Haunted History – Chillingham Castle

chillingham-castle    This castle has been around since 1298 when it was a monastery.  In 1344 it became a fortified castle. That’s 719 years,   so you just know there’s some madness going on in there right!?  The castle was intended as the first line of defense, in keeping the Scots from invading England.  This was back in the day of William Wallace when the castle was ruled over by King Edward the 1st, so that should tell you right there that it has one hell of a horrifying history!

I’m gonna tell you all about it!  Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up, shall we!  As with most ancient castles, there is a dungeon!  The Chillingham dungeon is a very small room carved from the stone base.  Today, you can still see etchings in the walls where prisoners kept count of the days they had remaining, before they would be put to death.  Most of them in the earlier years of the castle, fully expected to have both arms and legs cut off or at the least broken, then be thrown down a 20 foot hole where they would starve or bleed to death; if they didn’t die from their injuries.  Those that survived the fall, were said to sometimes eat dead flesh from other bodies at the bottom of the pit.  Some would even eat chunks of their own flesh in a desperate attempt to prolong their miserable lives.  Today a steel grate covers the opening of the hole, it’s said that if you look down into the darkness that the face of a young woman will appear to you.  She was the last person killed here, but I can’t find any explanation as to who she was, or why she was punished.  All I found was that she lived for 3 days after before succumbing to her injuries.

barrelSo next up is the torture chamber!  There are some sick and deranged pieces of equipment in this room, still in working condition today!  This sucker was built with pain and torment in mind.  The floor is hewn from the stone and has a slight slope so that the blood would drain away to one side.  There’s a huge boiling pot, implements for gouging out someones eyeballs, and there are these barrels.  They’re lined with metal spikes on the inside.  They’d stuff a prisoner inside the barrel and roll them around until their flesh was ripped from their bodies.  Then they’d leave them locked inside the barrel to die in agony from their wounds.  There are also these freaky looking little cages, guess what these twisted bastards would use them for?!  This is crazy!  They would attach the cages to a prisoner’s body and put a starving rat inside.  The only way for the rat to escape was to eat through the prisoner.  That is some deranged shit right there!

What kind of twisted half breed could even think of this kind of madness!  I’ll tell you!  His name was John Sage.  Sage was one of the King’s most brutal warriors in the battlefield but one day his leg was injured in battle badly enough to end his days of fighting the King’s wars.  Sage begged the King to keep him on in some position.  The King, familiar with his vicious skills and his hatred toward the Scots, decided to name him Castle torturer.  Sage loved his new position, so much in fact that he even began creating torture devises.

Sage tortured fifty or more prisoners per week, each victim fell subject to him testing and improving his latest means of torture.  Sage thoroughly lavished in his torturing but as all good things do, it came to an end.  The war with the Scots would soon be over and his supply of prisoners would dwindle.  Furious with the threat of peace, Sage went into some of the surrounding towns and began murdering anyone he suspected to have been of Scottish descent.  When he returned to the castle, there was talk of freeing the prisoners.

Yeah, well he wasn’t up for that.  Sage rounded up all of the men, women and older children from his hordes of prisoners and leads them to the courtyard where there’s a huge bon fire burning.  They weren’t fixing to make S’mores, I’ll tell you that right now!  Sage has all of them tied up and thrown into the fire.  Hundreds of prisoners were burned to death and guess what was just within eyesight of the massive fire?  A window, in fact it was the window to the Edward room where all of the prisoner’s younger children were being held.   No doubt the ones tall enough to see out of it were watching on as their parents died agonizing deaths.  Those that couldn’t see out, surely heard their screams and smelled their burning flesh.
Sage, a battle hardened soldier, knew that if he released the children they would grow up and one day come to seek their revenge, he’d be an old man by then.  So, this evil bastard takes a small axe to the Edward room and begins hacking the kids to pieces.  These kids ranged from maybe 8 years old all the way down to infants.  His horrific act rendered the Edward room into one of the most active rooms in the entire castle.  The chandelier is said to swing  randomly, the room has a foul smell and or course a very strange atmosphere.  Glowing orbs and the faces of terrified children are often caught on film.  Their tormented screams are frequently heard and recorded by those that visit the room.

Back to Sage.  In the torture chamber there is a torture rack, on the torture rack is Sage’s girlfriend and they’re having sex.   Well he starts cranking the gears on the rack and accidentally kills the girlfriend.  Hope it was good, cause that was the last he got!  See, his girlfriends Father just happened to be a member of Border Reivers.  They were a bad ass gang of broken men and outlaws.  Needless to say Dad wanted Sage dead right then and there.

The Border Reivers were a very powerful organization that had a vast and very skilled fighting force.  Legend has it that there was a meeting between King Edward and the leaders of the gang.  The King was to have Sage killed immediately else the Reivers would join up with the Scots and launch a full scale attack on the castle.  So King Edward has Sage hanged in front of an enormous crowd.  Sage was so hated and feared that people in the crowd wanted souvenirs.  They began cutting chunks of flesh from his body, while he was still alive.  It is unknown how long Sage hanged while be mutilated before he finally died.  Fitting I would say.  So, Sage, of course is seen all over the castle and grounds and of course in his beloved torture chamber.  As we know, ghosts tend to return to the places that they loved most!

boy     Next up is the Great Hall that leads to the Chapel and the Minstrels gallery.  Let me clarify here, the Minstrels gallery was not a room full of PMSing women, this is where the musicians performed.  Ok back to The Great Hall.  It’s a long room with a lot of artifacts on the walls.  The most notable are a tapestry which cold spots are frequently associated with and a skull that sits on the table in front of the tapestry.  The skull is known to move all around the Great Hall on it’s own, but never leaves the room.  There are windows that line the wall that look out into the courtyard.  Ghostly children are often seen staring in through the windows.  On one investigation a small boy ghost was photographed in a chair sitting to the left of the skull.

