Friday, October 10, 2014

Haunted Horrors

Everyone loves the spookiest month of the year. October is the home of horror film marathons, stories of "personal" encounters with spirits, Halloween and then the creme Del la creme of spookiness...... stories of place across our fine country that have earned the titles of "Most Haunted" places. Below are the ones that are listed as the top 7. Beginning with, of course, number 7.

Number 7:
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1:

(Photo courtesy of: The Ghost Central)

This cemetery was established in 1789 and today is the oldest remaining cemetery in the city of New Orleans.

It is said that bodies have been laid to rest here ranging from as far back as 200 years ago to as recent as current day. The tombs include the bodies of the first New Orleans settlers to the most powerful voodoo queen in the history of the city, Marie Laveau.

It is also said that the tombs have been “reused” ever since the creation of the cemetery. Some say that it is because of the fact that the city sits either or below the water line in most parts, however, the most common explanation is that it was originally done because there was nowhere to expand too.

Therefore, someone would die, buried and a tomb would be created. Then, years later someone else would die and the previous body would either be removed or disposed of or they would bury the new body on top of the old one. Because of this practice this cemetery has earned the title of Most Haunted Cemetery in the country.

Number 6:
Winchester Mystery House:

(Photo courtesy of: io9)

The history of this is quite amazing and is one that is steeped in mystery. It is said that is was originally owned by a woman named Sarah Winchester.

Sarah’s life up to the creation of the house was one of horrible grief; she had lost both her child and her spouse. She found herself the heiress to a $20,000,000 and no idea what to do with it. So, she built herself a house. But, not just any ordinary house, no, this house is loaded with unexplainable mysteries. The farther into sadness and depression Mrs. Winchester fell, the stranger her building requests became.

Interesting fact, I read that is was actually a medium in Boston that suggested Sarah build the house as a way to appease spirits that were said to be haunting her. The medium told her that she needs to make sure that construction never stopped. Whether or not that story is true Sarah Winchester packed up shop and left for California. She began construction on the house in 1884 in the Santa Clara 

While she paid her employees well and was given a reputation of being kind and generous she was also very interested in seclusion. The first job her gardeners were given was to build a wall of Cyprus hedges around the house.

There was also a series of strange occurrences that would always happen at the house. First, a bell would ring at the hours of midnight and 2 am. This was said to be the arrival and departure times of spirits. Second, Mrs. Winchester would never sleep in the same room twice. She was so convinced that in doing so, the evil spirits would be able to find her.

At the center of the house that has been called the Blue Room. It is said that she communed with spirits in this room. It is suggested that she wore different color robes to commune with a specific spirit and seek guidance for what should happen with the construction of the house.

At the time of her death, the house span a six acre radius, had a 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens. The contents of the house were left to Mrs. Winchester’s niece Marian Merriman Marriott and the mansion and farm became part of the Winchester estate and was eventually sold to the Union Trust Company of San Francisco.

Number 5:
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

( Photo courtesy of: Los Angeles Times)

Construction began on the Asylum in 1858 near the town of Weston, WV and was completed in 1881. This was during the Civil War so construction on the building was inevitably delayed on the project for awhile.

If you look at the architecture of the building it may remind you an ancient castle, in fact, that was done on purpose. The building was influenced by the Gothic castles of Europe. Early on labor was provided by prisoners from the surrounding area.

Interesting fact, before there were actual asylums the mentally ill were housed in prisons, basements or poor houses. In 1861 the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum took in its first resident. For the following 20 years the continued taking in patients.

While the Asylum introduced many new treatment methods over time, that actual means of delivering them were brutal and cruel, and the living conditions, well, let’s just say they were abysmal. Many types of “cures” or treatments would come and go over time, some included: electric-shock therapy, lobotomies and horrible chemical treatments.

I personally have never been to the Trans-Allegheny to experience the “haunting” but I am a believer. The history of the building is said to be the start of the paranormal rumors. For instance, the Asylum sits on 666 acres of land – known commonly as the symbol of the Devil.

There are tales told that say the dimensions of the building are based on those designed by secret Masonic cults. However, more realistic paranormal stories stem from the actual crude and horrible treatment of the patients that roamed its hallways.

After decades of being open the sounds of the restless dead could be heard throughout the Asylum.
Workers claimed of hearing unexplainable noises and the sound of wheels rolling through the now vacant hallways.

Enter if you dare! But it’s not for the weak of heart!!!

Number 4:
The Stepp Cemetery

( Photo courtesy of: AAARC)

What?!? A spooky old cemetery, how boring. But, none the less I have added a spooky cemetery to the list.

I was first introduced to The Stepp Cemetery on a show I watched the other night and I found it so creepy I thought I would share it. The narrator spoke of the fact that this place is haunted by the spirit of a woman who lost her child who died in infancy.

