Haunt Jaunts : Voodoo and My First Horse-Drawn Carriage Ghost Tour

With Courtney Mroch

The first thing I spotted as we took a jaunt to scope out the Jekyll Island Club & Resort’s surroundings was the A-frame sign listing all of the horse-drawn carriage tour options. Of course, the ghost tour caught my eye.

“A horse-drawn carriage ghost tour?” I exclaimed to my husband. “I’ve never taken one of those before. In fact, have we ever even taken a carriage ride together?”

“I’m sure we have.”

“Where?” I challenged, pretty sure we hadn’t.

He thought about it for a second.

“I don’t know, but it seems like we did once upon a time.”

“Well, to make sure we do, can we take one tonight if they’re offering the ghost tour? Wouldn’t that be so romantic?”

His expression answered better than any words could. His idea of romance and mine were very different.

Begrudgingly he agreed to the tour, though. Probably for a few reasons.

  1. We were only there the one night.
  2. We didn’t have anything else planned that evening, so he couldn’t very well make excuses for why we couldn’t.
  3. I think he was hoping that since it was past spooky season, as well as being the island’s offseason, there wouldn’t be a ghost tour.

Sadly for him, but lucky for me, there was. We made our reservation and then continued our exploration.

Along the way, we passed a shiny ebony horse pulling a white carriage whose occupants were getting a history tour of the island. I heard the driver call out, “Whoa, Voodoo, whoa!” as she maneuvered the carriage off the trail in front of one of the millionaire’s cottages.

At the same time that my husband said, “Did you hear the horse’s name?” I said, “Voodoo? I hope that’s the horse we get for our tour!”

I’ll save you the suspense. We did.

I’ve taken a few ghost tours in my day. Ones on foot, some by car or bus, but never in a horse-drawn carriage led by a horse named Voodoo.

Jekyll Island is nestled along south Georgia’s coast. It was a crisp late November night that we met the driver (who also served as our ghost tour guide) at the designated pick up point. We climbed aboard where a seat with thick, heavy blankets waited for us to bundle ourselves under them.

Our guide was wonderful. I wish I could remember her name. I thought I had written it down. I guess I was so excited about Voodoo and my first horse-drawn carriage ghost tour that I didn’t.

To my surprise, she had a plethora of stories to tell. I knew the Jekyll Island Club where we were staying for the night was rumored to be haunted. That’s why I’d booked us there.

I also knew from a previous visit to the island that the former cottage that had once housed the bookstore allegedly had a ghost. The last time I’d visited had been with my sister. Like me, she couldn’t pass a bookstore and not stop in.

It had been my sister’s birthday. She loved riding bikes, so my present to her was taking her up to Jekyll, renting bikes for the day and cruising all over the island.

Stopping in the bookstore also allowed us a little rest stop. That’s how my sister got to talking to the owner and somehow it came out the place was haunted.

This was years before I started my site, Haunt Jaunts, but it was another reason why I did. Back then I was always going on unofficial haunt jaunts. Except for that day. Ghosts hadn’t been on my mind. Yet, a story of one still fell in my lap.

I’d forgotten about that until our guide related a story about Phoebe, a little girl of one of the staff members back in the day who allegedly disappeared from the island. Her body was never found, but that’s who some think they see when they spot a child spirit in a couple of places on the Jekyll Island Club’s property. Among them being a small cottage that used to be the bookstore, which had since relocated and its former building now stood vacant.

But before we got to the part about the bookstore, our guide shared a little history about the island and its former inhabitants.

It had started as a private hunting club for America’s elite, such as Rockefeller, Pullitzer, and even the Macy family. However, they soon decided it would make a fine place to get away with their families in the winter, so several of them built “cottages.”

Their idea of a cottage, however, resulted in stunning seaside mini-mansions in a variety of architectural styles.

I have been enamored (and obsessed) with the cottages ever since I first saw them back in the late 1990s. I had only seen them in the daytime previously, though, as I’d never been fortunate enough to stay overnight on the island — until the night of the tour.

Voodoo led us down the live oak-lined trails where Spanish moss created a canopy above us that fluttered in the breeze. One of the first ghost story stops was the Hollybourne Cottage.

It would turn out to be my favorite stop.

Almost all of the cottages have lighting illuminating them at night. Hollybourne was no different. However, when Voodoo circled the carriage around the drive, the light cast a marvelous silhouette of his head against the cottage’s grey tabby facade.

For a moment I felt I had leaped back in time. Except I remembered what age I was in and that we had cameras on our phones. I scrambled to pull mine out so I could capture the sight of Voodoo in the light because it was Gothic and haunting and I wanted to capture that memory.

If ever there was a time for a ghost to appear, that would’ve been it. One did manifest — by way of the ghost tour guide’s tales.

Allegedly a little girl died in the house. Some claim to have seen her face appear when they stand before the home’s glass front door.

I didn’t have time to test it then, but I made a note to go back and try the next morning. (She didn’t appear for me, but that’s okay. Perhaps she sensed I might not have been as impressed by that as I was by the site of Voodoo in the light the night before.)

As we pulled away from Hollybourne, our guide asked, “What room are you in?”

I told her and she said, “I always ask because the little girl’s mother haunts room 3101 in the Annex.”

I think I surprised her when I said, “Darn. That’s just down the hall from us.”

I don’t think she meets many people hoping to stay in a haunted hotel room.

She shared other tales of the island’s ghostly inhabitants, like the helpful phantom bellman who assists wedding parties staying at the hotel.