The Minstrels gallery is a balcony that overlooks the tea room.  People have been pushed down the stairs here. Other folks have been overcome by violent waves or nausea or stabbing pains in their head while in the gallery. Huh, kind of like PMS right?!  Anyway, There is a legend that says when the tea room was being excavated, a massive toad like creature broke through the wall, took human form then disappeared.  The legends says that it is this creature that haunts the area.

Then there’s the Chapel, where walls are covered with weapons of war and flags that the King’s men would carry into battle.  The Chapel was also recently excavated and beneath the floorboards, relics and human bones were found.  Maybe that would have something to do with the fact that cameras and recorders will not work here.  Most of the time, batteries are drained completely before there is a chance to use the equipment, some of the time the equipment just will not work at all.

Next up is the Edward room, or more affectionately known as the killing room.  Among the decor is a suit of armor bearing a two handed sword.  The walls are covered with other varying types of war weapons, cow horns and flags.  The most notable relic hanging on display in the Edward room are the documents that were found with the Blue Boy when he was discovered inside the wall.

The Blue is one of the more famous of ghosts here at the castle.  Legend states that the Boy was found in possession of some documents that were given to him by the aristocrat that owned Chillingham Castle.  The documents were to be given to the Spanish Armada in order to help them defeat the English.  The documents never made it out of the castle, they were walled up in a passage way, along wit the boy they had been given to.

blue     While having renovations and repairs made in 1920, his bones were discovered and with them were the documents along with shards of blue fabric from his clothes.  The tips of all of his finger bones were missing. The kid tried desperately to claw himself free of his grave.

It has been reported for centuries that at the stroke of midnight the harrowing cries of the Blue boy can be heard echoing from the stone passageway adjacent to the castles “pink room”   When the last of his cries fade away, it is said that a bright halo of light appears near the four poster bed.  If you’re lucky enough to be the one sleeping in the bed, you will see the ghost of a small boy dressed in blue, illuminated by a bright halo of light.  Blue Boy is said to approach the bed and stare at those laying in it, but only for a moment, he then walks away and disappears into the very wall he was discovered buried behind.

mary  Another well known ghost is that of Lady Mary Berkeley.  She wanders the corridors searching for her wayward husband, Lord Grey, who actually ran off with her sister.  Dirty Bastard! Lady Berkeley doesn’t have much to say, but when she is near she definitely sends a cold chill up your spine.  That’s her in the photo on the left.

Another lady ghost is an ancestor of the Grey Family.  She has been seen stepping from out of her own paintings and following folks around the castle.  There are documents of her having done so since the Tankerville’s inhabited the castle.   Sometimes this unnamed lady is seen walking around on the grounds and throughout the castle and is often mistaken for a tour guide in period clothing.

In the library, beneath the upper chamber, the voices of two men can be heard talking.  If someone is reading or writing in the library, the ghostly conversation continues.  But if that person stops reading or writing to listen in, the voices go hush.

And then there is the white pantry ghost.  So back in the day, there was what was known as an inner pantry.  This is where the silver was stored, and a guard was assigned the task of sleeping in the pantry to protect it.  One night the sleeping guard was awoken by a pale woman wearing white, she was begging him for water.  Thinking that the woman was a lost guest, he stands up to go get her some water.  He then suddenly is reminded that he was locked in the inner pantry, there was no way out and certainly no way anyone could have gotten in.  He turns to confront the woman and guess what, you got it, she’s gone!  The same pale figure can be seen in the pantry today, still begging for that water.  Footnote here, it is thought that the insistent yearning for water is a sign of having been poisoned.

Also on the castle grounds is a picturesque and seemingly peaceful lake, yeah, not so much!  Beneath the pristine surface of the water lies the remains of thousands of Scots killed during the war with the English.  Their corpses would be piled high onto wooden carts that would be emptied into the lake.  Legend has it that the water is cursed and if you put your hand in it, the spirits of those that rest there will pull you in with them.  Impromptu Pool Party right!

The castle is presently being renovated by it’s new owner, a tremendous undertaking to say the least.  But one never knows what will be discovered while excavations and repairs are ongoing.  In earlier attempts to restore the castle, workmen discovered two skeletons, the bones of a man and child.  They were found close to a trap door near the stone arches of the underground vaults.  No one knows for certain who they were or why they were there.  Some speculate that they had been hiding during a Border Reivers attack and may have wound up trapped in their hiding place.

Workmen also discovered a small chamber in the lower dungeons.  When they opened the wall they found the perfectly preserved body of a man just sitting in a chair.  Unfortunately once the cavity filled with fresh air, the body crumbled away like ashes.

