Friday, September 23, 2016

Behold the Sassquatch

I haven't done a Friday Night Funny for awhile and when I saw this picture on Facebook recently, I knew I wanted to share it, lol. I love this lil' guy. He's definitely sassy! Although, his feet are a little on the small side for a Sasquatch....


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Book Review: Lighthouse Ghosts

Title: Lighthouse Ghosts---13 Bona fide apparitions standing watch over America's shores
Authors: Norma Elizabeth and Bruce Roberts
Published: 1999 by Crane Hill Publishers
Amazon Purchase Information

First off, I have to give a big 'THANK YOU!' to a wonderful reader named Louise who gifted me this book, which I immediately read, even if it has taken me awhile to get a review out, lol. Louise, thank you so much! I really appreciate your kindness and generosity; this title is now quite at home within my paranormal library.

And, its a welcomed addition for good reason---who doesn't love a haunted lighthouse tale! I swear, I think just about every single lighthouse in the nation has at least one ghost story attached to it. The authors include a wonderful introduction explaining the historical dedication that lighthouse keepers had for their occupation, and the dangers associated with such work, both huge factors in why many believe the majority of these structures continue to have that haunted reputation today.

While there are many haunted lighthouses out there, this book focuses on thirteen of the strongest, most documented tales, including the lighthouse at St. Augustine, Florida and at Heceta Head, Oregon, which I posted about last year. Both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are represented, as well as several selections from the Great Lakes. Each chapter focuses on a different lighthouse, its history, its hauntings, and some brief information on when and how to visit the lighthouse property for yourself. Since the book was published in 1999, there are VERY few websites included for more information, but each chapter does have a beautiful black and white photograph of the lighthouse in question, which makes up for it!

I really enjoyed this book! It's a relatively short book at only 119 pages, but its packed with legends, recent (well, recent as of 1999) experiences, and history. There's just enough of history and hauntings to give the reader a nice overview without being too tedious and straying too far off topic. Combined with the length, the large font makes this a really quick read, and also a perfect read for a younger paranormal enthusiast...or someone like me with a rather short attention span. I pretty much read this one straight through one evening, but the format is perfect for those who just want a quick story or two at a time.

With such a huge geographical range covered, despite the rather niche topic of lighthouses only, I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a good ghost story, or who loves the unique history of our nation's coastal safety. Pick up a copy today and tell me what YOU think of it, or head over to Theresa's Haunted History's Facebook and let me know about YOUR favorite haunted lighthouse!


Fun Fact: Did you know that landlocked West Virginia has its own lighthouse? It's not a real, operational lighthouse, but a recycled wind turbine. You can visit and tour the structure at Summersville Lake!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Luke and Mothman's Butt
Today, my sweet little Luke turns 7 years old.  He was conceived in a haunted hotel, born in a haunted hospital, has lived in a haunted house, and has been dragged around the tri-state to visit various haunted locations. His due date was supposed to be on Halloween, but being eager about getting an earlier start, he decided to come in September, the same weekend as the annual Mothman Festival. He's led a spookier life than many adult paranormal enthusiast I know, yet he has already told me that he will NOT be following in mommy's investigative footsteps! Maybe he'll change his mind as he gets older, but if not, I'll still be proud of him, no matter what.

In honor of Luke's special day, here's a quick sampling of some birthday superstitions!

*In Germany, it is considered both bad luck and poor manners to tell someone 'Happy Birthday' before the day of their actual birthday. The birthday should be celebrated ON the birthday or to be safe, even AFTER the date of birth.

*Children born on Halloween are said to have the gift of second-sight. They can foretell the future, communicate with the spirit world, and even ward off the bad ghosties.

*In Argentina, the seventh son born into a family is said to be a Lobison, and will turn into a werewolf. Since so many seventh sons were being abandoned (or worse) in the early 1900s, it became a tradition that all seventh sons would receive the godfathership of the Argentinian president, and be presented with a gold medal upon baptism.