The island had been abandoned during the Civil War and the animals had all been left behind. After the war, when people returned, they were trying to round up the animals, including a white stallion, but he kept eluding them. While chasing him, he ran into the water and drowned. Some say disembodied horse noises coming from the water belong to him.

She even showed us the photo of a ghost face in the Sans Souci, which was essentially an apartment building Rockefeller built. His quarters were on the top floor.  Some report smelling cigar smoke. He had a penchant for smoking them.

Does his restless spirit still roam there? Our guide believed he does. She showed us a photo of the building. It was taken during the daytime, but she zoomed in to show us a white specter’s face looking out of one of the top floor windows. (I spent a great deal of time the next morning trying to recreate the shot, to no avail.)

But the scariest part of the night was when Voodoo led us around a curve and not even five feet away stood a deer. Not that I’m afraid of deer, and maybe “startle” is a better word, because that’s what happened. It startled me to see the deer appear seemingly out of nowhere.

It was real, though. Not a ghost. It stood contemplating us inquisitively, its ears twitching a bit, its tail flicking a time or two. Voodoo clopped away, leaving the deer to watch us as we drove off.

As ghost tours go, it was short. Only about 30 minutes. But it couldn’t have been more perfect. A chill in the hushed air. Snuggled up next to the love of my life. The gentle glow from the few street lights interspersed with the carriage’s lantern. A perfect romantic atmosphere for listening to ghost stories.

And then there was Voodoo, who added an extra bit of pizzazz to make the evening pure magic.

Paranormal/ Hauntings Month: The Old Charlseton Jail by Violet Tempest

 

Excerpt from: Legends of Old by Violet Tempest

The Old Charleston Jail, located at 21 Magazine Street, Charleston, SC is well known to locals as being haunted. Some refuse to go near this structure while thrill seekers buy tickets from Bulldog Tours for guided tours. The long history of this jail does give creditability to its many hauntings. Having been used as a prison for over 200 years there was a great deal of suffering that occurred on the grounds and in the cells. (pg. 72)

My personal experience of the tour and afterward:

When our daughter was eleven years old, my husband and I decided it would be fun to start a Halloween tradition of going on a different Ghost Tour in Charleston, SC every year. These would allow us to spend time as a family and introduce our daughter to Lowcountry History.

The area goes back to 1670 when settlers landed on the shores of the Cooper River, founding what is now known as Charlestown Landing. Our first tour was a family friendly tour of the old churches and graveyards in Downtown Charleston.

Two years later we decided to take it up a notch. That’s when we took The Haunted Jail Tour.

By this time our daughter was familiar with the lore of the area, and like us she found the old tales intriguing. Little did we know that the tour would change our views on ghost tours.

We booked a tour for the Saturday before Halloween of 2008. It was chilly evening, and the tour didn’t start until after dark. WE made an event of it, like we had done in the past. Going out to dinner, and our daughter invited her best friend to go with us. The four of us were looking forward to a fun spooky filled evening.

We arrived at the Old Jail with about 20 minutes to spare, so we, along with others who were arriving for the tour, had to stand outside while the tour in progress finished up. Standing on the sidewalk we could hear an occasional loud bang followed by a scream or two. The girls moved to the sidewalk opposite the street, and we weren’t too far behind them. Even across the street we could feel the heavy despair that hung around the old building and grounds.

Finally, the tour ended, and it was time for us to take ours. Friendly, joking banter floated around as strangers teased one another. Nothing that anyone in the group took seriously. I mean, everyone knows the noises on these tours are false.

Right?

Before we could enter, we were told the rules; the most important was to stay together, no one was to wander off. Then the tour began. Standing outside the front entrance our tour guide told us that what is now known as the old jail started out in a hospital for the homeless and other impoverished people.

Years later, in 1802 that building was torn down and replaced with the building that currently stands. Over the years the building that was designed to hold 128 prisoners would at times have so many occupants that there was standing room only. Not only inside, but outside as well. The grounds would be packed with barely enough room for the prisoners to move, and men and women were placed together. They did not separate them.

As you can imagine, the conditions created disease, and many died before they were released. The city kept a body cart on the property where the dead bodies were stacked on top of one another.

When the cart was full, it was then driven to the river, and the bodies dumped. Our guide said that there were many times the bodies piled up before they decayed and so another site, further down the river, would have to be used. Her words painted a vivid image and my flesh crawled as my mind carried me back to that time.

That wasn’t the end of the horror she painted for us.

We followed her inside, and she showed us the shackles that are still on the walls. The torture devise varied from room to room. Our guide told us how the prisoners who were considered the worst of the Charleston population were tortured, shackled, and starved.

Next, we went up the narrow staircase and saw the huge rooms where,  in the winter there wasn’t any heat nor, of course, in the summer any air conditioning.

The criminals weren’t shown any kindness.

These harsh conditions made it almost impossible to survive. It is approximated that by the time the jail closed in 1939 over 10,000 people died on the property.

It was in the last room where we heard the tale of Lavina Fisher, according to legend she’s the country’s first female serial killer. And yes, while we were in the room a loud bang sounded out. Where exactly it came from I cannot say. The sound echoed all around us. Now, even though I have experienced the unexplained since I was a small child, I was skeptical.

“But surely it was Lavina?” some may be asking. I do not know. Personally, I feel it was all sound effects the tour company added to give their customers a thrill. I can tell you the despair that bore down on us before we started the tour did not leave me. There were times that it felt like someone was behind me, but when I looked no one was there. Other times a cold reached my bones that wasn’t from the chilly autumn air.