The Castle has so many ghosts that there is actually an onsite paranormal investigation staff!  It’s no wonder, the castle has been around for so very long.  There were good times and of course bad, some really bad, right!  With a record 18 knights there were bound to be problems, egos you know!  There were 8 executions within the family itself.  These were brutal events.  Some were hanged,  then, drawn and quartered.   While they were still alive, they were cut down from the gallows to have their entrails removed and as if that wasn’t enough, before their heart beat for a last time, their bodies would be cut into quarters.  Their heads were then hung on the city gates to serve as warning to others.  The luckiest of those to have been executed within the family simply had their heads cut off.  They got off easy right!?

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Urban legend – Demon’s Road

dr1 This particular road is in Huntsville Texas.  Ok, so it doesn’t appear to be extraordinary right?!  But, at the end of Bowden road, also known as Demon’s road by the locals, is Martha’s Chapel Cemetery.  From what I have read, it’s not just the cemetery where you could encounter a ghost.  Thrill-seekers claim that it’s one hell of a ride just getting there.  Let me tell you what I’ve found.

For decades and even still today, there is a steady stream of haunting experiences that folks have had while traveling down this road.  Not just eerie feelings and hair standing on end here folks, there’s some crazy shit happening on this little country road.  But, of course, the best of it all occurs in the cemetery.  One of the eeriest statements I read was by a woman made in 2010.

Ok, so this chick her husband and some of their friends go to visit the cemetery.  While there they all saw a man wandering aimlessly through the headstones.  None of them paid him much attention.

A few days later, while home alone, this chick goes to get into the shower.  When she turns to close the curtain, the same creepy assed dude is standing there in her bedroom, staring straight at her.  After he, or it, succeeds in scaring the hell out of her, it disappears into thin air and never returns.  From what I hear, she got off easy.  Locals warn folks when they head down that road that it’s not unusual for something to come back with you.

Then there’s this one guy and his story.  Wait til you hear this madness!  Ok, so the guy and his friend go to the cemetery one afternoon.  As they’re walking around, the one guy sees a hand protruding from a grave.  Eager to check it out, he drags his reluctant friend over to the grave with him.  By the time they’re close enough, an entire arm has dug it’s way from the dirt.  So what does the one guy do?  Get this,  despite his friend begging him to back away, the one guy kneels down and goes to touch the hand.  What a idiot!  I mean really!  I might would have handed the hand a beer or something but I for damned sure am not touching it!  What the hell was he thinking, right?!

So anyway, the hand grabs the one guy tight and starts pulling at him, trying to drag him into the grave.  So his terrified friend grabs onto him and starts pulling his friend backwards.  Eventually the idiot is freed.  So he stands up to ask his freaked out friend if he’s ok and as he does, he sees a man standing directly behind his friend.  So he lunged forward to protect his friend just as the other man lifts his head.  The other dude looked exactly like his friend who had been begging his dumb ass to leave the whole time.  So when he turns away from this other dude his friend is gone, he’s like nowhere.

So the idiot starts running and when he gets to the car he notices huge hand prints in the dust on the car.  So now he’s all freaked out but he heads to the safety of the car anyway. He jumps in and locks the doors.  While he’s sitting there trying to make sense of what had just happened, he feels drawn to look in the backseat, guess what he sees!?  It’s his friend, crumpled up in the back seat, deader than hell!

So back to those huge hand prints.  It seems that is a typical occurrence.  There are hundreds of reports where vehicle owners have stated that there were hand prints all over their cars, and those were just the ones that drove down the road without stopping at the cemetery.

hqdefault1But hand prints aren’t the only things that occur on the roadway.  There are tons of reports of folks having seen inexplicable red lights.  The number of lights seen always coincides with the number of people in the vehicle.  There is one report made by four individuals that took a ride down Demon road one evening.  So they’re riding along and all of the sudden four red lights appear from out of nowhere.  Mesmerized by the floating anomalies, the driver takes his foot off of the gas and slows down.  Moments later it sounded like something hit the back of the car.  The passengers in the back seat turn around and immediately see four huge hand prints appear on the surface of the trunk.  I’m betting at that point the driver floored it and got the hell out of there!

Besides these mystery lights and massive hand prints, plenty of other ghostly apparitions are seen on the road way to Martha’s Chapel Cemetery.  Two of the most commonly seen are a young child with glowing eyes that’s riding a tricycle along the road way and a second faceless figure that brings with it an overwhelming sensation of threat to those that see it.  These spirits chose to reveal themselves in many different forms but regardless to how they are witnessed they are never reported as anything less than terrifying and violent.

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Haunted History – The King’s Tavern

kings01 The King’s Tavern is a 230+ year old structure that is still in use today.  The Tavern is located at 619 Jefferson street in Natchez Mississippi and at the moment appears to be an up scale bar and grill, just as it was when it was  in the late 1700’s.

Originally, King’s Inn was intended to be a block house for Fort Panmure but because there was no local sawmill, materials had to come from other places.  Many of the structures built here during this era were constructed from beams scrapped from old New Orleans sailing ships which were brought to Natchez via mule.  Another high demand source of materials were barge boards from flat riverboats that were used to travel down the Mississippi.  Since the boats couldn’t make way back up the river, they were dismantled and sold off at the Natchez port.  The last of the materials required were easily obtained locally, sun dried bricks were of course, common in the area.

