With Christmas only a few days away we wanted to share with you a recipe from the Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook. Enjoy the story and the Beyond Delicious Coconut Kisses
The Story of Ted’s Beyond Delicious Coconut Kisses
When I’m visiting friends, they usually know better than to invite people over at the same time. You’d be amazed how many conversations come around to ghost stories, and from there it’s only a matter of time before it comes out about what I can do. After that, there’s no more relaxing for me! It’s like I’m back on the clock, answering questions and telling stories. Not to say it’s particularly hard for me to tell stories – I love to! – but when I’m expecting a night off, I like to have it.
That’s why it took me by surprise when my friend Sharon said she had invited her neighbor Carly over to visit with us. I was dumb folded when she also announced that Carly thought she had a ghost, which is why she wanted to stop by and visit. The only thing that saved the afternoon was the big plate of cookies Carly arrived with!
Ted, my husband was with me and his eyes lit up when he saw that some of the cookies were macaroons. Ted’s a huge fan of coconut, especially coconut cookies, but since I am not, he really doesn’t get them much at home. As Ted reached for his second, I noticed that the ghost who had come in with Carly – because yes, there was a man attached to her – was scowling a little.
“These are delicious!” Ted said. “The macaroons?” Carly replied. “Thank you!” That made the ghost scowl even deeper. “Those are not macaroons,” he mumbled. “Why does he always call them macaroons?” “Well, what do you call them?” I asked the ghost. He told me they were Coconut kisses, not macaroons. I didn’t want to bicker about what the difference could possibly be, so I asked him who he was instead.
Turns out his name was also Ted, to which Carly responded, “Grouchy Uncle Ted?” “He didn’t introduce himself that way,” I said diplomatically. Carly had me ask him if he had a wife and what her name was, which confirmed that it was indeed Aunt Irene’s husband, grouchy Uncle Ted. “He was always so particular about everything,” Carly explained. “He’d sit there and grouch about everything that wasn’t exactly the way he like it.”
“Actually, he’s complaining now,” I admitted, and explained to Carly what he’d said about the cookies. “Oh, I know what he called them,” Carly said. “But everyone else on the planet calls them macaroons, so that’s what I call them now, too.” “No!” Uncle Ted disagreed. “They are not macaroons! Macaroons have flour in them and these cookies do not. Is she even making them right? They have to cool on a damp cloth before you try to take them out of the pan.” Uncle Ted – perhaps in an effort to prove how articular he really was – then asked me to copy down his recipe to make sure Carly was at least making them right.
I passed along the recipe and Carly nodded as she looked it over. “Yes, that’s how they’re made. I don’t need this,” she said, handing the recipe back to me. So I made the White Light for Uncle Ted. Thankfully, he saw Irene in it and crossed right over without another thought.
Ted’s Beyond Delicious Coconut Kisses Recipe
1 1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white
Blend coconut, milk, and vanilla thoroughly. Beat egg white until stiff. Combine the two mixtures and drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake in moderate over at 350 degree for 15-20 minutes. After baking, let cool for several minutes on a damp cloth before carefully lifting them from the pan with a spatula. Placing the pan on a folded damp cloth while removing the kisses helps to avoid breaking them.
After a delicious lunch of pizza at the Monticello Pizza Kitchen, which, by the way, is also haunted, Betty, Lisa, and I headed for Tallahassee and the Knott House Museum just down from Florida’s Old Capitol in the Park Avenue Historic District. The area around what is now Tallahassee has been occupied by various indigenous and European cultures for twelve thousand years. Soon after the United States took possession of Florida from the Spanish in 1821, the Territorial Governor, William P. Duval, laid out the city, and in 1824 it became the territorial and later state capital of Florida. It is a beautiful city. Its rolling hills, wide boulevards, stately buildings, various college campuses, and numerous parks give Tallahassee a genteel ambiance.
And the Knott House with its handsome Greek Revival facade only adds to that atmosphere. The house was built in 1843 by free-black builder George Proctor as a wedding gift for Thomas Hagner and his wife, Catherine. Thomas died in 1848, but Catherine remained in the house and added major additions to the rear. She turned it into a boarding house, presumably to supplement her income. At the end of the Civil War, Union General Edward McCook commandeered the home for his headquarters. He read President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation from the front steps on May 20, 1865. Today a ceremony on May 20 every year commemorates the event.
The Hagner family owned the house until 1883 when they sold it to a Dr. Betton, who maintained his office in the building. Following a succession of owners, William and Luella Knott finally bought the house in 1928. The Knotts were an influential family in Tallahassee. William was variously the state treasurer and comptroller and ran unsuccessfully for governor. Luella, a poet and community volunteer, was a staunch supporter of women’s rights. She homeschooled her three children, Mary Franklin, James Robert, and John Charles (“Charlie”), wrote and published countless poems, and filled her house with the antiques she loved. She also filled her home with poetry, which even today is scattered around the rooms, tied to various items with silk ribbons. Because of that, the house is known as the “The House That Rhymes.”
