Crimes and Witch-Demeanors

Joshua Spellman

The podcast that puts the “ahh!” in bibliography. Join your host, Joshua Spellman (an archivist and witch), every Wednesday to discuss ghost stories, historic true crime, legends, and tales of the paranormal through a critical lens. Each episode begins with a story as it’s typically told, and then we have a ghoulish gossip sesh where we examine historic and archival resources to learn what really happened and read first hand encounters of ghosts, goblins, and ghouls. read less
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Episodes

Sophie's Voice
Oct 6 2021
Sophie's Voice
Built in 1990, the Harvey Public Library is sitting on a secret.  But shh!  What is it?  Before the library was erected, the gruesome murder of Sophia Schmidt Eberlein took place on its grounds.  Now her spirit haunts the library causing mischief and mayhem. Buy some merch and support the podcast! https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com/shop  Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to contact@crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes   SOURCES: Admits Burning to Death His Wife in Family Auto. (1931, October 6). The Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 6.     Admits Killing Wife. (1931, October 6). The Nebraska State Journal, 16.     Confesses to Wife Murder. (1931, October 5). The Bismarck Tribune, 1.     Confession Text Given to Public. (1931, October 6). The Bismarck Tribune, 1.     Front Page Sophia (Eberlein) Bentz Slaying 1931. No. 2. (1931, October 6). The Bismarck Tribune, 1.     Harvey Man Sent to Prison After Confessing. (1931, October 6). The Bismarck Tribune, 3.     Harvey Man Sent to Prison After Confessing Crime: Pleads Guilty to First-Degree Murder in District Court Here. (1931, October 6). The Bismarck Tribune, 1.     Harvey, N.D., library haunted? Library workers wonder | Grand Forks Herald. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2021, from https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/2111894-harvey-nd-library-haunted-library-workers-wonder     Jacob Bentz | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2021, from https://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/bentz-jacob.htm     Schlichenmayer, J. (n.d.). Harvey Public Library. Haunted Places. Retrieved September 23, 2021, from https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/harvey-public-library/     Sophia Eberlein. (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sophia_Eberlein&oldid=1002744630     Sophia Schmidt Eberlein (1889-1931)—Find A Grave Memorial. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/176609079/sophia-eberlein     Three Persons are Victims of Fatal Mishaps in State. (1931, October 2). The Bismarck Tribune, 1.     Void, T. V. before the. (2016, October 18). Sophie, the Ghost of Harvey, North Dakota: Interview with Carolyn Feickert at the Harvey Public Library, and “Sophie’s Legend Lingers in Harvey Library” from Dakota Mysteries and Oddities by William Jackson. The Voice before the Void: Arcana, Story, Poetry. https://www.thevoicebeforethevoid.net/sophie-the-ghost-of-harvey-north-dakota-interview-with-carolyn-feickert-at-the-harvey-public-library-and-sophies-legend-lingers-in-harvey-library-from-dakota-mysteries-and-oddities-by-willia/
The Lady in Glass
Sep 22 2021
The Lady in Glass
In Jamestown, New York lies a mysterious stone statue of a woman encased in glass...some say it's not only a statue, but her corpse lies within it.  Who was she? Why is she trapped in a prison of glass?  Her name was Grace Galloway but how she got there is not so easy to answer.   Buy some merch and support the podcast! https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com/shop  Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to contact@crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes   SOURCES: 3 Nov 1898, Page 10—The Pittsburgh Press at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). Newspapers.Com. Retrieved September 20, 2021, from http://www.newspapers.com/image/141841055/?terms=Grace%20Galloway&match=1     11 Nov 1898, 9—Telegraph-Forum at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). Newspapers.Com. Retrieved September 20, 2021, from http://www.newspapers.com/image/600943251/?terms=Grace%20AND%20Galloway&match=1     Ancestry.com—New York, U.S., State Censuses, 1880, 1892, 1905. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2021, from https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/8940/images/NYV14_274-0434?usePUB=true&_phsrc=eBA441&usePUBJs=true&pId=259566     Grace Galloway. (n.d.-a). Fenton History Center. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://fentonhistorycenter.org/grace-galloway/     Grace Galloway – Prendergast Library. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://www.prendergastlibrary.org/grace-galloway/     Grace Galloway: The Lady In The Glass Case. (n.d.-b). Planet Today News. Retrieved September 20, 2021, from https://www.planet-today.com/2020/05/grace-galloway-lady-in-glass-case.html     Grace Lavern Galloway—LifeStory. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2021, from https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/74694345/person/272207806195/story     Grace Laverne Galloway (1871-1898)—Find A Grave... (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7717018/grace-laverne-galloway     Kirst, S. (n.d.). Sean Kirst: Legend of “Lady in the glass case” begins with singer who died too young. The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://buffalonews.com/opinion/columnists/sean-kirst-legend-of-lady-in-the-glass-case-begins-with-singer-who-died-too/article_12f4ddca-0927-5f88-b9ba-aea2c4b11353.html\     Pennsylvaniarambler. (2020, March 15). Grace Galloway: The Lady in Glass. The Pennsylvania Rambler. https://thepennsylvaniarambler.com/2020/03/15/grace-galloway-the-lady-in-glass/     Snapshot. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2021, from https://www.newspapers.com/image/600943251/?terms=Grace%20AND%20Galloway&match=1 The true story behind Jamestown’s haunting Lady in Glass. (n.d.).   The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://buffalonews.com/multimedia/the-true-story-behind-jamestowns-haunting-lady-in-glass/collection_45149d71-cf6f-560b-976a-31be975c071f.html   Transcript:   Hello, and welcome to Crimes and Witch Demeanors, the paranormal podcast where we go beyond the Wikipedia page and delve into historic and primary sources to find the truth behind your favorite ghostly tales.  I’m your host and loveable librarian – Joshua Spellman.   Welcome back, by the time this is airing it’s officially fall and I couldn’t be more excited to break out my layers!  But if I’m being honest – I think I’m a little bit more excited for today’s episode.  There are so many versions of this story it’s hard to find out which is the definitive one and the thing that’s crazy is that they’re all so different!  Like…so…different.  I did my best to include them all but I think you’re going to love today’s ghost story.  It’s the quintessential thing that local legends are made of but unique in such an oddly beautiful way.   Today we’re not straying far from where I am now and venturing down to the quaint hometown of Lucille Ball…Jamestown and no, we’re not talking Lucy’s ghost here, we’re talking about one she would have heard legends of growing up and one that she is buried with…the Lady in Glass.       Five young kids drove in the dark.  Their fear and anticipation had left them silent; unsure of what the night would bring.  They bumped and bounced along the ill maintained roads until the headlights of the old Chevy Malibu pierced the hazy night, highlighting the large stone sign declaring their destination: “Lakeview Cemetery”   “We’re here” Cyndi, the oldest, and the driver said in an almost whisper, parking the car a little down the road as to not raise suspicion.    Jack, the youngest at only 8 years old, and Cyndi’s brother, let out a small whimper that he hoped the others didn’t hear.    “Oh shut up, twerp” Cyndi said, turning off the lights, and climbing out of the car and lightly closing the door behind her.  The others followed: Jack’s two friends, Riley, the girl he had a crush on, Dane, his best friend, and Corey, Cyndi’s boyfriend.   “Thanks for driving us” Dane said.  The other muttered their thanks too before Corey motioned them to be quiet, and waving them to follow him.  The five kids walked a little ways through the woods before hopping over a low stone wall and into the cemetery.   Corey passed a flashlight to Jack and another to Dane before whispering “Well, we all know why we’re here, right?” he asked.   They looked at each other, nodding, some more assuredly than others.  “It’s the anniversary of her death” Corey continued “The Lady in Glass.  All the way back in in 1898 Grace Galloway was to be wed.  She was beautiful and came from a wealthy family.  She was an heiress like Paris Hilton or something and the man she was marrying was carefully chosen by her father.   But she was in love with someone else.  Grace had been having a secret affair with her chauffer and couldn’t bring herself to marry a man she didn’t love.  On the night of her wedding, as she was pleading with her lover who had decided to leave.  He had decided it was best she marry and live a happy life where she would be provided for.  She was heartbroken but decided to carry on.  But when it came time for the wedding…her fiancé never showed.  It turned out he had overheard her conversation with her chauffer and left Grace at the altar.   With her heart broken by not only one, but by two men that left her, Grace died of a broken heart.  This monument” Corey paused, shining the light dramatically behind the group, lighting up a beautifully eerie scene: behind them was a large stone pedestal, and atop it was an incredibly lifelike statue of a woman, encased completely in glass, “This monument” Corey continued “was made.  But something strange began to happen.  Some nights the statue would be missing from its stand and would wander the cemetery crying out for her lost love.  Because of this they had to put glass around it to keep it from wandering off, but her spirit can still be seen wandering the grounds…and if you see the monument without the statue in it…beware…”   “Wait wait wait” said Cyndi “that’s not how the story goes.  First of all, Grace died the night before her wedding when she fell of a party boat into lake Chautauqua and that’s not any old statue.  The reason it looks so lifelike is because her body is actually encased inside.”   “Well,” Riley started “I heard she actually made it to the altar but she was stung by a bee.  She was allergic and she dropped dead right there in her wedding dress – that’s why she’s wearing it!”   “Okay…you’re all wrong” Dane said defiantly, “she died on her prom night when her and her date crashed their car.”   “Well…” Jack started pointing at the stone “she was a little old for a prom date…”  He was right, the stone read October 5, 1871 – November 2, 1898.    “Oh…maybe I am wrong” said Dane.   “Anyway…” Jack continued “I heard that after her fiancée left her at the altar that she was so heartbroken that she literally turned to stone and her body isn’t just inside the statue…it is the statue.”   They all stared at it in awe.  It really was so lifelike, down to the details in the lace of her dress, it did almost look alive.   “Well,” said Cyndi “I’m going to go over to Lucy’s grave with Corey” she said with what could only be the look of teenage love in her eyes “We’ll be back to get you”   As the older kids walked off, the three young ones sat there.  They could see their breath in the November air.  They shivered a little and decided to play a game of hide and seek.  They only had one flashlight with them and it was decided Jack would keep it since he was “it”.   They walked aways from the Lady in Glass before Riley and Dane spun Jack around a few times as he began to count “30, 29, 28” they thought it would be funny to hide back in the car and let Jack wander around for a bit “3, 2, 1!” Jack said, opening his eyes.    He stumbled around a bit, still pretty dizzy.  He shone his flashlight around “Ready or not, here I come!” Jack began to look around the cemetery; peeking behind headstone and looking in bushes but he couldn’t find his friends.  He heard a laugh in the distance…his sister, clearly having some quality time with her boyfriend.  Jack kept searching.    Eventually he circled back around to where they had begun.  His flashlight scanned the ground and he began to track the beam up the monument but a sound behind him startled him.  Thinking it was Dane or Riley…he followed.  But what he didn’t notice was that if he had shone his light just a touch higher…the glass case was empty.   “I hear you!” she shouted futilely into the night “You can come out now!” but there was nothing there.  He saw a shadow dart behind a large oak tree and what sounded like the giggle of a girl.  “Riley!  I know you’re there!” he shouted, nervously coming closer “you can come out!”   But as he approached the tree the laughing sounded more like crying.  But he could see that Riley was there, he could see part of her jacket from behind the trunk of the tree. Was she wearing white?  He couldn’t remember.  He stepped closer and closer, ready to tag her.  Her spun around the base of the tree but before he could shout “You’re it!” he choked on his words.  Standing there wasn’t Riley, but the pale ghostly figure of a woman, tears streaming down her face, sobbing.  The lady looked up at him, a flash in her eye and something changed within her.  Suddenly the cemetery was silent.  Not even the crickets were singing anymore.  But before Jack could run or scream, he felt a cold marble hand slide over his mouth and everything went black…         I love this story so much, oh it’s so rich.  I’m hoping to visit the Lady in Glass this fall and simultaneously pay respects to the queen of sitcoms.  It’s on my potential list for these drag-ified versions of the podcast I want to do for tiktok.  But I digress.  What.  A. Legend.   My favorite part of this story is all the different iterations – from falling from a boat, a fatal bee sting at the altar, dying of a broken heart on her wedding day, a prom night accident, the paranormal phenomena of turning to stone – to all the reasons why her statue is there and what  it is.  That her body is actually encased in the stone?  And what I love even more is that this legend was circulating around when Lucille Ball was growing up in Jamestown.  I would love to know what little Lucy thought of the Lady in Glass and if she ever snuck into the cemetery at night to see if she walked the grounds.  I just adore that image.   But we’re not here to fantasize we’re to fact…i…size?  We’re here to get to the facts.  And it turns out the real story…doesn’t share any common threads with the legend.  It’s wild.  They’re two completely different tales but I can see why some of the legends started but we’ll get to that later.   Who was the real Grace Laverne Galloway?  And why is her statue encased in glass?   Grace Galloway was born on the 5th of October 1871 to Sara and John Galloway, a wealthy man who earned a fortune in the oil fields of Titusville, PA.  She was the Galloway’s only daughter and had two brothers: Fred and…well…I’m not sure.  Other sources say that she had another brother but I wasn’t able to find record of him anywhere.  Not a grave, not a census record…nothing.  Even the family tree the Galloway’s put together doesn’t have him on it.  Not saying he didn’t exist…just that for the online records I have access to it doesn’t seem like he did.  But I digress.   Grace, or Gracie as she’s adorably listed in the 1880 Federal Census, grew up in a mansion which is now the Moose Club in Jamestown.  Grace was known to be an outgoing and friendly girl but despite this she was never known to be involved romantically with anyone.  Instead she focused intensely on her career and ambitions in music.  Grace had a gorgeous singing voice and it wasn’t long before she became an opera singer.  She would often perform at the Chautauqua institution.  Her talent was so immense that she was given the chance to perform with the New York City Metropolitan Opera--but her father forbade it claiming “it was an inappropriate thing for a lady to do”.  I have no verifiable source for this tidbit but it does sound decidedly Victorian.   Naturally, since she couldn’t perform in Opera she was sent to Boston to study music there.  Makes sense?  But maybe her father was onto something because while in Boston, Grace contracted tuberculosis.   Desperate to help their ailing daughter, the Galloways sent her to Asheville, North Carolina hoping that the warmer climate would improve her health.  Sadly, Grace showed no signs of improvement and it was decided that she should return home to Jamestown.  However, on this return journey her condition rapidly deteriorated while passing through Pittsburg – and it was here that she died on November 2, 1898.   I found her death listed in the Pittsburgh Press from November 3, the day after saying: “Wednesday evening, November 2, 1898 at 8:30 o’clock Grace L. daughter of John and Sarah Galloway, aged 27 years”   This wasn’t really an obituary but a death notice.  Grace did a lot of traveling with her father when she was younger – I saw a lot of travel notices for her – so it’s no surprise that I found a notice all the way in Ohio in the Crawford County Forum saying:   Word has been received by friends in this city that Miss Grace Galloway, of Pittsburg, is probably fatally ill with consumption.  Miss Galloway officiated as bridesmaid at the marriage of Mrs. James Cass, nee Lizzie Monnett, and while a visitor in the city not only made many personal friends, but became quite well known as a singer.  Very many Bucyrus people will be grieved to learn of her ill health”   And honestly they’d probably be grieved to know that she had died 9 days earlier.  But I do like this notice because it sheds light on her personality and how much of a light she was to those around her.   Her family was naturally devastated by her death and her father, inspired by a statue he saw in a cemetery in Buffalo (holla! We do have an incredibly famous cemetery where Rick James is buried…actually less than a mile from my apartment but I digress!)…he was inspired by a statue in Buffalo and wanted to create a monument for his daughter.   John Galloway commissioned an artist in Pittsburgh to model Grace’s figure in clay from her latest photograph.  She was made exactly to her size and figure – 5 foot 6 – and then the clay model and one of her dresses was sent to Italy to be sculpted from marble.  Now some sources say that the dress was one of her “lawn outfits”, some say it was picked out at random, and another, the Fenton History Center, says that it was said to be a graduation dress made by Mrs. Loyal Bushee who was a seamstress for wealthy families.  Regardless, it was a beautiful dress with intricate lace detailing which was sculpted expertly – probably giving rise to the notion that she was a bride, as the marble would make it white and it looks a lot like a wedding dress.   John Galloway and his own father were masons by trade and constructed the base of the monument.  Upon seeing the fine detailing of the sculpt, and fearing that the statue would be weathered by the harsh elements of Western New York winters, tit was decided it would be enclosed in glass.   This encasement has kept the remarkable detail of the statue, which you can peek on the podcast Instagram, and it’s so lifelike that it’s no wonder people may think her body is actually encased in the stone – which is not what happened though as mentioned briefly in the Niagara Falls episode that is a unique form of burial used only in Niagara Falls called cementation where that actually happens…but I digress.  If you want me to do an episode dedicated to that weirdness let me know!  But ANYWAY…yeah, just a really gorgeous statue.
Gilded Murder
Sep 15 2021
Gilded Murder
Filled to the brim with scandal, murder, and historic characters ranging from Queen Victoria to Thomas Edison to Wyatt Earp, the history behind the Golden Gate Villa is nothing to scoff at.  In 1907 Santa Cruz was served a salacious historic scandal resulting in a horrific tragedy...leaving the house rumored to be haunted in its wake. Buy some merch and support the podcast! https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com/shop  Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to contact@crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes   SOURCES:   7 Dec 1907, Page 1—Santa Cruz Evening News at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). Newspapers.Com. Retrieved September 14, 2021, from http://www.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=4203848&fcfToken=eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJmcmVlLXZpZXctaWQiOjU1Mzc5MDMzLCJpYXQiOjE2MzE2MjAzMTAsImV4cCI6MTYzMTcwNjcxMH0.RvcF17nCqc3CPgInOgE9pYOuOODX01oAtIjpmA0sC0A     Clipped From Oroville Daily Register. (1907, November 18). Oroville Daily Register, 1.     Dormanen, S. (n.d.). The Golden Gate Villa. Santa Cruz Public Libraries. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://history.santacruzpl.org/omeka/files/original/dac12ae750afce922632b1d9a1f17930.pdf     Frank McLaughlin Kills Daughter and Himself at Santa Cruz: Bullet and Poison Used. (1907, November 17). The San Francisco Call, 17–18.     Golden Gate Villa. (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Golden_Gate_Villa&oldid=1023021509     Metroactive Features | The Haunting of Santa Cruz. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2021, from http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/10.29.03/haunting-0344.html     Poverty Pitiful at the End. (1907, November 19). Santa Cruz Sentinel, 2.     Sweet House Dreams: Golden Gate Villa, 1891 Queen Anne Victorian in Santa Cruz, California. (n.d.). Sweet House Dreams. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from http://sweethousedreams.blogspot.com/2018/06/golden-gate-villa-1891-queen-anne.html     Tom Brezsny. (2012, October 18). Golden Gate Villa—924 Third Street Santa Cruz California—Lavishly ornamented victorian. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jd72cnY_6E   Transcript: Hello, and welcome to Crimes and Witch Demeanors, the paranormal podcast where we go beyond the Wikipedia page and delve into historic sources to find the truth behind your favorite ghostly tales.  I’m your host and loveable librarian – Joshua Spellman.   Today we have a very exciting ghost story filled to the brim with scandal, murder, and historic characters ranging from Thomas Edison to Wyatt Earp the outlaw but even these prominent figure are obscured by today’s ghostly tale.  Trust me, it’s juicy, and we have all the gossipy progressive-era tabloids to prove it.  And boy, are some of these newspapers gorgeous, so make sure to check them out on the podcast Instagram.    Also thank you to everyone who purchased some merch from the shop!  You are true bibli-ahh-graphers!  If you want to support the podcast please go ahead and grab something for youself, crimesandwitchdemeanors.com link in the description!   So, anyway, you’re here for the salacious historic scandal and the modern haunts that resulted from it.  So put on your sunnies, grab a parasol, we’re headed to Santa Cruz and learning the legend behind the Golden Gate Villa and the tragedy that transpired there…       Considered one of the most historically significant homes in all of California, Golden Gate villa is perched atop Santa Cruz’s historic Beach Hill neighborhood.  It’s face is painted a buttery gold with a bright orchid trim; cheerful colors that belie it’s dark and twisted past.   Major Frank McLaughlin was born sometime around 1840.  During his early career he served on the police force in Newark, New Jersey and developed a life-long friendship with esteemed inventor Thomas Edison.  He fought with Union forces briefly during the Civil War, but his stint was brief and it’s unlikely this is where he earned his military title.  Instead, it is thought he achieved it from his later activity with the California state militia.   McLaughlin became an engineer on the Pacific Railroad, helping to lay tracks across the plains and the Wild West.  In the Wild West he earned quite the reputation, known as “one of the quickest men on the frontier” and was one of only a handful of men to ever challenge Wyatt Earp and live to tell the tale.   In 1877, McLaughlin returned to the East coast where he began to court a New Jersey widow by the name of ­­­­Margaret Loomis.  During this period Thomas Edison was developing the incandescent light bulb but ran into trouble finding a dependable source of platinum to use as filaments.  Without this precious metal, he would not be able to market his invention.   McLaughlin suggested that Edison source from the Feather River in California, as McLaughlin heard that there had been a find there.  Upon this suggestion, Edison commissioned McLaughlin to head out west and prospect for the mineral.  Before he did so, McLaughlin married Margaret Loomis and adopted her young daughter Agnes.   Like with most of his endeavors, McLaughlin went all-in.  It was said that he "never settled for the petite when the mammoth was available" and his exploits in Butte county were no exception.  He soon earned the title “King of Feather” for his domination of the river where his sights quickly turned from platinum to gold.  He soon began to make a fortune, but he was smart never to invest his own money – instead he organized companies he would manage giving himself a hefty salary.   During this time McLaughlin commissioned San Francisco architect Thomas J. Welsh to design a home for Margaret and Agnes to escape the brutal summer heat.  McLaughlin instructed Welsh to "spare no expense in making Golden Gate Villa the showplace of Santa Cruz” – and that he did.  The mansion was named the after Golden Gate Mining Company, which managed the operations back in Feather, and provided all the funds for his lavish home.  Naturally, being friends with Thomas Edison, the home was outfitted with the newest luxury available – electricity.   The home was magnificent and the McLaughlin’s hosted many events including costume parties, magic shows, musicals, fireworks displays, and the first moving picture ever shown in Santa Cruz.  Agnes became a figure of note in the local community and was pronounced as “indescribably pretty”, a “petite beauty with rose leaf complexion”, and as the “ideal American girl” by a number of publications.  Perhaps it’s no wonder the focal piece of the Golden Gate Villa is a gigantic stained glass portrait of a young woman reaching to pick an apple blossomed branch.  Rumour has it that McLaughlin cut some of Agnes’ hair to be mixed in with the color of the glass.  Despite Agnes’s earthly beauty and love of parties and extravagance, she regularly attended mass with her dog…who she often sprayed with expensive cologne.  Agnes had never married, though she almost did once.  She was engaged to a man named Sam Rucker, and while the invitations to the ceremony were sent nothing ever came of it.    While the McLaughlin women lived in luxury in Santa Cruz, McLaughlin was busy with various endeavors: From olive orchards to orange groves, to a 9-mile tunnel at Big Bend, a 30-mile flume for the hydraulic mine, and funding development in the area, McLaughlin was quickly amassing a fortune.  However, his biggest endeavor was to divert the water of the Feather so that gold could be mined from the river bed.   Receiving letters of recommendation from Thomas Edison, the governor, and two California state senators, McLaughlin travelled to London to try and secure investors.  He was charming, as usual, and made such an impression that the newspapers declared that “Not since Benjamin Franklin had an American made such an impression on English society”  McLaughlin seemed to have luck in all of his projects and this trip was no different – due to a misunderstanding he came home with $12 million in funds…a great deal more than he planned or ever dare thought to get.   However, the project itself would not see the same luck.  The project took four years to complete the end resulting in a 7,000 foot long canal and a retaining wall twelve feet wide and twenty feet high.  It became one of the greatest mining feats of the era and Thomas Edison, McLaughlin’s chum, provided the first electric lights ever to be used on a construction site as the workers labored all hours of the day.   When the water was diverted and the riverbed dry, McLaughlin was the first to take his shovel to the dirt.  While he struck gold in London, much like the river, this project would soon run dry.  McLaughlin was sure that he would make a 100 million return on the initial 12 million invested but the project ended in catastrophe.  Instead of hitting gold, he hit bankruptcy.  All they found were small gold nuggets, old rusty picks, and buckets.   It turns out that McLaughlin was 50 years too late. Half a century earlier, 49ers diverted the same river with a simple wooden flume, exhausting all the gold in the area and walking away with a fortune.  The locals of the area knew this, and knew that McLaughlin’s project was doomed from the start but decided to keep it a secret to watch the man go down in flames.   Like his previous project, McLaughlin declined to invest any of his own money, and upon learning this, the English investors were furious.  They found out that McLaughlin had lost no money at all, and was paying himself a generous salary.  Queen Victoria herself launched an investigation and sent Scotland Yard to investigate. However, when the agent arrived, he was scared off by McLaughlin who wasn’t afraid to wave his pistol about…he did survive an encounter with Wyatt Earp, a timid Englishman was nothing to him.   McLaughlin soon got into politics, earning quite the reputation as a staunch frontiersman and capitalist though he never held office he became chair of California's Republican State Central Committee during the 1896 presidential campaign and was credited with carrying the whole state for McKinley.  In fact, McLaughlin was offered a seat in McKinley’s cabinet though he declined, just as he declined to run for governor despite the pleas of the people.   Mrs. Margaret McLaughlin died in on November 16, 1905, turning Frank into a widower and leaving her daughter Agnes behind.  On that same date in 1907, Agnes attended an early mass in memory of her mother.  After returning home, Agnes retired to her bedroom in the tower to take a nap.  While Agnes slept someone entered her room unnoticed, pressed a 44 caliber pistol to her temple, and fired.   Knowing that his step-daughter was sleeping, Major Frank McLaughlin set their maid out on an errand before going upstairs and murdering his beloved step-daughter.  Shortly after the deed was done, McLaughlin called his banker William Jeter and urged him to come to the home immediately.  Jeter was preoccupied and could not come but McLaughlin insisted shouting "You must come at once. I have just killed my Bob (his pet name for Agnes) and I am going to kill myself.”   And he did.  He ingest a fatal dose of potassium cyanide, dying just as his friend arrived.  To everyone’s shock…Agnes had survived…at least for the time being.  While she survived the initial wound at the hands of the Major, she succumbed to her injuries at 6:30 that evening.   Newspapers published salacious headlines for weeks that ran alongside the obituary that McLaughlin had penned himself.  The tragedy was naturally a hit with the media being full of scandal and intrigue as it was.  McLaughlin for the most part was an incredibly popular and well-liked man and the thought of this crime was nearly inconceivable.  Why…how on earth could he do such a thing?   You see, this was not just a random act of violence or a crime of passion.  It was not executed on a whim.  No, the Major had been meticulously planning the did for months which he outlined in the documents he left to Jeter including farewell letters to friends and family, instructions, and an explanation for his crime.   It turns out that McLaughlin was beginning to suffer financially, though he kept it hidden from everyone.  Major McLaughlin feared falling into poverty and being unable to provide for his step-daughter that he loved so dearly.  He wrote in his letter “"To leave my darling child helpless and penniless would be unnatural and so I take her with me to our loved one. She is the very last one who could face this world alone.”   However, at the inquest it was revealed that he could have liquidated his estate and had a large surplus to spare – hardly leaving him or Agnes impoverished.  Some supposed he was simply embarrassed by his failure at Feather River, his reputation shattered by the incident.  However, no rationalization could really explain why he did what he did.   Though whispers around Santa Cruz gave wind to a new theory.  Many thought it strange that after Mrs. McLaughlin’s death that Agnes continued to live with the Major since she was not of blood relation to him.  The fact that she had remained unmarried well into her thirties also didn’t quite sit right with the local community.  In fact, they could recall that many years prior announcements of Agnes’ marriage to Sam Rucker were sent out but that the wedding was cancelled at the last moment…presumably because the Major couldn’t bear to see her married to another man.   Then, a man by the name of Christian R. Wolters, a prosperous merchant in the city, stepped forward claiming that the was secretly engaged to Agnes at the time of her murder…making it hard to believe that Major Frank McLaughlin couldn’t stand to see his step-daughter fall into poverty when she would be well-provided for by her would-be husband.   Regardless of his motivations, whether the Major was truly in love with his step-daughter or whether he just could not stand the thought of aging alone in the villa without a family he wrote in his letter “I love her so and so I take her with me”  In a letter to the family doctor, F.E. Morgan, McLaughlin wrote  “Please see that we are not cut up, at least that my pure sweet child is not” and on the outside of the envelope he had written “Dear Doc. Please do me one last favor and chloroform our old cat”   And so, the mystery remains.  However, inside the confines of the shining Golden Gate Villa the spirit of the McLaughlin’s remain…if only they could divulge their secrets the living…       I got a lot of my information from an article in the November 17, 1907 issue of the San Francisco Daily call titled “Frank McLaughlin Kills Daughter and Himself at Santa Cruz” which had an interesting juxtaposition with another article “Suicide Ends Happy Love Affair of Girl – takes poison when father refuses to consent to wedding.”  Just such similar situations but different ends – albeit both tragic ones.   But the majority of my information, or the source I followed to historic ones was by a life-saver of a librarian or historian from the Santa Cruz Public Libraries local history collection by the name of Susan Dormanen.  There wasn’t very much online at all historically speaking and Susan wrote a great piece, and like any great librarian, had an endless supply of footnotes for me to peruse leading me to the primary sources.   I found it interesting that reports of McLaughlin fighting Wyatt Earp were published awhile after his death, no doubt the papers were still riding the coattails of the tragedy.  On the 19 of November two interesting stories came out, and while they came out later it does make sense that they would – they wouldn’t have had much reason to publish these prior but I think it gives an interesting look into the Major’s personality…at least towards those that weren’t his wife or Agnes.  ­­1 Always a Foe of Earp Major McLaughlin was unsparing in his denunciations of the rascality of Wyatt Earp, and it was said up and down Market St. that Earp had vowed to shoot McLaughlin on sight... When the two encountered one another at Johnny Farley's Peerless saloon, Earp and the little Major had a staring match for a thrilling instant in which the petulant pop of the pistol was expected by all. But the Arizona gun man saw that he could not intimidate through many a gun play on the western frontier, and so he said with a tone smacking something of an apology: 'I know, Major McLaughlin, that you would not have made such remarks unless you believed them to be true,' and left the saloon while the man he was supposed to kill on sight took his time over his drink, uttered a few jocular remarks for the benefit of the bystanders, and went his own way with a nerve seemingly shaken not at all.[5]   No Fear of a "Bad Gun" There was never any doubt of his physical courage or his willingness to accept a challenge from any bad gun man. When he was managing the campaign of D.M. Burns for the United States Senate there were many threats that he would be killed, and one day in the corridor of the Golden Eagle Hotel in Sacramento he met Major Goucher of San Diego, who was supposed to have a particular grudge against him. Major McLaughlin calmly spat in Major Goucher's face and pushed him with his left hand. Goucher made no effort to resent the insult and afterwards said: "I was too wise to be taken in by that old frontier trick. He spat in my pistol eye, and pushed me off with his left hand, so that he was free to draw on me with his right."
