Tag Archives: america’s haunted road trip

Ghosthunting Equipment for the Weekend Ghosthunter

Tips for the Weekend Ghosthunter from Helen Pattskyn

Helen PattskynProfessional ghosthunters, like the folks from Motor City Ghost Hunters, use some pretty sophisticated—and expensive—equipment. Chances are, that’s more of an investment than the average person wants to make. The good news is that the weekend ghosthunter can get by—and still get good results—with just a few ghosthunting tools.

A good-quality digital camera is an absolute must, and the greater the resolution (the more pixels) the better. I use the camera that I bought a couple of years ago for vacations. It has the added bonus of being small enough to fit easily in my purse. I use rechargeable batteries—but always carry a backup set (except for that one time at the Baldwin Theatre, the one time I needed them!). It is commonly reported that batteries die and electronics stop working in haunted places.

A second indispensable piece of equipment, according to everyone I spoke to, is a digital recorder. Most digital recorders are small and inexpensive. All of the ones I looked at had a record time of several hours.

Digital recorders are used to pick up EVPs, or electronic voice phenomena. Paranormal investigators frequently seem to record sounds and even voices on electronic devices, even when no sounds or voices were heard by the team members themselves during the investigation. Many paranormal teams post these recordings on their websites, allowing visitors to decide for themselves whether the “voices” caught on tape are real or just white noise.

A digital camera and digital recorder were the only pieces of equipment I took with me on my adventures around the state, and I really only used my digital recorder a few times. I left it on all night when I stayed at the Blue Pelican—but if anyone was there, they didn’t feel like talking to me.

About the EMF Device

Probably the next most popular ghosthunting device is an EMF detector, which is used to detect electromagnetic fields. The theory is that, where there are ghosts, the electromagnetic fields “spike.” Other things can cause electromagnetic fields to jump, too, such as outlets and major appliances. So you need to have an idea of what’s in the area before jumping to conclusions. Natural and man-made (not paranormal) electromagnetic fields can cause people to have that same “eerie feeling” so many people get when they believe there are spirits nearby. Bearing in mind that you get what you pay for, weekend ghosthunters can purchase a decent EMF meter for $30–$50 from most larger hardware stores. More expensive models start at $100.

Ghosthunting Michigan
Ghosthunting Michigan

A couple of the paranormal investigators I spoke to recommend using a 35mm camera, preferably loaded with black-and-white film, as a secondary source for ghostly images. If you’re going out with a friend, it might be interesting to compare images taken with a digital camera and the good old-fashioned way with film.

If you’re more serious—or as you become more serious—you can purchase additional equipment for your ghosthunting arsenal. Full-spectrum digital video cameras are popular, as are night vision or infrared camcorders.

It has been suggested to also document your adventures with pen and paper—or maybe start a ghosthunting journal or blog.

Helen Pattskyn is the author of Ghosthunting Michigan.

Spotlight On: Ouija Boards

About the origins of the Ouija board

Ouija BoardAccording to the website for the Museum of Talking Boards (a.k.a. Ouija boards) “modern spiritualism” began in Hydesville, New York, in 1848, when sisters Kate and Margaret Fox (ages 12 and 15, respectively) claimed to have contacted the spirit of a dead salesman. The method they used for communing with their spirit friend is known as “rapping”—that is, getting the spirit to rap or knock on a table during a séance. Messages could be spelled out this way by asking a spirit to knock once for “A” twice for “B,” and so on. Although Margaret later claimed the whole thing was just a hoax and even went so far as to demonstrate their methods to the public, the idea of speaking to the dead had already spread like wildfire across not only the United States, but also Great Britain and other European countries.

Since the dawn of human history, the idea of spirits has fascinated people, and many have sought ways to communicate with those who have passed over to “the other side.” Even after the Fox sisters were debunked, other mediums (called such because they acted as intermediaries between the living and the dead) continued to refine their methods of communicating with the deceased. Automatic writing replaced rapping; a pencil was attached to a small basket, and the medium would place his or her fingertips on it and allow the spirit to take over and write out their message. Automatic writing is still practiced by psychics today.