William died in April 1965 at 101 years of age; Luella fell and died a few days after that. Charlie then moved into his family home, determined to preserve it as his parents had left it. And when he died in 1985, he left it to the State of Florida, stipulating that it be maintained as a museum house. The Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board took charge of the property, and after spending more than one million dollars and several years of preservation and restoration efforts—the restoration team found evidence of earlier fires, which had to be addressed—the museum finally opened to the public in 1992.
Walking through Knott House Museum
Walking through the house is eerie. It is so complete and looks so lived in, I expected to see the lady of the house, Mrs. Knott, around every corner and in every room. There are four thousand books, three hundred pieces of furniture, and fifteen hundred personal items and art work. Books lie open on tables. Personal effects are strewn about. I would not have been surprised to see a steaming cup of coffee sitting on the counter in the kitchen, waiting for Charlie to come in and pick it up. I felt as if I were invading the Knotts’ privacy, as if I shouldn’t be there. But it is a beautiful house and extremely well maintained. Tours in the past used to be self-guided, but are now led by knowledgeable docents. That’s probably a good idea. Betty and her BBGT crew have been through the house many times. In past years, the curator hosted a “Fear Knott” event around Halloween as a fund-raiser. Betty, Lisa, and their team gave presentations and “haunted” tours through the house in the evenings. They also have conducted paranormal investigations in the building and have spent many nights there after the museum was closed. The most frequent experiences reported by BBGT investigators, visitors, and staff are footsteps. They are heard throughout the house. Sometimes they are very heavy like a man’s, and at other times lighter, as if a woman were walking around. They could very well be Charlie’s father, his mother, or Charlie himself. All three had a special passion for the house.
Once in the days when the tours were self-guided, a visitor rushed down the stairs breathless. A staff member was standing at the bottom. The visitor, quite excited, said, “I believe I’ve just seen a ghost!” The staff member, who’d had her own experiences, asked the lady what had happened. “Well, I just went into the first room on the right at the top of the stairs, and there was an older woman dressed in old-fashioned clothes standing there. At first, I thought she was a docent or something, but she just stood there and looked at me. And then she evaporated into thin air!” On several other occasions, visitors have reported seeing people throughout the house who appeared to be visitors as well, only to vanish before their eyes. Perhaps Charlie, his parents, and maybe even his friends are walking the halls. In the past, various staff members have reported items being moved around. Perhaps a book has been taken from a shelf in the library and left on a table somewhere else, pictures rearranged, fireplace tools misplaced, pages of music on the piano turned.
The Knott House Museum is a “must-see”
At the end of each day, the outside doors to the Knott House are closed and locked, of course, but inside doors are always left open to provide air circulation. Often when staff members arrive in the morning to unlock the house, those inside doors are all closed. And passersby late at night have reported seeing lights switching on and off inside the locked and empty house, as if someone was going from room to room.
In the Knott House Museum, Betty and her BBGT investigators have experienced just about every activity others have reported. They’ve also had another experience. During one investigation, Betty and Lisa were sitting downstairs, quietly listening, when they heard humming coming from upstairs. It sounded like a woman softly humming a lullaby to a baby. When they went through every room in the house to try to find the source of the sound, they could hear it everywhere but were never able to identify its location. The Knott House Museum is a “must-see” stop for anyone visiting Tallahassee. The visitor will find the most completely restored nineteenth-century house in Florida, and who knows? You might get to meet Mr. and Mrs. Knott or their son, Charlie.
Enjoy Ghosthunting Florida from the safety of your armchair or hit the road using the maps, the haunted sites travel guide, and the “Ghostly Resources.”
Redhawk Ranch – Wimauma
A story about peaceful Redhawk Ranch by Dave Lapham
Chasing ghosts across the length and breadth of Florida had been a thrill so far. I’d met dozens of wonderful people and had many exciting experiences, but like any road trip, it could wear you down. And after many weeks and hundreds of miles, I was getting tired and was thinking of taking a break from my travels. That’s when I met Bud and Brenda Hoshaw of the Redhawk Ranch, five miles south of Wimauma. They invited me to their ranch and spiritual retreat center, and I quickly accepted. From the moment I passed through the gates, I felt at peace, completely relaxed. But the tranquility and serenity of the place belies its violent past. Indigenous people occupied the area around Tampa Bay and the southwest coast of Florida for thousands of years. There is strong evidence that some of them lived on what is now the Redhawk Ranch. Tocobaga and Calusa tribes made their homes along the stream that flows along the south side of the retreat center.
