Deb Daniel Jansons

Author's details

Name: Deb Daniel Jansons
Date registered: September 29, 2014

Biography

I am Deb Daniel Jansons. I was born and raised in the Huntsville, Al area, but lived in Ontario, Canada for 12 years, before coming back home to be with my grandson. I have had an interest in the paranormal since I was a small child and had my first experience. I love going out to places that are known to have strange things happen, but I always look for an explanation of anything that might happen when I am there and take nothing at face value. I also love to read anything that I can get my hands on concerning the paranormal and other people’s experiences. One of my hopes is that the day will come, during my lifetime that we will have absolute proof that there are spirits, aliens, etc out there. Until then, all we can do is investigate and hope.

Latest posts

  1. Highgate Cemetery London, England — October 5, 2015
  2. Houska Castle, Czech Republic — September 2, 2015
  3. Chillingham Castle — August 4, 2015
  4. Russell Hotel, The Rocks — July 2, 2015
  5. The Bell Witch — May 28, 2015

Author's posts listings

Oct 05

Highgate Cemetery London, England

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During the early 1800’s London had a population of approximately one million people. As the population increased over the years, the number of deaths also increased. With all of the deaths, sometimes numbering in the area of 30 a week, there wasn’t enough room to bury them all and there was no official cemetery in London. There were people being buried between shops, taverns and houses – just wherever a place could be found to put a body. Some bodies were actually buried with other remains, only a few feet deep. Lime would be thrown over the bodies for faster decomposition where the grave could be used again within a few short months. There were even cases where the undertakers would dress as a member of the clergy and bury people illegally. The horrific stench from these disease ridden graves was unbearable and especially so during the hotter time of year.

In 1836, The London Cemetery Company was created by Stephen Geary, through an act of Parliament. Geary was an architect and the founder of the company. He appointed James Bunstone Bunning as the surveyor and David Ramsey as the landscape architect. Seventeen acres of land that had the Ashurst Estate was bought for 3,500 pounds and so began the Highgate Cemetery.

The cemetery was dedicated and opened in 1839. On May 26, 1839, Elizabeth Jackson, age 36, was the first person to be buried at the newly dedicated cemetery. In addition to Highgate being the burial place of Karl Marx, it is also the final resting place of the famous bare-knuckled prize fighter, Tom Sayers. To this day, Sayers has had the largest funeral in the history of the cemetery. It was reported as having over 10,000 mourners in attendance including his faithful dog, Lion.

Highgate Cemetery has been famous for quite some time for its’ ghosts and what some call “sinister activities”.

The most famous apparition is known as the Highgate Vampire. It isn’t an actual vampire in the sense that we know the word. It’s a phantom that has been described as being 7 feet tall – a male with piercing hypnotic eyes, wearing a high top hat and a long black coat.

The spirit of an insane woman that allegedly murdered her children has been reportedly seen rushing through the gravestones looking for her children as her gray hair flows behind her. There is a dark figure that simply stands perfectly still and stares off into space. If it’s approached it suddenly vanishes and then reappears a short distance away. There have also been reports of the spirit of a nun moving quietly over the graves.

Tours of Highgate Cemetery are given on daily basis, with the exception of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. If you’re ever in London, Highgate is a must see. Just beware of the ghosts and phantoms if you decide to take a night time stroll by this famous cemetery.

www.highgatecemetery.org

Sep 02

Houska Castle, Czech Republic

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Approximately 47km from Prague, sits a large and menacing structure called the Houska Castle. It is believed that this was ordered to be built by Otto Karll of Bohemia, who reigned as ruler from 1253-1278. Sometime later this building began passing from one aristocratic member to another, until it stopped being used as a noble residence in the 18th Century and began to fall into a state of disrepair. It was renovated in 1823 and in 1897 was purchased by Princess Hohenloke and then again in 1924, by Skoda President, Josef Simonek during the first Republic.

Houska Castle was built over a hole so deep in the ground that no one has ever reported seeing the bottom of it. This is cae3lled “The Gateway to Hell”. There are many legends surrounding this hole, including that there were creatures that were half human and half animal that would crawl out of it. There were also stories of creatures with dark wings that would fly above this area. One of the many legends is that a man who had been condemned to die was told that if he would descend down into the hole by rope and tell them what he saw there, that he would be set free. The man agreed and shortly after he was lowered, there were sounds of gut wrenching screams being heard. When he was pulled back to the top, it appeared as if he had aged 30 years in a mere few minutes. His hair was gray, his face was wrinkled and shortly after that he went stark raving mad. He died not long after this happened.

There is no water and no kitchen. It is not located near any trade routes and there were no occupants to live there when it was first built. It was not built as a sanctuary or residence Oronto, who was a Swedish rogue commander as his headquarters. He was reported to be an Alchemist and Black Magician that performed dark experiments in the castle. His life ended when he was shot through a window by some local villagers while he was supposedly working to discover the elixir of eternal life.

From 1939-1945 the German SS took over the castle, though no one was ever sure why and they made sure to destroy all of their records before leaving the

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castle when they learned that the Russian and American armies were advancing. It is thought that they may have been using it for various types of paranormal research. Another thought is that it was used by the SS as one of their secret breeding grounds, due to them trying to breed a superior race of people.

