Monthly Archives: July 2015

Saint Expedite

Saint Expedite brings swift relief to those who ask

Saint Expedite
Our Lady of Guadalupe

It is said that offerings to the saints, just like Voodoo gods, are expected when asking for a favor or wish to be granted. Saint Expedite, a saint whose statue is inside Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in New Orleans, is no exception.

Locals claim, that Saint Expedite prefers wine, rum, and sweet cakes, with a special penchant for pound cake. Offerings are not allowed at the chapel, so many people slip a small piece of paper with their prayer under the statue and then visit the gravesite of Marie Laveau with their offering, asking her to deliver it to Saint Expedite.

If you would like to ask Saint Expedite for a favor to be granted, consider printing out his photo and placing it on your alter while lightning a red candle and saying this prayer that was given to Kala Ambrose, author of Spirits of New Orleans:

Oh Mighty Saint Expedite,
Bring Swift Relief to My Problem At Hand.”

Saint Expedite
Saint Expedite

Then explain your situation and problem. Say the prayer three times and don’t forget to offer a piece of cake and rum in offering. The luckiest day of the week to say this prayer is Wednesday, which is associated with the planet Mercury, the messenger, and on his Feast Day, which is April 19. Many practitioners state that once Saint Expedite answers your prayer, it is very important that you do a good deed or make a donation in his name.

If you visit the church to slip a small paper with your prayer under the Statue of Saint Expedite, please consider making a donation to the church, for they have to look after his statue and care for the surroundings, making it possible for you to visit.

Saint Expedite is perhaps the most photographed statue of any saint in the city of New Orleans, as many believe that his photograph helps one intercede directly to him in prayer.

Read all about the story of Saint Expedite and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends, and Cities of the Dead by Kala Ambrose.

Kala Ambrose
Kala Ambrose

About the author: Award winning author, national columnist, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show, Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.

Kala shares her love of history, travel and the spirit world in her books Spirits of New Orleans and Ghosthunting North Carolina. Her books are designed to explore the history of cities in an entertaining manner while sharing haunted stories and offering travel tips on how to best see the cities to shop, dine, stay, and visit the haunted sites.

 

 

Laurel Grove Cemetery

Last week L’Aura Hladik shared with us her story about the White Lady of Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ. This week enjoy her tale about the second White Lady roaming the Garden State: Annie of Riverview Drive in Totowa.

The Laurel Grove Cemetery at Totowa’s Dead Man’s Curve

Laurel Grove Cemetery
The author with her son Trent in Laurel Grove Cemetery

The road runs between the Passaic River and Laurel Grove Cemetery and features a sharp bend in the road, affectionately called “Dead Man’s Curve,” where people say Annie was hit by a truck while walking home from the prom and dragged for fifty feet near the guardrail.

I first went to Laurel Grove Cemetery in 2000 as part of a New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society cemetery hunt. I had permission for our group to be in the cemetery. I can’t stress that enough to readers who want to jump in their cars and head out to a cemetery at midnight to get permission first. Even better, explore the area during the day, and then get permission from the caretaker or, if it’s a Catholic cemetery, monsignor. It’s also a good idea to check in with the local police department beforehand to apprise them of what you’ll be doing. If there are houses around the cemetery that you’re investigating, homeowners may call the police to report flashing lights and seeing vehicles and people in the cemetery after hours.

Our Totowa group was small and manageable. I reviewed the protocols for paranormal investigating while everyone signed the waiver sheet. We synchronized our watches and agreed to search for Annie’s grave and meet back at the front gate in one hour. A couple people came with me, and the others went off on their own. We covered a lot of ground within that hour. I remember taking one orb picture at a mausoleum. Other people captured some orb shots at various locations in the cemetery, but nothing stellar. EMF and temperature readings were normal. No one reported collecting any EVPs, and Annie’s grave eluded us.

After an hour we convened with the other part of the group, and I took attendance to make sure everyone was accounted for. One gentleman suggested we drive the length of Riverview Drive to see if Annie would appear. I agreed since our cars were all facing in that direction anyway. I knew the street would bend down to the right to follow the Passaic River, make a sharp turn and continue back out to the main road. I stressed to the team that we were only going to make the trip once. It was a residential area, and I didn’t want our caravan to be a nuisance.  We got in our cars and made our funeral-procession-paced drive down Riverview. As we were passing the cemetery on our right and the Passaic River on our left, I put my passenger window down and hung out a little to take pictures. I call this method “drive-by shooting.” I didn’t capture anything of a paranormal nature, but I have to say that it is a creepy road to drive along.