The Tocobaga and Calusa tribes made their homes on what is now the Redhawk Ranch
The Calusa were powerful and dominated the area from just south of Tampa Bay to Fort Myers and inland to Lake Okeechobee. Their original name, Calos, meant “Fierce People,” but they, as well as the Tocobaga to the north, were no match for the Spanish conquistadors who came into the area in the 1500s. Hernando de Soto, who landed in the Tampa Bay area in May, 1539, was especially brutal. De Soto’s troops raped, murdered, mutilated, and slaughtered innocents with abandon. They even had trained greyhounds that attacked on command. The Spanish fed the dogs human flesh. Smallpox, measles, and other diseases brought in by the Spanish further decimated the native peoples in the area. In time the land passed into the hands of white settlers, and the Indians were no more.
But something or someone wanted Native Americans back on the land. Bud and Brenda Hoshaw are Native Americans, Bud part Menominee and Brenda Cherokee and Cheyenne. The story of their acquisition of the 18.5 acres that is now the Redhawk Ranch is bizarre. About twelve years ago, Bud and Brenda lived in a beautiful log home about four miles away. This house on five acres was their dream home, and they were quite happy. Then one day Brenda was on her computer when an advertisement for an 18.5- acre tract nearby popped up. She thought it strange, because she had been researching other things, not real estate. She deleted the ad and went back to work. The ad popped up again, and over the next ten days every time she went on the computer to Google something, the advertisement came up.
Finally, Bud told her, “Let’s call the realtor. This obviously means something.” And so they did. Carl Weiss took them to the property on Route 579, which turned out to be hard to find, because the large “For Sale” sign had fallen over and couldn’t be seen from the road. The frontage was completely overgrown and there was no drive into the place, although two rotting gate posts stood several yards off the road. But as soon as they stopped and got out of the car, Brenda knew she had to have the property. Brenda is psychic, and the first thing she saw was an Indian by the old gate posts. He seemed to be a sentry or lookout. And as they walked the property, she felt and saw other entities, including a red hawk. In the northeast corner, she was almost overcome by the beauty and peace of the place. A bank in New York owned the property, and when Bud and Brenda discovered what the bank was asking, they were dismayed. They couldn’t afford it. But Brenda prayed about it and knew they were supposed to be there, so they made an offer—one third of the asking price. The bank accepted their offer without even a counter offer. Stranger still, they discovered later that another man had gone around the realtor and directly to the bank with a much better offer and was refused.
An evening of ghosthunting at Redhawk Ranch
On one recent occasion, Brenda invited several sensitive friends down for an evening of “ghosthunting.” Claire Castillo, Frank and Debbie Visicaro, Rick and Denise Incorvia, Cynthia Anderson, and Helen Bender all assembled with Bud and Brenda in their living room. They were asked to walk around the property without discussing their experiences and then write down whatever ever they saw, smelled, heard, or felt. After everyone was finished they would gather and tell the group what they had experienced. Three hours later, they all returned to the living room, excited by what they had encountered. To begin, several of them felt that the whole area had once been underwater, and as geological changes had occurred, it had become dry land. There was also some sense that a stream once existed next to the driveway. They also felt that the stream running along the south side of the property had once been much wider and deeper.
Debbie and Rick agreed that this area had once been a village. They both had a vision of a panicked group of women, children, and old men getting into two canoes on the stream in the southwest corner of the ranch and fleeing. They felt that the village was under attack by white men. Not far away, several members of the group sensed a burial ground. Farther upstream Brenda had a vision of an area where women gave birth. Possibly a hut of some kind once stood there. She said her knees went weak, and she had difficulty breathing. There was high energy all along the stream. Frank also had a vision of several Spanish swords lying on the ground near the northeast corner in the vicinity of Bud and Brenda’s Sacred Circle. He also saw what he thought was an angel, a wolf, and an owl, which he sensed were keeping them safe from deception. Near the creek he had the feeling that a child had drowned. Denise and Bud saw a chief that was made of wood, its head covered with brightly colored wooden feathers. And almost everyone saw wraith-like wolves, eagles, coyotes, dragonflies, and even a white horse, in addition to the ghosts of two young white girls. Cynthia said she sensed a brave showing off the horse in a camp right behind the house.
On this occasion and many times before and since, Cynthia, Debbie, and Brenda also met an old man, a chief, sitting in a rocking chair on Brenda’s porch. They smelled his pipe before they even saw him. He is a kindly person, and Brenda is comforted by his presence. The group stayed late into the evening, sharing with each other. And although they each had different experiences, they all agreed that, except for the area where the burial grounds were located, the whole ranch was filled with positive energy. On my visit, as usual, I saw nothing, but I was filled with peace and a sense of well-being. And I did have one experience. While walking into the Sacred Circle with Bud, the wind chimes hanging there began tinkling, which, Bud told me, almost always happened. Still, it made me smile. After we soaked up the good vibes in the circle for several minutes, Bud motioned to me, “Come on. I want to show you something else.”