Nightly the woman can be seen roaming the grounds and even sitting on the tree stump located next to her child’s grave. She is known to locals as “The Lady in Black” because of the black mourning garments that she is seen wearing
So, visit the tombstones and stroll through the night. The Lady may be waiting for you out of sight!

Number 3:
Moundsville Penitentiary

( Photo courtesy of: Truth on Tate / LaBianca Forums )

Listed as the “most violent” place in West Virginia Moundsville Pen was originally established in 1866. It was in operation for 119 years and during that time it housed hundreds of very disturbed patients. FREAKY!!!!
A very interesting fact, haunting began happening during the years the facility was active and in 1930 there is said to be a report by one of the guards who was on duty. The officer was guarding the area known as “maintenance” when he believed he saw a prisoner trying to escape. However, after alerting others and examining further they discovered that no prisoner had in fact been out in that area during that time.  
Probably the scariest story of the entire prison is that of the spirit the locals refer to as the “ShadowMan”It is said this spirit appears as a solid mass and has a very ominous feel to it. No one knows who this spirit is supposed to be, there is speculation that is either a guard who checked on the cells during his life. While other still, believe that it is a former inmate who is stuck in the darkness and trying to find his way out.
Whatever the explanation, it is downright SCARY!!!

Number 2:
Gettysburg Battlefield

(Photo courtesy of: bobcarney Photography)

Finally, somewhere haunted that I have actually been too. The best part, I have my only strange paranormal story to tell about my visit there, but more on that in a minute.
The Great Ghosts of Gettysburg are steeped in rich history and adventures. These ghosts are those of the men who were some of the original people to give their lives for our freedom. For that, they should be honored and respected.
With that is mind, I present to you the paranormal of Gettysburg……..
I shall begin with my own tale; in 1997 I went on a family that covered a great bunch of places on the east coast, one of them, Gettysburg. On this particular day we had decided to go on a guided tour, my dad had put brand new batteries in the camera and a new roll of film as we were driving with the guide to the first part of the tour. As we pulled up to the parking lot my dad went to turn on his camera and it was completely dead, so, he was at a loss for words.
He second guessed himself and just decided to replace them again with ones he knew where good. The second weird thing, we all very clearly heard the guide turn of the car and unlock the door, but as soon as we all went to get out, the car doors locked themselves. However, those are not the scariest things and I did not share this next part with anyone until about a week or so later when I actually came across proof from my own pictures.
Once we finally got out of the car and began our tour we found ourselves standing on top of a hill that had trees all around. I remember, very clearly, looking into the tree line and seeing three men hunched down moving in the other direction. They were dressed in the blue uniforms that represented the confederate soldiersI was so startled that I turned to tell someone but they had walked off. I remember catching up to the guide and asking him if they were holding a reenactment at the time because I saw three soldiers in the trees. I remember he smiled at me and said “No dear, there is no reenactment this weekend.” Then he winked and continued on with the tour.
That’s my story, but let’s moves on to some of the other ones. Let’s talk about the Jennie Wade House. Ms. Jennie Wade was 20 years old during this time and is also the only civilian casualty of the Battle of Gettysburg. Because she died violently and suddenly in her house it is said that she is seen wandering around the rooms.
There are many other “haunted” spots around Gettysburg but none are as scary as the Hunterstown Battlefield. It is on this battlefield that General Custard battled General Hampton. It was the bloodiest battle of the entire Gettysburg fight. Of Custer’s 3,500 men 32 were declared dead or wounded and of the 2,000 Confederates, 100 were declared dead.
To this day men who participate in Civil War reenactments here claim to have strange encounters with the spirits that still linger. 

Number 1:
The Stanley Hotel

(Photo courtesy of: Wikipedia)

WE HAVE REACHED THE END!!! And this one is definitely the best. If you have ever read The Shining  or seen the movie (with Jack Nicholson) then our final haunt will look very familiar. Yep, Stephen King actually stayed at The Stanley Hotel with his family at one point and was so intrigued by the place and its stories.
However, unlike the scary tale of horror and death that Mr. King wrote about, The Stanley Hotel paranormal residence are not there to cause trouble of strike fear in your heart.  
The spirits that you may encounter while here are: Ms. Elizabeth Wilson, who was injured during an explosion in 1911, F.O. and Flora Stanley, and the spirits of children who long ago lived there. It is often said that guests of the hotel may often receive “extra” hospitality services.
In the movie The Shining, room 217 is portrayed as a place of great evil. However, guests that stay in the hotel will never report anything evil happening but some have reported encountering “extra” hospitality services. They say that they have noticed their things being unpacked or put away for them.
Other guests have reported seeing the owner, F.O. Stanley wandering the hallways and they see and hear his wife Flora playing her favorite piano in the music room. Also, in some of the rooms guests stay in -- that were the rooms of children in the original days -- will state claims of being tucked in at night. The staff says this is a common thing because that was one of the duties for the nannies of the time.
Well, that brings us to the end of the haunted tale. Hope you enjoyed the stories. For more info click the links I added throughout.

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