Radio City Music Hall

Is Roxy the ghost in residence at Radio City Music Hall?

Radio City Music Hall opened in 1932 as the largest theater in New York City. It occupied a full city block. What better way to use the piece of property, valued at $91 million, on which John D. Rockefeller had a twenty-four-year lease? Rockefeller sought the help of Samuel Lionel Rothafel to bring this theater to a profitable life in spite of the Great Depression. “Roxy,” as Rothafel was nicknamed, possessed “theatrical genius by employing an innovative combination of vaudeville, movies and razzle-dazzle decor to revive struggling theatres across America,” according to Radio City’s Web site. The rainbow-arched backdrop behind the stage provides the look of sunrise and sunset as seen from the deck of a ship. The balcony represents the ship’s deck. There are no support columns, so every seat is a good seat in this theater.

Complementing Roxy’s showmanship was the interior design talent of then-unknown Donald Deskey, who created the Grand Foyer, along with all the other smoking rooms, the lounges, and the Diamond Lobby. He used basic materials like cork, Bakelite, and aluminum to stunning effect.

Take a tour of Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall

My mother and I took the tour of Radio City Music Hall, which is well worth the time and money. You may take pictures, but no recording of any kind is allowed, so you won’t be able to collect EVPs. I managed to capture an orb in the Grand Foyer. It might be genuine, as none of my other photos contained orbs. The tour lasts about an hour; plan to wear comfy walking shoes or sneakers, because the tour goes from the backstage hydraulics up to Roxy’s suite, which includes climbing stairs and plenty of walking. At the conclusion of the tour, I decided to follow up on the ghost of Roxy story I had read about in other ghost-related books. I asked the guide if he had ever encountered the ghost of Roxy. His answer was simply, “No.” In fact, he remarked that I was the first person who had ever asked him about Roxy as a ghost.

I spoke with Diane Jaust, archivist for Radio City, and she was intrigued by the story, but she said she had no information on Roxy’s ghost. She went into research mode and tracked down former Rockettes and ballet dancers from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Everyone she spoke with said they never encountered his ghost, nor had they ever felt the theater was haunted. I heard from one of the former ballerinas, Janice Herbert. She said, “I called all the dancers I know who performed at Radio City, and the answer to Roxy’s ghost being there was ‘No,’ with a lot of laughter.” My inquiries had yielded nothing, but I’m glad they at least provided some entertainment.

Yet, according to Dr. Philip Schoenberg, founder and head tour guide for Ghosts of New York Walking Tours, Roxy has been seen at 1260 Sixth Avenue in Rockefeller Center “on opening nights . . . accompanied by a glamorous female companion.” Other reports say that Roxy’s ghost, along with a beautiful lady on his arm, has been seen walking down the aisle toward their seats, vanishing before reaching them. Places as old and as rich in history as Radio City Music Hall typically yield some sort of residual haunting or ghost. This is one of those spots that requires the paranormal investigator to take a closer look. Raise the great curtain on the paranormal and decide for yourself.

About the author

L’Aura Hladik, author of Ghosthunting New York City also investigated the Cherry Lane Theater which we invite you to read.   L’Aura Hladik is also the author of Ghosthunting New Jersey and the founder of the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society.

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    Cherry Lane Theater

    Ghosts perform at Cherry Lane Theater

    Cherry Lane Theater
    Cherry Lane Theater

    This intimate theater, located at 38 Commerce Street, was the brainchild of Edna St. Vincent Millay in 1924. She formed an experimental theater group of local artists in the former brewery and box factory building, which dates back to 1836. Although there have never been any cherry trees along Commerce Street, the theater’s name fosters that notion. The reality is that Millay had named her group “The Cheery Lane Theater” to play on “Dreary Lane,” the nickname of the Drury Lane Theater in London. But a reporter misstated the name as “Cherry Lane,” and that’s what stuck.

    Over the years there have been reports of ghosts “performing” at the theater. Sightings include a white mist that forms on the top step of the lobby staircase and a shadowy manifestation that hovers around the hallway outside the dressing rooms. Three former residents of the neighborhood—Aaron Burr, Washington Irving, and Thomas Paine have been suspected as the identity of these phantoms.

