Saturday, January 23, 2021

Minneapolis' Haunted Washington Avenue Bridge

Source: Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Of all the haunted locations throughout Minneapolis, the one I find most interesting is the Washington Avenue Bridge. Built in 1965 to replace an older bridge from 1884, the Washington Avenue Bridge crosses the Mississippi River, connecting the east and the west sides of the University of Minnesota campus. The bridge is unique in that its a double-decker; the top deck is a pedestrian and cyclist pathway, while the bottom deck is reserved for cars and the METRO Green Line light rail system. 

Unfortunately, over the its years of operation, the Washington Avenue Bridge has become what locals call a suicide hot spot. On January 7, 1972, John Berryman, a poet and university professor, possibly became the first to take his own life on the bridge when he jumped to his death, landing on the west bank of the river. Berryman had suffered from years of depression and alcoholism. A recent religious conversion wasn't enough to stop him from taking the plunge off the bridge that winter morning.

Following Berryman were at least half a dozen more, including a young male university student who allegedly wrapped himself up in his comic book collection before taking the fatal jump. It seems that any place so entwined with emotional and tragic tales of death must naturally gain a haunted reputation, and that's true of the Washington Avenue Bridge.

Pedestrian Level Source: 123RF

Pedestrians traversing the top deck of the bridge have reported hearing phantom footsteps coming up behind them. A feeling of being watched by an unseen presence lurking in the shadows is also often reported. In one alleged encounter, a pedestrian claimed that the figure of a man was seen coming towards him, but the figure vanished before the startled witness' eyes. Cold spots are another ghostly phenomenon linked to the bridge, despite the fact that heaters (while often not working or not working properly) have been installed in the pedestrian walkway areas. 

The Washington Avenue Bridge is a unique pathway connecting the University of Minnesota campus, but it has seen more than it's fair share of tragedy over the nearly 50 years since it was built. If you find yourself walking, biking, or just simply driving across it one day, remember to keep those who lost their lives below you in your thoughts.  And keep your eyes and ears open---you might just meet a ghost! 

Sources:

Sparber, Max. "Haunted Twin Cities: The Washington Avenue Bridge." MinnPost 24 October 2011

Washington Avenue Bridge Wikipedia

John Berryman Wikipedia

Friday, January 22, 2021

Exorcism and Fried Chicken

 



Awhile back, this image was all over social media. A church near Bardstown, KY seemingly was advertising a public Satanic Exorcism, complete with all the fried chicken you can eat for 50 cents.  That sounds like a hell of a deal!  And let's be honest...at first glance, this image almost seems believable.  I can totally see this area hosting a large tent-revival type of church service, where faith healers smacked the demons out of the afflicted, and fried chicken was plentiful. 

But, sometimes things aren't as they seem. A quick reverse image search reveals the non-doctored, original version, which is from 1940 and can be found at the Library of Congress.



As you can see, the mundane phrase 'Church Picnic' was changed to the much more interesting 'Satanic Exorcism.' You can still get your unlimited fried chicken for 50 cents, though. The original photograph also gives us a slightly larger perspective. It appears that this advertisement for St. Thomas' church picnic was displayed at Hession Roofing Company, either on the actual store itself, or the owners' home.  In fact, in this ad from the early 1950's, the home featured looks almost exactly like the home in the photo!   One further thing to note, though.  St. Thomas in Bardstown, KY is a Catholic Church. I'm not a theologian, but I know enough about the Catholic religion to confidently say that church-sanctioned satanic exorcisms would not be a festive, public event. I can't, however, verify whether or not fried chicken would be an integral part of the process. 


I know it's been awhile since this photo originally started making its rounds, but I realized I never actually got around to blogging about it!  I still see it pop up every now and then, so it's a great reminder to not believe everything you see. There is a LOT of outright fakery, and a lot of misinformation being passed on as fact in the paranormal community. This photo probably started as a joke, without any malicious intent, but there are people who see this and automatically assume that it must be true. Always take a few minutes to verify information, especially if something seems too good to be true.  Happy Haunting! 