Today, the castle serves as a meeting place for experts on the occult, UFOs and all paranormal phenomena. There are also conferences that are held here.

No one will ever know the true purpose of Houska Castle. We can only choose to believe what we want to believe – so do you think this is truly the home to the Gateway to Hell?

Because this is located in the Czech Republic, the only official website is written completely in the Czech language. However, if you will Google it, you will find it listed on haunted tour sites for that area.

Aug 04

Chillingham Castle

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Situated in Northumberland, 10 miles from the coast and about 70 miles each of Newcastle and Edinburgh sits Chillingham Castle. You would never believe from simply looking at it, that it contains such a horrendous past that included many forms of torture.

Chillingham was once used as a stronghold against the Scots and was the home of Sir Humphrey Wakefield. In 1297, William Wallace had forged an attack on the area that ended in woman and children being burned alive in the local abbey.

In addition to the many sieges that have taken place here, Chillingham Castle has also played host to several of the Kings of England, starting with King Henry III and moving up through to the members of the Royal family today. It is now considered as a holiday stop with rooms providing all of the modern comforts.

In addition to this being a prime holiday location, it is also reputed to be the most haunted location in England. The Earl Grey family which lived there for many years had at least 8 well documented executions to take place on the land. Some were hanged, drawn and quartered with their heads displayed to remind people of what could happen if you went against the King. Others family members were much luckier. They were simply beheaded.

As you can imagine, all of the death at the former stronghold has led to many reports of spirits residing here. With the exception of a few, the families that lived in the castle had lives of excitement and romance. They may have served Kings, but as history clearly shows – they were known to rebel, also.

To this day, the castle still has the dungeon and torture chambers completely intact and they are on the tour. People describe these areas as the “creepiest” places in Chillingham. Of course, there was unbearable pain inflicted upon people here through torture and death was a frequent visitor.

In the center of the dungeon is a 20 foot deep pit that is covered by a grate. Men, women and children were thrown into this pit, some of them simply for being Scots. Their arms and legs were broken and some were even cut off before they were tossed into this pit of death. The lucky ones died quickly. Those that were not so lucky survived by eating chunks of flesh from the dead. Of course, in time they all died. When the pit was full, the bodies were removed and more bodies could then pile up. If you look down through the grate to this day, you can still see the last victim of the pit – the skeletal remains of a young girl. Scraping sounds and banging noises can still be heard here at night.

Even with the history of the dungeon, the torture chamber is still the most horrific place in the castle. There are still a many of the torture devices displayed here and most of them are still in perfect working order. These include a stretching rack, a bed of nails, a spiked chair, an Iron Maiden, thumb screws, chains, leg irons, cages, man traps and branding irons. All of these instruments still bring to mind the unimaginable horrors that were suffered by their victims. The floor of the torture chamber is even built on a slant so that the blood of the victims could drain to the other end of the room. This was unfortunately the last memory that thousands of Scots were allowed.

The man that was so cruel as to carry out these horrendous acts of torture was John Sage. Sage had been King Edward’s best man on the battlefield until he was wounded and lost his leg in battle. This left him unable to fight on the field, so he begged the King to find a position for him. King Edward bestowed the title of Torture Master of Chillingham Castle on Sage.

Even though there have been many reports of spiritual activity over the years at Chillingham, including the Blue Boy and Lady Mary Berkeley, there is one that I wish to focus on the most. That is the ghost of John Sage, who was the torture expert for Chillingham, during the reign of King Edward.

Sage hated the Scots with such a venomous passion that he even created his own methods of torture for them. He implemented the use of a boiling pot, came up with devices to gouge the eyes out and other unspeakable ways to torture his victims. However, his most prized idea was the rat cage. A rat would be starved. Then a cage was tied to the stomach of the intended victim and the starved rat was place in the cage. The only way for the rat to escape was to eat their way through the victim.

John Sage spent 3 years torturing more than 50 victims per week. But in a strange turn of events, that only be called karma, Sage died because of one of the devices that he loved to inflict pain through. One fateful night, Sage and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Charlton decided to engage in rough sex in the torture chamber. They were on the rack when he decided to start strangling Elizabeth. What was supposed to be a moment of pleasure, ended with him strangling her to death.

Elizabeth’s father was a member of a group called the Border Reivers, which turned out to be very unfortunate for Sage. This group of men raided both sides of the English and Scottish border. The Border Reivers contacted King Edward and demanded that Sage be killed, in addition to all of the Scots that were being held, to be released. If the King did not comply with this order, they would team up with the Scots and attack Chillingham Castle. The King ordered the immediate release of the Scots on a Thursday. However, Sage refused to do this until the following Saturday. During those few days he went on a murderous rampage killing any man, woman or child that was a Scots. The men, women and older children were brought into the enclosed courtyard and thrown on a bon fire. The younger children were held in the Edward I room, where they could no doubt see their families being burned to death, as well as hearing their screams and smelling their burning flesh.

