Tag Archives: road trip

Cold Lonely Nights in New Orleans

Blog by Keen intern Sarris Balcerzak based on a story from Spirit of New Orleans by Kala Ambrose.

December of 1850 was a cold winter for New Orleans. Julie was visiting her extremely wealthy lover in the comforts of his Royal Street apartment—he had not yet married. He treated Julie as well as any man with an octoroon mistress could be expected to, he gave her gifts, set her up in her own cottage, and she visited him frequently.

photoJulie desperately wanted to marry the man she loved and this conversation led to many fights. One day, her lover told her that if she stripped naked and stood on the roof—in the sleeting rain—all night and into morning, that would prove her love for him (for love would keep her warm, he said) and he would agree to marry her despite his father’s wishes—and fortune. If she failed, she would stay his mistress.

Now, Julie’s lover never expected his mistress to take the bargain seriously. He couldn’t imagine she’d think of standing outside given the weather conditions, much less stark naked. So he went downstairs to play cards with other wealthy men and gave the matter no more thought.

He returned to the bedroom late that night to find it empty. He searched the house for Julie, to no avail. Finally, he found her: lying naked on the roof, cold and completely void of life.

Rumors suggest that her lover died of heartache just one year later. Many guests of the house, however, have seen Julie. Sometimes she’s nude with hallowed eyes filled with intangible despair, other times she’s dressed in a nightgown reaching as if to embrace her lover. Her love for him never ended, she remains in the house searching for him. Others report seeing a young man playing cards. The two are never seen together. It’s as if they are still searching for each other in the afterlife. It appears that they are both caught in moments of despair, trapped by their fateful circumstances.

As time went on the house transformed into the Bottom of the Cup Tea Room—a famous psychic shop—employees of this place said Julie’s mood goes sour every December. You can still visit the location that once housed the lovers and was once the “most reliable psychic shop in town.” Be sure to pick up your copy of Spirit of New Orleans by Kala Ambrose for other ghostly tales.

Redhawk Ranch

Redhawk Ranch – Wimauma
A story about peaceful Redhawk Ranch by Dave Lapham
Redhawk Ranch
Redhawk Ranch

Chasing ghosts across the length and breadth of Florida had been a thrill so far. I’d met dozens of wonderful people and had many exciting experiences, but like any road trip, it could wear you down. And after many weeks and hundreds of miles, I was getting tired and was thinking of taking a break from my travels. That’s when I met Bud and Brenda Hoshaw of the Redhawk Ranch, five miles south of Wimauma. They invited me to their ranch and spiritual retreat center, and I quickly accepted. From the moment I passed through the gates, I felt at peace, completely relaxed. But the tranquility and serenity of the place belies its violent past. Indigenous people occupied the area around Tampa Bay and the southwest coast of Florida for thousands of years. There is strong evidence that some of them lived on what is now the Redhawk Ranch. Tocobaga and Calusa tribes made their homes along the stream that flows along the south side of the retreat center.

The Tocobaga and Calusa tribes made their homes on what is now the Redhawk Ranch

The Calusa were powerful and dominated the area from just south of Tampa Bay to Fort Myers and inland to Lake Okeechobee. Their original name, Calos, meant “Fierce People,” but they, as well as the Tocobaga to the north, were no match for the Spanish conquistadors who came into the area in the 1500s. Hernando de Soto, who landed in the Tampa Bay area in May, 1539, was especially brutal. De Soto’s troops raped, murdered, mutilated, and slaughtered innocents with abandon. They even had trained greyhounds that attacked on command. The Spanish fed the dogs human flesh. Smallpox, measles, and other diseases brought in by the Spanish further decimated the native peoples in the area. In time the land passed into the hands of white settlers, and the Indians were no more.

But something or someone wanted Native Americans back on the land. Bud and Brenda Hoshaw are Native Americans, Bud part Menominee and Brenda Cherokee and Cheyenne. The story of their acquisition of the 18.5 acres that is now the Redhawk Ranch is bizarre. About twelve years ago, Bud and Brenda lived in a beautiful log home about four miles away. This house on five acres was their dream home, and they were quite happy. Then one day Brenda was on her computer when an advertisement for an 18.5- acre tract nearby popped up. She thought it strange, because she had been researching other things, not real estate. She deleted the ad and went back to work. The ad popped up again, and over the next ten days every time she went on the computer to Google something, the advertisement came up.

Redhawk Ranch
Redhawk Ranch is available for camping, meditation, and Native American ceremonies.