 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Concord's Colonial Inn


If you're looking for an elegant place to stay in the Concord, Massachusetts area, filled with history and GHOSTS, look no further than the Colonial Inn! Originally built in 1716, Concord's Colonial Inn has been a private residence, a boarding house, and even acted as a variety store before becoming Concord's Colonial Inn in 1900. Over the years it has gone through multiple expansions and renovations and has picked up quite the haunted reputation throughout New England. 

One of the first recorded experiences of ghosts at the hotel comes from 1966. Newlyweds M.P. and Judith Fellenz were visiting from New York and were given Room 24 on the second floor. The next morning, Loring Grimes, the innkeeper, noticed that the bride looked pale, but didn't think much of it.  However, two weeks later, a letter arrived from Mrs. Fellenz. In the letter, she states that during her stay on June 14, 1966 she had encountered what she believed was a ghost and wanted to know if anyone else had reported similar experiences.

She claims to have awakened sometime during the night, feeling like there was an unknown presence in the room. She saw what she described as a grayish, shadowy mass standing to the left of the bed, about 4 feet away. The vaguely human-shaped mass floated to the foot of the bed where it stayed a moment before melting away. 

Since that fateful encounter, the Colonial Inn has embraced its haunted history, and proudly shares information about the hotel's ghosts on its website. Room 24 is still considered the most haunted room in the hotel...and for good reason. It seems that during the Revolutionary War, the inn was actually a private residence owned by a local doctor. Room 24 became an operating room for wounded soldiers, and many passed away, in great pain, within its walls. Interestingly, it is noted that the ghosts that roam the Colonial Inn rarely include Revolutionary War era soldiers.  Rather, it is the CARETAKERS of these soldiers and the inn that are more likely to be seen, including a nurse named Rosemary.

Rosemary is seen as an older woman who roams throughout the halls. Disembodied voices have been heard, floating orbs have been seen on camera and with the naked eye, and it's not uncommon to experience flickering lights or lights/televisions that come on by themselves in the middle of the night. Room 27 on the first floor was used as a morgue during the Revolutionary War and is also a favorite haunted hot spot for those wanting to experience something paranormal during their stay.

The Colonial Inn's haunted reputation has attracted both curiosity seekers looking for a spooky night's stay, and also seasoned paranormal investigators. Over the years, several teams have come to the hotel looking to collect evidence of the afterlife, including the team from TAPS.  Ghost Hunters filmed an hour long episode (Season 6 Episode 14) at the hotel in 2010. 

*Information and Photos for this blog came directly from Concord's Colonial Inn's website.*

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Hexenritt

 


Happy Tuesday! Today's blog is a quickie---I just wanted to share this beautiful piece of witchy art with everyone.  The title of this painting is Hexenritt, translated to Witches' Ride. It was completed around 1875 by German artist, Carl Spitzweg

I hope your week has started out strong and continues to get better and better. And don't forget to take a few minutes to appreciate the arts---the creepier the better!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Gary's Phone Call--A Personal Spirit Communication


I believe that spirits can communicate with us in a variety of ways, including dreams.  In fact, I think that dreams are a rather safe way for them to reach out to us---dreaming about a loved one that has passed is far less scary to most people than actually seeing their apparition, and it allows for a more direct form of message communication than subtle hints and signs left during the waking hours that might be ignored or misinterpreted. 

Over the years, I've had plenty of dreams about those who have gone on before me, mostly my grandparents offering words of encouragement or advice. But one dream in particular stands out as potentially being an actual spirit communication. It was the time when I dreamed my uncle called from beyond the grave to ask a very special favor. 

My uncle Gary passed away when I was still in high school. It was my mom who actually found him, after going over to his house to help him with some paperwork stuff he had asked her to help with. Gary lived alone at the time with his big orange cat, Mozart. He loved that cat, and spoiled it like crazy. Whenever he'd have to go out of town, he'd pay me and my boyfriend to go over and feed Mozart and clean his litter box. So, I kinda assumed that after Gary had passed away, we'd be taking Mozart home to live with us.