Eventually, the heart-shaped planchette, or “little plank,” which was used to point to letters already printed out on a board, replaced the basket and pencil. This, of course, was the original Ouija board. The first patent for a commercially produced “talking board” was filed on May 28, 1890; it lists Elijah J. Bond as the inventor.

If you are interested in the paranormal, check out America’s Haunted Road Trip books, 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. Each guide also includes travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of 50 more places the reader can visit.

Picture of Ouija Board: By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Haunted Holly Hotel

Historic Holly Hotel haunts staff and guests

Holly HotelThe historic Holly Hotel is said to be the single most haunted building in the state of Michigan. It has been written about in newspapers and magazines and has been featured on both local and national television. In 2009, it was the subject of an episode of the popular Travel Channel program The Most Terrifying Places in America. Numerous paranormal investigators have visited the Holly Hotel, including the Motor City Ghost Hunters, the Ghost Hunters of Southern Michigan, the Michigan Paranormal Research Association, and well-known parapsychologist Norman Gauthier, who concluded that the building was “loaded with spirits.”

Despite its name, the Holly Hotel is no longer an inn and does not accommodate overnight guests. However, the dining room remains a favorite spot for dinner, afternoon tea, and Sunday brunch. Dinner is served nightly, while a traditional Victorian-style high tea is served every day except for Sunday. The restaurant’s menu is an award-winning blend of traditional signature dishes, some of which have changed very little over the last century, and contemporary seasonal fare. In addition to being featured in magazines and on television for its ghosts, the Holly Hotel is known nationally for its fine cuisine.

The Holly Hotel suffered two major fires in its long history. The first occurred on January 19, 1913, and the second was 65 years later on January 19, 1878. Reports have it that both fires started at “exactly the same time, to the hour.”

Former owner most active ghost at Holly Hotel

In fact, the Holly Hotel has been the sighting of a number of apparitions over the years. One of the most frequently seen is believed to be the spirit of Nora Kane, a former hostess of the inn. Many guests claim to have seen her in the bar area and in the back hallway, which used to be the main entrance to the hotel.

The inn’s most famous ghost is probably former owner Mr. Hirst, who passed away in the 1920s, but who, many believe, has never let go of his hotel. He is reputed to be the most active—and most unhappy—when renovations have been made to the property. A myriad of other spirits are said to inhabit the 120-year-old building.

Helen Pattskyn visited the Holly Hotel and interviewed the staff and owner. Find out all about their ghostly tales in her book Ghosthunting Michigan.

Three Haunted Hotels to visit in San Antonio

If you are looking for a haunted vacation, here
are 3 more suggestions for ghostly stays
by Michael O. Varhola

Michael O. Varhola is the author of Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country, the latest addition to the America’s Haunted Roadtrip series.

St Anthony Hotel San AntonioSt. Anthony Hotel Downtown San Antonio
300 E. Travis St., San Antonio, TX 78205
Three 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.

Indigo Hotel DT San AntonioHotel Indigo San Antonio Downtown-Alamo Downtown San Antonio
105 N. Alamo St., San Antonio, TX 78205 (On website search for San Antonio locations and select “Hotel Indigo Downtown Alamo”; do not confuse with Hotel Indigo San Antonio–Riverwalk).

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

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

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

Marriott Plaza San Antonio Downtown San Antonio
555 S. Alamo St., San Antonio, TX 78205

San Antonio LOThis downtown hotel is in close proximity to the Alamo, has a number of historic buildings on its grounds, and—like many old sites with storied pasts—has many ghosts and inexplicable phenomena associated with it. Reported activity ranges from things like lights turning on and off on their own to drawers at the front desk being opened as if by an unseen hand, to a specter who has haunted the hotel for many years and come to be known as the Lady. She is believed to be a widow who lived in one of the historic buildings now incorporated into the hotel and to have hanged herself and her cat in what is now the exercise facility, formerly her parlor. People have reported seeing her throughout the site, especially on the upper levels of the main building, in the employee-only areas in the basement, or standing among the trees in the garden, usually in a long white dress or gown, holding her cat and stroking its head.

