H. H. Holmes – America’s first serial killer

Today we’re headed to Chicago, cause there’s a man, and his castle that I want to tell you folks about.  This dude was born with the name, Herman Mudgett, which kind of sounds like a Looney Tunes character, I guess he knew that, so he changed his name and became notorious while he was known as, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes.  And Dr. Holmes is said to be the United States very first serial killer.

howardAccording to a recent profile on Holmes, he was the son of a violent alcoholic Father, but apparently the abuse didn’t stop when he was at school.  Because his home life had made him anti social, his classmates tormented the hell out of him.  One time he was forced to stand face to face with a human skeleton when he had admitted that he was terrified of Doctors.  Yeah, the mold of a sociopath is born right!  So the despite all of this, he manages to graduate from the University of Michigan in 1884 get this, he graduates as a Doctor.

Even though he’d earned this prestigious title, Holmes was known to most as a swindler.  So it was no surprise that he decided to build an elaborate hotel at the site of the Colombian Exposition for the upcoming Worlds Fair.  From the outside, it was gorgeous, in fact on the inside it was even more elaborate but there was a lot going on here that the average guy doesn’t notice when they walk in.  Beneath the guise of this fantastic castle was nothing more than an elaborate prison designed to capture, torture and murder his unsuspecting guests.

holmes-hotel-plan-2So, the whole time this place is being built, Holmes would hire, and fire, crews before they finished their tasks.  This way he could both stiff them on their pay as well as ensure that he was the only person than knew the complex layout of his hotel.   There were stairs that led to nowhere, doors that opened to brick walls, doors that could only open from the outside and over 100 windowless rooms with some elaborate yet “unusual” features.

Now, it’s true that Holmes built the joint to cash in on the massive visiting crowds, but as we all know there was definitely a hidden agenda going on here!  and the modern decor of his hotel lured the vacationers into this deadly hotel in freaking droves.  These poor oblivious bastards had no clue of the carefully constructed traps that masqueraded as quiet, comfortable rooms.

hhcorpseHolmes christened the joint with personally invited guests and well, hookers.  They were like his guinea pigs in testing his devices and means.  Other than fulfilling his sadistic urges, there were always financial gains to be had.  So once he finishes tormenting, murdering and dismembering or burning his victims bodies, he robs them.  But sometimes he’d cut out a few internal organs and sell them to nearby medical schools or research laboratories.
I know it all sounds chaotic and macabre, well the macabre part is straight up, that’s for sure but as far as chaos, no way.  This sadistic bastard was as crazy as shit but he was meticulous and each murder was carefully orchestrated from start to finish.

castleSome of his victims were trapped inside a soundproof vault, or a luxury suite, whichever way you want to look at it.  Holmes had some rooms that had metal walls that were painted and trimmed then decorated with wall art and gas lights, once inside, the door could only be opened from outside.  They were screwed.  As they’re suffering through the pains of suffocation, Holmes looked on from specially designed peep holes.  As the oxygen was inhaled, carbon dioxide was exhaled.  They suffered with dizziness, panic and fear all while they lay convulsing.  Their last living moments were consumed with the question of why they were dying this way.

Others victims met their fate locked inside the very rooms they paid to stay in overnight, thinking they’d be safe there resting after spending the day at the fair, not so much….  When they’d return to the hotel to crash for the night, Holmes released gas from hidden lines inside the room, so the guests went to sleep then never woke up.

There were other rooms that were constructed with iron covered walls that actually had hidden blowtorches.   Yeah he’d torch the guests while he stood on the other side of the wall, peeking through those peep holes watching his victims slowly burn to death.  From there they’d be tossed down a hidden trapdoor that opened to a makeshift shaft which led to, the basement of course! In the basement are these two massive incinerators which erased all signs of his dirty deeds, or at least so he thought.

HOLMES_06In 1894, the police investigated a tip from a custodian of the hotel that led to Holme’s arrest. The janitor told the authorities that he was never allowed to clean the upper floors.  A month-long investigation revealed secret passageways and torture chambers.  These atrocities paled in comparison to the mound of human remains like, bones and hair that were found in the basement.  The walls, floors and ceilings were covered in dried blood. Based on the human remains, missing persons reports and testimony of hotel workers who saw Holmes escort women into the hotel but then were never seen leaving, it’s estimated that he killed around 200 people, mostly women and often blonde.  Wait! say what!

Holmes was found guilty of masterminding the horrific events and evil attacks that occurred inside the hotel’s walls, which had then earned the tag of “Murder Castle.”  He was sentenced to death, ya think!  He did his damnedest trying to lie his way out of it, but at the end, he did admit to 30 murders, even though we know there were way more, I guess standing in his shoes, what difference does it make, he’s gonna be a dead man too.

In response to his atrocities, he was quoted as saying, “I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing…I was born with the evil one standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since.”

hangH.H. Holmes was hanged on May 7, 1896.

Murder Castle suffered destruction from several unexplained explosions prior to Holmes’ death in an apparent attempt at an insurance scam. His partner, Mrs. Quinian, confessed to an un-awarded policy and the rest of the castle was demolished.

A Post Office was built on the site in 1938 and guess what! Folks start reporting paranormal activity!  Ghostly apparitions, strange noises and even reports that dogs will run across the street to avoid walking near the building.  Postal workers have reported hearing screams and cries for help, they believe are the tortured spirits of  Holmes’s victims.

 

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Urban Legends – Resurrection Mary

So I was asked to dig into the Resurrection Mary legend, and guess what!  I found a lot of crazy details, check this out!   The back story goes something like this: The most accurate version is about this chick who was killed while hitchhiking in Chicago on Archer Avenue in the early 1930’s.

