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 Cecil Hotel

So let’s talk about the Cecil Hotel in L.A., trust me, not a place you’d want to book for vacation, unless you’re as demented as I am!

cecilThe Cecil is a low budget hotel and when I say low, I mean gutter low.  This 600 room train wreck plays host to transients and crackheads alike, offering a roof over their guests heads for about $470 per month, getting the picture, yeah, it’s like that!  Since its construction in 1927 it has been the site for multiple suicides, murders, and disappearances as well as providing a sanctuary for serial killers.

cycsternIn 2013 the Cecil was the site of a mysterious death, this highly publicized tragedy hit headlines across the nation, you may have heard something about it.  It started out with complaints from the guests, stating that the water smelled bad and had a foul taste.  Well, when maintenance staff started investigating the cause it took a while but eventually a corpse was discovered in the water cistern on the roof.  At the bottom of the tank were the remains of a Canadian tourist named Elisa Lam, ring a bell yet?

Just imagine, these folks had been bathing in, brushing their teeth and cooking with the same water that Lams body had been decomposing in, fantastic right!  Lam had checked into the hotel on January 26 and was reported missing on February 1st. No on knows what happened to her to this day but closed circuit tv recordings showed  Lam acting bizarrely, hiding in the lift, then pressing all the buttons before peering out strangely. She eventually exits the lift and gestures to someone – or something – outside the doors.

After this, she vanished. Her body was discovered in the tank on the secured and alarmed rooftop over two weeks later.  In watching the footage it appears that Lam had consumed some serious drugs when she is filmed in the lift, yet no substances were found in her system during an autopsy.

The coroner ruled her death “accidental due to drowning”, yet many questions remain unanswered. What actually happened to Lam may never be known.

rrAs far as those serial killers, yeah, here we go:  The Cecil was home to ‘Night Stalker’ Richard Ramirez, an American serial killer, rapist and burglar during 1984-85. The satanist’s terrorized L.A. before he was finally captured and convicted of 13 murders.

He lived on the top floor in a $14-a-night room while he slaughtered his 13 female victims.  It was convenient for him, he’d just dump his bloody clothes in the dumpster at the end of the evening and go into the hotel via the rear entrance.  Ramirez was sentenced to death in a gas chamber in 1989, and on receiving his sentence showed no remorse, his last statement: “Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland.” Yeah, keep that shit in mind when you book your summer vacation with the kids right!

jackAustrian serial killer Jack Unterweger also stayed at the hotel in 1991 for five weeks. During this time he murdered three prostitutes, who would enter his room via the fire escape for a measly $30.  This all occurred after he had been jailed and released in Austria for similar murders.  He was released as an example for rehabilitation and was hired by an Austrian magazine to be a crime writer in Los Angeles.  The disturbed crime journalist is believed to have been paying homage to his subject, Richard Ramirez, when he beat, sexually assaulted and then strangled the women with their own bra straps.

g1And what about the suicides and murders?  The horrors started at the beginning of the great depression.   In 1929 a 33 year old woman was taken to the hospital after wandering around the hotel for 3 days while acting in a bizarre manner.  According to reports, she was distraught over the sudden death of her husband and had tried to poison herself with prescribed barbiturates. She failed in her attempt.  After this, the hotel became known as a suicide hot spot.  The first suicide was documented only a few weeks later when a 46 year old man intentionally od’s on poison.   The following year, a 25-year-old man shot himself in his hotel room.  A year later, a young truck driver was fatally pinned against the hotel by a large truck.

g2In 1934, another lonely man took his life.  and then a marine fireman named Roy Thompson, who had been at the Cecil for several weeks, was found dead in the skylight of the building next door after apparently jumping from his hotel room.   Oh, I’m not finished because Pauline Otton, 27, threw herself to her death from a ninth-floor window after arguing with her husband. She landed on pedestrian George Gianinni, 65, on the street below, killing him instantly. Oh and helen Gurnee too, she plunged to her death from a seventh-floor window, her body landing atop the hotel marquee above the heads of pedestrians,  and check this out,  In 1947, Elizabeth Short, nicknamed the Black Dahlia, was allegedly seen at the Cecil bar shortly before she was murdered.

In an unsolved murder in 1964, Pigeon woman, Goldie Osgood, who enjoyed feeding the birds in a nearby square, was found dead in her room. She had been stabbed, strangled and raped – and then had her room ransacked.

These deaths are only a potion of the tragedies that have befallen the Cecil there are many more bizarre stories to be told such as the man accused of killing his girlfriend in Huntington Beach was arrested at the Cecil in 1988.   In 1995, a murder suspect named Eric Reed was found at the hotel, after breaking out of a jail in Castaic.

So, yeah, as I was saying, unless you are demented, not a place you’d care to book.  But I think we may spend some time on this join in a later episode.  I’ve only researched the grizzly deaths associated with the Cecil, There have got to be some serious ghosts wandering around this hotel today, wouldn’t you think?  Yeah, I’m thinking I’ll have to dig into this a little further but at least now we know the background, so later when we talk about the hauntings, we’ll at least have a better understanding of why right!

