Monthly Archives: January 2015

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.

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.

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.

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!