*Those born on Christmas are said to be protected for life against drowning or hanging, leading many Christmas babies to take on the life of a sailor (or in some cases, a pirate, lol). Christmas babies have tons of superstitions involving their birth, including an ability to talk to animals, turn into 'ghosts' on Christmas Day/Eve, and generally enjoy a life of luck, to name a few.

*A southern US tradition states that if you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake, you'll be married within a year!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mothman Festival 2016 Recap

My Mothman Coasters were a big hit!
What a wild ride this weekend turned out to be! On Saturday and Sunday, my boyfriend and I made the drive into Pt. Pleasant, WV to represent Theresa's Haunted History at the annual Mothman Festival. With this year being the 50th anniversary of the original Mothman sightings in Pt. Pleasant as well as the festival's 15th year, I knew it was going to be a big one---I just had no idea HOW big!

An estimated 10,000 visitors poured through the streets of the small town, many there to see the cast of Mountain Monsters. Wait times to see the AIMS crew went upwards of 6+ hours, but every single person I talked to said the wait was worth every minute. The AIMS crew stayed until after 10pm that night, making sure that every last one of their fans got some personalized attention.

As for me, I didn't get to do much looking around on Saturday because I was so busy manning my own table! I had an excellent time chatting with those who recognized the blog, some familiar faces, and some totally new to my work. I also sold a TON of handcrafted items!  To rent a vendor's table wasn't exactly cheap, so even though my main focus was to draw attention to my website, I thought I'd sell a few things to help recuperate my costs. I ended up covering the entire cost of my table and then some, selling items priced from 25 cents to $5, lol. I actually sold out of ALL my Mothman themed merchandise the first day, and had to go home and make more!

I was spotted by a Man in Black (aka, Junebug Fugitt of the Appalachian UFO Research Society)

Sunday was a little less successful. The day started out super rainy and there were only brief, intermittent periods of cloudy sunshine. Many vendors chose not to return on Sunday, or either came late or left early. Since attendance was a little lower that day, I got a chance to look around a little. I bought some used books and chatted a little with some of the other vendors. I was absolutely fan-girled out when Susan Shepphard of Parkersburg Ghost Tours came over and talked to me! Seriously, if you haven't checked these tours out, you NEED to this year.

Unfortunately, I missed my favorite part of the festival---seeing the top-notch speakers who present a variety of paranormal topics at the State Theater throughout the weekend. I have said this hundreds of times, and I can't say it enough: there is NO other festival in the country where you are going to see the level of speakers in one place...and for FREE! Rosemary Guiley, Loren Coleman, Nick Redfern and Ken Gerhard are just a FEW of the presenters who gave talks. I was also very lucky to have a table beside another presenter, Cameron Jones. Cameron is a researcher specializing in the paranormal/cryptozoology/ufology and gave a talk about UFOs in the Pt. Pleasant area. Based out of Ohio, Cameron was a really nice guy, and I enjoyed getting to know him, as well as the author on my other side, Roger W. Russell, who wrote a book about local ghost tales. I would have totally bought a copy, if I hadn't already did so the year before, lol!

All in all, it was a super successful weekend, and I can't thank Jeff Wamsley, Ashley Wamsley-Watts, and the many, many others who worked so hard to make this festival a reality. I know it got super crazy at times with so many people in attendance, but everyone did a great job, and I kept hearing how nice and polite everyone was treated. We've already made plans to be back next year!

I didn't get a chance to take many photos, but please check out this short video shot by my boyfriend, Aaron!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Gasparilla's Headless Princess

Jose Gaspar
Arrgh! September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! My accent is a little off and my wench dress is at the cleaners...so I think I'll just celebrate with some pirate ghost stories! The legends and lore of America's pirates are steeped with superstition and supernatural elements, and many of our most well-known bearded bullies of the sea are said to still be hanging around in spirit form. Whether they are still guarding their buried treasure, seeking to exact revenge on those who did them wrong, or simply being punished for a life of misdeeds, these pirate ghosts and the ghosts of their hapless victims make up a huge chunk of our country's ghost lore.