Sage took a small axe to the Edward I room and proceeded to hack all of these children to death. The very axe that was used in this horrendous act can still be seen today. It is hanging in the stairwell outside the Edward I room.

Sage then went to many of the villages surrounding the castle killing more Scots before they were able to escape. Not a single man, woman or child that was supposed to be released survived the rampage of John Sage. The bodies were never moved and anyone coming into Chillingham was forced to either walk or drive their carts over them. Even to this very day, bones seem to creep up through the road to be crushed. An entire finger bone was recently found. It seems as if the last victims of John Sage are asking that they not be forgotten.

King Edward ordered that Sage be hanged. As soon as his body started swinging from the tree a collective cheer went up from the crowd gathered to watch. Before he was even dead, people rushed forward to cut off his nose, fingers, toes and testicles for keepsakes. The reports are that he was buried in front of Chillingham at the crossroads. It was said that this was done so that his ghost wouldn’t know the way to Heaven and would instead choose the road to Hell.

If reports are correct, John Sage seems to have decided to stay right where he killed so many innocent victims. There have been reports of people seeing him wandering around on the grounds. Some have reported hearing the sounds of heavy footsteps followed by the sound of something being dragged behind. Could it be that John is walking around and dragging his missing leg behind him?

As you can see, there is a reason that Chillingham Castle has been called the most haunted location in England. It seems that they have ghosts to spare. If you are interested in hauntings and history – Chillingham Castle seems to be the place to find it, since it seems as if it’s main purpose has been to force torture and death on so many unwilling souls.

www.chillingham-castle.com/

Jul 02

Russell Hotel, The Rocks

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The Rocks, Sydney Australia is actually the birthplace of that country. It is where prisoners were sent to live from Great Britain. Of course, over the years, it has become a bustling city full of history and charm.

What was called a “Moveable Hospital for His Majesty’s Distant Possessions” was originally built here in July of 1790. Then the Rum Hospital was established in 1816, so the portable hospital was removed from the site.

Between 1820-1835, Samuel Terry built shops and houses here. What had originally started as a house and shop in 1845, became a public house called the Patent Ship Inn, and was run by Robert Whitemore, in 1853. From 1858-1870, John Gallagher was the owner. The Patent Ship Inn was torn down and a new hotel called the Port Jackson Hotel was built.

Tooth and Company became the new owners in 1900 and W. Russell became the licensee. They also bought the property at the rear of the hotel and enlarged it from 1910-1920. In 1981, it was restored and became a small hotel that included personal touches to make it more like the original hotel.

Maybe because the Russell Hotel started as a sailor’s hostel, there have been reports of people seeing a a ghostly looking sailor standing around Room #8. He doesn’t seem to be in a hurry and will even stand still and look directly at people.

Employees of the hotel have reported hearing what sounds like walking and floors creaking. But, when they go to investigate, they can never find a reason for the strange sounds.

While there are many things to see and do in the beautiful city of Sidney, if you are able to go to this spectacular part of the world, make sure to stay at the Russell Hotel. You might just see the old sailor of yesteryear.

Source:  http://www.therussell.com.au/hotel-history/

 

May 28

The Bell Witch

bw1The town of Adams, Tennessee, located in Robertson County, is home to one of the South’s most well known hauntings. This spirit allegedly tormented a family in every way possible during the 19th Century. As quickly as the spirit came into the family’s lives, it left. The spirit is known as the Bell Witch, named after the family that it haunted.

John Bell, Sr. had carved out a nice farm in Adams, TN during the early 1800’s. During, 1817, the Bell family came under attack by unseen forces. It was believed that the source of the haunting was a witch and the witch was thought to be a woman whose name was Kate Batts. Kate was reportedly a mean neighbor that felt she had been cheated by John Bell in a land purchase. She swore that she would haunt both John Bell and all of his descendants.

There are also those that believe the haunting was nothing more than poltergeist activity because many of the reported happenings seemed to happen around the Bell daughter, Betsy. There are also accounts that relate that the haunting was even a male slave that Bell had killed. Although no one can bee 100% sure of just who the witch was, reports of the Bell family, neighbors and friends did lend credibility to the family experiencing something of a paranormal nature. However, no haunting was reported until after the death of Kate Batts. No one ever reported actually seeing the Bell Witch, but those that visited the family often heard her very well. One visitor explained her voice in this way….”spoke in a nerve-racking pitch when displeased, while at other times it sang and spoke in low musical tones.” For some reason, both John Bell, Sr. and his daughter, Betsy, seemed to be the main targets of the spirit. It basically seemed to pay no attention to other family members, although it seemed quite friendly with Mrs. Bell.

If it was the spirit of Kate Batts, she definitely let John and Betsy know of her particular displeasure with them. They reported having furniture and other items thrown at them. She poked them with needles, pulled their noses, jerked food from their mouths and yanked their hair. She even yelled at night to keep them from sleeping.

bw2The story of the Bell Witch became so widely spread, that it is said to have reached the ears of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, TN. The tough general became determined to confront the Bell Witch. It’s been said that he had 2 courses of action in mind – to either rid the family of the spirit, or to prove that it was nothing more than a hoax.

