If you ever find yourself in a place called Liberty Hill, located in Northern Austin, TX, I suggest you make a stop at Bittick Cemetery. Most likely one grave will stand out among the rest. There are various legends attached to this grave. The general story begins with a black woman named Elizbeth Sampson. In the 17-1800s, this slave was accused of being a witch. However, such an accusation wasn't enough to seal the deal on her death. It is believed Elizbeth stole a horse in order to escape and was captured. As it was done in those days, prisons and juries were tossed away for a good ole hanging. The tree used still stands to this day (supposedly across from the cemetery). After being buried, "Was borne and dide, But remember as yo are passing by, Yo all shall die as well as I" was carved in to her headstone.
If you choose to visit her grave, you must bring an offering of some sort. It's believed if you don't, something devastating will happen to you. On Halloween night, people claim to hear the witch (a wailing as it is often described) and sometimes see her hanging in the tree of which she was hung from. Some say if you take her headstone and throw it in the nearby river and it is back in its rightful place the next day (though I don't recommend anyone actually testing this theory).
High on a huge hill sits the ruins of a 19th century Victorian mansion tainted by the blood of four people. The Labadie family traveled to the Indian Territory of Oklahoma in the mid 1800s pursuing agricultural ventures. Frank Labadie was educated at the Osage Mission, starting out in life independently. He took up the occupation of farming, devoting his attention to the further cultivation and improvement of the home place of fifteen hundred acres, situated in Osage County. He continued to operate until 1891 but shifted his attention to the lumber business, dealing in hardwood timber. Labadie retained ownership of the original homestead, receiving large royalties from oil wells located on the property, while also owning a twenty-acre truck farm near Big-heart, in Osage County. In 1884, Labadie married Miss Samantha Ellen Miller, a native of Illinois.
The story goes Frank and Samantha lived with a loyal black slave named Enos Parsons. After the Civil War, Parsons refused freedom and remained with the Labadie family. Frank and Samantha were desperate to have children; forced to deal with bouts of disappointment as each year passed childless. It is believed Samantha at some point began an affair with Parsons. This transgression resulted in the conception of a child. Frank became overjoyed by the notion of being a father. That is until the baby was born. It was obvious the child shared half of its genes with the African American persuasion. After some pressure, Parsons admitted to the affair sending Frank in to a fury. He grabbed his 44 Henry Rifle and shot Parsons only once, killing him instantly. He then took the body and dumped it in a nearby creek. Supposedly, the body sank to the bottom of the creek where it remains today. The baby was the next to be delivered to the creek.
In the spring of 1935, Frank slowly slipped in to madness. He believed the ghost of Enos Parsons was haunting him. On April 1, 1835, he snapped, taking out his Colt house pistol and shooting Samantha four times. Then, himself once. When the bodies were found, the pistol was missing all six bullets not just five. The 44 Henry Rifle used to kill Enos Parsons was never found.
It is believed the ghosts of both Frank and Samantha haunt the mansion. Frank has been known to be very aggressive towards anyone who enters his home. Enos Parsons haunts the woods and the creek to which he was thrown, still holding the gun that was used to kill him. Shots have also been heard in the woods which cause the birds to strangely hover in the air above where the shot was. And if you look into the creek, you may even get a glimpse of the ghostly remains of the Labadie baby.
A few interesting tidbits concerning this story. The story states the couple were having problems with conceiving a child. However, records show they had four: two girls and two boys. The couple's cause of death was listed officially as carbon monoxide poisoning in a separate house. There's a cemetery in Washington County where Enos Parsons is listed as "believed to be buried here". Whether he is or not, I don't know. Records also list his death to have been in 1893, 42 years prior to Frank and Samantha's deaths. It is believed he may have been Susan's, Frank's mother, slave not Samantha's. The house is believed to be located in Copan, according to the story that is. It's actually located on the west side of Bartlesville in the middle of nowhere. Despite being located on a huge hill, it's pretty hard to find. One of the Labadie's sons owned the house but never lived there. Also, the house itself burnt twice since their deaths supposedly unrelated to the "scandal". There was even a statement released by the family dismissing the "haunted" rumors. Parts of the foundation and stone walls is all that remains.