Apparently, she had been hanging out one evening at the O Henry Ballroom with a boyfriend.  At some point, they get into an argument and, of course, he did, or said something stupid and pissed her off.  So, Mary storms out of the joint leaving the boyfriend looking like an asshole, which I’m sure he was, because she knew it was freezing outside.  If she was willing to walk home in the sleet and snow, trust me the dude was definitely an asshole.  So she starts walking up Archer Avenue, but she didn’t make it very far.  All of the sudden a speeding car comes flying toward her, hits her and then leaves the scene, Look everybody! another asshole!  well ya’ll, the reports say that she hadn’t been killed on contact, she actually laid there in the icy slush for a while before she died from her injuries.

1  A few days later, her grieving parents buried her in Resurrection Cemetery, wearing a white dress and her dancing shoes.  Ever since then, her spirit has been spotted all along Archer Avenue.  Encounters and sightings of Mary started in the middle 1900’s, most folks said that they saw Mary being struck by a passing car.  And then there were drivers that swore a young girl in a white gown had ran out in front of their car.  Some said that she vanished on impact, but sometimes, she’d bounce off of the car, landing in a crumpled pile on the side of the road.  You know these driver’s are already shitting a brick because, in their mind, they just ran this girl over.  So, they pull over and rush to see if the chick is dead or alive and they find out that she’s neither, cause she’s not there, anywhere.

Ok, are you relieved to know that you didn’t kill somebody, or are you freaking the hell out because you just realized that you’ve had an encounter with the ghost.  I’d be relieved that no one was dead, not freaked out about a ghostly encounter but a little concerned that the ghost may be pissed off at me for hitting them with my car, but that’s just me!  Well, apparently Resurrection Mary doesn’t have time to be pissed off, because she’s a very busy girl, check out the history of documented appearances:

In 1973, Mary shows up at least twice at a nightclub called Harlow’s on Cicero.  Witnesses say that she was wearing a white dress, dancing alone in a corner.  Now, the bouncers had checked the I.D.’s of everyone who came through the door, but no one ever saw the girl enter or leave.  Later that same year, an annoyed cab driver entered Chet’s Melody Lounge, located across the road from the Resurrection Cemetery, he was looking for a fare that had skipped off without paying.  The young blond woman, in a white gown, that he picked up was nowhere to be seen.  The manager explained that there had been no blonde woman in the bar that night.

2During the mid 70’s, the number of Mary sightings began to increase.  Tons of folks, from cab drivers to ministers  all said they had picked her up and had given her rides only for her to vanish when they drive past the cemetery.  Curiously, it was during this same time that the Cemetery was undergoing some major renovations.  I’m thinking that the activity near her grave caused Mary some unrest.

On August 12, 1976, Cook County police officers were called to the site of a reported hit and run.  The officers get there and they find this chick in tears, she’s wigging out because she had just witnessed this whole thing go down.  So the cops asked her where the body of the victim was and she points to a wet grassy area.  There in the wet grass was a depression, that matched the shape of a human body.  The girl said that just as the police car approached the scene, the body vanished!  There was another run in just like this in 78.  This young couple was driving down Archer when a girl suddenly runs out in the road in front of their car. The driver swerved trying to avoid her but knew when he hit the brakes that it was already too late.  So they’re bracing for impact, and the car passes right through the girl! The girl then runs into Resurrection Cemetery, right through the cast iron gates.

Another man was on his way to work early one morning.  He looks up and sees the body of a young girl lying on the ground in front of the cemetery gates.  He slams the brakes, jumps out of the truck and runs toward the body.  He sees that she was badly injured, but seemed to be alive.  So he jumps back into his truck and hauls ass to the nearby police station and tells them what’s going on.  They call for an ambulance and then the dude leads the officers back to the cemetery.   When they get there, there’s no girl, but, the outline of a body was still visible on the dew-covered pavement.

3In August 1980, Mary was seen by dozens of people, including the Deacon of the Greek Church on Archer Avenue. The phones at the police station were ringing off the freaking hook, so they start sending cars.  But when they get there, there’s no blonde girl in a white dress anywhere, there were however tons of witnesses.  They’re all flagging the cops down trying to tell them about this hit and run and they’re all freaking out because the girl had just disappeared.

On September 5, this dude was leaving a softball game and he’s driving down Archer Avenue.  He looks up and sees this chick in a white dress standing on the side of the road.  So he stops the car and offers her a ride.  So the girl gets in the car and asks to be taken further down Archer.  Well, while old boy’s driving, he starts trying to carry on a conversation with her, this dumb-ass even jokes with her and tells her that she looks like “Resurrection Mary”  Well, the girl’s ignoring him, her eyes are focused straight ahead and she says nothing.  So, he keeps on even offering to stop for drinks, still no kind of response at all.  So he’s getting a little bent, because his mack daddy routine is failing miserably.  As he’s driving past the cemetery, he turns to look at her just as she vanishes into thin air.

In October of 89, two women are driving past Resurrection Cemetery when all of the sudden this girl, in a white dress, runs out in front of their car.  The driver slams on the brakes, but she knew she was going to hit the girl.  Her hands are locked on to the steering wheel and she’s standing on the brakes but there was no impact.  Both she and the passenger were absolutely baffled, because there was no one, including a girl in a white dress, any where in sight.

4During the 90’s, Mary encounters slacked off, but they didn’t stop.  Most of these encounters happened near Chet’s Melody Lounge, it’s located pretty much across the road from the cemetery gates.  Chet’s is open into the early morning hours, so it’s usually the first place these freaked out drivers go to look for the girl in the white dress that they just ran over.  This is the same place that the cab driver went in 73 looking for that skipped fare.  I think Chet’s would be my first choice too, but I’d be looking to order a few shots of something, and I’m betting these folks were too.