So after the Revolutionary war, the fort was no longer occupied and in 1789 a New Yorker named Richard King moved his family to Natchez and purchased the block home.  King turned the home into a combination tavern and inn where mail parcels could be picked up and delivered.  So as you can imagine, King’s Inn quickly turned in to Natchez’s social gathering spot and King found his business had become quite lucrative.

During this time some rather unsavory characters came in to town, these weren’t the run of the mill outlaws, these were folks like the infamous Harpe Brothers.  These sadistic bastards were bad news.  Their favorite past time was tormenting and mutilating their victims before finally putting them out of their misery.  These guys made their living off of robbing folks as they left Natchez, mainly the sailors who had just sold their dismantled vessels as building material. When their pockets were full of stolen cash, they would return to Natchez and spend their loot in town, usually at the King’s Inn.

I’m going to get off of the King’s Inn for a minute just to tell you guys a little more about the Harpe brothers and their gang.  These two men and their cohorts were labeled the first serial killers in the US.  So, when the Revolutionary war began, these two joined up with a Tory Rape gang.  Not really that they supported the Royal Crown, it was justification for them to brutalize, murder, rape, plunder and burn down family homes and farms.  Oh, and kidnap.

Yeah these two kidnapped their “wives”  if you want to call them that.  These two young girls were beaten and raped often.  Both of them became pregnant at some point, both of the infants were murdered by the Brothers the moment they were born.  Real sweethearts huh!  Well, these two wives wind up dead or missing while the brothers and their “gang” continue on with their reign of terror.  Later on, one of the brothers took a new wife the other, took on 2 wives.  The circumstances were quite different this time, their wives were a vicious bunch as well, that would actually be tried for murder but were later set free.

Meanwhile behind them all they’re leaving a trail of bodies.  To be specific, bodies that had been slit open, their intestines removed, their empty body cavities were refilled with rocks and dirt then submerged within the nearest body of water, the gang’s calling card.

So in 1799, the still pissed Father of one of the first kidnapped wives, has tracked the brothers down.  They were actually getting ready to kill a man when they were spotted by him.  Big Harpe was shot down from his horse but not killed, that came later when dear old Dad slowly removed his head with a saw, more about that in a minute.  The other brother managed to escape, but only for a little while.  This dude hooks up with a band of pirates along the river.  He and a friend of his decides to take out the leader of this motley crue because there was a bounty on his head.  So they attack the leader and cut off his head.  They take the head to the authorities to claim the reward but both were recognized.  They were executed in 1804.  Their heads were impaled on the same roadway as Big Harpe which you’re fixing to hear about now.

Ok, so back to back to King’s Inn.  So things are really rough around this area, had been for a long time, and it stayed that way until Big Harpe, was beheaded.  His head was run through with a stake and placed on the road just outside of town as a warning for all to see.  And with that, came the end of two eras in Natchez, the bad guys pulled out and steamboats pulled in.  Now that there was no longer a need to travel the Natchez Trace, the economy bit the dust and King sold his establishment to the Postalwaith Family who would revert the inn to a private residence which would remain in the family for 150 years.   In 1973 the homestead was sold again and has been given back it’s namesake, the King’s Tavern.

Ok, so now that you know a little about the background, it’s time to tell you about the darker side of things.  One of the first tragedies that struck the King’s Inn was caused by one of the Harpe Brothers, perhaps this is the one that was beheaded and if so, after hearing this, you’ll understand why.

So one of the infamous brothers known as Big Harpe was staying at King’s Inn one night, spending a wad of stolen cash from a robbery a few days before.  Also staying there, in one of the attic rooms, was a young woman with her new born baby.  She had tried relentlessly to quiet the fussy infant but to no avail.  Finally Big Harpe had had enough of the endless squalling.  He marches up the stairs to the attic room, bursts through the door and snatches the infant from its mother.  He then grabs the baby by its feet and swings it with all of his might into the adjacent brick wall. The baby of course died upon impact.  Both the infant and the mother’s crying can be heard on the upper levels of the Tavern from time to time.

Another tragedy that befell the King’s Inn was brought about by adultery and then murder.  Well, Richard King was turned into a wealthy man very quickly, and as most men with money do, he determined that he could have just exactly what the hell he wanted, regardless of his vows to his current wife.  King had hired a 16 year old girl to work as a server in his tavern.  The girl, at the time was engaged herself.  Well King immediately determined that the girl would be his and he began attempts of seducing her regularly.

Well it finally happened, young Madeline gave in to his advances and a sultry Mississippi love affair began.  Everything was just wonderful between them, at least until Mrs. King caught wind of what was going on.  See most folks here would think, yeah it’s oh shit time for sure.  Yeah, let me tell you a little bit about us Southern Women, we’re smart and we’re sneaky as Hell.  So with that being said, I’ll continue on with the story.

Well, Madeline, all the sudden, comes up missing,  No shit, right!  Yeah, Mr. King is walking around the place with a puss on his face doing his best to hide his broken heart.  On the other hand Mrs. King is wearing just the hint of a sly smile but has nothing to say on the matter!