For more ghostly tales, check out Michael O. Varhola’s latest book  Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill.

 

Haunted Whitney Restaurant

Is the Whitney in Detroit Haunted?
Helen Pattskyn, author of Ghosthunting Michigan seems to think so.  Here is her tale.

Whitney1Located on Woodward Avenue, just a few blocks from the campus of Wayne State University and Detroit’s cultural center, the Whitney was once one of the city’s oldest and most beautiful private residences. Now it is one of the city’s finest and most beautiful restaurants.

I’ve only been there to eat on a couple of very special occasions, but I fell immediately in love with the grand old house. Of course, prior to my visit on a bright sunny afternoon in April, I had only gone in looking for after-theater drinks and dessert with friends, not hoping for a glimpse of the ghost of former owner David Whitney Jr.

There are 20 fireplaces throughout the house, a secret vault hidden in the original dining room, and an elevator. A haunted elevator, according to stories. In addition to the beautiful dining rooms on the main floor, there are outdoor gardens that host parties all summer long and the Ghost Bar up on the third floor.

When I spoke to David, one of the many wonderful staff members, I asked him if he had ever had any unusual experiences while working there—or if maybe any of his coworkers had seen or heard anything out of the ordinary.

“We have a lot of the usual stuff, I guess,” he told me. “Doors sometimes shut as if by themselves. And one woman who used to work here told me that she was walking through the Great Hall when one of the crystals, from one of the chandeliers, fell right at her feet and shattered. It kind of freaked her out a bit. Of course, that might not have had anything to do with anything supernatural,” he cautioned. “And if you knew her . . . she’s a bit of a spirit herself,” he added with a chuckle.

The elevator and the bar among the most haunted places in the restaurant

Whitney3One of the most haunted places in the building is said to be the elevator, especially where it opens up onto the second floor. Not only did David Whitney Jr. pass away in the house, but his wife, Sara, also died there. Numerous employees have reported that the elevator will start moving on its own and that the doors open and close without anyone pushing the button.

I meandered up the stairs to the third floor to visit the aptly named Ghost Bar. The bar wasn’t open yet, but the bartender was setting up. He gave me a friendly “hello” and asked how I was doing.

“I’m doing great, thanks,” I answered. Then I told him that I was writing a book about haunted places and that, naturally, the Whitney had come up.

The bartender smiled. “As long as you remember that everything I tell you is hearsay—that nothing’s official—I’ve got a couple of stories for you, if you have a second and are interested.”

He told me that the first incident had occurred during a wedding in which the entire mansion had been rented out. “The way they run it is pre-dinner drinks are up here, then they serve dinner downstairs, and then we reopen the bar for post-dinner drinks,” he told me. “There weren’t very many children at this wedding, but there was this one little girl. She was maybe five or six and she kept running around and she didn’t want to sit still. Her mom asked me if I’d mind keeping an eye on her for a few minutes, so she could go down and get something to eat. Everyone else had gone downstairs by then, and I really didn’t mind, so I said ‘sure’ and let the mom go downstairs. I left the little girl alone in this room, and I went into that room over there,” he pointed to one of the sitting rooms adjacent to the bar.

Whitney2“I was in there cleaning up, and, all of the sudden, I heard this shriek, so I came running out to see what had happened. The little girl had this look on her face, like she was totally terrified. I didn’t see anyone—or anything—so I asked her what was wrong. She told me that a big ball of light had flown out of one corner of the room and came right at her. And she was really frightened,” he emphasized.