Finally, Bud told her, “Let’s call the realtor. This obviously means something.” And so they did. Carl Weiss took them to the property on Route 579, which turned out to be hard to find, because the large “For Sale” sign had fallen over and couldn’t be seen from the road. The frontage was completely overgrown and there was no drive into the place, although two rotting gate posts stood several yards off the road. But as soon as they stopped and got out of the car, Brenda knew she had to have the property. Brenda is psychic, and the first thing she saw was an Indian by the old gate posts. He seemed to be a sentry or lookout. And as they walked the property, she felt and saw other entities, including a red hawk. In the northeast corner, she was almost overcome by the beauty and peace of the place. A bank in New York owned the property, and when Bud and Brenda discovered what the bank was asking, they were dismayed. They couldn’t afford it. But Brenda prayed about it and knew they were supposed to be there, so they made an offer—one third of the asking price. The bank accepted their offer without even a counter offer. Stranger still, they discovered later that another man had gone around the realtor and directly to the bank with a much better offer and was refused.

An evening of ghosthunting at Redhawk Ranch

On one recent occasion, Brenda invited several sensitive friends down for an evening of “ghosthunting.” Claire Castillo, Frank and Debbie Visicaro, Rick and Denise Incorvia, Cynthia Anderson, and Helen Bender all assembled with Bud and Brenda in their living room. They were asked to walk around the property without discussing their experiences and then write down whatever ever they saw, smelled, heard, or felt. After everyone was finished they would gather and tell the group what they had experienced. Three hours later, they all returned to the living room, excited by what they had encountered. To begin, several of them felt that the whole area had once been underwater, and as geological changes had occurred, it had become dry land. There was also some sense that a stream once existed next to the driveway. They also felt that the stream running along the south side of the property had once been much wider and deeper.

Debbie and Rick agreed that this area had once been a village. They both had a vision of a panicked group of women, children, and old men getting into two canoes on the stream in the southwest corner of the ranch and fleeing. They felt that the village was under attack by white men. Not far away, several members of the group sensed a burial ground. Farther upstream Brenda had a vision of an area where women gave birth. Possibly a hut of some kind once stood there. She said her knees went weak, and she had difficulty breathing. There was high energy all along the stream. Frank also had a vision of several Spanish swords lying on the ground near the northeast corner in the vicinity of Bud and Brenda’s Sacred Circle. He also saw what he thought was an angel, a wolf, and an owl, which he sensed were keeping them safe from deception. Near the creek he had the feeling that a child had drowned. Denise and Bud saw a chief that was made of wood, its head covered with brightly colored wooden feathers. And almost everyone saw wraith-like wolves, eagles, coyotes, dragonflies, and even a white horse, in addition to the ghosts of two young white girls. Cynthia said she sensed a brave showing off the horse in a camp right behind the house.

Redhawk Ranch
Carved owls stand watch over Red Hawk Ranch.

On this occasion and many times before and since, Cynthia, Debbie, and Brenda also met an old man, a chief, sitting in a rocking chair on Brenda’s porch. They smelled his pipe before they even saw him. He is a kindly person, and Brenda is comforted by his presence. The group stayed late into the evening, sharing with each other. And although they each had different experiences, they all agreed that, except for the area where the burial grounds were located, the whole ranch was filled with positive energy. On my visit, as usual, I saw nothing, but I was filled with peace and a sense of well-being. And I did have one experience. While walking into the Sacred Circle with Bud, the wind chimes hanging there began tinkling, which, Bud told me, almost always happened. Still, it made me smile. After we soaked up the good vibes in the circle for several minutes, Bud motioned to me, “Come on. I want to show you something else.”

And we walked out into a circle of trees in the center of the field which fronts the house. Bud produced a compass and handed it to me. When I stood exactly in the center of the ring of trees, the north arrow pointed north, but if I moved one step to the left, the needle swung left. If I stepped one pace to the right of center, it swung to the right. Very curious. Bud and Brenda have several mastiffs for security. They are sweet dogs, but Bud is careful to pen them when strangers are around, because they are very protective. On my visit, Bud was with me when I got out of my truck, so all they did was lick my hand and vie for attention. I love dogs, and we made friends quickly. When I drove away from the house and stopped across the field at the Sacred Circle for one last look, the dogs came bounding after me, crowding around and begging for attention.

When I finally walked back to my truck, opened the door, and started to step up, Butkus, their big male who doesn’t weigh much less than his namesake, sat on my foot and looked up at me with soulful eyes. He didn’t want me to leave. “I know, pal. I don’t want to leave either, but I’ve got to go.” With that he raised his rump and licked my hand goodbye. Driving away, I laughed out loud with happiness, totally revived and ready to get back on my haunted road trip. The Redhawk Ranch is a fantastic place, and when I finish with this book, I’m going back for a nice, long stay. I hope I can finally meet some of these friendly ghosts in person.

For more ghosthunting stories in Florida check out Dave Lapham’s book Ghosthunting Florida. 

Visit us at ScareFest 2014 – Booth 63

Scarefest 2014
Scarefest 2014

America’s Haunted Road Trips will be back at ScareFest 2014. The annual festival brings the biggest horror, paranormal, and pop culture stars to Lexington, Kentucky. This year’s event is held September 12 through September 14. So come and visit us at ScareFest 2014.