In July 2001, an unnamed witness stated that he and his girlfriend had spotted Mary along Archer Avenue.  Here’s the kicker, the statement was made through a translator.  The witness was from Lithuania and spoke only broken English.  She had no knowledge about the legend of Resurrection Mary.

Here’s another story,  this couple was driving along Archer Avenue, they spotted a figure lurking around the Cemetery gate.  The witness said that, just before seeing the figure, he spotted a police officer who had pulled somebody over on the left down a side street.

As they drove past, both of them spotted a girl walking on the road with her back toward them.  She was wearing a white gown.  As they drive by, he remembers the story about Resurrection Mary and he starts telling his girlfriend, the passenger, the story and he also called his sister on his cell phone.  So the girlfriend wants to turn around and see if the Mary was still there.  So the dude turns the car around and they start looking for Mary, seconds later they pass where the cop has the car pulled over, Mary was nowhere to been seen, but then out of nowhere, Mary is standing along the shoulder of the road, only a few feet from the pavement and facing them head on.  She was dressed in a faded and discolored gown and was carrying what appeared to be a bouquet of dark flowers.   The witnesses stated “She wasn’t looking at us, she was just staring down the road with the most blank expression on her face”

5And then there’s this encounter from the early 2000’s.   So it’s a freezing ass cold night and this cabby’s driving down Archer Avenue.  It’s sleeting and and the roads are all shitty.  As he’s passing by the old ballroom, he sees this pale, blurry figure on the side of the road.  He can’t see good though the wet and icy windshield.  So as he’s straining to make the figure out he realizes that it’s a young girl in a white gown with a shawl over her shoulders.  Thinking that this chick’s gonna freeze to death, he pulls up beside her and offers her a ride.  So she opens the back door and gets in.   The cabbie looks into the rear view mirror and asks her where she wants to go, tells her the ride is free.

The girl asks him to keep driving down Archer Avenue.  So he pulls back onto the road, then looks in the rear view mirror again and sees that the girl is shivering so he turns up the heater.  He comments on the weather, trying to make conversation, but she doesn’t answer him at first.  So, he thinks maybe she’s drunk or strung out on something, cause that would explain a lot right?!   Well, finally, she answers him, her voice is kind of weak, almost fearful.   She says “”The snow came early this year,”  the driver didn’t really know if she was talking to him or talking to herself, he’s figuring that he’s got himself a nutcase in the back seat now.

So he agrees with her, then attempts to make more small talk.  She just sits there quietly, looking straight forward into the distance.  Suddenly out of nowhere, she screams at him, demanding that he pull the car over right there. that this was where she needed to get out.  The Cabby’s startled by her sudden outburst, he slams on the brakes and pulls to the side of the road, as soon as the car stops he looks up and sees the gates of the cemetery.  He says, lady you can’t get out here, this is a cemetery, then he looks up into the rear view mirror to see that the girl was gone.  The car door had never opened she had just vanished and all that remained was the damp imprint on the leather seat where she had been sitting.

 

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Dead Serial Killers that linger on…..

So we all like serial killer stories here, we’ve talked about a ton of these sick bastards and their gruesome deeds but I don’t think we’ve ever discussed that fact that some of them refuse to leave, despite the fact that they’re deader than Hell.  Oh yeah, I’m talking about the demented ghosts of serial killers, let’s line them up!

bundyTed Bundy was one of the most prolific serial killers in American history!  This twisted individual admitted to murdering 30 women across 6 states, but he hinted that there were more.  We may never know how many victims Bundy kidnapped, assaulted and raped both before and after he hacked their heads off, we can only hope that he can’t figure out how to kill anybody else while he’s dead.  Yeah they fried this twisted bastard in the electric chair in  January of 1989, but he came back.  In fact, almost immediately after his body was removed and his toasted remains scrubbed away, he was seen sitting casually in the electric chair with a knowing smile pasted across his lips.  Bundy was seen so frequently in the chair that the warden was hard pressed to find anyone that would go into the chamber alone.

But the chair isn’t the only place that prison guards see him, he still pops up in his holding cell and apparently he’s a bit on the chatty side.  More that a couple of guards have heard him sarcastically state, “I beat all of you, didn’t I” while he’s still wearing that all knowing grin.  It’s assumed he’s telling them he beat death, and well, it seems that he may have done just that.  Bundy’s quite the traveler too, folks have claimed to encounter his spirit in some of his other old stomping grounds as well.  He’s been spotted at Chi Omega Sorority house, where he earned two of his life sentences.  He brutally beat and raped his victims, two of which actually survived.

He also turns up on the front porch of a small wood framed home in Tennessee that he rented under an alias but mysteriously, never copped to any murders while in this area.  The bulk of Bundy’s slaughtering spree took place in Washington state.  Bundy’s remains were cremated and scattered over Washington state’s Cascade Mountains, perhaps so he can also lurch about on their high peaks, as he surveys the shallow graves of some of his still missing victims.

dahmerAh and then there’s Jeffrey Dahmer, we’ve definitely talked about this demented freak on some past shows.  Remember? this is the sicko that that raped, tortured, murdered, dismembered and then ate at least 17 male victims between 1978 and 1991.  Dahmer was sentenced to a total of 957 years in prison. The first year he spent in solitary for his own safety, after that he was moved to a less secure unit with a population of inmates that weren’t quite as nasty, but they were nasty enough.  These dudes were constantly beating the hell out of Dahmer, sometimes stabbing him.  It wasn’t that they were against murder, cause well, they all got there mostly due to violent offenses themselves.  The prisoners all had a problem with the fact that Dahmer had eaten pieces parts from off of his victim’s corpses.  Eventually they got the best of him and he wound up beat to death on November 28, 1994.