Other paranormal activity includes electronics suddenly stop working, people's names screamed by unknown persons, and strange smells coming from the top of the hill. Their have also been sightings of abnormal animals or creatures running in the dark that get very close and reports of there being fires where the fireplace used to stand in the house that supposedly start as visitors begin to leave the property.
Andrea Allisonon Friday, May 28, 2010
In the 80s, Tommy Tutone scored a hit by making a phone number infamous. Another phone number has made headlines. In 2001, the former CEO of Mobitel, a Bulgarian mobile phone company, died of cancer. Despite the fact Vladimir Grashnov business record was spotless, rumors persisted his cancer was due to radioactive poisoning by the hands of a business rival. He was the first owner of the number 0888-888-888.
After his death, the number passed to Bulgarian mafia boss Konstantin Dimitrov. He took a trip to the Netherlands to inspect his £500 million drug smuggling empire. Unfortunately, he didn't return home with a pulse. Two years after the first suspected victim of the number's alleged power, Dimitrov was gunned down by a lone assassin, supposedly sent by his Russian rivals, while eating dinner with a model. He had the mobile on his person at the time of his death.
Konstantin Dishliev, an estate agent, received the number next. Dishliev secretly ran a massive cocaine trafficking operation. Two years later after Dimitrov's death, he too was assassinated outside an Indian restaurant in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia. His death came after the police intercepted £130 million worth of the drug on its way in to the country from Columbia. The number remained dormant as the police investigating his death and his smuggling ring.
Today, the phone company have suspended the number. Upon dialing it, you will receive a recording stating “outside network coverage.” Was the number cursed or just an innocent victim?
In the past few weeks, this little blog has been bestowed two awards:
First up is the Beautiful Blogger Award. I was given this one once before, but this time I have Courtney from Haunt Jaunts to thank for it. The rules for this one are the same as before:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.
7 Things About My Horror/Paranormal Side
1. My interest in horror began when I was a kid watching a Halloween movie marathon on Halloween
2. While most horror writers may have discovered Bram Stoker or Stephen King first, R.L. Stine's Fear Street series popped my genre cherry. I still own a few of them.
3. I began Ghost Stories after watching various paranormal related specials on the Travel Channel. I translated my interest in to research and BOOM! A blog is born.
4. I've been writing since the 4th grade. However, horror didn't become my #1 genre until about six years ago.
5. A lot of those interested in the paranormal become investigators. I prefer research. I like learning the history of locations as well as why they are considered haunted while others with similar pasts are not.
6. The first horror short story I had published was "Blood Diary" in an issue of Runes Ezine, a fledgling market owned by a writer friend that has since shut down.
7. I know UFOs are as much of a hot topic as are hauntings but I can never muster up the same enthusiasm for it. Not sure why.
1. What is the one place in the world you feel at peace at? Hmm...I would have to say in the country. Not too far away from civilization but far enough to enjoy peace and quiet. 2. What is your favorite haunted location or attraction? There's really too many to choose from; The Snowball Mansion, Houska Castle, Waverly Hills...just to name a few. 3. Zombies, Vampires, or Ghosts? Which are your favorite and why? I guess I would have to say ghosts. Something about eating body parts and drinking blood just doesn't seem right. 4. What is your favorite kind of food? Catfish 5. Where did you grow up? Small town in Texas 6. What is your most interesting reoccuring dream? It would have to be the Jurassic Park dream. Have it everytime I watch the movies. It's basically the last part of The Lost World except dinosaurs are roaming everywhere not just in California. 7. What inspired you to start blogging? TV. It's evil you know. 8. Is life beautiful? It has it's moments.
