Tag Archives: ghost

Hotel Boulderado

Boulderado HotelWhen the hotel originally opened, Boulder was a dry county and would be until 1967, when the ban on liquor was repealed. Two years later, the hotel had remodeled its basement to open the Catacomb Bar (now called License No. 1). It was the first organization in the city to obtain a liquor license after the law was repealed.

Like many old hotels, the Boulderado is thought to be home to a number of spirits of a different kind, and many staff members have had paranormal experiences in the building. Many of the stories center around rooms 302 and 304, which are next to each other. When guests complain to the front desk about haunted activity, these rooms are the culprits most of the time.

The rooms have a connecting door that makes them a popular option for some guests, and room 302 has a porch, again making it a desirable room. Many haunted-tour guides and employees think that paranormal activity in this particular room is caused by an attempted double suicide (although I have not seen any record of this story). According to the story, a man killed himself on the bed using chloroform while his wife was taking a bath. When the woman entered the room and found her husband dead, she attempted to take the rest of the chloroform herself, but there was not enough left for a fatal dose. There are also some who say the room has hosted “multiple suicides” over the years, another one supposedly being a death by self-inflicted gunshot, but this tale is not as widely told as the one of the chloroform suicide.

Reports of activity in the adjoining suites claim that the lights and televisions will turn on by themselves. The old grandfather clock in the room has also been known to act strangely from time to time, and it will wildly spin its hands before landing on the correct time. According to the Boulder County Paranormal Research Society, a staff member was taking an American Indian guest to room 304, the only room available that night, and that visitor would not even touch the door. That person claimed to feel a spiritual presence in the room and left to stay at a different hotel, even though it was very early in the morning.

Because of all this, the hotel has been known to keep the rooms open to the public on occasion for ghost tours. One of the other spirits believed to cause activity in the building is a woman in a white dress who has been seen walking around the hotel’s hallways. Kitchen items have been known to move around for no reason. Sometimes windows and doors will open on their own, despite being locked. One staff member said that while staying in room 306, he woke feeling like something was holding him to the bed so that he could not get up. There are also unexplained scratching sounds on the walls.

Boulder has long attracted visitors looking for a mountain getaway in Colorado. The city lies at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, is a short drive from several skiing hot spots, and is right in the middle of a drive from Denver to Estes Park. Paranormal enthusiasts looking to hit as many haunted locations as possible (and still make it to the Stanley Hotel) can use this as an in-between location for their route.

Ghosthunting-ColoradoGhosthunting Colorado is the latest book in the popular America’s Haunted Road Trip Series. The guide covers 30 haunted locations in Colorado. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.

About the author: Kailyn Lamb holds a degree in journalism from Mississippi State University. She has always had a fascination with otherworldly things, and she devours horror movies, Stephen King novels, and ghost stories as often as she can. Kailyn lives in Denver, CO.

Photo credits
Hotel Boulderado: By Hustvedt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Mackinac Island

In her book Ghosthunting Michigan, author Helen Pattskyn explores 30 of the scariest spots in the Wolverine State. Today, she takes us on a tour of Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island—One of the Most Haunted Places in Michigan

Mackinac IslandEarlier in the year, I visited Mackinac Island, which is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the state of Michigan. It seemed little wonder, given the age of the settlement. Even before Europeans arrived in 1634, the island was inhabited by members of the Ojibwa tribe, who considered the island to be the home of the “Gitche Manitou,” or “Great Spirit.” Unfortunately, while I had a great stay, during the first two days I was there, the only people I met were seasonal employees who either didn’t know anything about the island’s hauntings or didn’t want to talk about them. On my last day, I decided to get up early, walk into town, and talk to a few of the locals. They were much more helpful.

Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island—Well Known for Ghosts

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-18-38-amThe island is a popular summer destination for Michiganders, most of whom come to get away from the city for a few hours and indulge in Mackinac’s most famous commodity: fudge. I could easily have gained 10 pounds in one weekend alone if it weren’t for all the walking I did, and my family would not have let me back in the door if I hadn’t brought home a half pound each of everybody’s favorite flavors. Mackinac is accessible only by boat or small plane, and there are no motor vehicles permitted on the island. To get around, visitors walk, rent bicycles, or take a horse-drawn cab. Horses can also be rented for exploring the island’s many beaches and trails. While many people only go for a day trip, I visited in the off season and got a great deal on my hotel room, proving that it doesn’t have to be as expensive of a weekend getaway as a friend had warned me it would be. I stayed at the Mission Point Resort, which is so well known for its ghosts that the resort was visited by the crew of the SyFy channel’s Ghost Hunters in March 2011.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-25-01-amThere are a lot of ghost stories circulating about the Mission Point Resort, which was originally built in 1825 by Christian missionaries Amanda and William Ferry. Many guests report seeing the spirits of children who died on the property during a tuberculosis outbreak in the mission’s early days. The infected children were quarantined in a cellar to protect the rest of the population; few survived. The resort’s most famous spirit, however, is probably Harvey, a lovelorn man who jumped to his death from one of the cliffs behind the resort after his girlfriend broke off their relationship. Harvey’s room was located in what is now staff quarters, but guests have reported seeing him wandering other parts of the hotel as well. In fact, I mentioned this project to an acquaintance when I returned from my trip to Mackinac, and he said a friend of his worked a summer at Mission Point a few years ago and declared the place “totally freaky.”

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-26-09-amWhen I visited the Baldwin Theatre, administrative manager Vonnie Miller told me a story about her experiences on Mackinac Island. When Vonnie was a teenager, she visited the island and snuck out one night after curfew. She couldn’t recall exactly where in town she’d been, just that she looked up to see a man standing under a light, watching her. She was sure she was going to get caught—only a second later, the man was gone. Vonnie told me that after she saw that, she hurried back to where she was supposed to be staying.

I did a little nighttime investigating at Fort Mackinac when I was on the island. The British built the fort in 1780, and it was the scene of two battles during the war of 1812. Allegedly, the spirits of many long-dead soldiers still patrol the fields behind the fort at night, perhaps not realizing that they’re dead and the war is long over. I didn’t see any ghosts, just a few bats . . . but it was kind of dark, and maybe I was just a little bit nervous being up there all by myself at 11 o’clock at night. I’d just taken the walking ghost tour.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-22-39-amIn addition to the walking tour, sponsored by the bookstore in downtown Mackinac, the Mission Point Resort has started a yearly tradition of hosting a “haunted weekend” in September. Guests booked into the special package are given the opportunity to participate in a real paranormal investigation and decide for themselves if the place is actually haunted.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-27-56-amWhen I go back for another visit, I’m not only going to schedule more time to explore the rest of the island, but I’ll probably stay at the Cloghaun Inn, a little bed-and-breakfast in the heart of town. According to the owner of the coffee shop where I ate breakfast on my last day, the bed-and-breakfast is “definitely haunted.” I stopped by to talk to the owners before I left, but they were in the middle of breakfast service, and I had to catch my ferry home. Not that I’m looking for an excuse to go back or anything. . . .

Photo Credits
Mackinac Island, east shore and downtown Mackinac: By N8huckins [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Star Line ferry on Mackinac Island: Michael Barera [CC BY-SA 4.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Mission Point Resort and theater (black and white pictures): By Spcorcoran (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Ghosts of Graceland Cemetery

Graceland CemeteryThe whole concept of cemeteries as good places to find ghosts has been under discussion recently. Many psychic researchers believe that ghosts haunt places that have some meaningful relevance to their former lives. Sometimes these places recalled happy times: the houses in which they were children or, perhaps, the homes in which they raised their own families. On a grimmer note, these places could be prisons or hospitals—or other places where they spent unhappy, traumatic, or eventful times. But why a cemetery, a place where no living person longs to be and a place that, at most, is only a brief stopping point between death and the hereafter? If you were a ghost, would you rather wander around some old cemetery, or would you rather go back to your home or to some other happy place? Still, ghosts are found in cemeteries, possibly because they are somehow trapped there, bound to the spot in a psychic force that we do not understand. Noted psychic researchers Lorraine and Ed Warren would say that cemeteries are spawning grounds for evil spirits and may be portals to a nasty and demonic realm. My own experiences have shown me that far more hauntings occur outside of cemeteries than in them, but here are some stories about graveyard ghosts.