Blood & Wisteria: The Ghosts of Grumblethorpe
Sep 8 2021
Blood & Wisteria: The Ghosts of Grumblethorpe
What does a persistent blood stain, wisteria, and freshly baked bread have in common?  Located in the heart of Germantown in Philadelphia, Grumblethorpe, a historic home and garden, is haunted by ghosts and boasts an incredibly rich history. Buy some merch and support the podcast! https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com/shop  Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    SOURCES: Glennon, Patrick. n.d. “In Germantown, Slain British General Haunts House Where He Died.” Https://Www.Inquirer.Com. Accessed September 6, 2021. https://www.inquirer.com/philly/opinion/commentary/germantown-british-general-haunts-wister-house-20171027.html.     “Grumblethorpe.” 2021. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Grumblethorpe&oldid=1025622012.     “GRUMBLETHORPE.” n.d. Philalandmarks. Accessed September 2, 2021. https://www.philalandmarks.org/grumblethorpe.     “Grumblethorpe.” n.d. PAHauntedHouses.Com. Accessed September 2, 2021. https://www.pahauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/grumblethorpe.html.     “Grumblethorpe | AMERICAN HERITAGE.” n.d. Accessed September 6, 2021. https://www.americanheritage.com/content/grumblethorpe.     “Grumblethorpe: Philadelphia’s Seriously Haunted Historic Home.” 2019. Https://The-Line-up.Com. June 20, 2019. https://the-line-up.com/grumblethorpe-haunted.     “Historic Germantown.” n.d. Accessed September 3, 2021. https://www.ushistory.org/germantown/lower/grumblethorpe.htm.     “James Agnew (British Army Officer).” 2021. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=James_Agnew_(British_Army_officer)&oldid=1010530410.     “John Caspar Wister.” 2021. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Caspar_Wister&oldid=1036504485.     Magaraci, Kim. 2017. “The Story Behind Philadelphia’s Most Haunted House Will Give You Nightmares.” OnlyInYourState. October 8, 2017. https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/pennsylvania/philadelphia/grumblethorpe-philadelphia-pa/.     Oordt, Darcy. 2015. Haunted Philadelphia: Famous Phantoms, Sinister Sites, and Lingering Legends. Rowman & Littlefield.     “Pursuing Grumblethorpe’s ‘ghosts’ on Walpurgis Night.” n.d. WHYY (blog). Accessed September 2, 2021. https://whyy.org/articles/grumblethorpe/.     RAW, DEANE in EDIBLE, FLOWERS, and PLANTS. n.d. “Charles Jones Wister Sr. Archives.” Eat The Weeds and Other Things, Too. Accessed September 5, 2021. http://www.eattheweeds.com/tag/charles-jones-wister-sr/.     “Susanin - Grumblethorpe An Historic Landscape Report.Pdf.” n.d. Accessed September 6, 2021. https://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1339&context=hp_theses.     Susanin, Jay Davidson. n.d. “Grumblethorpe: An Historic Landscape Report,” 422.     “Visit Grumblethorpe.” n.d. Visit Philadelphia. Accessed September 2, 2021. https://www.visitphilly.com/things-to-do/attractions/grumblethorpe/.
Nuns vs. Vampires
Aug 18 2021
Nuns vs. Vampires
New Orleans has been known for its vampires for centuries...but how did these creatures of the night arrive in the New World? Did the Casket Girls bring them in the coffins they carried or were the Casket Girls simply casualties of history? Women, like many before them, who did not fit the mold of society, and therefore transformed into bloodthirsty nocturnal monsters? Tune in and find out! Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    SOURCES: Boomer, Lee. n.d. “The Casket Girls.” Women & the American Story (blog). Accessed August 16, 2021. https://wams.nyhistory.org/settler-colonialism-and-revolution/settler-colonialism/casket-girls/.     “Casquette Girl.” 2021. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Casquette_girl&oldid=1034753996.     Hallberg, Mary. 2019. “The Mysterious ‘Casket Girls’ of New Orleans.” Mary Hallberg. May 24, 2019. https://www.maryhallbergmedia.com/post/2019/05/24/the-mysterious-casket-girls-of-new-orleans.     “History of The Casket Girls in New Orleans.” 2018. GoNOLA.Com. October 16, 2018. https://gonola.com/things-to-do-in-new-orleans/history/the-casket-girls-wives-for-french-new-orleans. “———.” n.d. Accessed August 16, 2021. https://gonola.com/things-to-do-in-new-orleans/history/the-casket-girls-wives-for-french-new-orleans.     “NOLA History: The Old Ursuline Convent in the French Quarter.” 2011. GoNOLA.Com. March 30, 2011. https://gonola.com/things-to-do-in-new-orleans/history/nola-history-the-old-ursuline-convent-in-the-french-quarter.     “Old Ursuline Convent, New Orleans.” 2021. In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Old_Ursuline_Convent,_New_Orleans&oldid=1031517718.     “Sign In to Get Started | ID.Spectrum.Net.” n.d. Accessed August 16, 2021. https://id.spectrum.net/login?account_type=RESIDENTIAL&client_id=consumer_portal&code_challenge=-d2G9EUidCmY7CUW-4Mz5adb4CZizh7JX4LMobleY_0&code_challenge_method=S256&exVisitID=18e164dd-4136-4cff-a854-f3cbf97f17c3&nonce=424488954598460711395443678185&redirect_uri=https:%2F%2Fwww.spectrum.net%2Fsign-in-redirect&state=eyJ0YXJnZXRVcmwiOiIvYmlsbGluZy1hbmQtdHJhbnNhY3Rpb25zL3N0YXRlbWVudHMiLCJ4c3JmIjoiYmpSRVUyWnFVRVZ2WTJkRmNHbERkamRTZFhkdVRHRkZPVjl3ZVZSLVdGTkRRa1ItUmxWNU0ySk9UQSIsImlzRGxhIjpmYWxzZX0.     “The Casket Girls and Vampires of New Orleans.” 2020. #FolkloreThursday (blog). October 29, 2020. https://folklorethursday.com/urban-folklore/the-casket-girls-and-vampires-of-new-orleans/.     “The Truth About the Casket Girls in New Orleans.” n.d. Ghost City Tours. Accessed August 16, 2021. https://ghostcitytours.com/new-orleans/ghost-stories/truth-casket-girls/.     “The Ursuline Convent.” 2016. October 12, 2016. http://www.royaltoursneworleans.com/the-ursuline-convent.     “Ursuline Convent, New Orleans, Extenstive Historical Content.” n.d. Accessed August 17, 2021. http://www.storyvilledistrictnola.com/ursulines.html.
The Sallie House
Aug 4 2021
The Sallie House
You've heard of the Amityville Horror, but have you heard of the Sallie House?  This small house located in Atchison Kansas is home to the ghost of a young girl who died on the operating table during emergency surgery. Her tormented spirit tortured the Pickman family for years. But who was Sallie? Did she even exist?   Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    SOURCES: 1900 United States Federal Census—Ancestry.com. (n.d.-a). Retrieved August 1, 2021, from https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/16447863:7602?ssrc=pt&tid=16562748&pid=1258751851     1900 United States Federal Census—Ancestry.com. (n.d.-b). Retrieved August 1, 2021, from https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/16447863:7602?ssrc=pt&tid=16562748&pid=1258751851     1920 United States Federal Census—Ancestry.com. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2021, from https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/64850810:6061?ssrc=pt&tid=16562748&pid=1258751851     Agnes Marie Finney True (1861-1939)—Find A... (n.d.). Retrieved August 2, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/54228452/agnes-marie-true     Annie. (2016, July 7). The Story Behind Kansas’s Most Haunted House Will Give You Nightmares. OnlyInYourState. https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/kansas/sallie-house/     Blog, S. G. (n.d.). Skate Guard: The Curious Case Of Dr. Charles C. Finney. Skate Guard. Retrieved August 3, 2021, from http://skateguard1.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-curious-case-of-dr-charles-c-finney.html     Dr Charles C Finney (1865-1947)—Find A Grave Memorial. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/54225331/charles-c-finney     HAUNTED: The Sallie House | Supernatural with Ashley Flowers Transcripts | Podgist. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2021, from https://www.podgist.com/supernatural/haunted-the-sallie-house/index.html     Kansas, U.S., State Census Collection, 1855-1925—Ancestry.com. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2021, from https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=1088&h=8617909&ssrc=pt&tid=16562748&pid=1258751851&usePUB=true     Sallie House. (n.d.). Visit Atchison. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from https://visitatchison.com/highlight/sallie-house     Sallie House Overnight Stay. (n.d.). Visit Atchison. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from https://visitatchison.com/product/sallie-house-overnight-stay     This Little Girl’s House Really IS the Scariest Place in America. (2019, June 1). Rare. https://rare.us/rare-life/sallie-house-kansas-haunted/     UFOTV On Demand. (n.d.). THE SALLIE HOUSE: The Most Haunted House In America - FEATURE. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRhIlgTEWD8&t=56s     Why is the Sallie House Haunted. (n.d.). Sallie House. Retrieved August 2, 2021, from https://salliehouse.com/why-is-the-sallie-house-haunted/
The Scary Dairy: The Ghosts of Camarillo State Mental Hospital
Jul 21 2021
The Scary Dairy: The Ghosts of Camarillo State Mental Hospital
Cows say "moo" and the ghosts go "boo!" The "Scary Dairy" and the greater Camarillo State Mental Hospital (currently California State University Channel Islands) is haunted by the tortured spirits of former patients and staff. But...is it really? What really happened there?   Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    SOURCES: 11 Oct 1947, 3—Ventura County Star-Free Press at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved July 12, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/624927503/?terms=%22Camarillo%20State%20Mental%20Hospital%22&pqsid=VWQ31A3o1daW6_nH25PJCg%3A22000%3A1737248379&match=1     14 Sep 1940, 70—Ventura County Star-Free Press at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved July 12, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/624631016/?terms=%22Camarillo%20State%20Mental%20Hospital%22%20AND%20%22Dairy%22&pqsid=VWQ31A3o1daW6_nH25PJCg%3A244000%3A756358966&match=6     16 Jan 1952, 1—Daily News at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved July 12, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/689899043/?terms=%22Camarillo%20State%20Mental%20Hospital%22&pqsid=VWQ31A3o1daW6_nH25PJCg%3A22000%3A1737248379&match=1     25 Apr 1959, Page 1—Press-Courier at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved July 12, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=13302080&fcfToken=eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJmcmVlLXZpZXctaWQiOjMxOTA3OTAwLCJpYXQiOjE2MjYxMzQxMDEsImV4cCI6MTYyNjIyMDUwMX0.BIerX47PcNmfGzQlZPd9AKx0NBDIPRA7EYV0cTT-xMM     bananabrownie. (2016, September 3). Is CSUCI Haunted? Any current or former student have any experiences to share? [Reddit Post]. R/Csuci. www.reddit.com/r/csuci/comments/511867/is_csuci_haunted_any_current_or_former_student/     Camarillo State Mental Hospital. (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Camarillo_State_Mental_Hospital&oldid=1021356215     Camarillo State Mental Hospital – CSU Channel Islands | Haunted Places | Camarillo CA 93012. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2021, from https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/camarillo-state-mental-hospital-csu-channel-islands/     cindynunn. (2017, June 14). Camarillo State Mental Hospital. API Reloaded. https://apireloaded.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/camarillo-state-mental-hospital/     Did You Know... ? The Scary Dairy. (2016, April 28). Totally Local VC. https://www.totallylocalvc.com/dyk-scary-dairy/ Ghost Infested College in Camarillo. (2016, January 10). http://backpackerverse.com/ghost-college-camarillo/     Joe, C. (n.d.). The “Scary Dairy” at CSU Channel Islands University Park in Camarillo. Conejo Valley Guide | Conejo Valley Events. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from https://www.conejovalleyguide.com/welcome/the-scary-dairy-at-csu-channel-islands-university-park-in-ca.html     Parzanese, J. (n.d.). Scary Dairy. Weird California. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from http://www.weirdca.com/location.php?location=126     Ralston, S. J. (2020, May 23). Hotel California. Medium. https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/hotel-california-426f07f5bfd8     Scary Dairy. (n.d.). Atlas Obscura. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/scary-dairy     The Scary Dairy. (n.d.). CaliforniaHauntedHouses.Com. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from https://www.californiahauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/the-scary-dairy.html     The Scary Dairy of Camarillo Will Frighten You to the Core. (2016, February 16). http://backpackerverse.com/scary-dairy-camarillo/
Queer Ghosts: Remembering the Victims of the Upstairs Lounge Arson Attack
Jun 23 2021
Queer Ghosts: Remembering the Victims of the Upstairs Lounge Arson Attack
Before the Pulse Massacre in 2016, the UpStairs Lounge Arson Attack was deadliest  known assault on a gay club in US history.  Not only was this a horrific event, killing 32 individuals, the apathy and lack of response by the local community illustrates how far queer liberation has brought us and how much further we need to go.   Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    SOURCES:   32 People Died In The UpStairs Lounge Fire In 1973. Why Was It Forgotten? (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2021, from https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/05/06/upstairs-lounge-fire     A Horrific Haunting in New Orleans’ LGBTQ Community: The Upstairs Lounge Arson Fire – Queer Paranormal. (n.d.). Retrieved June 22, 2021, from https://moonspenders.com/2018/11/26/a-horrific-haunting-in-new-orleans-lgbtq-community-the-upstairs-lounge-arson-fire/     Dier, C. (2015, June 24). The Upstairs Lounge Fire: The Largest Massacre of Gay People in U.S. History. Chris Dier. https://chrisdier.com/2015/06/24/the-upstairs-lounge-fire-the-largest-massacre-of-gays-in-u-s-history/ Downs, J. (2018, June 22). New Evidence Shows That During the 1973 UpStairs Lounge Arson, Gays Had to Take Rescue Efforts Into Their Own Hands. Slate Magazine. https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/06/upstairs-lounge-arson-evidence-shows-gay-rescue-efforts-amid-official-indifference.html     Duplechien. (2016, September 20). Haunted Nation: Jimani Lounge - New Orleans, LA (A Hate Crime for the Ages). Haunted Nation. https://hauntednation.blogspot.com/2016/09/jimani-lounge-new-orleans-la-hate-crime.html     Paper Monuments, Perez, F., Lerman, L., & Artist. (n.d.). Arson Attack on the UpStairs Lounge. New Orleans Historical. Retrieved June 20, 2021, from https://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/1431?tour=91&index=37     Prejudice & Pride: Revisiting the tragic fire that killed 32 in a New Orleans gay bar—YouTube. (2018, June 28). ABC News. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPWrK9Pu7Gk     says, L. C. (2018, June 20). Fire at the Up Stairs Lounge—Episode #66. Beyond Bourbon Street. http://beyondbourbonst.com/fire-at-the-up-stairs-lounge-episode-66/     The Haunted Jimani Bar in the French Quarter | Ghosts of the Jimani. (n.d.). Ghost City Tours. Retrieved June 21, 2021, from https://ghostcitytours.com/new-orleans/haunted-places/haunted-restaurants-bars/jimani-bar/     The Upstairs Lounge Fire: The Largest Massacre of Gay People in U.S. History – Chris Dier. (n.d.). Retrieved June 22, 2021, from https://chrisdier.com/2015/06/24/the-upstairs-lounge-fire-the-largest-massacre-of-gays-in-u-s-history/     Times-Picayune, M. D., NOLA com |. The. (2018, June 22). ABC releases documentary on anniversary of deadly UpStairs Lounge fire. NOLA.Com. https://www.nola.com/entertainment_life/movies_tv/article_fc4ff24c-b373-5734-8eb4-ab6cda668771.html     Tour | Upstairs Lounge Fire. (n.d.). New Orleans Historical. Retrieved June 20, 2021, from https://neworleanshistorical.org/tours/show/39     UpStairs Lounge arson attack. (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=UpStairs_Lounge_arson_attack&oldid=1028713492
Death's a Drag
Jun 2 2021
Death's a Drag
We're kicking off Pride Month by heading to the gayest town in the USA and investigating the flamboyant ghost of the Rose & Crown Guest House.  However, this jolly ghost teaches us an important lesson about life and how to live it.   Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    SOURCES: Alice Foley Newspaper Clippings. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2021, from http://www.provincetownhistoryproject.com/PDF/asg_000_027-alice-foley-founding-member-of-provincetown-aids-support-group.pdf     Brathwaite 4/3/2019, L. F. (n.d.). A Home at the End of the World: Provincetown and the AIDS Crisis. LOGO News. Retrieved May 29, 2021, from http://www.newnownext.com/a-home-at-the-end-of-the-world-provincetown-and-the-aids-crisis/04/2019/ Lipari, L. (n.d.). Provincetown Activist Babbitt Dies At 48 After Long Illness. 1.     Desroches, S. (2018, October 24). Ghost in a Gown. Provincetown Magazine. https://provincetownmagazine.com/index.php/2018/10/24/ghost-in-a-gown/     Miner, R. (n.d.). Homo Haunts: New England’s Gay Ghosts Come Out of the Closet | Boston Spirit Magazine. Retrieved May 29, 2021, from http://bostonspiritmagazine.com/2012/09/homo-haunts/     MYERS, K. C. (n.d.). Early Cape AIDS activist dies. Capecodtimes.Com. Retrieved May 29, 2021, from https://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20090426/NEWS/904260326       Provincetown, Massachusetts—Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provincetown,_Massachusetts     Rose & Crown Guest House – Provincetown Business Guild. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2021, from https://ptown.org/business-directory/rose-crown-guest-house/     Rose and Crown Guest House. (n.d.). Rosecrown. Retrieved May 29, 2021, from https://www.roseandcrownptown.com Summers, K. (2009). Queer Hauntings. Lethe Press.
