Monthly Archives: December 2015

So Comfortable That Guests and Ghosts Never Want to Leave

Oozing with southern charm, it’s no surprise that some guests never want to leave the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill

From Ghosthunting North Carolina by Kala Ambrose

Carolina InnThe distinguished Carolina Inn was built in 1924 to attend to visitors and alumni of the University of North Carolina. The architecture of the building was patterned after that of George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon.

The ballroom of the Carolina Inn is considered to be one of the most haunted areas of the inn. Perhaps it’s second only to Suite 252, where Dr. William Jacocks lived for almost 20 years. He’s been reported to be a friendly ghost and very welcoming. Guests report that even in the absence of fresh flowers in the room they will be welcomed with an overwhelming floral scent. Others will be greeted with a strong cologne smell.

Dr. Jacocks is known to be a fun-loving prankster. He reportedly enjoys playing tricks at the inn, including locking guests out of Room 252. The local lore states that at one time, the door had to be taken off its hinges because it was so stuck it wouldn’t open under any circumstances. Electronic locks were installed in the hotel in 1990, but there continue to be repeated complaints of the door refusing to unlock.

Other guests have reported all sorts of paranormal activity in the room, including curtains being pulled open in a wild manner and icy spots in the room, even when the air-conditioning is not running. Staff at the inn report seeing a man appear in a black suit with a blue overcoat and knit hat walking around the inn. He reportedly goes from door to door touching and jiggling the knobs. Some guests have reported hearing the sound and opening the door to see what the man wants, only to watch him disappear before their eyes.

Some reports claim that there are up to 20 ghosts at the inn. Witnesses have heard the sound of a piano playing in areas where there is no music or musical instruments. Others have heard footsteps in empty rooms. Voices have been heard, orbs recorded, and sightings of ghosts are reported around the inn on a frequent basis.

The inn’s owners are comfortable with the reports and host a yearly Halloween event that includes a ghost tour and an overnight stay and dinner to discuss the activity in the hotel. The ghosts have all been reported to be friendly and enjoy the inn so much that they refuse to leave.

The Carolina Inn is owned by the University of North Carolina and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so once again, you know it’s going onto my National Register of Haunted Places list. The inn is full of yummy Southern hospitality, and the staff is warm and welcoming; it’s no surprise to me that guests would want to stay for a lifetime and beyond. With 184 cheery and beautifully decorated rooms and a wonderful location by the university, it’s often referred to as the University’s Living Room.

During my visit to the inn, I enjoyed walking around the property. The most widely reported incidents of ghostly activities are inside the building, but to my surprise, where I felt the most activity was around one of the doors.

He is felt in the suite as well as around the inn and enjoys playing a few pranks. While touring the inn, I felt a ghostly presence playing with the door here.

Author Kala Ambrose
Author Kala Ambrose

As I walked through this door, I was looking down at the ground. I had felt a strange energy in this area, and while focusing on this energy I nearly dropped my camera and reached out quickly to grab the strap. While doing so, it felt as if I bumped solidly into a person. Startled, I stepped back and looked up to apologize to the person whom I had run into, only to find myself completely alone. I looked all throughout the room, but there was no one to be found. The entity that I bumped into had felt as solid as a man. Unfortunately, whoever it was, it had no desire to communicate further with me and did not appear again. Perhaps I had startled it as much as it had startled me. One never knows quite what will happen next when ghosthunting, and the majority of the time, it seems to happen when you least expect it.

In her book Ghosthunting North Carolina, author Kala Ambrose explores the most terrifying paranormal spots in the state.

Mission Concepción

Mission ConcepcionMisión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña: With their strange, turbulent, and violent histories, and events that have included abandonment, violence, death, fervent passions, theft of holy relics, and the full range of human emotions, it is not surprising that the San Antonio missions would be haunted.– Michael O. Varhola

The History of Mission Concepción from Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country

Franciscan friars established Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, more commonly referred to simply as Mission Concepción, near the San Antonio River in 1731. Most of the native people in the mission were Pajalats, a local tribe that used to live in the area south of San Antonio, and their chiefs served as governors of the affiliated Indian community.

At least one large battle took place between Spanish settlers and Indians here, resulting in great loss of life, in the 1700s. Then, on October 28, 1835, the first significant battle of the Texas Revolution was fought between Texian insurgents, led by James Bowie and James Fannin, and Mexican soldiers under the command of Colonel Domingo Ugartechea. About 90 of the Texians had encamped near the mission while searching for a suitable and relatively safe place for the remainder of the army to rest when they were attacked by a mixed force of about 275 Mexican infantry, cavalry, and artillery. The Texians took cover in a U-shaped gully and, between their defensive position and superior small arms, drove off the Mexican troops in the ensuing 30-minute battle, winning the Battle of Concepción. One Texian and as many as 76 Mexican troops were slain during the skirmish.

