Category Archives: paranormal

The Ghost of Edgar Allan Poe

PoeHouse-BaltimoreLocated just eight blocks from where Edgar Allan Poe is buried at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground is, ironically, one of the many houses the author lived in over the course of his life. It was not, however, his home at the time he died in Baltimore in 1849 at the age of forty, as many people assume—possibly because of all the paranormal phenomena that have occurred at the site.

The author dwelled in this small, unassuming brick townhouse for just a couple of years, from March 1831 to October 1833, with his aunt, Maria Clemm, and her children, Henry and Virginia (whom he married in 1835, when she was thirteen and he was twenty-seven).

His stay there followed his discharge from the United States Military Academy at West Point and preceded his move to Richmond, Virginia, to work as a staff writer and critic for the Southern Literary Messenger, a periodical devoted largely to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews. While living in the Baltimore home, the author lived and wrote—possibly creating as many as a dozen published stories and poems—in a little top-floor room with a pitched ceiling.

In the early 1930s, the city of Baltimore planned to demolish the house as part of an urban clear-cutting campaign and to extend the almost tastelessly named “Poe Homes” housing project onto the site. The Edgar Allan Poe Society managed to obtain the property and opened it to the public in 1949.

Exhibits at the little museum include a lock of Poe’s hair; some china that once belonged to his guardian, John Allan; a reproduction of the portrait Poe painted of Virginia after she died in 1847;  a reprint of the 1849 obituary from the October 24, 1849 edition of the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper; and Poe’s original announcement  about the creation of The Stylus, a literary magazine that never got off the ground.

Strange phenomena people have reported at the site include the sensation of someone tapping them on the shoulders, mysterious muttering voices, lights moving around in the house when no one was in it, inexplicable cold spots, windows flying open or slamming shut—and, in at least one case, a window falling out of its frame and smashing onto the floor.

Some people have, predictably, also claimed to see the ghost of Poe in this house—and perhaps part of his spirit does remain behind there residually, or visits periodically during its rounds to the many other sites where people have seen it. What even more people have claimed to see or otherwise sense, however, is a specter that many have described as a heavyset, middle-aged woman. Who she might be, however—and whether or not she has any connection to Poe—remains unclear, and further investigation would seem to be in order.

More haunted tales connected to Edgar Allen Poe are found in Ghosthunting Maryland by Michael Varhola.

Copyrights: By Midnightdreary (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pumpkin Cookies from The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook

Right in time for Halloween a recipe from Mary Ann Winkowski’s book Beyond Delicious: The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook: More than 100 recipes from the Dearly Departed.

Mary Ann WinkowskiAn old friend of Mary Ann Winkowski invited her to join her for a Thanksgiving meal with her mother, Flossy. Her mom was living in a nursing home. Nursing homes and hospitals are always full of earthbound spirits. It’s not just the ten people sitting in the community area playing cards and watching TV, to me it’s the ten people plus the ten other people attached to them. That’s a lot of bodies—both physical and not—that Mary Ann would have to try to dodge, because she was not about to start walking through ghosts if she can help it.

To make her friend Fran happy she agreed to accompany her and they had lunch chatting while Mary Ann tried to avoid the eyes of any earthbound spirits for fears of cluing them in to what she could do. They got to talking about holiday cookies, and Flossy asked Fran if she remembered the pumpkin cookies Fran’s grandmother used to make. Fran mentioned that they were delicious and made with actual pumpkin, not just the spices.

They were at a table that seated eight people, and everyone started chiming in about these pumpkin cookies that were like small, cookie-shaped pumpkin pies. Then everyone started wracking their brains for the best recipe, but this being a nursing home . . . well, let’s just say no one could quite remember how these cookies were made. Suddenly, a ghost attached to one of the other guests at the table said that she knew the recipe.