And we walked out into a circle of trees in the center of the field which fronts the house. Bud produced a compass and handed it to me. When I stood exactly in the center of the ring of trees, the north arrow pointed north, but if I moved one step to the left, the needle swung left. If I stepped one pace to the right of center, it swung to the right. Very curious. Bud and Brenda have several mastiffs for security. They are sweet dogs, but Bud is careful to pen them when strangers are around, because they are very protective. On my visit, Bud was with me when I got out of my truck, so all they did was lick my hand and vie for attention. I love dogs, and we made friends quickly. When I drove away from the house and stopped across the field at the Sacred Circle for one last look, the dogs came bounding after me, crowding around and begging for attention.
When I finally walked back to my truck, opened the door, and started to step up, Butkus, their big male who doesn’t weigh much less than his namesake, sat on my foot and looked up at me with soulful eyes. He didn’t want me to leave. “I know, pal. I don’t want to leave either, but I’ve got to go.” With that he raised his rump and licked my hand goodbye. Driving away, I laughed out loud with happiness, totally revived and ready to get back on my haunted road trip. The Redhawk Ranch is a fantastic place, and when I finish with this book, I’m going back for a nice, long stay. I hope I can finally meet some of these friendly ghosts in person.
Berry Hill Road – Sleepy Hollow Southern Style A story by Michael Varhola
Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power … The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country. – Washington Irving, ”The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
Berry Hill Road and the area through which it wends are creepy under the best of circumstances, and it is easy to see how someone visiting them in darkness might conclude they are haunted. In addition, the stretch of country road and the rural thoroughfares branching off it are also home to a number of other reputed paranormal phenomena.
This road does, in fact, have a widespread reputation for weirdness in the Danville area, as my wife, Diane, and I discovered while ghosthunting there the week between Christmas and New Year in 2007. We had gone in search of ghosts associated with the wreck of the Old 97, a train that had derailed in 1903, but nearly everyone we talked to dismissed it and directed us instead to Berry Hill Road.
It was an unseasonably bright, sunny, and warm afternoon as my wife and I headed east on Riverside Drive out of Danville, following the directions we had been given by various people. We had, in fact, spent part of the previous evening drinking martinis with Colie Walker, night manager for the restaurant at the hotel where we had stayed the night, and he had given us an earful about the place. His stories included accounts of ghostly little girls jumping rope near the willow tree under which their bodies were buried; a span dubbed “Satan’s Bridge” where the spectral form of a young man who supposedly hanged himself there has reportedly been seen; a stretch of highway in front of a witch’s house on which cars will roll uphill rather than down; and the slaughtered carcasses of animals hung from trees. It is also reputedly an active stomping ground for the Ku Klux Klan. In short, Sleepy Hollow, Southern style.
Just a few miles past the line for Pittsylvania County, we came to the intersection with Berry Hill Road and turned left. From where it begins at Riverside Drive, Berry Hill Road twists about seven-and-a-half-miles, generally heading southwest, until reaching the North Carolina state line, where its name changes to T. Clarence Stone Highway. In its relatively short stretch through Virginia, however, the road has a markedly distinct character, which became obvious to us almost immediately.
Near its start, a number of other roads lead off in either direction from Berry Hill Road: those to the north generally past older, modest, relatively small houses, and those to the south past larger, more affluent homes and farms. Soon after passing these, however, the road begins to run through dense woodland punctuated by miles-long stretches of devastated-looking blight, mostly on the south side of the road. Periodically, tucked back in the wood line, we could see abandoned, vegetation-choked farmsteads and rutted dirt roads (that probably don’t appear on any maps) twist away into the forest. Many were blocked by makeshift gates emblazoned with signs warning visitors away. To say that the area felt ominous and unwelcoming would be an understatement.
At the intersection with Oak Hill Road, we went north for awhile, and eventually came to a small country church, the first thing we had seen in several miles. We decided not to go any further at that point, and turned around. Approaching the intersection with Berry Hill Road again, we noticed at the side of the road the mangled carcass of a large animal, possibly a deer, with its exposed and bloody ribcage turned skyward.
We continued on Berry Hill Road, and soon after saw, at the left side of the road, a large rock painted with a white cross. Overhead, both in the air and perched on nearby utility poles and trees, an uncannily large number of vultures watched over the place and regarded us as we passed.
At the intersection with Stateline Bridge Road, just past a set of railroad tracks, we went south. We turned past a pickup truck stopped at the three-way stop that was turning onto Berry Hill Road, and I noticed the driver, a white guy with a mustache and baseball cap. As we moved down the road, I saw him make a U-turn and begin to follow us.
As we sped down the road, the creep in the pickup stayed behind us, and after about a mile we broke out of the wood line onto a low concrete span over a river. As we reached the other side of it, we passed a sign welcoming us to North Carolina, and the name of the road changed to Berry Hill Bridge Road. We went about another mile, until we reached an intersection near a farm where we could turn around, and as we did the pickup truck passed us and continued on its way.