    Possible ghostly addition to Cherry Lane Theater

    Of course, a possible recent addition to the ghostly cast may be the spirit of Kim Hunter, the Oscar-winning actress best known for playing Stella in the stage and screen versions of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. In 1954, Hunter moved into an apartment above the Cherry Lane Theater with her husband, Robert Emmett. Kim’s career was derailed for a short time in the 1950s when she was blacklisted by McCarthy as a communist sympathizer. Hunter was no such thing. She was, however, according to her obituary in the New York Times, “feisty” and “occasionally profane,” with “no use for the trappings of Hollywood stardom that had always eluded her.” Hunter was quoted as saying: “The work itself has been my life. I was never in this for jazzy stardom, and as far as that’s concerned, I’ve never had it. Doesn’t matter to me.” Hunter’s husband died in 2000, and Kim Hunter died September 12, 2002. Maybe she was just too feisty for a final bow and stays active near the other love of her life, the stage at the Cherry Lane.

    I spoke with Alex, the theater manager at the Cherry Lane, who has worked there for three and a half years. He said he has not experienced anything paranormal there even though he has been in the theater very late at night. He did say, though: “We like to think that the spirit of Edna (Millay) keeps an eye on the place.  I always say, ‘God morning, Edna,’ or ‘Good night, Edna.’ when coming or going.

    Why not visit the Cherry Lane Theater? You can make a ghostly night out of it and have dinner and a show; the One If By Land, Two If By Sea restaurant (subject of another ghostly tale by L’Aura Hladik) is within walking distance.

    About the author

    L’Aura Hladik, author of Ghosthunting New York City also investigated Radio City Music Hall.  She is also the author of Ghosthunting New Jersey and the founder of the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society.

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      Princess Angeline

      Princess Angeline symbol linking the past with the present

      This blue-eyed Native American princess was born in 1820 to Chief Seattle, his oldest daughter. She lived out her live in a ten-by-ten shack on the waterfront on Western Avenue just across the street from the Pike Place Market. There Princess Angeline would do carvings and weave baskets for the Ye Old Curiosity Shop on the pier.

      Princess Angeline born Kikisoblu Seattle

      Princess Angeline
      Princess Angeline on street corner in Seattle

      She was name Princess due to her father’s status, and Angeline was given to her by Catherine Broshears Maynard, the second wife of Seattle pioneer Doc Maynard. Her birth name was Kikisoblu Seattle or Sealth. Princess Angeline married Dokub Cud, who died before the arrival of Euro-American settlers. Princess Angeline gained fame all over the world, for if you ventured to Seattle, you’d be sure to see her frail figure on the streets of Seattle selling her goods.

      One of the most popular tourist souvenirs was that of a Native American doll resembling Princess Angeline. She became the symbol that linked the past with the present. Although she died May 31, 1896 at the age of seventy-six, some say she has refused to leave even after he physical death. Yet, as with the forced removal of her people to reservations, she was spiritually bound to her homeland and the she would stay. Treaty or not treaty!

      The story of Princess Angeline and many more are found in Ross Allison’s book Spooked in Seattle. Also read our blog on Dutch Ned by the same author.

      About the author

      Ross Allison is the president and founder of AGHOST (Advanced Ghost Gunters of Seattle-Tacoma) with over twenty years of experience investigating the paranormal. Ross is also owner of Spooked in Seattle Tours. The tours are given by bys, horse-drawn carriage, or on foot. Very popular with tourists, the tours also are attracting locals who want to find out more about the hauntings in the Emerald City.

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        Dutch Ned

        Dutch Ned is still looking for his little house

        Dutch Ned
        The Mausoleum of Dutch Ned

        Born Nils Jacob Ohm in 1828, this Dutchman arrived in Seattle in 1854. Nicknamed “Dutch Ned” by the locals, he was a funny old man who was a bit slow due to a childhood injury. He made his living in the potholes throughout Pioneer Square’s streets with sawdust from Yesler’s sawmill.

        Dutch Ned didn’t make much money and lived in a small shack on the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Republican Street. His biggest fear was to be forgotten and left to die in his pitiful shack. So he spent most of his hard-earned money on a beautiful stone-and-marble mausoleum at Lake View Cemetery.

        Being so proud of his lavish landmark, Dutch Ned would spend most of his spare time reading and hosting picnics from what he called his “little house.” In his later years many of the locals would tease him by stating that when his time had come, they’d just toss his old bones in Potters Fields. Fearing this to be true, the poor old man would spend every spare moment in the parlor of the Bonney-Watson Funeral home, sitting and waiting for God’s angels to carry him away.