There was a lot of stuff to do, however, to settle Gary's estate and clean out his house. Much of that responsibility was left to his daughter and her family. It was decided to leave Mozart at his home until everything was over.  When his daughter wasn't there, my boyfriend and I or my mom and I still would go over there to feed and take care of him. Then one day, deep into this process, I had the dream.

In my dream, the phone rang. It didn't sound any different---just a normal ring---and I answered it as I would normally do. It was Gary on the line. In my dream, I KNEW he had died, but for whatever reason it felt perfectly normal that he'd be calling. I wasn't at all concerned that I was receiving a phone call from someone who was no longer alive. He called me by his nickname for me, and asked if my mom was home. When I told him no, that's when his voice took on a sort of desperate tone.

He said that he had been trying to reach her but couldn't and that I needed to give her a message ASAP. He said that she needs to go get Mozart. Mozart needs her. PLEASE go get Mozart. 

I promised to give her the message, said goodbye and hung up. That's all I remembered of the dream, and at the time, it didn't really seem like a big deal. In fact, I wasn't going to say anything about it to anyone, but the next day, something told me that I should bring it up. Sort of in passing, I casually asked my mom when we were going to be able to bring Mozart home. She got a weird look on her face and said that we weren't going to be adopting the cat after all. Gary's daughter and grand kids had decided they wanted to keep him instead.

I was hesitant to tell her about the dream, but I went ahead and she got pretty shook up and told me some details that I had no idea about. Before Gary died, he showed a lot of signs that he knew his time was coming to an end---including asking mom to help him with the paperwork that she was at his home to complete when she found him. He had also asked her that if anything should ever happen to him, please take Mozart and take care of him. He had even set aside some money in his will for Mozart's care. My mom had promised him that she would take care of the cat, so when Gary's daughter told her that her family was taking him, my mom told her of the promise she'd made. She even told her that she didn't want the money in the will---just that she had made a promise to Gary that she had to fulfill. It didn't matter. Mozart did not come to live with us, and I never dreamed of Gary again. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Ghosts of Panorama at the Peak

Source: Whiskey Fire, 2012

Although currently closed, the Panorama at the Peak Restaurant for over a decade offered up farm to table favorite meals, awe-inspiring views, and a plethora of ghosts! The restaurant, located just outside of Berkeley Springs, WV, was built in 1929 and over the years garnered quite the haunted reputation.

According to The Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories, by Rosemary Guiley, Panorama at the Peak began in 2004 when partners Leslie Hotaling and Patti Miller purchased the old Panorama Steakhouse. Already, the restaurant was known to be home to several ghosts, as the former owners had strategically set up protective crystals throughout the property to keep the spirits at bay.

Fortunately, however, all the ghosts at Panorama at the Peak seem rather benign and playful. The most-often encountered is the spirit known as Captain Grey. No one knows who the Captain was in real life, but believe he was the first white man to settle the area, and thus, guards the land. The captain gets his name for his outfit---he is seen wearing dark pants, a dark jacket, and a cap similar to what a sea captain would wear.  He appears as solid and full as a real person, beard and all, and is often mistaken for such. He has been seen in the upstairs in the former residential area, but prefers to frequent the pub section of the restaurant, located in the oldest part of the building. 

When seen in the pub, he always sits in the same booth. Occasionally, he is accompanied by the spirit of a young girl about 12 or 13 years old. This ghost also appears as a solid, living person, wearing a white dress, white bobby socks, and sporting long hair. 

For whatever reason, Captain Grey has never been spotted in the kitchen---but the kitchen does seem to be one of the more active areas of the restaurant. Scott Callanish, who was hired as an executive chef in 2007, has had multiple encounters with multiple entities, many of whom are very playful. An unseen presence likes to turn off one of the stove's burners and throw rice paper, sheet by sheet, around the kitchen. Scott simply has to tell the offending phantom to knock it off, and it usually does. In one incident, one of two turkeys that were put in the walk-in to thaw went missing.  After an extensive search, Scott told whatever ghost took it that they better put it back in the walk-in before it went bad.  Shortly thereafter, the turkey was returned to the walk-in.

