Category Archives: Haunted Handbook

Minnesota State Fairgrounds

Today we join the authors of the  Twin Cities Haunted Handbook on a trip to the Minnesota State Fair!

History: The first state fair to occur on these fairgrounds started on September 7, 1885. The site was chosen because it was about halfway between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Each city had previously had its own fair, and the state wanted to hold just one giant fair everyone could attend. As the years have passed and attendance has increased, the Minnesota State Fair has become the largest fair in the United States in terms of daily attendance.

On September 7, 1901, a week to the day before becoming President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt made an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair.

During this appearance, he made the most famous statement of his career: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Many of the buildings and rides in the fairgrounds have been around for many years. The oldest ride in the fairgrounds, Ye Old Mill, was built in 1915. It is a series of dark tunnels that you float through on a small boat. Children’s music plays in the background, and small fairy tale scenes are displayed from time to time throughout the ride.

Strange Things Are Happening When Riding Ye Old Mill

Ghost story: A couple ghosts supposedly haunt the fairgrounds. The first ghost is that of a young blond man who is always spotted in the grandstand area. While many times this young man is seen at night, he is also occasionally seen in broad daylight. Witnesses who encounter this apparition see him walking around before he mysteriously vanishes into thin air. He is seen most often near a small building behind the grandstand stage that the employees refer to as “The Bunker.”

The other ghost haunts the area around Ye Old Mill ride at the fairgrounds just off Wright Avenue, adjacent to the grandstand. For many years, a man named Wayne Murray was a maintenance worker at Ye Old Mill ride. Murray passed away in 1986, and soon after his death, something strange began to happen at the fairgrounds. Every year since 1986, a small brown bird flies into the fairgrounds and disappears into Ye Old Mill ride. Those who have witnessed this bird appear year after year for the fair say that it is perhaps the ghost of Wayne Murray, keeping an eye on the ride that he spent so much time working on.

Other witnesses report strange things happening while riding Ye Old Mill ride. People will feel a presence behind them in the boat even though there is no one there. Others feel someone tap them on their shoulder despite there being no one behind them.

Twin Cities Haunted Handbook
Twin Cities Haunted Handbook

Visiting: The fairgrounds are open for the Minnesota State Fair for 12 days a year. The fair ends on Labor Day, so it typically runs from the end of August until Labor Day in September. This is the only time that you are able to actually ride Ye Old Mill ride. The fairgrounds are open from time to time throughout the rest of the year, though, as other events are regularly held at the fairgrounds. These other events are constantly changing, so you need to check the schedule on their Web site in order to tell when the grounds are open to the public.

Directions: From St. Paul, take I-94 North for about 3 miles to exit 238, Snelling Avenue. At the end of the exit ramp, turn right onto Snelling Avenue. Follow Snelling Avenue for a little more than 2 miles. The Minnesota State Fairgrounds will be on your left. They are huge and you can’t miss them. To get to the grandstand, take a left onto Dan Patch Avenue.

Address: 1265 North Snelling Avenue N., St. Paul, Minnesota

Photo credit: By BenFranske (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Arcola Trail Bridge

Let’s Join the Authors of the  Twin Cities Haunted Handbook on a trip to the Arcola Trail Bridge

History: The Arcola Trail Bridge is an old railroad bridge that crosses over the St. Croix River. The bridge itself has become a fascination for many of the locals. People have called it the “High Bridge” (while this title may seem facetious because of its low clearance from Arcola Trail, it means that it spans high over the St. Croix River) to accentuate the danger of the bridge to pedestrians.

Throughout its history, several people have been killed while walking on the bridge. To this day the bridge is still an operating railroad bridge and has no railings. Many people have walked out onto the bridge for the views, thinking that the tracks looked too old and dilapidated to still be in use, and have been surprised by an oncoming train. At that point they have to decide to die by jumping off the bridge into the water or to die by getting hit by the train. Most have chosen to jump.

Once a young man was on the tracks and had to face this very same decision. He jumped from the bridge and was never found. His girlfriend went back to the tracks for years after the event, hoping to find her boyfriend.

Arcola Trail Bridge Haunted by Woman in White

The Ghost Story: The bridge itself is haunted by a woman in white. Often at night, people near the bridge encounter what appears to be a young woman in a white dress walking up and down the train tracks. She has been spotted as far east as the Arcola Trail overpass and as far west as the span crossing the St. Croix River. When she is seen, she never seems to notice the onlookers. She simply walks further down the tracks and sometimes disappears into the night. Many say this woman in white is the girlfriend of the man who fell into the river, and that she is still looking for her lost love.

Sometimes the ghost is carrying a blue lantern in her search for her lost love. Witnesses either see the woman in white or a blue light traveling up and down the tracks at night. The apparitions always eventually dim and fade into the night.

Visiting: Arcola Trail North is open to traffic throughout the night. As long as you are not obstructing traffic, you can stop your car under the bridge and watch for the ghost of the mysterious woman in white. The road is rather remote, so it can get very dark and very quiet. This all adds to the creepiness of the place and many times will make this a fun spot to spend a night ghost hunting.

More recently, this has become a popular spot for teenagers to go to get scared and to fool around. As a result of this, police patrol this road rather frequently. If your car is stopped near the bridge and the police catch you there, they will ask you to leave. If you have stepped out of your car and attempted to walk out onto the bridge, you will be arrested.

Twin Cities Haunted Handbook
Twin Cities Haunted Handbook

Directions: From St. Paul, take I-35E North for about 4 miles to exit 111A, MN-36 East towards Stillwater. Follow MN-36 East for almost 12 miles before turning left onto Manning Avenue North. Follow Manning for about 3 miles and then turn right onto Dellwood Road North. After another mile and a half, turn left onto Stonebridge Trail North. After another 3.5 miles, turn right onto Partridge Road North and then make an immediate left onto St. Croix Trail North. Follow St. Croix Trail North for a little more than 2 miles and then turn right onto Arcola Trail North. The bridge is a railroad bridge a little more than a mile down the road that passes over Arcola Trail North.

Address: 11934 Arcola Trail North, Stillwater, Minnesota 55082

In Twin Cities Haunted Handbook, ghost hunters Jeff Morris, Garett Merk, and Dain Charbonneau explore all the best haunted locales Minneapolis has to offer, including Dead Man’s Pond, Memorial Pet Cemetery, Padelford Packet Boat Company, the Old Jail Bed and Breakfast, and St. Thomas College and the Legend of the 13 Graves.

Photo credit: By Elkman (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the Ghosts of the Mabel Tainter Theater

Mabel TainterThe Mabel Tainter Theater has been a center for the arts in Menomonie, Wisconsin, since it was built in 1889. Originally, the structure was created as a tribute to Mabel Tainter, a young woman from the area who loved theater and the arts. She died at the age of 19 in 1886, and her wealthy lumber baron parents decided to construct the theater as a memorial to her. No expenses were spared in the creation of the building. The best stone from the area was used to construct the exterior façade. The designs on the walls and ceilings were created by hand. Huge stained glass masterpieces and gorgeous marble stairs and floors decorate this beautiful building. The centerpiece of the theater is a gigantic pipe organ with 1,597 pipes in the 313-seat theater auditorium.

The theater has been in constant operation since its completion and dedication in 1890 and has seen countless employees and patrons walk through its doors. The building also contained the Menomonie Public Library until 1984, when it moved to a larger building. The only remnant of the library is the Reading Room within the theater building.

The Ghost Story

There are several places in the building where paranormal activity seems to occur. The first is the changing room area in the downstairs of the building. People have seen shadowy figures and heard phantom footsteps here. A paranormal group conducting an investigation in the building caught phantom voices on their audio recorders that they didn’t hear at the time the recordings were made. Sometimes, people in the changing rooms feel as if they are being watched or feel generally uncomfortable.

Another haunted area in the building is the theater’s auditorium, where the performances take place. Again, people see shadowy figures walking through this area, who, upon further investigation, simply disappear. The figures that appear most often are seen on the catwalks that tower over the top of the stage. People see figures on the catwalks and hear voices and footsteps coming from the catwalks despite there being no one there. Other times, while actors rehearse on the stage, they see people watching them from the seats. These figures vanish. Still other times, strange things happen with the sound boards, and the organ makes noise on its own.