The bartender went on to tell me about another incident that happened about a month after that wedding reception, this time with a little boy who came upstairs with his mother. “He was right about the same age, too, I think. I didn’t pay too much attention to them; they were just looking around. Then all of the sudden, I see this little boy dart out of that room and into the other room. I probably still wouldn’t have thought too much of it, except I overheard him telling his mother, ‘Mommy, Mommy, there it goes!’ A few seconds later, the mother came over to me and said that she was so sorry, but her son kept insisting he was being chased around by a ball of light.”

Ghosthunting Michigan

The third incident involved an adult, a guy who had been sitting at the bar having a drink. “He was about my age,” said the bartender, which would probably have made his customer somewhere in his mid-20s. “And he was talking on his cell phone, making plans to meet up with his buddies somewhere downtown. I turned away to take care of another customer. The next thing I knew this guy had jumped up out of his seat and was standing way over there, looking really freaked out. I asked him if he was okay, and he insisted that, yeah, he was fine. ‘Are you sure?’ I asked a second time. He looked pretty shaken up and I thought—I don’t know, maybe he’d seen a mouse or something. This is an old building. ‘No, I’m good, bro,’ he told me. But he didn’t sit back down. Instead, he told me he was ready to cash out.”

The bartender said that as his customer was settling up his tab, he’d finally calmed down enough to admit that he’d seen the silhouette of a man standing behind him in the mirror behind the bar—but when he turned around, nobody was there.

Enjoy Ghosthunting Michigan from the safety of your armchair, or hit the road using the maps, “Haunted Places” travel guide, and “Ghostly Resources.” Buckle up and get ready for the spookiest ride of your life.

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.

 

Haunted Hotel Stays for you to explore!

3 haunted hotels recommended
by Michael O. Varhola in his book
Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin,
and Texas Hill Country

Sheraton Gunter HotelSheraton Gunter Hotel San Antonio, Downtown San Antonio
Since 1837, travelers and visitors to San Antonio have often found one of the nicest and most convenient hotels in the city to be located at a particular corner about 100 yards from the bank of the river. Over the years, this establishment has had many different names, occupied successively larger and more elaborate buildings, been controlled by the armies of four nations, and collectively contributed to a fascinating and colorful history. One of those colors, however, has been that of blood, and gruesome events have occurred at the hotel, leading to its reputation as a venue for hauntings and paranormal activity. The Sheraton Gunter Hotel retains its role as a unique part of San Antonio’s rich and multifaceted heritage. It also remains, with good reason, one of the most haunted hotels in the Alamo city. To book a stay visit their website.

Faust Hotel New BraunsfeldFaust Hotel, New Braunfels – Comal County
Over the past few decades, the Faust Hotel has increasingly gained a widespread reputation for being haunted and has attracted the attention of various paranormal investigative groups. I have visited the hotel a number of times since 2009 and, among other things, have spent the night there, conducted investigations on or around Halloween twice, and appeared as a guest on the PSI-FI Radio show while there. It has, in fact, become one of my favorite sites in the Greater San Antonio area, not just for the strange things associated with it but also for its colorful history. The Faust is indeed haunted, of that I am sure. Visit it next time you are passing through New Braunfels, have a microbrew beer made on the premises in its taproom, ride up and down the elevator a few times, and, if you can, spend the night and see if you experience anything for yourself. Ready to do your own investigation? Here is the website of the Faust Hotel.

Ye Kendall InnYe Kendall Inn, Boerne – Kendall County
One of the most impressive and welcoming of the many haunted establishments that can be found throughout the Hill Country is, without a doubt, Ye Kendall Inn, the sprawling hotel, restaurant, and event complex that dominates the main square in the town of Boerne. Ye Kendall Inn is well known in the local area for being haunted, and I was well aware of its reputation before visiting it for the first time.

