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    "Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

GS Question of the Week

What do you think the Lake Worth muck monster is?

Conkle's Hollow

Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio has its share of ghost stories. One tells of an adventurous man who fell in love with a windy, steep-sided hollow. In the 1790s, William Conkle traveled the lands in the spirit of exploration. He traded with Shawnee and Wyandot Indians. He witnessed animals such as bears, elk, bison and bobcats. When he came upon that wondrous hollow in Hocking Hills, he carved his name and the year, 1797, in to stone for future travelers. It's unclear how he died but it's believed he roams that gorge, keeping a watchful eye over his treasure. And he has company.

After his death, life molded in to a much harsher nature. The population among the wilderness grew. Native Americans found the situation cramped. While paddling down the Ohio River to their new home, a group of three Shawnee raided settlers, stealing silver and other treasures. In the spirit of thievery, a posses of settlers followed the natives in hopes of taking what they had stolen. The natives were chased in to the dead-end walls of Conkle's Hollow. In desperation, they cut a Hemlock tree to lean against the cliff wall and climbed to a "hominy hole", hiding their loot in the small opening. Then, climbed down and knocked over the tree. The plan was to chop and lean another tree against the cliff and retrieve the stolen silver. Unfortunately, they were captured outside the hollow and hanged before telling anyone where they had hid it. The treasure is yet to be found. Then again it may never be recovered with the Shawnee spirits guarding it. Their shouts and chants can still be heard within the narrow walls. And don't think they won't appear to divert any chance you have to finding it either.

An alternative to this legend has the Shawnee marking their hiding place by carving an arrow in the stone wall. Then, they escaped their predators and continued to their new home. Years later, they returned to find the arrow had eroded. Some say by nature. Others think it was by Conkle's ghostly hands.

When the War of 1812 broke out, the need for iron and gunpowder grew. Therefore, the Appalachian Hills came in to great use. Saltpeter Cave, located just down the road from Conkle's Hollow, held a large deposit of saltpeter, a key component in gunpowder. Production began and twenty Native American slaves went to work mining this precious mineral from the cave. As the work continued, disaster hit. Work regulations were unheard of at the time. The result was a large portion of the roof caved in, crushing over half the native workers. Their spirits wander the valley.

A man name Charlie is also said to haunt Saltpeter Cave. He allegedly cut off the head of his wife and her lover. Then tossed them both off the top of the cave. He is heard chopping wood near the cave at night.

You can visit Conkle's Hollow. However, it's not a place for children and you should check with park services before venturing down the trail.

Reminder Sunday

Tomorrow is the last day to submit to the Ghost Stories Carnival June edition. Your submission must be in by 11 pm Central. Pick your best post between August 4th and August 31st and submit it. No registration required.

Murder Castle

When a child is born, most often their parents are imagining all the possible things they could grow up to be. I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Mudgett didn't have serial killer on that list for their baby boy Herman. Born on May 16, 1860, Herman Mudgett a.k.a Dr. Henry Howard Holmes grew up to be America's most deadliest serial killer. It's believed the body count mounted in to the hundreds but only twenty-seven were confirmed. How does a person kill hundreds of people without drawing unwanted attention? Mix a big city with a large fair and you have the perfect disguise.

In 1889, Holmes arrived in Chicago taking up residence in what is now know as the Englewood neighborhood. He began working for Dr. and Mrs. Holden as a pharmacist. His charming demeanor masked the divorces, frauds and indiscretions performed during medical school, leading the couple to believe they had the perfect assistant. When Dr. Holden succumbed to cancer, Mrs. Holden mysteriously disappeared. Holmes explained to the community she had headed west after he bought the store from her. Business continued to do so well that he bought a lot across the street at 63rd and Wallace with the intentions of building a hotel. The reason for this endeavor was to provide housing for tourist during the upcoming 1893 Columbian Expedition World's Fair.

The result was a heft three-story building with 60 rooms dubbed "The Castle". There were also hidden passages and secret stairways, trap doors, chutes plunging to the basement, a staircase that opened to the alley below, asphyxiation champers, a dissecting table and a crematory. Guests who checked in to The Castle often didn't check out. Even female employees made up of tourists and small town or country girls fell victim to his torturing and murdering ways. After the fair and successfully faking his own death and collecting on the insurance, Holmes traveled for a while looking for the right place to set up shop once more.