The ghost did not expect Mary Ann to ask her about the recipe, and had it not been for everyone at the table going on and on about how delicious these cookies were, she probably wouldn’t have. The ghost was taken by surprise when Mary Ann asked for her name and the recipe for the cookies. But, the ghost who’s name was Mitzi did give her the recipe. Mary Ann jotted it down quickly while everyone else was still chatting. She offered Mitzi the chance to cross over, but the ghost had no intention of doing so and sort of slunk away from the table,

After the lunch, Mary Ann gave Fran the recipe and told her what had happened. Three days later Fran called her friend and said she’d made the cookies for her mother. Flossy had loved them and swore they were exactly the same as the ones her mom had used to make!

Mitzi’s Golden Pumpkin Cookies

Beyond Delicious Coconut Kisses
Beyond Delicious – The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook

⅓ cup shortening
1⅓ cups sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup cooked or plain canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins

Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly. Add eggs, pumpkin, flavorings, and the dry ingredients, which have been sifted together. Add raisins, which have been dredged in some of the measured flour. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonful’s onto well-greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a moderately hot oven at about 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

For more information on The Ghost Whisperer visit Mary Ann Winkowski’s website.

St. Anthony Hotel Downtown San Antonio

Ghostly activity at the luxurious St. Anthony Hotel in Downtown San Antonio

St. Anthony Hotel Downtown San AntonioThree ambitious cattlemen, A. H. Jones, B. L. Naylor, and F. M. Swearingen, opened the St. Anthony Hotel in 1909 in anticipation of San Antonio becoming a tourist destination, and it quickly became a popular place for visitors to stay. It is located near San Antonio’s River Walk and the Alamo.

“Not only was it the first luxury hotel in the city, but in the early days it was also the only inn with air conditioning, a drive-up registration desk, and sophisticated automatic doors and lights,” the official history of the hotel states. “In fact, St. Anthony was so technologically savvy that it was considered among the world’s most modern hotels. By 1915, the hotel charged guests $1.50 per night, and booming revenues allowed the owners to double capacity to 430 guestrooms.”

Many rich and famous Americans were among the visitors to the St. Anthony, its restaurant, and its bar. They have included Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, George Clooney, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Judy Garland, Greer Garson, Rock Hudson, Betty Hutton, General Douglas McArthur, Matthew McConaughey, Demi Moore, Gregory Peck, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Mickey Rooney, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Wayne, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Patrick Swayze, and Bruce Willis.

Paranormal phenomena people have experienced at the St. Anthony Hotel include seeing strange shadowy outlines, feeling unseen presences, seeing doors opening and closing for no apparent reason, and hearing disembodied footsteps following behind them.

Ready for some ghosthunting combined with a luxurious stay?
St. Anthony Hotel Downtown San Antonio
300 E. Travis St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
Tel: 210-227-4392
Website: St. Anthony Hotel

For a journey to some of the most haunted and fascinating places in San Antonio, Austin, and 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 is a writer who 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 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 Texas Hill Country.



Kids and Ghosthunting

L’Aura Hladik Hoffman shares with us her view on Kids and Ghosthunting

L'Aura Hladik
L’Aura Hladik

As parents we strive to raise our children with good manners, good moral compasses and positive self-worth. As a ghost hunter, well, it gets a little trickier to raise a junior ghost hunter. Over the years, parents have approached me and inquired about bringing their child to one of our NJ Ghost Hunters Society’s monthly meetings or joining the organization so they could go on the cemetery hunts. My knee-jerk response was always, “no.” However, I would see the disappointment in the parents’ eyes and then inquire, “How old is your son/daughter? What’s their maturity level?”

Here’s the thing: children have a much brighter aura – the light body that surrounds the human body. “Newbie Ghosts” may mistake this bright aura as “the light” and follow it and unwittingly attach to it. Thus, little Johnny brings home a stray ghost from that jaunt in the cemetery.

On the flip-side, ghosthunting is a painless and enjoyable way for youngsters to learn History. Take a child to Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) and watch them glaze over with boredom while taking an auto-audio tour of the Battlefields. However, tell them to pay attention to the historical information for use on tonight’s ghost hunt of the same Battlefields, and witness the difference in their attention level.