Mission ConcepcionOn October 31, 1984, the San Antonio Express-News ran a story that described activity experienced in the area around Mission Concepción and some of the possible reasons for it. “Some 300 soldiers died in that area during an 18th-century battle near the mission. A Dr. Navarro, who lived there around the turn of the century, is said to have murdered Juana, who was either his live-in maid or his lover. Nobody knows for sure,” this account reads. It goes on to describe how, while saying a rosary, a local resident “saw a plume of smoke waft in from a back room. Forming a column in front of him, it didn’t take on masculine or feminine features . . . but simply stood and watched him. He moved towards the apparition and it disappeared. Going back to his rosary, the column of smoke reappeared.”

Mission Concepción is the best preserved of the Texas missions, remains active as a church with a congregation that attends Sunday mass there to this day, and in 2009–2010 had its interior completely restored.

Mission ConcepcionWith their strange, turbulent, and violent histories, and events that have included abandonment, violence, death, fervent passions, theft of holy relics, and the full range of human emotions, it is not surprising that the San Antonio missions would be haunted. People have reported paranormal phenomena of all sorts at them, including relatively prosaic things like inexplicable cold spots and a feeling of melancholy on the one hand, to full-blown apparitions on the other, and everything from anomalies like EVPs to orbs in between. There are perhaps no better places to get a sense for the history of San Antonio, mundane and paranormal alike.

Wrigley Field: Is the ballpark haunted?

The Ghosts of Wrigley Field
Told by Jeff Morris and Vince Sheilds

Wringley Field

Directions From the center of Chicago, take I-90 West for 2.5 miles to Exit 48A, the Armitage Avenue exit. Turn sharply right onto West Armitage Avenue, then take your second left onto North Ashland Avenue. Follow Ashland for 2 miles before turning right onto West Addison Street. Wrigley Field will be on your left after a little more than 0.5 mile. The address is 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, Illinois 60613.

History Slightly more than a month before being elected President of the United States, democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt sat in the stands at Wrigley Field. It was game three of the 1932 World Series. It was the top of the fifth inning. After having fallen behind 3-0 in the first inning, the home team, the Chicago Cubs, had fought back to tie the game at 4. Charlie Root was on the mound as Yankees slugger Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate.

Charlie GrimmRuth opted not to swing at the first pitch, and the ball caught the strike zone, smacking the catcher’s mitt. The stadium erupted into applause and taunts extended from the Cubs’ bench. The next two pitches missed the zone, then the fourth pitch again caught the zone, causing the stadium to erupt into cheers. The count was 2-2. Then, something unheard of happened. Only in baseball—where the rules never change, and a game played in 1932 could be the same game played today—could a story like this be passed down from generation to generation without becoming antiquated. As Root prepared to pitch, Ruth extended the index finger on his right hand and pointed toward center field. Root delivered. Ruth swung and connected. Few who were present that day or who heard about the hit would dispute that, as the ball sailed over the center field wall, it was the stuff of legend. Despite how audacious or pretentious calling his home run might have been, Babe Ruth is, and will always be, remembered for that incident.

The Cubs were swept in that series. And it wouldn’t be the last World Series they would lose. As any Cubs fan knows, the team holds the record for the longest losing streak between world championship wins in the world of professional sports. They have not won a World Series since 1908. They have never won a World Series since they moved to Wrigley Field in 1916, two years after it was built. In Chicago, though, this doesn’t matter. Once a Cubs fan, always a Cubs fan. Even though the Cubs haven’t won the championship for more than 100 years, they will always have their fans. The fans are there through the good times and the bad, through the legendary moments and the quiet seasons that fade into history. They stand by their Cubs in the oldest stadium in the National League and the second-oldest stadium in professional baseball, Wrigley Field. Some of the greatest fans, such as announcer Harry Caray, songwriter Steve Goodman, and player-manager Charlie Grimm, have likely remained here after their deaths.

Harry Caray with Ronald Reagan at Wrigley Field
Harry Caray with Ronald Reagan at Wrigley Field

Ghost Story Three famous ghosts are said to haunt Wrigley Field. The first is that of legendary announcer Harry Caray. The ghost of Harry Caray most famously haunts the press box and the adjacent bleachers at the stadium. Most people who experience Caray’s ghost report an unexplainable feeling and a presence they cannot see. Others report strange mists that they attribute to Caray’s ghost.

The next ghost is that of songwriter Steve Goodman, who not only wrote many songs about his beloved Cubs, but also had his ashes scattered at Wrigley Field when he died from leukemia in 1984, at the age of 36. People sometimes report seeing the ghost of Steve Goodman sitting in the seats behind home plate, watching the Cubs play on even after death.

The third ghost is Charlie Grimm, the manager who led the Cubs to the 1932 World Series. Security officers roaming the ballpark after dark have reported hearing the phone in the bullpen ring on its own accord. Guards have also reported hearing their names called by an unseen entity and have actually seen a figure resembling Grimm walking through the park or its hallways. They attribute the bullpen phone and the name-calling to Grimm because his ashes live on in this place. They are supposedly housed in a private box in left center field.