 

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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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Haunted History – The South Shields Poltergeist


So there’s this precious little bungalow with a white picket fence, It’s the home of a young couple who has a little boy that’s around three years old.  The house is in South Shields, a small town in Northeastern England.  They were the perfect happy family in the perfect little house, but the shit hit the fan in December of 2005.

In hindsight, both the husband and wife, we’ll call Jack and JoAnn, had noticed a few little odd occurrences but had dismissed them during the course of the busy day.  This evening’s stunt was a little too much to ignore.  The couple arrives home one December evening to discover two chairs stacked one on top of the other, standing on top of the kitchen table.   So, yeah, they’re a little freaked out cause there’s only a couple of ways this could have happened, either an intruder or a ghost.

As weeks passed activity became more frequent and more notable.  Doors would open and slam shut in the wee hours of the night, then things began disappearing then reappearing in other locations.  The chest of drawers had been moved out of one of the bedrooms and onto the landing, that’s a pretty intense show of force right there folks!

Bv6Dj0wThen, one evening, Jack and JoAnn decide to turn in for the evening, they found that their usually comfy bedroom was unexplainably cold so they hurried to jump in bed and beneath the covers.  Moments after settling JoAnn is hit in the head by one of their son’s stuffed animals.  She looks up and of course, there is no one there.  Just as she’s beginning to panic, another stuffed animal appears from out of nowhere, also hitting her in the head.  Moments later they’re both ducking beneath the blankets to dodge all of the stuffed animals that are being hurled at them from all angles.  As they’re cowering under the covers, something grabs the bottom of their quilt and begins pulling it away from them.  They are now literally in a tug of war with some unseen entity that has descended upon them.

And then, all of the sudden, the toys fall dormant and the tugging at the other end of the blanket, stops.  But then there was something worse.  Jack let’s out a screech, and screams that his back is on fire.  JoAnn turns to examine his back but sees nothing wrong, Jack’s still screaming that it’s burning, so she lifts his shirt and sees 13 distinct scratches across his back.  Needless to say Jack  JoAnn were up for most of the night after that, but the remainder of the evening was peaceful and by the morning, the scratch marks on Jack’s back had mysteriously disappeared.  Unfortunately, the events of that evening were to become the norm around Jack and JoAnn’s place.

creepy-toys22The poltergeist was becoming increasingly violent but seemed to center most of it’s attention on the son’s toys, the violent outbursts were reserved for Jack.  Every day brought with it the promise of more and more paranormal activity.  One afternoon JoAnn walks into the living room to find her sons rocking horse hanging from the ceiling fan.  On another occasion on of their son’s stuffed rabbits had been placed in a chair at the top of the landing, Yeah that sounds all cute and all right, did I forget to tell you about the box blade that was sitting across the rabbit’s lap, precious right!  So this kind of madness went on for months before Jack and JoAnn call in a team of paranormal investigators.

From here on out the house and family both were under constant observation by the investigators and their equipment.  The presence of other observers in the house seemed only to encourage the poltergeist.  Hallowell and Ritson, the investigators were actually present to observe, photograph and video many of these events themselves.  Then it started getting crazy real ya’ll!  The entity started writing messages on the son’s chalkboard, trust me, these weren’t love letters.  They were violent messages like die now bitch or I’m going to get you.  think that’s crazy? It gets better, JoAnn starts getting these same message sent as texts to her phone.  When the phone was turned over to authorities, the messages could not be traces back to another phone or computer.

Don’t think during this time that Jack was having any peace, there had been several occasions where long red scratches would appear on his body, even filmed and documented by the investigators.  Then the entity starts screwing around with the kid.  When checking the monitor one evening, it was notices that the boy wasn’t in his bed.  When Jack and JoAnn went to look for him they found him wrapped up tightly in his blanket with a plastic table on top of him.  It seemed like he was asleep but his eyes were wide open, creepy right!  There was another time when the child disappeared all together.  Everyone’s tearing the house apart trying to find him.  Eventually he turns up again cocooned up tightly in his blanket tucked in the back of a downstairs closet, asleep, with his eyes wide open.

There were several occasions where the entity actually manifested in front of Jack and JoAnn as well as the investigators.  It was described as a pitch black 3 dimensional figure that radiated sheer evil.  Hundreds of photographs and hours of videos had been taken concerning some of the odd events that occurred during the reign of the poltergeist.  Objects moving or balancing themselves at impossible angles, doors opening and closing, furniture sliding across the floor, and of course, the messages.  Even with all of this evidence there were those that thought jack and JoAnn were frauds and were making the entire thing up.  The investigators stepped forward and attested that there was no way possible that the things they saw and experienced personally in the house could have been done by any member of that family.