Graceland Cemetery in Chicago does have its ghosts. The most noted Graceland ghost is that of little Inez Clarke, who died in 1880 at the age of 6, apparently killed by lightning while on a family picnic. Her grief-stricken parents commissioned a life-sized statue of their daughter to be placed upon a stone base above her grave. The statue was shielded from the elements by a protective glass box.

The stories associated with the ghost of Inez include strange weeping sounds that are heard near the statue, as well as the vision of a child who vanishes into thin air near her grave. The most interesting stories, however, concern the statue itself. It is said that sometimes the statue will disappear from within its glass box. This has been noted especially during thunderstorms, which seem to make sense because the child was killed by lightning. Perhaps poor Inez belatedly runs for cover as she relives the awful day she died. Psychic researcher Troy Taylor says that more than one security guard at Graceland has reported seeing the empty box, only later to find the statue returned to its usual place inside. One guard quit shortly after finding the glass box empty one night.

Graceland CemeteryAnother story from Graceland is not so much a ghost story as it is simply a weird legend. The final resting place of Dexter Graves—I’m serious, that’s his name—is marked by a larger-than-life statue called “Eternal Silence.”

It is an extremely creepy statue of a brooding man wrapped up in a voluminous robe. One arm, buried beneath the folds of the robe, is raised parallel to the ground, covering the mouth and lower half of the face. Only the eyes and nose are visible beneath the cowl of the robe. Over the years since Graves died in 1831, the effects of weather have turned the statue pale green, all except for the face, which remains black, having been protected from the weather by the robe’s deep folds.

The legend says that anyone who looks into the figure’s face will catch a glimpse of his own death.

For more hair-raising stories from Illinois, check out Ghosthunting Illinois by John B. Kachuba.

The White Lady of Union Cemetery Easton, Connecticut

Union Cemetery EastonOne of Connecticut’s best-known ghosts haunts the Union Cemetery in Easton. The cemetery sits beside the centuries-old Easton Baptist Church near the intersection of Routes 59 and 136. The locals call the ghost “The White Lady,” and she has been seen by dozens of witnesses since the mid-twentieth century.

The legend of The White Lady contains several explanations about who she was and how she came to haunt the cemetery and nearby Route 59. One account says she was buried in the cemetery after she died during childbirth, and her confused spirit is desperately looking for her child. Two other versions say she was the victim of foul play. She was either murdered near the turn of the twentieth century and her body was thrown down a sinkhole behind the church, or her husband killed her sometime in the 1940s.

The White Lady of Union Cemetery Easton Appears Directly in Front of People’s Cars as They Drive by the Cemetery

Though her ghost has been seen moving about the cemetery late at night, most encounters take place on Route 59. The White Lady has a habit of appearing directly in front of people’s cars as they drive by the Union Cemetery, causing them to break hard and swerve to avoid impact. Any driver who has stopped to make sure the woman is all right finds no one around. A local fireman driving by the cemetery one night thought he struck a dark-haired woman in a white dress, who had walked right out into the road. Not only did this man feel the impact, he also discovered a dent on the hood of his vehicle. A search of the area turned up nothing.

union-cemetery-eastonWriter and paranormal enthusiast Jeff Belanger told me he grew up in this part of Connecticut and had heard many people talk about the White Lady. Jeff was once shown a video clip that was shot by the legendary paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who staked out the Union Cemetery one night in 1990. The Warrens had set up a video camera on a tripod in front of the main gates to the old burial ground and waited to see if The White Lady would make an appearance. Later that night they recorded nearly six seconds of video that Jeff Belanger called “compelling.”

Ed Warren told Belanger that at about 2:40 a.m., he heard the sound of a woman weeping in the cemetery. When Warren looked out into the field of headstones, he could see little points of light coalescing into the shape of a woman. This female form then began to move in his direction. Being the fearless ghosthunter that he was (Ed passed away in 2006), Ed tried to walk towards the specter, but as he did so, it dissipated and vanished from sight. Belanger said the video recording captured what looked like “a misty white form” taking shape into the outline of a human. The form then moved several feet through the graveyard before it faded into the ground by the front gates.

