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!