He was arrested and incarcerated in St. Louis after a horse swindle in July of 1894. It was during this period he struck up a conversation with the person who was to later snitch on him, Marion Hedgepeth. Holmes failed to deliver Hedgepeth's share on a failed insurance scam. Hedgepeth's tip led to the doctors arrest on November 17, 1894 in Boston. Police obtained a warrant to search The Castle. What they found defied all imagination: a dissecting table, bottles of poisons, containers of quicklime, acid big enough to eat away a body, stretching rack, a gas chamber, coffins holding female corpses, an incinerator littered with charred human remains. Holmes was tried and found guilty. He was hanged at Moyamensing Prison On May 7, 1896.

On August 19th, The Castle mysteriously burned to the ground. It was rumored a former accomplice burned it in order to cover up his part in the horror. Some think it was burned down by neighbors or perhaps by accident. Either way, the lot remained vacant until 1938 when a U.S. Postal Office was built. Because of all the blood shed on the property, many believe it to be haunted, maybe even cursed. A number of people involved with his trial died under bizarre circumstances, including a priest who had visited him before his execution, the doctor who certified him dead, the jury foreman, Marion Hedgepeth (who was pardoned) was shot by police at a saloon, and others. There are reports of poltergeist and spirit activity as well as strange noises and unexplained weary feelings. Some even claim Holmes' ghost visits the Museum of Science and Industry, one of the few remaining structures from the 1893 Exposition, located nearby.

Is Dr. H.H. Holmes continuing his joy of killing or is the horrific history enough to fuel the legend for years to come?

St. James Hotel

Jesse James along with his brother Frank was considered a notorious outlaw in the late 1800s. His criminals ways have long since ended but could his spirit still be with us? Some believe so, specifically in the St. James Hotel.

In 1837, an antebellum riverfront building erected and was called the Brantly Hotel, as it was known at the time, in Selma, Alabama. For 160 years, it was THE place for businessmen, plantation owner, soldiers, etc. During the Civil War, the Union Army, who took up residence at the hotel, kept it from burning along with the rest of Selma. After the war, Benjamin S. Tower, the first African-American Congressman, owned the property and rented out the rooms on a long-term basis. It was during this time the James Brothers made the Brantly Hotel their headquarters for a while, staying in Room 301. In 1892, the hotel ran in to financial difficulties and was forced to shut down. For over a century, the building laid dormant before going through a $6 million restoration and a name change in 1997. Or was it?

Frank and Jesse are both believed to be haunting the building. They are both seen roaming around Rooms 214, 314, and 315. Jesse also likes to occupy the left corner table in the downstairs bar. These boys are not without female companionship. Lucinda, Jesse’s alleged mistress, is also seen wandering the hotel. She is described as being tall and beautiful with black hair and smells of lavender. A portrait of her hangs on the first floor of the hotel. And what ghost family wouldn’t be complete without a pet. The spirit of a black dog, supposedly once belonging to Jesse, has been heard running and barking. Many guests often complain of the barking heard in the courtyard.

Could this famed historical figure be still present in ghost form?

GS Question of the Week

Which do you think investigates the subject best? Destination Truth or MonsterQuest? Why?

The Columbian House

Built in 1828, John Pray constructed a house to serve as a trading post, tavern and hostel located in Waterville, OH. It became the centerpiece of the village. The place where locals and travelers alike escaped from the harsh Summers and Winters. Constructed from black walnut beams, it quickly transformed in to a third-story structure containing a prison cell (for transit prisoners), a dressmaker's shop and doctor. Like many historic buildings, this one switched hands many times over the years, becoming a restaurant between 1943 and 1993.

Despite its grandeur, many townsfolk lobbied for its destruction, believing evil lurked within. It was this evil that lured the house's most famous guest, Henry Ford in 1927, to host his Halloween party there. Legends ooze out of its ever orifice. One tale describes a sheepherder who in the 1840s checked in to the Columbian House for the night and vanished. It wasn't until 30 years later the truth was revealed. On his deathbed, a farmer confessed to kidnapping and murdering the sheepherder. He relayed the location of the remains, solving the mystery. Some think this death began the house's long relationship with ghostly inhabitants.