The Union Cemetery is closed after sunset, and the police do take notice of trespassers. So, if you do go for a visit, please be respectful.

To explore the scariest spots in Southern New England, check out Ghosthunting Southern New England by Andrew Lake.


Haunted Indigo Hotel


Sounds of cannon fire heard in haunted historic Indigo Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ghost Dogs of Orozimbo Plantation

Ghost Dogs spoil escape of Mexican President Santa Anna

Ghost Dogs
Antonio Lopez Santa Anna

The Battle of San Jacinto occurred on April 21, 1836, and lasted a mere 18 minutes. Sam Houston led the Texas army to fight Santa Anna, the president of Mexico, resulting in the loss of hundreds of men, only nine of which were Texas soldiers. San Jacinto was the victory that ended the Texas Revolution and secured Texas’ independence from Mexico. Santa Anna was caught dressed as a common soldier the day after the battle, and he was held prisoner at several plantations in the South while his captors negotiated his fate.

He was eventually transported to the Orozimbo Plantation on the Brazos River, less than a dozen miles north of West Columbia. A Mexican officer accompanied by several of his men made plans to advance on the plantation and free their president. The thick trees bordering the river provided an excellent cover as they advanced one stormy evening, taking advantage of the sound of the pouring rain  to conceal their approach to the farmhouse in which Santa Anna was held prisoner. Just as they were about to rush the guards, an eerie and unmistakable sound of howling dogs came quickly towards them, and the Mexican men were forced to retreat. Those keeping guard at the farmhouse went to investigate, but they found no animals in the area.

The howling dogs had been heard by many, yet no one could explain where they had come from, as they had not been seen. Speculation arose that they may have belonged to a man who went off to war and never came home, forever leaving his faithful friends to search for him.

It has been well over a century since Santa Anna was held at Orozimbo, yet stories of the phantom dogs never seem to fade away. In fact, many people still claim to hear the pack roaming through the dense jungle of trees near the property, letting out an eerie howl as they approach. While Santa Anna was eventually allowed to return to his country, the ghosts dogs are still—and might forever be— keeping watch over Orozimbo Plantation.

The Lone Star State is so vast it includes just about everything — including ghosts! For more haunted stories, check out April Slaughter’s book Ghosthunting Texas

Photo credit:
By Yinan Chen [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Ghost Hunting 101

Ghost Hunting 101 with L’Aura Hladik

L'Aura Hladik
L’Aura Hladik

For those new to the research of ghosts and the paranormal, here is a list of terms used frequently throughout this book and the paranormal research community.

Orb or Orbs—These appear as balls of white light that can be translucent or opaque. Sometimes they appear to have a hue or color, either red or blue. In most cases, orbs are determined to be the result of the digital camera taking a picture of dust, pollen, or an insect. In most cases, the orbs show up in pictures but are undetected by the photographer’s eye.

Ectoplasmic Mist or Vapor—This anomaly is an amorphous cloudy or smoky appearance in photos. This mist shows up in photos, even though the photographer doesn’t see any obstruction or interference when taking the photo.

Vortex (Vortices-pl.)—This anomaly appears as a tornado or funnel-shaped mist in photos.

Full Body Apparition—The ultimate capture for a paranormal investigator, full body apparitions can appear as solid as you and I or as a shadow or pile of dust in the form of a human. They can be seen with the human eye as well as in photographs.

EMF (Electromagnetic Field)—The device, an electromagnetic field strength meter, is used to track the EMFs during an investigation. It is theorized that a spirit or ghost will cause a fluctuation detected on the meter between 0.2 to 0.4 milligauss.

EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena)—Typically, the spirit or ghost’s voice is not heard with the human ear but is picked up by either digital or analog audio recorders. The movie White Noise dictated the accurate definition of EVP but instead portrayed ITC—Instrumental Transcommunication. (ITC—voices of the spirit world are supposedly captured by having one’s camcorder record the white noise displayed on one’s TV set.)

Residual Haunting—This is the effect of a traumatic or emotionally charged event leaving its mark in time so as to play itself over and over. Some residuals are audio only, some are video only, and some are both audio and video. Residual haunting is non-interactive with the living or the surroundings.