3 O'Clock on a Thursday
May 26 2021
3 O'Clock on a Thursday
Just north of Appleton, New York lies a winery with a dark past: murderous Free Masons and more than 5 deaths that occurred at 3:00pm on a Thursday.  But what is the truth?  Let's take a deep dive into the archival record to find out if Marjim Manor serves up more than just good spirits. Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    SOURCES: Calud, D., & O’Connor, C. (2009). Beds, "Spooks and “Spirits”: Winery at Marjim Manor. In Haunted Buffalo: Ghosts in the Queen City (Haunted America) (e-book edition, pp. 42–46). The History Press.     Daniel Klaes. (2016, August 11). Behind The Shadows—S4E41(Marjim Manor). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPVUiNhesRM&t=126s     Dr. Chas. A. Ring Dies In His Chair. (1908, February 29). Buffalo Courier. http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/370258421/?terms=%22Charles%20A.%20Ring%22&pqsid=QV-w-sFoCwGcj6mQdP1cPw%3A1184000%3A401194203&match=1     Ghost Stories, Sightings and Experiences with our Spirits at The Winery at Marjim Manor. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://marjimmanor.com/legend_current_ghost_sightings.html     Haunted Ghost Wineries Across The United States. (2016, October 28). Uncorked: The Blog. https://www.cawineclub.com/blog/haunted-ghost-wineries-across-united-states/     History of Newfane , New York. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from http://history.rays-place.com/ny/newfame-ny.htm     History of the Winery at Marjim Manor in Appleton, NY. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2021, from https://marjimmanor.com/legend_history.html     Lewis E Merritt (1833-1865)—Find A Grave... (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/114506704/lewis-e-merritt     Lewis W Merritt (1833-1863)—Find A Grave... (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/157239658/lewis-w-merritt     Marjim Manor. (2018). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marjim_Manor&oldid=833048263     MARJIM MANOR: House has history of hauntings | Local News | lockportjournal.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.lockportjournal.com/news/local_news/marjim-manor-house-has-history-of-hauntings/article_7e3938a5-6515-5654-97ff-8ec38b0a8999.html     Neighbors, J. (2012, October 3). Joy’s JOY of Wine: Haunted Wineries of the Eastern U.S. Joy’s JOY of Wine. http://joysjoyofwine.blogspot.com/2012/10/haunted-wineries-of-eastern-us.html     New York, U.S., Death Index, 1852-1956—AncestryLibrary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://search.ancestrylibrary.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=61535&h=1914175&tid=&pid=&queryId=0878014bbcbcc4dd6f5ee56dc6197304&usePUB=true&_phsrc=eBA323&_phstart=successSource     Obituary for Florella C. Morse RIPLEY. (1908, September 16). The Buffalo Enquirer, 9.     Obituary of Shubal Merritt. (1881, March 7). Buffalo Morning Express, page 6.     Our Resident Ghosts at the Winery at Marjim Manor in Appleton, NY. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2021, from https://marjimmanor.com/legend_ghosts.html     Phebe Sophia Scudder Merritt (1767-1855)—Find A... (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/50872572/phebe-sophia-merritt     Shubal S Merritt (1801-1881)—Find A Grave... (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/50871659/shubal-s-merritt     Shubal Scudder Merritt (1842-1918)—Find A Grave... (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/82244006/shubal-scudder-merritt     Shubal Scudder Merritt—LifeStory. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/family-tree/person/tree/70541377/person/232126309761/story     Sophia Spencer Willson (1804-1877)—Find A Grave... (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11689097/sophia-willson     The Spirit Guide: Marjim Manor. (2020, July 8). https://spookeats.com/2020/07/08/the-spirit-guide-marjim-manor/     Winery at Marjim Manor. (n.d.). Haunted History Trail of New York State. Retrieved May 20, 2021, from https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/winery-at-marjim-manor   Transcript: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Crimes & Witch-Demeanors, I’m your host, Joshua Spellman.  On Crimes and Witch-Demeanors we go further than the wikipedia page and dive into the archival record to discover the truth behind your favorite ghostly tales.   I hope everyone is doing well and that you enjoyed last week’s diversion from the usual.  If you didn’t, now worries!  Today I’m back to my old hijinks and looking at a really fun historic haunt that I so desperately hoped to be true.   I love wine, I truly do, and it’s one of the reasons I love Western New York and Southern Ontario — we have so many great wineries — and many of them are haunted.  Today I’ll be telling the alleged —and I mean alleged— tale of Marjim Manor, a haunted winery in the Hamlet of Appleton, New York.    Sounds quaint, right?  Wrong.  Tales of murderous Free Masons and a mysterious death curse plague this winery - and spoiler, a dog dies in the end.  But how much of it is true?  That’s what we’re here to find out.  So let’s dive right in to the purported past of Marjim Manor… ___     In order to fully encapsulate the story of Marjim Manor, or at least the story of its ghosts, we must begin in 1826 with a man by the name of William Morgan.  William Morgan was a bricklayer from Virginia who moved to Batavia, New York in 1824.  Once he arrived in the small village, he attempted to join the local masonic lodge.   Morgan claimed that he had joined the Masons in another country, and his in-depth knowledge of their most secret rituals appeared to confirm this.  Despite this, his application to the lodge was rejected.  In a fury, Morgan threatened to publish a tell-all book that would expose the Free Masons and their deeply hidden secrets.  Morgan recruited a local printer, David Miller, to his cause to publish his expose.   However, before any copies could be printed, Miller’s printing press and his office mysteriously burned down and Morgan was arrested for overdue bills.  Miller paid Morgan’s bail but just as Morgan was released, he was locked up again for another past-due bill in the neighboring town of Canandaigua.    Unfortunately, Miller was not able to come to the rescue of Morgan this time - the loss of his business and the first set of bail had depleted what little funds he had.  Fortune was on Morgan’s side, however, as a mysterious stranger paid his bail and arranged for a carriage to pick him up outside the jail.   The carriage appeared to be headed to Canada, allegedly to prevent Morgan from being arrested again on similar charges…but the carriage made an unexpected stop at Fort Niagara to pick up a few new passengers.  It was here when a handful of Masons grabbed Morgan, tied him with rope, and carried him onto a boat bound for Canada..  However…while the Masons made it safely across the Niagara River and Lake Ontario…Morgan did not.   The Masons had tied William Morgan to a large rock and tossed him overboard into the seemingly endless depths of the Great Lake.  William Morgan died just off the shore of modern-day Marjim Manor.  A large, natural stone served as a marker for the site of Morgan’s death.   8 years later the parcel of land that served as William Morgan’s death site was purchased by Schubal Scudder Merritt.  Merritt promptly set to work on building his dream-home, constructing a 9,500 square foot manor made of stones imported from Italy.  Gardens and orchards were planted on the surrounding land and a rock garden was artfully placed around the large stone that marked the site of William Morgan’s death.  The estate was proudly deemed “Appleton Manor”, named so for the hamlet in the town of Newfane located just south of the property.   Merritt lived on the property with his wife Sophia Spencer Wilson, his son Lewis, and his two daughters Phoebe Sophia and Cordelia Marie.  They lived in bliss for quite some time until March of 1864 when Sophia passed away.  Sophias death set their fortune on its head and things only went downhill from there and marked the beginning of the curse of Marjim Manor.   The very next year, Schubal and his son Lewis returned from a hunting trip.  Lewis had gone upstairs while Schubal remained in the parlor to clean their guns.  While upstairs, Lewis had opened a letter from the University of Rochester stating that his tuition had been raised to $12 a semester.  Shocked an appalled at this, Lewis ran down stairs and burst through the French doors of the parlor to tell his father.  Unfortunately, Schubal was startled by his son’s dramatic entrance and the gun he was cleaning was accidentally set off — shooting and killing Lewis on the spot.  Lewis died on the spot, at 3:00pm on Thursday.   This tragic accident sent Schubal into a spiral of guilt and anxiety.  He demanded that the French doors to the parlor be permanently sealed in order to prevent another tragedy and to help block away the memory of that tragic day.  Years passed before Schubal Merritt also died in the home on March 2, 1881…at 3:00pm.  It was also a Thursday.   After Merritt’s passing his daughter Phoebe Sophia and her husband Lucius Adams moved into the family home after buying Cordelia’s share of the farm.  They lived in peace,  raising their daughter Elizabeth, void of tragedy for years…until one day, while Phoebe was in the parlor with her husband — the French doors, which had been permanently sealed for years, blew wide open.  With a gasp, Phoebe fell to the floor - dead.  Again, at 3 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon.   Phoebe’s husband and daughter moved out of the home shortly after and it began to rent the property.  They had rented the home to a man by the name of John Morely, who, while he had died on a Tuesday, his body wasn’t found until…3:00pm that Thursday.   Fed up with the constant tragedy, and the apparent curse, the family eventually sold the property to Dr. Charles A. Ring.  Dr. Charles Ring had been the very first director of the esteemed, and very haunted, Richardson Olmsted Complex — or the Buffalo Insane Asylum.  Dr. Ring and his wife, Estelle Morse, had dreamt of escaping the city of Buffalo to begin farming.   Dr. Ring and his wife ended up being excellent farmers and were well-known in the region for their outstanding peach crops.  However, it seems that the Ring family could not escape the same fate that befell the Merritts.  On a Thursday afternoon at 3 o’clock the servants in the home heard a loud bang coming from upstairs.  The servants rushed to the second floor office of Dr. Ring and found him dead at his desk from no apparent cause.  The bang they had heard was the sound of his skull smashing onto his solid oak desk.   Estelle maintained the peach farm for as long as she could before dying of old age.  Marjim Manor was then sold to the Sisters of St. Joseph to be used as a summer retreat and a camp for young girls.   The Sisters of St. Joseph had a dog named Luke, who was doted upon by both the Sisters and the children who attended camp.  One day Luke was in the parlor, curled up by the fireplace, when he abruptly sat up and ran over to the French doors.  He barked at them three times before going back to his spot by the fireplace, laying down, and dying.  It was 3:00pm on a Thursday.   The victims of this apparent curse still haunt the grounds today, making their presence known to all those who visit the grounds.  Was this land cursed by the death of the alleged freemason William Morgan or has this land always been a place of tragedy?  You can still visit Marjim Manor today, as it operates as a winery and a wedding venue.   No one has died there in quite some time…but I advise you to perhaps avoid scheduling your visit at 3 o’clock on a Thursday…just in case… _____   Oh boy.  I don’t even know where to begin with this one.  I kind of what you to dump most of what I just told you out of your skull, because it’s either not true or incredibly confused, but either way, like ice wine, it’s cause for upset.   A lot of the initial story I obtained from a book titled Haunted Buffalo: Ghosts in the Queen City by Dwayne Claude and Cassidy O’Connor.  It’s a nice place to start, but dear god.  The inaccuracies.  Even the misspellings, but these error aren’t isolated to this book alone and actually plague most of the retellings on the internet and television as well.   The book started of on the wrongest of feet with citing Schubal Merritt’s name as Sue-bell. Which sounds like someone who identifies as a woman and/or a cow.   But the thing that intrigued be about this particular story at Marjim Manor is what a great narrative and curse that follows the occupants of this land and it’s something that could be easily verified or debunked.  Well, sort of.  You’ll see.   The story of William Morgan and his attempt to swindle the Free Masons is true up until his disappearance.  No one really knows what happened to him — whether he was murdered or simply escaped to Canada.  It’s actually a much more involved story in its own right and the local library in Batavia has a number of materials related to the story — but that’s not what we’re here for.   The story states that Schubal Merritt built his mansion as soon as he bought the land, but in fact it was actually the third house they had built on the property.  The Merritt’s first built a log cabin, then a frame house, and finally, once their business was turning real profits, they built the manor in 1854.   Sophia enjoyed the house for a decade before dying of tuberculosis in 1864.  Now a year after this is when their son Lewis tragically died from a gunshot wound in the parlor…or is it?  It turns out that story is just that…a story.  Lewis wasn’t shot and killed by his father, instead, like his mother, he also died of tuberculosis.   As the story goes Schubal Merritt himself died on March 2, 1881…on a Thursday at 3 just like his son.  The tale goes on to say that Phoebe inherited the home but ended up dying as the French doors blew open at 3pm on a Thursday.   Of course there are more deaths, but let’s look at the Merritt family first.  I definitely had some trouble locating the records of their death because somehow in the same incredibly small town there was another Schubal Merritt and another Sophia Spencer Wilson who were not married to each other.  This sent me into a spiral.  But don’t worry, I came out of it and found the right people.   Part of the confusion is the book and many other sources provide variant spellings for Merritt, either one “t” or two, as well as various spellings for the daughter Phoebe.   Adding to the confusion is that Lewis Merritt has two graves in two different cemeteries, both providing different death dates and middle initials.  One grave with the inscription of Lewis W. Merritt claimed he died on the 22nd of May in 1863 and the age of 29.  Which…would have been a Friday, not a Thursday.  The other grave, for Lewis E. Merritt claimed he died on the 22nd of May 1865 at the age of 31…the generally accepted date, which…would have been a Monday. Okay, strike one!   Well, what about Old Schubal Merritt?  Maybe he died on a Thursday, since the day of March 2, 1881 is always cited in the story.  Oh, what’s that?  That was actually a Wednesday?  Yikes.  People use this date all the time and never bothered to check.  I confirmed it with his gravesite and an excerpt from the Neighborhood News section of the March 7, 1881 Buffalo Morning Express that states “Mr. Shubal Merritt, an old and much esteemed citizen of Newfane died on the 2nd”   Strikeeeeeee two!   Okay, well what about Phoebe?  Her grave states she died on April 9, 1921 which was a Saturday.  BUT according to the NY State Death Index she actually passed away on April 7th which is in fact a Thursday!  Woo!  We finally have a Thursday death in the house…right?  Well…no.  Phoebe and her husband Lucius never moved into the home after Shubal’s death.  They immediately sold the property to Dr. Ring.  And Phoebe died in 1921, outliving the next tenants by over a decade.   Now, even the Dr. Ring parts of the story are sus but they also tell us how this Urban Legend began.  The story goes that Dr. Ring moved into the home with his fiancé, Estelle Morse.  No.  Dr. Ring moved in with his wife, Hannah Denelia Ripley Farwell.  How Estelle comes into the picture is…confusing.   Hannah’s father, Reverend Allen Plumb Ripley had a second wife, Florella Celeste Morse…who had a half-sister Elia Estelle Morse.  Confused yet?  It gets more confusing.   Hannah, Dr. Ring’s wife,  died in the home in 1907. However, in January of 1908 he named Elia Estelle Morse, his late wife’s step-mother’s half-sister the heir of the estate.  He mysteriously dropped dead the very next month.   What about Dr. Ring?  When did he die?  According to his grave he died on the 29th of February, 1908 but according to the Buffalo Courier he passed away the evening prior, as stated, on the 28th.  The current owner of the house states that it was the 28th and is adamant that this is the only death in the home to be on a Thursday afternoon.  However, whichever date you go with, it was either a Saturday and a Friday, respectively, and definitely not a Thursday despite the owner’s claims.    Which is strange, because the owner maintains that none of the Merritt’s died on a Thursday afternoon but claims that the whole of the Ring family did.  Which…you guessed it…also isn’t accurate.   Estelle moved into the home promptly after Dr. Ring’s death with her half-sister, Florella, who was Hannah’s…Hannah’s step…mother-in-law?  It’s all very confusing and strange.  It was a scandal at theme that Estelle inherited the property.  She was a shrewd businesswoman so it’s no surprise she managed to wrestle the property from Dr. Ring.  A shame he died only a month after he put her in the will…but I digress.   Florella died later that year on September 14, 1908.  Again, the owner claims this was one of the Thursday deaths.  I am here once again to tell you it was a Monday.    Estelle ended up marrying a farmer who was a caretaker at Marjim Manor until they left the home in 1922.  Marjim Manor went into foreclosure before being taken up by the Sisters of St. Joseph who used it has a summer home and a retreat for deaf children  from St. Mary’s School of the Deaf.  The book states they had a dog named Luke who died, which is partially true.  The dog did die, as all living things do, but his name was actually Duke.  Luke would make more biblical sense, but you know, he looked more like a Duke.  There are photographs of him, but unfortunately I have no way of verifying when he died.   So how did these rumors start?  It turns out that Estelle Morse was the one to start spreading these rumors in an article in a The New York World published in 1908. This article was an interview with Estelle that praised her for being such a great businesswoman.  I’m sure she wove this tale to try and drum up some interest in her winery.  Now, while the source of this information is the owner of the manor, which seems slightly unreliable, I have no reason to doubt it — there is a framed version of it hanging in the home.   In fact, a ghostly occurrence happened with this framed article.  It was the day of Estelle’s birthday.  The bartender poured a glass of a sweet red wine in honor of her and claimed that it was “A sweet red wine for a lady that may have not been so sweet” and just as the bartender had said that, the framed article flew from the wall and broke the frame’s glass.  Apparently she resented that remark.   One of the most active place for ghosts in the house is the front stairs.  The Ghost Hunter’s show heard someone say “Who’s in my house?” Without even utilizing their EVP equipment.  A young man in Victorian dress has been seen in that very spot — could it be the ghost of Lewis?   The covered front porch is another hotspot for paranormal activity.  Estelle Morse is said to greet visitors as they come in the home.  It has also been reported on many occasions that people have seen an older gentleman upstairs who began complaining about that same front porch.  This is most likely Schubal Merritt, as that particular front porch as not a part of the home when he built it.   A former employee and her family acted as winter caretakers for Marjim Manor since they lived up the street from the property.  One day they were making their rounds and making sure the home was in order and that none of the pipes had froze.  As they were making their last passes downstairs an alarm clock started ringing upstairs.  They went upstairs to turn off the alarm clock but were shocked to find that while it was still going off…it was not plugged into the wall.   But all encounters have not been friendly. The home was also a part of the underground railroad (many orchards were in the area at the time — one of my favorites, Murphy’s orchard was as well).  Sadly, even though they were part of the underground railroad, escaped slaves may have to hide for days or weeks in the dark in extremely cramped quarters, literally underground.    Because of the psychic energy and trauma, visitors experience the feeling an intense sadness in the area.  Others are instead pinched, poked, and pushed which may indicate a more aggressive or malevolent presence…but I’m willing to bet maybe the victims of these ghostly encounters were just racists and the ghosts of the escaped slaves were just having some harmless revenge.
Nurse!
May 12 2021
Nurse!