Ok so I told you that to tell you this.

In 1930 the house had to have some renovations and some shoring done.  While repairing the fireplace in the main room of the Tavern, three mummified bodies were found cemented into the walls of the fireplace; two men and a young girl.  In another fireplace in another room, a dagger was found.  It’s been assumed that this was the murder weapon for all three of the bodies.  So who was in the fireplace with Madeline?  No one knows for sure, but there are rumors that the bodies belonged to men that were either patrons or servants that had annoyed Mrs. King.

So, now the fireplace is known to become hot as Hell, no need for a fire, in fact it just seems to heat up on it’s own even though it is no longer used as a working fireplace.  As far as Madeline, she stays quite busy these days.  She appears frequently to both patrons and staff and apparently has some kind of fetish for walking on freshly mopped floors.  Her footprints are often seen walking across the wet surface, headed toward the one who’s holding the mop.  She also enjoys knocking jars from off of shelves and rocking in rocking chairs, turning on faucets and turning off lights.  She proves to be quite handy when she wants to be.  Staff says that there are a few doors that are hard to open and close due to the age of the structure.  When Madeline’s name is called the door will open and when the staff member is finished in the room, the door will close solidly behind them when they walk out.

The King’s Tavern has been investigated many times.  There are tons of photos of shadowy figures and of course their are both photos and voice recordings of Madeline.  There is another entity that is often seen and photographed here as well.  It’s a tall man wearing a black jacket and top hat.  He’s described as sinister and always appears angry.  He’s got a thing for showing up in pictures when people are posing in front of the fireplace where the bodies were discovered   and he also likes to throw things around, particularly dishes.  People say that when they see the tall man they feel a tightness in their chest and throats.  To this day, no one has ever been able to identify any of the ghosts seen at King’s Tavern other than Madeline.
Sounds like a great place to go grab a steak and a glass of wine!   I’m thinking that there’s gonna be a little field trip to Natchez in my near future….

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Haunted History – The Gore Orphanage

gore-houseThere’s a ton of haunted history behind the Gore Orphanage, so let’s start at the beginning right?!  In the late 1820’s Joesph and his wife Eliza purchase a large land tract near the Vermillion River in Ohio.  It was there that they built the most elaborate mansion of that time,  No expense was spared and only the best of materials were shipped in from all over just to insure it’s stature within the community.  Locals came from miles around just to admire the lavish residence.

Though the Swifts were the envy of the town, they would only come to enjoy their status among the elite for a short time.  Ten years after settling in, the Swifts lose their 5 year old daughter, ten years beyond that they lose their 24 year old son, and just a few years after that, the Swift family fortune was gone.  Joseph had made huge financial investments into the railroad industry, by 1865 they were forced to sell the sprawling estate.

The property was purchased by Nichols Wilber, a well known medium and spiritualist.  Well, his timing was fantastic!  During this era it was considered posh to have interest in spiritualism but maybe not in such a rural community.  When Wilber began holding seances at the estate, the locals were convinced that he was performing sinister and demonic rites.

The truth of it was that Wilber, many times, conjured the spirits of the deceased Swift family.  There had, at one time, been plenty of written documentation that he had been successful.  It was further noted that Wilber’s children were psychic and were quite at ease in having conversations with the dead members of the Swift family.

Well it wasn’t only the local town-folk that were offended by his heinous acts, so was the estate.  Tragedy after tragedy befell the Wilber family.  They lost 4 of their grandchildren within a span of 6 days.  Shortly after that Eliza passed, and not a year later, in 1901, Nicholas followed her to the grave.

The mansion was then abandoned and fell into ruin.  In 1903 the majority of “Swift Hollow” including the crumbling mansion was purchased by Reverend Sprunger who would later build the “Light and Hope” Orphanage.  His purpose was supposedly to care for and give farm training to neglected children.  Seems these two had a few secrets to hide.  Reverend Sprunger and his wife moved to the Vermillion area after their orphanage in Indiana was destroyed by fire, it wasn’t the first business venture that the Sprungers lost to fire and it wouldn’t be the last.  It was the diary of a former employee that revealed that Reverend Sprunger and his wife were also, brother and sister.  Nastiness!

Anyway, Reverend Sprunger did not use the crumbling mansion at all, instead he built a self sustaining religious commune on the grounds.  There was a boy’s schoolhouse built on the property, complete with a chapel room where there were frequent “religious” ceremonies performed.  The Girls had their own separate quarters on the grounds and there was also a small printing press on the property that was used to print their own school books and weekly newspaper.

From the eye of the outsider, everything appeared to be fine, maybe a little over the top in the sense of them being religious fanatics, otherwise, all seemed well at the Light and Hope Orphanage.  Yeah, that didn’t last very long.  These folks definitely put me in the mind of that screwed up couple from the movie “People under the Stairs.”

orphansWell it took a while, but things soon began coming to light thanks to a handful of children that escaped the orphanage and told their stories.  The community became horrified even sickened by what they were hearing from these kids.  Their lives had been riddled with abuse and neglect.  They had been treated worse than slaves and were actually even rented out to other local farmers which would treat them as bad or even worse that they were being treated at the orphanage.

