Paranormal Bucket List

Published February 1, 2011 by thirteenghosts

I’ve never been much of a traveler, but my interest in the paranormal is going to change that. My trip to the East Coast and the Eastern State Penitentiary last year has fueled a fire in me to stop dragging my feet and get out there and live! So, to begin that process, I am creating a Paranormal Bucket List. This list will contain the haunted places that I want to visit. This will be an ongoing blog as I’m sure I will find new places that I want to visit so be sure to check back in! I hope you find my list fascinating enough to create your own Paranormal Bucket List!

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Hill View Manor is located at 2801 Ellwood Road in New Castle, Pennsylvania. The county built the facility (originally called the Lawrence County Poor House) in 1926 to house their poor, aged, and mentally ill. The home was designed differently then most facilities of the time. There were separate quarters for the men and women. It had its own hospital, cemetery, bomb shelter, as well as a section for officers and employees of the manor. In 1976, a 63,000 sq. ft. addition was added and they changed the name to Hill View Manor. The manor continued to operate as a nursing home until the county had to close it due to financial difficulties in 2004. According to former employees, the third floor is extremely active with unexplained noises, voices and cold spots. Shadow people have also been reported in the building. The cemetery is said to be extremely active as well. The majority of the graves are nameless since they were mostly those who died in the facility whose bodies weren’t claimed by family. You must get permission to visit Hill View Manor. Their website http://www.hauntedhillview.com/ didn’t list specific tour information but you may contact Candy Braniff at (724) 510-5142 or crbraniff@yahoo.com for tour info.

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The Crescent Hotel and Spa is located at 75 Prospect Avenue in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The 78-room hotel was built from 1884-1886 by the Eureka Springs Improvement Company and the Frisco Railroad at the north end of West Mountain. Many tourists flocked to the area during this time period for the “healing waters” of the Ozarks. The hotel was luxuriously decorated from the inside furnishings to the outside landscaping. It was equiped with modern day electric lights and plumbing, steam heating, and an elevator. It was referred to as America’s most luxurious resort hotel. The prosperity of the resort was not long lasting. By the early 1900’s, the people had stopped coming to the resort. From 1908-1924, the hotel was used by Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women and continued to act as a resort during the summers. The tuitions and summer guests did not offset the expenses of running the hotel and resort so it was closed. It sat abandoned until it reopened as a junior college from 1930-1934. It was empty again until 1937 when it was purchased by Norman Baker who wanted to turn it into a cancer hospital/health resort called Baker Cancer Hospital. Baker advertised that patients would walk away from the resort cancer-free. Unfortunately, patients who went there got nothing but scammed. It turned out that Norman Baker wasn’t a doctor nor did he have any medical training. He had already been charged with practicing medicine without a license in Iowa in 1936. He was being investigated by authorities when he opened the hospital and was finally arrested in 1939 for mail fraud. He was convicted and served four years in Leavenworth. Baker defrauded cancer patients out of nearly $4 million. After being released from prison in 1944, he moved to Florida where he lived until his death in 1958. The hotel again sat empty from 1940-1946 before being purchased by four Chicago businessmen who began to restore the hotel. The Crescent Hotel began to thrive once again until 1967 when fire destroyed the fourth floor of the south wing. Over the next several years, the hotel was bought and sold many times with each owner making their own repairs and restorations. In 1997, the hotel was purchased by Marty and Elise Roenigk who vowed to restore it to its original splendlor. The Roenigk’s delivered on their promise and in 2002, after $5 million in renovations, the Cresent Hotel reopened, having been fully restored to its original splendor. Paranormal activity includes apparitions, lights flickering, doors opening, loud banging on the walls, and unexplained screams. The most haunted guest rooms are Rooms 202, 218, 419 and 424. The Crystal Dining Room is another paranormal hot spot which is said to hold many playful Victorian spirits. For more information go to http://www.crescent-hotel.com/.

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St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is located at 400 Basin Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the oldest and most famous cemetery in New Orleans. It opened in 1789 to replace St. Peter Cemetery which was closed after the city was redesigned after a fire. It’s one block past the inland border of the French Quarter. The cemetery is only one square block in size but holds nearly 100,000 interments including legendary voodoo priestess, Marie Laveau (1794-1881). Her tomb is visited by many and covered with black X’s that are left by the visitors as a voodoo offering. Just for the record, voodoo is not my thing, I just want to see the cemetery. Paranormal activity includes hearing sobbing coming from inside various crypts, unusual mists, full bodied apparitions of people as well as dogs and cats. The “ghost animals” were supposedly cared for in life by the cemetery caretaker back in the 1800’s. The caretaker is actually buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2.