Grey Nurses are mysterious figures that appear in hospitals all across the world, regardless of culture or region. Who are they and where do they come from? It's hard to say - but Adelaide, South Australia may be the key to finding out.   Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    Sources: Alison Green’s answer to Nurses, have you ever seen the ghost of a recently deceased patient? - Quora. (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2021, from https://www.quora.com/Nurses-have-you-ever-seen-the-ghost-of-a-recently-deceased-patient/answer/Alison-Green-104?ch=10&share=081d3000&srid=ua4ka   aquilareen. (2019). North Adelaide Calvary Hospital chapel [Photo]. https://www.flickr.com/photos/31967465@N04/48810339713/ at 3:54pm, 31st October 2017. (n.d.).   Aldershot’s “Haunted” Military Hospital: Who Is The Grey Lady? Forces Network. Retrieved April 29, 2021, from https://www.forces.net/news/aldershots-haunted-military-hospital-who-grey-lady   Austin Health: The ghosts that roam our hospitals. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2021, from https://www.austin.org.au/ghoststhatroamourhospitals/   GREY LADY OF NORTH ADELAIDE CITY’S BEST GHOST STORY. (1929, October 17). Register News-Pictorial (Adelaide, SA : 1929 - 1931), 30.   History and heritage. (n.d.). Calvary Health Care. Retrieved May 8, 2021, from https://www.calvarycare.org.au/about/heritage/   Museum, O. (2017, September 14). 30 Nurses Share their Most Blood-Curdling Hospital Ghost Stories. The Occult Museum. http://www.theoccultmuseum.com/nurses-share-hospital-ghost-stories/   Paranormal Investigation at the Former Royal Adelaide Hospital—Searching for the ’Grey Nurse’—Review of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons Ghost Tours, Adelaide, Australia. (n.d.). Tripadvisor. Retrieved April 29, 2021, from http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g255093-d6948983-r596869442-Adelaide_s_Haunted_Horizons_Ghost_Tours-Adelaide_Greater_Adelaide_South_Australi.html   Smith, K. & R.N. (2017, October 31). 8 Terrifying Ghost Stories as Shared by Nurses. Nurseslabs. https://nurseslabs.com/8-ghost-stories-shared-nurses/   Strangways Terrace. (n.d.-a). State Library of South Australia. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+43308   Strangways Terrace. (n.d.-b). State Library of South Australia. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+8517   Strangways Terrace. (n.d.-c). State Library of South Australia. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+7428   Strangways Terrace, North Adelaide. (n.d.). State Library of South Australia. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+1294   The Grey Nurse. (2011, May 10). Personal Ghost Stories. https://personalghoststories.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/the-grey-nurse/   The Grey Nurse Hospital Ghost Phenomena—Truth or Urban Myth? (2020, March 1). Haunted Horizons Adelaide. https://adelaidehauntedhorizons.com.au/grey-nurse-hospital-ghost/   William Younghusband. (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=William_Younghusband&oldid=941797985   Transcript: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Crimes & Witch-Demeanors!  The paranormal podcast where we go beyond rehashing wikipedia pages and delve into archival and historic resources to uncover the truth behind our favorite spooky tales.  I’m your host and sardonic librarian, Joshua Spellman. N Today’s episode has been inspired by recent personal events dealing with hospitals and nurses and the title is of course inspired by Willam.  If you know, you know, if you don’t, you don’t.  And that’s fine, some of us have our own little club.   Today’s topic took me on quite the journey (as good research often tends to do): you begin one place and think you know where you’re going to land but you wind up in an entirely unintended location.  And in this case — that’s fine!  I mean, that’s how the scientific process works.  Never try and prove your own hypothesis, be your own worst enemy — like I am in my love life.   But today I went from researching phenomenon spanning continents to zeroing in on the homes and hospitals of the beautiful coastal capital of South Australia—Adelaide,.  Not a bad place to end up, if you ask me!   So settle in, buckle up, we’ve got a long flight ahead. ____   “Alright, you’ve got this” Cassie said to herself in the mirror, splashing water on her face. This was her first night on the job as an evening nurse in a new facility — and through a series of unfortunate events — she was the only one on staff.  Something like this wouldn’t happen back in the city, but things are different when you’re in a small town…as Cassie would soon find out.   Making her way back out to the nurses station, Cassie paused to look around.  The hubbub and bustling activity of the day had all but faded away.  By this time, most of the patients were already asleep in their beds, leaving Cassie feeling unnaturally alone.  The place felt almost abandoned.  Even the smallest of sounds: a patient’s distant cough, the water dripping from the leaky faucet, her footsteps on the ground, bounced and echoed through the tiled halls; rising and falling in a cacophony of silence.   BZZT!   Cassie nearly jumped out of her skin.  It was only the call button of a patient requiring assistance.  She made her way over to the patient’s room “Hi there, I’m Cassie, the new evening nurse, what seems to be the matter” she glanced at the patient’s chart “Miss Roebel?”    “Oh please dear, call me Trish” the old woman replied “I have the bladder of a small old lady despite being a spry young thing of 79” she chuckled “if you could please help me on over to the lavatory”   “Oh, of course!” Cassie replied, rushing to Trish’s bedside to help her up.  She walked Trish over to the bathroom and onto the toilet.  BZZT!  Another patient needing assistance.  “Do you mind if I go and help them?  It can give you your privacy” Cassie asked.   “Oh, of course!” Trish replied.   “But don’t try any funny business and try and get back to bed on your own” Cassie warned, mockingly wagging her finger at Trish.   “Aye, aye captain!” Trish retorted as Cassie made her way to assist the other patient.   He was an older gentleman who, while trying to get comfortable in bed, had accidentally ripped out his IV.  Cassie was still a little nervous and being new, it took her minute to locate the sterile needles.  After successfully administering the IV, which took a little longer than expected since the man was afraid of needles, Cassie rushed back over to Trish’s room.   And that’s when she found Trish…tucked neatly into bed, ready for sleep.  “Trish…” Cassie started, “I told you to wait for me so I could help you into bed.  You could have fallen!” “Oh…but I didn’t!” Trish exclaimed, “the other nurse came in and helped me”   Confused, Cassie asked with skepticism “The other nurse?”   “The one in the grey uniform, with the hat”   “Ah, yes.  Of course” Cassie replied, not wanting to alarm the old woman “Goodnight Trish” she said as she turned off her light.   As Cassie made her way back into the hall, the phone at the nurse’s station began to ring.  She rushed over to answer, “Hello, Valley County medical center, Cassie speaking”   “Oh, hi Cassie!  This is Frida, the day nurse, I just wanted to check in and make sure everything is going alright before I headed to sleep, my apologies that we’re so short staffed”   “Oh, hello Frida!  Yes, yes, everything is going alright…but did you happen to have someone else come in to help work my shift?  I just came back from a patient who-“   Frida cut her off, “Oh…so you’ve already seen her then?”   “Seen…who?”   “Oh, never mind.” Said Frida, “Just something silly.  Anyways, have a good night, please call if anything urgent comes up”   “Of course, thanks for checking in.  Goodnight!” Cassie said, hanging up the phone.  What was she on about?  But Cassie didn’t have time to mull it over as she heard the echo of shuffling of feet.  Another patient out of bed?    Cassie got up from the nurses station and peered around the corner.  There was someone at the end of the long hall.  Cassie squinted to see clearer in the dim light, was that Trish?  “Trish!” Cassie scolded, walking closer “I told you not to get out of bed on your own”   As she made her way closer to the figure she realized it was a nurse.  She was dressed in grey from head to toe, with a funny old-fashioned hat.  The nurse nodded to Cassie with a wry smile and winked as she tilted her cap.  Then, suddenly the woman turned on her heel, walked straight into the adjoining wall and vanished.   ___   Stories like Cassie’s are not unfamiliar to nurses — regardless of culture or region.  Benign nurse figures are often seen roaming hospitals across the world and are referred to as Grey Nurses or Grey ladies because of the color of their uniforms.    Are these apparitions the spirits of departed healthcare workers who loved their jobs so much in life that they carry on in death? Which I find hard to believe…while there are many great nurses out there on the front lines saving us from the pandemic I immediately think of all my high school bullies who can barely spell catheter let alone insert one who are now probably all angels of death…   Which is actually a great segway while throwing some subtle shade at former cheerleaders—maybe grey nurses are not ghosts at all but instead are inhuman spirits taking on a familiar form, who seek to comfort and care for our sick and dying.  I guess that’s literally the definition an angel?  Well, not the kind that are concentric spinning rings of fire with seventeen glowing eyes that are so horrifying that gazing upon them them will wreck your feeble human mind…you know like kind of angels in the Bible.  But you know, grey nurses are like the hallmark, Touched By an Angel type that Christians believe in despite their holy book describing them as horrific creatures.   But I digress.    While we may not have all the answers to these questions, we can surely try and answer them.   Despite being a worldwide paranormal phenomenon, my research kept circling back to hospitals in one city: Adelaide.  Specifically, the former Adelaide Royal Hospital, now known as Lot Fourteen and Austin Hospital.   Unlike the Windsor Hotel from last week, Austin Hospital has an entire webpage devoted to stories from staff about their ghostly grey nurse.   This following story is from their former Divisional Director of Cancer and Neurosciences, Cherie Cheshire…which, by the way, is an amazingly alliterative name.  If you’re looking to name a character in a book you’re writing I suggest you snatch that name up before somebody else takes it!  Anyway, here is her story:   “We were supposed to be three nurses on night shift, but we were short staffed and only had two. One patient named Carol had complete paralysis due to MS. She could not take a drink of water herself however suffered from terrible dry mouth. So, the nursing staff attended to her at least hourly to help her sip some water, even overnight. On this shift we were flat out. At around 9.30pm I filled Carol’s one litre jug with iced water and gave her a drink. It then got very busy and I didn't manage to go back to her room until midnight. When I did, she only had half a jug of water. She told me the other nurse had been in several times and helped her drink. I knew this wasn't right however checked with the other nurse who said she had not been in the room. When I asked Carol about who helped her with her water again, she said it was the older agency nurse in the old-fashioned grey dress…”   This next story from the former director of Nursing and former ICU Unit Manager, Jen Hancock, served as the inspiration to the narrative portion of today’s episode:   “While working nights on the old 6A in Heidelberg House, the buzzer rang and a lady needed a pan. I took it to her and asked her to buzz when finished. Ten minutes later, there was no buzz, so l went to check. She was lying down in bed half asleep, curtains pulled back. She told me that the other nurse in the grey uniform with a veil had taken it and made her comfortable. I was working with a male Enrolled Nurse. I asked the Registered Nurse who was between the three wards in Heidelberg House, if she knew anyone in a different uniform. She didn't. I was later told it was a common occurrence in Heidelberg House and that patients had often described the grey nurse.”   Other nurses reported ghostly occurrences like floating utensils, a hallways that is always ice cold at night, and seeing the grey nurse turn a corner and disappear.   The former Royal Adelaide Hospital, which I believe has been converted or demolished in favor of residential and commercial space, also had tales of the Grey nurse.    I tried to do some digging, but there isn’t much to go on with these stories: no name, no cause of death, no era, no nothing.   However, I did manage to dig up an old newspaper article about a ghost story that has been circulating for at least a century and a half: the Grey Lady of Adelaide.  This specter is known as the first ghost of Adelaide…which is a little Eurocentric considering there were probably many Aboriginal ghosts prior to the colonization of the area but I digress… the color association here is interesting. Could this Grey Lady and the grey nurses be one in the same?   The ghost of the Grey Lady was said to haunt Younghusband Mansion.  I was curious where this mansion was located — was it in the vicinity of one of these hospitals?  Or perhaps it was demolished and one of the aforementioned hospitals built over top.   I found my answer in the October 17, 1929 issue of The Register News-Pictorial. It reads thusly:     GREY LADY OF NORTH ADELAIDE - CITY’S BEST GHOST STORY And There Was Another In A Castle WhoLeft Illicit Still Behind   ROMANTIC GHOST WHO SAT IN CELLAR SHE haunted the Younghusband mansion, this Grey Lady of North Adelaide, and in the basement each night could be seen, 60 years and less ago, sitting in her chair in her own particular cellar. Memory recalls only that much of this spirit with the romantic title, but when the Nursing Sisters of Calvary Hospital became owners of the Younghusband mansion, they closed the Grey Lady's cellar. And the Grey Lady went out of memory. The Archbishop of Adelaide (Dr. Spence), when he laid the foundation stone of a convent home for the Nursing Sisters of the Calvary Hospital, North Adelaide, revived, perhaps, Adelaide's two sole ghost stories.   He recalled that the sisters never saw the Grey Lady but the story, no doubt, added to their discomfort. The acre on which Calvary Hospital stands was first owned by Robert Gouger, the State's first Colonial Secretary. He, too, owned land near the present Gouger street, where he built his home, and there were buried his wife and child. This is the foundation of the story of the Grey Lady, it is thought. However illogical might be the idea of the North Adelaide property being haunted, the story grew, and was known up to 29 years ago, when the Nursing Sisters took over the property from the Baker family. When the old house was pulled down to give place to the present modern structure at Calvary Hospital, the story gained another lease of life.       I wanted to learn a little bit more about this mansion and it led me down…quite the path.  If you follow the podcast on instagram @crimesandwitchdemeanors then you already know where this is going.    The article wasn’t very clear on whether Calvary Hospital was the mansion, replaced the mansion, or if the mansion was just used as a convent for the Nuns of Calvary Hospital.   In trying to answer these questions, I stumbled across the blog of a man named Allen Tiller.  Who, if you’ve seen the original Teen Titans cartoon, is a dead-ringer for the villain Control Freak.  He is quote “a historian, genealogist, author, paranormal investigator, and the 2017 emerging South Australian Historian of the Year.”   Quite the decorated man! Now, although his website looks like it was plucked straight from Xanga, awful div transparencies and all, it was useful because it led me to his book, The Haunts of Adelaide: History, Mystery, and the Paranormal REVISED EDITION.  The revised part is in all caps so you know it’s important.    However, I’m grateful for his book because it includes a chapter on the Younghusband Mansion - for which there is virtually no digital resources on.  I’m just glad I have Kindle unlimited so I didn’t have to pay for it.  The entire introduction read like a thread of rage-tweets lambasting the prior publisher.  Maybe not the best look, Allen.  Save it for twitter.  Not the book.  It kind of diminishes what credibility you earned.  But I’m not the 2017 Emerging South Australian Historian of the Year so you know, I should probably keep my big mouth shut.   Here’s what I’ve gleaned for his book:   The parcel of land Younghusband mansion was built on was originally purchased tin 1837 by Robert Cock during the first land sale held in Adelaide.  Later, Cock sold the land to the first colonial secretary of South Australia: Robert Gouger.   Gouger bought the land because he was under the impression that its high elevation would help ease the pain of his ailing wife, Harriet, who was suffering from tuberculosis.  They erected  a modest wooden cabin on the land but sadly the high elevation proved to offer no health benefits and Harriet, along with her infant child, died.  Gouger buried both his wife and child on the land, though they were later moved and interred at West Terrace cemetery.   This history is what led to the story of the Grey Lady as outlined in the news article.  However, its legacy doesn’t end there.  In 1842 the land was sold to Edward Stephens and then again in 1846 to William Younghusband.   William Younghusband was an Englishman who made a killing investing in the Burra Mines and his house reflected his wealth.  Younghusband Mansion at one point was once known as the finest home in Adelaide…though that may be because it was the only one of its kind in the area.  The mansion was opulent and grand: it had a ballroom, ornate gardens, secret rooms, underground tunnels, a unique iron fence, and it was outfitted head to toe in cedar.   After Younghusband’s death in 1865, the house changed hands quite a few times before the the lease came to rest in the hands of Miss Isabella Baker in 1883.  Miss Baker had plans to convert the home into a private hospital but she could not do so until the owned the property herself.  It took some time, but after six years she finally convinced the remaining trustee to relinquish the property. The mansion became the living quarters of the nuns.  The two rooms facing the streets were used as bedrooms, behind them was a box room, below a large basement, and there was another room that had been sealed up. Behind the seal was a room that had not been finished during the Younghusband’s occupation of the home.  It was full of construction materials, dust, and rocks.  During the time the Younghusband’s stayed in the house, many people noticed the sealed up room, and because many people knew about Gouger’s wife and her baby that died on the property, the legend of the Grey Lady began.  The story really took off in 1869 when a newspaper published a story about a ghost spotted sitting in a chair in the basement.  Younghusband mansion was eventually torn down and Calvary Hospital was built on the grounds.  Could the Grey Lady have become one of the grey nurses?  Or is her entity altogether separate? The former Royal Adelaide Hospital was one of the biggest hotspots of grey nurse encounters.  Allegedly, a whole floor of the building was closed due to paranormal activity in the 1980’s, though no evidence of this exists.  It seems a little farfetched. As with most grey nurses, her identity was unknown but her story follows the usual pattern: she was the wife of a doctor who died on the operating table, she died in a car accident on her way to work, she was pushed down the stairs by a mental health patient, or she accidentally delivered a fatal overdose and committed suicide. The Royal Adelaide Hospital has moved to a new building and the old one was partially demolished and partially renovated and converted into shops, apartments, and the new location for the Australian Space Agency. Construction workers on the site witnessed paranormal activity.  Allegedly, a number of workers sent messages to our good friend Allen Tiller describing their encounters.  Frequently, a “person in blue” was spotted on the upper floors watching the construction staff work.  When they called security to find the person, since it’s dangerous to be on an active construction site, no one was found.  This happened on numerous occasions. Now again.  My brain always goes to speedy squatters, and no I’m not talking about me the day after I have chipotle.  An abandoned building is the perfect place for someone to seek shelter with little risk of running into anyone. Regardless, the construction workers believe it to be a ghost and the blue outfit could possibly be scrubs.  I will say that oftentimes grey can appear blue in certain circumstances.  White ladies, men in black hats, and grey nurses…are they distinct spirits who choose to appear in these forms?  Or are they archetypes that have been burned into our collective subconscious?  It’s safe to say we may never learn the identities of these homogenous haunts, if they are ghosts at all.  But they do make for fun stories to tell in the dark. Next week’s episode is going to be my personal ghost stories and will follow a different format than usual.  Next week is my birthday week, and I’m also getting the second dose of my vaccine so I’m planning on feeling icky for a few days and would rather not have to write a few thousand words with a fever!  So if that interests you, you have something to look forward to! If you know anyone who would enjoy the show — please share it with them!  Word of mouth, and a pyramid scheme, is the best way to grow our family of bibli-ahh-graphers.  Follow the podcast’s instagram for goodies, and of course, if you’re listening on overcast hit that little star icon, if you’re an Apple fiend, please leave a kind review! And remember, if you find yourself in a hospital…keep your eyes peeled for a grey nurse, never badmouth previous publishers in your revised edition..its’ quite unbecoming…and as always, stay spooky.  Bye~
Americus Horror Story: Hotel
May 5 2021
Americus Horror Story: Hotel
We’re making like the devil and heading on down to Georgia.  Most people’s minds go straight to Savanah when picturing the haunted South, but today we’re setting our sights the smaller, lesser known town of Americus.  Specifically, we’re honing in on the historic Windsor Hotel.  Among the living, many denizens of the dead are said to be checked in as permanent guests-- but are the only true spirits those on the shelf in the pub?    Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    Sources: 1920 United States Federal Census—AncestryLibrary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/discoveryui-content/view/8354991:6061?tid=&pid=&queryId=56d4f8d41cd9be6445f55f92f41c2d2d&_phsrc=eBA312&_phstart=successSource   1940 United States Federal Census—AncestryLibrary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/discoveryui-content/view/51459890:2442?tid=&pid=&queryId=56d4f8d41cd9be6445f55f92f41c2d2d&_phsrc=eBA312&_phstart=successSource   A New Hotel. (1897, November 12). The Macon Telegraph, page 3.   An Americus Horror Story. (n.d.). Https://Www.Walb.Com. Retrieved April 22, 2021, from https://www.walb.com/story/27180029/an-americus-horror-story   Assembly, I. G. (1906). Legislative Documents.   Best Western Plus Windsor Hotel—Americus, GA. (n.d.). Yelp. Retrieved April 22, 2021, from https://www.yelp.com/biz/best-western-plus-windsor-hotel-americus-4   Bevington, R. (n.d.). Georgia Ghosts: A Mother, Daughter Haunt This Hotel. Georgia Public Broadcasting. Retrieved April 20, 2021, from https://www.gpb.org/news/2018/10/29/georgia-ghosts-mother-daughter-haunt-hotel   BS Paranormal Investigations. (2020, December 8). Just the Evidence: Windsor Hotel, Americus, Georgia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdlz84xuFm4   Down the Elevator Shaft. (1894, January 7). Columbus Daily Enquirer (Published as Columbus Enquierer-Sun), page 3.   Eoghanacht. (2007). Windsor Hotel in Americus, Georgia.  32°4′20″N 84°14′1″W  /  32.07222°N 84.23361°W  / 32.07222; -84.23361. Own work. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Windsor-Hotel-Americus-GA-1.jpg   Fraternity, P. U. (1917). Catalogue of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity.   Georgia, U.S., Death Index, 1919-1998—AncestryLibrary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://search.ancestrylibrary.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=5426&h=2141242&tid=&pid=&queryId=103c0146dc83f8afe1a4b3f5bf750d72&usePUB=true&_phsrc=eBA297&_phstart=successSource   Haunted Best Western Plus Windsor Hotel. (n.d.). Mystery 411. Retrieved April 25, 2021, from http://www.mystery411.com/Landing_bestwesternpluswindsorhotel.html   Haunted Places In Georgia: (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2021, from https://www.haunted-places-to-go.com/haunted-places-in-georgia-2.html   Historic Windsor Hotel, Americus, Georgia. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2021, from https://www.windsor-americus.com/   Historical Images—Americus 1. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.americusga.us/historical_images_americus%201.htm   History | Windsor Hotel. (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.windsor-americus.com/history/   Hotel Spotlight: Historical Best Western Plus Windsor Hotel Americus, GA. (2017, July 27). HotMamaTravel. https://hotmamatravel.com/best-west-plus-windsor-hotel/   joshnjen010304. (2020, March 30). Ghostly Georgia. Guitars, Gear, & Ghosts. http://guitarsgearandghosts.com/ghostly-georgia/   Laura Lyn. (2014, February 17). Laura Lyn visits the historic Windsor Hotel in Americus, Georgia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_lubPaPWLU   MadeInAmerica1977. (2012, November 24). Windsor Hotel (in Americus, Georgia)—A Behind the Scenes Haunted Tour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-FHmBAfOng   Married in Haste. (1892, March 14). The Macon Telegraph. http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/591679561/?terms=%22windsor%20hotel%22%20americus&match=1   Nothing found for Ghostreport. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2021, from http://www.windsor-americus.com/GhostReport.htm   Recollections of a Vagabonde: The Haunted Windsor Hotel in Americus, Georgia. (2009, October 22). Recollections of a Vagabonde. http://avagabonde.blogspot.com/2009/10/haunted-windsor-hotel-in-americus.html   Rev Richard Sutton Rust Sr. (1815-1906)—Find A... (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/79029702/richard-sutton-rust   Richard S. Rust. (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Richard_S._Rust&oldid=990829872   Schnur, L. M. (2014, May 31). Just the Facts. Please! The Haunted Librarian. https://thehauntedlibrarian.com/2014/05/31/just-the-facts-please/ Southwest Georgia city boasts haunts along with history. (2019, August 2). [Text.Article]. FOX 5 Atlanta; FOX 5 Atlanta. https://www.fox5atlanta.com/good-day-atlanta/southwest-georgia-city-boasts-haunts-along-with-history   The Windsor Hotel: Directors Select a Name for Americus Palatial Hotel. (1891, September 4). The Macon Telegraph, page 1.   The Windsor is a certified haunted hotel. (n.d.). Https://Www.Walb.Com. Retrieved April 20, 2021, from https://www.walb.com/story/5449720/the-windsor-is-a-certified-haunted-hotel   U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995—AncestryLibrary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/discoveryui-content/view/690841718:2469?tid=&pid=&queryId=e8f78aa6a0edd3b8ad24b526bc678038&_phsrc=eBA302&_phstart=successSource   U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947—AncestryLibrary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/discoveryui-content/view/38590185:2238?tid=&pid=&queryId=68a411473ddd2b72490bc26cd63edd45&_phsrc=eBA313&_phstart=successSource   Windsor Hotel. (n.d.). GeorgiaHauntedHouses.Com. Retrieved April 20, 2021, from https://www.georgiahauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/windsor-hotel.html   Windsor Hotel—Americus, GA - Windsor Ghost Report. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2021, from http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:I3dRut8YvvcJ:windsorhotel1.ipower.com/GhostReport.htm+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us   WindsorHotel101. (2009, November 30). Americus Windsor Hotel—Haunted House. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5al8YZFU0I   TRANSCRIPT: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Crimes & Witch-Demeanors, the podcast where we use historic and archival resources to investigate ghost stories and separate fact from fiction.  I’m your host, and loveable librarian, Joshua Spellman.   I wanted to take care of some housekeeping before we get into the episode: I hope the new podcast artwork didn’t spook you!  I love the illustration my good Judy GiAnna Ligammari made for the podcast, and I’m still using it on the website and other branding, but I needed something that read better as a thumbnail and that is graphic and punchy for new listeners.  So…I hope you don’t mind the change!  I did it as a stress doodle while waiting for updates about my mom who is in the hospital this last week and I fell in love with it…and I hope you do too!   But I digress!   On today’s episode we’re making like the devil and heading on down to Georgia.  Most people’s minds go straight to Savanah when picturing the haunted South, but today we’re setting our sights the smaller, lesser known town of Americus.  Specifically, we’re honing in on the historic Windsor Hotel.  Among the living, many denizens of the dead are said to be checked in as permanent guests-- but are the only true spirits those on the shelf in the pub?  Let’s find out.  But first, here is the alleged history of the ghosts at Americus Georgia’s Windsor Hotel.         The Windsor Hotel, despite being located in the small city of Americus, Georgia, is a grand and opulent structure, not unlike the castle across the pond that shares its name.  Like Windsor Castle, the hotel has housed great figures of history and harbors ghosts of the past.   In August of 1888 a reporter for the Americus Recorder discovered John Sheffield and Ross Harper measuring the court square of the city.  When the reporter inquired as to why, Mr. Sheffield responded simply, “because Major Moses Speer and Papa told me to.”  Without hesitation, the reporter rushed to the Bank of Southwestern Georgia and asked to speak with the president, Major Moses Speer to get the real scoop on the story. Major Speer told the reporter that he planned on building a hotel and that “the hotel will be built and in short order.  There is no doubt about that…it will be a building worthy of the city.” And indeed it would be.   Two architects submitted plans for the hotel: W.H. Parkins and G.L. Norman.  On March 21st, 1888 the selection committee for the project, which consisted of S.H. Hawkins, John Windsor, and C.M. Wheatley, favored the design drafted by Parkins.    Parkins’ plan for the hotel was to erect a square, four-story wooden structure with 120 rooms.  The front of the building would run the entire length of Jackson Street and the corner would house two additional floors.   However, G.L. Normann would not take no for an answer, and the remainder of the corporation preferred his design.  Normann described his plan as being “a more fanciful character, greatly resembling the Hotel Alcazar at St. Augustine” (which, by the way, is the modern day Ripley’s Believe it or Not? Building).  Normann’s design was a brick structure of three and five stories in height, contained 100 rooms, and space for ten shops on the street level.   On April 17th the committee chose Normann’s proposal with an estimated budget of $80,000.  Construction began in September of 1890 and was completed on June 16, 1892.   The lavish hotel would go on to house famous guests including Presidents William Jennings Bryan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter. The hotel is the epitome of Victorian architecture.  The Windsor spans an entire city block, complete with a tower, turret, balconies, and an open three-story open atrium.    The Windsor’s outlook was auspicious from the start but it immediately fall on hard times.  In 1893, two years after its construction, an economic depression swept the nation, decimating the tourism trade – the hotel’s only reason for being.  By the turn of the century, the Windsor filed for bankruptcy and was sold to Charles A. Fricker, a jeweler, for $40,000, a mere fraction of what the building was worth.   In September of 1910 the hotel was completely renovated, installing electric lights, telephones, steam heat, and new elevators…the likes of which would end up being the genesis of our first pair of hotel ghosts.   There was a maid, Emily Mae, and her daughter, Abigail, who lived in the hotel in the servant’s quarters.  Emily Mae served as the head housekeeper but in order to support her and her child she wasn’t a stranger to offering extra services to the gentlemen of the hotel.  However, Emily Mae had a jealous lover who did not appreciate the work she did to supplement her income.   One day, while working in the third floor hallway, Emily Mae’s lover angrily confronted her, apparently jealous about her conducting sex work. Things got heated.  