Anyway, their meals, when they were fed at all, consisted of leftover parts from slaughtered cows or pigs, like, brains, lungs and other disgusting selections.  The children also told of days when they had been fed rotten meat from a cow that had long since died out in the pasture.  It was their punishment, the cow had not been cared for properly by them therefore they would be made to eat it in it’s entirety.  Vegetables that had been fed to the children were boiled in the same pot that was used to boil soiled underwear and linens.  That’ll teach you to wet the bed kiddos!

As if the food provided wasn’t bad enough, let’s discuss the living conditions of the children.  Their rooms were infested with rats and other vermin.  It was a common occurrence for rats to climb in bed with the kids during cold months; the kid usually ended up being bitten by them.  And cleanliness, yeah, not so much.  There was only one bathtub available for them.  Each child would be allowed a bath once every two weeks, and the water was never changed.

The children were worked mercilessly and were often beaten by overseers or even the Reverend himself when their work load fell short.  These kids were whipped until their skin looked like ground meat.  And of course there would be no medical treatments whatsoever.  On this commune, prayer and faith were the only method of healing permitted.

So after hearing of these atrocities, locals contacted authorities and in 1909 the commune came under investigation.  Yeah, didn’t do any good.  The state of Ohio had no laws or regulations concerning this type of “institution” Their hands were tied.  It wasn’t long after when the living quarters of the female orphans nearly burned to the ground, few made it out alive.

Two years later, the good Reverend died and in 1916 the grounds were sold.  Most of the children were relocated in the community, those that weren’t and had no place else to go, were taken by Mrs. Sprunger back to Berne, Indiana, where nearly 13 years to the day the first “Light and Hope” orphanage had burned to the ground.

Today, nothing much remains of the magnificent family estate or the improvements that the good Reverend added to the grounds.  Only a few markers can be found.  A marble column, the remnants of the family well, a few abandoned grave sites, typical haunted ruins.  There are still plenty of other things that have lingered on over 100 years, the ghosts of the children.

Because of the times there were no records to speak of concerning the number of souls that perished on these grounds.  Imagine that besides the Swift and Wilber family members you have their slaves and staff, and then there’s the happily married brother and sister duo.  There are footnotes here and there that state Ms. Sprunger had several stillbirths and that there was another child that lived only 2 years.  And what of the orphans that were either too weak or sickly to survive typical conditions, those that were tortured to death, those that died of neglect and yes even those that were murdered by overseers or the Reverend himself during his religious rituals, oh, and lets not forget those that burned within the fire.

gore ghost 1With this being said, it comes as no surprise that children are often heard, seen, recorded and photographed in the woods where the orphanage once stood.  Those that come to investigate have often heard and recorded the tormented screams of the ones that were burned alive.  There are only a few mentions of adult specters seen on the property, one of which is that of a woman,

no way for sure ghost 2to identify her but I assume that is is Ms. Wilber, just a gut feeling there folks.  And then there is a man, no clue who he could be but he definitely keeps a close eye on the place and has been know to chase thrill seekers out of the woods and back onto the highway.  So be careful if you decide to visit the grounds kiddos, he may come running after you!

Haunted History – The Sallie House

sally-houseSo, There are tons of haunted houses in the United States, and of course many of them claim to be the most haunted, just like this one.  The Sallie house is located at 508 N Second street in Atchison Kansas.  It was originally constructed in 1867 for the Finney Family.  Now, Michael, Father of the family was a Doctor, he ran his practice on the lower level of the house while his wife, two sons and a daughter lived in the upper level.

So the original story stems from this one event.  One morning a young girl, age 6, was brought in to the Doctor. She was very ill.  After having examined her, the Doctor determined that she was suffering from appendicitis.  She was in dire condition and there was nothing to do but operate because if  the child’s appendix ruptured, she was going to die.

So the Doctor takes the child into the exam room and begins to prepare for surgery.  The little girl sees all of the medical tools and freaks out.  So the Doctor is struggling to put the girl out with either and she of course is fighting him tooth and nail.  He finally, thinks he’s got her knocked out and goes to make his first incision.  Well guess what, she’s not out!  So the kid is screaming because she’s terrified and doesn’t understand what’s going on.  The Doctor is in a bind, he’s fighting the clock and knows if he doesn’t get that appendix out now, she will die.  So he continues on with the surgery with the kid screaming and kicking to fight him off.

sally1Well, Sallie dies on the table, her last conscious thought was that she was being tortured by the Doctor.  Now Sallie is a permanent resident in the house but she’s no longer terrified of the Doctor or the surgery,  In fact she’s quite the little prankster.  But it wasn’t always so.

The Doctor and his family lived in the home until the last of them passed away, then the property was put up for rent.  Several families lived in the home but not many stayed longer than just a few months, at least until the early 90’s.  This is one of the families that actually made reports of attacks they had experienced in the home.

It was the husband that bore the brunt of it.  On several occasions he would be burned or cut.  It was thought that Sallie was still retaliating against the Doctor by attacking the husband.  This family stayed in the home for less than a year. Then, an older woman moved into the house, she seemed to have no issue with the extra tenant.  She stayed in the home for 3 years, until she became too old to care for herself.  After this a young couple with an infant moved into the home and this is when Sallie became really active, but Sallie was no longer alone.