        The ghost of Dutch Ned roams Lake View Cemetery

        In death, he was indeed laid to rest in his mausoleum. But his life-long dream would come to a sad end. In the 1970s his “Little House” had to be torn down as it was falling apart. All that remains is a portion of the marble door where his body lays at rest. Or is he at rest?

        Some say that Dutch Ned’s spirit roams the streets of Pioneer Square. Dutch Ned can be seen standing on the corner in his overalls with his shovel in hand. But most of all, he is seen wandering the grounds of Lake View Cemetery as well. It is believed that his spirit won’t rest until he finds his favorite little spot in the world, his “little house.”

        The story of Dutch Ned is found in Ross Alisson’s book Spooked in Seattle.

        About the author:

        Ross Allison is the president and founder of AGHOST (Advanced Ghost Gunters of Seattle-Tacoma) with over twenty years of experience investigating the paranormal. Ross is also owner of Spooked in Seattle Tours. The tours are given by bys, horse-drawn carriage, or on foot. Very popular with tourists, the tours also are attracting locals who want to find out more about the hauntings in the Emerald City.

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          Azalia Bridge

          Haunted Azalia Bridge scene of crime

          Azalia Bridge
          Haunted Azalia Bridge

          The village of Azalia, platted in 1931 and believed to be named for the flower, is a short distance south of Columbus on US31. According to local lore the founders had hoped the community would be pure and undefiled, a model of temperance in all aspects.

          Unfortunately a young unmarried girl in the community did not live up to the dreams of the founders. She became pregnant, but was able to conceal her sin until spring when the baby was born.  Shunned by both her family and the community, she and the baby left the village.

          No one knows where she and the baby stayed. Some farmers said they saw them around decaying, abandoned barns. Afraid to enter the town or seek aid from her family, she would scavenge and even steal food to survive.

          She must have gone insane. What else could explain what she did with her tiny baby? Not too far from town is the Azalia bridge spanning Sand Creek. Normally, the water should be little more than ankle deep. However, with the melting snow and spring freshets, the creek was running fast and deep with icy cold water. The crazed young mother, holding her baby wrapped in a thin white blanket, stood on the bridge watching the wild currents rushing past. Leaning over the edge, she opened her arms and let the baby fall; she watched as the current carried the bundle away until it was out of sight.

          Sometime later a fisherman found the remains of the baby still wrapped securely in its blanket. The haggard mother, wild-eyed, ranting, moaning and crying, was left alone, as was the custom of early-nineteenth-century villages, to wander the countryside and repent.  She continue to forage and steal food and found shelter wherever she could, This was a far worse sentence than any court of law could have given.

          For many years she lurked around the creek bed and sat at the foot of the Azalia bridge, rocking and wailing. Those who saw her, though frightened, believed she was truly sorry and mourned for the child she had killed.

          One day she was seen sitting on the bank, but unlike other times she was not rocking and was silent. She was dead. No one knows who buried her or where.  There are those who say if you go to the Azalia Bridge and dare to look over you  might see the baby, wrapped tightly in a white blanket, lying at the edge of the water crying for its mother.  Wait long enough and you’ll get a glimpse of the desperate, insane mother and her her mournful crying.

          Also in Southern Indiana is Story (on State Road 135), read all about the Haunting of Story by Wanda Lou Willis, author of Haunted Hoosier Trails.


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            Blue Lady haunts the Story Inn

            Spectral Blue Lady haunts Story Inn

            Blue Lady
            Blue Lady Inn in Story, Southern Indiana

            Employees and several guests at the Story Inn on State Road 135 know the room at the top of the stairs as the “Blue Lady” room, so named for a spectral visitor who evidently has made it her permanent residence.  She’s been seen standing at the edge of the bed, reflected in the window or in the mirror.

            One worker who has been employed by the inn for more than ten years saw a metal coffeepot fall off of a cabinet with no one near. She has also seen another ghost in the inn. On her way downstairs to take a call she saw a cream-colored skirt swoosh around a corner. When she reached the bottom of the stairs no one was in sight. There was no other way out.

            A picture of an old lady dressed in dark, nineteenth-century clothing hangs on the wall behind the service desk.  It seems to have a “life” of it’s own. One of the owners commented to an employee, “She sure wasn’t very pretty.” Suddenly the picture crashed to the floor.  The nail was firmly in the wall and the wire was intact!