The following are my questions for the recipients of this award:
1. If you could visit any haunted location, what would it be and why?
2. What's your favorite Halloween treat?
3. What do you love most about blogging?
4. How old were you when the paranormal entered your life?
5. Who do you admire the most?
6. What is one thing you want to change about your past?
7. Favorite music?
8. Is life beautiful?
This Historic Grand Dame Resort was opened in 1909. A majestic, Federal-style structure with an imposing front portico supported by massive 30-foot columns, The Otesaga was designed by Architect Percy Griffin and was named for the Iroquois word for “ A Place of Meetings.” This magnificent hotel occupies 700 feet of lakefront on the southern shore of Lake Otsego (also known as the “Glimmerglass” lake of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales) in Cooperstown, New York. Avid golfers, vacationers and others have been drawn to the resort for its beautiful scenic surroundings, elegant accommodations, and enjoyable resort atmosphere since it first opened its doors. Some believe it has also drawn the attention of a few ghosts.
Guests have reported hearing children playing and/or giggling in the third floor hallway (From 1920 until 1954, the hotel was a private girl’s school known as the Knox School for Girls.). Voices have been heard in the Glimmerglass Room. Apparitions have been seen walking hand-in-hand in period clothing. Staff have heard their names being called from unseen sources. A security officer has heard people walking above him on the second and third floors. He says he also hears a music box between the second and third floors. Beds made on the 3rd floor are found messed up shortly after. Of all the experiences reported, nothing seems malevolent in any way. Just long time guests enjoying their stay at The Otesaga Resort Hotel.
On September 11th, our country came together to remember the almost 3,000 lives who were lost due to the terrorist attacks. Some remembered the lives of about 120 men, women and children who also lost their lives in on that day in 1857. Mountain Meadow Massacre began on September 7th and extended to September 11th.
The Fancher-Baker wagon train led by Captains John T. Baker and Alexander Fancher left Arkansas for California. Along the way, they picked up several families and by the time they entered the Utah territory, there were roughly 140 members. The wagon train stopped in Salt Lake City to replenish their supplies. These emigrants picked the wrong time to travel, especially through Utah. Since the founding of their church, Mormons had been heavily persecuted and fear of war hung in the air. Theocratic leader Brigham Young allegedly told his Mormon brethren not to sell supplies to non-Mormons, especially guns and ammunition. When the emigrants attempted to buy supplies in Salt Lake City, they were turned away out of fear of aiding the enemy.
Without the much needed goods, the wagon train continued on the Old Spanish Trail and at some point encountered Mormon missionary and Indian agent Jacob Hamblin. Hamblin suggested they rest their cattle and spend the night in Mountain Meadows, a traditional stopping point on the Old Spanish Trail and adjacent to his homestead. Hamblin and company continued to Salt Lake City leaving the emigrants to their fates. Rumors spread about the so called "bad behavior" displayed by members of the wagon train. They were accused of using abusive language and robbing hen roosts as well as poisoning Corn Creek. These rumors may have attributed to the massacre.
On the morning of September 7th, local Mormon militiamen dressed as Native Americans were aided by Paiutes Indians in attacking the Fancher wagon train led by John D. Lee and Isaac C. Haight. The emigrants encircled and lowered their wagons. Then dug shallow trenches and chained wheels together for protection. During the five day siege, fifteen emigrant men were killed. Fresh water and food along with ammunition slowly depleted. On September 11th, Lee along with two other militiamen entered the encirclement under a white flag. Lee told them he would negotiate a truce with the Paiutes and escorted them safely to Cedar City. All the emigrants had to do was turn over their livestock (approximately 800 cattle) and their supplies to the Native Americans. They accepted their terms.
Women and children were escorted out first. Then the men and boys followed, each with n armed militiaman at their side. They walked about a mile. With a signal, the militiamen fired upon the men and boys, killing them one by one. The Paiute Indians came out of hiding and attacked the women and children. About a hundred and twenty men, women and children were murdered. Their bodies were left decomposing on the open plains for two years before given a proper burial by U.S. Army Brevet Major James Henry Carleton's troops. Their possessions were auctioned off. Only seventeen children under the age of eight were allowed to live possibly because they were thought to be too young to remember or tell anyone of the events that had transpired. They were distributed and adopted by local Mormon families until 1859 when they were reunited with their extended families in Arkansas by the U.S. Government.
