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

The Baldpate Inn

The Stanley Hotel is infamous among the paranormal circles, but another Estes Park inn has it’s share of ghosts as well. Newlyweds Gordon and Ethel Mace visited Estes Park in 1911 on their honeymoon and fell in love with the area. So much they decided to build a homestead on the property. Initially only a small cabin was built on the land and rhubarb was planted to fulfill the requirements of the Homestead Act. To increase their income, they built several tourist cabins. With their success, the Mace Family made plans to build an inn.

With financial resources being quite limited, the Mace family used what natural resources were available and constructed the inn from hand-hewn timber cut from the property and massive stone fireplaces were built to provide warmth and hot water. The Baldpate was opened in 1917 boasting such amenities as hot running water, electric lights, and indoor plumbing.

Mystery novelist Earl Derr Biggers visited the inn and stated it was so similar to the "imaginary" Baldpate Inn in his novel Seven Keys to Baldpate, that the Mace's hotel would become the "real" Baldpate Inn. In the novel, each of seven visitors traveled to the closed-in-wintertime hotel, thinking he or she has the only key to the Inn. In keeping with the story line of the novel, the Mace family gave each visitor to Baldpate Inn their very own key, a tradition that continued until the outbreak of World War I when the price of metal became so expensive that the owners were no longer able to give keys away. With this a new tradition was born. Loyal guests were so disappointed that they began bringing a key back to the inn with them each year. The competition between the guests became so fierce the owners began displaying all the keys in the Key Room which is by the lobby. The collection boasts over 20,000 keys including ones from the Pentagon, Westminster Abby, Edgar Allan Poe’s dorm room, Mozart's wine cellar, and even Frankenstein's castle to name a few.

The Baldpate Inn stayed in the Mace family until 1986 when they lost ownership of it. The Smith Family bought it that same year and continues to run it until this day. Many believe Gordon and Ethel Mace loved the inn so much they decided to stay permanently.

Ethel is often seen in her old bedroom and the Key Room. Guests and staff have seen  her ghost sitting in a wing-backed rocker that was hers in life with her feet on a foot stool and reading the Bible in front of a fireplace that’s in a storage room adjacent to the Key Room. Footsteps have been heard in the hallway next to a second floor bathroom near Ethel’s Room. Some people who ordered drinks would put them down and their cocktails and highballs mysteriously vanished, flew off of the table or were spilled, often blamed on Ethel. Gordon Mace is not a fan of smokers. When a guest lights a cigarette in violation of the No Smoking rule, something puts it out. Cigarette packs have a tendency to disappear and are never found again. Witnesses have heard somebody running up and down the stairs.

GS Question of the Week

Do certain locations attract all things supernatural including ghosts, aliens and strange creatures? Why or why not?

The Bennington Triangle

Much like its counterparts, a portion of Vermont's green wilderness gained a reputation. Between the years 1920 and 1950, a number of people vanished without a trace. In his book, "Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls, and Unsolved Mysteries", Joe Citro dubbed an area in Bennington near Glastenbury mountain the "Bennington Triangle". Not only have people disappeared, defying explanation, it has also been an alleged hot spot for UFO activity, strange lights, sounds, odors, specters, mysterious creatures. Even Native American's shunned the place. They believed the land to be cursed because all four winds met in that spot and some Native American folklore speaks of an enchanted stone which swallows anything to step upon it. How many of these claims are true, I am not certain. However, the disappearances have been documented.

On November 12, 1945, 75 year old Middie Rivers led four hunters onto the mountain. As the group was returning to camp, near Long Trail Road and Route 9, Rivers broke away from the others and was never seen again. Police and volunteers searched the area for the experienced woodsman but never found him.

Almost a year later, on December 1, 1946, an 18 year old Bennington College sophomore named Paula Welden hitched a ride to the Long Trail to take a day hike. Several witnesses confirmed seeing her on the trail but when she didn't return to school, a search team scoured the area. Despite a 5,000 dollar reward and help from the FBI, Paula Welden was never seen again. Two unconfirmed rumors stated Paula arranged her disappearance and moved to Canada with a lover; while others speculate she still lives a reclusive life on the mountain.