            Encounters of the Blue Lady continue to be reported

            The aroma of cherry tobacco often accompanies sightings of the Blue Lady dressed in a floor length gown.  Though no one know who the Blue Lady is, the employees have decided she must be one of Dr. Story’s wives, though there is no reason to believe this.

            The inn isn’t the only haunted building in Story. Dr. George Story, the town’s founder, built his home on the highest point in the town. Visitors and employees believe his house is haunted. On more than one occasion the housekeeper has been pinched as she cleans the house. She’s also reported lights in the rooms after she’s turned them off and doors opening and closing without anyone being bear them.

            This is one of the many stories Wanda Lou Willis shares in her book Haunted Hoosier Trails. If you enjoyed this story visit us again next week as Wanda tells us about the haunting going on at The Azalia Bridge in Southern Indiana.

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              Ghosts at Woodlawn Cemetery

              Are there Ghosts at Woodlawn Cemetery?
              Join Ghosthunting New York City author L’Aura Hladik on a tour

              Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx was founded in 1863. Its 400 acres are easily accessible from Manhattan via trains from Grand Central Station, as well as by car using the Major Deegan (I-87) or I-95. The intention behind the location was to have a peaceful place away from the downtown noise, but not too far away. The original design of the cemetery was based on the “rural cemetery movement” that originated in 1831 with Mount Auburn Cemetery in Boston. However, five years after the cemetery opened, its design was changed to a “landscape lawn plan,” which prohibited fences and encouraged central monuments with footstones. The cleaner, more spacious grounds made cemetery maintenance much easier. A few of the 300,000 people interred at Woodlawn are mentioned in this book—people such as the Van Cortlandts, Herman Melville, and Olive Thomas Pickford. Other famous people buried there include George M. Cohan, Fiorello Henry LaGuardia, Nellie Bly, Joseph Pulitzer, and Thomas Nast. For those of you who appreciate retail shopping, F.W. Woolworth, Roland H. Macy, and James Cash Penney are buried there, too.

              Woodlawn offers many free events, such as concerts, walking and bus tours, theater performances, and a tree lighting during the holidays. It’s more than a cemetery; it’s a cultural resource for the Bronx. Photography is allowed in the cemetery as long as you stop by the office upon arrival, present a photo ID, and complete a simple form. I recommend you follow the formal steps in case you capture some amazing paranormal evidence and want to share it on your Web site or in a newspaper article. The cemetery grounds are open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the office, where photography permission is secured, is closed on Sundays.

              Ghosts at Woodlawn Cemetery
              Herman Melville Tomb

              When I first visited Woodlawn, the ground was snow-covered and it was difficult to walk around; some of the drifts were more than three feet high. So I went back in early March of 2010 with Dina Chirico, my team leader at the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society. Dina is a great navigator, which helped tremendously; she read the map and directed me while I drove. The first grave I was determined to find was that of Herman Melville. What writer could refuse the chance to pay respects to one of the greats? I certainly couldn’t. According to the map, Melville’s grave was located in the Catalpa section of the cemetery. We drove over to it and parked.

              Dina and I employed a “divide and conquer” strategy to find the grave: she started at one end of the section, and I went to the other. I had my digital audio recorder running the whole time I was searching. I noted on the recording the date, time, and weather; I also took some photos while searching. As I started up a small incline, I saw what appeared to be a baby’s grave. I said into my recorder, “a little . . . it looks like a little baby grave. Born January 2, 1871, died . . . I can’t make out the month . . . seventeenth of 1872.” When I reviewed the recording, right after I said, “looks like a little baby grave,” I heard the voice of a woman whisper, “Yeah.” I know it’s not my voice because I was speaking at a normal conversational volume, and the EVP interjects so closely after my previous word, it’s impossible that I could have said it. I know it’s not Dina’s voice, either; she was so far away from me at the time that she had to yell to ask if I had found Melville’s grave yet. I shut the recorder off so I could yell back to her that I hadn’t. I didn’t know I had captured an EVP until I got home and reviewed the recording.

              Dina and I reconvened at my car and reviewed the map once more. She knew we were close to Melville’s grave, and she became even more determined to find it. We started out again, and Dina found it. Honestly, I was expecting a huge monument for someone like him, but it was a simple, modest headstone. Little rocks and trinkets left by previous visitors sat atop the headstone. There was also a handwritten note that said, “Thanks. You changed my life.” Dina and I waited quietly around Melville’s grave for a bit, recording for EVPs. Then we left to find LaGuardia’s grave.