The actual reasons for the massacre remain unknown though some believed it was a mixture of politics and religion. The mass murder was initially blamed on the Native Americans. When word reached Brigham Young, he was appalled by what had taken place and began an investigation. In the first trial, nine men of the Utah Territorial militiamen of the Tenth Regiment "Iron Brigade" were indicted for murder or conspiracy in 1874: Maj. John D. Lee, Issac C. Haight, Maj. John H. Higbee, Philip Klingensmith, William C. Stewart, Samuel Jukes, Ellott Willden, George Adair, Jr. and W. H. Dame. Klingensmith agreed to testify and escaped prosecution. Cases against Dame, Willden and Adair were not pursued. Bounties of $500 each were posted for the capture of Haight, Higbee and Stewart who went in to hiding. Lee's first trial ended with a hung jury. He was convicted after the second one. He was executed by firing squad at Mountain Meadows in 1877.
On the spot were so much blood was shed sits a memorial. Have the emigrant souls found peace? Possibly not. Some have reported unexplained sorrow upon visiting the memorial site. Voices are heard at the nearby creek. Perhaps they want to keep the invasion alive. Whether the site is really haunted or not, it's a burial site. Therefore, sacred ground and should be treated with the up most respect.
A man named John Hart Crenshaw set up a sort of a reverse “underground railroad” in 1842. Back then, slavery was against the law in Illinois. However, a law stated that slaves could be leased from other states to work in dangerous salt mines. Crenshaw took major advantage of that.
He kidnapped free slaves and forced them to work in his salt mines. He also sold these people back to slave owners in the south. Crenshaw kept slaves locked up in the attic and some say he brutally tortured them. Crenshaw devised another plan, this one to create slaves of his own. He selected a slave for his size and stamina and set him to breeding more slaves with the females that could bear children. This man, known simply as "Uncle Bob" was said to have fathered as many as 300 children. He lived until the age of 112 and died in 1948.
The attic at Hickory Hill was a chamber of horrors. A dozen cells opened off a wide corridor. They were small rooms with bars on the windows and with iron rings where shackles could be bolted to the floor. The attic had only a small window at either end, so the air was stifling. A whipping post was also constantly in use and many of the valuable slaves were said to have died at the cruel hands of Crenshaw and his men.
In 1842, Crenshaw was brought to trial for selling a free family. Unfortunately, the case could not be proven until after the trial when it was too late. One of Crenshaw’s slaves attacked him with an ax, severing his leg in 1846. His slave trade days were over and his mill was burned to the ground. He died in 1871 and he and his wife were buried at Hickory Hill Cemetery.
Years later, the house was opened as a tourist attraction and was no stranger to strange occurrences. Tourist were reporting hearing strange noises coming from the attic. . .noises that sounded like cries and whimpers, and even rattling chains. Some say no one could spend the night in that house especially after an exorcist named Hickman Whittington wrote an article about the house in a local newspaper in 1920. He was in perfect health when he came to visit the old mansion but took ill later than same night and died just hours later.
In the late 1960's, two soldiers who had seen action in Vietnam ran screaming from the house after being surrounded by ghostly shapes. A year or so later, the owner stopped letting people in the house after dark. A small fire had accidentally been started by a lantern. In 1978, he finally relented and a reporter from Harrisburg named David Rodgers was allowed to spend the night. Despite hearing a lot of strange noises, he managed to beat out 150 previous challengers to become the first to brave the night in the former slave quarters.
Andrea Allisonon Friday, May 14, 2010
If La Isla de La Munecas has showed us anything, it is that a benign child's toy can be the subject of nightmares. Stories of haunted dolls is not uncommon but one stands out above the rest. In the late 1800s, Thomas Otto and his family moved in to a mansion at the corner of Eaton and Simonton streets in Key West, Florida now known as the Artist House. The Ottos were known to be stern with their servants sometimes even mistreating them. It was the treatment of one such Haitian servant that provides a twist in this story. This woman was hired to take care of their son Robert. One day, Mrs. Otto supposedly witnessed her practicing black magic in their backyard and fired her.