Another story tells of a young woman in the 1880s who devised a plan to murder her cruel stepfather. She grabbed a pair of sewing shears, held them above her head and stabbed the one she believed to be her stepfather. Unfortunately, her stepbrother was the one who died from her rage. Her stepfather drug her into a room nearby, locking her inside. She remained there imprisoned for a period of time. Some think she still remains there seeking justice that's rightful hers.

Other stories talk of a drunk who was locked in the jailroom to sober up. He pounded on the door on a nightly basis seeking medical assistance until one day he was found dead in that locked room. Today, the door refuses to stay closed and if it does, sounds of banging can be heard. An attendee of an event held in the ballroom was murdered and left on a third-floor closet. It's reported you can hear music, clinking glasses and conversation in that ballroom. A young girl dubbed "Jenny" by the restaurant staff was believed to have died during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. She's often seen waling in the bar room and playing pranks on employees.

I believe the Columbian House has since closed waiting for someone new to rescue it from destruction. Until then, you can enjoy a 1/12-inch miniature built by Clayton "Bud" and Jean Ziegler and is displayed at the Hancock Historical Museum. The model is fully detailed down to dentures on a nightstand, a mouse in a trap and cobwebs in some of the rooms.

Reminder Sunday - Ghost Stories Carnival

You have 9 days to submit to the Ghost Stories Carnival September edition. Your submission must be in by 11 pm Central. Pick your best post between August 4th and August 31st. and submit it. No registration required. Your submissions must be paranormal related.

Samuel Mudd House

Ghost Hunters are back with the remaining episodes of season five. One Wednesday, they battled against an alleged spirit demon poser and was puzzled by a figure that appeared to be imprinted on the thermal imagining camera. What will they find next week at the infamous Samuel Mudd House?

Dr. Samuel Mudd was born on December 20, 1833 in Charles County, Maryland. He was the fourth of ten children of Sarah and Henry Mudd. He married his childhood sweetheart Sarah Frances Dyer in 1857, a year after graduation from medical school and had nine kids. As a wedding present, his father gave him 218 acres of farmland known as St. Catherine's. While he built his medical reputation, he grew tobacco and owned slaves, five in total, like his father. However, it was a chance encounter which pushed him in to the spotlight.

Dr. Mudd was a Southern supporter. Therefore, was against freeing slaves. President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery and left a lot of farmers short handed, including Mudd. He thought about selling his farm and setting up a medical practice. This decision led to three encounters with presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth.

The first took place in November 1864 when Booth visited Bryantown, Maryland looking for real estate investments. Most historians believe he was actually plotting his escape route. Dr. Mudd met Booth at St. Mary's Catholic Church which led to him visiting the Mudd farm and even staying overnight. Booth bought a horse the next day from a neighbor and went back to Washington. Some historians believe this visitation was to recruit Mudd in the kidnap plot. Others believe the doctor wouldn't be involved in such matters.

The second encounter was in Washington. Mudd met with Booth, Louis J. Weichmann, and John Surratt (son of Mary Surratt) and had drinks together. Again, some believe this was a pre-arranged meeting. Others haven't been convinced it was anything but accidental. The third and finally time was on the night of the assassination. Booth broke his leg fleeing from Ford's Theater. He and David Herold stopped at Mudd's home seeking medical attention around 4am. He set, splinted and bandaged Booth's leg and even slept in one of the bedrooms. Details of Mudd's actions afterward is a bit sketchy.

No one is sure when Mudd found out about the assassination or when he asked, if he asked, the two men to leave. To add to his guilt, he didn't immediately contact the authorities, waiting almost a day, and lied about knowing the two mean and later meeting with Booth in Washington. After Booth's death in April 1865, Mudd was arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder Abraham Lincoln. He was found guilty and sentence to life in prison, missing the death penalty by one vote. Four years later, Mudd was pardon by President Andrew Johnson due to lack of evidence and possibly a reward for his work in the yellow fever epidemic while in prison. He died in 1883 from pneumonia at the age of 49.

His home is now a museum. While he was alive, Dr. Mudd never gave up proving his innocence. Some believe he continues that quest today, urging his descendants to complete the goal. Voices are often heard. One reported to be that of David Herold. John Wilkes Booth is also believed to be roaming the house along with the spirits of Confederate soldiers.