With a colorful history and so many people passing through its doors, dwelling in its rooms, and experiencing the full range of human emotions within its walls, it is perhaps not surprising that Ye Kendall Inn would have a reputation for being haunted and have so much ghostly lore associated with it. That being the case, I was almost surprised that no anomalies turned up in any of my photos or audio recordings and that I did not experience anything that might be interpreted as supernatural in origin.

I was not, however, disappointed, because it is not reasonable to expect spirits to perform on demand or reveal their presence during the short piece of eternity in which a living person is visiting their haunt. And I did very much enjoy the ambience, history, and hospitality of the place during the few hours that I spent exploring its halls, public areas, and guestrooms. I was left looking forward to my next visit and a more detailed investigation of Ye Kendall Inn. To book a stay at Ye Kendall Inn, visit their website, and make sure to report back any ghostly sightings to the author.

In Michael’s book Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country, you can read the complete history and ghost stories for these three hotels. The stories are part of 27 haunted sites thoroughly researched and covered.

 

Delray Beach Colony Hotel & Cabaña Club

Haunted stories from the Delray Beach Colony Hotel & Cabaña Club

A Haunted story from Ghosthunting Florida
by Dave Lapham

Colony HotelThe Colony Hotel and Cabaña Club is not the Biltmore, but it is a really spectacular hotel. The three of us—Joanne, Sue, and I—had spent most of the previous day and evening exploring the Biltmore and talking to people there. We were tired, but the following morning we got an early start and drove the 50 miles north to Delray Beach, just above Boca Raton.

Like the Biltmore, the Colony, sister hotel to the Colony in Kennebunkport, Maine, was built in 1926 by the father-and-son team of Charles and George Bowden, to cater to the hordes of well-to-do Northerners who flocked to Florida to escape the cold, snowy winters and bask in the sunshine and leisurely Florida lifestyle.

For many years, the hotel was closed during summer months, when the entire staff moved to its sister hotel in Kennebunkport. Furniture was covered with sheets. All but a few lights and all other nonessential electricity were turned off. Cobwebs and dust collected in corners, windowsills, furniture, and floors. A caretaker was left behind to perform minimal maintenance on the grounds, cutting grass, watering plants, and providing some security. But in summer, even with a caretaker around, the Colony looked mostly abandoned, forlorn, and even ghostly.

Perhaps because the hotel was closed much of the year and for so many years, rumors of strange happenings grew about the place, including tales of mysterious lights, sightings of apparitions, and unexplained sounds emanating from the building. Maybe they were true or maybe they were just the imaginings of strollers passing by in the dark. In any case, the Colony developed a reputation for being haunted.

One summer evening during the off-season, a couple was walking down the street past the empty hotel and saw, or thought they saw, movement inside. The figures they saw seemed to be running back and forth in the darkened building. They thought perhaps kids had broken into the place and were robbing or ransacking it. This was in the days before cell phones, so they crossed the street to a gas station and called the police, who quickly responded. Several squad cars arrived, and officers walked around the exterior to check for signs of a break-in. There were none, so they contacted the caretaker to get permission to enter. Inside, a quick check revealed that all the doors were locked and the alarm system was functioning properly. It had not been tampered with.

One officer was standing in the lobby when suddenly the elevator started rumbling as if it were moving. Then it stopped and chimed, the usual signal indicating that it had arrived at the desired floor. The doors opened, but no one came out. The officer stood there watching, dumbstruck. Now quite nervous, he radioed his partner, who joined him in the lobby. Together they finished their investigation and left, the caretaker locking up and resetting the alarm behind them. They had found nothing out of order.

During the same period, passersby began reporting orbs, or balls of light, flying erratically in front of second-story windows. These orbs became quite common for several months, and many people reported seeing them. Then, as suddenly as they had begun appearing, they disappeared. None have been reported since 1989.

In 1999 the hotel began staying open year-round, and the stories of paranormal activity have persisted. Guests have reported strange lights and dark figures moving through the hotel, and  some have heard music coming from the darkened and empty dining room. The music can be heard only on moonless nights and early in the morning, before 3 a.m. And some have heard female voices coming from the dining room, when no one was there.