              Ghosts at Woodlawn Cemetery
              Fiorello La Guardia Tomb

              Fiorello LaGuardia was mayor of New York City from 1934 to 1945. He was a short, rotund man with a high-pitched voice, but full of fire and conviction. He did not like the shame and negative stereotypes the mob had brought to Italian culture. LaGuardia put it best when he said, “Let’s drive the bums out of town.” He had Lucky Luciano arrested, and he went after Frank Costello’s slot machines with a sledgehammer. It was a media event when the slot machines were dumped onto a barge to be taken away from New York City. Dina and I found LaGuardia’s grave much more easily than Melville’s. By then it was getting late, and we couldn’t hang around to conduct an EVP session. Dina took some pictures of the grave before we left the cemetery. Judging by how effortlessly I captured an EVP while walking around Woodlawn Cemetery, I am sure there are more to be found on a return trip. I wonder what Joseph Pulitzer, “father of journalism,” has to say these days.

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                Haunted Hotels in Kentucky

                Haunted Hotels in Kentucky anyone?
                A list of haunted hotels in Kentucky as described in Patti Starr’s Ghosthunting Kentucky
                Haunted Hotels in Kentucky
                Boone Tavern Berea, KY

                Boone Tavern (859) 985-3700
                100 Main Street North, Berea, KY 40403
                During the past century Boone Tavern has provided cozy lodging and fine dining to many travelers. These features have contributed to the hotel’s heritage of hospitality. Boone Tavern has been visited by many notable guests, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Duncan Hines, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Alex Haley, Dalai Lama, Jesse Stuart, Robert Frost, and Geena Davis. Now you can be a distinguished guest by staying at the Boone Tavern. Reserve your room today by going to the Boone Tavern Web site.

                Hall Place Bed-and-Breakfast (270) 651-3176
                313 South Green Street, Glasgow, KY 42141
                You will find this antebellum house in the historic downtown district of Glasgow. The dwelling offers four spacious guest rooms with private baths. There is a wonderful parlor and library filled with relics and old books. There’s a wonderful Victrola in the corner of the parlor that just might play a song on its own, if the ghosts are active enough. Check out the Web site for weekend specials.

                Jailers Inn Bed-and-Breakfast (502) 348-5551
                111 West Stephen Foster Avenue, Bardstown, KY 40004-1415
                The Jailers Inn Bed-and-Breakfast is a place to enjoy a bit of history and to “do time” in the old jail. Of course your time will be a short stay as you enjoy their Southern hospitality. They offer a full breakfast, private baths, and a complimentary tour through the historic jail. Please check the Web site for weekend specials.

                Haunted Hotels in Kentucky
                Maple Hill Manor Springfield, KY

                Maple Hill Manor Bed-and-Breakfast (859) 336-3075
                2941 Perryville Road, US 150 East, Springfield, KY 40069
                Voted “Most Historic Charm in the US” and “Best B&B in Kentucky” and “Best Breakfast in the Southeast.” You will find lots of amenities, which include a full country gourmet breakfast, homemade desserts and refreshments during the day with hot and cold beverages available. Check out the Web site for a variety of weekend specials.

                Mullins Log Cabin (859) 322-3082
                305 Scaffold Lick Creek Road, Berry, KY 41003
                You get closer to nature at the Mullins Log Cabin. Judy Mullins offers workshops in basket weaving and herb picking if you want more to do. There’s so much to enjoy while staying at the cabin, and telling ghost stories by the fireplace at night might conjure up a ghost or two. Call Judy for reservations.

                Haunted Hotels in Kentucky
                The Old Talbott Tavern, Bardstown, KY

                The Old Talbott Tavern (502) 348-3494
                107 West Stephen Foster Avenue, Bardstown, KY 40004
                The Old Talbott Tavern has provided shelter and nourishment to Kentucky travelers since the late 1700s. It is said that the Tavern is the oldest western stagecoach stop in America. It continues to serve good home-cooked meals and furnish comfort and rest for the weary traveler.
                Serving times: Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (lunch) and 4–8 p.m. (dinner);
                Saturday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (lunch) and 4–9 p.m. (dinner); Sunday brunch, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

                Springhill Winery and Plantation Bed-and-Breakfast (502) 252-9463
                3205 Springfield Road, Bloomfield KY 40008
                Springhill, the stately and historic 1857 plantation, is a destination to discover both the historic past and ghostly activity. After a delightful day, what better way to end it than to have a glass of wine from the vineyard. Check out the Web site for weekend packages and special events.