Returning to the bridge from the other direction, I was stunned to see that it was completely covered with graffiti, something that while driving into the sun and keeping an eye on my rear-view mirror I had not noticed previously. Colie Walker had described “Satan’s Bridge” as being tagged (an urbanized term for “painted” that, when I explained it to my wife, both baffled and annoyed her). Its location corresponded exactly with the directions Walker had given us, and so it seemed we had found the cursed bridge.
Driving back across to the Virginia side, we went a few hundred yards to a spot where the road widened adequately for me to safely turn off and start to get my equipment ready for a walk back to the bridge. “I’m just going to wait in the car,” my wife said as I started to get out of the vehicle, repeating a mantra that for her was as automatic and unanalyzed as “bless you” would have been in response to a sneeze. The creep with the pickup was on the other side of the river and I would see if he was coming back, so I didn’t argue with her.
Heading toward the bridge along the left side of the road, I could see that the nearby woods were choked and tangled with heavy vine growth and had an almost quintessentially haunted look. I also had a growing sense of unease, and as I came nearer to the bridge I became increasingly aware of a sound like a howling wind, somewhere in the distance, that became more and more audible as I neared the span.
Walking out onto the sunlit bridge, I could hear a low, shrieking noise somewhere in the distance, like a wind ripping through the woods around me. Glancing at the wood line on either side of the river, I could see that it was perfectly still and could not feel so much as a light breeze. It sent a chill up my spine. It would have scared the hell out of me and made me feel like I was standing on the threshold to the netherworld if I’d been there at night, possibly alone, or under the influence.
I quickly walked to the far end of the bridge and, with the light at my back, got some photos. Most of the graffiti I passed seemed to be of the “X loves Y” and “Class of Z” variety, but there were a few pentagrams and devilish epithets mixed in with it. I also saw burnt-down candle stubs lying among the detritus of broken beer bottles on either side of the bridge. No one passed by during my time there, and I was completely alone as I looked down into the swirling ochre water of the Dan River and contemplated where the young man would have hanged himself if such an incident really had occurred here. The low, concrete bridge didn’t look like it would be very convenient for that purpose—and his dangling specter would not have been visible by anyone on or at either end of it—and I wondered if he might not have used one of the trees in the surrounding vine-choked forest. It would have been, in any event, a morose and dismal place to die.
My need and desire to stay at the bridge sated, I trotted back toward the car and we resumed our exploration of the area. Turning back onto Berry Hill Road and continuing southwest on it, we soon reached the point where it crossed the North Carolina state line. Almost immediately afterward, we heard a shrieking exactly like that of a jet engine, pulled over to the side of the road, and looked up, expecting to see an aircraft passing overhead and the noise to fade. There was nothing above us, however, and the noise remained steady for awhile longer before fading away.
We could see that the land across the road was fenced off and make out a small cluster of pipes and utility infrastructure. While we could not see anything that could have been making the great noise we heard, and while no signs offered an explanation for them or the fenced-off area from which they emanated, it seemed pretty obvious that we had stumbled onto some sort of industrial test facility—and that it had accounted for the distant noises I had heard at Satan’s Bridge (a later perusal of maps and satellite imagery, however, did not reveal anything of that nature in that particular area). This new mystery being far beyond our purview, and with the sinister aspect of the neighborhood starting to weigh on us, we decided to leave it unexamined.
Heading back up Berry Hill Road toward where we had started, we made a few more exploratory stops before reaching the highway. We never did see the willow tree Walker had told us about, and we weren’t sure of the exact location to try putting our car in neutral to see whether it would roll uphill. We saw so many dilapidated antebellum houses that we could not be certain which one was reputed to be the lair of the witch. But a couple of hours on Berry Hill Road were enough to convince us that there is probably a good reason for its reputation in the local area – and that we did not want to be lingering on it after dark.
Americas Haunted Road Trip will soon be headed for Victory of Light Expo, Cincinnati’s premier body, mind and spirit event – and with Thanksgiving just around the corner we are celebrating with a GIVEAWAY for all our fans. Scroll down for easy entry information.
Since its inception in 1992, Victory of Light, has established itself as one of the largest and longest-running metaphysical conventions for the general public in the country.
Americas Haunted Road Trip will be joining over 250 vendors. We will bring our entire collection of haunted road trip guide books including our latest addition Ghosthunting Oregon.
About Ghosthunting Oregon: Our latest book takes readers along a guided tour of some of the Beaver State’s most haunted historic locations. Author Donna Stewart invites you to accompany her as she explores each site, investigating eerie rooms and dark corners.
About the author: Donna Stewart is a noted paranormal researcher, radio host, writer, and founder of the nonprofit Southern Oregon Project Hope. With a lifelong interest in the paranormal, she has devoted more than 30 years to research, mentoring new investigators, and confounding the highly regarded paranormal research team Paranormal Studies and Investigations (PSI) of Oregon. She also hosts the long-running BlogTalkRadio Show PSI-FI Radio.