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The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, formerly known as the Weston State Hospital, is located at 71 Asylum Drive in Weston, West Virginia. The asylum was constructed from 1858-1881. The original hospital opened in 1864 and was designed to house 250 patients. By the 1950’s the asylum was rundown and overcrowded with over 2,400 patients. The facility finally closed in 1994 due to changes in the treatment of mental illness and deterioration of the buildings. This has had a devastating effect on the local economy which they still haven’t recovered from. Reported paranormal activity includes apparitions and unexplained voices and sounds. Paranormal tour information available at http://www.trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com/.

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The Pythian Castle is located at 1451 E. Pythian Street in Springfield, Missouri. It was built by the Knights of Pythias as an orphanage and senior citizens home in 1913. They called it the Pythian Home of Missouri. In 1942, it was taken over by the US military under an “Order of Immediate Possession”. They used it as offices and a service club for recovering injured WWII veterans. It was considered part of the O’Reilly General Hospital and was maintained by the military until 1993 when it was sold as surplus. Paranormal activity includes dark masses, voices and cold spots. The tunnel underneath the castle is extremely active. Tour Information: Monday-Saturday 9:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:30 PM–Monday-Sunday 2:00 PM, 3:30 PM–Monday-Thursday 5:00 PM, 7:30 PM–$7.50 for Age 12-64–$5 for Age 5-12 and 65+–Free for children under 5 and seniors over 90. Paranormal Tours available. To get a peek behind the doors of the Pythian Castle, check out the documentary Children of the Grave or click on the link on the right of this webpage.

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Photo by travelbrook.com

The Lemp Mansion is located at 3322 DeMenil Place in St. Louis, Missouri. The mansion was built in the early 1860’s and was purchased by William Lemp, the son of America’s First Beer Brewer, John Adam Lemp. The Lemp Family was cursed with misfortune. The brewery’s success began to decline after the death of William’s favorite son, Frederick, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1901. Three years later, William committed suicide in one of the mansion’s bedrooms by shooting himself in the head. The brewery was then taken over by William Jr. until the it was permanently closed in 1919 after Prohibition. William Jr.’s sister, Elsa, considered one of the wealthiest women in St. Louis, committed suicide in 1920. In 1922, the brewery, once worth $7 million, sold at auction for less than $600,000 to the International Shoe Company. Most of the family’s fortune was liquidated except for the Lemp Mansion. After the sale of the brewery, William Jr. committed suicide in the mansion like his father had done 18 years earlier. In 1943, his son, William III, died of a heart attack at the age of 42. William Jr.’s brother, Charles, continued to live in the mansion until he shot his dog and then himself in the basement. He was discovered by his brother Edwin, who lived in the mansion until his death from natural causes in 1970. The mansion was then purchased and used as a boarding house. It was sold again and renovated into the restaurant and inn that it is today. Paranormal activity includes apparitions, phantom smells, chairs moving, and doors opening and closing. Paranormal Tour Information: Thursday evenings on specified dates–$25 per person–$125 if you want to spend the night. For more information go to http://www.lempmansion.com.

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Image courtesy of the Oregon State Library

The Hot Lake Hotel is located at 66172 Highway 203 in La Grande, Oregon. Prior to the hotel being built, the hot springs were used by Native American tribes to nurse their sick and wounded on neutral ground. It also became a popular stopping place for fur traders. The hotel was built in 1864 and quickly became a popular vacation spot for people to relax in the hot springs. It was purchased by Dr. W.T. Phy in 1917 who added a state-of-the-art medical facility which included a hospital that provided the most modern radiation treatments of the time. The hotel was used as a resort and a hospital until 1934 when the majority of the original building was destroyed by fire. The remaining brick structure was used for a nursing home, an asylum and a restaurant over the years until it was abandoned in 1991. It was finally purchased in 2007 and the restoration began. As of 2010, it functions as a bed and breakfast, museum and spa. Paranormal activity includes the spirit of a gardner who committed suicide, screams coming from the old surgery room and piano music. For more information go to hotlakesprings.com.