General Jackson’s party came by horseback and wagon from Nashville. They were loaded with a tent and provisions, and they were determined to have fun investigating the witch. As the men rode along discussing how they were going to confront the witch, they came close to the Bell home. As they were talking over their plans, the wagon came to a smooth area of the road, suddenly coming to a halt and becoming stuck. No matter how loudly the driver shouted to the team, or how many times he cracked his whip…no matter how hard the horses pulled, the wagon could not be moved. Gen. Jackson commanded that all of the men dismount and push the firmly stuck wagon. Even with the extra manpower, the wagon still could not be moved. As a last resort, each wheel was removed and examined one by one. They could find nothing wrong with the wheels and they each moved smoothly on the axles.

It was reported that after all of this, that the rough and tough Gen. Jackson could no more than throw his hands in the air and shout, “By the eternal boys, it is the witch.” It was after this that a sharp voice was heard to say from the bushes, “All right General, let the wagon move on, I will see you again tonight.” All of the men stood looking in every direction trying to find the source for the voice that they had heard. Not a one of them could find an explanation for what they had just heard and seen. The horses suddenly started to move and the wagon made the small distance to the house without another problem.

There are various versions of this story and in at least one of them, Gen. Jackson did have another meeting with the witch that night. Betsy Bell reportedly screamed all night from her physical encounter with the witch and Gen. Jackson’s covers were jerked off of him as fast as he could pull them back up. His men reported being slapped, pinched and having their hair pulled all night by the witch. At the first sign of morning, the General’s men packed up and quickly retreated from the Bell property. The General was later quoted as saying, “I’d rather fight the British in New Orleans than to have to fight the Bell Witch.”

bw3John Bell, Sr. and his family continued to be tormented for years. Then in October of 1820, John was struck down by an unknown illness while walking to his pigsty. Some thought he’d had a stroke because of his difficulty in speaking and swallowing. His health continued to decline over the next few weeks. The following part of the story comes from the Tennessee University in Nashville:

“On the morning of Dec 19, he failed to awake at his regular time. When the family realized that he was sleeping unnaturally, they attempted to arouse him. They discovered that Bell was in a stupor and couldn’t be completely awakened. John Jr. went to the medicine cupboard to get his father’s medicine and noticed it was gone with a strange vial in its place. No one claimed to have replaced the medicine with the vial. A doctor was summoned to the house. The witch began taunting that she had placed the vial in the medicine cabinet and given Bell a dose of it while he slept. Contents of the vial were tested on a cat and discovered to be highly poisonous. John Bell died on Dec. 20th. “Kate” was quiet until after the funeral. After the grave was filled, the witch began singing loudly and joyously. This continued until all friends and family left the grave site.”

The Bell Witch left the Bell family in 1821, promising that she would return in 7 years. She reportedly appeared at the home of John Bell, Jr. making good on her promise. It is said that she left predictions of world events that included WWI and WWII. She said that she would once again appear in 1935 – 107 years later. However, no one ever came forward as a witness to this event.

There are some that claim the Bell Witch still haunts the area. There is a cave on the land once owned by the Bell family, now known as the Bell Witch Cave. many of the locals still claim to see things that they can’t explain around the cave and on the property.

Although we may never know for sure just what John Bell and his family did experience all those years ago, would you take a chance on making the witch angry?

Apr 01

Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland

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Ballygally Castle sits about a half hour north of Belfast, Ireland on the coast at Ballygally Bay on the Irish Sea. It is the only 17th century still used as a residence in Northern Ireland and is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in Ulster.

The castle was built in 1625 by James Shaw of Scotland. He came to the area and rented the land from the Earl of Antrim for 24 pounds a year. The castle was built with 5 ft. thick walls and loopholes for muskets.

The Shaw family owned the castle until 1799 when it came into the hands of William Shaw. He sold the castle and estate for 15,400 pounds. During the 1950’s, the castle was bought by Cyril Lord, the carpet tycoon. He extended and renovated the actual castle. The Hastings Hotel Group is now the owner of Ballygally Castle.bal2

Ballygally is home to a number of spirits. One of the most famous is the wife of James Shaw, Lady Isabella Brisbane Shaw. The story goes that James locked his wife in her rooms in the castle and was starving her. She fell to her death from her bedroom window. Since her death, she has roamed the halls of the castle knocking on doors and then disappearing.

Another spirit is that of Madame Nixon, who lived in the castle in the 19th century. This lady is known by the sound of her silk dress walking around the castle.

In December of 2003, the Ballygally manager, Olga Henry, had set up the Dungeon Room in the tower for expected guests. The table had been set up neatly in preparation for a meal. Everything was perfect in the room when Olga locked the door and left. When she went back later to check on the room, she found quite a surprise. The entire table was a mess. All of the napkins were unfolded, there was an unusual scum on all of the glasses and they were arranged in a perfect circle on the table.

There have been mediums staying at the hotel over night, that have told people there that they have felt more spirits in the building than guests during their visits.