                Explore the scariest spots in the Bluegrass State with author Patti Starr in Ghoshunting Kentucky. Join Patti as she visits thirty legendary haunted places, all of which are open to the public – so you can test your own ghost hunting skills, if you dare.

                In addition to the above mentioned haunted hotels in Kentucky you go to Bobby Mackey’s Music World, the State Historic Theater and Natural Bridge Resort Park. Enjoy Ghosthunting Kentucky from the safety of your armchair or hit the road using the maps and the ghost hunting travel guide. Book a night in a haunted hotel in Kentucky and get ready for a frightful night.

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                  Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

                  Is the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum haunted by the spirit of the rightful inventor of the telephone?

                  From Ghosthunting New York by L’Aura Hladik

                  Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
                  Garibaldi-Meucci Museum on Staten Island

                  Located on Staten Island, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum houses historical displays and artwork and hosts Italian cultural classes. The museum also provides ghosthunters with paranormal activity to explore, but to fully understand it, we must get to know the two famous Italians for whom the museum is named. Guiseppi Garibaldi is known as the George Washington of Italy. He fought for the unification of the twenty Italian city-states. Sadly for him, his hometown of Niza ended up becoming Nice, France, when the final borders of Italy were determined. In addition to fighting in Italy and being exiled, Garibaldi fought in

                  South America in support of Brazil’s war against Spain. It was in Brazil that he met the love of his life, Anita. They married and had four children together. Later, Garibaldi fought for Uruguay when it was invaded by Argentina. In Uruguay he was given a red shirt to wear, and this became the uniform for his fellow soldiers. They were known as “the Red Shirts.” Eventually Garibaldi returned to Italy with his wife and children so that he could fight once more to unite Italy. The Catholic states’ army overwhelmed Garibaldi’s men, and he was condemned to death. His wife had died during the battle; therefore, he left his children with his mother and fled to America to escape execution.

                  Antonio Meucci was born in Florence, Italy, and attended Accademia di Bell’ Arte (the Academy of Fine Arts), where he studied chemical and mechanical engineering. He met his future wife, Ester Mochi, when she was a costume seamstress at a local opera company where he was working as a stage technician. They married in 1834, and in 1835, they moved with the opera company to Havana, Cuba. They stayed in Cuba for fifteen years before relocating to America in 1850. The home they rented, built ten years prior in 1840, eventually became the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. Meucci was a prolific inventor. In fact, he had a prototype for an electromechanical telephone when Alexander Graham Bell was only two years old. Although Meucci couldn’t explain electricity— he was an inventor, not a scientist—he did discover that sound, encoded as electrical impulses, would travel over copper wires. In 1854, Meucci used his “teletrefono,” as he called it, in his Staten Island home. The device allowed his wife, who was ill and bedridden, to call from her bedroom to his workshop if she needed something. In 1860, Meucci didn’t have the $250 necessary to secure a patent for his device. However, his lab partner at the time, Alexander Graham Bell, did have the money. Bell also had a powerful businessman named Hubbard as his future father-in-law. The well-connected Hubbard called in a favor or two that allowed his future son-in-law to submit for a patent for a tweaked version of Meucci’s invention. Bell’s design didn’t work, yet he was allowed to correct and resubmit his application, and within three weeks the patent was granted. Even today, such a quick turnaround for a patent is unheard of.

                  Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
                  Inventor Antonio Meucci’s Tomb

                  Curiously, Meucci’s paperwork and designs disappeared from the patent office around the time Bell was submitting for the patent. Meucci spoke only broken English, which cost him dearly in the effort to protect his business interests. He was truly taken advantage of by Bell and other big names of the day. For years, Meucci contested ownership of the telephone patent. Sadly, he died in 1899, before his case against Bell could be heard by the Supreme Court. But in 2002, the U.S. House of Representatives finally acknowledged Meucci as the inventor of the telephone.