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Photo by marshallcountytourism.com

The West Virginia Penitentiary is located at 818 Jefferson Avenue in Moundsville, West Virginia. The first phase of the penitentiary was completed in 1876 and was soon filled with 251 male prisoners. By the early 1900’s the prison held many secondary departments: carpentry, paint and wagon shops, a stone yard, a brickyard, a blacksmith, a taylor, a farm, a bakery and a hospital. The prison was almost totally self sufficient. They opened a coal mine about a mile away where inmates worked saving the prison $14,000 a year in heating expenses. They also built a school and a library to further the education of the inmates. In 1929 they decided to double the size of the penitentiary due to overcrowding. The addition wasn’t completed until 1959 because of a steel shortage during WWII. The history of the prison goes down hill from there. There had been 36 homicides in the prison; successful prison escapes in 1979, two in 1988 and another in 1992; riots in 1973 and 1986. With the building of more prisons, the aging penitentiary’s population dropped to 600-700 inmates by 1995 and the West Virginia Penitentiary was finally decommissioned. Paranormal activity includes a shadow man wandering the prison, cold spots, and unexplained noises and voices. The prison is now open for day tours April-November, Tuesday-Sunday 11:00 AM-4:00 PM. Admission prices: Adults-$10–Seniors-$8–Children 6-16 $6–Ages 5 and under FREE. Paranormal Tours also available. For more information go to http://www.wvpentours.com.

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Photo from dirjournal.com

Waverly Hills Sanatorium is located at 4400 Paralee Lane in Louisville, Kentucky. The sanatorium started out as a two-story building. Construction began in 1908 and came to completion in 1910. It could safely house 40-50 tuberculosis patients. With the disease reaching epidemic proportions in the area, the small facility was quickly over capacity. Construction began in 1924 and was compeleted in 1926. The new facility would house 400 patients. It remained a tuberculosis hospital until 1961 when antibiotics were invented. The sanatorium was then quarantined and renovated into a geriatrics center called Woodhaven Medical Services. It was finally closed down by the state in 1980. Some say as many as 63,000 people died in the sanatorium. I’d say that has to contribute to the paranromal activity. One of the more noted areas of Waverly Hills is the body chute where they would roll the bodies of the deceased down a railway system in the tunnel to hearses and boats. You must call to schedule a tour of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium. You can call Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday from 9:00 AM-5:oo PM and on Thursdays from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM (Closed for lunch on these days from 1:00-2:00 PM). Their phone number is (502) 933-2142 or go to their website for more information http://www.therealwaverlyhills.com.

Legend of the Jersey Devil

Published January 26, 2011 by thirteenghosts

The legend of the Jersey Devil or Leeds Devil began in 1735 in the Pine Barrens of south New Jersey. He was the thirteenth child born to Mrs. Jane Leeds (also referred to as “Mother Leeds”) who was rumored to be a witch. Who fathered the baby has always been disputed. It was said that when Mother Leeds found out she was pregnant it wasn’t a happy occasion. It’s reported that during labor she made the statement “let this child be a devil”. According to legend, the baby came out looking like a normal baby boy. Within minutes he began to transform into a monster. He is said to have had a reptilian body, a horse’s head, hooved feet, wings like a bat, a long forked tail and yellow eyes. The creature let out an ear piercing scream and flew up the chimney and off into the night.

As the story began to spread, people were scared to go out at night. The creature was thought to have carried off small animals and even some children. In 1740, the townspeople begged a local minister to exorcize the creature. The minister completed the exorcism and claimed it would last for 100 years. It is said that the Jersey Devil was seen on two occasions before the century was up. Sightings were few and far between until 1909 when thousands of people reported seeing the creature or footprints left by him. The Devil was seen by many respected citizens including police officers. The Philadelphia Zoo even offered a reward of $10,000 to anyone who could capture it. Nobody took them up on their offer. Sightings ceased until 1927 when a cab driver reported the creature landing on his car while he was changing a tire. Luckily he had just finished up and he was able to drive away. In 1930, the Devil was seen eating in berry fields around Leeds Point. Besides another sighting in a berry field north of Leeds Point two weeks after the first incident, the creature was not seen again until 1951. Supposedly the Devil cornered a group of school children but did not hurt them. Sightings happened here and there until another spike in 1960 when people near Mays Landing reported strange screams coming from the Barrens.

Police officers posted signs that the Jersey Devil was a hoax. That didn’t stop people from flocking to the area to see if they could catch a glimpse of the monster themselves. The legend is still going strong. Check out this video of the episode Paranormal State did on the Jersey Devil last year.

There are many variations to the Jersey Devil legend. It’s for you to decide if you believe or not. I’m not trying to prove or disprove the legend. I was able to visit a location in 2010 that the Jersey Devil has supposedly been seen on several occasions. It’s called Pakim Pond and it’s located on Shinn Road in Woodland Township, New Jersey near Browns Mills. I didn’t see the Jersey Devil but it was a beautiful place to visit.