There is a very special room in the corner turret of the castle. It’s known as the “Ghost Room” and it reserved for the spirits that stay at the castle. No human guest can reserve the room, but they are welcome to go to the room and visit freely.

Although I can find no direct link for Ballygally Castle, you can find much information by simply googling their name.

Mar 02

Elvey Farms, United Kingdom

elvOn 75 acres in Pluckley, in the Ashford District of Kent lies beautiful Elvey Farms. The actual farm dates back to 1496 and references to Pluckley can be found in the famous Doomsday book.

Surrenden Manor, the former residence of Sir Edward Dering, 1st Baronet ( 1598-1644) can also be found in this area. This is where the Dering manuscript, the earliest extant manuscript text of any Shakespearean play was discovered. It is a single play version parts 1 and 2 of King Henry IV.

In 1989, the Guinness Book of Records named this location as “the most haunted village in Britain”.

Several of the ghosts that haunt this area have had stories told about them for so many years, that when people stop by they seem to be automatically told about them.

Edward Brett actually shot himself in the dairy at Elvey Farms. It is said that prior to his death, he said to his wife, “I will do it”. To this day, there are reports of hearing these last words of Edward Brett being whispered around the farm.

There is also the legend of Robert DuBois, an 18th century highwayman. He was run thru with a sword, while he was hiding in a hollow tree at what is now known as Fright Corner. He can still be seen reenacting his death.

The Watercress Woman is seen as a misty figure at Pinnock Bridge. This is the same bridge where she would sit and sell the watercress that she gathered. She seemed to have a penchant for smoking her pipe and drinking gin as she sat on the bridge. One fatal day, she set herself on fire while lighting her pipe.

The Red Lady, who legend says was a member of the Dering family can be seen walking with a small white dog in the churchyard of St. Nicholas’s Church.

The White Lady of Rose Court allegedly poisoned herself over a love triangle.

The black silhouette of the miller can be seen in the ruins of the old windmill which closed in 1930.

There are many more stories of hauntings in this area. If you ever choose to go to Elvey Farms, be sure to take a walk around the village and see which one of these spirits decides to stop long enough to tell you hello…..

Source:  www.elveyfarm.co.uk

Mar 01

Paveglia Island, Italy

pav1Paveglia Island is reported to be one of the most haunted locations in Italy. It’s a small island in the Venetian Lagoon located between Venice and Lido in Nothern Italy. There is a small canal that divided the island into 2 parts.

This island has a long history, first being mentioned in chronicles from 421. People from Padua and Este moved there to escape the barbarian invasions and in the 9th century, the population started to grow. Venice came under attack from the Genoan fleet in 1379 and the people were moved off of the island, when it became uninhabited. In 1527, it was offered to the Camaldolese Monks, but they refused the offer. Beginning in 1645, the Venetian government built 5 octagonal forts to protect and control the entrances into the lagoon. Today, the Pavelgia octagon is only 1 of 4 that continues to survive. Starting in 1776, it became a check point for any people and all goods going into or coming out of Venice by ship.

During the Roman era, people that fell victim to the plague were sent to the island and then during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte when there was an outbreak of the “Black Death”, it was used for the same purpose. The people that died on the island were buried in a mass grave and their bodies were burned. The horror of these diseases also came in another form. If a person showed the slightest sign of being ill, they were sent to the island and burned alive.

In 1922, the existing buildings on the island were turned into a retirement home and insane asylum. Patients frequently reported to the doctors and nurses that they could hear the shrieks and tortured cries from the long dead victims of the plague.

pav2It has been reported that the head doctor experimented on the mental patients. It is said the he used cruel instruments, including drills to perform very crude lobotomies on the patients. He later either threw himself off of or fell from the hospital tower. He claimed that he was being driven mad by ghosts. According to the story, the actual fall didn’t kill him, but rather a strange mist rose up from the ground and strangled him to death. The hospital was finally closed in 1968.

There are reports that a family bought the island in order to turn it into a vacation home. However, they abandoned the property after only staying 1 night on the island. They reported that some unseen force split the face of one of their daughters that required 14 stitches to close it.

Even the local fishermen refuse to go into the waters of the island. They are frightened of pulling up human bones in their fishing nets, as it has been told that approximately 160,000 people have died on Pavelgia Island.

The island remains closed to visitors with very strict access restricted by the Italian government. Even today, the few people that the government does allow to go onto the island usually leave it terrified. They report that there is a heavy and evil feeling and they all agree that it was a place of much human suffering. Pavelgia Island seems to be especially tough on anyone with psychic abilities. However, even those without this gift report hearing tortured moans and seeing spirits.

One man that was granted permission to spend one night on the island alone, reported that when we entered one of the buildings, he heard a loud voice telling him to “leave immediately and do not return”. Most people that know the history of this island, tend to believe that this is sound advice.

Although I could not find an official website dedicated to Pavelgia Island, you can find much information and many photos just by typing the name into your favorite search engine.

Feb 02

Stonehouse Brewery

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Haunted Locations Submission

Stonehouse Brewery
Nevada City, California

In the 1800’s there was a rush to the Eastern coast in hopes of finding gold in California. Some people did find their “pot of gold” and became successful business men, while others were left with nothing more than a pipe dream. It is from these brave pioneers, that towns like Nevada City, California, were born.