Knott House Museum

One staff member reported that on several occasions he has heard noises from the empty kitchen: pots clanging, utensils being dropped, an occasional plate shattering on the floor. He said that, each time, he has gone in to see what was going on, half expecting to find a mess. What he found was a kitchen in perfect order, pots hanging and dishes stacked where they should be. Justina Broughton, Charles Bowden’s granddaughter, has reported hearing animated discussions coming from the office and the kitchen. When she was a child during the off-season, she would often accompany her father into the closed hotel and run through the halls and empty rooms. She recalls that she often caught fleeting glimpses of something or someone out of the corner of her eye and thought nothing of it at the time. And more than once she saw an older, well-dressed man reflected in the glass cover of a painting. She had the odd sensation that he was her grandfather, and well he may have been. In any case, her experiences were always benign, even pleasant.

We were welcomed by a friendly staff. Although most of the people we talked to were a bit reluctant to discuss the paranormal activity there, they allowed us to roam around and take a look for ourselves. As we walked around, Joanne was able to confirm many of the stories we had heard from others or read about. She saw dark, fleeting figures in the dining room and hallways and heard the clanging of pots and pans coming from the kitchen, as well as music and muffled voices in the dining room. She didn’t find anything peculiar about the elevator but did sense activity on the second floor. Mostly, she confirmed what we already knew.

We couldn’t stay very late, so we were not able to experience anything that might be taking place in the wee hours, but I have no doubt of their veracity. As we left the Colony, I promised Sue I’d bring her back for a long weekend. It seemed a wonderful, romantic place for a getaway.

In his book Ghosthunting Florida, Author David Lapham visits more than 30 legendary haunted places in the Sunshine State.

The Old Jail

Haunted Bed & Breakfast welcomes guests
in Taylors Falls, MN

A tale from the Twin Cities Haunted Handbook by Jeff Morris, Garett Merk, and Dain Charbonneau

Old Jail Taylors FallsThe Old Jail Bed &  Breakfast was, in fact, at one time a jail. The history of the property started much earlier than that, however.  The original structure was actually a saloon built by the Schottmuller Brothers in 1869. The saloon building was connected to a cave, which ran to their brewery.  The beer was brewed in their brewery and then was stored in the lower cave temperatures before being served to the men at the saloon.

In 1884, the area needed a jail, which was built directly adjacent to the saloon.  Some people surmised that the reason for this was so that rowdy drunks could be more easily jailed for the night after causing a scene at the saloon.

After the building was used as a saloon, a variety of other businesses occupied the cave and the structure.  At one time, the building was used as a mortuary, again utilizing the cool temperature of the cave for preservation purposes.  In 1981, the buildings on the property, including both the jail and the old saloon, were converted in the bed & breakfast, which currently occupies the property.

Ghost Story

Twin Cities Haunted Handbook

As far as ghostly activity at this bed & breakfast, at least three ghosts have been experienced here. The first ghost is that of a cat. While there are no reports of anyone actually seeing a cat in the building, people sometimes report feeling a cat jump into their bed in the middle of the night. When the startled lodgers get up to look for the cat, they find there is no such creature anywhere.

The other ghosts, a young boy and an older woman, have been seen together in the building. Sightings of these ghosts are often preceded by a glowing orb of light. Sometimes, the ghosts actually speak. During at least one instance, the young boy was reported to say, “Don’t be afraid; we are here to watch over you.”

For more information on rates and to book a room, visit the website of The Old Jail Bed & Breakfast or call (651) 465-3112.

Jeff Morris, Garett Merk, and Dain Charbonneau explore all the best haunted locales Minneapolis has to offer. Get your Twin Cities Haunted Handbook here.

 

So Comfortable That Guests and Ghosts Never Want to Leave

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

From Ghosthunting North Carolina by Kala Ambrose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Kala Ambrose
Author Kala Ambrose

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

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