Before she left, the woman gave Robert a life-like doll which stood 3ft tall, button for eyes, human hair (believed to be Robert's) and filled with straw. Dolls that resembled children were not unheard of during this time, but this one proved to be special. Robert named the doll after himself and often dressed it in his clothes. Robert the doll became his trustworthy companion. He took it with him on shopping trips in to town. The doll had a seat at the dinner table where Robert would sneak it bites of food when his parents weren't looking. Robert would even be tucked in to bed with the boy at night. Soon this innocent relationship took on a strange nature.
Soon after, Robert chose to be referred to as his middle name Gene after being scolding by his Mother. He told her the doll's name was Robert not his. Gene was often heard in his toy room having conversations with Robert. Gene would say something in his childish manner and response could be heard in a much lower voice. Sometimes Gene would become very agitated, worrying the servants and his mother. She would on occasion burst in to find her son cowering in a corner while Robert sat perched in a chair or on the bed glaring at him. This was to be only the beginning.
Household objects would be found thrown across the room. Gene's toys turned up mutilated, giggling could be heard. Whenever these unusual acts took place, Gene always said, "Robert did it!" The boy took the punishment but always insisted the blame was Robert. As the mischief grew, more and more servants took their leave as new ones were hired. The Ottos' relatives felt it was time to do something. With the recommendation of a great aunt, Gene's parents removed Robert from his care and placed him in a box in the attic. This is where he resided for many years.
After the death of his father, Gene was willed his boyhood home. He decided to live in the Victorian mansion with is new wife. Gene had become an artist and felt the house was spacious and would provide a place for him to paint. He went to the attic and dusted off his childhood toy. He became attached to the doll despite his wife's displeasure. Gene would take the doll along with them everywhere they went. He even sat in his favorite little chair while Gene and his wife slept nearby. The Turret Room became Robert's domain after Mrs. Otto moved him back to the attic. Their marriage slowly became sour until Mrs. Otto supposedly went insane and died of unknown reasons. Gene followed soon behind.
Robert supposedly attacked people, sometimes locking them in the attic. People who passed by claim to hear evil laughter coming from the Turret Room. For some time, Robert remained in the empty house by himself until a new family purchased the mansion and restored it. The doll was once again moved to the attic. This pleased it as much as the last time. The doll was often found throughout the house. On one certain night, Robert was found at the foot of the owners bed giggling with a kitchen knife in hand. This was enough to send them fleeing from the home.
Robert was later moved to the East Martello Museum in Key West where he sits perched in a glass box. Despite his new living quarters, the doll is believed to not have given up his menacing ways. Visitors and employees claim they have seen the doll move. His smile has been known to turn in to a scowl. One employee cleaned Robert, turned off all the lights and left for the night. The next day, they returned to find lights turned on, Robert sitting in a different position than the night before and a fresh layer of dust on his shoes. Some say he'll even curse you. If you want to take a picture of him, you must ask politely. He'll tilt his head in permission. However, if he doesn't and you take the picture anyways, a curse will befall upon you and anyone who accompanied you to the museum. The same will happen if you make fun of him.
To this day, Robert remains at the East Martello Museum in his sailor suit clutching his stuff lion, continuing his menacing ways.
After 20 years working at Weaver Oilfield Tool and Supply, the need to alleviate stress hits Texas resident Mike Hanson hard. A relaxing vacation in the New Mexican mountains provides a chance to also refocus on his family. However, an explosion of a gasoline tanker truck eliminates all mellow plans. Mountain updrafts sends Hanson, daughter Jojo, Paradise Mountain Resort owner Katy and her son Josh up Grant Peak in to a 19th Century gold mine for refuge. As they fight for survival, they soon learn the explosion was no accident. Hanson is being targeted for elimination. Will they make it off Grant Peak alive?
Daniel Lance Wright's Paradise Flawed sends the reader on a wild ride of survival, conspiracy and gold. However, I'm not sure how much of the story I, as a reader, can believe. First of all, why rig a gasoline tanker explosion to kill one man? Could a 70-year-old oil tycoon not come up with something a bit more discreet, especially since the mountain resort is located in a small town and not fully booked? I can buy it if the explosion was to serve more than one purpose but no other one was explored with in the storyline. Matter of fact, the villain, Barry Ezell, barely makes an appearance in the novel at all.