Sallie’s activities were as I said mostly pranks.  For example pictures would be found hanging upside down, lights would dim and brighten on their own, appliances would turn off and on by themselves and one night the couple returns home from an evening out to find all of their kids’ toys arranged in a circle on the nursery floor.  Hardly anything to be terrified of, right?!  Well Sallie was terrified, and it seemed she took to warning the young family of another spirit that had manifested in the home.

clawThis entity had other intentions, it was violent, definitely negative.  Soon after moving in, the husband started experiencing attacks.  Long claw marks would suddenly appear on his torso as a result.  He knew when the attacks were coming, things would always happen to him experiencing a sudden drop in temperature.  There were even occasions when the husband would become possessed by the evil entity.

One evening he was laying on the couch, taking a nap.  So the dude is like, out and then all of the sudden, he sits up, glares at his wife and announces “He is mine” in a voice that definitely wasn’t his.  The wife states that he laid back down and awoke about 20 minutes later with no idea of what had happened.

So, this family starts making reports and the house is investigated several times.  Among those who investigated were a multitude of Paranormal professionals, The Travel Channel, The History Channel, the Discovery Channel and Paramount Pictures who created a made for TV movie based on the Sallie house titled “Heartland Ghost.”  None of the investigators would leave the house empty handed.  It seemed that Sallie was always willing to put on a show!  She’s been recorded, photographed and communicated with via EVP and Ouija board.  But on the flip side, the negative entity made several appearances as well.

It was during one of these investigations when the husband was attacked.  Devices notified the investigators of a drop in temperature, so the cameras all went live and good thing they did too.  They were able to film long scratch marks appearing on the husband’s stomach while equipment monitoring electro-magnetic fields is going off the charts.

As the years have passed, it seems that even more entities have moved in to the house.  More recent events are progressing, families complained of voices inside the walls, flying objects, things disappearing and then turning up in weird places, full bodied apparitions have been seen and photographed.  Not just Sallie, but men and women too.  Several unexplained fires have popped up in the house and then suddenly self extinguished.  The house, other than the spirits that are attached to it, is now vacant.  Current owners are allowing ongoing paranormal investigations to continue.

There is a ton of investigation results and occurrences on this house, we could talk all night about it but instead I’ll let you check it out on your own at thesalliehouse.com.  One of the most intriguing events that I found was on this page.

So, this happened in 1993.  The owners of the house felt sorry for Sallie, it had to be horrible existing in darkness with no affection and no special things of her very own.  They decided to buy a gift for her.  Since Sally had been so fond of their infant, Tony, they bought a boy baby doll for her, wrapped it in colorful paper and sat it in the center of the nursery floor, where Sallie made most of her appearances.

The gift sat untouched for several weeks, or so it seemed.  One afternoon the wife took the baby into the nursery to change a diaper, when she finishes she leaves the room with the baby then realized that she forgot something.  After placing the baby in his play pen she returns to the nursery and realizes that something is different.

She stood at the door for a while trying to figure out what it was, after a minute she gives up and walks to the crib to grab the item she had forgotten, she looks down in the crib and sees the boy baby doll laying there.  It wasn’t there when she was in the room just a few minutes earlier changing the baby’s diaper.  She looks at the gift box and it still seems to be untouched.

She waits until her husband returns home before touching anything, together they investigate the still wrapped package and see that none of the tape had been disturbed.  They then open the wrapping paper and find one flap of the box has been bent back, other than that, nothing else had changed.  Perhaps it had taken Sallie several weeks to retrieve the doll from the package.  Regardless, this seemingly impossible feat happened, and it’s only one of a multitude of recorded events at the Sally House.

2017 – Ringing in the New Year!

PrintWith the advent of a new year, sensibilities rise to the forefront of our mind. Perhaps more than a birthday, the new year sings its own reverie to get our ducks in a row, to begin again to tow the mark, bids us to turn the page and start anew. Yes, the new year taunts us to envision the horizon and see the future by improving our focus. The festivities are over – winter is settling in and she proves to be a preponderance of resolution our inner being innately underscores in its need for reparation toward the achievement of our newest creative seeds and their triumphant emergence in the springtime for summer’s consumption and fall’s exuberance.

As a fledgling entrepreneur / small business connoisseur, having experienced equally great successes and failures, it is time to embrace the season and refresh business acumen, ideologies and direction. It is time to take successes into the future, and to comprehend lessons-learned from entrepreneurial failures of the past, in order to benefit clients, customers, readers and authors universally in our future.

In order to enact benefits, change is required. So, throughout the month of January 2017, change is the plan of the hour. And, will be introduced as the month progresses to enrich government and commercial clients and customers, as well as literary and non-fiction readers and authors.

Both dpInk Company Ltd. and DonnaInk Publications, L.L.C. wish each of you happiness, prosperity, and health throughout 2017!

Haunted History- The Stanley Hotel

stanleyThe Stanley was constructed over a period of 2 years by F.O. Stanley and his wife Flora.  When it was completed, 1909, it was the largest and most modern creature of its kind.  Among the amenities were telephones, a fleet of cars, running water and even a nearby hydro-plant that Stanley himself had designed to provide electricity to the hotel.  The grounds, 160 acres, were purchased from the 4th Earl of Dunraven who is said to be seen in his regular room, room 407.  Typically the Earl is seen standing in the corner, the smell of pipe tobacco wafting around his misty image.  He’s also known to look down from his window, surveying new guests as they arrive.