                  So how were Garibaldi and Meucci connected? Garibaldi arrived in New York shortly after the Meuccis had moved into their home on Staten Island in 1850. Meucci insisted that Garibaldi stay with him and his wife, and Garibaldi ended up living with the Meuccis for six months—although the plaque above the entrance says he lived there for four years, probably because he returned to Italy in 1854 to continue the fight for unification. The house was moved to its present location in 1907, and a pantheon structure was built over it to convert it to a temple paying homage to Garibaldi. The pantheon was removed in the early 1950s because it was deteriorating. When you enter the house today, you’re actually coming in the back door; the house was rotated when placed on the property so that the sign announcing Garibaldi as “Hero of Two Worlds” would face the street. Meucci and his wife both died in residence at this house and are buried on the property. It’s possible that the rightfully disgruntled energies of Meucci may account for the otherwise inexplicable banging noises sometimes heard there.

                  The staff at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum experiences cold spots and banging noises
                  Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
                  Bonnie McCourt, publicity coordinator at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

                  I spoke with Bonnie McCourt, publicity coordinator at the museum, and she said that she has yet to experience anything paranormal there. Her boss, Nichole, the museum director, is relatively new to her post and has not encountered anything unusual there either. Nichole did say, however, that her predecessor had experienced cold spots and banging noises and was once pushed by an unseen hand as she ascended the stairs on her way to her second-floor office. Nichole suggested I speak with Amy Raiola, Founder and Lead Investigator for the Staten Island Paranormal Society. I did just that. Amy first investigated the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum in 2006. She told me that initially her team tracked a cold spot that moved throughout the museum. In fact, just after they entered the museum, it felt so cold that they decided to check the furnace. One woman on the team opted to run back to her car to retrieve her coat while the remaining team members inspected the furnace. By the time she got back into the museum with her coat, the place was hot—not just warmed up, but hot. Amy confirmed the furnace and heat were working properly. They realized that the cold spot moved around the museum, causing the furnace to run hotter than normal to compensate for the varying spots of extreme cold. Once the cold spot moved on, the space would revert back to being “extra toasty.” The team also obtained photos of orbs and various EVP recordings.

                  Investigation at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
                  Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
                  Antonio Meucci’s Death Mask

                  In 2007, Amy and her team played host to Chris Moon of Haunted Times magazine and his Ghost Hunter’s University. The investigation at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum incorporated the “Spirit Com” communication device Moon developed based on Thomas Edison’s original designs and ideas. Amy said it sounded as if voices from “the great beyond” were communicating via the “Spirit Com,” but that no words were discernable. “It was very faint or garbled sounding,” Amy said. As the night wore on, several members of the team left the site to get something to eat. Amy and the remaining seven investigators continued their work. After a while, they called it quits and began packing up their equipment. Just as they had gotten everything packed and ready to be hauled to their cars, they heard a loud bang from upstairs in the library.Amy described it as the sound of a large television falling off its stand.

                  The investigators rushed to the foot of the stairs. Amy was about to go upstairs to inspect, but she refrained, thinking it was probably one of the other investigators who was hiding up there and would jump out to scare her. Another team member volunteered to go upstairs. When his foot landed on the third stair, they heard a woman’s voice emanating from the top of the staircase, just outside the door to Garibaldi’s room. The woman’s voice was loud enough to be heard by everyone, but she was mumbling, so her words were not clear. Amy and a couple other investigators ran to their equipment cases and grabbed what they could. Chris Moon, with his audio recorder, was the first one upstairs. Amy followed with her camcorder. Amy said her video camera was working perfectly as she went up the stairs. As she approached the library, one of the investigators called out, “Matilda, is that you?” (Amy informed me that, over the course of their research, they had discovered the name “Matilda” in the museum’s paperwork.) Chris Moon’s audio recorder captured the ghostly woman’s response: “Yes.” Right after that EVP, Amy’s camcorder displayed lines across its screen and then shut down; it has not functioned since.

                  The day I went to the Garibald-Meucci Museum was not the best time to attempt to record for EVPs, though I tried. The offices on the second floor were full of activity such as phone calls and a radio playing in the background. I heard a loud crash, but it was not a paranormal one; it was merely a stack of files on the edge of a counter falling to the floor. Amy invited me to investigate the museum with her team the next time they go there. I simply cannot refuse. I want to know if Meucci’s restless spirit is wandering there. Is he unaware of his posthumous recognition as the inventor of the telephone? Could the ghost of his wife be the mumbling woman at the top of stairs? Either way, Meucci should be proud . . . talk about a long-distance call!