Voiced were raised.  Little Abigail heard the commotion and rushed to her mother’s side, at first cowering behind her, but then holding her hand in a show of defiance and support.  Her and her mother would no longer tolerate the abuse from this man.   “You WENCH!” the man bellowed as he shoved Emily Mae backwards into the open elevator.  However, what he didn’t notice…or perhaps he did…was that the elevator doors were open, but the lift was not stopped on the third floor.  Emily Mae and Abigail tumbled hand in hand down the empty elevator shaft, landing in a mangled heap on the ground floor with their fingers still interlocked.  They were together until the very end.   Their spirits still roam the third floor.  Many people spot Abigail rushing up and down the hall, playing with her toys seemingly in good…spirits.  Sometimes Emily Mae’s ghost can be spotted in the mirror, but when you turn around…there’s no one there, just you and an icy chill running down your spine.   Alas, Emily Mae and Abigail’s accident wasn’t the only treacherous tumble at the Windsor Hotel.  As a young and beautiful bride made her way down the private bridal suite staircase to wed her beloved, she tripped on her gown, fell down the steep staircase, and broke her neck.  Her spirit now roams the hotel, her bridal gown transformed from white to black, as she mourns the married life she never had.   As time ticked on, Windsor Hotel never fully recaptured the initial success it garnered in its first two years of operation.  The property was sold once again in the 1930’s to Mr. Howard Dayton, of Daytona Beach, Florida.  Mr. Dayton would operate the hotel for four decades until it closed in 1974, having been open for 82 years.    Floyd Lowery, a doorman and lift operator, worked at the Windsor Hotel for the full 40 years that Dayton owned it.  Lowery was a happy, chipper man, who loved his job, the guests, and the hotel.  Floyd always made sure that visitors were happy and comfortable.  Luckily, Floyd did not die a tragic death in the hotel.  However, despite that fact, his ghost still roams the property.   Sadly, after the hotel closed in 1974, the Windsor fell to ruin, as buildings do, without living souls to inhabit it.  The hotel was donated to the city of Americus in 1978 by Howard Dayton’s family and it sat for decades.  The only visitors being the pigeons roosting in the rafters and the rodents scurrying along the rotting floors.   The city had a big decision to make: either demolish the building and replace it with a parking lot, or funnel millions of dollars into its restoration.  The residents of Americus were almost unanimous in the decision to restore the city’s gem.  It cost the city a lot of money to restore the hotel.  However, since the city owned the property, they managed to save nearly have a million dollars by utilizing the prison industrial complex and exploiting inmates for slave labor.  Construction and planning took many years, but the restoration was completed in 1991.    The Windsor Hotel is once again the opulent centerpiece to the small city of Americus.  While many guests come to stay for a night, the presence of its permanent, spectral residents are strongly felt.   Guests often approach the front desk to complain about the child running around the third floor…but are disturbed to discover that there are no children currently staying at the hotel. Countless others ask to speak to the manager to complement the courteous bellhop, Floyd who carried their bags to their rooms.  However, there’s only one problem…that is not a service the hotel currently offers.  Nor do they employ anyone by the name of Floyd.   Floyd’s ghost brings positive and uplifting energy to the old hotel, even assisting the staff on occasion.  While his spirit may have departed, his legacy lives on as the namesake of the hotel’s restaurant, Floyd’s Pub.   Ghost Hunters have come to the hotel and certified it as “haunted” and there is even a plaque that boasts this fact in the hotel’s lobby.  So, if you ever find yourself in Americus, book a night at the Windsor, you may be in for a ghoulish treat.  And say hello to Floyd for me.         You don’t know the heaps of trash I had to wade through to scrape together enough rotted crumbs to write this episode.  I think this is the most amount of sources I have in the bibli-ahh-graphy, but not because they’re good.  I just had so much garbage to sort through.  There isn’t a lot to go on in these stories, even the names of the mother and daughter took a while to find…and even then they are always changing.  I had to watch so many terrible shaky-cam ghost investigator videos and awful mommy vlogs…don’t get me started on Hot Mama Travel…but I did manage to find out some very interesting things.  Including the ghost report from paranormal investigators.   The Windsor’s original name was going to be the “Alhambra” but this quote “struck a discordant note in the community” and instead the name Windsor was chosen for John T. Windsor who was one of the leading capitalists in Americus and the community decided the name was “more suggestive of the aristocratic qualities to which Americus aspired”   Honestly, in a city in the south, named Americus, I’m not surprised they’d rather go with a very white sounding name of a prominent capitalist because it was “more suggestive of the qualities to which  they aspired”.  Aka.  White.  Rich.  And white.  But I digress.   The first thing I want to get out of the way is the date the hotel was completed.  Many sources say that it was completed in June 1892.  The building itself was actually completed in October of 1891.  However, the hotel didn’t officially open until the grand opening in June of 1892.  Minor detail…but it bothered me.   So many things bothered me, honestly.  Like the fact there is another librarian coming for my gig?!  Fricken Lesia Miller Schnur, the Haunted Librarian!  She was extremely helpful in providing some of the names applied to the mother and daughter: Emma, Abigail, and Emily Mae.  Other sources say that the little girl’s name was  Sallie, Theresa, or Selina.  Lesia reveals that John T. Windsor’s name was Emily Amelia so there may be a link there to this legend.   But…other than that her post didn’t reveal anything I hadn’t read elsewhere despite claiming “I’m the history buff, so I still did my research…apparently other groups may not have”  I have.  I have, Lesia!   The story of the mother and daughter has many holes.  The first is the date of the occurrence: either the early  1910’s or in the 1920’s.  Second, is the fact that these two were poor, possibly people of color, and so their murder may not have been reported in any substantial matter.  Third, is the fact there aren’t actually any names to assign to it.  I spent a few hours searching and while I did not find anything on this story, as great of a ghost tale as it is, I think I found something…better?   Someone did fall down the elevator shaft.   The Columbus Enquirer published on January  7, 1894 the following story:   “Down the Elevator Shaft: Serious Accident in Americus to a Wealthy Ohioan   Mr. R.S. Rust, an aged gentleman of 78, from Cincinnati, Ohio, vice-president of the Union Central Life Insurance Company of that city, fell down the elevator shaft of the Windsor Hotel today and sustained seriously injuries.  His shoulder is fractured and his nose broken in three places.  He fell about 10 feet from the office floor to the basement.  The elevator was above but supposing it at the office floor, opened the door of the shaft and stepped into the basement below.  Owing to his advanced age, serious results are feared from the shock.”   Now this is something to go on.  He’s a man?  Check.  He’s white?  Check.  He’s wealthy?  Check.  These make up the trifecta you need to be preserved in history as anything other than a nameless stereotype!   Now using the name from article I did find an old white man from Cincinnati born around 78 years prior to the article’s publication: Reverend Richard Sutton Rust, Senior.  There was one problem though…no modern material identified that he had any involvement with the Union Central Life Insurance Company.  You would think this would be highlighted in the book passages and articles I found about him.   Instead, these articles paint a picture of a man fully dedicated to the Episcopal Church who was a staunch abolitionist.  Was this the wrong man?  Nah.  It turns out when you’re rich and white you can pick and choose what parts of your legacy are propagated.    I did find an alumni catalogue of his college fraternity and legislative documents from 1905 which confirmed that the Reverend Richard Sutton Rust and R.S. Rust from the Union Central Life Insurance company were one in the same.   During the civil war, Rust helped found the Freedman’s Aid Society which gave teachers from the North supplies and housing to teach freed slaves in the south.  Rust also assisted nearly 30 colleges with educating former slaves and their children.   After the war he set up the Freedman’s Bureau which was a division of the United States Department of War that provided shelter and supplies to refugees, freedman, along with their wives and children.   So it seems R.S. Rust was actually a really good guy!  I kind of felt bad that I hoped he died from the elevator accident…just so we’d actually have an elevator ghost in the hotel.  Turns out he lived and died in 1906 at the age of 91.  Good for her.   Part of me wants to change his Wikipedia page to include his major involvement in the insurance company (it’s how he got that Daddy Morebucks money after all) as well as his embarrassing tumble down the Windsor’s elevator but I’ll exhibit some self-control.   While the elevator ghost story is bunk I was happy to find out that Floyd Lowery was indeed a real person…which I would hope since the pub is named after him…and he did work at the Windsor Hotel for a very long time.  I found a variety of fantastic records that I’ll put on the podcast Instagram, @crimesandwitchdemeanors for you to look at.   Census records from 1920 to 1940 list Floyd’s occupation as porter at the Windsor Hotel, the 1923 Americus City Directory (which is super cool) lists Floyd Lowery as a bellman; and I also discovered Floyd’s draft cards.  It appears he was drafted during the second World War.    Floyd Ardell Lowery was an African-American man and was born on February 28, 1903.  I don’t believe that he ever married as multiple census records show that he lived with his mother, Mammie throughout his lifetime.  Floyd Lowery died on February 1, 1982 according to the Georgia Department of Health’s Death Index.  However, in that particular document birth is listed as 1915 and that he was 67 years old at the time of his death.  However, his military records and census records corroborate another and confirm his birthdate was indeed 1903, making him almost 79 at the time of his death.   I love that Floyd is such a presence at the hotel and that his memory is able to live on through the name of the pub.  However, some the ghost stories about him make me uncomfy.  But racism is uncomfortable.   When we say racism is systemic, we mean it is systemic.  It is so insidious that it even feeds down into the ghost stories we tell our children.  Ghost stories involving marginalized people, or people of color, are often based in, and perpetuate, stereotypes.  This is most apparent in the ghost tourism of the south which exploits the tales slaves but it can be observed elsewhere as well.   These types of stories served to illustrate what would happen if you dared to misbehave, stand up for yourself, or fight for your survival.  These spirits often are left to suffer in the afterlife for their apparent misdeeds and act as a warning – or threat – to stay in your lane lest you suffer a similar fate.    Other ghost tales tell of those who led a life of “good” servitude, who’s life didn’t tragically end, but came instead to a graceful close.  If you act like this you can rewarded in the afterlife, to continue to dutifully serve and labor even after death (wow—what a reward). These stories perpetuate the idea of the “good black” stereotype and further dehumanize the people they are about.   I feel like this is the kind of mold that Floyd Lowery has been put into as he is often helping guests with their luggage or working in the elevator.  Never having fun, never having a drink or just kicking back to relax.  But Floyd was more than his job, he was a human being.  I could hardly believe that he would want to spend his afterlife working for no wages.  Would you?  God, no.  Some of us already make ghost wages here among the living.  But I digress.  Onwards to more ghostly tomfoolery.   The story of the bride tripping and falling down the stairs is a strange one.  I have only read about it on one article about the hotel and it’s hauntings.  However, that didn’t stop me from investigating it for a ridiculously long amount of time.   I did find…something?  While it doesn’t match the ghost story, there is some piping hot 129-year-old tea.   This excerpt is from the March 14, 1892 issue of the Macon Telegraph in an article titled “Married in Haste: and now the bride is without a husband”   (continued below)     So, it only tangentially involved the Windsor but I thought it was some hot Victorian goss to share with y’all!   But enough about gossip.  Back to the ghosts.  The ghouls.  The ghastly gremlins.   There was a big hub-bub in 2006 about how paranormal investigators claimed the hotel as “certifiably haunted”.  A number of articles were written about it, the hotel made a page on its website for the full ghost report and even put a plaque in the lobby boasting about it.   But now…it’s gone vanished.  Gone.  Disappeared.  Stricken from the internet.  The hotel, which used to brag about it’s ghosts, doesn’t even mention it on their website anymore.  The paranormal investigators, the Big Bend Ghost Trackers, even removed it from their website.  I have a feeling that may be because they are now owned by Best Western and they want to keep it hush-hush.   Or…maybe they’re embarrassed about what this “certificate of hauntedticity” contains.   So it’s been deleted from the internet.  They tried to cover it up.  But they didn’t know a librarian would be on their case.   Obviously, I found it.  It’s not that hard.  If you’re ever looking for a page that is now a 404 there are two really easy methods to see the previous  page.  First is just paste the URL in Google and search.  When the page comes up in the search results, hit the three dots and view the cached page.  Voila!  But if their cache isn’t old enough, go to the good ‘ol internet archive and use the Wayback machine, hopefully you’ll find what you’re looking for!   And  boy did I find what I was looking for.  This oh so legitimate report was…something.   Here are the official findings from the report:   Out of 150 digital photos 3 yielded possible anomalies2 EMF fluctuations were documented. One between the second and third floors with a 6 degree spike, and one on the left hallway of the third floor with an 8 degree spikeSeveral cold spots have been detected…in a 129 year old building…you don’t say?Some anomalies caught on filmOne of the hallway light bulbs that was completely unscrewed turned on without anyone near itThrough channeling one investigator picked up the names of little girls: Theresa and Sallie   Because of the above phenomena the report lists the Windsor Hotel as H-A-U-N-T-E-D.  Yes.  They spelled it out in the report.   I do have some issues with these findings.  Especially the very subjective “evidence” they found via channeling.  Which was conducted thusly:   BBGT members Betty and Lisa were in states of meditation and channeling in attempting to make contact with the ghostly inhabitants of the hotel. Betty, while stationed in an adjoining 3rd floor hallway singing in a child-like voice the old turn of the century tune "A tisket a tasket", suddenly felt a cool breeze on her right side and the digital thermometer displayed asudden 6 degree drop in temperature. While continuing to sing she was clearly able to sense the presence of a young girl. After a brief time the camera recorded what appears to be orbs bouncing a short distance down the 3rd. floor hallway. The names Sallie (with an ie) and the names Theresa were very much attached to the young girl. BBGT member Lisa was also visually picking up and sensing the strong presence of an entity with the name Adams. Later, while attempting to validate our findings it was discovered that in the early 1940's there had been an employee named Adams.   But mediums aren’t…a great source of reliable information.  I watched videos where other mediums visited the hotel so you don’t have to, and dear lord they were an hour and fifty minutes of shaky cam footage.  But, for example the mediums in these videos experienced “giddy feelings” outside the bar and decided the ghost was a child definitely named “Selina”  But…that’s an entirely new name than the ones provided, truly a shot in the dark.  And if we’re experiencing a giddy feeling outside the bar…I would like to think that’s good ‘ol Floyd.  Happy to see his name in lights and people enjoying a cocktail.   I tried to look for some first-hand encounters with ghosts at the hotel and I didn’t find much.  Maybe because not too many people stay at the hotel.  I found a lot of Americus locals saying they’ve never even been inside.  But here are two experiences I did find:   “I was staying in room 308 and smelled old fashioned women’s perfume several times while in the shower”   Honestly…to me that just sounds like catching a waft of some awful hotel soaps and shampoo.  But maybe there’s an old lady who fell in the shower.  The next experience…also involves a bathroom?  Lending some credence to this new hypothesis.    Why is there a bath towel in the toilet? That's what my wife asked me last Wednesday the 17th of March 2021at 2:30 AM. I was staying there on business. What a beautiful hotel. I asked the staff at Floyds if they had experienced anything. I got mixed replies. Things about the lights turning on and off occasionally. My wife who was already in GA decided to surprises me on her way back to Florida. That night she got up to use the bathroom in room 211 and quickly came back to bed asking me why a full sized folded bath towel was in the toilet. Didn't sleep well that night obviously. It wasn't till the next day that the stories of hauntings came from everyone I spoke to when I told where I was staying. Weird experience and no plausible explanation on how the towel ended up in the toilet. I slammed doors, jumped up and down and could not get a folded towel to so much as move off the rack above the toilet. If I ever go back to Americus , I surly choose the Windsor Hotel again. Magnificently strange!   So maybe investigators should spend less time singing creepy folk-tunes in the hallways at 2:30 in the morning and spend more time on the toilet.   So what do you think?  Is the Windsor Haunted?  Would you want to stay?  Personally, I don’t think it’s very haunted.  2 thirds of its stories aren’t even true.  But I think I’d like to enjoy an Old Fashioned in Floyd’s pub just for the fun of it.   Please follow the podcast Instagram to view documents, historic photos, and other scans from today’s episode.  If you listen on Overcast and enjoyed the episode, be sure to hit that little star icon on today’s episode – it helps with  the algorithm a lot!  And likewise, if you’re an apple fiend and  you haven’t left a review, please do!   So please, look before you enter an elevator, remember racism is systemic, sex work is real work, and of course, as always – stay spooky!
Fools Rush In: The Many Hauntings of Kenyon College
Apr 28 2021
Fools Rush In: The Many Hauntings of Kenyon College
Located in Gambier Ohio, Kenyon College was founded in 1824, which has given it ample time…197 years to be exact…to collect its fair share of ghosts. A fraternity initiation gone wrong, a destructive dormitory fire, an elevator shaft incident, a car crash, and a diving accident are just some of the misfortunes that plague this university’s past.  In fact, one of these tragedies nearly destroyed its reputation, causing enrollment to plummet, and just as the college recovered, another catastrophic event threatened its continuation once more.   Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com    Sources: College installs bars on Bullseye windows. (2018, April 19). The Kenyon Collegian. https://kenyoncollegian.com/news/2018/04/college-installs-bars-on-bullseye-windows/     Confusion Surrounds Sophomore’s Death. (1979, November 15). The Kenyon Collegian, page 1. Death on the Tracks—Alumni Bulletin—Kenyon College. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2021, from http://bulletin-archive.kenyon.edu/x3615.html     Facts Point To Ghastly Crime Former Law Student Led ward Railroad Track Bound With Rope. (1905, November 1). Plain Dealer, page 1.      Investigators Consider Theories and Questioins. (1979, November 15). The Kenyon Collegian, page 1. Kenyon College. (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kenyon_College&oldid=1017979821     Kenyon College Ghost Stories Archives—College Bound Advantage. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://collegeboundadvantage.com/tag/kenyon-college-ghost-stories/     Kenyon College’s ominous history still survives on campus. (2019, October 31). The Kenyon Collegian. https://kenyoncollegian.com/features/2019/10/kenyon-colleges-ominous-history-still-survives-on-campus/     Kenyon College—The Haunted Kenyon Tour. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2021, from http://bulletin-archive.kenyon.edu/x2521.html     Kenyon Collegian—November 15, 1979. (n.d.). 7.     McCutchion, J. T. (1912, November 7). Up-To-Date College Fraternity Initiation. St. Joseph News-Press, page 1.     Not Tied to Track: President of Kenyon College Derides Coroner’s Theory of Pierson’s Death. (1905, November 1). The Daily Times, page 1.     Pierson’s Death is a Mystery. (1905, November 1). Quad-City Times, page 1.     r/Kenyon—Is Kenyon Really Haunted? (n.d.). Reddit. Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://www.reddit.com/r/Kenyon/comments/begdya/is_kenyon_really_haunted/     r/Paranormal—Haunted college. (n.d.). Reddit. Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://www.reddit.com/r/Paranormal/comments/6g4soj/haunted_college/     Ruins Hide Bodies at Kenyon College: Hope Given Up for Six Missing in Fire. (1949, March 1). The Escanaba Daily Press, page 1.     Shutler, N. (2017, October 16). Opinion | My Haunted Dorm Room. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/opinion/haunted-college-halloween.html     Snapshot. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/24742765/?terms=stuart%20pierson%20lunch%20basket&match=1     Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in America. (2019, December 8). https://www.collegeconsensus.com/rankings/most-haunted-colleges/     Two Dead, Six Missing in Kenyon College Fire: Flame Destroy Historic Hall, Many Injured Escaping Blaze. (1949, February 28). The Logan Daily News, page 6.     Verdict Due Today: Stuart Pierson’s Death Will be Laid at Door of the D.K.E. (1905, November 11). Atloona Mirror, page 1.   TRANSCRIPT:               Hello, and welcome to another episode of Crimes & Witch-Demeanors, I’m your host Joshua Spellman.  On this podcast we tell tall tales as they’re traditionally told and then dive into historical and archival records in order to separate fact from fiction.             Today’s episode is a suggestion from a listener, Lucas, who alerted me to his haunted alma mater: Kenyon College.  When he told me his college was haunted I was like “yeah okay it’s a haunted college” but I was shocked to find out just how haunted and how rich the real history of this college is.  It is a haunted college.  Sorry for doubting you.  There’s a reason Kenyon College always makes its way to the top of listicles touting America’s Most Haunted Colleges.    Located in Gambier Ohio, Kenyon College was founded in 1824, which has given it ample time…197 years to be exact…to collect its fair share of ghosts. A fraternity initiation gone wrong, a destructive dormitory fire, an elevator shaft incident, a car crash, and a diving accident are just some of the misfortunes that plague this university’s past.  In fact, one of these tragedies nearly destroyed its reputation, causing enrollment to plummet, and just as the college recovered, another catastrophic event threatened its continuation once more.               We’ll investigate all of these tales today, but first, let me tell you the – alleged – story of Kenyon College’s most infamous tragedy…that of poor Stewie Pierson.           October’s prickly night air licked the back of Stuart Pierson’s neck, goosepimples emerging from his skin like the cloaked figures surfacing from the shadows in woods around him.  If it were anyone else, they might be scared, but he knew who they were and they were the reason why he was there: he was a pledging the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and this was the beginning of his initiation.   The hooded figures glided silently into the clearing, forming a circle around Stuart and the other pledges.   They said nothing.  Simply stood in the dark, heads bowed, moving at a glacial pace towards the pledges.  One of the other boys made a shrill sound like a mouse.   Stuart’s looked at each cloaked figure in turn, knowing that beneath one of the dark robes was his father.  He strained his eyes to see through the murky haze of the night but he couldn’t make out a single face through the inky shadows cast by the figure’s large hoods; just the occasional puff of smoke as their warm breath met the cool autumn air.   Suddenly the figures stopped in unison, mere feet from the pledges, who were now shaking.  Even Stuart could feel his body hum.  He told himself it was because he was cold, and not the spindly fingers of dread wrapping around his soul.   Without warning the figures leapt toward the pledges, grabbing them, separating them from each other, and they chanted “DELTA KAPPA EPSILON!” as they threw burlap sacks over the heads of the frightened boys.   The world began spinning around Stuart as he was swept up into the air and carried off into the woods.  What was going to happen?  He knew he was safe.  He knew it.  This was all part of the process.  But the grip of dread around him grew tighter and tighter.  He felt as he might choke.   The cloaked figures carried Stuart for what felt like hours, though it may have only been mere minutes.  Stuart was disoriented and sleep deprived – having waited up all night the day before waiting for his father’s train to come in.  He was simultaneously alert and on the edge of sleep, which only heightened his sense of confusion.   Eventually, Stuart heard the sound of a river.  The Kokosing?  It must be, but where were they going?  He felt now that he was being carried at an incline, they were going uphill.  The soft footsteps on the soil turned to something more metallic.  A bridge?  Then it hit him.  Clarity pierced through his mental fog – the train tracks.  They were on trestle bridge.   Abruptly, Stuart was falling.  Was he thrown off the bridge?  THUD.  Wincing in pain, barely able to breathe through the burlap, his back ached.  That was his answer.  No, he wasn’t hurled from the bridge – the fraternity brothers merely dropped him onto the tracks.  Mercifully, the burlap hood was removed and he took in large gasps of the chill October air.   Bewildered, Stuart looked around him and tried to regain his bearings, the cloaked figures formed a tight circle around him…staring…silent…unmoving…and without warning they chanted “DELTA KAPPA EPSILON!” and pinned him down to the train tracks.   They pulled ropes from beneath their billowing cloaks and began to bind his legs together.  “What are they doing?  Are they insane?” he thought?  Then he felt a hand wrench his left arm and pin it down.  Then his right.  They began tying his hands to the tracks as he screamed.  The cloaked figures didn’t move, they just continued their knotwork, one of them stuffing a handkerchief in Stuart’s mouth.   Stuart began to panic now.  His face was flushed, he imagined it was steaming in the cold autumn air.  Sweat dripped down his brow and into his eyes, stinging.  Or were those tears?  Stuart felt the dread in his soul once more, panic filling every bone in his body.  He couldn’t breathe, he felt like he was dying.    And then…Stuart felt a familiar hand on his shoulder.  His father.  His muscled eased, though he still screamed through the handkerchief.  “Don’t worry, son” his father whispered “there’s no train coming tonight, calm down, you’ll be safe.  We’ll return within the hour.”   His father stood up  as the other figures pulled their final knots.  They didn’t seem to notice his father tipped him off.  Stuart screamed and thrashed in his bindings as the figures walked away.  For show, as to not give away his father’s tip.   Once he could no longer hear their footfalls, Stuart relaxed.  It’s going to be okay.  It’s going to be okay, he told himself.  Now even more exhausted than before he felt his consciousness slowly slipping.  He welcomed it.  If anything, he could use this hour to nap before the fraternity came back to untie him.   With his eyelids too heavy to keep open, Stuart closed them and began to dream.   After some time in a deep sleep, Stuart felt himself being shaken awake.  As he opened his eyes he didn’t see his father but instead the bright light of an oncoming train.                     If it wasn’t obvious, poor Stuart Lathrop Pierson was struck by a train.  It turns out that while a train wasn’t supposed to be coming that night, an unscheduled eastbound train was headed to Mount Vernon for repairs.  The conductor and crew didn’t know they had struck anything and so it never stopped….they only noticed something was amiss once they arrived at Mount Vernon and found pieces of fabric and blood smeared on the train.    Now how much of my fictional tale was true?  It’s honestly very hard to say, and who you ask will tell you a different story.  There was so much controversy involved in the investigation and the journalistic integrity at the time was, as we well know on this podcast…questionable at best.   When Stuart was struck, his watched stopped and so it’s safe to say he was struck at 9:41pm.  When his fraternity brothers, and perhaps his father, found his body around 10:00pm. it was still warm. They hurriedly removed it from the tracks before another train came.  Stuart’s mangled body was taken to the home of William Pierce, the College’s president.  Here is where things become suspicious.  Instead of calling William Scarborough, the Gambier coroner, Pierce instead called a local physician to examine the body.   The next thing that undermined any hope of an investigation into the incident was Stuart’s father, Newbold Pierson, who arranged for a special train to transport his son’s body home before the sun rose the next day…and, conveniently, the President of the college didn’t tell police about this departure until after the train had already left the station, along with Stuart’s corpse and any potential clues that may have lent us clarity.   Someone must have called Gwen Stefani because the newspapers at the time went absolutely bananas.  B-a-n-a-n-a-s.  Some of the newspaper illustrations at the time alone were so outlandish and sensational.  I found one in the St. Joseph News-Press Gazette published November 7, 1905 that shows a young main tried to a train bridge, in almost a crucifixion pose, with a skull lantern on his chest.  That’s only the tip of the iceberg.  I went ahead and put that on the podcast Instagram along with other goodies from today’s episode, so go and have a look!  @CrimesAndWitchDemeanors.   In an article titled Death on the Tracks by Mark Ellis in the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin, he describes another cartoon from the Los Angeles Sunday Times wherein a train is drawn ripping into a body with its decapitated head flying through the air.  Maybe it’s best that this publication isn’t available online, Instagram probably would have taken my post down!   Ellis also outlines some of the outlandish headlines that came out of papers at that time such as “Stuart Pierson’s Head Cut off and Placed in a Lunch Basket”  In my own research, a lunch basket was a recurring theme in newspaper articles but nothing of his head being placed in it – just that his lunch basket was found on the tracks.,    There seems to have been a lot of contention between President Pierce and the coroner and detective investigating the case.  The detective, who has the most amazing name of all time, Detective Grim, accompanied Coroner Scarborough to view the body and had this to say after viewing it:   “The wounds on the right wrist and the left ankle of the young man certainly seemed to have been made by cords or ropes encircling them, while he was using all of his great strength in trying to free himself.”   Both the coroner and the detective made public claims about these ligature marks, oh my god, look at me using vocabulary, claiming Stuart was bound.  It wasn’t helped by newspaper outlets who apparently had a witness, a young farmer, who claims he saw Stuart being led to the tracks by a rope around his neck, with his hands bounds together.   Naturally, President Pierce could not have any of this.  