While pirate ghosts can be found in many coastal areas, (and apparently in Ohio, as well!), this particular tale comes from Gasparilla Island in Florida, part of a chain of Gulf Coast barrier islands. For almost 200 years, visitors to the island, which for over a century has been home to the Boca Grande Lighthouse, have claimed to see what appears to be a headless woman roaming the beaches.

Like most pirate ghost tales, this story also seems to be steeped more in folklore than in history, with no real historical evidence to back up the claims or even prove that the main characters even existed. So then who is this strange, headless apparition? As the legends go, the famed Spanish pirate Jose Gaspar, better known as Gasparilla, used the island as his home base of operations throughout the late 18th century and into the early 19th century. He is even said to have buried treasure somewhere on the island near where the lighthouse now stands. Unfortunately, material treasure wasn't the only thing Gaspar sought to make his own---he also had a thing for collecting beautiful women, which he held on a nearby island now known as Captiva Island.

One of the women he captured was allegedly a Spanish princess known as Josefa. Josefa was a great beauty, and Gasparilla wanted nothing more than to make her his own. However, the more he attempted to win her over, the harder she spurned him, until finally one day, she spat in his face. In a fit of rage, Gasparilla grabbed his sword from his side and Josefa's head off. Distraught over killing his beloved Josefa, Gasparilla took her body to his own island to bury it.  However, legend states that he only buried her BODY. He apparently kept her head with him until his own death in the 1820s.

Since then, the headless body of the Spanish princess has been spotted on the beaches of Gasparilla Island, looking for her missing head. Some say Gasparilla himself has also been witnessed wandering the beaches. Is he looking for that treasure he buried---or is he looking for his lost love, Josefa, who continues to spurn him even in death?

If you visit the island, don't be too discouraged if you don't see the poor Spanish princess or the love-sick pirate. Just make sure you check out the old lighthouse, which has plenty of ghost stories of its own!

Source: Lighthouse Ghosts, by Norma Elizabeth and Bruce Roberts


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dayton's Amber Rose Restaurant

Photo from TripAdvisor
In early August, my family and I took a vacation to the Cincinnati area of Ohio. Since we had half a day between switching from our regular hotel to the Great Wolf Lodge, we decided to take a small detour north to visit the Air Force Museum in Dayton. That worked out perfectly, because I had recently heard about the Amber Rose Restaurant and its haunted history! We decided to stop in for an early lunch before hitting the museum.

The Amber Rose is a beautiful, quaint restaurant in the heart of Old North Dayton. Since becoming a restaurant in 1990, it has specialized in Eastern European cuisine, as well as local favorites. I wasn't feeling great the day of our visit, but my potato soup and club sandwich were absolutely mouthwatering. Our waitress was the sweetest woman ever, and the prices were quite reasonable. It was a clean, friendly, and inviting place to spend the lunch hour, but you couldn't help but pick up on a century's worth of history in the building...a history that just might include a resident ghost.

The building that houses the Amber Rose was built around 1910-1912 by Polish immigrant, Sigmund Ksiezopolski. 'Sig' and his wife, Emma, raised what I can gather from census records as five daughters and a son in the upstairs living quarters of what was then Sig's General Store and deli. Several of the daughters never married, and lived at home throughout their adult lives while helping out in the general store below. As a prominent immigrant family in the area, the home also served as a sort of community center and social club for the local Polish population.

Sig's General Store and Deli remained in operation and family owned through the 1980s before being purchased around 1989 by a woman of Lithuanian descent, Elinor Sluzas. Unfortunately, before Elinor could open her restaurant, fire heavily damaged the building, causing part of it to be rebuilt. But, all would work out as the repairs were completed and Elinor's Amber Rose opened for business in 1990.