Now, unlike Bundy, Dahmer didn’t stick around the prison, his spirit returned to his childhood home, also the site of his first murder.  Dahmer lured a hitchhiker home with promise of drugs and booze, then after smashing him in the head with a dumbbell he drags the body into the crawlspace beneath the house and dismembered it so that he could bury him in the woods.  Well, there have been some ghost hunts at Dahmer’s old boyhood home but it’s impossible to get the equipment to work long enough to document things.  Cameras and EVP recorders just stop working or their batteries are completely drained within moments of entering the home.  We know why don’t we folks.

gacyAnd here’s another one, John Wayne Gacy, definitely talked about this twisted bastard too.  This is the dude that found his cure for ED in murdering young boys.  Gacy doubled as Pogo the clown, luring little boys to a tragic and despicable fates.  33 kids died at his hands some were raped before he murdered them, others after, some got it twice.  Gacy buried their mutilated corpses in the crawl space of his home or out in the yard.  So many bodies were exhumed there that the house had to be demolished and for years after, nothing would grow on the vacant lot, not even a weed.  Another home has been built on the lot since then, i can’t help but think that there’s some crazy wicked shit going on in there, but for now let’s talk about this freaks lingering spirit.

Gacy was put down by lethal injection on May 10, 1994.  The death chamber where he drew his last breath is where he likes to spend most of his time.  There is a video on youtube from where some investigators went in with EVP equipment.  Gacy was otherwise occupied and irritated by their presence, In the video you can hear and understand him quite clearly, he’s even tells the investigators to get out because he’s trying to masturbate, I shit you not, the dude is still fighting that ED thing I guess, but at least he won’t be murdering anymore children to get his jollies.

jackAnd this one is from way back, Jack the Ripper is still making appearances as well, kind of.  It’s actually the ghost of one of his victims that he is seen with.  Kind of makes you wonder if the victim is summoning him each time that she relives her brutal death.  Maybe she’s still trying to finger the asshole that murdered her.  Annie Chapman was one of 5 hookers that died at his hands in 1888, she appears at 29 Hanbury street, the same place where she was murdered.  Her headless apparition is sometimes seen sitting in the back yard but sometimes she’s seen walking down Hanbury street in the company of the shadowy figure of a man.  Too bad no one can get a good look at his face before the two of them vanish.

We know there are a ton of other notorious serial killers, some of these monsters are still alive too like David Berkowitz and Ronald Defeo, yeah, they’re classifying Defeo as a serial killer, I guess technically that would be right, he did kill his entire family, 6 people I’d say is enough to tag someone a serial killer.  But we know what really happened there.  Even though Defeo was under the influence of demonic possession, he still had some sense of responsibility.  Demonic infestation and possession don’t get crazy insane like this over night, precautions could have been taken, but weren’t.  With the tainted soul this dude is lugging around, just imagine the spirit that he could leave behind, and then, there are those that he has left behind.

 

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Haunted History – The Andrew Jackson Hotel

ajI have another bit of haunted history for you, this one hales from the Crescent city, of course, New Orleans.  At 919 Royal street stands the Andrew Jackson Hotel, which is crazy haunted, but it’s not as much as the 127 year old hotel, as it is the lot that it stands on.  Let me give you a bit of the backstory here, it’s pretty interesting!

18th century New Orleans was a cesspool of filth, disease and death with epidemics ravaging the city nearly every summer.  Childhood mortality rates were insane but surprisingly, men between the age of 15-40 seemed most susceptible to disease, and death.  Their death meant leaving a wife and several children without a head of household, rendering them destitute.  With so many orphans roaming the streets, In 1792 the Spanish colonial government built a boarding school, basically an orphanage, on the very spot where the Andrew Jackson hotel now sits.

So for two years there was some semblance of normalcy in these kids lives, but those of you that know New Orleans history also know that two years after the boarding school opened, in 1794, massive fires consumed most of the buildings in this area of the city, the orphanage included.  Several boys were said to have perished in the flames.

After the fire another building was erected on the lot, the Federal Courthouse, the same courthouse where General Jackson was indicted for contempt of court and was charged with obstruction of justice because he refused to answer interrogation questions.  Well, we all know how that turned out, he went on to be president!  So  the courthouse remained on this lot until the early 1900’s so basically a century of sentences were handed down, decades of drama and heartache surely seeped into the very soil where the building sat.  And then the building was demolished and the Andrew Jackson hotel went up.  But the new building had some old luggage.

Remember those kids that burned to death in the orphanage? Yeah well the ghosts of these young boys like to play in the courtyard in the middle of the night.  And this one guest reported being woken up from his sleep because of the static noise coming from the TV.  He leans over to grab the remote control, wondering how the TV had been turned on since he had shut it off before closing his eyes for the night.  He distinctly remembered having set the remote on the bedside table.  So he sits up in bed, to aim the remote at the TV, and he freezes.  There in front of the TV, sitting on the floor, was the ghostly apparition of a young boy.  The guest starts screaming like a girl, and the apparition vanished.

Many guests have reported both seeing the kids, and hearing their footsteps and laughter.  It’s good to know that they’re reliving their happier times there in the boarding house rather than being stuck in an endless cycle of their tragic deaths.  Another guest had an interesting encounter as well.  She comes out of the shower one morning and hears this kid giggling and then hears the sound of her cereal being poured out onto the floor.

The most haunted room at the Andrew Jackson is said to be room 208.  Guests who have stayed in this room have seen all kinds of crazy shit, most of them claiming to have seen the ghost of a child.  This ghost name is Armand.  Legend says that young Armand chose to end his own life by having jumped from the second floor balcony.  Though he endured a horrific death, his spirit never left the Hotel and Room 208 seems to be his preferred haunting spot.