A 13-year-old boy named Melvin Hills disappeared in the Bennington area around October 11, 1942, and in 1949, three hunters mysteriously also vanished in the Glastenbury area. After 1950, the disappearances stopped. No one knows why they began much less why they suddenly stopped. Although some believed the answer is natural not supernatural. One theory stated the disappearances were caused by a serial killer. Serial killers have patterns and the only thing the victims had in common was when they vanished, during October, November and December. Others think they simply fell in abandoned wells. Supernatural theories include alien abduction, the Bennington Monster and interdimensional horizons.

Is the "Bennington Triangle" a magnet for the supernatural? Will those who disappeared in the area be ever found? These are questions that may never be answered.

Yvette Fielding Leaving 'Most Haunted'

After ten years, Yvette Fielding has made the ultimate decision to leave Most Haunted as their hostess. A statement was posted on the website for the show's production company Antix Productions, which she set up with her husband Karl Beattie. Fielding stated she spent the last year soul-searching before making this decision.

She feels it's time for her to move on and pursue other projects but hopes the show continues with a new a host. Most Haunted has as of yet to announce any plans to search for a new host. Don't think this announcement is taking her out of the field all together. Fielding is continuing her hosting duties on ITV2's Ghosthunting with..., a British paranormal program where celebrities help investigate haunted locations.

I've never really been a big fan of Most Haunted but if they do decide to find a new host, I hope they choose someone who isn't so annoying. Perhaps even give it some credibility. Although, I'm not holding my breath.

Poor House Road Tunnel

The voices of children attempt to lure visitors in with their "Come on, come on". A misty dark fog envelopes you when you stand in the middle. Dark silhouettes have been spotted darting in and around the location. Such accounts are common among some haunted locations. Why should Poor House Road Tunnel in Lexington, Virginia be any different?

Hauntings spur from stories, rumors and legends. In this case, the tunnel's past can only be spoken as a legend. It began as part of a railroad system that ran from Lexington to Staunton in the early 1900s. However, it's dark past can not be verified. According to some locals, the tunnel was allegedly a location for many lynchings in the 1900s. A story to account for the phantom children voices supposedly took place in the nearby woods. Two girls were playing when they came upon an unknown male who shot and killed them both. There's also rumors of a woman being raped murdered inside the tunnel.

As stated before, it seems none of these stories have yet to be verified. However, it hasn't stopped investigation groups from stopping by.

GS Question of the Week

What do you think is causing cattle mutilations in Colonia Belgrano, Argentina?

Linwood Curse

In Linwood, a member of one of the biggest landowning families in Scotland is believed to have cursed the economy...or at least she is being blamed for 30 years worth of misfortune. Lady Anne Speirs' curse was brought to life, over a century after her death, in the early 1980s when Rootes Car Plant, Linwood's main source of income, shut down. Legend states Lady Anne pledged a curse on anyone who disturbs the crypt, recently rediscovered by contractors working for Tesco.

Superstitious locals are warning that soon-to-be-approved plans to move the remains of five people from a mausoleum and reunite them with their descendants in North Berwick will bring tragedy to the Renfrewshire town due to this curse. However, it's unlikely supermarket giant Tesco will alter their plans to move the remains to the East Lothian town for a new supermarket and community facilities to regenerate the area. Tesco immediately moved to have the bodies disinterred, but a court order stalled the development after a judge ruled that the supermarket chain must wait 42 days for representations to be received from the local community.This has fueled some to believe this to be further evidence of this curse.

However, historians believe this supposed curse is the product of mistaken identity. Lady Anne Speirs was a member of a God-fearing family, devout Presbyterians who also gave a lot of support to the Houston and Killellan Church of Scotland. Thus, unlikely to place a curse on anyone. Plus, her body is buried in the Houston Cemetery and not in this particular crypt. Genealogists discovered that the mausoleum contains the remains of the Speir family of Burnbrae House, no apparent relation to Lady Anne Speirs, whose stately home was situated in the grounds.