Two other ghosts are seen near the kitchen--a woman in her 40's and a young girl around 12 years old. These two are seen running out of the pantry, and then running out the front door of the restaurant. Psychics who have visited the restaurant believe that this is a mother and her daughter. After the daughter died, the husband left the mother, and she became trapped between the worlds. In 2011, psychics helped the mother cross over, and she and her daughter have not been seen since.

Another ghost 'disappeared' or moved on after the 2011 intervention by psychics. A little boy around the age of 8 had been seen in the kitchen area. The boy, with brown hair, jeans and a t-shirt, began appearing to Scott two to three times a week, so Scott set out a ball and a truck for him to play with. Both items were moved from their original location overnight. Psychics visiting the restaurant believe that the boy was killed when his grandfather pushed him down the stairs, and although he wasn't specifically the target of the 2011 crossing over, he seemed to have moved along with the mother and daughter. 

Rosemary notes one more ghost in her book: Psychic Donna Wolfe Gatti, who often came to the restaurant, claimed that Patti's own grandmother was one of the ghosts who hung out in the kitchen, tossing flour around. Could she also be the one who liked to play with the stove top and the rice paper?

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Book Review for One Last Thing!

Title: One Last Thing! Strange, Curious and Humorous Conversations with the Other Side

Author: John E.L. Tenney

Published 2011 by John E.L. Tenney

Amazon Purchase Information

I've been a fan of John E. L. Tenney's work in the paranormal field since I saw him in the short-lived paranormal investigation show, Ghost Stalkers.  I had heard of him before that, but I think that was the first time I really got to see how he operated as a paranormal investigator...and I was impressed! I also follow John on Twitter, and he always comes across as a smart and witty kinda guy. Therefore, I was thrilled to open my presents Christmas morning and find that I had been given his book, One Last Thing!

I was also kind of surprised, because this book had been on my wish list quite awhile! After all the presents were open, I sat down by the fireplace and started reading. I was done before breakfast was served, lol.

One Last Thing! is a super short read, coming in at under 60 pages, but it was a book that took John 20+ years to make. It is not your simple run-of-the-mill investigation memoir or handbook. Rather, its a fascinating compilation of real life EVP transcripts from John's work in the paranormal investigation field. 

My generation of ghost hunters basically grew up using digital voice recorders and being told that you'd be lucky if you got more than one short word at a time during an EVP session. John shakes things up by using an old school reel to reel, spending HOURS on each EVP session, and capturing some wonderfully interactive conversations with spirits. Some of these conversations are poignant, while others are downright hilarious! It seems that even bodily death cannot destroy someone's sarcasm or snark. I think one of my favorite conversations recorded in the book is a spirit who takes the command to repeat a series of knocks and turns it into a knock-knock joke--seriously.

Reading through the pages, not only was I entertained to the point of chuckling aloud a few times, but I also found myself nodding my head in agreement. John notes that quite a few spirits seem to use the same language, most notably referring to wherever they are as the "Forever" or the "Always." I personally have heard these terms used a few times in my own EVP research, as well as another incident where the entity refers to itself AS A GHOST. It is recommended that to establish a rapport with the other side, some of this language should be incorporated by investigators, and I certainly plan on using what I've learned in the book in my next investigation.

John also notes that sometimes a question would be answered before it was even asked, sparking the debate as to whether ghosts/spirits can be telepathic. Again, I've had similar occurrences in my own investigation work, to the point where we experimented with whether or not WE the investigators were actually imprinting thoughts on tape. 

Overall, this was a really fun book. I wish it had gone more into John's philosophy and method of EVP work. I would love to have researched that more, because the introduction and closing pages, while scarce in number, were packed with useful tidbits of information. But, for what it is---a humorous collection of conversations with the other side--I'm happy. It's a quick read and a perfect palate cleansers for the investigator who needs something easy and fun to read, yet still educational. Obviously, a book of this nature isn't for everyone, but I'm proud to have One Last Thing! in my personal paranormal library!

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