Armond’s spirit has a thing for waking guests up with his childish (and ghostly) giggling.  At other times, people staying in this room have actually been shoved out of the bed by an unseen force.  Others have reported that while sleeping, they felt the covers being tugged down and cold hands touching their exposed flesh.  Armond’s ghost hasn’t ever been aggressive, and it is clear that he likes to play games with the living.  But it’s said that Armond is not the only spirit haunting Room 208.

Some guest have tried to stay in Room 208, many of them have actually turned back up at the front desk, requesting to switch rooms.  When the front desk attendant asks why,  the most common reason is that the guest had been experiencing a looming or eerie feeling that something was in the room with them,  watching them. The lights switch off and on by themselves, and the faucets are known to turn on by themselves.  Personal items vanish but sometimes appear in another area of the room, other times they never reappear.

Is the ghost of Armond responsible for all of the pranks and paranormal activity in Room 208? could be, but it seems unlikely that the spirit of a young child would have the ability to make the living feel such a sense of dread or despair.  And it’s typically something far different that the ghost of a child that tends to thrive off the fear of the living.

Ok, so room 208 may contain a dark spirit, but the Hotel is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman, who many suspect was a housekeeper there at some point in history.  She’s known to straighten towels, fluff pillows and reset furniture the way she sees fit.  It’s not uncommon here to leave your room and return to find the chairs moved closer to the window, or swapped around entirely.

Current members of the cleaning staff have all expressed the feeling of being watched while they go about their daily routine, though most of the staff assumes that the ghost of the housekeeper.  Disembodied footsteps are heard climbing up and down the stairs at all times of the day and night.  This poor chick is still working her ass off, even in the afterlife!  Anyway, her ghost has been spotted most frequently in the lobby, but it’s not uncommon to run into her in some of the other rooms on the second floor.

jgAnd then of course, there is the namesake of the Hotel,  President Andrew Jackson.  So, according to various accounts, the good General’s actual apparition has been seen parading about the hotel, especially on the second floor.

There have been so many that lived and died in the hotel, as well as the other known structures that had been on this lot.  Ghostly encounters have been reported here on the grounds for a very long time, so of course it’s been investigated, wanna talk about one of these ghost hunts? of course you do! You can find out more by replaying my show at SPREAKER.com.

 

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Haunted History – The Whaley House

This tale starts in 1852 when a tall lanky man rides in to San Diego.  Yankee Jim was a shady character to say the least; it wasn’t long before he’d stirred up enough shit that everyone in town knew who he was.  Even though old Jim was a nasty character, it’s not his character flaws that has brought him to infamy.  Well, the town folk decided they’d had about enough of Jim, he found himself captured and in jail, facing death by hanging.  Even though the town folk had decided to kill the man, at least they had the decency to call in a priest and have Jim baptized while the makeshift gallows were being put up.

1There was a vacant lot conveniently located just steps away from the local cemetery.  It had been the scene of many such lynchings before and after old Jim.  Well, the gallows were finished and the time had arrived, Jim was led to the back of a buckboard wagon and a noose was fitted around his neck.  He fought to keep his feet on the platform for as long as possible but of course his struggle was in vain.  The wagon was pulled from beneath him and he was now hanging by his neck.  There was a problem though, no one had taken into consideration how tall Jim was, the tips of his toes were touching the ground.  As human nature would have it, Jim fought for his life making the hanging take even longer as he danced about on his tip toes while slowly strangling to death.

In the crowd watching on is a handsome young entrepreneur named Thomas Whaley, he’s wearing a sly smile on his face.  His grin had nothing to do with Jim’s dilemma, it had everything to do with the vacant lot.  Two years later the handsome investor has made one hell of a deal in purchasing this lot, and now he begins planning to build the grandest estate in the area, even amidst all of the warnings from the locals.  That lot was surely cursed, the souls of so many wicked men had been loosed on the very spot.  The handsome man just shook his head and carried on with his plans.

By 1856 a grand Greek Revival estate sat smack dab in the middle of where the gallows had once stood.  But the trouble had already begun, even before the Whaley family officially moved into the home.  IT seemed there was a invisible squatter occupying the house, Thomas himself had heard the sound of heavy footsteps echoing through the hallways, yet no one was ever there.  Immediately, because of Yankee Jim’s unusual stature, he knew the identity of the ghost.  In fact, he had designed the home to where the archway that separated the den from the dining room was the exact spot where Jim, and many others, had been hanged from the gallows.

Thomas’ wife Anna was quite aware of Jim’s presence too, every moment of every day she felt as if she were surrounded while inside the home.  There had been occasions where Anna actually saw Yankee Jim.  She described him as a terrifying giant of a man with huge evil eyes.  Anna, blamed Jim for all of the torments that she would experience in this home, beginning in 1858 when her 18 month old son died from Scarlett Fever.  After the sting of his death wore off a bit, it seemed as though her daughter Violet would bring some joy into the household, there was going to be a wedding.  Well, come to find out the new husband was a con artist, he ditches Violet on the honeymoon and disappears.  Violet comes home, maddened by depression.  She turns into a recluse and hardly ever leaves the second floor of the home again, not much later Violet shoots herself in the chest with her father’s gun.

Not much longer after Violet’s suicide came another tragedy.  The younger Whaley children were outside in the back yard playing with another young girl, a friend of theirs from the neighborhood.  In running around, the little girl accidentally runs into a clothesline and breaks her neck, she dies in the backyard.  But she’s not alone, only a few years later one of Thomas and Anna’s young grand daughter dies in the house from ingesting poison.