It’s also a great way to develop a child’s scientific skills of research, documentation, and empirical testing. Any ghost hunter will be the first to admit that data review is the natural cure for insomnia; however, it is an integral part of the ghost hunting experience. Kids learn patience and develop their ability to see a project through to its completion simply because they’re so intent on hearing that Class A EVP from their audio recordings or spotting that full body apparition on their video recordings.

As for the best age to start your child ghost hunting, I say 11 or 12 years old – again depending on their maturity level. Metaphysically speaking, a child’s aura is “sealed” by age 7, meaning their Third Eye Chakra is closed down. The imaginary friends, who probably weren’t so imagined, have gone away by this age. I add in the four or five years to make sure they’re capable of handling the equipment safely.

About the author: L’Aura Hladik Hoffman is the author of Ghosthunting New Jersey and Ghosthunting New York City. She is also the Founder and Director of the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society.


Haunted Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill and the Black Cat

DC Capitol LRNumerous ghost stories have been associated with the Capitol building itself over the years and it is widely believed, by those inclined to believe such things, to be haunted. Indeed, if conflict, strong emotions, and unresolved issues are among the basis for ghostly phenomena, then it certainly makes sense that it would be.  Phenomena people have reported over the years have included seeing figures animate and move about in Statuary Hall; a variety of ghosts – including people purported to have been killed in the building and the ubiquitous Civil War soldiers – throughout the building, especially the Rotunda; and a black cat that is supposed to appear in the basement just before a national disaster occurs (e.g., the 1929 stock market crash, the 1963 Kennedy assassination).

Library of Congress InsideAnother reputedly haunted site on Capitol Hill is the Library of Congress. Paranormal phenomena that have been reported in its labyrinthine stacks over the years have included inexplicable banging sounds and heavy exhibit cases moving on their own.  One specific story, supposedly corroborated by library staff, involves a police officer who helps people lost in the stacks find their way out and then, before disapering, tells them he was killed several years before.

Washington D.C. America’s Greatest Haunted City

An overview of haunted sites in the nation’s capital reveals it to be a city rife with ghosts and places where inexplicable events have been known to occur.  In fact, if you search long enough, you will discover that practically the whole city is haunted, and that the unresolved business of more than two centuries has bound within it an uncanny number o ghosts.

In his book Ghosthunting Virginia, Michael J. Varhola explores the scariest spots in the Old Dominion. The book dedicates an entire chapter to Washington D.C. and the  many haunted places in our nation’s capital.

Photo credits:
The Library of Congress courtesy of Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia


Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country

Ghost Hunting San AntonioGhosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country by Michael O. Varhola is the latest addition to the popular haunted travel guides series and will be in a book store near you as of September 15. 

Clerisy Press is excited to celebrate this new addition to America’s Haunted Road Trip series with a GIVEAWAY, but first more about this new hands-on guide.

Local author Michael O. Varhola drew upon his training and experiences as a historian, journalist, and paranormal investigator while compiling this colorful and useful guide to publicly accessible haunted places in San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country. This guide fits every visitor’s needs with coverage of the paranormal, traveling the area, and Texas history.

Settled by Spanish explorers more than three centuries ago, San Antonio has a rich haunted history that includes conquistadores, the local Apache and Comanche Indian tribes, ancient monasteries, lost gold mines, battlefields, and elegant hotels. Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country covers 30 haunted locations in or around the cities of San Antonio and Austin and throughout the region known as Texas Hill Country, collectively one of the most haunted places in the country. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.

Michael VarholaAbout the author: Michael Varhola is a writer who 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 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 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 more than 30 haunted places open to the public. From inns and museums to cemeteries and theaters, the author visits each place interviewing people who live and work there. Also includes travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of 50 more places the reader can visit.

And now, as promised, the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win one copy of Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country
a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Favorite Haunted Road Trip Project

Michael O. Varholla shares with us thoughts about his favorite haunted trip project
The author at Ye Kendall Inn
The author at Ye Kendall Inn, the historic Texas Hill Country Hotel

Periodically, someone will ask me what my most- and least-favorite book projects have been, and the answer to both questions is the same: my latest one. That is, after all, what I have been most excited about and engaged with recently, and any exciting fieldwork I did for the latest book is the most memorable. It is also, however, what has inflicted the most recent physical and emotional stress, and other things have suffered because of my disproportionate use of time and other resources on it.