Throughout the whole tour I couldn’t shake the feeling of evil all around me.

No one was injured on the tour, and everyone took plenty of pictures. Nothing unusual showed in ours and driving away we talked about the history that we had learned that night. Little did we know that our experience with the old jail was far from over.

Over the next year our daughter and I could not shake the feeling of something watching us at all times. Even in our sleep. After a couple of months things progressed. Our daughter began staying in her room all the time and was always sleepy and moody. We chalked it up to her becoming a teenager, even though that didn’t squelch our concerns.

Then she started showing me her sketches. They were full of an evil crawling out of the darkness of her closest. It wasn’t until one night while she stayed with a friend that I discovered what was really happening to her.

My dear husband snores, and when I say snore I mean shake the walls snore. So that night I was awoken by what can only be called an Earth-Shattering Rumble, I went down to her room and crawled into her empty bed. The snoring was tolerable down there, and I eventually fell back asleep. How long I was asleep I do not know. But while I lay there on my right side, under her comforter, deep asleep,  I felt something jump on the bed, placing hands and feet on either side of me, startling me awake.

At first I thought it was our dog, and I turned to pet her and get her to snuggle up beside me.

What I saw was not our dog.

From the streetlight that peeked through the curtains, I could make out the thing on my daughter’s bed straddling me was a deep, dark, green. Its skin was slimy in appearance. Its squished face did not have a nose, but instead two slits located where one should’ve been. Two glowing red embers for eyes, and a thin, toad-like mouth. When it saw me, those lips pulled back in a snarl showing me sharp, pointy, yellow teeth.

That snarl told me it was not expecting me to be there. It raised its thin right arm and swung claws like a big cat at me.

I jumped from the bed. My muscles quivering, my heart pounding.

“How dare you! You meant to attack my daughter!” I said. The creature jumped down off the bed, and with a laugh that was full of evil, made its way toward me. I did the only thing I could think of.

I stood there in the room, shaking my head, anger filling every pore of my body. “No! You will not get away with this.”

I placed my right palm in the air, toward the ceiling, toward the universe. With my left hand I pointed at the creature and with every fiber of my being I said the only thing I could think of.

“I call on the power of the one who created me. I call upon the power of the supreme one to send you back to the depths of Hell from which you came from!”

As those words left my lips, I felt a warm energy enter my right palm, surge down my arm, through my core, before shooting out my left arm. A bright blue beam shown from my left hand.

The creature’s eyes grew big. Its slimy face filled with fear as its mouth opened in a silent scream. Then it was gone, and I was left standing alone in the center of my daughter’s room.

Looking around, I realized what had happened. A demon had come to attack my daughter and to its surprise found me instead. My heart felt like it was going to beat its way out of my chest, and my body trembled as fear started to take the place of anger. Finally satisfied it was gone, at least for the night, I turned and walked quickly back to our bed where my husband was still sound asleep, his snores now a sound of comfort. I slid back under our covers and laid there the rest of the night.

Sleep did not return.

Come morning, I got up and went back into the room. The bed was still a mess like I’d left it and in the light of day, the previous night’s experience seemed unreal. My mind quickly brought up the images of my daughter’s sketches and I knew that thing had been after her. And I also knew where it had come from.

For some reason it latched on to us at the jail. Coming home with us; a sort of supernatural souvenir.

I talked to my daughter and husband about what happened that night and that’s when we found out the creature had been terrorizing her. It had thrown her clothes across the room. Even lifted her up and spun her around. I told her what I had done, and that I hoped that took care of it.

She changed rooms to what was the spare room. Who could blame her?

Never again has the creature made an appearance and no longer do we feel like something is watching us from the shadows. I will tell you this, The Old Charleston Jail is one place I refuse to go back to.

If you decide to take the tour remember this, there’s no telling what souvenir you will end up with.

To learn more about The Old Charleston City Jail and other South Carolina Lowcountry legends read Legends of Old by Violet Tempest with Bonus Feature section with short stories never before published.

Available as Kindle Unlimited, eBook, and paperback on Amazon.com. Click link above to purchase.

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Rises from the Depths for its 10th Annual Season

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Rises from the Depths for its 10th Annual Season Sept. 26 – Nov 2
Navigate a Spine-Chilling Journey of Chaos & Dread in Dark Harbor’s Newest Maze: ROGUE; Sink to Never-Before-Seen Depths of the Historically Haunted Ship at Door 13 & The Boiler Room
Tickets on Sale Now

WHAT:
Southern California’s most terrifyingly authentic haunt, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, will once again rise from the depths for its 10th season for 23-nights of terror September 26 through November 2, 2019. Brace for impact for Dark Harbor’s most anticipated season yet with 6 mazes- including the all-new ROGUE Maze, 13 bars, fire shows, aerialists, sliders, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Sinister Swings, Panic! 4-D Experience, zombie DJs, Barrel Room Tastings, R.I.P. Lounge, and much more.

WHEN:
Sept. 26 through Nov. 2, select nights

WHERE:
The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90802

NEW EXPERIENCES:

  • Brace for impact as The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor releases a storm of fear like no other in the all-new maze: Rogue. Dark Harbor’s newest maze will take guests through the frightening voyage that nearly changed history. Sparking the creation of the Hollywood blockbuster The Poseidon Adventure, the 95-foot wall of blackness sent waves of panic through the marine community and re-defined science as we know it.
  • In one of the newly re-imagined mazes onboard the historic ocean liner, attendees can now walk through the infamous Door 13. Dubbed one of the most haunted areas on the ship, legend has it that an 18-year old crewman was crushed to death by Door 13 in 1967, and now Dark Harbor guests can walk-thru the iconic location.
  • Guests can also venture 6-fathoms below sea level submerged in the notorious Boiler Room to indulge in the newest secret bar offered at Dark Harbor nightly.