While one day a headline might say “Facts Point to Ghastly Crime: Former Law Student Led Toward Railroad Track Bound with Rope” an article the next day would boldly claim “NOT TIED TO TRACK: President of Kenyon College Derides Coroner’s Theory of Pierson’s Death”   The long and short is we’ll never know what truly happened, the investigation is too muddied to draw any certain conclusions.  Taking pledges out to remote areas and leaving them there for a time were a common initiation ritual at the time.  Whether he was bound or not is a point of debate.  However, it’s safe to say theories involving chloroform which were purported by papers or that his own father tied him to the tracks are most likely false.  His father was probably waiting in the “Kenyon Bullseye” which I can only ascertain to be this circular window in one of the college buildings where both this haunting, and others, take place, it is also where Stuart uttered the last words to his father “Goodnight pop, I’ll see you after awhile”   In fact, the Kenyon’s West Wing Bullseye is where Pierson’s spirit is most often glimpsed and appears to be the epicenter of tragic events – as recently as 2016, a student fell out of the bullseye window, leading to metal bars being installed for safety.   Many students who have lived in that room tend to avoid staying there on the anniversary of the incident.  John Hepp, class of ’04 was one of the students who decided to stay in the room that night.  He went out for the evening, but when he came back the bullseye window was wide open – a window that is notoriously difficult to open, so it couldn’t have been the wind.  Was it old Stuart Pierson?   Another night, Hepp was lying in bed with his girlfriend asleep beside him. when he felt an icy touch on the back of his neck.  Thinking it was his girlfriend, he turned, but she was fast asleep.  Alarmed, he jumped out of bed and turned on the light, which is when he notice the lock, presumably installed by maintenance, on the small door in his closet was unhinged. He got a flashlight and opened the door, which revealed a small crawlspace.  Inside the crawlspace where countless signatures of former students, pledge books, Delta Kappa Epsilon memorabilia, and other trinkets.  However, one engraving caught Hepp’s attention: the initials SLP with the date of 1905.   Students also claim to see Stuart’s spirit near the train tracks, waiting in the bullseye for his father, and roaming the campus.  But he does not wander Kenyon College alone.  He is joined by a litany of other spirits, which we’ll cover briefly, including first-hand encounters of students and faculty.   Perhaps the most well-known group of ghosts is those that perished in the 1949 dormitory fire.  On February 26, 1949, after attending the sophomore dance, students began returning to their dormitories in Middle Kenyon with their dates.  Some had stayed awake in the Middle Kenyon parlor, burning a fire in one of the “new” fireplaces – the old fireplaces had long been covered up and would not be seen again until the following morning when the building was reduced to ash.   Stray sparks from the fireplace cut into one of the lost chimneys and fallen into an old flue.  From the flue these sparks found their way into a space between the first and second floors.  Here, the sparks smoldered and gases and smoke built up before erupting into the second and third floors around 4:00am.   Seven students (Erenest Ahwajee, Edward Brout, Albert Lewis, Martin Mangel, Jack McDonald, Marc Peck, George Pincus, Stephan Shepard, and Colin Woodworth) lived on the third floor of Middle Kenyon and perished in the fire.  Meanwhile, two other students died from skull fractures and internal injuries after, in a futile attempt to save their lives leapt from the building.   The seven aforementioned students were not found for a few days as the ashes and ruins were too hot to search through.  The building was eventually reconstructed from scratch being nearly identical to the original structure.   Since the fire, numerous reports of ghostly apparitions and phantom sounds have been heard.  People have heard poundings on their doors and cries of “Get out!” or one individual who heard a knocking on his door and someone screaming “Ed, wake up!  Fire!”  It turns out that room had once belonged to Edward Brout.   Now my favorite sighting in regards to the fire is this one.  Someone had seen apparitions in the building but…something was off.  On the fourth floor, he spotted ghostly figures but they were only visible from the knees up.  When he went down to the third floor he could only see feet suspended in the air.  Upon investigation in the college archives, it was revealed the new structure’s floors had been built 18 inches higher than the original building.  It appears the ghosts are trapped in the building’s old floorplan.   The ghosts feet can sometimes be seen grazing student’s heads as they walk the third floor.   Now, I mentioned the university archives, which actually has a folder in their collection dedicated to the hauntings of the college.  College Historian, Thomas Stamp states that the college’s “haunted reputation is relatively a modern thing and that “The ghost stories are certainly fun and potentially scary but most of the stories are questionable”  Conversely, the stories that are most well-known, those above, are rooted in fact.   Some ghost stories, however, are purely legend, while some are real but have been embellished by students over the years as Kenyon’s reputation for being haunted has become a major draw…or deterrent to potential students. A reddit user expressed concern in the r/Kenyon forum about the college’s reputation for being haunted and wanted to ask current and past students if they believed it was or not.  Here are some of my favorite answers:   “Yes”   “Lemme put it this way. I, like you, don’t really believe in magic/the supernatural. That being said, if anywhere is haunted, Kenyon is.”   Another student states, “A buddy of mine and I decided to stay in a dorm room where a murder homicide occurred. The girlfriend apparently stabbed her boyfriend and tried to hide the body in an elevator shaft. After that she took a plunge out of her 7th story dorm room window.” And goes on to talk about a ghostly encounter of a slamming window.   This version of the story…is largely false.  It does involve an elevator…but that’s about it.  In 1979, a pair of friends was coming home to Caples from a party late one night around 2:30am.  One of the friends decided to take the stairs up to their room, while the other opted to take the elevator up to his girlfriend’s room.  The elevator ended up getting stuck between the seventh and eighth floors, and the student pried the doors open and attempted to jump to the floor below.  Unfortunately, they missed and he fell down the elevator shaft where he was found by a security guard the next morning.  The student later died of his injuries in the hospital.   Many women Caples experience waking up in the night with someone on top of them or the feeling of someone on their beds.  However, the best story to come from Caples is recounted in Wendy MacLeod’s article The Haunted Kenyon Tour in the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin.   In the summer of 1995 after all students had gone home, there was one very eventful night in Caples.  Safety Officer Dan Turner was working this particular night and was told he should keep an eye on Caples in particular because showers and lights had been found on while there was no one in the building.  Around 5:00am Dan got a call over his radio “All units to Caples!”   The switchboard operator had received three calls in a row from rooms 511, 611, and 711 respectively.  Each phone call was the same: a woman screaming into the receiver and hanging up.    Dan was the first to arrive at Caples and waited for the others to arrive.  He positioned himself so that he could keep an eye on both entrances and say no one enter or exit the building.  Once the other officers arrived, one of them stayed in the lobby while the others searched every room in the building for an intruder, locking the doors behind them.  They were so thorough in their search they even checked the trap door that led to the roof and made sure it was padlocked.  There was no one in the building…but things were just getting started.   They found a shower was running on the fifth floor, with steam was wafting out into the hall.  When the officers searched the three rooms where the calls had originated they found the lights were on and the phones were unplugged.  The officers plugged the phones back in, turned the lights off, locked the doors, and prepared to leave the building.   But, before they could begin to leave, another call, just like those before, scream and all, came from room 811.  One of the officers rushed to the room and the light was turned on, but the door was still locked.  He opened the door to find the phone in this room was also unplugged.  Before the officer could voice his confusion he heard the elevator begin its descent.   The elevator in the building stays on the last floor it visited and will only move if it’s called on another floor.  The officer asked the others if they had called for the elevator.  Negative.  Who was going down in the elevator?   All the officers raced down the stairs trying to catch the perpetrator.  When they reached the ground floor, they found the officer who was supposed to be in the lobby outside, with his face pressed against the glass saying to the others he wasn’t going to wait for the elevator door to open by himself!  No one was found that night and the incident was listed as an “unexplained event”   Now this story is still rather modern, so it’s interesting that so many legends surround it.  I found the college newspaper from the time of the incident and the mystery surrounding the events of that night.  This article explains in detail all the possible ways that the accident could have happened, complete with diagrams of how the elevator was stuck and the boy’s rationale for doing what he did (…why did he try and drop to the seventh floor when the eighth floor was easily and safely accessible? Why did no one hear him scream?  Why was his coat found stuck in the doors of the elevator?).  Long story short?  A mystery.  But the murder-suicide theory by the reddit poster is at least debunked by this news story.  Some people suspect foul play, others suspect a prank gone wrong, while others think it was just a tragic accident.   There are more ghosts, but I’m running out of time!  So we’re doing a lightning round!      There’s a ghost in Schaffer dance studio, which was once Schaffer pool and known as the “Greenhouse” because of its glass roof.  Versions of the story vary, but essentially an air force cadet during World War II died in a diving accident, which led to the removal of the diving board.  Accounts vary, some say he bounced too high and broke through the…literal glass ceiling…broke his neck and drowned.  Other versions leave him decapitated.  Either way—man dead, diving board gone.   Ghostly wet footprints leading to the locker rooms are still found at night in the dance studio, despite there not being a pool in the building for decades.  Schaffer is known as the creepiest place on campus to safety officers and maintence workers.   The truth?  World War II did host cadets enrolled in the Air Force Meteorology Program but there are no records of anyone dying.  The three-tier diving board was removed in the 1950’s – not because of an accident but because the new coach discovered the pool was only 9 feet deep instead of the required 12 and there was a dangerous ledge between the deep and shallow ends of the pool where kids would often come up from a dive covered in blood from crashing into it.   The Gates of Hell are two pillars that if you walk between them at midnight as the church bells chime, you’ll be transported straight to hell.  Do…I even need to debunk this?  That is…I mean…Ohio is as close as you can get to hell on earth aside from Florida, so maybe it’s not too far off.   Lastly, we have Hill theatre which is apparently haunted by a car crash that took place on the site of the theatre in 1937, before it was built.  However, old maps say there was never a road in that spot.   However, that doesn’t stop weird things from happening – most notably the ghost light (lights left on stages to repel…ghosts…or help them see?  No one knows which is which and that’s confusing) inexplicably becomes unscrewed or the light is blocked out by a light passing by.   And ohmygod that’s the end of today’s episode.  When Lucas told me his college was haunted I was like “Oh yeah, sure it is” but I did not expect the journey through time I was put on!  There is so much I didn’t get to cover, this could have easily been two parts but that feels like torture.   As always, view historic images of the stories and documents mentioned in this episode on the Instagram page, leave a review on iTunes if that’s your listening platform, and just a huge thank you for listening and accepting me back into your life!   So, please, don’t join a fraternity…for so many different reasons, always take the stairs, and of course…stay spooky.  Bye!
The Satanic Origins of Niagara Falls & Devil's Hole
Apr 21 2021
The Satanic Origins of Niagara Falls & Devil's Hole
So much history surrounds Niagara Falls it is near impossible to dive into: from initial exploration by white folk, exploitation of the falls and indigenous peoples, to the history of hydroelectric power, strange mortuary science experiments, and daredevils who have ridden down the falls in barrels (only some who have survived) – like the water over the crest, the history seemingly never ends.  However, while Niagara Falls is heralded for its natural beauty, booming tourist trade, and rich history -- behind its bridal veil lies something sinister, brooding beneath the foam.    Follow the Podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like The Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Main podcast illustration by GiAnna Ligammari: https://gialigammari.wixsite.com/portfolio    Sources: Cave of the Evil Spirit. (n.d.). Roadtrippers. Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://maps.roadtrippers.com/us/lewiston-ny/points-of-interest/cave-of-the-evil-spirit     Devil’s Hole Cave—Niagara County, New York. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2021, from http://falzguy.com/devils-hole-cave.html     Goat Island (New York). (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Goat_Island_(New_York)&oldid=1004636526     Luna Island. (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Luna_Island&oldid=953221872     May 12, R. R.-L. S. C. & 2017. (n.d.). Facts About Niagara Falls. Livescience.Com. Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://www.livescience.com/59099-niagara-falls-facts.html     Niagara Falls. (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Niagara_Falls&oldid=1017113129     Niagara Falls USA. (n.d.). Niagara Falls USA. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://www.niagarafallsusa.com/directory/three-sisters-islands/     Niagara Falls—Devil’s Hole Massacre. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2021, from http://www.niagarafrontier.com/devilhole.html     Official guide to Niagara—Cave of the Evil Spirit, Devil’s Hole—Details. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2021, from http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=91217&b=1 Szczepaniec, K. (2018). Indigenous People of Western New York. FACT SHEET, 23.     The Cementation of the Dead; the story of Theodore Graves Hulett’s most curious work in Oakwood Cemetery. (n.d.). Oakwood Cemetery | Niagara Falls, NY. Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://oakwoodniagara.org/kratts-korner/2012/3/15/the-cementation-of-the-dead-the-story-of-theodore-graves-hul.html     Three Sisters Islands (New York). (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Three_Sisters_Islands_(New_York)&oldid=956552156   TRANSCRIPT: Hello, hello, hello!  Long time no see, you may have thought I became a ghost myself!  My name is Joshua Spellman, and I’m your – very much alive – at least on the outside– host of Crimes & Witch-Demeanors.  The podcast where we get to the good old fashioned truth behind our favorite ghostly haunts using archival and historic resources.               Maybe you care where I’ve been.  Maybe you were even happy to hear me go.  Long story short – I was creatively and emotionally burnt out.  I was pouring myself into this podcast,  my drag, sewing garments, and cultivating my TikTok…and with things going on in my personal life I just crashed.  I stopped doing everything.  Had some health stuff to worry about but I digress!  We’re here.  We’re back.  I’m going to do my best to stay motivated and on top of things, but this pod is a lot of work!               Today’s podcast episode is something new.  And something I’m excited about.  I don’t want to give too much away… but we’re going to investigate the satanic underpinnings of a famous worldwide attraction and city, that just so happens to be in my back yard: Niagara Falls.  And also, one of my favorite hiking spots at the aptly named Devil’s Hole.  But be sure to stick around for the truth, as always it is much more interesting than the myth.  So, for lack of a better word: let’s dive right in.     Niagara Falls – one of the seven wonders of the natural world, is a group of three waterfalls (the bridal veil falls, horseshoe falls, and American falls, respectively) that spans the border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the state of New York.  Located on the Niagara River, which drains into both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, the combined Niagara Falls has the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America.  More than 168,00 square meters, or six million cubic feet, of water goes over the crest every minute.   So much history surrounds Niagara Falls it is near impossible to dive into: from initial exploration by white folk, exploitation of the falls and indigenous peoples, to the history of hydroelectric power, mortuary science experiments, and daredevils who have ridden down the falls in barrels (only some who have survived) –it seemingly never ends.  However, while Niagara Falls is heralded for its natural beauty, booming tourist trade, and rich history -- behind its bridal veil lies something sinister, brooding beneath the foam.    At first glance, it seems innocent enough – if you discount historic atrocities to its indigenous inhabitants – but as you peer a little closer a pattern emerges. Perhaps most glaringly, is Devil’s Hole state park.  Named as such for…no discernable reason.  It is a park that overlooks and descends into the Niagara river gorge, a 6.8 mile long canyon with cliffs as high as 1200 feet, carved by the Niagara River.  The hiking in this particular area can become quite hazardous.  In fact, the current of the Niagara River in the gorge is one of the most powerful river currents in the world: which, unsurprisingly has taken many lives.  Perhaps this is where its hellish name originates.   Perhaps it is partially due to the famed cave halfway down the steep escarpment: the Cave of the Evil Spirit.  While not a clever name, it sums up its origin quite well.  Long ago, the Great Spirit who created man, sealed away the Evil Spirit within the walls of the Niagara Gorge.  However, over time as man turned evil and began waging wars, the walls of the gorge began to split.  Eventually, the cave opened and the Evil Spirit was once again free, cursing all those who entered the cave.   Famously, the explorer Robert Cavalier de LaSalle ignored the warnings of his Seneca guide.  Upon entering deep into the cave he heard a voice tell him   "Return" said the voice, "to your home in Canada, and wealth, honors, a long life and usefulness will be yours, and when death comes, generations of your descendants shall follow you to your grave, and history shall transmit your name to prosperity as the successful founder of a great empire. Proceed to the West, and although gleams of hope may, at times, shine in your path, in gratitude and disappointment will be sure to meet and follow you, until a treacherous murder shall end your days remote from human habitation, without the shelter of even a wigwam of a friendly red man. The Eagles of the desert shall strip the flesh from your bones, which shall lay bleaching under the tropical sun, unburied and unprotected by the cross you now so devotedly cherish."   LaSalle foolishly disregarded the warning of the Evil Spirit.  LaSalle’s fortune eventually dwindled and he became poor and desolate.  In a last-ditch effort to regain his wealth and fame, he decided to go out west to Louisiana to begin a colony – doing exactly what the spirit warned him against.  Even LaSalle’s precious crucifix of his Christian god could not save him from the curse of the Evil Spirit.  LaSalle was eventually murdered by his own men and left to rot in the woods near the Mississippi river.   But the city’s connection to the crowned prince of hell and malevolent spirits do not end at the mouth of the Niagara Gorge, instead we must look to the Niagara rapids at the top of the falls and turn our attention to five innocuous islands.   Bisecting the Bridal Veil Falls and the Horseshoe Falls is an island known as Goat Island.  It is the location of the famed Terrapin point observation area and is large enough that it carries not only pedestrian traffic, but car and trackless train traffic as well.  Goat Island is largely wooded with many nature trails.  The island also provides access to the Cave of the Winds tour, which takes you down the escarpment to the foot of the falls.   Just off the southern shoreline of Goat Island are the Three Sisters Islands.  These small islands provide an excellent view of the upper rapids.  They are connected by a series of bridges and consist solely of nature trails.  Biologically speaking they are fascinating: each sports a variety of microhabitats and possess its own unique floristic character. However as is the nature of…well, nature, it is not all pretty petals.    It is easy to access the raging rapids from these islands, which spell certain death for those unlucky enough to be swept into the current and hurled over the falls…that is if the large boulders hiding in the cataracts or the undertow don’t do you in first.   The Three Sisters islands were home to mysterious rituals before European settlers came to the area.  Iroquois shamans would offer sacrifices and gifts to the spirit that dwells inside the mist shrouded cave at the base of the falls.  Mediums and psychics who visit these islands in modern times can hear the voices and screams of spirits long gone.   Lastly, there is Luna island.  Which, like, Goat island, bisects two of the falls but unlike its larger counterpart it is situated between the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.   Aside from sacrifices – you may be asking – how are these satanic?  Let’s take a closer look at the names.  Devil’s hole is quite obvious in its own right.  And while innocuous at first glance you may now realize…Goat Island.  The goat has long been a symbol of the horned demon Lucifer.  Luna island.  The moon.  Where dark rituals take place beneath.  And, the most insidious of these names: Bridal Veil Falls and the Three Sisters.  It’s subtle, but for those who know satanic lore, the Devil married Three Sisters.   Niagara Falls has always been a nexus of spiritual and physical power: as evidenced by its hydroelectric powerplants and numerous malevolent hauntings and the spirits that Native tribes worshipped and feared.  The city was erected and planned around these power sources, built to exploit them and harness them.  Niagara Falls was created in the same fashion as Washington D.C. Both hiding occult symbols in their streets and place names, used to exploit the negative energies they draw forth, and route them to areas of their choosing.   Next time you visit the falls, remember to hold that crucifix tight.  Or don’t…it didn’t quite help LaSalle…did it?                   Wow, it’s so crazy this isn’t talked about more!  All these satanic connections…that…I just made up?  Yeah.  I made it up.  Kind of?  All the place names are real but they’re not satanic in origin.  With all the crazy conspiracy theories flying around I wanted to illustrate how easy it is to draw lines between seemingly unconnected things and create a new narrative.               To be clear: to my knowledge no one has drawn up these satanic connections before me.  I did it while researching something else entirely and was like “wow these names really all have a connection to the devil” until I learned the real origins of these place names.  The three sisters, goat island, luna island, the bridal veil falls, and devil’s hole are all very real names.  But they don’t have any connections to satanism or the occult.  But what they do have are really interesting and unique histories.               Devil’s hole and the Niagara gorge are two of my favorite places in the world.  I have spent countless hours alone on those treacherous trails.  The trails can be narrow and precarious, made from silty, crumbling rock, overhead you have the risk of huge boulders falling down, and directly below you is one of the most powerful river currents in the world.   Of course my favorite time to go is when it’s raining…which is pretty reckless.  Probably the only reckless thing I like participating in willingly.  But I do love it.  I have a deep personal and spiritual connection to the area and learning it’s history has definitely made me appreciate it even more.    Sadly, people do die there.  I know one individual personally who has.  As with many things in nature it’s to be both revered and feared.  Nature has many sides, and sadly nature can also destroy.   That being said let’s talk about the history of Devil’s Hole itself and the state park named after it.   Devil’s Hole The area surrounding Devil’s Hole has a lengthy indigenous history long before white settlers came into the area.  Devil’s Hole received its name from either the story told earlier of the Evil Spirit or from the area’s inhabitation by the Neuter Nation.    When white settlers first appeared in the area the area was mainly inhabited by what the French called the Neuter Nation of Indians.  It was used as a hiding place during times of war or conflict, and in order to keep their hiding place secret they would kill anyone who entered the gorge.  These people would never return to tell of the location and this is possibly the root of the tale of the Evil Spirit.   However, the same friend/medium that saw the Red Lady at my old house before I ever talked about her, which I still haven’t told this story to y’all, came on a hike with me to Devil’s Hole State Park.  He was not from the area at all, not even from the region of the state, but he did mention he sensed a very old, angry spirit in the area.  I didn’t think anything of it…but now knowing of the Evil Spirit, I can’t help but wonder…but again, I digress.   What made Devil’s Hole such a great hiding spot was not only that it is set in the cliff face but a rock, known as ambush rock was positioned perfectly above the cave that nothing could be shot down into it.  The area is prone to rockslides…or boulder slides really, it’s made of of massive limestone boulders.  You would honestly be amazed by how large they are…but I digress.  Ambush rock was removed for safety reasons, though a rock fall in the 1990’s left a similar rock, albeit much, much smaller, at the entrance to the cave.   According to an old brochure for the area published in 1890, at the top of the park, before you begin your descent into the gorge there is a large boulder, one of many, known as Council Rock.  It was shaped like an arrow, but centuries of weathering slowly changed its shape, and it is now believed to have been removed since the brochure is over 120 years old.   Council rock was a meeting place where yearly councils of Native people would take place.  Others claim that it was a “worshipping stone” that was connected with indigenous “religion”.  Legend has it that due to the way the Seneca Chiefs would stand on the rock during meetings, with one hand on the rock, that anyone who touches the rock can drive the devil away for a year. Of course, this narrative comes from white folk.    Also just a great time to remind everyone that indigenous people are still around.  They are not bygone people of history!  History likes to act like they are ancient, mysterious, and extinct.  The Seneca Nation still has a strong presence in the area, so it is possible that stories of council rock still exis within their traditions and oral histories.    There was a massacre known as the Devil’s Hole massacre that occurred on September 14, 1763 during the 7 Year’s War, also known as the French & Indian War.  A supply train of 350 British soldiers that were making their way from Fort Niagara to Fort Schlosser stopped to rest for dinner on a large flat rock near Devil’s Hole.  While enjoying their supper they were attacked by a group of Senecas.  There was a massive loss of life, and those not killed directly by the ambush jumped off the precipice to have a chance at survival.  But those that did so, if they survived the steep jump, did not survive much longer as the Senecas sent the wagons, baggage, and horses of the supply chain off the edge, crushing and killing those that remained.  There were only two survivors.    Sadly, modern day Devil’s Hole cave bears no resemblance to what it once was.  It is covered in graffiti and often littered with trash as it has become a favourite place for wayward teenagers to party.   There is a large cave at the bottom of the gorge that many people think is Devil’s Hole cave…but it’s not.  In fact there are many caves in the area, some of which aren’t true caves but just massive boulders that have fallen on top of one another.   To find the real Devil’s Hole cave you have to make your way partially down the gorge precipice and veer off to a path that backtracks partially back up the cliff.  The cave is made up of DeCew Dolostone, a fine crystalline dolostone that is dark grey in color.  The cave’s entrance is 10 feet wide and 8 feet high.  The initial passage of the cave is at a gentle incline, and after making your way about 12 feet into the cave the ceiling is only 4 feet high.  However, if you continue onward the ceiling will reach a height of 9 feet.  At this point one will find a manmade wall, beyond which there is a drop in floor level of about three feet.  Beyond the wall the 6 foot tall passage continues at a very narrow width of 6 inches.  It continues for about 10 feet before veering off to the east where you lose sight of its path.   There was once a mineral spring in the cave but it seems to have since dried up, much like the now defunct stream known as Bloody Run.   And that’s the short and long on Devil’s Hole!  Not demonic, but definitely a hole.  What?   Chile, anyway.   Now, back to the city of Niagara Falls.  There are so many actual haunted locations in Niagara Falls which you may have seen on television like the Red Coach Inn that I could cover another time if you’d like – just let me know!   But I do need to set the record straight on Goat and the Three Sisters Islands. Especially with the bridal veil falls my fake conspiracy makes so much sense, but no, the Three Sister Islands did not get their name from the three brides of Satan.  Instead, they are named after the daughters of General Parkhurst Whitney: Celinda, Angelina, and Asenath Whitney.  Although…that does sound demonic.  Asenath Metrione Zinthos?  Azarath Metrione Zinthos?  No?  Okay, I need to bury that one just like the three sisters are in the famous Oakwood Cemetery.  Well, maybe infamous as it is the only place in the world where individuals are interred using a unique form of corpse preservation known as cementation.  Essentially bodies were encased in cement for years, and the “watery portions” of the body would be absorbed, leaving behind a well preserved body  along with a perfect cast of the original corpse.   The story behind this is fascinating and the inventor (and I’m not joking here), Judge Theodore Graves Hulett was quite the kook.  But I digress!   Offerings were presented at this island by the Iroquois, that is true.  But no sacrifice or anything sinister was involved.  More along the lines of gifts and presents.   Goat Island!  Not demonic, though a part of H.G. Well’s 1908 novel The War in the Air is set on Goat Island.  During the novel the United States is iinvaded by Imperial Germany and the protagonist is left stranded on the island with two German soldiers and must fight for survival.  Exciting stuff…but sadly, the origin of its name is much less exciting.    Goat Island is named such because John Stedman, who was an earlier pioneer, kept a heard of goats on the island.  SO…yeah…very descriptive, very literal.  The island officially obtained the  name in 1780 when he returned after a terrible winter to find all but one of his goats dead.  And if you know anything about Western New York winters…wow.  I…yeah.  Niagara Falls can literally freeze in place, that’s how cold it can get.    Other than the fact there is a very cool Nikola Tesla monument on the island gifted by the government of Yugoslavia, it’s rather unremarkable.  I do have rather flamboyant picture of myself in Daddy Tesla’s lap, as I call him, from a few years ago when I scaled the statue.  Shh.  It didn’t happen.  I’ll slap it up on the gram for you to see.