In 1882, George Gehrig, who was a local businessman, hired Italian stonemasons and Chinese laborers to build a new business up the street from the blacksmith’s shop, in Nevada City, California. The three story building was made from local quarried granite blocks and is 10,000 sq ft. in size.

All of the antique fixtures used in the brewery are from the home of John and Sarah Kidder located in Grass Valley, Ca. It is also believed that the carved wooden doors are from this same home.

A storage cave was also dug into the hillside and was used to age the casks of ale. There is now a patio area that covers where the storage cave was accessed. This cave had been connected to other tunnels that ran under the city. When Route 49 became a freeway about 100 years later, these tunnels were filled in.

During the time of the Stonehouse Brewery, Chinese immigrants were used to dig the tunnels. No one knows exactly what happened, but the tunnel collapsed while the Chinese workers were there. They don’t know if it merely collapsed or if the workers hit a gas pocket that exploded.

Instead of going to the expense of trying to repair the problem and try to resuce the workers and possibly save some lives, it was decided that they would blow the tunnel up, with the trapped Chinese immigrants inside.

It is reported to this day that the Chinese immigrants haunt the Stonehouse Brewery.

There are also 2 other known spirits that love to spend time at the brewery. The first spirit is known for it’s horrendous odor. He seems to emerge from a room behind the bar on street level and lets his presence be known from a garbage like odor. The 2nd spirit loves to sit at the bar. Reports say that he looks like a miner from his clothes and that he is scruffy looking. The way that those who have seen him know that he is a ghost, is because even though you can see him sitting at the bar…..he has no legs.

If you are ever in Nevada City, California and you decide to stop in for a meal or a drink, don’t be surprised if you see a gentleman sitting at the bar with no visible legs, suddenly smell a horrendous odor, or see an old Chinese immigrant, that simply wanted a better life shuffling through.

www.stonehousebrewery.com

Jan 03

What is Radon?

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In the past couple of months we have discussed environmental hazards paranormal investigators should be aware of such as black mold and allergens. Today, I’d like to touch upon Radon.

What Is Radon?
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It forms naturally from the decay of radioactive elements, such as uranium, which are found at different levels in soil and rock throughout the world. Radon gas in the soil and rock can move into the air and into ground water and surface water. It is present outdoors, as well as indoors. It is normally found at very low levels in outdoor air and in drinking water from river and lakes. It can be found at higher levels in the air in houses and other buildings, as well as in water from underground sources, such as well water.

How Are People Exposed To Radon?
For both adults and children, most exposure comes from being indoors in homes, commercial buildings, schools and other places. The levels of radon in homes and other buildings depend on the characteristics of the rock and soil in the area. As a result, radon levels vary greatly in different parts of the United States, even within neighborhoods. Elevated radon levels have been found in every state.

Radon gas, given off by rock or soil, can enter buildings through cracks in floors or walls; construction joints; or gaps in foundations around pipes, wires or pumps. Levels are usually highest in the basement or crawl space due to these areas being closest to the soil or the rock that is the source of the radon. Therefore, people who spend much of their time in basement rooms have a greater risk for being exposed. Small amounts of radon can also be released from the water supply into the air, especially if the water source is underground. As the radon moves from the water to the air, it can be inhaled. Water that comes from deep, underground wells in rock may have higher levels, whereas, surface water (drawn from rivers or lakes) usually has very low levels of radon. For the most part, water does not contribute much to the overall exposure. Exposure can also occur from building materials if they are made from radon-containing substances. Almost any building material made from natural substances, including concrete and wallboard, may give off some level of radon. In most cases, these level are very low, but in a few instances these materials may contribute significantly to radon exposure.

Some granite countertops may expose people to different levels of radon. Most health and radiation experts agree that while a small portion of granite countertops may give off increased level of radon, most countertops give off extremely low levels.

Symptoms Of Radon Poisoning
You cannot see or smell radon gas, making it very difficult for people to even know they’ve been exposed. This radioactive gas causes damage to our cells deep within the lungs. Radon gas exposure has no early discernible symptoms. Long-term exposure can lead to chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer, especially in smokers.

How To Avoid Radon Exposure
Radon is in the air we breath, both indoors and out, so it is not possible to avoid it completely. But there may be things you can do to lower your exposure.

For most people, the largest potential source of radon is in the home. You can check radon levels in your home to determine if steps are needed to lower them. Do-it-yourself radon kits can be ordered through the mail or bought in hardware or home supply stores. The kits are placed in the home for a period of time then mailed to a lab for analysis. The EPA recommends testing all homes below the 3rd floor, even new homes that were built “radon-resistant”. Another way is to hire a professional. Qualified contractors can be found on the EPA website.