NEWLY-INTENSIFIED RETURNING MAZES:

  • FEAST: Face the terrifying wrath of Chef as his vengeful staff are joined by the lost souls of poisoned passengers, all hell-bent on serving the living to the dead.
  • INTREPID: Wander through the path of the Iron Master’s wicked wrongdoings to an evil sea witch’s lair, to reveal the deadly pact that drove the shipbuilder to spend eternity as a horrific half-metal creature trapped in an iron Hell.
  • CIRCUS: Escape the Ringmaster and sneak behind the curtains to unveil the horrors lurking within the shadows and dark corners of the Big Top.
  • B340: Retrace the steps of the detective working towards answering the savage 1946 murders onboard The Queen Mary, discover what truly drove Samuel to kill while seeing the true carnage left behind in stateroom B-340.
  • LULLABY: Join the paranormal experts and ship guides who claim there are far more horrendous secrets behind Mary’s demise and her attachment to her loving teddy.

ADDITIONAL ATTRACTIONS:

  • The PYRE: The Voodoo Priestess and her Tribe have taken over The Pyre – Fire Stage for nightly captivating and death-defying fire performances.
  • AERIAL RING: Nightly Aerialists will emerge and rise above all with nightly death-defying aerial shows throughout the evening.
  • SLIDER ALLEY: Sparks will fly and hell will be raised as dozens of Dark Harbor’s sinister sliders roam and take to the streets emitting sparks throughout the fog filled harbor as they slide and startle in every direction.
  • 4-D PANIC EXPERIENCE: Sit back, grip your seat and don’t PANIC for the last ride of your life in our 4-D Theater!
  • CREEPY CABANAS: Host a private soiree, order up a freak, and enjoy the views of various shows throughout the night.
  • R.I.P. LOUNGE: Take in the sights with a view of Dark Harbor from above with Graceful Gale in the newly designed RIP Lounge hosting cocktails and a buffet that’s truly to-die-for.
  • SINISTER SWINGS: Take a spin on the infamous Michael Jackson Neverland Ranch Swings that light the sky.
  • MONSTER PARTY: Cap off the night with a party like no other. Dance and let loose with the spirits whose energy never seems to die.

TICKETS:
General admission tickets start at $20 online
General Admission + Fast Fright starts at $74
General Admission + Evil Express starts at $94
General Admission + Evil Express + Ultimate Scream starts at $209
RIP Lounge Passports start at $39 (Admission not Included)
Email VIP@EpicEntertainmentGroup.com for details on Creepy Cabana & Private Patios
To purchase tickets, visit queenmary.com

PARKING:
$27 Off-site
$40 On-site
For more information: https://www.queenmary.com/calendar-of-events/dark-harbor/parking/

Little Tokyo Unleashes a Full Month of Ghoulish Events, Los Angeles

Little Tokyo Unleashes a Full Month of Ghoulish Events for Haunted Little Tokyo
Dare to be part of the frightful festivities in Downtown Los Angeles beginning September 27 and culminating with a haunted block party, trick-or-treating and costume contest on October 26
Photo courtesy of Sunshine Pictures LLC/ Haunted Little Tokyo.
 
WHAT:
Dare to join Little Tokyo in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles as the neighborhood transforms into the 3rd Annual Haunted Little Tokyo unraveling on select nights throughout the month of October beginning with the opening night of the Haunted Little Tokyo Film Festival on Friday, September 27. Critters of all ages are welcome to experience the festivities including a family-friendly pumpkin patch, ghostly walking tours, free scary movie screenings, interactive ghoulish games and all culminating with Downtown Los Angeles’ largest annual haunted Halloween block party, trick-or-treating and costume contest on Saturday, October 26. Go Little Tokyo presented by the Little Tokyo Community Council invites all thrill seekers to explore the fun as the community brews up eerie activities, unforgettable family-friendly entertainment and spooky events throughout the Halloween season.

DETAILS:

    • Haunted Little Tokyo Film Festival – Brew up some sweet treats and enjoy the Haunted Little Tokyo Film Festival with family-friendly films and classic Japanese hair-raising horror cinemas at various outdoor screening locations. All screenings are free, RSVP encouraged as space is available on a first-come first-serve basis.
      • Friday, October 4, 7 – 10 PM: Hausu at Union Center for the Arts (free)
      • Friday, October 11, 6 – 9 PM: Okko’s Inn at Japanese Village Plaza (free)
      • Thursday, October 17, 8 – 10 PM: Crimson Kimono (1959) at Japanese American National Museum (free)
  • Haunted Little Tokyo Pumpkin Patch – Halloween enthusiasts of all ages are invited to the Haunted Little Tokyo Pumpkin Patch, an outdoor marketplace grown by local Asian Pacific Islander farmers at the Japanese Village Plaza. Purchase and decorate one-of-a-kind jack-o’-lanterns with neighbors, friends, and volunteer artists using pumpkins provided by Tanaka Farms.
    Friday, October 18 – Sunday, October 20 from 12 – 6 PM 
  • Haunted Ghosts of Little Tokyo Walking Tour – Hear the stories of the resident Little Tokyo ghosts told by those who have seen the undead walk the halls at night on the Haunted Ghosts of Little Tokyo Walking Tour led by the Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS). Re-discover the neighborhood in an all-new way with this haunted tour around the neighborhood and through haunted historical buildings.
    Saturday, October 19, from 5 – 6:30 PM beginning at East West Players Theater Courtyard at Union Center for the Arts. $20 admission. 
  • Trick-or-Treat in Little Tokyo – Trick-or-Treat in Little Tokyo is a return to traditional trick-or-treating for costumed critters of all ages to receive terrifying treats from local businesses in the Japanese Village Plaza. Treats generously donated by Meiji and Hi-Chew. Kid-friendly activities organized by KidZGen.
    Saturday, October 26, from 5 – 8 PM. Free. 
  • Haunted Night in Little Tokyo: The Block Party – Indulge in bone-chilling drinks and devilish desserts as the month-long celebration wraps up with a frightfully-fun block party and costume contest during Haunted Night in Little Tokyo: The Block Party on 2nd Street between Central & San Pedro Street. Enjoy bone-chilling spooky sips in the beer garden, live music and entertainment, a costume contest with prizes, family-friendly game booths, local food and retail vendors, exclusive discounts, and more.  Details coming soon about 21+ after party starting from midnight after the block party. The grown and mischievous can keep the party going until sunrise.
    Saturday, October 26, from 6 PM – 12 AM at 2nd Street in between Central Ave. and San Pedro St. Free admission. 21+ after party starting from 11 PM.

WHERE:
Little Tokyo – Downtown Los Angeles

TICKETS AND REGISTRATION:
Free – $25 depending on the activity. For pricing and to register for activities, please visit www.hauntedlittletokyo.com.

Black Horror History: Haunted Hickory Hill

Haunted Hickory Hill (The Old Slave House)
by James Goodridge

Chicago’s Hull House “Devil Baby” is high on the paranormal scale with its strangeness but Hickory Hill or The Old Slave House has a more horrific legacy. Located in the southern part of Illinois, Hickory Hill was once a tourist attraction but has been closed since 1996. Using his wealth, John Hart Crenshaw along with his wife, Franchine, constructed the pseudo-Greek house overlooking 30,000 acres of land. He was the owner of a mill and furnaces that converted water from salt springs into salt, which was in high demand to settlers headed west and the United States government. He was a man of means.

The house, built in 1834 had a carriageway unique for its time, where a wagon could be driven right into the house. But why? Crenshaw in his greed engaged in what was a reverse underground railroad in Illinois, a free state. The harshness of working in the salt works didn’t appeal to free white men and leasing slaves from Kentucky cost money, so Crenshaw—with the help of night riders—embarked on kidnapping free black families in the state and any fugitives that crossed the Ohio River. A secret tunnel from the Saline River that connected to the Ohio River helped Crenshaw in his noxious enterprise. Soon, the demand for slaves to be shipped back down south increased. How could he keep up?

Imagine yourself a free young black women arriving at night to Hickory Hill. You’re taken up narrow stairs to the attic, where there are twelve small cells with wooden bunks, iron rings to chain you to the floor, and bars across the windows. The cells were stifling hot during the summer, freezing cold during the winter, and manic to melancholy all year round. Chained to the bunk you have a sense of foreboding—then terror—as the cell door opens and a massive human frame is standing there in the doorway.

Uncle Bob was a slave Crenshaw kept for the sole purpose of forced breeding like a prized bull. It is said that he sired over 300 children. The same house a state representative named Abraham Lincoln attended a ball in 1840. Crenshaw’s evil bonanza began to recede when in 1842 he was arrested for kidnapping Maria Adams and her eight children who were sold off and taken to Texas. Crenshaw was not convicted of kidnapping, winning this and other charges over the years. However, a small bit of revenge did kiss Crenshaw in that persons unknown burned down his mill and a slave enraged at Crenshaw beating another slave, overtook to him with an axe, hacking his leg off.

In the late 1920’s famed exorcist Hickman Whittington armed with his “secret text bible” entered Hickory Hill intent on ridding the place of as he stated, “Shades of negro slaves.” Instead, it was said, he went running and screaming out of the house and dropped dead a few hours later. Further research revealed Whittington did not drop dead. In fact, in 1938 he tried to murder his wife. Whittington died in Anna State Hospital in 1940. After the Civil War, Crenshaw sold Hickory Hill to a German family. He died in 1871, followed by his wife ten years later. It was when Hickory Hill was sold to the Sisk family in 1913 (some sources date the sale as 1906) that paranormal incidents started. Voices mumbling from in the walls, shadows walking just out of view, the yelling of the name Janice, whimpering, and phantom screams in the night have unnerved visitors.

Over the years out of the 150 people that tried to spend the night in Hickory Hill only to escape the place before dawn, David Rodgers a reporter from WSIL-TV Harrisburg is one that stayed. On Halloween night, 1978, although Rodgers said he heard “noises” in the attic, the night was uneventful. Setting the Whittington episode to the side, something of a paranormal nature must been present for over 150 people to not stay the night.

Sadly, the pre-ghost horror story of those slaves can be found in many an African American family. In my family, there is a story that has been told through the years of one of my ancestors who was sold among a group of slaves to a new plantation in Georgia. While being transported, she became ill being it was a rainy southern winter day and the slaves were made to walk along behind the overseer’s wagon. After some time, she passed out along the side of a muddy road. Pressed for time and seeing her as damaged goods, the overseer got down off the wagon got a hand full of mud. He then shoved it down her throat, suffocating her to death. I only hope somehow her spirit gained some type of revenge.

