written about Robert the doll and the Island of Dolls in the past. Today’s entry is about one located in the Quesnel Museum in British Columbia, Canada. Mandy is an antique porcelain doll over 90 years old with a ripped body, cracked head and wearing dirty clothing and was supposedly made in Germany or England around 1910 or 1920. She was donated to the museum in 1991 by a lady named Mereanda. What makes her so unusual is the powers some say she possesses.

Her previous owner related to the museum all the strange things she is supposedly capable of. The donor would wake up to the sounds of a crying baby in the basement. Upon inspection, she found an open window and no baby. After Mandy was donated to the museum, the crying stopped. However, the museum staff and volunteers problems were just beginning. Lunches would mysteriously disappear from the refrigerator and be found in a drawer later. Objects such as pens, books and pictures would go missing. Some would turn up later. Others were never found. Footsteps were heard when no one was around.

When she first arrived at the museum, Mandy didn’t have a “permanent” place to call her own within the building. She sat facing the public entrance and provided fodder for visitors. Later, she was placed in a case alone in another part of the museum. Rumors stated she couldn’t be placed with any other dolls in fear she would harm them. Then again, she may not like being by herself either. After being locked in a room, staff found papers thrown all around the room as if she had a tantrum. She’s been known to “play” around with electrical equipment, causing them to malfunction. Visitors have claimed to feel uneasy or sad around her. Some say her eyes have a tendency to blink or follow people around the room. Her fingers and head move on their own as well.

If Mandy is as bad as some say, how did she become possessed in the first place? No one knows for certain. Although, there’s a possible legend. There is a story, which has the doll being trapped in a basement with a little girl. She died and supposedly her spirit became trapped within the doll. Many years after this allegedly happened the doll was found in the basement after someone heard a child crying. When they found it, the doll was crying tears of blood. Don’t believe there is any evidence to prove this story to be fact or fiction as of now. Either way, it doesn’t stop people from flocking to Quesnel Museum, hoping to see Mandy put on a show.

Source:

Roadtrippers

Quesnel Museum