Come and visit us at booth # 622. Meet some of our authors, take advantage of incredible deals and enter our raffle for a chance to win one of our many awesome prices.
So join us November 22 & 23 at the Sharonville Convention Center for the 2014 Victory of Light Expo.
Victory of Light Expo is held Saturday November 22nd through Sunday November 23rd daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Sharonville Convention Center. For more information check out the Victory of Light Expo website.
From the Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook a recipe for Deviled Eggs Scroll down for a chance to win the Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and why not trying out a delicious recipe from the Dearly Departed?
In her book Beyond Delicious, The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook, Mary Ann Winkowski shares more than 100 recipes from the “Dearly Departed.”
Mary Ann Winkowski has been communicating with earthbound spirits for most of her life. Through the years she has received countless recipes from spirits of greats cooks who have passed on.
The story behind the recipe from the Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook
By Mary Ann Winkowski
One recipe I am proud of is my deviled eggs. Whenever I have a party to go to and we’re asked to bring something, I always take my deviled eggs, and they’re always a hit. I don’t say this to brag; I say it because I guess you could say I have a thing for deviled eggs. As my own recipe is my favorite, I’m always curious to try other people’s to see how they stack up. Such was the case when I cleared the home of Eugene and Vera, a first-generation immigrant couple from Poland.
After I was done, they insisted on taking me and Ted out to eat at what they called a “very special place.” It was just a little Polish restaurant, but I’m sure to them an authentic taste of the old country was quite special indeed. The menu was very Polish. Ted was all over the duck-blood soup and I was very curious about the deviled eggs. Ted loved the soup, but the eggs were just okay. The ghost who showed up with the food didn’t think much of either of them.
“That soup’s not sick enough!” she yelled out. She was a heavy woman wearing a hairnet under her babushka – very Polish and, I had no doubt, once a chef at the restaurant. I tried to ignore her so we could finish our meal.
“How are the eggs?” Vera wondered. “They’re okay,” I said. “But I think I still like mine better.” Well, the ghost in the babushka exploded! “If you had my deviled eggs you’d like them!” she hollered. “Those aren’t good deviled eggs! I tried to tell them!”
“I’m sorry, Vera and Eugene,” I said, leaning in to them. “But there’s actually a earthbound spirit here with us now, and she’s kind of upset.” “Oh!” Vera gasped. “What about?”
I turned back to the ghost and suggested she give me her recipe so I could have real deviled eggs later, when I got home – it would be the only way to make a fair comparison. But she wasn’t having it. She crossed her arms and shook her head and refused to give up her personal recipe.
“You know, my husband, Ted, his mother was from Poland,” I said. “Can’t you give me the recipe for him, so he can see what real Polish deviled eggs taste like?”
That got her. She mumbled a bit more and pretended to be cutting a hard bargain, but she finally gave me the recipe. Thing is, the recipe is so odd, I had her repeat it three times. I can’t say I like them better than my own deviled eggs – but I think I’m biased and I doubt anyone else’s will ever compare – but I can say this is the most unusual recipe for deviled eggs I’ve ever seen. And besides the recipe itself, she was also insistent that you only use goose or duck eggs to make them!
Deviled Eggs recipe from the Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook
6 hard-cooked eggs
1 tablespoon chopped chives
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2-3 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Using a very sharp knife, cut the eggs lengthwise through the shells, taking care not to crush shells. Scoop out the egg yolks, chop fine, and mix with the chopped chives, 1 tablespoon butter, sour cream, and seasoning. Return mixture to shells, cover with breadcrumbs, and fry quickly with remaining butter, open sides down.
Serve at once as a side dish. The same deviled-egg mixture may also be spooned into scallop shells. In that case, brown the butter, and breadcrumbs and pour over the eggs. Then place in hot oven for a few minutes to heat through. Duck or goose eggs are excellent for this dish.
The Dakota is a famous apartment building where the rich and famous reside. The facade of the Dakota is a blend of German Gothic, French Renaissance, and English Victorian architectural styles.
It was the perfect backdrop of Roman Polanski’s 1968 thriller Rosemary’s Baby. Only the outside shots were filmed on location. No filming is allowed inside as the Dakota has a strict policy protecting tenants’ privacy.
Over the years the little girl ghost has appeared to people in the building at various times. Usually people describe her as wearing a yellow taffeta dress and say that she stops bouncing her red ball long enough to tearfully say, “Today is my birthday.” Supposedly, seeing this sad little ghost is a bad omen, usually foreshadowing the impending death of the witness.
The ghost of the building’s original owner and builder, Edward Clark, shows up occasionally. One time he reportedly shook his toupee violently at workmen in the basement of the building. Another time, he appeared ever so briefly to an electrician working in the basement. Later, when the electrician saw a picture of Edward Clark, he realized he had seen Clark’s ghost.