It is very important for paranormal investigators to be aware of all environmental hazards when investigating. Happy, safe investigating!

http://www.cancer.org/…/ca…/othercarcinogens/pollution/radon

Jan 01

Rose Hall Estate

rhall Rose Hall Estate
Montego Bay, Jamaica

This month, we are going visit beautiful Montego Bay, Jamaica. Our final destination will be the Rose Hall Estate, which sits high on a hill with a panoramic view of the vivid blues of the ocean. We will be stepping back in time to a location where sugar was king of the island and she was still a jewel in the British Crown.

Annie Mae Patterson was born to an Irish father and an English mother, who moved her to Haiti when she was around 10 years old. It was here that she met her nanny, who would also become her teacher in the practice of Voodoo. Annie parents died when she was young, and the nanny continued to raise her and teach her Voodoo until her death when Annie was 18 years old. After the death of her nanny, Annie moved to the Island of Jamaica to seek her fame and fortune, in the manner of a rich husband. She is reputed to have been beautiful and petite, standing only 4′ 11″ tall.

It was in Montego Bay, Jamaica, that Annie met and married John Palmer. John owned Rose Hall Estate, which consisted of 7,000 acres of sugar and 2,000 slaves, in addition to his large and ornate home. Annie had found her fame and fortune. However, happiness in her marriage to John was short lived.

Annie began to take slaves as lovers and John found out about it. One day he found her with one of her lovers and proceeded to beat her with a crop. Outraged over what had happened, Annie poisoned his coffee and John died, leaving her the sole heir of his vast estate and holdings.

After the death of her husband, Annie became a tyrant. She could often be heard shouting at the slaves from her balcony. She often had slaves tortured and killed for displeasing her, or simply to use them as an example to the others.

She took a string of slaves as her lovers, none of which lasted long. When she would tire of them, she would murder them. In addition to her lovers, she also took two other men as her husband, supposedly killing them also and inheriting their wealth, to add to her own. She had each of her husband’s buried by the slaves and then killed them before they could return to the estate. Her terrible treatment of the slaves, along with the rumors of her Voodoo rituals earned her the name, the White Witch of Rose Hall.

Annie finally made a fatal mistake that would ultimately cost her her own life. She set her sights on Robert Rutherford, a bookkeeper. However, much to her displeasure, Robert was totally in love with another. Annie placed a Voodoo curse on the woman in question which is called “Old Hige”. This curse will cause a ghost to visit the victim of the ritual whose very presence will cause the victim to slowly wither away and die. Annie’s mistake came in casting this spell on the granddaughter of the local obeah man, Takoo. Her name was Millicent and when she died, Takoo became so outraged over her death, that he rounded up an army of slaves and they strangled Annie Palmer to death.

The White Witch of Rose Hall was immediately buried in a deep hole on the estate. The slaves also gathered all of her personal belongings and burned them, fearful that her spirit had somehow tainted them. A Voodoo ritual was also carried out when Annie was buried. However, it is said that the ritual was not performed correctly and that her spirit still haunts Rose Hall to this very day.

In 1977, a former Miss USA, Michele Rollins and her husband, John, bought Rose Hall Estate and went to great personal expense to refurbish it. They allow tours to be carried out on the property which includes the dungeon where bloodstains can still be seen on the walls.

Night time tours are also available for those who are not weak of heart and spirit. If you ever get the chance to visit Montego Bay, Jamaica, and you go to Rose Hall, maybe you will be the one to catch the spirit of Annie Palmer, the White Witch of Rose Hall in a photo. Just be wary and don’t let the banging on the walls or the footsteps of an unseen visitor frighten you too much.

www.rosehall.com

Dec 02

The Pioneer Living History Museum/Village, Phoenix, Arizona

pioneerThis village/museum sits on 90 acres just North of Phoenix, Arizona and contains approximately 30 buildings on the site. It was officially opened in 1969 and gives the visitor the opportunity to step back in time from 1863-1912. These buildings were rescued from decay and destruction and placed at the museum in an effort to show how life was during that time in our history.

Just a few of the original buildings include the Ashurst Cabin, boyhood home of Arizona’s first Senator, Henry Fountain Ashurst. The original Phoenix Bakery from 1881 is here, also. The Opera House started out as a general store in 1876, and was turned into a theater in 1882, after it was sold. The Flying V Cabin is also located here. It was built circa 1880 and even has notched gun ports for protection against Indian attacks. It was raided during the July 17, 1882 Battle of Big Dry Wash, the last Apache war in the area. In moving these buildings to the museum area, it appears that the spirits have moved with them.

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]There have been several paranormal groups to investigate this location, with each of them reporting strange noises, happenings and recorded EVP’s.[/pullquote] Even though the caretaker of the village swears that he doesn’t believe in ghosts, he has also heard and experienced some strange things that he just cannot explain.

The museum also offers Ghost Tours, with “ghouls” as your guides. They take you to each of the buildings in an effort for you to have your very own unique experience with their resident spirits.