We will be at ScareFest with the haunted tales of all our authors. A collection of twenty-five books including our latest release Ghosthunting Oregon by noted paranormal investigator Donna Stewart.

John Kachuba
John Kachuba

Visit us as ScareFest 2014 and meet some of our authors. We are thrilled to have John Kachuba, author of Ghosthunting IllinoisGhosthunting Ohio and Ghosthunting Ohio – on the Road Again signing books on Saturday September 13 at 10 a.m. and 12 noon.

At 2 p.m. certified ghost hunter, owner and co-creator of ScareFest and our author of Ghosthunting Kentucky, Ms. Patti Starr will be at our booth. Follow us on twitter @hauntedtrips for more book signing announcements.

Attendees will be able to take advantage of special sales only available at ScareFest, enter a giveaway for a chance to win awesome haunted prizes and sign up for the most scariest community ever, a forum that will launch this fall.

For those who cannot make it to ScareFest  check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @hautedtrips for more ghostly news.

Patti Starr
Patti Starr

America’s Haunted Road Trip is a one-of-a-kind series of haunted travel guides. Each book profiles 30-100 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. Books also include travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of 50 more places the reader can visit.

About Scarefest: Over 200 vendors, film screenings, a gaming con, anime screenings, guest panels and parties await a ghoulish fans. Do you want to meet Corey Feldman of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter fame? Would you fancy an encounter with Sean Whalen (Hatchet III) or Kane Hodder (Hatchet 1, 2 & 3?)? Pack your suitcase and attend Scarefest 2014 as all three and many others will be there. Here is a link to all speakers, artists and entertainers.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to Scarefest 2014

Opening hours: Friday, September 12 from 5 p.m. -10 p.m. Saturday hours are 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday Scarefest is open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Platinum and gold ticket holders will be allowed in an hour early each day of the convention.

Ghosthunting Oregon

Ghosthunting Oregon
Ghosthunting Oregon

Donna Stewart takes readers to some of the spookiest haunts across the state including Oaks Park in Portland where visitors have reported a ghostly apparition of a child in the 1970s style dress, O’Kane Building in central Oregon where people have reported seeing “ghostly smoke” and strange lights, and Pioneer Park in Pendleton where some have reported apparitions and hearing voices. As a native Oregonian, Donna Stewart discovered her interest in the paranormal at a very early age in the early 1980s, a time when very few others were even aware of a paranormal community.

In 2004, along with cofounder Laura Schier, Stewart formed PSI of Oregon, working long and hard for a decade to make their team one of the most respected and sought after paranormal research teams in the area.

With a copy of Ghosthunting Oregon in hand, readers can visit some of the spookiest haunts across the state and compare their experiences.

America’s Haunted Road Trip is a one-of-a-kind series of haunted travel guides. Each book profiles 30-100 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. Books also include travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of 50 more places the reader can visit.

Exploring the Mighty Magic Mojo of New Orleans

Catch up with AHRT author Kala Ambrose (Ghosthunting North Carolina and Spirits of New Orleans) as she revisits her October book tour through The Big Easy. She will take you to the French Quarter, to unique shops and bookstores, and even to the Anne Rice Ball. You can read her full article HERE.


Fall Foliage and Haunted Road Trip: OH, PA, VA

Just about every city has a homegrown ghost story that is closely linked to the town’s history. If you’re interested in exploring the unknown, here a few haunted road trips near the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia borders. Explore rich history, haunted locales, and enjoy some of the best fall foliage along the way.

Willoughby, Ohio
The Willoughby ghost walk is a guided tour through the haunted historic district of downtown Willoughby, beginning at Cathi’s store on Erie Street, The Spice Peddler. The tour covers approximately twelve blocks and takes about 90 minutes. Described as a rough town, the basements of stores along the ghost walk used to be homes of brothels, speakeasies, and number rackets back in the twenties and forties.

Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
All battlefields and forts have their resident ghosts, but Fort Mifflin ranks high on the list when it comes to the paranormal. Some visitors claim Fort Mifflin to be one of the most haunted places in the country, especially during a moonlit night. There are plenty of phantom activities, but the most renowned ghosts are the Screaming Lady and the Faceless Man. Ghosts have been reported all over the fort, in buildings and out in the open. The 14 buildings of the fort sit on 50 acres on Mud Island, a stone’s throw from Philadelphia and its International Airport.

Ghosts of the Valley, Winchester, Virginia
Winchester may very well be the most haunted city in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. Located at the north end of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester is the northernmost community of any size in the state. The Fuller House Inn and Mount Hebron Cemetery are only a couple of the haunted locations in Winchester. Several ghost tours are offered in Winchester.

To find out more about these sites and more in their areas, or to discover other haunted locations in your area, check out the rest of the books in the America’s Haunted Road Trip series here.

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*All ghost hunts excerpted from AHRT books.