GS Question of the Week

Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files is an upcoming new series on Syfy, airing on July 15th, about determining which paranormal videos are real and which ones are fake. Do you think they have another hit on their hands or is this one you'll pass on?

The Tale of Halcyon Crane - Review

Holt Paperbacks, March 30, 2010
Paperback, 326 Pages
ISBN: 978-0805091403
Horror
Ordering Information:
Amazon.com

This tale begins with a young woman named Hallie James living in Puget Sound. On one foggy morning, she soon learns her whole existence was lived in deception thanks to two letters. One from the mother she believed to have died long ago. The second from a lawyer reporting her death. The only person who can clear up a lifetime full of lies is her Alzheimer's father. He didn't remember his own daughter on a good day. However, it only took one lucid answer to reveal the startling truth: “Madyln wrote to you?” Hallie had only known her mother as Annie. The next day, she was left facing the death of a mother that came years after she had been told and also the death of her father.

On a whim she calls the lawyer, packs a bag, and leaves for Grand Manitou Island not knowing what she will find but wanting to know about the life that was taken from her. With the aid of her mother's attorney, Will, and a Mrs. Danvers-like housekeeper name Iris, she slowly learns the haunting details of her family's history as well as her own past.

The Tale of Halcyon Crane is the debut novel from author Wendy Webb. However, Webb is no stranger to writing. She built a twenty year career as journalist before making the switch to fiction. I found myself not wanting to put this book down. It's a rarity for me. I think Hallie gets pulled in to the stories and living on the island and the ghosts a little two easy. She comes off a little too over-resilient for all that she's been through. It's fast paced. Although, the backstory portion is a bit more predominant than the ghosts and eerie happenings on the island and in her family home. It doesn't take away from the overall plot. The reader is always left wondering what will happen next.

I do think the ending is a bit rushed. I would have loved the confrontation scene between her and the three ghost triplets to be drawn out more. Its like the novel was building the reader up to this moment and when it happened, you're left with a ho hum feeling. Webb discussed in a mini-interview, located in the back of the book, the switch from nonfiction to fiction concerning the different styles of writing. In various parts, it reads more telling than showing. However, I don't believe this takes away from the story. The Tale of Halcyon Crane rewards the reader with a ghostly tale along with a sense of family appreciation without an ounce of disappointment.

Dead Woman's Crossing

In Weatherford, Oklahoma sits an isolated bridge of Big Deer Creek near a local university. A real death shrouded in a ghost tale. After deciding to divorce her husband on the grounds of cruelty, Katy DeWitt James and her 14-month-old daughter got on a train en route to Payne County from Custer County. She met a prostitute named Fannie Norton while on her journey and agreed to stay with Norton's brother. On July 8th, 1905, the two women and child left in a buggy declaring their return in three hours. Two hours and fifteen minutes later, Norton returned alone.

Katy's father Henry, after weeks of receiving no word from her, hired a private detective to investigate her whereabouts. The detective discovered Fannie Norton took Katy and her daughter supposedly to a town called Hydro. However, their wagon disappeared in a field near Deer Creek for almost an hour. When Norton finally re-emerged, she was alone with the child. No sign of Katy anywhere. She left the child with a boy at a nearby farm and told him to take her to his mother to look after. Then, Norton proceeded to ditch some baby's clothes covered in blood as were the wagon wheels. She fled to Guthrie, enrolling her children in private school and moved on to Shawnee in an effort to disappear.

The detective managed to locate Norton in a local butcher shop in Shawnee. She nervously went in to a rant about Katy meeting a man on their buggy ride and leaving with him, denying killing her. The confrontation caused her to weep uncontrollably. While the detective was speaking to a reporter, Norton committed suicide that night by ingesting poison. Rewards were posted in an effort to find Katy and on August 31, all speculation ended. A Weatherford resident named G. W. Cornell found a body in the creek bed while fishing with his sons.