Winderbourne Mansion
Feb 10 2021
Winderbourne Mansion
Abandoned for well over a decade, the Winderbourne Mansion in Boyds, Maryland is a decaying reminder of a tragic past.  Once belonging to the wealthy Totten family, things quickly took a turn as their children died.  Is this property cursed?   Follow Us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Main podcast illustration by GiAnna Ligammari: https://gialigammari.wixsite.com/portfolio    Sources: 6 Jun 1915, 14—Evening Star at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/332078312/?terms=%22Winderbourne%22%2BNOT%2BKennels&pqsid=x3NN_YD5pyhW_nx6SDusZg:1063000:1697821625   7 Nov 1901, Page 15—Evening Star at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/207674218/?terms=%22Edith%2BTotten%22&pqsid=x3NN_YD5pyhW_nx6SDusZg:489000:332569778   17 Nov 1927, 1—The Times Dispatch at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/615380246/?terms=Dr.%2BEdith%2BTotten&pqsid=x3NN_YD5pyhW_nx6SDusZg:12000:1740180449   22 Mar 1908, 6—Evening Star at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved February 9, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/330817925/?terms=%22edith%2Btotten%22&pqsid=9JF4FvyGyHeayxOjkNzP5g:84000:1858908365   1880 United States Federal Census—AncestryLibrary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/discoveryui-content/view/35148805:6742?tid=&pid=&queryId=77426bcee4ef96704997c9b6b70ace89&_phsrc=eBA275&_phstart=successSource   1900 United States Federal Census—AncestryLibrary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/discoveryui-content/view/33891257:7602?tid=&pid=&queryId=77426bcee4ef96704997c9b6b70ace89&_phsrc=eBA275&_phstart=successSource   Alice Crosby Totten (1869-1884)—Find A Grave... (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/38919506/alice-crosby-totten   Coleman, Peg, et al. (1978). Winderbourne ACHS Summary Form. https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/stagsere/se1/se5/016000/016900/016957/pdf/msa_se5_16957.pdf   Document | America’s Historical Newspapers | Readex. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://infoweb-newsbank-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/apps/readex/doc?p=EANX&sort=YMD_date%3AA&fld-base-0=alltext&val-base-0=%22alice%20crosby%20totten%22&val-database-0=&fld-database-0=database&fld-nav-0=YMD_date&val-nav-0=&docref=image/v2%3A11BE946A9536E73A%40EANX-11C7E39797D27AF0%402409458-11C7E397DEA90B78%402-11C7E3988129E5B8%40Mortuary%2BNotice&firsthit=yes   Elias Howe. (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Elias_Howe&oldid=1005648130   Elias Howe | American inventor. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved February 8, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Elias-Howe   http://www.facebook.com/johnfranciskelly. (n.d.). For sale: The faded grandeur of the Winderbourne mansion. Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2021, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/for-sale-the-faded-grandeur-of-the-winderbourne-mansion/2016/04/18/2138eeda-0568-11e6-a12f-ea5aed7958dc_story.html   The Strange, Fascinating History of This Abandoned Mansion Gave Me Goosebumps. (2016, November 30). Definition.Org. https://definition.org/strange-fascinating-history-abandoned-mansion-gave-goosebumps/   Winderbourne Mansion. (n.d.). Atlas Obscura. Retrieved February 7, 2021, from http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/winderbourne-mansion   TRANSCRIPT:  Hello and welcome back to your regularly scheduled Crimes and Witch-Demeanors programming; I’m your host – Joshua Spellman!  Last week we took a small detour and discussed the Deuel House, the site of one of my personal paranormal experiences and switched meandered around history with no clear direction.  However, while this week we are covering yet another haunted Victorian, a Queen-Anne to be precise, it has a much more unified and chilling history and yet again, somehow it circles back to me…I knew the name sounded familiar.  However, as we have found out with most ghost stories on this podcast – the information that is perpetuated in the modern day is not often truthful or accurate. This week we are headed to Boyds, Maryland to investigate the Winderbourne Mansion.  Now, I am saying Winderbourne because that’s what everyone says and it sounds enchanting and like something from a Neil Gaman novel…but through my research I have my suspicions it’s actually supposed to be pronounced Winder-bourne…even if it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue or make any phonetical sense whatsoever.  You’ll have to let me know what you think.  This legend is interesting, and I thought it had to be true since one of my sources is a government source but – spoiler – I don’t think it is.  This mansion has seen its fair share of tragedy and has been left abandoned for well over a decade.  It was on the real estate market for probably just as long, but now it seems it is no longer for sale, so its future is uncertain, as is its past.  Join me now to learn the alleged history of our Windy…or Windy…mansion.     Winderbourne Mansion was built in 1884 at the behest of Enoch and Mary Totten.  The Tottens lived in Washington DC but wished for a summer home to escape the hustle, bustle, and stifling heat of the city.  The couple decided on a plot of land near Little Seneca Creek, where the B&O railroad line gently curved around the property on two sides.  Access to the parcel of land was from Clopper Road, which the Tottens also purchased.  Eventually, the railroad expanded from a single track to a double track and needed to cut off the road.  The Tottens and the railroad came to a compromise, each paying half the cost of a bridge that went over the track and the railroad agreed to maintain the bridge in perpetuity. Enoch Totten did well for himself, as he was a prominent lawyer in DC and was a Civil War Veteran…he even managed to survive being shot four times at the Battle of Spotslyvania Court House…in fact, one of these shots may have been his own fault as a projectile bounced off of his sabre and hit his right hand.  Regardless of this strange mishap and his career as a lawyer – the capital for the construction of Winderbourne mansion came from his wife, Mary. Mary was the daughter of a Wisconsin senator named Timothy Howe who was the cousin and heir to the massive fortune of Elias Howe, the inventor of the Bobbin-Winder.  This device is what inevitably inspired the name of Winderbourne. When Winderbourne was completed it was painted a pale pink with dark rose trim and shutters of a deep plum – a vibrant contrast to its current pallid, moss-covered facade.  It’s architecture was unique, sporting a triangular fireplace, a room suspended above the foyer, and hidden rain spouts that directed water to an underground cistern. The Tottens hosted elaborate formal affairs on their lawn, landscaped with rare and exotic plants imported from around the world.  And while Winderbourne acted as the Totten’s summer home, it was staffed all year long, with increased staff during their stay. In addition to the parties on their lawn, they also hosted extravagant dinner events.  However, the food was never set upon the table; instead maids would carry around silver platters and bowls and served those who were seated at the table.  Sadly, the Totten’s life was soon struck by tragedy.  The three Totten children contracted typhoid fever from drinking contaminated water.  Two of the children survived, while one of their sons died from the grisly disease. This tragedy soured the Totten’s love of the Winderbourne property.  However, they kept the property and it stayed in the family.  One of the Totten daughter’s, Edith, inspired by her tragic childhood experience became a physician and came into ownership of Winderbourne sometime before 1915.  She did not marry but adopted a daughter. The little girl loved Winderbourne, exploring its every nook and cranny, running through its magic halls that seemed to never end.  One of her favourite activities was to slide down the bannister of the massive staircase that led to the foyer.  However, one day when she slid down the bannister as always, she gained a little bit too much speed, lost control, flew off, and fell to her death. The curved railroad track around the home was straightened and the bridge that was supposed to have been maintained by the railroad company was demolished.  Leaving the Tottens with no access to their home.  The Tottens took the case to court and the home and surrounding property was sold off to the railroad. Not long after, Edith Totten dropped dead unexpectedly after giving a lecture at John Hopkins University at only 48 years old. Winderbourne Mansion was repurchased by the Pickrell family in 1929.  Edward and Beulah Pickrell raised their two sons, Edward Jr. and Paxton on the property.  Both Edward and Beulah passed away, leaving the property to Edward in their will.  During Edward Jr.’s ownership the house began to fall into disrepair, and he eventually passed away in 2004, leaving the responsibility of the quickly decaying property to Paxton. To this day the house remains abandoned.  Vines and the surrounding vegetation have completely engulfed the property.  Blending in more and more with Black Hills regional park that sits against the estate.  Winderbourne Mansion, once elegantly groomed, now appears like a map from a post-apocalyptic video game with several old muscle cars left abandoned in the yard and furniture, clothes, books, and magazines still left inside.  While the house has decayed and succumbed to the elements, the ghosts of its past still roam its halls in opulence; ignorant to the passing of time and the erosion of their beloved mansion.   This story continues to befuddle me.  I’ve spent so much time trying to confirm parts of this story, that as of now seem impossible.  Let’s see…where should we start?  There are a few articles on this house and its history, they all seem to refer back to an article from the Washington Post.  I dug a little deeper and hit the jackpot!  Or what I thought was the jackpot: a 1978 report on the home’s history available through Maryland’s government website.  It is an ACHS summary form, I cannot figure out what it stands for but I’m guessing it’s a historical site or historical society. This form seems legitimate, I had no reason to doubt it.  It compiles the history and it seems this is where most of the information available on the home and the Tottens stems from. When I started doing my own research though…I found some conflicting information.  All sources say that Enoch and Mary Totten had three children and that they lost a son to typhoid fever after all the children fell ill after drinking some contaminated drinking water at Winderbourne.  The historic report also details this while also saying that all drinking water there was boiled prior to use and that the cisterns that collected the water were regularly cleaned.  Still, there is always room for error, this is not what I found strange. Instead, I found that the Tottens had four children: Edith, Howe, Gerald, and Alice.  Even stranger still only one of them died…a daughter…but before the house was ever built.  Alice Crosby Totten died at the age of 16 on October 6, 1881 according to Washington D.C.’s Evening Critic and her tombstone.  Both of the Totten sons outlived Edith by decades and died in their seventies. Now, I did find the obituary for Edith Totten.  Which…goes to show the stupidity of machine reading or people, I haven’t decided.  Some databases let you “clip” stories for collections and you can add information.  For whatever reason her one obituary in the Richmond Times Dispatch was clipped with her name being recorded as “Edith Tettea Saeeamba” while her siblings names’ were recorded accurately.  This happened because of the title: Lecturer Dies: Dr. Edith Totten Succumbs at John Hopkins.  I’m assuming this is yet another OCR issue but luckily the search picked up Edith and the Totten of her brothers and I was able to locate it.  But I digress.  Edith passed away after she completed a lecture on “Imagination and Thought” of a cerebral hemorrhage.  So it appears this story is true. I was not able to find any record of her adopted daughter but it is entirely possible it happened.  I am really curious about Edith’s story as she never married, inherited Winderbourne, and became a doctor and professor at John Hopkins.  For a woman produced of the Victorian age I find that so fascinating and impressive.  However, there isn’t too much on her.  I was also surprised there were no pre-researched family trees for the family.  Her father, mother, and brothers all had some historical significance and I found it odd. The name Winderbourne or Winderbourne or Winterbourne sounded so familiar to me and I found out that is because one of Howe Totten founded Winderbourne Kennels who bred Great Danes.  Now you’re probably like…why…does that make the name familiar to you?  For those of you who don’t know I used to serve as the librarian for the American Kennel Club; and a lot of my time was spent researching pedigrees or dog genealogy for various researchers as well as digitizing and archiving old photographs.  I spent a good time with Great Danes and yes, this was a prominent kennel name I had seen time and time again!  They bred a lot of champions and if I’m not mistaken were one of the more foundational kennels for the breed.   I just always thought it was pronounced Winderbourne.  So the more you know!  It really is a small, small world.  But I digress!  Enough about dogs. So how did all this information about the family’s three children and a son dying get so…wrong?  I looked into the report a little deeper.  All the stories about the Totten family tragedies were not from written record but were instead from a 1978 personal interview with a Hershey Ayton.  While I love oral histories and I think they’re great for personal experiences, preserving indigenous languages, and folklore…I do not believe they’re great for accurately recording events before your lifetime from another family.  Now, perhaps Ayton was some type of authority on the subject and they have information we’re not privy to…that cannot be known.  But, insofar as the documents available to me, since I cannot access a lot of paper records without visiting institutions in Maryland, it doesn’t seem like their accounts are wholly accurate.  Alice Totten surely died very young but it was before the home was built and she was not, to my knowledge, a son. Another fascinating facet of this story is how Mary Totten got her money.  I won’t go into it but Elias Howe does not get enough credit in these news stories.  Elias Howe while he was not the inventor of the sewing machine per say, he is the one that perfected it, creating the lockstitch sewing machine.  He was awarded the first patent for the device in 1846.  His machine included the three foundational mechanisms of modern sewing machines: a needle with the eye at the point instead of the back, an automatic feed, and a shuttle beneath the fabric to form the lock stitch. However, despite being awarded the patent he could not find investors in the United States and so went to England.  There were some business disputes and so despite selling the machine, he did not make any money.  Upon his return to the United States he found that many other entrepreneurs were selling and manufacturing sewing machines using his methods.  Most famously, he became embroiled, or maybe we’ll say embroidered, in a court case lasting from 1849 to 1854 with none other than Isaac Singer of Singer machine fame.  Isaac Singer and Walter Hunt had perfected a version of Elias Howe’s machine and were selling it with the exact lockstitch that Howe had invented and patented.  In the end, Howe won the lawsuit and gained a rather amazing deal in the process: he was able to collect royalties on all lockstitch sewing machines sold by not only Singer, but a number of other manufacturers as well.  This is how the Howe’s became filthy, filthy rich.  Howe also patented the zipper, or as he called it, “automatic continuous clothing closure” which doesn’t have the same ring to it.  He never pursued it seriously so he is not credited with its creation. Elias Howe died at age 48 of a massive blood clot in 1867.  So how did Mary Howe Totten receive his fortune?  Elias’ first wife died, leaving him no children and Howe’s brothers also died.  While Elias’ did remarry, his cousin, Timothy Howe, Mary’s father, became the heir to the fortune, which is eventually passed down to Mary herself.  Very convoluted, very confusing.  But extremely interesting nonetheless. Insofar as the ghosts of the mansion…if there are any…you could technically visit yourself.  But I do not recommend it, at least physically speaking.  It is still private property as Paxton Pickrell has been trying to sell it since 2004.  It was originally listed at 2 million dollars, dropping to 1.5, and then to 895,000.  It never sold.  It’s very tragic since it is such a unique home, described by the Maryland historical document as “the only grand and elegant structure in the simple rural town of Boyds”  However, elegant it is no longer.  The gardens are overgrown, with some of the rare vegetation from the Totten’s exotic gardens still flourishing.  Many people still come to the property, trespassing, I may add.  But lucky for you, if you’re interested you can find many urban explorers who have recorded their visits.  Some of their personalities are grating while others are not, but you can explore the whole of the property through these videos.  Some people come because it’s creepy, strangely many people visit for the abandoned muscle cars on the lawn.  Regardless of their motivations, it surely looks quite haunted…but I have not been able to locate any tales of real ghost sightings or encounters.  The real horror here is the home’s history…or…the urban legend of it, rather. However, Paxton Pickrell, who grew up in the house said “That place to me was just a wonderful home” and was rather perturbed when the home was first published on a list of “the spookiest, creepiest old houses for sale in America” on a real estate website.  The house is dilapidated, the local government has purchased all the land surrounding it.  According to Pickrell, the county has been trying to take the 9 acres of the property and that his defiance in selling it is standing in the way of progress.  I stand with Pickrell on this one.  While the property itself may not be haunted, what remains is a skeleton of the past.  Once a place of grandeur and wealth, it sits covered in vines looking more like the home of the Addams family or the set of a Scooby Doo cartoon.  Daring urban explorers frequent the site to catch a glimpse into the past, and I recommend checking it out.  I will post some images of its current state on the podcast Instagram, @CrimesAndWitchDemeanors, but I also recommend checking out some of the videos.  It’s eerie how many objects are still left in the house. But that is all for today’s episode.  Please, if you enjoy the podcast, tell a friend or two, force them into listening by any means necessary.  Leave a review if you’re particularly cool.  And until next time; don’t slide down the bannister, adamantly defend your patents, and of course, stay curious, and stay spooky.  Bye~
Witches, Demons, & Trees - Oh My!
Jan 27 2021
Witches, Demons, & Trees - Oh My!