John and Yoko Ono Lennon move into haunted Dakota
In 1975, John and Yoko Ono Lennon moved into the Dakota, purchasing an apartment formerly owned by actor Robert Ryan. Ryan’s wife Jessie, had died in the apartment, but was not about to relinquish her stay just because she was dead.
The Lennon’s knew early on that their apartment was haunted, and in 1979, they called in a psychic to conduct a seance. Mrs. Ryan came through and politely informed John and Yoko that she was not leaving the apartment. John was open to spirituality and otherworldly topics, so he was comfortable coexisting with the spirit of Mrs. Ryan.
The most shocking and devastating event in the Dakota’s history happened on December 8th, 1980, when Mark David Chapman gunned down John Lennon. The debate rages on as to whether or not John Lennon haunts the Dakota.
In 1983, Joe Harrow, a musician, and Amanda Moores, a writer, both saw the ghost of John Lennon standing at the entrance of the Dakota. Over the years people have reported seeing John’s ghost around the Strawberry Fields memorial to John, located in Central Park.
Surely the most reliable and believable sighting of John Lennon’s ghost comes from his wife Yoko. She saw him seated at his piano in their apartment. He looked at her and said, “Don’t be afraid, I am still with you.”
Poltergeist activity at the Dakota includes elevators that start and stop for no apparent reason, and lights that turn themselves on or off. Trash bags have levitated, and several small fires have mysteriously started.
If you want to know more about the haunted Dakota
For more details about the haunted Dakota, Strawberry Fields and ghosts in Central Park read Ghosthunting New York by L’Aura Hladik, one of America’s most respected paranormal investigator.
Pekin Farmhouse Ghost keeps trick-or-treaters away on Halloween
In 1977 Robert and Pam French purchased the 1863 farmhouse located at 8178 S. State Road 335 in Pekin, Indiana. The first Halloween they lived in the house they decorated with jack-o-lanterns and purchased candy in anticipation of trick-or-treaters. None came, though they could see children going to houses near them. When they mentioned this to some of their neighbors, they were told the children were afraid to go to their house because it was haunted.
The Frenches had been in the house for about a year when Pam was dusting and realized that when she turned her back, small items such as pictures or figurines would mysteriously be moved from one spot to another.
Owner finally meet Pekin Farmhouse Ghost
The following year Pam finally saw the Pekin farmhouse ghost, a slim, barefooted young boy, about seven or eight years old. His dark hair was cut in the bowl style and he whore bib overhauls and a shirt. He didn’t say anything, just stared at her. When Pam said “Hello, there,” the boy ran into another room and disappeared.
The Frenches haven’t seen their friendly, mischievous, young ghost for sometime, though they feel his presence in the house. Pam believes that once the boy had met them and found out that they were nice people to live with, he was content to stay in the shadows and from time to time play little jokes by moving small items when she wasn’t looking.
They have lived in the house for twenty-five years and each Halloween they purchase candy in anticipation – and still no trick-or-treaters have come to their door.
The Pekin Farmhouse is in Washington County, Southern Indiana. Washington County was formed from Harrison and Clark Counties in 1813 and named for George Washington.
The French farmhouse is located at 8178 S. State Road in Pekin, Indiana.
Southern Hospitality Extends into the Afterlife at the haunted Blount-Bridgers House in Tarboro
Tarboro was established in 1760 along the Tar River and is located in what is described as the Inner Banks area of North Carolina. Originally it was referred to as Tawboro, taw being a Native American word referring to “the river of health.”
My favorite part of Tarboro is the historic area, which is a 45-block district with more than 300 residential homes, historic churches, and many nineteenth-century buildings still standing and in use. Tarboro also has a 15-acre park with war memorials and a town common.
I visited Tarboro in 2010, as the town celebrated its 250th anniversary. The celebration included a variety of events based on the town’s history. Driving around the Tarboro historic commons, one senses how ripe it must be for ghostly activity. In 1863, 800 Union soldiers engaged in a five-day attack on Greenville, Tarboro, and Rocky Mount, destroying steamboats and supplies in Tarboro. As we’ve already seen in these investigations, the Civil War made its mark across North Carolina, and many ghosts remain to tell the tale.
Where is the Haunted Blount-Bridgers House?
In the historic district is the haunted Blount-Bridgers House, a Federal-style plantation home built in 1808 by Thomas Blount. Blount built the plantation, originally called the Grove, on 296 acres of land. Throughout the years, the house seemed to welcome and favor military men. Thomas Blount lived in the home from 1808 to 1812, Col. Louis Dicken Wilson lived there from 1831 to 1847, and Col. John Bridgers lived in the home from 1850 to 1880.