If you are ever in Arizona and want to step back in time to see what a pioneer’s life was like during the day, and what spirits still reside here at night, this is the place for you.

www.pioneeraz.org

Nov 01

The Aokigahara Forest, Japan

aokigahara-forest-108Located less than 100 miles west of the city of Tokyo and located at the base of Mount Fugi, sits a dense and desolate place known as The Aokigahara Forest. It is formed in the lava flow from that famous volcano from the 9th century. There are also 2 caves located in the forest, known as the Ice Cave and the Wind Cave, which makes this location especially favored by tourists.
Unlike most forests, there is hardly any wild life that resides within the forest, which makes it a very quiet place to be. This is one of the reasons that it is so popular with the locals. This dense and quiet forest holds a much darker secret in its’ quietness, because it’s the number one spot for the Japanese to visit when they decide to commit suicide.

Many people consider the quietness of the forest to mean that it’s haunted and there are a lot of the Japanese people that refuse to even consider entering this place of death.

There have been so many suicides to take place here that the police no longer publish the yearly data. In 2003, it was made public for the last time when there were a staggering 105 confirmed suicides. Many believe that more suicides happen in the forest than are confirmed, but that their bodies are never found due to the denseness of the forest.

When you enter The Aokigahara Forest, there are signs posted in both Japanese and English, trying to dissuade suicide as an end. One states, “Your life is something precious that was given to you by your parents”. Another states, “Meditate on your parents, siblings and your children once more. Do not be troubled alone.”.

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]It’s hard for officials to profile the average person that seeks out The Aokigahara Forest to end their lives.[/pullquote] The ones found are usually males between the ages of 40-50 years old. March seems to be the most active month for people deciding to end their lives. Some people think this is the most active month for suicides because it marks the end of Japan’s fiscal year.

The Aokigahara Forest hasn’t always been a place where people went wishing to end their lives. Although there is evidence that tells us that as far back as the 19th Century, this forest is where the Japanese would take their elders to die of starvation, which is a practice called ubasute. In the 1960’s a novel entitled “Tower of Waves” talked about a couple going into this forest together to commit suicide and first made this a popular place to end a life. In 1993, another book, this one by Wataru Tsurumi, entitled, “The Complete Manual of Suicide” fanned the flames and the suicide rate increased. This book even described parts of the forest that are less visited, so that bodies cannot be found later.

As macabre as it may sound, the Japanese organize an annual body sweep of the forest prior to the holiday season. They remove all bodies that can be found, and if possible identify them for their families.

It is quite baffling why there is such a high rate of suicides in Japan. It may have something to do with the Japanese psyche and the fact that many Japanese men feel rejected when they become entrenched. Most of them held position of high authority within the companies where they worked.

Maybe they felt as if they could not face their families and friends. In the same manner as the Samurai Warriors, of days gone by, perhaps they felt that suicide was the one way that they could atone for their failures in life.

www.aokigahara-forest.com

Oct 01

Gakona Lodge and Trading Post

gakonaOk folks, let’s dress in our warmest clothes, put on our parka’s, scarves, gloves and lace up our snow boots because this month we’re heading north. Make sure that you have your favorite investigative tools loaded up, because here we go. We will be stopping at the Gakona Lodge and Trading Post in Gakona, Alaska.

Gakona, Alaska is located in the Copper River Valley in the interior of south central Alaska. It’s adjacent to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. It’s also 200 miles north of Anchorage.

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]It is said that John stomps his feet and smokes his pipe in this room. Even though there has been a no smoking policy at the lodge for a while now – you can still smell the wafting scent of pipe tobacco in that room.[/pullquote]The Ahtna Indians have lived in this area for approximately 5,000-7,000 years. Gakona originally served as a wood and fish camp before becoming a permanent village for them.

Jim Doyle homesteaded the area in 1902 and in 1904, he built the lodge, an ice house and a storage shed. It became known as Doyle’s Roadhouse. The original building is still standing on the property, even though it is no longer in use. By 1905, gold fever had spread to the valley and prospectors were coming in.

Life in the cold harsh north was always unpredictable and there were always many travelers along the way looking for a hot meal, a warm bed or even a place to rob. There were even rumors that a notorious serial killer known as the Blueberry Kid was in the area and could have stayed at the roadhouse.

Doyle sold out in 1912. Between then and the 1920’s the roadhouse had passed through several owners, before finally coming into the hands of a Norwegian man and his wife, Arne and Henra Sundt. Arne died of a heart attack in 1946, and his wife continued on with the business until she finally sold the property to Jerry and Barbara Strang in 1976.

The Strang family were the first owners to report paranormal activity on the property. In the Springfield Sunday Republican on April 5, 1987, Barbara Strang told of a strange and unexplained event that had taken place at the lodge. According to Mrs. Strang, some of the kitchen workers were trying to contact a spirit that they thought resided in the room, when the power went out. Now, according to her, losing power is common, but she did feel that the timing was peculiar.

There is also a story about a man named John Paulsen. It is said that John was not only a customer, but a business partner as well. John always stayed in Room #5. It is said that John stomps his feet and smokes his pipe in this room. Even though there has been a no smoking policy at the lodge for a while now – you can still smell the wafting scent of pipe tobacco in that room.

If you should decide to venture north to Alaska and visit the Gakona Lodge and Trading Post…..if you ask to say in Room # 5…..and, if you ask nicely, maybe – just maybe, John will share his pipe with you, as he stomps his feet.

www.gakonalodge.com

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