Riverview Cemetery

Published January 7, 2011 by thirteenghosts

Ghost Pic from Jefferson City

Riverview Cemetery is located at 2600 West Main Street in Jefferson City, Missouri. I have lived in Missouri my entire life and had never been to the state capital. My best friend had a childcare conference there in March 2002. I wasn’t working at the time so we packed up our scrapbook supplies and headed off to Jefferson City about two and a half hours to the east. We didn’t have a lot of free time while we were there because of the conference, but we made the best of the time we had. Since driving through cemeteries is one of our favorite pasttimes at home, we wanted to check out some cemeteries in our state’s capital. So we are driving along and see a cemetery with an old antique horse-drawn hearse in the front. Riverview Cemetery was not the most lavish cemetery we had ever been too, but it turned out to be the location of the best ghost picture we have ever gotten. We were wandering around taking pictures. I wasn’t feeling anything paranormal, but I usually don’t. My best friend was about to crawl out of her skin. She can be very sensitive about things sometimes, but I usually tell her to suck it up and move on. I wanted a picture of her in front of the biggest mausoleum in the cemetery. She wasn’t happy about it as you will see in the picture, but she stood there. Imagine my surprise when we got the pictures developed (Yes, I said developed!) :)

and we found the most incredible thing. There was somebody else posing in the picture with her. I owed her an amends for not believing her. The picture clearly showed a woman standing off to the right of the mausoleum. It also showed streaks of light shooting into frame from the right. For you skeptics, yes it was the middle of the day and yes, the sun was shining. Other pictures in the cemeterycame out clear, no streaks from the sun and the woman only showed up in this one. Honestly, I don’t care if you believe it or not, it happened. So be sure to double click on the pics so you can see it really close. You can see a gray image of a woman wearing a dress. The first picture is the full shot and the second picture has the lady by herself.

 

Miller Mausoleum

Published January 3, 2011 by thirteenghosts

Miller Mausoleum

One day my best friend and I went out for a drive. We were just outside the tiny town of Holden, Missouri when we came upon the Miller Mausoleum. It didn’t seem possible that this mausoleum was just sitting out in the country like that. So what do you do when you’re driving down a country road and stumble upon a really cool mausoleum? Well you pull over and go investigate! I had never seen anything like this before and I have been to a lot of cemeteries. So after doing a little research, this is the information I came up with:
The mausoleum was built by Joseph M. Miller, a prominent citizen of Madison Township in Johnson County, Missouri. He was a teacher, a farmer, and a man who liked to read the Bible. He decided he didn’t want to be buried because of his concern about the water that settles into graves. He appreciated the ideas of people in the Bible burying their dead in caves where they would be dry. He began working on the mausoleum in 1916 and it became known as “Joseph’s Tomb”. It’s not clear exactly when the main structure was finished but in 1934 the doors and windows were still not in. The walls of the first floor are three feet thick and those of the second floor are two feet thick. Above the second floor is a turret with a dome on top that is flattened into an observation platform. One of the main entrances leads down into the family crypt. The second floor of the tomb was devoted to religious pictures and space for a museum. There also used to be a park surrounding the building.  Joseph Miller’s father, brothers, sisters and six children of his and his wife, Laura, are interred there.
I was recently contacted by a Miller family member who informed me that plans are in the works to have it deemed a historical landmark. When I get an update on this I will update this story.
Click on the link below to see a Google map of the area. The mausoleum is the gray building on the left side of the highway.
http://www.us-city-home.com/missouri/holden/whats_around/buildings/Miller_Mausoleum-4398399.html

Kansas City Workhouse

Published January 3, 2011 by thirteenghosts

Kansas City Workhouse

The Kansas City Workhouse, also known as the “Vine Street Workhouse”, is located at 21st and Vine in Kansas City, Missouri. It was also called “Brant’s Castle”, after Major Alfred Brant, Superintendant of the Kansas City Workhouse. What is a workhouse you might ask? It is a prison facility for petty criminals to work off their sentences. The workhouse was built in 1897 to replace the old workhouse which was located across the street. The old workhouse was unfit for humans according to newspaper articles of the time.  The overcrowding was so bad the mayor had pardoned many prisoners on the grounds of humanity. It was also a fire trap as each cell was keyed differently. In the event of a fire, it would have been extremely difficult if not impossible to get all the prisoners out. They used prisoners to quarry the stone used for the new building from the on-site quarry. They were not allowed to help with the actual construction of the prison. I’m sure it was hard work but I’m just as sure some felt relieved to be outdoors and not cramped up in a small cell with sometimes up to 8 or 9 other prisoners.