Will TAPS be able to capture the good doctor's pleas? Or is Samuel Mudd House all history and no paranormal? We will find out on Aug. 26th.
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The Pike House

This location is not to be confused with McPike Mansion. Located on Belvin St. in San Marcos, Texas, Pike House started out as part of The Cornwell Institute, a Methodist school, in 1903. The school closed sometime time later and became Old Soldier and Sailors Memorial Hospital. When a new hospital opened down the road in 1956, the house converted in to a dormitory for the San Marcos Baptist Academy. It received it's now famous name when it was acquired by Pi Kappa Alpha in 1968 and turned in to a fraternity house for 40 years. In 1998, it was bought by developer Terry Gilmore with the intentions of being converted in to a private residence. Unfortunately, Pike House will never serve a purpose anymore.

In 2007, Nicholas Ryan (25) and a 15-year-old male for undisclosed reasons committed an act of arson, burning the house to ruins. What was left of Pike house was later demolished. Where a grand mansion once stood now occupies an empty lot. This one act may add to the other legends which swirled around it.

One in particular is most known. During the pledge process, some pledges were killed. The fraternity brothers had the remaining initiatives write down the events of that night in the pledge book. The book was then burned and nailed to the wall. Blood smears, Polaroids and police tape were left as monuments of the tragedy when the building was abandoned. Other tales state the building was a hospital for Civil War soldier and later an insane asylum ran by a doctor who performed strange experiments on the patients. There's even one detailing its previous encounter with fire and the children who died as a result of it. Is any of it true? Who knows. Maybe some of it holds a degree of honesty.

Ghosts were believed to roam the layout of Pike House. Now, they have open space to explore.

The house was a hot spot for urban explorers. Urban Exploration Resource site has several photos of Pike house before and after the fire if you would like to see it in its former glory: http://www.uer.ca/locations/show.asp?locid=24506.

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GS Question of the Week

On a scale of 1 to 10, one being "not in a million years" and ten being "I'm totally for it", how willing are you to test an urban legend?

Night Marchers

In Hawaii, a band of apparition warriors who move to the beat of a primitive drum. They are known as the Night Marchers or Hukai-po. Many stories are relayed about the Kukai-po. Some believe they are warriors marching to or from battles. Others speak of a high-ranking alii (rulers) spirits guided to new important locations or welcoming new warriors in to battle. Maybe they are only searching for a way in to the next world. No one knows for sure.

They roam during the night between seashore and mountains on certain nights designated by the moon. They have been known to march during the day if they are accompanying a dying relative to the spirit world. They are recognized by their raised torches and repetitions of olis or chants. Night Marchers are reported to float a few inches off the ground but manage to leave footprints in their paths. Other characteristics are heavy winds, game playing or revelry, mist or fog, and accompanying heavy rain or high surf. Some alleged marching sites include: Oahu's Pali Highway, The Kamehameha Schools campus and La Perouse Bay.

Locals say you should always show these warriors respect and never interrupt the procession. Legend states if you rest your eyes on them you or someone close to you will die unless you are accompanied by a relative a marcher. If you happen upon them, you are to crouch low to the ground, play dead and avoid eye contact. Avoid making any sound or movement or it will attract their deadly glance. Night Marchers are known to stick to their destination and don't deviate to haunt humans. Some say if you place leaves of ti around your home, it will keep them away from the area. If you hear drums in the distance or smell a foul odor, it is you who should leave the area to escape instantaneous death.

Bridge Cafe

The cafe proper, bar/restaurant, sits on the first floor of the three-floor wooden frame building and is one of the oldest food and drinking establishments in New York. The Bridge Cafe was named for its location, under the Brooklyn Bridge. The building was erected in 1794. It began as a porter house in 1847 before turning in to a tavern. In the 19th Century, like many places on the same street, the third story housed a brothel. Today, the rooms are used for storage. A former owner was a mariner and once attracted river pirates.

It’s most famous employee and ghost is that of Gallus Mag. She worked as a bouncer in tavern. An Englishwoman standing at more than six feet tall, she had no problem tossing out rowdy drunks from the establishment. She was known for dragging them by the ear with her teeth and on occasion, depending on her mood, would bite off the ear, saving them in a jar. Mike Tyson would be proud.