Once we were back on the main drag, we made the traditional stop at the first diner we saw. With digital cameras we were able to review and compare our cemetery hunt pictures over coffee and fries with melted mozzarella cheese and gravy. There were some interesting orb shots, but no full-body apparitions and certainly no Annie appearance. I asked whether anyone saw the blood-red paint on the guardrail that supposedly marks where Annie was hit and killed the night of her prom. Everyone admitted it was too dark to see any paint, if it was there. The eerie red paint is part of the legend that Annie’s father returns here on the eve of the anniversary of her death to repaint the guardrail.

A few months later, on a Sunday afternoon, my then-husband and I were in Totowa with our hearse, Baby, to attend a Cadillac car show at the Brogan Cadillac dealership. There were many classic Cadillacs, but ours was the only hearse. After the show, we headed for Riverview Drive and noticed some splattered red paint on the road, but did not see any on the guardrail. I figured this was the act of a teenager wanting to spook his girlfriend on their midnight ride home. Of course, I think we spooked the oncoming car even more as our twenty-two-foot-long hearse came around the corner of “Dead Man’s Curve.” In May 2008 I went up to Laurel Grove Cemetery to take a daytime picture of the entrance sign. Afterward, my sons and I hopped back in my car to make the drive down Riverview and look for the red paint on the guardrail. Sadly, the road was closed for construction. The site looked like an additional bridge was being built across the Passaic River. Oddly enough, this new bridge appears to start where Annie ended. Who knows? This may be the beginning of another legendary ghost-girl-on-the-bridge story.

L'Aura Hladik
L’Aura Hladik

About the author: L’Aura Hladik, is the author of Ghosthunting: New Jersey and Ghosthunting: New York City. L’Aura has been officially ghost hunting since 1993 and founded the NJ Ghost Hunters Society in 1998, which to date is the largest paranormal investigating organization in New Jersey.

As a paranormal investigator, L’Aura has stayed at the famously haunted Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA. Other ghost hunting explorations have taken her to Chicago, Savannah, and New Orleans. Internationally, she’s investigated several Irish haunted castles, most notably Leap Castle (County Offaly, Ireland).

 

The Lady in White

While we are sure that every state has a ghost story about a lady in white, New Jersey boasts two lady spirits clad in white: one in Branch Brook Park and the other on Riverview Drive in Totowa.

Today L’Aura Hladik, author of Ghosthunting New Jersey tells us about the Lady in White of Branch Brook Park.

Lady in White
Branch Brook Park Lion

Branch Brook Park in Newark is 360 acres of beautifully designed gardens and more than 2,000 cherry blossom trees. One can take a leisurely walk along the four miles of park. There are two three-ton stone lions, once affixed to the headquarters building of Prudential Insurance Company in downtown Newark, that stand watch over the trout-stocked lake.

Several stories surround Branch Brook’s Lady in White. The first is that she and her new husband were on their way to the park to have wedding photos taken when their limo hit a patch of ice and skidded into a tree, killing the bride instantly. A variation of that story says that in 1976 a bride and groom were on their way home from their wedding reception and the chauffeur decided to take them through Branch Brook Park. He lost control of the car on the sharp turn and the car slammed into the tree. The bride was killed, but the groom and chauffeur survived. Weeks after this crash, two other crashes took place at this same location. Another popular story has the white lady on her way to the prom with a date in the park. He lost control of his car in heavy rain and hit the same tree. The impact killed the girl, but her date escaped with minor cuts. Regardless of the discrepancies, each story says that the Lady in White lingers near the tree that caused her death. Some feel that she is warning drivers of the dangerous curve in the road. Others think she waits for her prom date to come back for her.