Besides the mounting death toll that’s went down on this property, the house was actually used for other things while is existed as the family residence.  At one time it was the Thomas Whaley general store, it was also used as a courthouse, so you know there’s some emotional trauma there too.  And lastly a tinge on drama, the upper level had been rented out to the Tanner Troupe Theater, so there was always something going on at this joint, I’m surprised any of them saw ghosts at all with all this bullshit going on!  Regardless, they did.  After the passing of Anna and Thomas, the house went on to other relatives, and for 150 + years the legends of all of these ghosts, including Yankee Jim, have persisted to this day.

2Chairs rock, chandeliers swing, doors open and close on their own. Invisible fingers play haunting melodies on a piano that’s no longer present. There are the sounds of cutlery against fine china,  often accompanied by the aroma of fresh baked bread and pies. The scent of Cuban tobacco and French perfume are ever present in the halls. The activity isn’t limited to the human variety; the Whaleys had a fondness for their four-legged family members “Dolly” the dog and “Winks” the cat have been witnessed by a number of guests.  They claim to see a small dog chasing a cat through the house and out into the garden.

3Folks have heard the disembodied pounding of a gavel echo through the courtroom as an invisible judge hands down his sentence.  There’s laughter and music of vaudeville days that seeps from the walls of the upper level rooms. The sounds of violins, guitars, and a piano are recurring reminders of long passed soirees, parties and balls.  The pitter-patter of tiny feet scampering down the hallway, the clicking of dainty high heeled slippers and the rustling of silk skirts; a child’s laughter, a child’s cries, a mother’s sweet French lullabies.

4The legend of the “ninth step” began when folks experienced an odd sort of pressure upon ascension of the narrow staircase, which for many years was presumed to be the revenant of Anna Whaley reliving a traumatic event, attempting to thwart visitors from gaining access to the second floor. Perhaps this is where she stood when she heard the gunshot that ended Violet’s miserable life.

Thomas shows up sporting pantaloons with a frock coat and top hat.  He’s been seen standing at the top of the stairs surveying his castle.  Anna, appears in a cheery green gingham gown has been momentarily spotted upon the settee in the parlor, or sometimes outside walking around in the garden.  According to scores of paranormal investigators and visitors, the spirits of Thomas and Anna, along with a score of others, continue to dwell here. After all, this is their home, and they show no signs of leaving.

 

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Haunted History – Headless Horsemen

I’ve run across some cool headless horsemen legends I wanna tell you about. Yeah, get Icabod Crane out of your heads, these aren’t works of fiction, these legends are a big part of haunted history in the areas where they originate.  Let’s start out in south Texas, shall we?

So, the legend of El Muerto has been around for a very long time, the mid 1800’s to be exact.  Back in the day there was a little strip of land between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers that was known as no man’s land.  The area was well known to be a haven for horse thieves and cattle rustlers, and back then, these crimes were worse than murder.  Things had gotten so bad in this area that the Texas Rangers basically deputized posses and sent them out to handle business, but it wasn’t going so well for them.

One of the worse bandits to encounter in no man’s land was a man named Vidal.  By 1850, this dude had a high price on his head and was wanted dead or alive.  And on the flip side, two of the worst rangers for bandits to encounter in this area were Taylor Creed and William “Big Foot” Wallace.  Now, these two in particular had spent a lot of time running these criminals out of the area and they’d resorted to some pretty brutal tactics because shooting and hanging them from trees just hadn’t seemed to get the point across.

Well it just so happened that while both of these guys were out of town defending a white settlement against Comanche attacks.  Vidal and his hoodlums decide to steal Creed’s livestock.  When Creed gets home and finds several of his prized mustangs gone, the shit hits the fan.  He and Wallace join up with a neighboring rancher by the name of Flores and they track down Vidal and his associates shortly thereafter.

So they wait outside of Vidal’s camp and once they’re certain that everyone was asleep, they sneak in and kill every last one of them.  Knowing that this wasn’t going to make the statement that they wanted to make, Big Foot cuts off Vidal’s head then fastens his headless body to a saddle that he strapped to a wild mustang.  Then he ties Vidal’s hat to his head and fastens it to the saddle as well before sending the mustang to roam the country side as a warning.

It didn’t take long before stories began circulating about a headless horseman seen riding around no man’s land. The apparition scared the Hell out of Cowboys and Indians alike and soon Vidal’s mutilated body was full of bullet holes and arrows.  People stated calling this headless horseman El Muerto. As time went by a legend grew that people must avoid this strange apparition because when it was seen, some evil misfortune would befall them.

In the end, a group of ranchers caught up with this poor burdened horse near Alice, Texas. They buried Vidal’s body in an unmarked grave near the tiny community of Ben Bolt. As soon as his body was laid to rest, soldiers at Fort Inge began to see the apparition of a headless rider. Travelers and ranchers in No Man’s Land also reported seeing this strange sight.

One written account was recorded in 1917.  It mentions that a couple traveling to San Diego, Texas made camp for the night near a stream.  As they sat at their fire, they saw a large grey stallion speed by with a headless man atop it.  They stated they heard him shouting, “It is mine. It is mine.” Yet other witnesses saw a similar sight in 1969 outside the town of Freer, Texas.  Even today, people still claim to see El Muerto galloping through the mesquite in the bush country on moonlit nights.

Well Old El Muerto isn’t the only headless horseman out there today, there’s a legend in southern Illinois about a man named Joel Lakely.  This story came to life back before the 1830’s around what is known today as Lakely’s Creek.  The creek, in fact, was named after Lakely.  So, Joel built his home near a shallow spot in the creek where it was easy for folks to cross over.  He was a sociable kind of guy and enjoyed meeting riders as they passed by his home.