Activity known for this cafe are moving shadows, footsteps from an above floor, feelings of being watched, and the smell of perfume or lavender from an unknown source. Recent investigations have turned up little to no conclusive evidence. A lot of experiences were explained away by outside interference. Could the Bridge Cafe truly be haunted? Or does it owe its haunted status to the buildings location?

GS Question of the Week

Do you think having a well-known haunted building in your town is beneficial or a nuisance?

Reminder Sunday

You have 22 days to submit to the Ghost Stories Carnival September edition. Your submission must be in by 11 pm Central. Pick your best post between August 5th and August 31st and submit it. No registration required. Your submissions must be paranormal related.

Stronsay Beast

The Stronsay Beast was first spotted on September 25, 1808 by a fisherman named John Peace lying on the rocks southeast of Stronsay Island in Scotland. He and another man named George Sherar directed their boat towards it for a better look. Unfortunately, it’s position was inaccessible and couldn’t be examined further until ten days later when it washed ashore. This animal could not be identified and believed to be a new species, possibly a sea serpent.

It was described as being 55 ft in length (though some dismissed this measurement), 4ft wide and a circumference of about 10 ft. It was initially measured by a carpenter and two farmers. It had a head like a sheep. Skin grey and rough to touch except when if stroked from head down to the back. It possessed six “limbs” and a bristly mane of hair from the shoulders down to its tail which may or may not have glowed in the dark. Drawings of the beast depict it similar in appearance to that of a Plesiosaur. The Natural History Society in Edinburgh gave it the Latin name Halsydrus Pontoppidani meaning Pontoppidan's Water Snake of the Sea in honor of the 18th Century Norwegian Bishop.

While some chose to believe in its mysterious nature, others looked for a more logical explanation. Sir Everard Home read of the Stronsay Beast and examined what was left of the carcass. His conclusion labeled the creature nothing more than a decomposing Basking Shark, making a compelling argument. The basking shark was an animal common in the waters around the Orkney Islands.

He examined the vertebrae of the creature comparing it to the shark, finding them to be identical. When the shark dies, it’s jaw drops off leaving what looks like a long neck and small head. The upper tail fin contains the spine leaving the lower portion to rot off during a state of decay. The six “limbs” could simply be the remains of the shark’s lower fins. While all of this provides excellent evidence to prove Home’s theory, it doesn’t explain away one major detail. The longest basking shark on record measured 40 ft. That’s 15 ft smaller than the Stronsay Beast not including the partial of tail that was missing.

This animal still remains an enigma. Could the Stronsay Beast be nothing more than a largest species of shark, unknown or otherwise? Or perhaps it was a new species. We may never know unless another one washes ashore.

Ear Inn

I think of all the places I have read and/or researched about none made me wonder why someone would name an inn after a body part. In this case, I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, anyone who thinks the Ear Inn was named after a person’s ear would be wrong. It was actually named after a magazine, but lets start at the beginning.

The Ear Inn started out as a home for James Brown (no, not the singer). James Brown was a black man who assisted George Washington during the American Revolution and possibly was pictured in the Cass Gilbert painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River. After the war was over, he settled in New York and became successful in the tobacco trade. He later moved to Greenwich and built a Federal townhouse in 1817. Today, it’s one of the few Federal townhouses left in NY.

During the 19th Century, Thomas Cooke brewed beer and sold crocks of corn, whiskey to sailors. It became a speakeasy during Prohibition. It’s also been a boarding house, smugglers’ den and brothel. In 1977, new owners turned it in to the Ear Inn known today.

During its pub days, one particular sailor enjoyed hanging out at “The Green Door”, as it is also known, and even lived in a room above it. He was killed by a car in front of the building and may haunt his favorite establishment. He returns after closing time and startles waitresses. Some customers claim their drinks mysteriously disappear. He may not be the only one haunting the Ear Inn.

GS Question of the Week

Which tool do you think is the most useful during a paranormal investigation?

Reminder Sunday

I know my posting has been sporadic as of late. In the middle of download hell. I have the research done for next week's line up. So, that will put me back on schedule. There will be no Ghost Stories Carnival for August because of lack of submissions.

September's carnival will be posted on the 1st. Submissions must be in by Aug. 31st. Check the left sidebar for guidelines and submission link.
 
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