Ghosthunting New Jersey
Ghosthunting New Jersey

About the author:  L’Aura Hladik’s interest in the paranormal started in childhood and culminated with living in an actual haunted rental house when she was in the eighth grade. In 1993, she officially began hunting for ghosts; in 1998, she founded the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society, which is the largest organization of its kind in the “Garden State.”

In addition to ghost hunting, writing about ghosts, and presenting her findings to schools and libraries over the years, she’s also appeared on the nationally syndicated talk show Montel Williams, as well as local cable shows and New Jersey’s own radio station, 101.5 FM.

L’Aura’s ghost research takes her beyond the borders of New Jersey to other states—even other countries, such as Ireland. Yet the “Jersey Girl” always comes home to her favorite haunt. One of L’Aura’s most prized possessions is her 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood, affectionately known as Jezzabelle.

L’Aura Hladik is the author of Ghosthunting New Jersey where you can find 34 tales about the scariest spots in the Garden State.


Hotel Bethlehem


Hotel Bethlehem is full of ghostly activity

Hotel BethlehemOne of the biggest paranormal hot spots in Pennsylvania is in the Bethlehem area in the Lehigh Valley, and Hotel Bethlehem ranks as the number one ghost destination. Large, stately, and elegant, the hotel anchors the town’s historic district, steeped in the culture of the founding Moravians. It is full of ghostly activity.

The hotel teems with ghosts. Numerous guests report the same or similar experiences in certain rooms and areas. The hotel also is popular with paranormal investigators. Every hotel has its “most haunted” room or rooms; at the Hotel Bethlehem, the winner is Room 932. An apparition of a man appears at the bedside in the middle of the night. One couple described him as wearing an undershirt and boxer shorts. He vanished when they turned on the light. The couple was so unnerved that they checked out that night.

A woman staying in Room 932 went into the bathroom, turned on the light, and saw an entirely different room, one with pink wallpaper. Perhaps she saw a glimpse of the room as it had been in the past. Room 932 may be the hotel’s most famous haunted guest room, but many of the other rooms also have ghostly activity. Plumbing turns off and on without explanation, other apparitions are seen, phantom voices are heard, and objects are moved about.

Among the ghostly residents are several that stand out for their frequent appearances and details:

– Francis “Daddy” Thomas welcomed and attended to visitors who came to Bethlehem. He was known for his kindness and humor. His ghost has been sighted in the boiler room area.

– Mrs. Brong was an innkeeper of the old Eagle Hotel with her husband until they were fired by the Moravian Church in 1833. The Church officials were mortified by their unacceptable and outrageous behavior. Mr. Brong liked to get so drunk that he had to be laid out on a bench. Mrs. Brong shocked guests by going barefoot while she worked. Mr. Brong has not lingered, but Mrs. Brong is seen by staff and guests in the restaurant and kitchen, dressed in attire of the 1800s. Still defiant of the propriety of her era, she wears no shoes or stockings.

– Mary “May” Yohe was born at the old Eagle Hotel in 1866 and was still a child when she danced and sang for the hotel guests in the lobby. The Moravians sent her to Paris to learn opera. By 1888, she was famous on stage for her singing and dancing––and off stage for her torrid romances. During the 1890s, she went to England and fell in love with Lord Francis Clinton Hope, whom she married. Hope owned the infamous Hope Diamond, a large and rare blue diamond that was named for the family and reputed to be cursed. Mary often wore the gem. Did it doom her marriage? Something did, for May left Hope for an American soldier, who later turned the tables and left her. May’s ghost sings, and the player piano in the lounge frequently plays on its own. May is thought to be the ghost of a little girl seen in the exercise room on the third floor and also in the lobby.

Rosemary Ellen GuileyHotel Bethlehem is proud of its heritage, both historical and ghostly. Add to that its elegant ambience, finely appointed rooms, and superb dining, and you have an all-in-one haunted vacation.

For more about the history of Hotel Bethlehem and other haunted places in Pennsylvania, check out Ghosthunting Pennsylvania by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

Trombone Tommy – Sounds from the Afterlife

Trombone Tommy continues playing, even after death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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