Steve Goodman
Steve Goodman

Visiting While the best time to visit a ballpark is always on game day, Wrigley Field also offers guided tours throughout baseball season, during which you can visit places that the public is not often able to go. Regardless of when you go, it is well worth a trip to this legendary site. Wherever you sit, you may experience the ghosts of any of the Cubs fans who have passed through this park over the last 100 years.

For 99 ghostly places you can visit in and around the Windy City, check out the Chicago Haunted Handbook by Jeff Morris and Vince Sheilds.

Photo Credits:
Wrigley Field: Derek Kaczmarczyk from Naperville, US [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Steve Goodman: By David Gans [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Charlie Grimm Card: By Goudey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Harry Caray: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Life and Legend of Blackbeard’s Ghost

The Life and Legend of Blackbeard’s Ghost

By Kala Ambrose, author of Ghosthunting North Carolina

Ghosthunting North Carolina

Blackbeard the Pirate may be the most famous pirate ever known, and his legend, his legacy, and his ghost remain with us to this day. His proper name was Edward Teach. He gained the nickname of Blackbeard from his long mass of tousled black hair that whipped around his head, as well as his scruffy black beard. They gave him a dark, forbidding look, and it was reported at times that he would place lit fuses under his hat that would shower his face in sparks, in order to further intimidate and scare people.

He was ruthless as a pirate, but reports also state that no captive of his was ever injured or killed. Before his death in 1718, Blackbeard lived in several areas of North Carolina, including the villages of Bath and Beaufort. Blackbeard’s final battle was with Lieutenant Maynard of the British Navy on Ocracoke Island. Blackbeard fought valiantly with his sword but at the end was overtaken by the sheer numbers of Maynard’s crew. By the time he was taken down, he had been shot five times and stabbed more than 20 times.

Once he was confirmed dead, Lieutenant Maynard ordered that Blackbeard’s head be cut off and hung from the bow of Maynard’s ship. Blackbeard’s headless body was then thrown into the water near Ocracoke Island.

Reports of Blackbeard’s ghost began in the 1800s. Locals reported seeing and hearing an epic battle with ghostly ships and men waging war against each other near Bath Creek and the inlet. Massive balls of fire were also seen moving back and forth across the water toward the ships. Legends state that Blackbeard’s ghost most often appears right before a storm rages along the coast of Ocracoke, Bath, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sound. He seems drawn to the sea when the waves pick up and are thrashing, and some say he is looking for his head. There is often a light seen accompanying his ghost, which is referred to as Teach’s Light.

Blackbeard continues to roam the coast of North Carolina and is said to frequently visit the coastal towns where he once lived. On a dark stormy night, don’t be surprised if you run into the pirate walking along the coast.

About the author of Ghosthunting North Carolina: 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.

Haunted Indigo Hotel

 

Sounds of cannon fire heard in haunted historic Indigo Hotel

Haunted Indigo HotelThis historic hotel is located at what had once been the northwest corner of the Alamo compound, site of the bloodiest fighting when Mexican troops overran the mission and slaughtered its Texian defenders on March 6, 1836. Garrison commander William B. Travis was among those who fell here (the front desk being located at the spot where he was believed to have died), and the area was so packed with mangled bodies in the aftermath of the battle that the ground was said to have been saturated with blood.

In the years after the battle, Samuel Maverick, who left the besieged Alamo four days before it fell to serve as a delegate to the convention for Texas independence, built his home at this location. Then, in 1909, Southern Pacific Railroad executive Colonel C. C. Gibbs built the first skyscraper in San Antonio on the site. The Gibbs building still stands today and houses the beautiful Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo.

Paranormal activity that people have claimed to experience at the hotel includes hearing the sounds of gun and cannon fire and the agonized wailing of wounded and dying men; seeing spectral figures moving a cannon along the adjacent streets; hearing strange voices and disembodied footsteps, particularly in the basement; seeing people getting on and off the historic and now out-of-service elevators; and witnessing figures in 19th-century clothing walking down the halls, entering rooms, and then disappearing.

Ready to check-in?
Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo
105 N. Alamo St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
Tel: 210-933-2000
Website Hotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown- Alamo

For a journey to some of the most haunted and fascinating places in San Antonio, Austin, and the Texas Hill Country, check out Michael O. Varhola’s book Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country.

The author at Ye Kendall Inn
The author at Ye Kendall Inn

About the author: Michael Varhola has authored or coauthored 34 books and games — including the swords-and-sorcery novel Swords of Kos: Necropolis and two fantasy writers guides. He has also published more than 120 games and related publications. He is the founder of the game company Skirmisher Publishing LLC, editor in chief of d-Infinity game magazine, and editor of the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of ghosthunting travel guides. He has edited, published, or written for numerous publications, including The New York Times. He also has an active online presence, notably through Facebook and a variety of other blogs, forums, and sites. He lives in the Texas Hill Country.

About the series: America’s Haunted Road Trip is a one-of-a-kind series of haunted travel guides. Each book profiles 30-100 haunted places that are open to the public. From inns and museums to cemeteries and theaters, the author visits each place, interviewing people who live and work there. Books also include travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of 50 more places the reader can visit.