Only a skeleton remained. The clothing was worn but recognizable. A gold wedding band on its hand. The skull was found two feet away from rest of the remains. A bullet hole was located behind the right ear. However, there was no speculating what kind of gun caused it as a .38 caliber revolver was found along side the skull. Norton's lawyer identified the weapon as belonging to his client. It's believed Norton shot Katy and the body fell out of the buggy in to the creek. While some speculated Katy died while Norton attempted to rob her, a more popular listed Katy's husband William Luther James as the one behind it all. His lack of sorrow and concern along with the $5 gold wedding ring found with Katy's remains brought up many questions. However, Mr. James had a solid alibi resulting in Norton being found guilty of murder.

Other versions of this story include the woman being attacked on the bridge. Her head was cut off and the rest of her body was tied between two trees left on display. She was found several days later. Sometimes during this alleged attack she was with a baby and others, she was alone.

Witnesses reported hearing a woman's scream coming from Dead Woman's Crossing as well as the sound of wagon wheels. Supposedly she is haunting the bridge in search of either her head or her child, perhaps both. Some have seen a woman walking the creek bed with a lantern in hand. Cars also allegedly stall on the bridge. Many have felt a cold spot in the exact location where her body was found. Other stories range from UFO sightings and cattle mutilations to mysterious black robed people performing rituals there at midnight.


This is the first in a web series about the bridge. My computer is bad with videos. So, I'm not certain as to how good this really is. View at your own risk.

GS Question of the Week

What's your favorite zombie movie?

Dawn of the Shadow Review

I rarely come across a book I can't finish. Whether it's good or bad, I try to read from cover-to-cover. Unfortunately, Dawn of the Shadow by Peter Kelly was not one of them. I didn't make it past page 21.

Pete Farrell comes across a relic from another time. This find would change his life forever. However, in a state of curiosity, he inadvertently awakens a great evil. One that believes Pete is the key to their rise to power. In a struggle to find himself, he follows their lead. Whether it be by fate or accident, Pete Farrell aided in the an ultimate change descended upon the world.

A synopsis alone makes this a promising read. However, I can't begin to say how much it isn't. Truth is, I couldn't get passed various rookie mistakes to get to the core of this novel. The protagonist, Pete Farrell, is suppose to be a 20-year-old college student. But within the first few pages of the novel, it felt more like he was a kid getting in to mischief with his buddies during summer break. I know not all guys in their 20s are the most mature but there are just some things that set them apart from boys half their age. Then there's the villain. He doesn't appear much of a villain. You don't get any sense of deception at all. The first introduction is more like Elliott meeting E.T. for the first time. The scene appeared more innocent than it should have been (in my opinion, that is).

While character and plot development needs improvement, so do the fundamentals. The dialogue contained more commas in it than it should. I mean there is such things as periods and question marks. Not to mention the whole novel is in present tense. A bit hard to master without the book sounding like one long boring narrative. This one was not among the greats, sorry to say. And all of this is after a few rounds of editing. I would hate to know what the rough drafts looked like. Dawn of the Shadow is the first in a series. All I can say is I hope future novels from author Peter Kelly are better than the first.

Haunted Pub in Search of New Owner

Almost a year ago, I relayed the story of Maggie Duffton, a former owner of the Burnett Arms Hotel who died in 1931. A legend stated she commissioned three coffins to be made after her death, one believed to contain her body and another her money. Both walled up in a hotel cellar vault.

Current owner, Malcolm Edwards hired a stone mason in 2008 to put all the rumors to rest. A 2-ft granite wall was demolished, revealing what some feared the most. Not one coffin or even two for that matter. However, paranormal activity has increased. A barmaid who used to be the cleaner many years ago saw a figure walk through a locked door one day and asked to speak to Norman. A woman has also been seen late at night wearing a pink wedding dress.

Edwards has since decided to put the bar up for sale, first time in three years. He claims the ghosts haven't ran him off but is moving on to run another hotel. Anyone in the market for a Scottish bar accompanied by a few friendly ghosts?
 
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