Lady in White
Branch Brook Park Tree

On a gorgeous spring day, I took a ride to Newark to search cherry blossoms, I couldn’t find the tree of the Lady in White. I did see a couple trees with strange markings on them that could have been there to serve as an indicator of her tree, or simply a tag by the county park’s official for pruning. At the south end of the park, I saw a tree with a rather odd indentation on its trunk consistent with being hit by a car. This tree, however, is no longer near the road because the county rerouted the road due to a dangerous curve near the tree. I photographed another tree, one close to the road, as an example of how the Lady in White’s tree would have appeared prior to the road’s rerouting.

A little background research also revealed that in 1895, much of the park was originally a swamp called Old Blue Jay Swamp. Inhabitants of the surrounding tenements drank this impure swamp water, which contributed to Newark’s cholera epidemic in the 1800s. As a paranormal investigator, I suspect that the Lady in White was a product of former swamp gases and other atmospheric conditions like fog and humidity. However, the appearances of the Lady in White in Branch Brook Park seemed to subside once the road was redirected away from the fatal tree.

If you like this ghost story check back next week to find out about the the Lady in White at Totowa’s Dead Man’s Curve or pick up her book Ghosthunting New Jersey.

L'Aura Hladik
L’Aura Hladik

About the author: L’Aura Hladik, is the author of Ghosthunting: New Jersey and Ghosthunting: New York City. L’Aura has been officially ghost hunting since 1993 and founded the NJ Ghost Hunters Society in 1998, which to date is the largest paranormal investigating organization in New Jersey.

As a paranormal investigator, L’Aura has stayed at the famously haunted Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA. Other ghost hunting explorations have taken her to Chicago, Savannah, and New Orleans. Internationally, she’s investigated several Irish haunted castles, most notably Leap Castle (County Offaly, Ireland).

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse

The mere utterance of the name Heceta Head Lighthouse has become synonymous with the words haunted and ghost. Rarely do you hear the name mentioned without the addition of one of the previous words. But this is a day and age when the word haunted will bring visitors across the country to check into this majestic bed-and-breakfast for the chance to witness a specter with their own eyes. And this is the case with Heceta Head Lighthouse.

Donna Stewart, Author of Ghosthunting Oregon, Takes
You to Heceta Head Lighthouse

Many readers may be familiar with Heceta Head Lighthouse without ever having been there, as it has been featured on numerous television shows and documentaries, including Legendary Lighthouses on PBS, another short documentary on Oregon Public Broadcasting called simply Heceta Head Lighthouse, and a number of paranormal reality television shows. It is also the subject of countless books focusing on either its historical or paranormal aspects and often a mix of both.

Strange and unexplained occurrences in the light keeper’s house at Heceta Head have led to its classification as one of the 10 most haunted houses in the United States. For more than six decades, residents of the light keeper’s house and guests of the bed-and-breakfast have spoken of unusual incidents. But don’t let the ghosts scare you away. Rue, the most well-known spirit, is always pleasant and seems to have a penchant for cleaning. She does not evoke fear in guests, and they generally enjoy her company after the initial shock of realizing they are seeing a ghost.

After hearing of my team’s investigation of Heceta Head Lighthouse, I cannot count the number of times I have been asked if it is haunted. And Heceta Head is the one location where I do not use the word haunted—it is, rather, apparently occupied by the spirits of a lovely lady and a few outspoken men.

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Lighthouse Keeper’s House, now a Bed & Breakfast

Heceta Head is now a popular bed-and-breakfast that offers turn-of-the-century-style rooms at reasonable prices. So if you are of the adventurous state of mind and would like to take a brief step back in time, Heceta Head Lighthouse might well be the place to escape to on your next vacation. It is history, it is home, and you are treated like family. Even by the ghosts.

Read the complete research done on Heceta Head Lighthouse in Donna Stewart’s book Ghosthunting Oregon. The book covers more than 30 haunted places throughout the Beaver State, all of them open to the public.

Visiting Heceta Head Lighthouse

The lighthouse is located in what is called the Devil’s Elbow, 13 miles north of Florence, Oregon, and 13 miles south of Yachats, Oregon, at Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. More information on visiting and staying at Heceta Head Lighthouse is found HERE.

Photo credits Heceta Head Lighthouse:

  • Picture of Heceta Head Lighthouse courtesy of Dan Hershman [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Picture of Lighthouse Keeper’s House courtesy of Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons