Does telling creepy tales around the campfire sound like a perfect night out? Is scaring yourself silly your idea of a good time? Well, the Midwest is home to some pretty spooky ghost stories, but wait until you read about this terrifying monster.
Late at night, O.V. White was asleep in his room over the hardware store. He was startled awake by a strange sound, like a wood file rubbing against another. Grabbing his gun, he darted to the window. He threw it open and peered out into the rainy darkness. As his eyes adjusted, he saw a dark figure. It was perched on the cross arm of the telephone pole, about 15 feet away. But it didn’t have the light that the others had talked about. He aimed carefully and fired. Instead of killing it, he only seemed to wake the monster. It turned on its light and studied him. A strange, awful odor overtook him, and he felt like he was being held in some sort of trance.
Sidney Gregg was asleep in his store. He awoke after hearing a gunshot that came from across the street. He rushed to the door and stared at the creature descending from the telephone pole. Using its large beak in the same way a caged bird climbs around, it made its way down the pole. When it got to the ground, it flapped its featherless wings. It was at least 8 feet tall, and the light on its head was as bright as an electric bulb. The creature flapped its wings again and hopped up and down.
As it did at the same time every night, the mail train passed through town. The sudden noise seemed to surprise the monster, and it flew away, in the direction of the coal mine.
There is, of course, more to this story. Are you brave enough to find out about this monster and the other chilling creatures that have been seen in the Heartland?
In their book Monsters of the Midwest, paranormal investigators Jessica Freeburg and Natalie Fowler share reportedly true accounts of the strangest, most bizarre sightings of Big Foot, werewolves, and other monsters. Their collection of stories is sure to keep you up at night. Try to remember: That noise you hear… it’s probably just the wind.
About the authors: Jessica Freeburg is the founder of Ghost Stories Ink (a group of authors and illustrators who go on ghost hunts for creative inspiration) and has performed paranormal investigations at a variety of reportedly haunted locations. She has written YA fiction, middle grade narrative nonfiction, and short stories for children and adults. Jessica lives in Lakeville, MN. Natalie Fowler does freelance editorial work and writes her own stories. She is a staff editor for Fate Magazine and is a paranormal investigator for Ghost Stories Ink. Natalie lives in Saint Paul, MN.
This tale is an excerpt from the Van Meter Mystery.
Five Spiritual Apparitions Reported at the Benson Hotel in Portland
While most purportedly haunted locations in the Portland area are home to a single ghost or type of haunting, the Benson Hotel reportedly houses five spiritual apparitions, each similar in description and related activity.
People have reported numerous ghosts in the Benson Hotel, and many guests check in hoping to meet one of them face-to-face. Paranormal experiences have occurred throughout, with ghosts seen wearing anything from formal attire to lumberjack clothing. An employee was setting the tables for a banquet when the ghost of Benson entered the room and then just as quickly exited into the wine storage area, vanishing before her eyes. Shaken, she nervously finished her job as quickly as possible, glancing over her shoulder to make sure she was still alone in the room.
Other employees claim to have seen the ghost of Benson in one of the meeting areas, standing quietly and attentively in the back of the room as an important meeting commenced.
Is the Ghost of Jimi Hendrix Experience Drummer John Ronald “Mitch” Mitchell Haunting the Benson Hotel?
Another popular ghost at the Benson Hotel is that of a young boy, around the age of 3 or 4, who witnesses describe as thin and with short, light brown hair. Some local psychics have said that it is the ghost of Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer John Ronald “Mitch” Mitchell, who died at the Benson Hotel in 2008. Mitchell was a famous child actor in England before embarking on a career in rock and roll, and the psychics believe he remains at the Benson as the child version of himself. While anything may be possible in the afterlife, this does beg the question as to why this young boy has been seen at the hotel for decades whereas Mitchell died in 2008.
One guest who was in Portland on business checked into a room on the seventh floor of the Benson Hotel. She was in bed and growing weary of the movie on television, so she turned off the set and checked her cell phone one last time for any messages from her family before turning in. Then, when she rolled over, she came face-to-face with a little boy who stood at the side of her bed. She estimated the child to be about 3 years old, and as a mother with a son the same age, her instinct was to reach out to him. She touched his arm, and for a moment it felt solid and warm. She recalled thinking that the little boy could not possibly be a ghost because he was not cold, and from all that she had seen on television, ghosts were cold. As she thought about this and watched the little boy, he unexpectedly jumped at her face, assuming a scary expression. Startled, but not really frightened, she covered her head for a moment, thinking the boy might be simply playing a game with her. When she peeked out from the covers, the boy was still there. Again she touched him, and again he quickly made a scary face. This time the guest carefully positioned the blanket in front of her face so she would not have to see the boy again and, after a few minutes, assumed he was gone. Then she felt movement on the blankets at the bottom of the bed. Spooked by what she had just experienced, she did not look to see what the movement was.
When she checked out of the hotel the next morning, the woman asked the desk clerk if anyone else had ever described anything like she had experienced the night before. She was not surprised to hear that others had seen the little boy, although the desk clerk told her that most of those sightings had occurred on the 12th floor.
Some Benson Hotel Ghosts are Friendly and Helpful
Although they have a sense of humor, some of the Benson Hotel ghosts are friendly and helpful. Another guest, one with a disability, was having difficulty getting into bed one night when a porter appeared in front of her and gently assisted her into bed. When she turned to thank him for his kindness, however, he vanished before her eyes. No one has been able to describe well what the porter looks like, perhaps because he helps and vanishes so quickly, but he is known to assist guests in rooms when they need a helping hand.
The Lady in White is another helpful ghost. When she is not checking on guests, she wanders the floors and admires the decor. The Lady in Blue is the ghost of a middle-aged woman who has been seen wearing a turquoise dress and bright red rings. She is a different form of apparition than the others, however, and people have reported seeing her only as a reflection in a lobby mirror looking back at them.
If you are looking for a beautiful and mysterious place to spend a night or two in the Portland area, check into the Benson Hotel, which has everything and more that you would expect from a fine luxury hotel. The rooms are not inexpensive, but they are not grossly overpriced either. Spend some time in the gym, enjoy dinner at the London Grill, and relax in your room with a few friendly ghosts.
Donna Stewart’s book Ghosthunting Oregoncovers more than 30 haunted places throughout the Beaver State, all of them open to the public.
Kailyn Lamb, author of Ghosthunting Colorado, visited to see for herself. Here is an excerpt from her story about the hauntings going on at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Colorado is home to a section of the majestic Rocky Mountains and, as a result, some of the best hiking and skiing in the country. Just a half hour west of Denver, in Morrison, lies Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, a personal favorite on my list of places to visit in the state. With its amphitheater built into the surrounding rocks, the venue is best known for concerts; the Beatles, U2, and the Grateful Dead are just a few of the hundreds that have graced the stage. Although the amphitheater did not open in its current form until July 1941, people have been using the area for concerts since the early 1900s.
It seems that the natural beauty of Red Rocks calls to more than just fitness junkies and music lovers. There is, in fact, a spirit in the surrounding area that does not seem to mind the hustle and bustle of the popular venue. Aptly named the Hatchet Lady of Red Rocks, she is only one of the ghosts that haunt Red Rocks Park, the 640-acre area that includes the amphitheater and hiking trails, but her story seems to make her one of the more popular ones. This is probably because her apparition is that of a headless woman who may have been murdered in the area and who appears to couples getting a little too frisky in the shadows of the rocks. Another theory is that she is the ghost of a woman who homesteaded in the area that became Red Rocks. Known as “Old Mrs. Johnson,” she would allegedly pull a coat over her head and swing a hatchet to scare away her daughters’ suitors. One of the trails at Red Rocks leads to an old graveyard where people think the woman may be buried. People have been known to stay in the graveyard at night to try to hear or see her. Other theories involve a homeless woman living in the area in the 1950s or a woman living in a cave, which has been fenced off to prevent people from exploring the area. This version of the story says the woman kills children that come too close to the cave and hides their bodies and severed limbs in the surrounding area. Supposedly, the ghost of the Hatchet Lady was upset when Hoyt began planning and building the area for the stage, and some say she may have interfered with construction as well.
The attire of a second Red Rocks ghost marks him as the specter of an old miner, and many people claim to have seen his apparition, which is clear enough that those who have can provide great detail about his appearance. He supposedly stands 5 feet 5 inches tall, has a long white beard, wears a brown hat, holds a bottle in his hand, and is mostly seen in the restricted areas of the stage. Outside of his appearance and seemingly unpleasant demeanor, not much is known about this ghost or why he haunts the area. His story does seem to lack the color of a blood-soaked headless woman wielding a bloody hatchet.
There have also been sightings of Indian spirits dressed in traditional ceremonial attire, and some of these sightings report the ghosts doing ceremonial dances.
One building in the park that has seen a lot of ghostly activity is the Trading Post, originally called the Indian Trading Post when it opened in 1931. The first caretaker actually lived in the basement, but it was later converted into a storage area. Inside, Indian wares that were provided by the Denver Art Museum were sold. The current building still functions as a gift shop, with a small coffee café inside as well. The Denver Channel did a two-part story on the building in 2009 after several employees revealed their belief that the building was haunted.
Red Rocks Amphiteatre happens to be one of my all-time favorite places in the world. While I cannot admit to personally experiencing any ghostly activity there, I can say that there certainly is a magic about the place, and many people talk about the spiritual feeling that is almost tangible at the site.
My recommendation is this: No matter how you feel about ghosts, this should always be a stop when visiting Colorado. You do not even need the excuse of a concert to go there, although I highly recommend doing that too.
About the author: Kailyn Lamb looks at locations throughout the state and dives head first into the history behind the ghosts and what makes them stay.
Join her in investigating the history of some of Colorado’s most haunted locations, and you might find more than gold in those hills. Pre-order your copy NOW.
Since my childhood, I have seen and felt ghosts and restless spirits. Through my many experiences with the supernatural and paranormal realms, I have interacted with powerful beings of light, faced encounters with beings from the dark side, and seen ghosts from every walk of life. I run into ghosts in many places, and they all have a story to tell.
I share my experiences in my books, and I also teach through my school, The Academy of Mystical Arts and Spiritual Sciences, where I show people how to become more intuitive, how to connect with the other side, how to sense negative energy in a home or building, and, more importantly, how to discern whether the energy can be removed and cleansed or whether it is best left alone.
Over the past decade, I’ve seen a rise in paranormal activity, which is connected to the veil between the earth plane and the spiritual realms lifting at this time. I believe that a conscious evolution is occurring on the mind, body, and spirit level; as this evolution continues, and with this energetic shift, I believe that many people will connect with their intuitive abilities and be able to communicate with the spirit world, including with ghosts, which have remained on the earth plane.
In my books, I share what I see and sense when entering a haunted building. My journey in North Carolina begins in the coastal wetlands of East Carolina where I explore haunted lighthouses, battleships, forts, and the shipwrecked beaches where Blackbeard and his pirates still roam. Next, I tour the Piedmont area of the state to visit the most actively haunted capitol in the U.S. and interact with the ghost of a former North Carolina governor. Wrapping up this journey
I head out west into the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the ghost known as the Pink Lady and her friends await your presence at the historic Grove Park Inn, where many presidents, celebrities, and ghosts have stayed over the decades. Don’t even get me started with everything I experienced in New Orleans—that’s why it took me an entire book to share some of the most captivating and haunting stories in the city!
I’ve learned a lot over the years of interacting with the spirit world, and not every encounter has been smooth. I once lived in a haunted house where the ghosts weren’t friendly or ready to move on into the light. I learned about what the spirit world can do first-hand, and it was a very powerful lesson.
Here’s what happened…
In my early 20s, I was looking to rent a house and came across a listing that sounded perfect. I met the owner, who led me to the back of the property where the house was located. It was a charming little cottage with a spiral staircase leading to the bedrooms on the second floor, exposed brick walls, and hardwood floors. I fell in love—quickly–and like other times when I’ve fallen in love, I stopped thinking and became blind to everything else around me.
For a brief moment, I thought I felt something supernatural inside the house. But in my excitement, I quickly dismissed it. The owner said he had other people who were scheduled to look at the house later that day. Worried that someone else would grab this gem of a house, I signed a contract and the deal was done.
As I unpacked, I chatted on the phone, inviting friends to come over to see my new place. The days passed by peacefully, until I woke up one night with the feeling that someone was inside. Terrified, I walked from room to room with a baseball bat in hand, ready to club anyone I saw. I found nothing undisturbed and chalked it up to being in a new house, which always has strange sounds until you get used to it.
On Friday evening, my friends arrived to celebrate my new home. We were downstairs enjoying a glass of wine when the noise began. We heard music from what sounded like an old scratchy record begin to play and the sound of heavy boots and someone in high heels clicking as they danced on the hardwood floor in my upstairs bedroom. My friends and I looked at each other in shock as we listened to the unmistakable sounds coming from upstairs. Gathering our courage, we crept up the stairs to see who was up in my room, but when we entered the bedroom and turned on the light, no one was there.
We searched several times, thinking someone was playing a joke on us. Once we would calm down and go back downstairs, the music would start again. This became a regular occurrence every Friday night and was apparent that this was a ghost haunting the home. At first, it was almost endearing—two sweethearts, locked in an embrace from the past, dancing together. I thought the ghosts were a time loop, like a tape that played over and over. Soon after, my theory was proven wrong, as the energy in the house began to change.
I discovered that while I was welcome here, men were not, and there was a definite “other-worldly presence” in the house that was growing more and more active. My boyfriend and I began to quarrel. I got blamed for things I hadn’t done. He’d accuse me of moving his things or hiding them. One day, he yelled and said that I had pushed him while he was in the shower washing his hair. I was downstairs at the time in the kitchen cooking, and when he realized there was no way I could have pushed him, he couldn’t live with the rationalization that something else might be in the house that he had no control over, so we broke up. I also began to notice that even when male friends came over to visit, they quickly grew agitated and angry after only being in the house for a short visit.
Chatting with the neighbors, I learned that no one had lived in the house for years before me. It had been empty for so long that the spirit who was living here had grown weak and dormant. Once I moved in and had people over, it began to pull energy from everyone who entered it; while it was fine with me living there, it would not tolerate another man in the home.
Having seen what the spirit world can do, I knew not to stay and hope that things would change. I could now clearly feel the energy of this spirit, and it was not interested in crossing over to the other side or finding peace. I called the owner and said, “I want to break my lease and move.” When he asked why, I told him about the angry spirit. I didn’t expect him to believe me, but to my surprise, he let me out of the lease.
He explained that shortly after moving into the home, he and his wife began to fight. Before six months had passed, they were engaged in a bitter divorce. They had learned that a main house had stood in the front of the property and had mysteriously burned down. The cottage where I was now living was the original servant’s quarters located in the back section of the property.
The present owner had never understood why he was so angry when he and his wife lived there and why they had fought so much in the home. He later rented the house out to his niece; six months later, she and her husband also divorced. The house had stood empty until I moved in; within six months, the relationship I had been in had dissolved too.
My ability to explain the presence in the house allowed him to finally understand what was going on. We parted ways with him wondering if he would ever rent the place out again. I don’t know if he did rent the cottage out again, but I heard through the grapevine that the house caught fire several years later and that the damage was so severe that the house was torn down.
For my part, I learned a valuable lesson: Always check the energy in a house before you live in it, no matter how much you love the décor and style. That’s probably good advice for most things in life.
About the author: Kala Ambrose is “Your Travel Guide to the Other Side.” An award-winning author, spiritual teacher, motivational speaker, host of the “Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show” and practical intuitive coach and guide, Kala’s teachings are described as empowering and inspiring. Author of five books, including The Awakened Psychic, she has taught thousands how to connect with their soul paths and create lives and careers that are balanced and in tune with their life purposes and goals. Study online with Kala through her school, The Academy of Mystical Arts & Spiritual Sciences and visit her website. Explore Your Spirit with Kala http://www.ExploreYourSpirit.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/KalaAmbrose Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kala.ambrose
Molly Brown House Museum—A Story Not Soaked in Gore
A story by Kailyn Lamb, the author of the next book in the America’s Haunted Roadtrip Series Ghosthunting Colorado
Not all haunted spaces have their stories soaked in gore, violence, and death. The Molly Brown House Museum, which is possibly haunted by its namesake, provides a good example of this.
Margaret “Molly” Brown did many notable things in her life—the most famous of which was surviving the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912. Arguably one of Colorado’s most beloved celebrities, she left her mark on the Mile High City in many ways. Better known for her unofficial nickname, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” she inspired both a musical and later a film starting Debbie Reynolds in the ’60s. According to one of the Molly Brown House Museum’s tour guides, Catherine Trumpis, the fiery and passionate woman never went by Molly in her lifetime, just Margaret or Maggie. Impressions she left on the world go beyond her sense of spirit, her activism, and the tragedy of the Titanic. Her house, now a historic landmark and museum, may hold her ghost as well.
She was born Margaret Tobin in Hannibal, Missouri, in 1867. She would later wed James Joseph “J.J.” Brown in 1886. Margaret was 19 when they were married, and J.J. was 32. They had two children while living in Leadville, Lawrence and Catherine. They purchased the house for $30,000, the equivalent today of about $833,300.
Once the Browns had settled into their new home in Capitol Hill, Margaret started throwing parties to take part in the higher society that Denver offered. Allegedly, J.J. did not approve of these parties and would spend all his time during them in his study smoking cigars.
Although no one has been allowed to smoke in any area of the house for several years, guests of the museum’s daily tours have noticed the odor of cigars, specifically on the second floor where J.J.’s study was. It should also be noted that while J.J. and Margaret’s mother, Johanna Collins Tobin, enjoyed smoking, Margaret herself did not, saying it smoked up the house and that she did not like the smell. In 1910, she converted J.J.’s smoking parlor where he entertained guests into a library.
A big reason Margaret was able to convert J.J.’s parlor was because the couple had separated in 1909. The couple never formally divorced due to their religion, but they never reconciled either. After Margaret separated from J.J., she began to travel the world. Aside from her house on Pennsylvania Street in Denver, she had homes in Lakewood, Colorado, and Newport, Rhode Island, and an apartment in New York City. She was in Cairo, Egypt, with her daughter during one of her many trips abroad when she received a telegram from her son, Larry, saying her first grandchild was very ill. She decided to head back to the United States on the first vessel on which she could obtain passage: the Titanic.
Most know the background of the sinking of the Titanic, and some even know Margaret’s role aboard it, as a result of James Cameron’s 1997 film, in which actress Kathy Bates played this chapter’s heroine. When Margaret discovered the chaos above deck while the ship was sinking on April 14, 1912, she immediately took control. She began ushering people onto lifeboats and, according to Trumpis, did not get on one herself until forced by some of the ship’s crewmen.
Some accounts say that as people in the lifeboats watched the Titanic crack and finally sink, several passengers jumped from the sinking ship into the frozen waters below. Where accounts differ is whether or not Margaret had the men rowing her lifeboat go to help those people. While there is no record of whether Margaret was able to save any people in the water, many attribute the “unsinkable” part of her nickname to her brave attempt. Once the ship had sunk and the survivors were picked up by RMS Carpathia, Margaret was put in charge of the survivors’ committee on the trip back to New York. She was picked for several reasons: People were able to relate to her spiritually as a Catholic in their time of grief, and she was fluent in English, German, Russian, and French. Upon her return to New York, reporters asked why she did not sink with the Titanic, and Margaret is reported to have answered, “Hell, I’m unsinkable.” The rest, as they say, is history.
In the Absence of Violence, the Molly Brown House Museum has Acquired the Ghost of a Fiery, Strong Woman
Margaret’s amazing story continues from there. She volunteered as a nurse with the Red Cross in 1917 during World War I, which earned her a French Legion of Honor medal. One of the other notable things that she did in her life was to help create a juvenile court system in Colorado. She also ran for a seat in the senate three times, all before women had the right to vote, and she was one of the first women to do so, with a campaign that promoted domestic rights for women and children. She also acted on the stage in London and Paris.
During tours of the Molly Brown House Museum, guests can walk through almost the entire home, with the exception of the third floor, where she used to throw parties. Several of the hauntings, though, actually occur on the second floor of the house, including the aforementioned cigar smoke smell from J.J.’s study. Another common episode involves a rocking chair that sits in what used to be Margaret’s room, which several people claim to have seen rocking back and forth of its own accord. Daily tours take place approximately every 30 minutes during the museum’s operating hours. The museum also hosts special exhibits pertaining to Margaret’s history, as well as special Halloween tours—called Victorian Horrors—and other holiday events. Guests of tours have also claimed to see apparitions that looked exactly like portraits of Margaret that are found throughout the house. One guest even claims that the ghost of Margaret kindly, albeit silently, pointed her in the direction of the bathroom.
There have been independent psychics who have visited the museum who claim that Mrs. Brown’s mother, Johanna Tobin, roams the second floor, that J.J. smokes cigars in the back hallway, and that a maid is dusting the library shelves.
In the absence of violence, the Molly Brown House Museum has acquired the ghost of a fiery, strong woman—and maybe the occasional sign of disapproval from her husband. But her presence does beg the question of what makes her stay. Maybe she feels as if her work of fighting for the rights of others is not yet over. More than likely, of course, we will never know.
About the author: Kailyn Lamb looks at locations throughout the state and dives head first into the history behind the ghosts and what makes them stay.
Join her in investigating the history of some of Colorado’s most haunted locations, and you might find more than gold in those hills.
Pre-order your copy NOW.
In the late 1800s, Edward Leedskalnin left his Latvian home and came to North America. The love of his life, 16-year-old Hermine Lusis, had jilted him on the eve of their wedding because she had decided that, at 26, he was too old for her and too weird. Brokenhearted and dejected, he turned his back on Latvia to build a new life across the Atlantic.
After several years of wandering across Canada and the United States, he contracted tuberculosis and came to Florida for his health, buying a small acreage in Florida City, a few miles south of Homestead. There, in 1923, he began building Rock Gate Park, using massive blocks of coral to fashion huge tables, chairs, couches, fountains, and pillars. Coral weighs 125 pounds per cubic foot and is difficult to work with. Leedskalnin was 5 feet tall and weighed 100 pounds, and yet he was able to extract coral from the ground, carve it into a myriad of shapes—like a 3-ton table in the shape of Florida—and move the objects around the grounds of the park. He worked at night, in secrecy, with no help, using the most fundamental of tools.
Coral Castle is built using 235 tons of coral
In 1937, with development threatening the peace and quiet of Rock Gate Park, he moved his creations north to a 10-acre plot of ground near Homestead. Neighbors saw him transporting his sculptures on a heavy trailer pulled by a borrowed tractor, but no one ever saw how he loaded them. In this new location, Edward built what he called the Coral Castle, a two-story tower house using 235 tons of coral. The gate to his sanctuary was made of 9 tons of coral and was so perfectly balanced that it could be opened with one finger.
As he had earlier, he worked at night, in secrecy, and no one ever saw how he managed to extract the gigantic blocks of coral from the ground, carve them, and lift them into position. Some believed he had supernatural help. Some thought he used witchcraft. The fact is that, even though he had only a fourth-grade education, he studied physics, astronomy, and geology throughout his life and was an outstanding engineer.
He died in 1951 from cancer, but some believe that Edward stayed on at his beloved Coral Castle. Several psychics claim to have conversed with him; many feel the powerful energy that exudes from the place. One visitor took pictures, which, when developed, showed figures that were not there when he snapped the photos. Whether or not Coral Castle is haunted may still be open to question, but its construction will forever be shrouded in mystery.
Ready to visit Coral Castle? Check out the website for information.
You may think that Florida is all about Mickey Mouse; however, in his book Ghosthunting Florida, author Dave Lapham proves that the state is fertile ground for entities even more fantastic than a talking mouse. The book is a spine-tingling trip through Florida’s small towns and lively cities, its historic sites and fun spots, all of them haunted.
Picture by Christina Rutz [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Times Square draws people in this life and the afterlife
The most famous spot in New York City has to be Times Square. It’s appeared in countless movies, such as Big, I Am Legend, and Jerry McGuire. Certainly everyone recognizes it as the place to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. In fact, Web cams make it possible to view this legendary location from anywhere in the world all year long.
Times Square draws people from all over the globe, in this life and the afterlife. Case in point: Two Royal Air Force pilots who appeared mysteriously on the corner of 45th Street in Times Square during World War II. They asked Harvard graduate Oswald Reinsen, who was standing next to them on the corner, whether they were in Times Square. He confirmed their location, then began to cross the street. They followed him. Noticing the pilots’ uniforms and their English accents, Reinsen struck up a conversation with them. They told him how determined they were to visit Times Square. Reinsen noticed they kept a close eye on the time, checking their watches habitually every 10 minutes or so. After walking several blocks, Reinsen reached his destination, the Harvard Club. He invited the RAF men to join him, and they gladly accepted.
They enjoyed dinner and “spirited” conversation; all the while, the two RAF men kept checking the time on their watches. Just before midnight, they explained that it had been close to 24 hours since their planes had been shot down over Berlin. As they rose from their seats, they thanked Reinsen for the meal and proceeded toward the exit. Reinsen watched, dumbfounded, as they got lost in the crowd and vanished from view.
The story of a crisis apparition on Times Square
That story may be the most extensive and intense example ever of a crisis apparition. A typical crisis apparition occurs immediately after death. The newly deceased person, without the trappings of his corporeal being, “makes the rounds” by showing up to loved ones as a final farewell. Here’s how a crisis apparition works: You answer the doorbell, and there’s your Uncle Ted. You’re excited to see him and invite him in. Knowing how sick he’s been with cancer, you can’t believe how great he looks and that he is out and about. You make him comfortable on the couch and dash off to the kitchen to make him a cup of tea. All the while you’re chatting at 1,000 words a minute and not realizing Uncle Ted isn’t responding. You come back to the living room with his cup of tea, and he is gone. As you call out for him, the telephone rings. You answer the phone, and your Aunt Betty says that Uncle Ted just died.
Most crisis apparitions appear as solid as you and I. Some may speak, but that’s rare. As an example of how solid they can appear, I know of a woman who bumped into the crisis apparition of her father.
She worked in New York City, and her demanding job had her rushing from one meeting to the next. While she was racing to pick up a sandwich and head to the next meeting, she was checking messages on her cell phone. Someone bumped into her, and when she looked up from her phone long enough to give the person a nasty look, she saw her father. He waved to her and vanished in the crowd. She wondered why her father was in New York City, but she continued to rush to her meeting, figuring she’d see him back at her office later. She had enough time to inhale her sandwich, shut off her cell phone, and sit down for the start of the meeting.
After the meeting, she checked her messages and heard a heartbreaking one from her mother that said, “Daddy had a heart attack. He’s dead. I need you to come home right away.” Once home, she learned that her father had died around the time she bumped into him on the street. He had come to New York to wave a final good-bye.
In her book Ghosthunting New York City, L’Aura Hladik visits more than 30 legendary haunted places, all of which are open to the public—so you can test your own ghosthunting skills, if you dare.
On October 8, 1862, one of Kentucky’s biggest Civil War battles was fought just west of Perryville when Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg and Union forces led by Major General Don Carlos Buell clashed. The battle lasted more than five hours; when it was over, more than 7,600 soldiers lay dead, wounded, or were missing.
After the battle the Union soldiers were buried in a cemetery along the Springfield Pike. The Confederate soldiers weren’t so lucky. For three days, both the dead and wounded lay in the roasting sun. They eventually were buried at Bottom Family’s farm, which later became the state park.
The Union dead did not remain at the cemetery long and were moved to Union cemeteries at Camp Nelson and Lebanon, Kentucky. It was not until 1902 that the Perryville Commission placed a monument dedicated to the Confederate soldiers who fought and died at the Battle of Perryville. The Perryville Battlefield site has become a favorite for reenactors, who come to the park for the annual reenactment on the weekend closest to October 8th. Three times a year, the Perryville Battlefield park also offers a ghost seminar and a ghosthunt for visitors.
Patti Star, author of Ghosthunting Kentucky, talked with Joan House, Program Coordinator and Preservation Specialist of the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. Patti asked her, “What is the most common story that you have heard about the ghosts of Perryville?” Joan replied, “The one about Patrick Cleburne’s horse. During the battle, the Brigadier General was charging the enemy when his horse was killed by being shot out from under him. Soon after the battle, the locals would report hearing a horse galloping by or near them, but when they would look for the horse there was never one around.” “Have you ever heard the horse?” Patti asked. She smiled and said, “Oh, yes, I have. One late night while I was camping out with some of the reenactors, we heard the sound of a horse’s hooves running on the pavement near the camp. We thought that maybe one of the horses in the camp had gotten loose, so we set out to find it. We aimed our flashlights out into the darkness but didn’t see a horse. We went back to the enclosure and counted the horses, and they were all there. None were missing. It was at that moment I realized that we had heard Patrick’s ghost horse.”
While talking, Joan remembered another story that had happened while camping during a reenactment. She said that two of the reenactors were noted historians, and they told her a great story about being visited by a Civil War ghost. The men were asleep in their tent when they were awakened by what they thought was another reenactor. He barged into the tent and demanded to know the whereabouts of one of his soldiers. They looked at him and didn’t recognize him as part of their group. He called his soldier’s name over and over as he walked around in the tent looking for him. One of the men asked him who he was, and the intruder stated his name and rank. He then turned and stormed out of the tent. The two men got up and followed him as he went to the tent next door. When they got to the other tent, he was gone and wasn’t seen or heard of again. The two historians decided to investigate, so they looked up the names that this stranger had given them. To their amazement, they found that both names were listed as two of the men killed at Perryville.
It’s hard to believe that this pristine and peaceful paradise, filled with deer, beavers, turkeys, and other birds, and bordered by miles of 19th-century stone fences was once the site of so much death and destruction. But it was. One can only hope that the ghosts of Perryville will eventually find the peace that now surrounds them.
The Enchanted Charm Gate at the Court of Two Sisters
The Court of Two Sisters is a restaurant in the French Quarter offering the most delightful courtyard to enjoy a meal. Here, the wisteria trees have interlocked and connected, creating a natural canopy over the courtyard that brings the space alive with sunlight peeking through the leaves.
The name Court of Two Sisters originates from the previous owners, two Creole sisters named Emma and Bertha Camors. The two sisters (born in 1858 and 1860) spent their entire lives together, and, according to history and local lore, they died within months of each other and were buried side by side in 1944 at St. Louis Cemetery #3 in New Orleans. The ghosts of both sisters are often seen throughout the restaurant, both inside the building and strolling around the courtyard.
Locals insist that they have seen fairies dancing about in the trees and around the beautiful fountain in the center of the Court of Two Sisters. They say that you can see them day and night and that there are many elementals, fairies, and sprites that have lived in this courtyard for hundreds of years.
There’s true magic to be found at this location, both in the courtyard and at the entrance of the restaurant on Royal Street.
Waiting for you at the entrance of the Court of Two Sisters are charm gates, given for the building by Queen Isabella II of Spain. These gates were blessed with magic and are reported to be lucky. It is said that if you touch them, you will be the recipient of their charms. The iron on the gate is cool to the touch, and the restaurant has attached small blue lights to it, which drape around the gate.
Over the years, hundreds, maybe thousands, of young women have touched these gates, with their wish being to find true love. More than any of the other hands that have touched these gates hoping for thousands of favors and wishes to be granted, it is the wishes of the young girls that have left the strongest impression on these charmed gates. It appears that the purpose of the gates is to help people find true love.
If you are looking for a place to get engaged, have a wedding reception, or celebrate an anniversary, I believe that the Court of Two Sisters is one of the most magical and enchanted sites in which to conduct such a ceremony or celebration.
As you step off Bourbon Street and round the corner to Arnaud’s, you instantly feel as if you have stepped back in time and are preparing to dine like a real Creole. Founded in 1918, a French wine salesman named Arnaud Cazena built the restaurant.
A variety of private dining rooms, as well as a museum filled with New Orleans memorabilia on the second floor, are inside. The museum includes elaborate Mardi Gras costumes worn by Count Arnaud and his daughter, Germaine Wells, who reigned as queen over 22 Mardi Gras balls, more than any other woman in the history of Carnival.
Ghost Sightings at Arnaud’s Restaurant
There have been hundreds of paranormal sightings at the restaurant, including a ghostly gentleman standing near the beveled glass windows, who has been seen by employees. At first the tuxedo-clad man is noticed standing alone. When approached, he immediately disappears. Most believe that it is Count Arnaud checking in on the restaurant.
Others report seeing a woman wearing a hat exiting the ladies’ room and crossing the hall, where she then walks into the wall and disappears. There have been so many reports of this sighting that investigations were held to determine the original structure and layout of the building. It was discovered that this area once had a staircase where the wall is now placed. The ghostly woman is simply walking to the stairs from the time when she was here; in her world, there is no wall there to block her entry. Some believe this ghost to be Germaine, the daughter of Arnaud, who still enjoys the restaurant as well. She reportedly also appears in the museum by her costumes and has been seen in her ghostly form at various Carnival balls each year.
Beyond the supernatural sightings reported by local diners, tourists, and waitstaff, Arnaud’s reports that even its CPA experienced a ghostly visitation in the restaurant when he was alone one evening conducting inventory. While he was working, he noticed a strong drop in temperature in the room. As he felt the cold chill overtake him, he became aware of a presence standing behind him. Turning around, he found himself alone in the room. The CPA was in the Richelieu Bar at the time, which is one of the oldest standing structures in the restaurant, dating back to the late 1700s. In a building still standing for several centuries, there is the opportunity for a wide variety of hauntings over its incarnations. Over the years, so many different ghosts have been seen and felt at the restaurant that not all of them have been identified by name.
When dining at Arnaud’s, try the Oysters Bienville with shrimp, mushrooms, herbs, and seasonings in a white wine sauce; it’s elegantly delicious!