Well, old Joel was murdered by his son in law one day, no one knows why.  His headless body was found propped up against a tree and beside him was the very axe that he had used to cut down trees when building his home.  His body and head were buried there next to his new house.  It wasn’t long before folks that crossed the stream there began witnessing some very strange things.  There were reports being made that people would hear heavy horse hooves behind them as they went to cross the creek but when they turned to see who followed them there was no evidence of another rider or horse.

Other witnesses experienced something more terrifying. They too had heard the horse hooves but when they turned around to see who was behind them, they saw a large black horse with a headless rider. Witnesses stated this horrible apparition would chase them–at least until they reached the creek.

All these accounts mention that this headless rider was always seen downstream from from where the witnesses were, which is the same side of the creek near the forest area where Lakey was murdered. This rider and his horse would not follow them across the creek but instead would turn back and go downstream.

Sightings of this headless horseman have endured for over 200 years. This apparition is still seen today. The old ford along Lakey’s Creek has been abandoned for years and there’s a modern bridge that crosses the creek today. It is on this bridge where travelers report seeing Lakely, the headless horseman.

What about one more headless horseman, you know it’s more fun when there’s three right!  I know where your mind went!  Anyway, in Irish legends the horseman is known as a Dullahan, who’s agenda is a little different than the first two.  The Dullahan is basically a reaper, he comes around to grab the souls of those that are dying.  His description is basically the same, big guy, no head.  He is said to ride around on a massive black horse that either also has no head or if he does, he’s got clipped ears and glowing red eyes.  The Dullahan, I have to say, is a bit more intimidating than El Muerto and Joel Lakely, that’s for sure.  He uses a human spine as a whip and if you were to lock eyes with him, he’s gonna snatch your eyes out!  because he can.  Now this dudes head isn’t missing, he usually carries it around with him, he holds it up to see with, and he can see for miles and miles, even in pitch dark he can look right inside the house of the dying even if it’s somewhere across the countryside from where he stands.  Sometimes he’s known to set his head back on his shoulders but more than often, he’s in the habit of throwing it at folks.

Now sometimes the Dullahan would arrive in style, sitting on top of what is known as the death coach.  In his hands are the reins which are attached to 6 black horses that draw the carriage so fast that bushes and trees sometimes catch fire in their wake.  And there was no hiding from him once the wheels on the carriage began to turn as the Dullahan could not return empty handed.  To see or hear him coming was a sure sign that you or someone in your household was fixing to bite it.  Nothing could deter the Dullahan, even locks on gates or doors suddenly spring open in his presence.  The legend goes further to say that if you hear him coming and you open your door and he wasn’t there for you, you would be covered in buckets of blood or even worse be rendered blind in his presence, the only hope you would have, would be to expose him to solid gold.  For some reason he doesn’t like it, and gold will send him barrelling back to the depths from which he arose, at least temporarily.

So one quirky fact about this legendary headless horseman, why is he headless?  Well because ancient Celts believed that the soul resided in your head.  That’s why when the warriors encountered a worthy opponent they were sure to take his head.  They further believed that if they were to attach the head to a pole outside of their home, that it would begin to shriek if the enemy was approaching.

Oh and there’s this tale, he’s not a horseman but he’s got a little issue with his head!  So William Laud was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633-1645.  During this time religion was in turmoil and Laud had made some serious enemies.  He once had 3 prominent Puritan’s ears and then branded their SL on their cheeks which stood for Seditious Libeller.  That means that they organized against whatever was socially acceptable in some way.
Eventually, his enemies gained enough political power to have him arrested and beheaded for subverting Protestantism and alienating the King from his subjects.

Before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Laud was the Chancellor of Oxford University. His gruesome end has become associated with a haunting at the library of St. John’s College in Oxford. At night, it is said, a ghostly figure can be seen walking the building, carrying a candle in his hand as he kicks his own severed head along the floor.

And here’s one more quick tale for you, This one is about the ghost of a drummer boy.  Rumor has it that a mysterious drumming noise can be heard in the walls of Edinburgh Castle. The source of this lonely sound is said to be a phantom drummer boy. According to the story, the boy is seen whenever the castle is under threat, first appearing in 1650 when Oliver Cromwell launched an attack. When he appears, the ghostly drummer boy lacks a head.

Ghostly drummer boys are a recurring motif in legends around the world—for example, one such spirit is said to have been haunting Shiloh in America since the days of the Civil War. However, the headless nature of the ghost of Edinburgh Castle marks him out as a unique case, Bet he got caught putting that little head somewhere it didn’t belong!

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Haunted History – Haunted Clifton Hall

Believe it or not, there’s a spooky story about a castle in the UK that we haven’t talked about on yet!.  It may be more than a little obvious by now that I kind of dig haunted castles!  This one is a little different from the others that I usually tell you guys about though.  There’s not a whole bunch of ancient history here, I don’t really get why, but let me tell you a little about what I did find.

So this castle was purchased by Gervase de Clifton from the de Rodes family in the late 1300’s, so we really don’t know how old the original structure is, though locals say it was erected in the 11th century.  Now there’s plenty of history on the Clifton family, of course there would be, it seems that every successor has held a position of authority for the entire 700 years that the estate was in their family.  Most of these dudes where sheriffs or other law enforcement types.  That doesn’t put me in the mind of clean cut and wholesome to begin with, not back in these times.  I don’t know it to be fact but in my twisted little mind, I’m thinking that sentences were passed and executions were likely performed on this property.  I guess we may never know as there is just nothing of that sort of history recorded, that I can find.

The history of the estate itself is only adamant about a few things during the 700 years that the Clifton’s resided there, It seemed that damn near every successor or heir, had the entire estate renovated, altered and or added on to, so this goes on until the 1950’s when the last of the heirs decided to sell the property.  Then the estate changed hands several times and most of those times having been converted to private schools.  This is where the bulk of the haunted history comes in to play, but there’s not really much to tell here.