Sources: Haunted Ohio Blog, Troy Taylor’s America’s Most Haunted, Haunted Heartland by Beth Scott & Michael Norman 1987 Warner Books, and Wikipedia.


aiuthor pix 3Born and raised in the Bronx, New York James is new to writing speculative fiction. After ten years as an artist representative and paralegal, James decided in 2013 to make a better commitment to writing. Currently writing a series of short Twilight Zone-inspired stories from the world of art (An occult detective short story, The E.E. Just Affair) with the goal of producing compelling stories. His work has appeared in BlackSciencefictionSociety.com, Genesis Winter 2015 Issue, AfroPhantoms.com, Horroraddicts.net, and a non-fiction essay in Apairy Magazine #8 2016 a Metro Philadelphia arts and literature magazine. You can also hear an interview with Mr. Goodridge on Genesis Science Fiction Radio air date 12/2/16 on YouTube.

EXCLUSIVE! The Haunting of the Queen Mary

HorrorAddicts.net was invited to an exclusive party where our correspondent was given a tour of the ship and the most haunted room! He shares his experience with us below.

The Haunting of the Queen Mary

by Dario Ciriello

It’s not hard to believe the Queen Mary, once-proud flagship of the legendary Cunard line, is haunted. What’s impossible to believe is that it’s not haunted.

A fifth of a mile from bow to stern, held together by over ten million rivets, this eighty-three-year-old vessel slaps you with its living soul before you even set foot on its wide decks.

Once aboard, the first thing you notice is a subtle sense of imbalance; she sags slightly in the middle, and the closer you get to the bow or stern, the more pronounced the effect. The art deco elegance — acres of polished birdseye maple paneling, brass fittings, and long, empty passageways flanking the cabins and staterooms — belongs to the past, not the present. The sense of history is palpable.

And of course this grand old lady has seen its share of tragedy.

In 1942, during its wartime incarnation as a troop ship, the Queen Mary collided with the British cruiser Curacoa, slicing it in two “like a piece of butter, straight through its six-inch armor plating,” according to one eyewitness. The cruiser’s boiler rooms exploded and 339 sailors died. It’s rumored that some of the bodies were later found inside the damaged bows of the Queen Mary. An unknown numbers of prisoners of war, along with allied wounded, are thought to have died on board, many from heatstroke during its passage through the Red Sea.

In 1966, just a year before the ship was retired, John Pedder, an eighteen-year-old engineer, was crushed to death in one of the ship’s watertight doors — watertight door number thirteen. Since then he’s been seen many times, usually with a wrench in his hand.

And of course some deaths go unrecorded. Perhaps this explains the many sightings of a woman often seen in the first-class swimming pool, where it’s possible she drowned. Also reported there are occasional wet footprints that end abruptly. This in a swimming pool that was drained twenty-six years ago.

Resident paranormal investigator Matthew Schultz led my group down a narrow steel gangway suspended in the eerie, unlit cavern of the ship’s boiler rooms to the so-called “safe room”1 where he conducts part of his research. Matthew explained that since spirits are thought to communicate via energy, many of the instruments used in his research — a number of them were arrayed on a table before us — measure energy spikes and anomalies. Time after time, Matthew and his tour guests have experienced touches, tugs on clothing, and disembodied voices.

During his investigations, Matthew has recorded numerous instances of ghostly voices and, in one dramatic encounter, the so-called “singing nurse”. He played a number of these recordings for us. Although the noise of the ship’s ventilation systems rises to a roar on recordings turned up to high volume and, annoyingly, spirits seem to prefer to whisper rather than speak clearly, I could hear something on each example he played. I couldn’t swear they were voices, but they did make my neck hair prickle.

The next part of our tour was led by the distinguished and soft-spoken Commodore Everette Hoard. The Commodore2, who has loved the vessel and been part of its history for almost four decades, took us to cabin B340, the most haunted place on the ship. For years, passengers would awaken to find ghostly figures at their bedside; staff would make up the beds only to find them in complete disarray moments later.

Many visitors, including the Commodore himself, experience vertigo when they step into B340. The cabin became so notorious for its paranormal phenomena that it was left unoccupied for years. “I wouldn’t spend a night in here,” the Commodore assured us.3

Our final tour guide, Daniel, showed us to the ship’s pool (unfortunately we couldn’t go inside) where the ghostly wet footprints appear. He regaled us with the story of the eight-year-old ghost known affectionately as “Jackie”, who is often seen with arms upraised, as if asking to be picked up and held. The nearby stairway, steepest on the ship, is said to have proved fatal to a number of passengers who lost their footing and tumbled down it during rough weather.

As a grand finale, Daniel led us along a blood-spattered kitchen hallway lined with grisly relics including animal and human heads and limbs, hopefully all fake, to the very apex of the ship’s bow, whose converging steel plates so murderously ended the lives of most of the Curacoa’s crew.

Is it all true? Is this majestic liner the hotbed of paranormal activity so many claim it to be?

I’m certain at least some of the phenomena are real. Although I didn’t directly experience anything worse than a sense of imbalance and the occasional eldritch shiver, the history of the vessel and the sincerity of people like Commodore Hoard alone are enough to convince me.

And if any of you spend a night in cabin B340, drop me a line and let me know how you slept.