The most famous ghost to haunt the theater is said to be that of Mabel Tainter herself. The apparition of a woman in a white dress has often been seen floating through the building. These apparitions are seen most often on the second floor and in the women’s restrooms. The apparition who appears on the second floor seems to just float by eyewitnesses. The apparition who appears in the women’s restroom looks at herself in the mirror and will vanish.

Visiting the Mable Tainter Theater in Menomonie, Wisconsin

Twin Cities Haunted Handbook

The theater offers guided tours, including ghost tours. For tour times and showtimes, check the theater’s Website.

From downtown St. Paul, take I-94 East for about 57 miles into Wisconsin. Take Exit 41, the WI-25 exit towards Menomonie/Barron. Stay right at the fork to get onto North Broadway Street and follow that for about 2 miles. Turn left onto Main Street East and the theater will be on the left.

In Twin Cities Haunted Handbook, ghost hunters Jeff Morris, Garett Merk, and Dain Charbonneau explore all the best haunted locales Minneapolis has to offer, including Dead Man’s Pond, Memorial Pet Cemetery, Padelford Packet Boat Company, the Old Jail Bed and Breakfast, and St. Thomas College and the Legend of the 13 Graves.

Roseville Memorial Pet Cemetery

History of the Roseville Memorial Pet Cemetery

Roseville Memorial Pet CemeteryIn the early 1920s, a man sold off a few acres of his farm to a local veterinarian named Dr. Feist, who immediately turned the area into the first pet cemetery in Minnesota. It was originally called the Feist Pet Cemetery and was privately owned until the late 1980s, when it was donated to the local Humane Society and renamed Memorial Pet Cemetery.

Throughout its many years of existence, a vast variety of animals have been buried here—mostly dogs. The headstones themselves often mention what type of dog it was and include a touching epitaph. Dogs aren’t the only pets buried here, though. There are birds, hamsters, gerbils, cats, and even a horse. The horse’s grave is currently unmarked, and historic records as to its exact location have been lost. One woman even asked the current owner of the cemetery if it was okay if her ashes were buried with her pet dog. After searching through current laws and regulations, the owner agreed to allow it, and her cremated remains were buried with her beloved pet.

Today, there is no longer any room in the cemetery, and no new burials are being accepted.

Roseville Memorial Pet Cemetery Ghost Story

While you might expect a pet cemetery to be haunted by the spirits of the animals buried here, most of the ghost stories actually involve human entities. Every once in a while, people hear what sounds like the quiet barking of a dog or a rustling through the grass, but the dogs from the local neighborhood or resident squirrels could account for these phenomena.

The most often-reported ghost in the cemetery is that of a small boy, seen alone. Often the witnesses notice him in a particular place, but when they go off exploring and then turn back to look at the little boy, he has completely vanished. Other times, those who see this young boy say that he follows them around the cemetery at a safe distance and then suddenly disappears. Still others hear the voice of a small boy but don’t see him.

The other ghost within this cemetery is that of an old woman, seen kneeling in front of a dog’s gravestone. When she is approached, she fades away into nothingness.

Visiting the Roseville Memorial Pet Cemetery

It is best to explore this location during daylight hours. One reason for this is that the cemetery is in a neighborhood, and concerned residents may call the police if someone is walking through a pet cemetery in the middle of the night with a flashlight. Perhaps a more important reason to explore here during the day, though, is that all of the ghost stories have been reported during the day.

Twin Cities Haunted Handbook

Take I-35W North from downtown Minneapolis for about 4.5 miles to Exit 23B, the MN-36 East exit. Follow MN-36 East for 3 more miles before taking the Dale Street exit. At the end of the exit ramp, turn left onto Dale Street and then take the first left after the highway onto Cope Avenue. The pet cemetery will be on your left.

In Twin Cities Haunted Handbook, ghost hunters Jeff Morris, Garett Merk, and Dain Charbonneau explore all the best haunted locales Minneapolis has to offer, including Dead Man’s Pond, Memorial Pet Cemetery, Padelford Packet Boat Company, the Old Jail Bed and Breakfast, and St. Thomas College and the Legend of the 13 Graves.

Poltergeist Activity at Chicago Congress Hotel

 

Jeff Morris and Vince Sheilds share the history
and ghost activity of Chicago’s Congress Hotel

Directions The Congress Hotel is near the center of Chicago at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway. The hotel is a couple blocks from the lake and overlooks Grant Park. The street address is 520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60605.

Congress Hotel Chicago1History The hotel was a grand structure built to cater to attendees of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair. Throughout its many years of operation, countless famous individuals have stayed at the hotel, including movie stars and several Presidents of the United States.

Some say that the Congress Hotel had become a headquarters for Al Capone during his reign as crime lord during Prohibition, although there is little evidence to support this theory.

Another rumor suggests that it is the inspiration behind Stephen King’s short story “1408.” In this story, a writer who pens ghost stories stays in a hotel that supposedly has a room so haunted, no one will stay in it. During the one night he lodges there, he experiences the most terrifying moments of his life.

Ghost Story Several rooms throughout the hotel are considered haunted. The most haunted room that is still open to the public is room 441. Many strange things happen in this room, including the sounds of voices, manifestations of apparitions, the presence of cold spots, and poltergeist activity that includes objects launching themselves across the room. There is also rumored to be a room on the hotel’s 12th floor that is so haunted, it is actually closed to the public and hidden from view. The doorway is said to have been permanently sealed and wallpaper installed over it.

The Florentine Room was once a roller-skating rink. Today, people still hear the sounds of roller skates crossing the floor, as well as those of organ music. People on the fifth floor of the building often hear moans near the elevator. Throughout the common areas of the hotel, objects are said to throw themselves across the room. Cold spots and apparitions are also felt and seen throughout the hotel, especially after dark.

Congress Hotel Chicago2Another haunted room in the hotel, the Gold Room, is frequently used for events and weddings. A strange phenomenon often appears in wedding photographs. People who are known to have been present in pictures are mysteriously absent in the final photographs. There are blank spots in the photographs where the people were standing, and no one can explain why they are not there. The mysterious photographs are most often taken near the grand piano in the Gold Room.

The most famous apparition in the building is named Peg Leg Johnny and belongs to a homeless man who was killed at the hotel. People report seeing a haggard, one-legged man in the south tower of the hotel who mysteriously vanishes into thin air upon being approached.

Visiting Due to its tony location and grand view, it is rather pricey to stay at this hotel for the night. But actually booking a room is really the only way to explore and perhaps experience its ghosts. If you do choose to stay at the hotel, you can ask to reserve room 441, if it is available. The hotel is beautiful, convenient to many attractions, and offers amazing views of Michigan Avenue and the lake. If you can afford a night here, it is well worth the money. Beyond this, the décor makes it feel as though you are entering a different time and place.

For 98 more ghostly places to visit in and around the Windy City, check out the authors’ Chicago Haunted Handbook. Ghost hunters Jeff Morris and Vince Sheilds explore all the best haunted locales Chicago has to offer, including Resurrection Cemetery, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, Murder Castle, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Site, and even Wrigley Field.

 

Graceland Cemetery Chicago

The Ghosts of Graceland Cemetery
by Jeff Morris and Vince Sheilds

Directions From the center of Chicago, take US-41 North for about 4 miles to the Irving Park Road exit. Turn left onto Irving Park Road and follow it for about 1 mile. Turn right onto North Clark Street. The entrance to Graceland Cemetery will be on your right, at the corner. The address of the cemetery is 4001 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60613.

Graceland Cemetery1History From its inception in 1860, the cemetery has always been a private one. Its creator, Thomas Bryan, wanted it to stand apart from many local cemeteries of the time in order to gain business. He wanted it to look like the most beautiful and peaceful place in the city. He hired landscape architects to design the grounds. Famous area sculptors created many of the tombstones. Bryan succeeded in making Graceland one of the most attractive spaces in the city.

Throughout the many years that the cemetery has been in operation, many of the area’s most famous people have been buried here. The first white settler of Chicago, John Kinzie, is buried here. Assassinated Chicago mayor Carter Harrison is buried here. Department store magnate Marshall Field, private eye Allan Pinkerton, and Charles Dickens’s brother are all also buried here.

One of the most famous markers at the cemetery is for a girl named Inez Clarke. Many verifiable historic documents regarding this girl have been lost to history. In fact, cemetery records state that no one named Inez Clarke is buried at the cemetery. Inez is more likely a girl named Inez Briggs, daughter of Mary Clarke from a previous marriage. According to many local legends, though, Inez Clarke (1873-1880 on her marker) was at a family picnic when she was struck by lightning and killed. Distraught, her family had a likeness of her built and placed in a glass box aboveground to mark where she was buried.

Graceland Cemetery2Ghost Story Throughout the cemetery, people sometimes detect unexplainable drops in temperature. Perhaps this is caused by one of the departed residents walking past. These temperature fluctuations would be the most widespread hauntings in the cemetery, if not for two eerie monuments.

The first is called Eternal Silence, and it is the family stone for the Graves family. The marker is an admittedly creepy statue of a robed figure with a hood. Legend says that if you look into the face of the statue, you will catch a glimpse of your own death. Further, it is said that the statue is impossible to clearly photograph and that cameras will malfunction when aimed at the statue. Plenty of photographs exist of the statue, so apparently cameras do not malfunction all the time, but people do still report malfunctioning cameras from time to time when they attempt to photograph the statue.

The second monument is the statue of Inez Clarke. Strange sounds are often heard near the marker. People hear footsteps and whispers in this vicinity. They also hear crying. However, many of the more famous stories about the marker involve the statue itself. There are several accounts of the statue completely vanishing without a trace. A girl who resembles the statue has been seen wandering through the cemetery and then vanishing. This happens most often during thunderstorms, perhaps in reference to the supposed cause of the girl’s death by lightning strike. Sometimes, people see the glass box, but it is completely empty. A particularly famous story of this phenomenon occurred in the late 1800s, when the night watchman at the cemetery experienced exactly that and fled the cemetery, never to return.

Visiting The cemetery is open daily, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. You may not enter the cemetery at any other times. Your best bets for experiencing something paranormal here would be to go to one of the two haunted monuments in the cemetery. You should try to take pictures of Eternal Silence to see if anything strange occurs and maybe approach the Inez Clarke marker during a thunderstorm.

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.

 

Spooked in Seattle

Kurt Cobain’s Bench
By Ross Allison

Kurt Cobain Bench SeattleJust across the street from Viretta Park sits a house that once belonged to legendary grunge rocker Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.  On April 8, 1994 Kurt Cobain took his own life. An employee discovered his body in the spare room above the garage.  Some say his death may have been murder and not suicide.

It is believed that before his death Kurt spent most of his remaining days sitting on a bench just outside his house. Maybe that’s where he planned his last moments. Whether or not it’s true, people say that they can feel his presence near the bench. Others say they have seen him just sitting there, reliving his last few hours. Some have even reported feeling him breathe on them or touch them.  In fact, there have been reports of his face appearing in the window of his former home, and the new owners say that during thunderstorms, they can hear whispers from the former rock star himself.  If you visit the site, you’ll find a bench filled with flowers and cards and writings from fans who miss his inspirational talents.

The city parks department must replace the boards on the bench every so often due to the graffiti left by fans. One man believes he has obtained the original boards that Kurt himself sat on just before the tragic event.  After collecting these boards and placing them on his property, the man immediately began encountering strange things. He felt a chilling breeze shoot right past him, as if someone had run by him.  He’s heard odd noises and felt a presence, and he believes that Kurt’s spirit might be attached to these boards.

Many believe that the spirit of one who commits suicide remains earthbound, due to its troubled state of mind at the time of death. So perhaps Kurt’s ghost lingers as one of those hurting souls who may have regrets.

Ross Allison is the author of Spooked in Seattle. In his book he takes readers on a hair-raising ride through Seattle’s neighborhoods. Ross is the founder of A.G.H.O.S.T., one of the oldest, active paranormal investigation teams in Washington State.

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

Trombone Tommy – Sounds from the Afterlife

Trombone Tommy continues playing, even after death

MoreHauntedHoosierTrailsA haunted railroad tunnel near Medora, between Medora and Fort Ritner, has a ghost not believed to be frightening but, instead, rather sad.

During the 1920s and 1930s, jobs were hard to find; often, a man would have to travel miles from home just to earn a meager living. In many instances, the unwitting vagrants were forced to become knights of the rails – hobos. Along the rails, these itinerants would set up camps where all of the knights were welcome to stay, bunk under the stars, and share cans of beans for as long as they wished.