As a matter of fact, many of the hotels guests loved the Stanley so much, that they’ve apparently checked in to spend their afterlife there.  One visitor in particular that we’re all aware of was indeed Steven King.  King and his wife checked in to the Stanley right at the end of tourist season, the setting for them was much as it was for the  Torrance family from “The Shining”  The hotel was basically vacant, the Kings ate their meals alone in a huge banquet hall, ballroom music echoing down the empty hallways.  Yep, those eerie settings are wild motivation for the twisted minds of horror writers, not unlike myself.

King even had an encounter with the ghost of a small boy during his visit.  The meeting was pretty much uneventful however it was the nightmares that began plaguing him afterwards that sparked the idea for his 1977 novel.

So back to the Stanley ghosts.  Of course the Stanley’s themselves can still be seen tending to the day by day business of running the establishment.  Flora sometimes entertains the guest by playing on her antique Steinway piano.  The piano is in the ballroom, many guest have reported hearing music, when they arrive to check out the scene, some have reported seeing the keys of the piano moving on their own, others have been lucky enough to see Flora sitting on the piano bench, playing one of her favorite songs.

And F.O, Stanley continues to monitor the staff regularly.  He has been seen behind counters observing employees as they tend to their daily routines, he is also known to hang out in the billiards room and the bar, he’s been spotted sitting at the bar with his own drink in front of him.

boyGuests and staff say that it is the 4th floor that is the most haunted, of course we talked about the Earl, however, room 418 has frequent guests of it’s own.  Many 4th floor guests have called the main desk in the middle of the night, complaining about children playing in the hall in front of room 418.  Some folks have been lucky enough to photograph children in the hall or looking down at them from the windows of the same room.  Staff often has difficulty in keeping the linens straight too.  Many of them have fled from the room after having made the bed and then seeing the impression of someone sitting down on it, mussing the comforters!  This is the same room where King had his encounter with the little boy.

Ok, Ya’ll so what’s driving me is the fact that I can’t find any history on this room other than the fact that it’s haunted.   I sure would love to know why the ghosts of the kids are drawn to this room.

LucyThere is another young ghost that is said to haunt the concert hall.  Lucy, was said to have been a runaway.  She was 13 years old when she was found squatting in the basement of the Stanley.  She was discovered by maintenance men that had come down to survey the area prior to doing some major renovations to the concert hall which was directly above this area.  So the maintenance men ran her out of the basement.  Lucy was forced to spend the night outside.  That night the temperature dropped below zero, Lucy was found on the grounds later the next day, frozen to death.

Lucy, doesn’t seem to be bitter and she isn’t a bit shy either.  She has been photographed many times.  She has been recorded often too.  Seems that she’s been there for a very long time and enjoys answering questions by staff and curious ghost hunters.  When she’s not being questioned, she’s often heard humming  distant melodies, perhaps reliving a concert that she had once attended in the grand concert hall.  Hey, maybe Lucy can tell us what the hell happened in room 418!

And then there is room 217, the same room that King stayed in on his 1974 visit.  So there are several versions of what happened in this room, but the gist of the story goes like this:

In 1911 room 217 was the presidential suite. One night in June of the same year, a thunderstorm had taken the power down.  All of the guests had been taken down to the lobby while hotel staff went room by room, lighting the back up acetylene gas lamps.

Room 217 had a gas leak, when chambermaid Elizabeth Wilson entered the room with a lit candle, there was a massive explosion. The blast destroyed about 10% of the then 70,000 sq ft hotel, thankfully it was a compression explosion, which meant that it put out it’s own fire, if it hadn’t have been, the entire wood framed hotel could have been burned to the ground.

Anyway, the force of the explosion sent Wilson crashing into the dining room table of the room below.  She actually survived with nothing worse than 2 broken ankles and a multitude of bruises and cuts.  Hotel owner F.O. Stanley, made sure that the chambermaid was well taken care of.  He paid her her regular wages while she was recovering, he took care of her medical bills and promoted her to head chambermaid.  Wilson wore the title proudly and continued working at the Stanley up until her death in the 1950’s.  And that’s when the haunting in room 217 began.

Guest often complained of things being moved around in their room.  Their suitcases were sometimes unpacked and their clothes placed neatly in the dresser drawers.  And then there were times when Ms Wilson must not have been enthused by the occupants of the room, she’s known to repack guests suitcases as well.  Ms. Wilson is a very proper woman too,  if an unmarried couple stays in room 217, Ms. Wilson is known to climb in bed between them, making sure that they keep an acceptable distance from each other.

Other than these specific ghosts, there are of course reports of whispers and footsteps, disappearing items and lights that turn themselves on and off when no one else is around.  Though there have been plenty of tragedies at the Stanley that would suffice in having rooted these hauntings, perhaps the grounds themselves were haunted long before the hotel was ever built, but that’s a story for another day!

Love Haunted History and Urban Legends?  Catch me live on Armed Radio Global and TuneIn Satellite on Monday evenings 7:00 CT  8:00 EST.  Listen to past episodes on SPREAKER