1 Called the “safe room” because none of its walls contacts any part of the ship, thus isolating it in case of emergencies

2 The title is an honorary one bestowed after long service

3 Readers will be delighted to know that B340 has been entirely refurnished and is now available to overnight guests: bring $599 and nerves of steel.


Dario Ciriello is a professional author and editor, and the founder (2009) of Panverse Publishing.

Dario’s first novel, “Sutherland’s Rules”, a crime caper/thriller with a shimmer of the fantastic, was published in 2013. “Free Verse and Other Stories”, a collection of his short Science Fiction work, was released in June 2014. 

His 2015 novel, the supernatural suspense thriller titled “Black Easter”, pits love against black magic and demonic possession on a remote, idyllic Greek island. Dario is currently at work on a new thriller.

Dario’s nonfiction book, “Aegean Dream”, the bittersweet memoir of a year spent on the small Greek island of Skópelos (the real “Mamma Mia!” island), was an Amazon category #1 for several months in 2012. “Drown the Cat: the Rebel Author’s Guide to Writing Beyond the Rules” (2017) is his second nonfiction work.

In addition to writing, Dario, who currently lives in the Los Angeles area, offers professional editing, copyediting, and coaching services to indie authors. You can find these on his blog menu at www.dariospeaks.wordpress.com 

Strange Happenings in Wisconsin

August_the_beast_of_bray_road_by_pyro_helfier-d7v0mcyA fan of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, Jeff Eickelberg recently sent us an email saying that one topic he would love to see us talk about was unexplained occurrences in Wisconsin. Specifically he asked about Great Lakes ghosts, cryptids, haunted farmhouses or anything else that could be considered ghoulish. Being that I live in Wisconsin I was more than happy to research strange happenings in Wisconsin. Probably the first thing people think about when they think of Wisconsin is The Beast Of Bray Road. The Beast is a werewolf that has been spotted several times in Southeastern Wisconsin. There have been at least two books written about the beast and a couple of paranormal TV shows covered the subject. There was also a movie that was released in 2005. If you want to hear more about The Beast Of Bray Road check out D.J. Pitsiladis article on the topic here.

Haunchyville

h2My favorite weird story from Wisconsin is about a small village of murderous dwarfs in the woods near Muskego. The village is called Haunchyville and is protected by an old albino man. The dwarfs live in small houses built to scale and don’t like trespassers. If you are unlucky enough to meet them they will cut your legs off at the knee and force you to live as one of them. Legend has it that the town was created when a group of dwarfs ran away from  the circus because the circus’ ringmaster abused them. When the albino man was a boy he got lost in the woods and found Haunchyville by accident. The dwarfs took pity on him and raised him, the albino re-payed the favor by using a shotgun to keep people away from Haunchyville.

I had heard of Haunchyville from a book called Weird Wisconsin by Linda Godfrey and Richard Hendricks and I was fascinated by the idea of a small village of killer dwarfs. As I was doing research to write this, I didn’t find any record of anyone seeing the dwarfs but in the woods where Haunchyville is said to be located you will find three buildings that look like they could be dwarf homes. Most people believe that the legend of Haunchyville was started by high school kids in Muskego in order to scare younger kids.

http://slpmode.com/a-v-club-milwaukee-dont-go-back-to-haunchyville/

 

Summerwind

20140127-003206Every state has more than its fair share of haunted houses and the most haunted house in Wisconsin was a place called Summerwind. Located in Northeast Wisconsin on West Bay Lake this mansion was built in 1916 by Robert Lamont. The hauntings began when Robert Lamont thought he saw an intruder one evening and tried to shoot him, the bullet passed through him and the intruder faded away. Upon the death of Mr. Lamont the house was sold to Arnold Hinshaw and his wife Ginger who were only able to stay in the house for six months. The couple saw vague shapes and shadows passing through the home. Also lights would turn on and off along with windows and doors opening and closing by themselves. What was most disturbing though was a ghost of a woman who would appear above the dining room table. Over a short period of time, the couple started to question their sanity. Late at night Arnold would play an organ because the demons in his head said he had to. One night after finding a corpse in the home(which they never reported to the authorities) Ginger tried to commit suicide and the couple decided it was time to move on.

People doubted that Hinshaw’s story really happened but then the next owners had trouble. The new owner was Raymond Bober and he claimed he knew the house was haunted and even knew the ghost’s name. The ghost was an eighteenth century British explorer and the land was given to him by the Sioux Indians. He wrote a book about his experiences in 1979 called The Carver Effect. Bober had nothing but bad luck in the house and abandoned it after a couple of years. The house then remained vacant until 1988 when it burned to the ground after being struck by lightning. Some people still believe that the land where the house stood is still haunted.

https://www.prairieghosts.com/summer.html

Boy Scout Lane

BoyScoutLaneWisconsin has more haunted roads then most states and one of those is called Boy Scout Lane. Located near Stevens Point, a Scout troop was killed on the road sometime in the 1950’s or 60’s. Stories vary on what happened, some say the troop was killed by their scoutmaster and another story says that the scouts dropped a lantern which caused a fire and killed the whole troop. It is said that the scouts are haunting the area and if you are there you will hear them hiking through the woods. People that have visited the area have said they had the feeling they were being watched and have seen floating lights that look like lanterns. No one has ever been able to prove that a group of scouts died in this area but the ghost sighting are still happening.