Then something strange happens.  In the middle of all of the fraud accusations, the poltergeist suddenly disappears.  Everything went calm.  So at this point Jack and JoAnn take a little time to recover from the hell they had been going through, the investigators are compiling all of their results and the rumor of a haunted house has hit the ears of the community and the press.  Well, Jack and JoAnn wanted no part of it, they sold the house and moved away with out having ever made a public statement or ever allowing their identities known.  The investigators have written a book that contains their experiences and documentation from their case study, also not revealing the true identities of Jack and JoAnn.  In one last exit interview with the investigators, Joann states that their lives have returned to normal but they still battle with the traumatic memories from their experiences.  She says that every time there is a unexplained noise or something is missing she automatically begins to panic thinking that the entity has caught back up with them.  Hm, doesn’t sound like someone who would make up this madness on their own for publicity or attention, how about you?

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Louisiana’s Pirate – Jean Lafitte

jeanWhen it comes to pirates, I’m most definitely going to talk about Louisiana’s own, Jean Lafitte!  Jean, of course, was known for his piracy in and around the Gulf of Mexico but I bet you didn’t know that he was also known to have been a hero during the battle of New Orleans.  Yeah, he had his good moments, and then of course there were those other moments.  In fact, on 3 separate occasions, U.S. Presidents Condemned then exonerated his actions.  Jean liked to keep them guessing right!?

Well, in 1804 Louisiana became United States territory, Jean and his brother Pierre bought into a warehouse where they would dispense the goods that they smuggled into port.  When the government passed the embargo act, the brothers moved their business to an island in Barataria bay.  Laffitte was such an entrepreneur and a diplomat the he had been able to take an entire island full of shiftless seafarers and fisherman and turn them into an organized group of buccaneers, smugglers and wholesalers.  By 1810 their port was a huge success.  The two of them continued smuggling and Jean began his career as a pirate, it wasn’t long after, when Captain Lafitte had acquired his own fleet.

During this time, while the embargo was still active, things got tough, especially for the southern states.  Lafitte’s beloved Louisiana, and it’s people, were suffering, so he put his fleet to work.  From the ships that he plundered off of the Caribbean coast and the Atlantic, he and his crews were able to keep clothes and commodities flowing to the people of Louisiana.  As a result, Lafitte became a hero to both the rich and the poor alike, even authorities in high positions were turning a blind eye to his more questionable accomplishments.

Jean saw himself as a patriot, he respected the American constitution and never once attacked an American vessel.  But not everyone saw him in the same light.  Despite Lafitte’s shifty methods, his endless supplies of clothes, spices, furniture and other necessities which helped Louisiana survive and thrive, In 1814 things began to go bad for him.  There was a new Governor by the name of WC Claiborne.  Claiborne decided of his own accord that Lafitte should no longer be accepted in their society.  Claiborne saw to it that he was constantly harassed and that his home island in Barataria Bay was destroyed, but he didn’t stop there, eventually Claiborne has Lafitte thrown in jail.

Well he didn’t stay there long, With the war of 1812 well underway, President Andrew Jackson needed more boats and men, he needed Lafitte’s fleets.  So Lafitte was released from jail and set out to protect New Orleans and the Mississippi river from the British.  When the war was lost, Lafitte sailed away from Louisiana for the last time, he was proud that he had fought to defend her however he was heartbroken, he was no longer wanted or trusted in the place that he loved and called home.

Now days there are many witnesses that have seen Lafitte making a proud return to the Gulf of Mexico.  Workers on oil platforms, which litter the Gulf, have reported the billow of his sails on the horizon just before sunset, he’s always headed east.  Crews on offshore supply vessels have heard the flapping of sail riggings and the cry of phantom voices calling out commands to a ghostly crew in the Creole patois once spoken in Barataria.  These same supply vessels have felt the passing of an entire ghostly fleet, that is unseen, but produces visible white foam where their bows break the waves.  Once they have finished passing, they leave a tremendous wake in the darkened waters.

One three-man crew on a charter fishing boat, anchored off Grand Isle near Barataria Bay in the dead of night reported that they all saw an apparition of a pale man, clad in black and wearing a wide-brim hat such as the one Lafitte wore, standing on the aft deck of their sport fisherman.  The apparition glared at them as if sending a warning, then looked away toward the Louisiana coast before suddenly disappearing.

Folks in my neck of the woods, we believe that when Lafitte’s fleet is spotted in the Gulf it’s an omen that something wicked is about to befall the Louisiana coastline.  In fact, Lafitte and his fleet were spotted in the Gulf just before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the state.  This photo was sent to me by an avid listener that just happens to be a pilot that flies over the Gulf of Mexico often.  It was taken recently.  The pilot, John Bering says that after 20 years of flying across the Gulf, this was the first time he had ever seen a square rigged ship.  Could this be Lafitte, and is it a warning that ill tides are coming?

On shore, Lafitte is seen in the Blacksmith shop in the French Quarter that Pierre owned.  Many nights were spent here planning raids and designing new weaponry for his ships.  Today the Blacksmith shop is a popular bar, and Jean is still spotted there frequently.  He keeps a low profile, always sitting at a rear table while holding a brandy in his hand, the smell of cigar smoke accompanying his rather vivid apparition.

Like the story? Want to hear more haunted history and urban legends?  Check out my show on Armed Radio Global!  All past episodes are available on Spreaker!