Next, there's the romance between Mike and Katy. One moment, he's overly protective of his shallow wife. Then one second after meeting Katy, he does a total 180; barely grieves for his wife's death before exploring his feelings for Katy. Granted the romance is more of a series of teases. I guess I expect a man who goes out of his way to be watchful over a wife who doesn't give a damn about him or anyone else would be a bit more emotional over her death. The guy deserves to be happy with someone who cares about him. I guess it's the timing of the whole thing and the fact his daughter pushes for it as well.
Paradise Flawed has similar structural problems as Reads Like Murder in Honolulu which I'm sure has or will be corrected. Excluding the prologue, the mystery portion doesn't really come in to play until page 200 (digital version) as the beginning starts off rather slow. The action scenes are a bit sluggish at times. I feel like someone was telling me what happened instead of experiencing it as the story progressed. There were a few scenes that read more like an after school special; seemed a bit out of place. With the mystery elements,t he characters eventually had all the pieces to the puzzle but felt frustrating as a reader because they weren't putting it all together until the very end as if the writer was trying to wrap it up quickly. This leads me to the ending. Mike and Katy had the primary romance. However, a second one sort of developed between Mikes friend and co-worker Ed and a local diner owner named Rachael. The book ended with them. I think the scene is essential but not as an ending. The quick portion of the ending was with Katy and Mike and Ed and Rachael had a more progressed moment. I think it should have been the other way around. Felt rather disappointed.
Overall, Paradise Flawed serves as a fun fast pace adventure for your enjoyment. Ghostly Rating:
Giveaway: I have three digital copies of this book to giveaway. This will be a first-come-first-serve type of thing.A copy of Paradise Flawed will be given to the first three people who send me an email request to paranormal_stories2004(at)yahoo.com.
Many of you know of the Aokigahara Forest in Japan as the location to take their lives. Here in the United States, we have The Colorado Street Bridge a.k.a. The Suicide Bridge in Pasadena, California. Since being built in 1913, over 150 people have relinquished their lives from this structure. The bridge spans 1,486 feet over the Arroyo Seco and sits on the original Route 66. It's known for its distinctive Beaux Arts arches, light standards, artistic supports and railings.
A suicide barrier was added to reduce the number of suicides. After the Loma Prieta earthquake in Northern California of 1989, the bridge was declared a seismic hazard and closed to traffic but reopened in 1993 after a substantial retrofit. The Suicide Bridge was thrown in to the spotlight thanks to film, music, and TV. It's first onscreen appearance was in Charlie Chaplin's The Tramp and was later used in Alias, Seabiscuit, NCIS and The Mentalist. A monument with so much history makes one wonder, why does it attract the attention of the depressed and desperate?
Six years after the construction the first suicide took place on November 16, 1919. However, the majority of suicides taken place on The Colorado Street Bridge was during the Depression between 1919 and 1937. Seventy-nine people leaped to their deaths in the 1930s and more occurred over the years as recently a couple of weeks ago. A 25-year-old Covina man jumped on April 17, and a 49-year-old Altadena woman dove to her death on April 21. Police continue to respond to impending suicides each month. Is the bridge curse? Some believe so.
Legend has it that the first death to occur at the bridge was not a suicide, but an accident when a construction worker fell into wet concrete and his co-workers weren’t able to reclaim his body from the thick mass. It’s believed by many his spirit continues to haunt the bridge, luring others to their deaths. They say whenever he is present the street lights turn blue. Another legend involves a mother and child. A mother intended to kill both herself and her infant daughter. When she threw her over the side, tree branches slowed her fall. She landed relatively unharmed. Her mother was not so lucky. Her spirit is believed to haunt the bridge, searching for her child. With over 150 deaths occurring at the Colorado Street Bridge, they may not be alone. A male spirit with wire rimmed glasses and a woman wearing a long flowing robe are also seen.
Of course the bridge itself may not be the only thing being visited by spirits. Witnesses have heard strange sounds and cries from unknown sources originating from the river bed. The homeless have often seen and heard ghostly spirits under the bridge including someone who says "Her fault" whenever someone runs across the bridge.