http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=601

Witch Road

witch_road3Boy Scout road isn’t the only haunted lane in Wisconsin, Near the town of Rosendale lies Witch Road. Legend has it that 60 years ago a witch lived on Witch road and when she died the road became haunted. Some of the people who have traveled the road say that parts of the road are unusually dark and cold and you can hear the sound of trickling water even though there is no stream near by. Others have witnessed white lights in the trees and a ghost of a young girl. The witches abandoned home can still be seen near the street, along with a tree that looks a lot like a witch.  Several people go to witch road because they were dared and even when they don’t see a ghost they still say it’s a very creepy place to visit.

http://www.unexplainedresearch.com/files_spectrology/witch_road.html

 

Dartford Cemetery

dartford-indian-chiefMany people think cemeteries are haunted but in reality most cemeteries are not haunted but are a beautiful memorial to those that have passed before us. But there is one graveyard that may be haunted in Green Lake called Dartford Cemetery. According to the locals there are several ghosts that wander Dartford at night. Graves here date back to the 1800’s and some of the ghosts include civil war soldiers, kids who died of polio and an Indian Chief whose headstone appears to glow in the light of the moon.

Several stories have been told about this place, One of them is if you sit on one of the mausoleums, a ghost will come and push you off. Some people who are brave enough to enter the cemetery after dark have seen tombstones that vanish and reappear. They have also seen shadows and orbs in the trees and have had the sensation of being watched.

http://www.unexplainedresearch.com/media/a_haunting_featuring_the_dartford_cemetery.html

Bloody Bride Bridge

c202126003ca8c4cfc617571c5d1f5d0Out on County Highway 66 near Stevens Point, lies a concrete bridge that crosses the Plover River. Though no one has ever been able to confirm the story it is said that years ago a bride and groom were driving home after their wedding in a thunderstorm. As they crossed the bridge the car spun out of control and the couple died in the crash. Since then people have spotted the bride standing on the bridge with blood covering her dress. It is also said that if you stop your car on the bridge the dead bride and groom will appear in the backseat of your car.

http://www.washingtoncountyparanormal.com/blog/the-mysterious-stacked-stones-of-bloody-bride-bridge-stevens-point-wi/

Hotel Hell

maribel-caves-hotel-photoEveryone has had a bad stay at a hotel but there is one hotel out there that some think contains a portal to hell. Built in 1900, Hotel Hell in Maribel was originally called the Maribel Caves Hotel. It had a rough history, it caught fire three times on the same date. One of the fires in the 1930’s killed all the hotel guests while they slept. These were not the only deaths that took place there, one night one of the hotel guests went crazy and killed some of the guests with a knife.

Though no one can say when it happened it was believed that a group of black witches who were attracted to the spiritual activity that went on there did a ritual and opened a portal to hell that released demons into the hotel. Luckily for the future guests a white witch came to the rescue and sealed the portal. The hotel has been abandoned since a fire gutted the inside in 1985. Since then many people have entered the hotel illegally and said that they heard disembodied voices and saw blood on the walls.

http://www.unexplainedresearch.com/files_spectrology/maribel_hotel_hell.html

Wisconsin Lizard Man

manbatWisconsin also has its fair share of cryptids, including a lizard man who was spotted at different times in the 1990’s on route 13 south of Medford. People who saw the creature say that it was covered in green scales and had large leathery wings.  The first person who spotted it said it was standing in the middle of the road and then shot up into the sky when the car got close. Shortly after that another person spotted it in the same area and said it was staring right at him but when the car got close he flew off into the trees.

About 10 years later in 2006, a creature that fit the same description was spotted near LaCrosse. A father and son spotted the lizard man flying straight at there car while screaming. They thought it was going to collide with them but at the last second the creature darted up into the sky. The picture to the left is an artist’s rendition of how the creature was described.

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/81821-reptilian-sighted-in-wisconsin-by-man-son/

Pepie The Lake Monster

d3f36250d229c4a3623ade43e64569ebSo now you know Wisconsin has lizard men, werewolves and ghosts. But that’s not all we have, we also have our own lake monster. He lives in Lake Pepin which is along the Mississippi River about 40 miles from Eau Claire. His name is Pepie and he goes way back to when the native Americans lived there. Legend has it they would not take their canoes on Lake Pepin because they feared the giant lake monster would tip it over.

Back in 1871 some explorers said they spotted the creature and it looked like a cross between a rhino and an elephant. Since then there have been sightings and even some pictures of the creature, but no hard evidence has been presented saying the creature exists. People keep trying though, in 2008 there was an expedition to find it that came up empty-handed and currently there is a $50,000 reward for proof that Pepie exists. Pepie is so popular in Wisconsin that he even has his own website.

http://pepie.net/

Green Bay’s Griffon

article-2343642-1A5FD37C000005DC-129_634x518The last thing I want to talk about is The Griffon. If you are going to talk about ghosts in Wisconsin you have to talk about The Great Lakes. Ships have been crossing the lakes for centuries and up until the last 50 years or so, it wasn’t safe. Several books have been written on shipwrecks on The Great Lakes and where there are wrecks there are ghosts.

The Griffon’s home port was in Green Bay, in August of 1679 the ship was headed back to Green Bay from Niagara when it mysteriously disappeared. It wasn’t gone forever though. Throughout the years in the fog people have claimed to spot a ghostly three-masted ship that looked like it belonged to a different era. Could The Griffon still be trying to find its way home after 300 years? I guess we will never know for sure.

http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/04/the-ghost-fleet-of-the-great-lakes/

Do you have a favorite ghost story from your area you want to share? Please leave a comment or send us an email at horroraddicts@gmail.com.