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                    Haunted Colville Covered Bridge

                    Excerpts from Haunted Colville Covered Bridge
                    from Patti Starr’s book Ghosthunting Kentucky
                    Haunted Colville Covered Bridge
                    Haunted Colville Covered Bridge
                    Haunted Colville Covered Bridge

                    In the late 1700s covered bridges were being built in small towns all over Kentucky. At one point there were over four hundred of these magnificent wooden, covered passages that provided protection for travelers, wagons, cargo, and cattle as they crossed a river or creek. Of all these bridges, there are only thirteen left, and of the thirteen, only four are still open to vehicular traffic. Most of these covered bridges were lost to fire, burned by troops on both sides during the Civil War. Today, all the remaining covered bridges are listed with the National Registry of Historic Places. Stories are told about the bridges as stages for hanging a slave, or hacking off someone’s head, or losing control of a car and crashing into the water below. There are bridge stories about Civil War ambushes and unwanted babies tossed into the water. Such incidents are the source for many ghost stories.

                    Facts about the Haunted Colville Covered Bridge

                    It was built in 1877 by Jacob Bower, and it traverses over Hinkston Creek in Bourbon County. The bridge featured truss construction and a multiple king post style with a single 124-foot span. During this era the Kentucky wilderness was covered with an abundance of poplar trees, so the truss structure was built with poplar timbers. After many years, the bridge was in dire need of repairs and was restored by Louis Bower in 1913. His son, Stock, restored and raised the bridge to its present height in 1937. Sadly, the rough-hewn structure that served its community so well was dismantled in 1997 and had to be totally rebuilt. It didn’t open to traffic again until 2001.

                    Investigating the Haunted Colville Bridge
                    Haunted Colville Covered Bridge
                    Investigating Haunted Colville Covered Bridge

                    Once I had collected my information about this haunted location, Chuck and I drove to the Colville Bridge by the way of Paris Pike, one of the most scenic roadways in the Kentucky Bluegrass Region. This quiet route affords spectacular views of horse farms amidst the historic rock fences that line the road for twelve miles.

                    A blanket of shadows formed around us as we entered the blackness of night along the country road. We turned off onto a more primitive road, and shortly the headlights revealed a bright white-and-green covered bridge directly before us. We pulled off the road and stopped before entering the bridge. I grabbed my flash light and left the car to go stand in the middle of the bridge. It was a cool October evening with a slight breeze that carried the scent of the water below. There was no moon that night so the only light that brightened my path was the torch in my hand. Chuck called out from the car, “Hey, Patti, don’t go too far, I don’t want to lose sight of you.” I yelled back, “I’m okay, don’t worry about me!” and at that moment I felt a slight touch on my shoulder. I jerked around and flashed the light towards where I was standing. Nothing was there. Just about that time, a set of headlights came up behind me, and as I turned I could see that it was the rest of my investigation team. I had decided to invite Pete Eclov and Mary Beth to join us at the bridge. They were two of my newer ghosthunters and needed to get more experience in the field. I knew their expectations would run high, which, to me, seems to render better results on a ghost investigation. It sure did pay off because we started to get results as soon as we began gathering our data.

                    After we had discussed some of the bridge legends, which included the teenage couple who drowned under the bridge and Ms. Mitchell, we decided to turn on our EMF meters, recorders, and the Ovilus. While walking down the center of the bridge, our EMF meters started beeping, alerting us to a disturbance in the electromagnetic field. Even though the disruption only lasted for a couple of minutes, we were able to get responses to a few of our yes and no questions. The Ovilus, which indicates energy through reciting words, started to talk shortly after the meters registered. As I lifted the Ovilus up, it spouted out, “Car lights,” and we looked at each other in amazement, since one of the stories involved car lights coming up behind a parked car on the bridge. Then I asked if Ms. Mitchell could come through, and shortly after that question the Ovilus said, “Sarah Mitchell.” This name is not programmed into the vocabulary of the Ovilus, so you can understand our astonishment. Mary Beth said, “Are you here with us, Ms. Mitchell?” Pete decided to rewind his audio recorder to see if we got a response to the question. Sure enough, we heard a woman’s voice clearly answer “yes” to Mary Beth’s question.

                    I always tell people that I do not have proof that ghosts exist, but I’ve been known to get some pretty convincing evidence. I feel the evidence we collected that night at the bridge was a good indication that the Covered Colville Bridge is definitely haunted and worth the trip to investigate.

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