The first story was about a room where the windows and door had been bricked closed.  From within the closed off room students often reported hearing the sound of an infant crying.  The legend behind it has to do with a jilted lover.  It says that the maid, who was also the master’s mistress, gave birth to his son while living at the estate.  After having been denied status of any sort by her lover, the distressed new mother snatches up the infant and does a swan dive out of the window of what is now the closed off room.  She and the infant of course, didn’t survive the impact of the fall, guess that left the master of the house with a little explaining to do, huh?!

Besides the jilted lover story there were chatter of dopplegangers, ever hear of those?  These are some bad assed entities here folks, they’re evil spirits that take on the appearance of someone in order to do wicked things.  There had been several reports of students during the 70’s that ran in to their own dopplegangers in the halls of the manor while it was serving as a school.  The reports are there but they don’t go into great detail.  Well this goes on until the grounds once again are sold.  and in 2000 the main house was converted into two luxury apartments.  For one reason or the other, the luxury apartment thing didn’t work out for very long and in 2007 the estate was purchased by a millionaire named Anwar Rashid, this is where it starts getting good ya’ll!

So Rashid buys the place, and moves in with his family, consisting of 4 kids, his wife, his brother and both of his parents.  It’s a good thing this joint is massive and has a shit ton of bedrooms, 17 to be exact along with 10 bathrooms a gym and private theater.  Well, his noble intentions were soon going to crumble at his feet, in fact the first night in their new home there were already signs of what was to come.  The first paranormal experience came in the form of sharp knocking followed by a man’s voice.  Rashid called out asking if anyone was there, there was no response, moments later the knocking and the voice were back.  They couldn’t figure out where it was coming from, there was no one at any of the entrances when they were checked, in fact, it sounded like it was coming from all around them.  So Rashid and his brother go room to room checking every window and door, there was no one there that wasn’t supposed to be, at least no  one that they could see right!

Things kind of settled down after that and there was no noticeable activity for several weeks and then it began again.  One morning the maid had returned to her quarters before carrying on with her daily chores, when she opened the door there was the grey misty figure of someone sitting on her bed, the covers and mattress were dimpled under the weight of the shadowy creature.  As she’s standing in the doorway trying to comprehend what she’s seeing, it turns to look at her then disappears leaving the bed linens wrinkled where it had been sitting.  needless to say, that maid was a wee bit on the distraught side!

Only days after everyone settled from the maid’s encounter, something new happened.  Rashid’s wife was on her way downstairs to fix some milk for their newborn, when she gets downstairs she sees her oldest daughter in the den watching tv.  Well it’s 5 o’clock in the morning and she’s of course concerned over why her daughter was up at that hour and how long she’d been up.  But with a hungry fussy baby in her arms, she was driven to the kitchen to fix his breakfast.  She called out a couple of times to the nearby den for her daughter to join her but there was no answer.  Once the bottle was prepared she turns to go back upstairs, shrugging off the whole thing that her daughter hadn’t answered to a moody teenager thing.  She walks back by the den, her daughter is still glued to the TV.  Fine whatever!  So as she gets back upstairs she just happens to glance over into her daughters bedroom, you know, the moody teenager that’s downstairs watching tv, yeah, not so much, the girl was asleep in her bed.  What the HELL is this madness right!

So now they’re terrified, these spirits are taking on the form of their children! what’s next!  Well, I’m gonna tell you what’s next.  All of them start seeing these dark shadowy figures lurking around the house.  Then comes the sound of the baby crying from behind the wall, which is really freaking them out because of their baby, so I’m betting that one of them kept that kid strapped to them just to make sure nothing’s messing with it.

It wasn’t just the sound of the ghostly infant’s crying that they were hearing either, now there were the sounds of other people’s voices coming from all around, but no one was ever there.  So, Rashid calls in a paranormal investigator and his team, hoping that they could help them get rid of the ghosts.  The Team leader who was also a police officer, later admitted that out of all of the places they had investigated in the past, Clifton hall was the only place that really scared him.  Upon having been on the grounds for about an hour, two members of the team encounter the ghost of a small boy, they immediately fainted, pussies!  What the hell are you doing on a paranormal investigation if you’re going to faint when you see a ghost, duh!  Anyway, at the conclusion of the investigation, the consensus was that Clifton hall was the most haunted property they had ever stepped foot on, there was so much activity in this house that there was no way they could help Rashid and his family.

Rashid was kicking himself in the ass by now.  He had been warned that strange things happened in the house, but he didn’t believe in that kind of bullshit.  He’d heard the stories of the jilted lover and the dopplegangers, he’d even heard that the grounds had originally been used for satanic rituals back in the 11th and 12th centuries.  He even knew about the maze of secret tunnels that were beneath the house and all throughout the grounds.  But, he didn’t listen, now he’s living the nightmare that he had so arrogantly laughed off when he was warned.  And now, he’s being told that no one can help him and his family.  The dude was stuck like chuck, he’d just dropped 3.6 million pounds on the estate, what the hell was he gonna do now!

Well, everyone had hoped that just the presence of an investigative team would cause the activity to die down, these folks must be idiots right!  We know better than that don’t we.  Yeah, it only got worse for them, and just days after the team had left the grounds, Rashid and his wife went in to check on their 18 month old son while he slept in his nursery, when they see drops of blood falling from nowhere onto the baby and his bed, that pretty much did it.  They walked away from the investment.

Rashid told the bank to take that bitch back, he would take the loss.  So now, if you’re interested, you can pick this joint up for a steal at 2.75 million pounds, cause it’s just sitting on the market waiting for you!

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