Kansas City Workhouse

So you might wonder why they designed a prison to look like a castle? According to newspaper articles there was no real reason for it. They wanted it to be a substanial building and different from other public buildings in this area of the country. Since it didn’t cost anymore to make it look like a castle then it would to make it look like a normal prison, they went for it. They were able to complete the project for $30,000. It remained a workhouse until 1918 when they converted it into city office space. It was used in that capacity until the 1970’s. At that time, the city abandoned it. They bricked up the doors and windows and tore out the floors. It is pretty much just a shell of a building now. If you do get a chance to go see it, make sure you go in the daytime and don’t go alone. It isn’t located in the best part of town.

Elmwood Cemetery

Published January 2, 2011 by thirteenghosts

Elmwood Cemetery is located at 4900 Truman Road, Kansas City, Missouri. The cemetery is rumored to be haunted. There have been paranormal investigations there where they did get several EVP’s and had personal experiences. I have visited the cemetery on several occasions but my all-time favorite visit was the year we met a very nice groundskeeper who let us down into the crematorium. Oh my gosh! It was absolutely fascinating! We got to see some antique coffins that they used as “loaners” to those who were going to be cremated. There was a trap door in the ceiling of the crematorium from the chapel above where they lowered the caskets down. Armour Chapel was the dream of  Kirkland and Annie Armour. Before they could complete their dream, Kirkland fell ill with pneumonia and passed away that same year. Out of her sorrow and to represent the love she had for her husband, Annie saw the dream through and opened the chapel on Christmas Eve, 1902.

Elmwood Cemetery in the Fall

I like to visit Elmwood in the fall when the leaves are changing (it’s also a great Halloween Time outing). They have volunteer work days on the 4th Saturday of every month (except for December and January). They have no paid staff so they are totally dependant on volunteers and donations for upkeep. It is a great way to spend a cool autumn day with some friends helping the community and taking in the beauty and history of the cemetery.  The cemetery was designed in 1897 by architect George Kessler. The cemetery’s almost 50 acres were designed into a park-like setting. This design was chosen for those who travelled long distances by horse and buggy so they could enjoy the nature and landscape. Elmwood became the prototype for many of Kessler’s designs for parks in Kansas City, St. Louis and across the country. Many of Kansas City’s elite and wealthy are buried here as well as over 700 Civil War Veterans. For more information about Elmwood Cemetery, click on the link on the right.

Vaile Mansion

Published December 30, 2010 by thirteenghosts
Vaile Mansion in Independence, MO

Outside the Vaile Mansion

The Vaile Mansion is located at 1500 N. Liberty, Independence, Missouri. The mansion is rumored to be haunted. I have visited the mansion on two occasions but felt nothing paranormal. Supposedly the activity is on the 3rd floor and in the basement; both areas are off limits to the public. However, the mansion is beautiful inside and out. The inside has been restored over the years. The original furnishings were auctioned off in 1894 to raise money. The Vaile Victorian Society is responsible for furnishing most of the contents to reflect the time period in which it was built. Donations were also made of a few original pieces that were sold at auction.

With assistance from architect Asa Beebe Cross, the mansion was designed and built by Colonel Harvey M. Vaile and his wife, Sylvia.  The Vaile’s got their inspiration from a mansion they saw while visiting Normandy, France. The Vaile Mansion was completed in 1881 for a cost of $150,000.

So who was Colonel Vaile and how could he afford to build such an extravagant mansion? Well, he was many things. He practiced law, worked as a journalist, lobbyist, a gentleman farmer, breeder and owner of the finest registered cattle, and an expert maker and authority on wines. He was a contractor for mail leaving Independence as well as a partner in the “Star” mail routes in the midwest. Around 1883, Colonel Vaile was accused of mail fraud and was facing jail time. Colonel Vaile began to deteriorate and went a little crazy. Mrs. Vaile, distraught over the accusations, commited suicide by taking an overdose of morphine. Colonel Vaile was later exonerated and he lived out his remaining days in the mansion until 1894 when he died from a paralytic stroke. The trials took a large portion of  Colonel Vaile’s fortune. He ended up leaving an estate of $300,000 plus extensive land holdings in Texas.

Since the Vaile’s never had children, Colonel Vaile left the estate to the Kansas City Ladies College. The next owner of the home was Mrs. Carey Mae Sprague who used the mansion as a health care facility. After Mrs. Sprague died in 1960, a developer was interested in developing the property and demolishing the mansion. The property was then purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Roger DeWitt to preserve the historic mansion. Mrs. DeWitt deeded the property to the city of Independence less than a week before her death. In 1983, the Vaile Victorian Society began refurbishing the mansion with donated and purchased pieces. It is now pretty much restored and open for tours most days (closed during January, February and March). You should check it out if you are ever in the area!

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