Of all the projects I have worked on for the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of travel guides, however, Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country has definitely been my overall favorite for a variety of reasons.

One is my love for the American Southwest. Its unique, violent, and colorful history makes it a fun subject for research, writing, and road trips, as well as a likely locale for haunted places.

Another is the almost iconic distinctness of the places I selected for inclusion in this book, which include everything from wilderness areas that have existed for time immemorial to ancient missions, grand hotels, and great public buildings.

In addition, we changed the format of this book, so it’s even more useful to people using it as a guide on their own haunted road trips. Foremost among these improvements is a robust section of Additional Haunted Sites, which contains entries on 60 locations, effectively tripling the number of places covered in earlier AHRT books.

Suffice it to say, I hope that my love for the subject matter covered in this book and the effort I have put into it will make it a valued resource for readers, and make it one of their favorite volumes in the series as well.

Ghost Hunting San AntonioAbout the author: Michael O. Varhola is a writer who has authored or coauthored 34 books and games — including the swords-and-sorcery novel Swords of Kos: Necropolis, and two fantasy writers guides. Michael is the editor-in-chief of d-Infinity game magazine, and editor of the America’s Haunted Road Trip series of ghosthunting travel guides. He lives in Hill Country, TX.

Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country is the latest of Michael O. Varhola’s books. The guide covers 30 haunted locations in or around the cities of San Antonio and Austin and throughout the region known as Texas Hill Country, collectively one of the most haunted places in the country. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.


The Ghost of Punderson Lake

Mysterious Blue Lady haunts Punderson Lake

A blog by John Kachuba, based on the “Punderson State Park” chapter of his book Ghosthunting Ohio: On The Road Again

Punderson Lake is a deep, cold lake at Punderson State Park in Newbury, Ohio. Formed by glaciers eons ago, the lake is 72 feet deep although some people swear that it is bottomless. A source of summer recreation, the lake has been the scene of numerous drownings over the years, including that of a young woman who drowned in a boating accident in the 1970s.

For several years, a band of Romanian gypsies used to make Punderson State Park their home during the summer months. Led by a man named Peaches Frank, they arrived and set up their camp, living peacefully by the lake.

One evening, three old gypsy women were taking a stroll along the lake. One of them noticed a disturbance in the water and pointed it out to her companions. As the women watched, a figure slowly rose from the lake and started toward shore. As she drew closer, the women could see that the dripping wet figure was that of a teen-aged girl. Gypsy women, especially old gypsy women, recognize a ghost when they see one and they quickly identified the figure as a ghost. The women did not panic but as the spectral figure drew nearer, they ordered it to return to the cold depths of the lake from which it had emerged.

And the ghost did return to its watery grave. Peaches and his band of gypsies broke camp the next day and never returned to Punderson State Park.

The gypsies are gone but the ghost? Some people have seen the Blue Lady, as she has been named, floating above the dark waters of the lake, apparently still seeking her eternal rest.

Punderson State Park is also home to the Punderson Manor. The manor too is haunted. To read all about the Punderson Manor ghost and 26 other haunted places in the Buckeye State check out John Kachuba’s book Ghosthunting Ohio: On The Road Again

John KachubaAbout the author: John Kachuba is the award-winning author of twelve books and numerous articles, short stories and poems. Among his awards are the Thurber Treat Prize for humor writing awarded by The Thurber House and First Place in the Dogwood Fiction Contest. John teaches Creative Writing at Ohio University, Antioch University Midwest and the Gotham Writers Workshop.

He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Horror Writers Association, and the American Library Association’s Authors for Libraries. John frequently speaks on paranormal and metaphysical topics and is a regular speaker at conferences, universities and libraries and on podcasts, radio and TV.

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.

Saint Expedite

Saint Expedite brings swift relief to those who ask

Saint Expedite
Our Lady of Guadalupe

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

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

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

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

Saint Expedite
Saint Expedite

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

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

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

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

Kala Ambrose
Kala Ambrose

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

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