During the American Revolution, many of the locals fought valiantly in the war, including Thomas Blount, who became a prisoner of war in England. He was eventually freed and returned to North Carolina to help create one of the largest shipping companies in the late eighteenth century and later served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Colonel Wilson served in the North Carolina Senate and fought in the Mexican-American War, and Colonel Bridgers is best known for his service as a commandant in the Civil War, where he served at Fort Macon.
The Blount-Bridgers House served as a public library and a dance studio before it was turned into a museum in 1979. It features a nice collection of nineteenth-century furniture along with the art collection of Tarboro-born Hobson Pittman. The home is welcoming with wraparound porches, which I love; I could spend an afternoon here just relaxing and chatting on the porch. While taking the tour of the haunted Blount-Bridgers House, we were guided to two areas of the home where a female ghost has been seen and felt by visitors and staff. Many presume the ghost to be Jackie Blount, and she is most often seen in the parlor and the art room displaying Hobson Pittman’s art. Apparently a lady of good taste and breeding, she has a love and appreciation of art and likes to show her Southern hospitality by greeting guests who visit her home.
During my research and conversations with local residents, I learned that the ghost, Jackie (Mary Jacqueline Sumner Blount), was the wife of Thomas Blount and part of the Sumner family connected to the Mordecai House in Raleigh. I write more about the Mordecai House in the Central Carolina section of this book, as it is also haunted. This led me to wonder: Do ghosts visit all of their family homes and haunts, much as they used to travel back then between their winter and summer homes? Could the ghosts of the Blount-Bridgers House also be haunting the Mordecai House? Did Jackie still spend time between the two cities, coming and going according to social occasions in spirit, and was John Bridgers enjoying the Blount-Bridgers home in the afterlife while also spending time checking on his troops at Fort Macon, which is also haunted?
Most likely, we’ll never know for sure, though it is interesting to ponder. I also find it fascinating that the more I travel and investigate throughout the state, the more connections I find between haunted areas, historic sites, and family trees. Some people leave such an impression by their lives that their presence continues to be felt in every location where they lived, fought, and loved.
While visiting Tarboro, I also learned about the gravesite of Civil War Gen. William Dorsey Pender, who is buried in Calvary Churchyard in Tarboro. He was fatally wounded during the Battle of Gettysburg. Many locals say that his ghost is still around today and has been seen in both the church graveyard and in the town commons area. He’s reported to be cordial and a true Southern gentleman. What I found most romantic about his story is that the letters that the general wrote to his wife were collected and published almost 100 years after his death in a book titled, The General to His Lady: The Civil War Letters of William Dorsey Pender to Fanny Pender.
When I travel to towns, I generally get a feeling about the area and how it’s doing economically, emotionally, and otherwise. My feeling about Tarboro is that it’s on its way up, and about to experience a renaissance and period of new growth and expansion. History in the making is occurring in Tarboro, and the local ghosts couldn’t be more pleased.
For more information on the haunted Blount-Bridgers House click HERE. Want more spooky stories of Ghoshunting in North Carolina? Check out Kala Ambrose’s book Ghosthunting North Carolina.
There is a haunted Cincinnati Zoo story out there and the ghost that haunts this location is that of a lion. That’s right – a ghost lion walks the paths at the zoo and will often watch passersby from the safety of the thick foliage that lines many of the paths.
Witnesses claim to have been walking alone down a remote path and heard what sounded like the footfalls of a large lion behind them. Sometimes these witnesses have become so terrified that they broke into a run, hearing the sounds of the lion’s footsteps keeping up with their every step. When they feel that the lion is about to strike, they turn to face their attacker only to see that there is nothing following them.
Other times, witnesses will see the glowing eyes of a lion looking out at them from the brush down a dark, out-of-the-way path. These witnesses slowly walk the other way, hoping the lion doesn’t follow them.
The Cincinnati Zoo was the second one built in the Western Hemisphere, after the zoo in Philadelphia, and it contains the Western Hemisphere’s oldest standing zoo building, today’s reptile house. From the time the zoo was built in 1875 until the present day, many animals lived and died there. This zoo also housed the world’s last passenger pigeon the world’s last Carolina Parakeet. After these animals died at the zoo, they were considered extinct.
Visiting and checking out the Haunted Cincinnati Zoo Story
The zoo is open to the public, of course, but it charges an admission fee, whether you’re there to see the animals or to research the ghost stories. The zoo closes at six p.m. during the spring and summer and at five p.m. during fall and winter. If you want the added spookiness of being there at night, come to the annual Festival of Lights, which is held every November and December. At this event, the zoo is open until nine p.m. and so the place is open well past dark. The zoo also holds an event on weekends in October called “Hallzooween” where the zoo is decorated for the Halloween season. This event is only open until five p.m., however, so you will have to leave the park before dark.
If you hope to find the ghost lion, linger on the more remote paths that weave through thick foliage. If you see the lion, it’s all right to get scared. After all, this is a zoo, and it is entirely possible that the lion may not disappear before it attacks.