One of these knights must have been a musician at one time, for he always traveled with his trombone. His companions dubbed him Trombone Tommy. People who lived in the area often talked about hearing him playing his trombone as he walked through the nearby railroad tunnel. One night, intent on playing, he evidently didn’t hear a freight train enter the tunnel, and he was killed.

On summer evenings, the town’s residents had heard Trombone Tommy’s music coming from the tunnel as they sat on their front porches cooling off from the hot summer’s sun. Though no one in the community knew him or had met him, they soon realized they missed him. His trombone was silent.

However, shortly after the accident, people began to hear the echoes of music coming from the direction of the tunnel. At first they were frightened, but then they accepted and enjoyed the music for what it was. Trombone Tommy was continuing to play for them, even after death.

Trombone TommyTrombone Tommy is one of the many stories told by Wanda Lou Willis in her book Haunted Hoosier Trails.

About the author: Wanda Lou Willis is a folklore historian who specializes in Hoosier folktales and historic research. She is a feature writer for the Indianapolis Star “Seniority Counts” section and regularly appears on WXIN-TV’s early-morning show. For more information check out her website.

 

Haunted Cemeteries

There are plenty of haunted cemeteries in and around Cincinnati, here are the ghost stories for three of them.

Hopewell Cemetery
6471 Camden College Corner Road, College Corner, OH 45003

Haunted Cemeteries
Hopewell Cemetery

This creepy cemetery in the middle of nowhere is reputed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in the southwestern part of Ohio. Through the years many strange stories have been told about this graveyard. Some of the more common and harmless ghost stories involve strange lights. People who visit at night will sometimes see what appears to be a light from a lantern bouncing along throughout the cemetery. Other reports simply involve a floating ball of light that weaves its way through the headstones.

Another somewhat harmless phenomenon involves voices that seem to come from all around the cemetery. These voices are so clear that the witnesses are certain there is someone else nearby. The strange thing, though, is that this place is so isolated there is almost no feasible way that someone could be way out in the middle of nowhere without a car. If anyone drove up, the car would be easy to see in the surrounding area.

Other stories about the cemetery are not quite so harmless. According to legend, if you visit this place at night, you will be plagued by bad luck. Another story says that if you leave your car and walk through the cemetery, when you return to your car there will be a surprise waiting for you inside. Unfortunately, anyone who has received this surprise refuses to reveal what it is, saying only that it startled them so much when they saw it that they almost ran their car off the road.

Millville Cemetery
2289 Millville Avenue, Hamilton, OH 45013

Millville Cemetery seems to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. Perhaps this activity is due to the clash between the spirits of the older graves and the new burials that happen every year. Perhaps the older spirits are concerned that they will be forgotten, so they make themselves known.

People will often see full apparitions in the cemetery. While the encounters most often happen at night, they have been known to happen at dawn or dusk or during cloudy or rainy days. Two apparitions are seen most often. The first one is an old man that people will see walking aimlessly around the cemetery. The old man will roam around for a while, seemingly looking for something and then will vanish. The second apparition is that of a young girl, who is seen standing near one of the trees near the front of the cemetery. She always stares out toward the field to the west of the cemetery. Visitors also talk of seeing strange balls of light that seem to float through the cemetery, and of feeling cold spots on warm days.

Price Hill Potter’s Field
4700 Guerley Road, Cincinnati, OH 45238

This cemetery is quite haunted. People will hear strange voices and sobbing coming from the grounds at night. When people walk through during the day or night, they feel that they are being followed or watched. Sometimes people will actually see ghostly figures, which vanish when they are approached.

Cincinnati Haunted Handbook
Cincinnati Haunted Handbook

Perhaps the spirits of all those unfortunate souls who are buried here are upset about the shabby condition of the cemetery or about having been buried in a potter’s field. The ghosts here always seem to give off an angry and menacing vibe.

Cemeteries are often haunted, as if the dead have a hard time leaving their physical bodies behind. Much of their world seems to consist of wandering aimlessly through cemeteries or repeating trivial gestures that they often did in life. While many of these actions may seem meaningless, we need to make sure that when the dead do have something important to say…we’re listening.

For more haunted cemeteries check out Cincinnati Haunted Handbook by Jeff and Michael Morris.