Almost immediately upon opening the restaurant, Elinor noticed that something was slightly amiss. Her employees claimed that upon leaving the restaurant at night, they could see what appeared to be a young girl with long black hair and a white gown staring out the attic window. Staff and guests would also report dishes breaking for no apparent reason and the sounds of music, especially polka, emanating from an unseen place, heard often near the restrooms on the first floor. Slamming doors, mysterious balls of blue light, lights that turn on and off on their own, and other electrical disturbances are just a few of the spooky things that plague the Amber Rose staff.

However, one of the spookiest things to have occurred was a full bodied apparition sighted by one of the cooks. He claims that an apparition appeared directly in front of him, lifted up her ruffled skirt slightly, and then walked away. What is weird is that surveillance camera footage taken at the same time clearly shows an anomalous light bounce through the kitchen. Is it the ghost? Maybe, or maybe not...but who IS the ghost said to be haunting the Amber Rose?

In Chris Woodyard's book, Haunted Ohio III, Elinor relates an encounter that may shed some light on the situation. She ran into Rose Losko, one of the daughters of Sig Ksiezopolski, at the local supermarket and told her about the employees seeing the dark haired girl in the attic window. Rose told her that it must be "Chickee," a nickname for the youngest daughter of the family. Chickee had never married, and thus, spent her life living above the old general store and working there daily her entire life.

What is strange is that all the census records and other family documents I've found state that ROSE was the youngest daughter in the family, lol. Some websites, however, claim that Chickee is actually Genevieve, who was the middle daughter. It is true that Genevieve never married and lived her life working for the family business. She passed away on October 15, 1983 at the age of 73 and is buried in the nearby Calvary Cemetery with her parents.

Elinor has since retired from the restaurant business, but the current management keeps her original recipes. It seems like they've also held on to Chickee, as well as adding potential male ghost named 'Richard.' The restaurant hosts different paranormal events and has been the object of many paranormal investigations over the years. Come for the unique and delicious food, but stay for the chance to meet Miss Chickee, who hasn't quite let go of the family business yet.

Amber Rose Website
Video Proof: Amber Rose Restaurant is Haunted ! (Dayton's Most Metro)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Review for Ghost Stories of Venice

Title---Ghost Stories of Venice: From Historic Spanish Point to Englewood
Author---Kim Cool
Published by Historic Venice Press (2002)
Amazon Purchase Information

I recently returned from a vacation to Cincinnati, Ohio. Usually when I visit another state, I like to pick up a book on that region's ghost stories. But, an impromptu stop at the Half Price Books store near our hotel resulted in the purchase of ANOTHER region's local legends---Venice, Florida. My paranormal library is already filled with titles from the Sunshine State, courtesy of my sister who always brings me home a lil' surprise from her vacations, but at $4, I couldn't just leave this book behind. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with that decision.

As the author discusses, Venice, Florida really isn't known for being haunted. The book gives a pretty good history of the town, which in the grand scheme of things, is actually quite 'new' as a modern city. Of course there is some Native American history there, and a smattering of information on early settlers and explorers, but the town itself really didn't get its start until the 20th century, when city plans were laid out as part of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. But, we students of ghost lore know that just because a place isn't 'old,' doesn't mean it cannot be haunted!

Venice suffers from the same ailment that many cities have---many people just aren't willing to discuss their ghost stories with people. But, as the author discovers, a little digging can result in other leads, culminating with a growing treasure trove of information. Within the book's 112 pages, the author manages to convince the local citizenry to share quite a number of spooky incidents from Venice and nearby locales. A few of the places featured are the Hermitage House, a residential area known as Venice Gardens, and the San Marco Hotel.

Granted, most of the ghost stories are pretty tame, and many are just personal experiences without a whole lot of substance to back them up, but they're entertaining and offer an enlightening glimpse of the unique history of Venice. For the most part, the book is pretty well written, although at times there are awkward repeats of information and the organization seems a little jumbled. However, there are some great photos, lots of interesting history, and a taste of ghost lore from a previously untapped area. If you plan on visiting this area of Florida any time soon, or simply love to read about ghost stories from different regions, this book should be a welcomed addition to your own paranormal library.