The story of the Witches' Tree is often underplayed as a whimsical tale of how a strange tree in Louisville's historic district came to be.  However, the truth is much more disturbing and horrifying involving the deadliest tornado event in the history of the United States.   Follow Us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Main podcast illustration by GiAnna Ligammari: https://gialigammari.wixsite.com/portfolio    Sources: 3 Apr 1890, 2—The Greenville Journal at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/652924466/?terms=%22tornado%22%22Louisville%22&match=1   28 Mar 1890, Page 20—Logansport Pharos-Tribune at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/4266239/?terms=%22storm%20demon%22&match=1   29 Mar 1890, 1—Memphis Daily Commercial at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/586983136/?terms=%22storm%20demon%22&match=1   29 Mar 1890, 1—The Buffalo Commercial at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/269471310/?terms=%22storm%20demon%22&match=1   29 Mar 1890, 5—The Morning Post at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/409953020/?terms=%22tornado%22%22Louisville%22&match=1   29 Mar 1890, Page 1—The Record-Union at Newspapers.com. (n.d.). World Collection. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from http://newscomwc.newspapers.com/image/85658032/?terms=%22tornado%22%22Louisville%22&match=1   A Scene of Ruin. (n.d.). ArcGIS StoryMaps. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/a98efe3cb3f340b88d10079e10299e87   Dominé, D. (n.d.). Ghost story | The wicked witches’ tree. The Courier-Journal. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://www.courier-journal.com/story/entertainment/2015/10/29/ghost-story-wicked-witches-tree/74680150/   Fujita scale. (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fujita_scale&oldid=998728230   KET - Kentucky Educational Television. (2019, October 31). The Witches Tree in Louisville | Kentucky Life | KET. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lAQ3pfiwIc   Limke, A. (2020, May 22). Bizarre Circumstances, History, And Mystery Combine At The Witches’ Tree In Kentucky. OnlyInYourState. https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/kentucky/witches-tree-ky/   Lumber truck, Louisville, Kentucky, 1928.: Caufield & Shook Collection. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2021, from http://digital.library.louisville.edu/cdm/ref/collection/cs/id/3489   March 1890 middle Mississippi Valley tornado outbreak. (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=March_1890_middle_Mississippi_Valley_tornado_outbreak&oldid=976255968   US Department of Commerce, N. (n.d.). Tornadoes of March 27, 1890. NOAA’s National Weather Service. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://www.weather.gov/lmk/tornado_climatology_march271890   Witches Curse Louisville, the Tale of the Witches’ Tree. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://spectrumnews1.com/ky/lexington/news/2019/10/30/witches-curse-louisville--the-tale-of-the-witches--tree   TRANSCRIPT: Hello and welcome to another episode of Crimes & Witch-Demeanors, I’m your host, Joshua Spellman.  I feel like every week this year has felt like a month…how is it only the end of January?  Sorry there was no episode last week—my computer broke and I had no way of  recording.  So suffice to say that last week was a whirlwind and I cannot even begin to imagine what this week will bring.  Oh, that’s right, a whirlwind!  Because on today’s episode we’re covering the legend of Louisville’s Witch Tree and the storm that sprouted it: the Storm Demon.  But we’ll talk more about that name and poor reporting later. This is a case where the truth is stranger than fiction…or at least more disturbing.  The articles I’ve read about the legend of the witch tree made it seem like the Storm Demon was this little itty bitty tornado that swept through Louisville destroying one neighborhood and all was well…but all of the articles about the Witch Tree left out that this tornado was part of a mass casualty event with hundreds dead.  So, without further ado let’s hear the legend as it’s typically told and then learn the horrifying truths of what really transpired.       On the corner of Sixth and Park, in Louisville, Kentucky, stood a large, tall maple; straight as a pole.  It had been there for centuries and provided shade to the citizens of Louisville by day…but by night, below its leafy crown that stretched upwards towards the stars, witches would gather to cast their spells and worship their old gods.  Or, as some may mistakenly believe: the devil.  However, in 1889 a chain of events would be set into motion that would topple not only this sacred maple, but half the city of Louisvile.   Mr. Mengel, of the famous Mengel Lumber Company, was head of the city’s planning committee and was scouting for trees to be used for Louisville’s May Day celebration when he laid his eyes upon the majestic maple.  He knew that he had to have that tree, it was so tall and so straight, it was born to be a May pole.  The news quickly reached the ears of the witches, perhaps even before the thoughts formed in Mr. Mengel’s mind.    One night, under the cover of darkness and a velvet hood, the priestess of the coven knocked on Mr. Mengel’s door.  He answered, displeased, and she implored him not to cut down their beloved maple.   “I will do no such thing!” he bellowed.   “Please sir, I beg you to consider your actions very carefully.  I will ask once more for you to please not fell our sacred tree.”   “And I will tell you once more that I will be chopping down that tree”   “Very well,” the priestess said calmly, looking up from beneath her hood, “I asked you nicely and you refused, now you shall face the consequences.”   Before Mr. Mengel could even ask what she meant dozens of cloaked figures emerged from all directions: from behind the trees, around the street corners, and some even seeming to appear out of thin air.  They slowly began to gather together, holding hands as they chanted:   This tree shall stand and not be cut, We’ve fed her with our laughter. Our leafy haven you’ll not gut. Or pay forever after.   But if you, Wooden King, prevail, And Mother Maple dies, The force of Fate shall strike this town And right between the eyes.   If our tree falls, yes, Fate will call To teach you, heartless Dunce, That all man’s work can disappear. BEWARE ELEVENTH MONTH!   And just as quickly as they appeared, they were gone.  Leaving only the head witch on Mr. Mengel’s doorstep.  “Don’t say I didn’t warn you Wooden King.  Remember, wood burns.”  She smiled a wry smile, swept her cloak, turned on her heel, and disappeared into the night.   Mr. Mengel paid no mind to the witches’ warning, and he proceeded with his plans.  The tree was chopped down, and as its heavy trunk smashed to the ground horrid shrieks could be heard echoing through the city.   However, the May Day celebration went off without a hitch.  The trunk of the maple was adorned with ribbons and decorations of all kinds as men, women, and children danced about it.  Afterward, it’s carcass was tossed into the Whitsuntide bonfire where to was turned to ash.  Everyone had forgotten about the witches’ warning, but 11 months later, to the very day, the curse would take effect.   On March 28, 1890, the witches whipped up a hell of storm to terrorize the city of Louisville.  They first sent it down Maple Street, proving it was their craftwork, and into downtown.  Here, the storm flattened buildings, killing and injuring many – and among them were the members of the May Day committee and two members of the Mengel family.  And then, according to eyewitnesses, the twister made a bizarre right-hand turn down sixth street.  As it barreled down Sixth Street toward Park, the storm hurled a lightning bolt straight into the stump where the sacred maple had once stood.  From this charred base grew what is now known as the witches’ tree: a gnarled wretched thing with great burls and thin branches like the bones of a witches’ hand.   Since the day of the storm it is said that coven has returned to cast their spells beneath the twisted branches of the witches’ tree.  Visitors to Louisville place flowers at the base of the tree and hang beads and charms from its branches as gifts to the city’s witches, in hopes that they may cast a spell in their favor.  Meanwhile, the citizens of Louisville have never dishonored the wishes of a witch since in fear that their city may once again fall to ruins.       What a cute little story, right?  Wrong.  The articles about the witches’ tree make it sounds like there was this little twister that rolled through Louisville but no…on March 27, 1890 there was a tornado outbreak and it was the most deadly tornado event in United States history.  I didn’t know that a tornado outbreak was a thing?  But now that I know it is, I am absolutely horrified.   You may have caught that I said March 27th and not March 28th.  This is another case of modern journalism recounting the date that an event was reported, not the date that it occurred.  Much like the Carnegie medal situation in episode one.   So, on March 27th 1890 there was a massive outbreak of tornados, dubbed the Storm Demon by some papers, though it appears tornados may have just been called this as I saw newspapers for years after and prior calling them storm demons.  Which may be more errors in modern journalism, but I digress.  This outbreak created a number of storms ranging in intensity from F2 to F4 on the Fujita scale (which goes to 5 by the way).   The tornado that hit Louisville was an F4 storm with winds ranging from 207-260 miles per hour and it destroyed 766 buildings totaling 2.5 million dollars (the modern equivalent of $71 million dollars) in damage.  The storm killed an estimated 74-120 people though initial estimates were around 800, with most of the victims being those within the Falls City Hall building.   The newspapers at the time had a slew of eyewitness accounts.  Now, I will be forthright to say the sources I acquire historic newspapers from did not have the newspapers from Louisville for this time range.  But, fortunately, many newspapers back in the day would run columns verbatim from other areas if it was major news and I was able to acquire them this way.   Now, one of the newspapers I read listed off all of the confirmed dead at the time, and I was not able to find the name “Mengel” anywhere within them.  Two of Mr. Mengel’s relatives were said to have died.  This at the moment is unconfirmed.  Also, before we get into the real horror, because I want to read eyewitness accounts, I wanted to talk about the witches’ warning.  It has been told many ways – the way I told it was much more dramatic.  The chant I said was said to have been left on a note nailed to the tree, but other sources, or should I say the same exact source said that the warning had been uttered as a simple warning of “Beware 11th month” to Mr. Mengel.  This same source I am talking about is the author and historian David Domine who gives haunted tours.  It is hard to take his word for it when he has been quoted with two distinct stories, and I don’t know what his book on Louisville says occurred…I didn’t want to buy a physical copy and I can’t get the e-book version from the library.  He’s a professor, so I’m sure things may be cited in his book but I have to stay the story is a bit crumbly.   Like Falls City Hall.   An excerpt from the Greenville Journal from Thursday, April 3 that describes what happened at the city hall:   “The great center of death is the Falls City Hall where more than two hundred men, woman, and children are entombed.  It is situated on Market street, near Twelfth.  The structure was three stories in height and when struck by the tornado, several meetings were being held within it.  The loss of life at this place far exceeds that at any other one locality and of the great numbers known to be under the debris it is certain that none will be recovered alive.  The ruins are now scarcely one story high so thorough was the work of the wind.”   It goes on to detail some of what was going on in the building at the time:   “On the second floor of this building Miss App was teaching a dance class of young children, and there were present the mothers, fathers, and other attendants of the gay juveniles.  In one of the rooms on this floor the executive body of the Roman Knights was in session.  Of the seven members present all escaped but one.    On the third floor Jewell Lodge No. 2, Knights and Ladies of Honor was holding a meeting.  This was one of the largest lodges of the order, and there were 150 members present when the building fell.  A mere handful of these escaped.”   It describes more in attendance and recounts the tale of A.J. Reed the Past Grand Master LOOF of the State (I don’t know what that is) said:   “I was entering the hallway when the tornado struck the building at the southeast corner.  There were several crashes and the structure began to rock, whereupon the men and women from the Knights of Honor meeting began pouring out of their lodge room adjoining shrieking in terror.  It was only for a moment though for the building collapsed and I found myself on top of the great pile.  I was stunned and blinded by the dust, but recovered myself and crawled out.  The agonizing shrieks of others were terrible.  I was finally taken away by a rescuing party.”   So I know that was a lot of reading, but this is the main building where the most life was lost.  I’m unsure if the children in the dance class were okay.  There are some pretty terrible accounts from the Sacramento Daily Record from Saturday the 29th.   Lewis Simms Jr.’s wife and four kids were in the dance class and he paced outside city hall for hours while workers searched the ruins.  Eventually the dance room was reached and his wife was found fatally wounded.  Three of the four Simms children were recovered unconscious and not expected to live.  To make matters worse, before his fourth child could be found, a fire erupted in the wreckage and no more bodies were able to be recovered.   Poor Miss App, the schoolteacher, was one of the bodies recovered before the blaze broke out.   I’m going to read a few more stories, I hope you don’t mind.  I know this episode is really depressing and heartbreaking.  But I feel like this particular legend is another example of a city attempting to cope with a horrible tragedy.
The Princess and the Plantation: Anta Madjiguene Ndiaye & The Kingsley Plantation
Jan 13 2021
The Princess and the Plantation: Anta Madjiguene Ndiaye & The Kingsley Plantation
Today we’re headed down to the wetlands of east Florida, just outside of Jacksonville, and investigating the spirits that haunt Kingsley Plantation: the princess turned slave, turned slave-owner, Anna Kingsley; the vengeful and malevolent entity known as “Old Red Eyes”; and the ghostly white peacocks that scream in the night are just some of the known apparitions.  However, are these truly the ghosts that haunt the plantation?  Or is the true haunting the racial tropes that persist within these ghostly stories, paired with the bloody imprint of slavery on our history?    Follow Us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors Submit your feedback or personal stories to crimesandwitchdemeanors@gmail.com  Like Us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crimesandwitchdemeanors  Episode Transcript: Available below the sources in the show notes Visit the website: https://www.crimesandwitchdemeanors.com  Main podcast illustration by GiAnna Ligammari: https://gialigammari.wixsite.com/portfolio    Sources: AncestryLibrary.com—Florida, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1810-1974. (n.d.-a). Retrieved January 12, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/imageviewer/collections/8993/images/005886187_00016?usePUB=true&_phsrc=eBA241&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=120668   AncestryLibrary.com—Florida, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1810-1974. (n.d.-b). Retrieved January 12, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/imageviewer/collections/8993/images/005886196_00104?usePUB=true&_phsrc=eBA241&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=288588   AncestryLibrary.com—Florida, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1810-1974. (n.d.-c). Retrieved January 12, 2021, from https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/imageviewer/collections/8993/images/005886081_00271?usePUB=true&_phsrc=eBA241&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=173533   Anna and Zephaniah Kingsley. (2018, September 22). Celebrating Our History. https://uncoveringjax.wordpress.com/anna-and-zephaniah-kingsley/   Anna Kingsley A Free Woman.pdf. (n.d.-b). Retrieved January 11, 2021, from http://latinamericanstudies.org/slavery/Anna-Kingsley-Free-Woman.pdf   Black History Month: The Ghosts of Kingsley Plantation. (2011, February 25). Haunt Jaunts. https://www.hauntjaunts.net/black-history-month-the-ghosts-of-kingsley-plantation/   Card, M. (n.d.). Guest column: The amazing inter-racial story of Anna and Zephaniah Kingsley. The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/20191103/guest-column-amazing-inter-racial-story-of-anna-and-zephaniah-kingsley   Groove, B. (2019, November 29). The Spiritual Significance of Peacocks. Balance. https://blog.buddhagroove.com/the-spiritual-significance-of-peacocks/   Jacksonville, M. A. 12713 F. C. R., & Us, F. 32225 P. 904-641-7155 C. (n.d.). Anna Kingsley: A Free Woman - Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve (U.S. National Park Service). Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.nps.gov/timu/learn/historyculture/kp_anna_freewoman.htm   Jaxson, T. (n.d.-a). Old Red Eyes And The Ghosts Of Kingsley Plantation. Retrieved January 9, 2021, from https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/old-red-eyes-and-the-ghosts-of-kingsley-plantation/   Jaxson, T. (n.d.-b). Old Red Eyes And The Ghosts Of Kingsley Plantation. Retrieved January 9, 2021, from https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/old-red-eyes-and-the-ghosts-of-kingsley-plantation-page-2/   Kingsley Plantation. (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kingsley_Plantation&oldid=965199923   Kp_freedomandslavery.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://www.nps.gov/timu/planyourvisit/upload/kp_freedomandslavery.pdf   leral, L. rédaction de. (n.d.). ANNA KINGSLEY... Ou ANTA MADGIGIN NJAÏ - ANTA MADJIGUENE NDIAYE. Leral.net - S’informer en temps réel. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.leral.net/ANNA-KINGSLEY-ou-ANTA-MADGIGIN-NJAI-ANTA-MADJIGUENE-NDIAYE_a263761.html   Weird Florida. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2021, from http://www.weirdus.com/states/florida/road_less_traveled/old_red_eyes/index.php   Zephaniah Kingsley. (2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zephaniah_Kingsley&oldid=998872813   TRANSCRIPT:   Hello, and welcome to another episode of Crimes & Witch-Demeanors.  I’m your host, Joshua Spellman.  Last week we covered the burning of a Capitol building…which happened to air on the day our Capitol was attacked…am I prophet?  Maybe.  Today we’re headed down to the wetlands of east Florida, just outside of Jacksonville, and investigating the spirits that haunt Kingsley Plantation:  the princess turned slave turned slave-owner, Anna Kingsley; the vengeful and malevolent entity known as “Old Red Eyes”; and the ghostly white peacocks that scream in the night are just some of the known apparitions.  However, are these truly the ghosts that haunt the plantation?  Or is the true haunting the racial tropes that persist within these ghostly stories paired with the bloody imprint of slavery on our history?  Join me today to find out.   I was getting a little tired of telling the same old story of rich white folk, as ghost stories often tend to be…and the story of Kingsley Plantation is still often told as one.  Instead of focusing too much on the owner of the plantation, Zephaniah Kingsley, a rich, white polygamous slave-owner; I wanted to focus in on the story of one of his wives, Anna Kingsley, or Anta Madjiguene Ndiaye.  Her story is that of tragedy and triumph, overcoming being sold into slavery and even once freed, overcoming societal norms and the oppression of Jim Crowe.  For the history portion of the podcast, let us delve into the life of Anna Kingsley so that we can better understand her afterlife and the phantoms that lurk on the grounds of Kingsley Plantation.         On June 18, 1793 princess Anta Madjiguene Ndiaye of the Wolof people was born in modern-day Senegal.  At this time, this portion of West Africa was a home to conflict between the Wolof and the Fula and villages in the area were often lain waste to by slave raids.  The crisis only intensified and in 1806, Anta was captured by Tyeddo raiders from the Futa Toro.   She was taken by force to Goree Island, a slave debarkation point.  She was kept prisoner for days with little to no food.  However, on the first occasion she was presented to European buyers, she was sold.  Unfortunately, this catapulted Anta from one horrific situation to another.   The journey across the Atlantic was long and arduous.  The enslaved were shackled to wooden boards, confined to tight quarters, and were malnourished and over-heated.  Those who had died from heat stroke or another malady were simply thrown overboard like rotted meat.  Some people managed to escape and threw themselves overboard, as death by drowning was preferable to the horrid conditions on the ship and what awaited them once they arrived at their destination.   The ship landed in Havana, Cuba and the passengers were immediately forced into isolation.  This was done to help prevent the spread of any diseases that may have been brought with them and to make them presentable to potential buyers.   In the autumn of 1806, it was time for Anta to be put up for sale.  As it would have it, luck was on her side.  43 year-old Zephaniah Kingsley, an English merchant, had been in Cuba to purchase rum, molasses, and of course, as was the fashion of the day, slaves.  It was at this auction that he laid eyes on 13 year-old Anta and had to have her.  He desperately outbid every other slave trader and merchant there, winning ownership of Anta, soon changing her name to Anna.   Now, there is nothing about slavery that is good, but the fates were looking out for young Anta; rescuing her from a destiny that could have been much more dire.  While still a slave trader, and still a slave owner, Zephaniah held views on slavery that were atypical for the time and would benefit Anta until her death.   Although not ideal, and though it raises many modern day concerns: Anta was wed to Zephaniah in an African ceremony in Havana.  This ceremony was certainly not a catholic ceremony and therefore was not legally recognized by Spanish Florida or the United States during their lifetimes.    After this unconventional marriage, the couple made the voyage to Zephaniah’s plantation, Laurel Grove, located in present-day Orange park.  However, Zephaniah and Anta did not arrive alone, as by the time they landed, Anta was with child.  Despite still being a slave, instead of relegating Anta to the paltry slave quarters – Zephaniah invited her to stay with him in his home.  This was a welcome change from the gruesome living conditions Anta had been subject to for the last several months.    Laurel Grove was home to over 100 slaves working to produce cotton, oranges, peas, and potatoes.  As mentioned earlier, despite being a plantation owner, Zephaniah’s views on slavery were unique.  Make no mistake, he was still a slave master, but he was more humane than most.    Zephaniah employed a system where the slaves were appointed certain tasks for the day.  They were allowed to work as quickly or as slowly as they wished and when their day’s work was completed they were allowed to use their time as they wished.  Zephaniah also allotted slaves their own fields to grow their own crops.  Some slaves spent their free time creating crafts, which Zephaniah permitted them to sell along with their own produce if they so wished.  Instead of segregating his slaves, Zephaniah preferred that they live together as families, rather than being split up.  However, despite this treatment his motivations weren’t altruistic: he believed that if you treated slaves better that they would be more productive and less likely to rebel.   Apparently his system worked, as the plantation made up to $10,000 annually, or nearly half a million dollars today.  This was impressive, especially for a plantation in a secluded area of Florida.   Visitors to the plantation assumed that Anna was a free woman: after all, she ran the plantation along with a freed slave who acted as the manager while Zephaniah was off on business.  Though Zephaniah had other wives, Anna was always recognized as his primary and most beloved.  By 1811, when Anna was 18, she had bore three children: George in June of 1807, Martha in July of 1809, and Mary in February of 1811.  It was also this year that Zephaniah granted Anna full and legal emancipation, reinforcing her important position and place of power at the plantation.   In 1813, Anna petitioned the Spanish government, which still ruled Florida, for land.  She was granted 5 acres in Mandarin, just across the river from Laurel Grove.  Anna purchased equipment and goods to start her farm, including 12 slaves of her own.  Now, it may seem unusual for a freed slave to then go and purchase her own.  However, the concept of slavery was a part of her culture in Africa – including the model that female slaves often married their masters to gain freedom.  However, Anna was dead set on becoming an independent businesswoman, selling goods, produce, and poultry.   However, this particular business venture would not last long.  During that same year, Zephaniah was kidnapped by the Patriot Rebellion; American insurgents who were attempting to annex Florida by force.  The rebels attacked and raided towns and plantations and all blacks they captured into slavery—regardless of their legal status.  This put Anna at great risk.   The patriots soon arrived to pillage Laurel Grove, taking 31 of its slaves in the process, and using the plantation as their headquarters as they looted nearby areas.  To avoid capture and being re-sold into slavery, Anna negotiated with the Spanish for her escape, bringing her children and 12 slaves with her.  As she left, she burned Laurel Grove and her newly acquired homestead to the ground so that the insurgents could no longer use them as a base.  For this, the Spanish government awarded her 350 acres of land.  70 times what she had purchased earlier that year.   In 1814, now reunited, Zephaniah and Anna moved to a plantation on Fort George Island—what is now known as Kingsley Plantation near Jacksonville, Florida.  The plantation was looted and vandalized during the rebellion and every building aside from the main house was destroyed.  Here is where Zephaniah took his other three wives, all slaves, who gave him a total of 9 children.  These women were all freed, along with his children.   To say that the family dynamic was complex would be an understatement, but Anna was the one named in his will as his wife.  These other women were considered “co-wives” of Anna, but not quite matching up to her in terms of importance or power.  His wives and his children lived in luxury and were educated with the best schooling he could afford.  When the plantation had company, Anna would sit at the head of the table and the walls of the home were decorated with paintings of African women.   In the 1820’s the Kingsley’s built a separate kitchen connected to the main house by a walkway.  Above the kitchen was a room where Anna resided with her children and this building was dubbed the “Ma’am Anna House”    A total of 32 slave residences were built not far from the main house.  They were arranged in a peculiar semicircle pattern.  Some historians believe that Zepheniah did this to keep a closer watch on his slaves, but others believe it was Anna’s doing as many African villages were arranged in similar patterns.  In 1824, Anna bore her fourth and final son, John.   Spain eventually ceded Florida to the United States.  This transfer of power led to significant changes in how slaves and free blacks were treated.  Interracial marriage were considered to be invalid and children of mixed descent were not allowed to inherit property.  While all those born free slaves prior to 1821 were not subject to these new laws, their youngest son was born in 1824 and would not receive these same protections.  Worried that his family’s rights may be taken away, in 1835 Zephaniah, moved to Haiti, in a location that is now part of the Dominican Republic.  He transferred all of his holdings to his three eldest children who stayed behind, while Anna and their youngest son, John, followed Zephaniah to Haiti in 1838.    In total Anna and Zephaniah brought 60 slaves, family members, and freed employees with them.  Since slavery was illegal in Haiti, those who were not yet freed acted as indentured servants who would earn their freedom in 9 years’ time.  Anna and Zephaniah lived together on the island rather peacefully until in 1843, on a trip to New York, Zephaniah died at age 78.   Because of the new laws in Florida, none of his children were able to inherit his property and his sister, Martha, and her children challenged his will, claiming it was “defective and invalid”  Under Florida’s new laws it was illegal for black people to own property and Martha claimed that when they moved to Haiti to remain free, they also abandoned their right to the property.   Despite the racial tensions boiling in Duval County at the time, neing the powerhouse of a woman that she was, Anna returned to Florida in 1846 to participate in the legal battle for the property that was rightfully hers.  Miraculously, the court upheld the treatise between the United States and Spain decreeing that all free blacks born before 1821 had a right to the same privileges they had under Spanish rule.  This was an extraordinary achievement for a black woman before the Civil War.   Naturally, when the Civil War did break out, Anna and her children were Union sympathizers.  Jacksonville was captured by the union in 1862 and Anna and her children were briefly evacuated to New York.  She returned to Florida, taking up residence in Arlington, to be nearer to her daughters who were married to white planters in Florida.  Anna passed away in 1870 at the age of 77 after living a full and eventful life.   Anna’s ghost can still be seen on Kingsley plantation and is known as the “Woman in White”.  She is usually spotted on the back porch of the main house, and can often be photographed there.  However, she is not alone, her husband, Zephaniah can also be seen on the plantation from time to time.   Anna’s descendants remained part of the African-American upper class for more than a century.  One of her descendants even includes Florida’s first black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis.  Though Anna is long dead, her spirit, and her legacy, will live on for generations to come.   A few parts of Anna’s story are disputed, but it was widely factual.  Anna did not appear to burn down her property to save it from the insurgents as she was already on a boat away from the area at the time.  Additionally, it is not confirmed if she truly was a princess.  Her lineage is widely debated and whether or not she descended from royalty. She shares part of her name, Ndiaye, with a mythological ruling figure from Jolof culture.  Additionally, her mother also held royal blood from Wolof culture and Anna may have been the daughter of ruling royalty at the time of her birth, but there is no proof on the matter.   I was able to find a number of primary sources about Anna, which was surprising given that she was a black woman in the 1800’s.  However, the material I did find doesn’t help us tell her story as it mainly pertains to her will.    I was devasted that I couldn’t find a photograph of Anna.  Websites have pictures that claim to be her, but when you reverse search them it turns out they are other famous black women in history.  The woman on the episode image, for you Spotify listeners, and the one on the Instagram are not of Anna, but another freed slave from the plantation.   We do have a descriptions of Anna.  One from Zephaniah says that she was "a fine, tall figure, black as jet, but very handsome. She was very capable, and could carry on all the affairs of the plantation in my absence as well as I could myself. She was affectionate and faithful, and I could trust her.” And in his will he says  “She has always been respected as my wife and as such I acknowledge her, nor do I think that her truth, honor, integrity, moral conduct or good sense will lose in comparison with anyone."   Her niece described her a little differently, though she still greatly admired her beauty:   I remember her very distinctly. She was not black, and had the most beautiful features you ever saw. She was a most imposing and very handsome woman. Her smooth, light brown skin, her dark-eyes and wavy [sic] made her outstanding, and I would not keep my eyes away for admiration. She was quiet and moved with regal dignity—I have never seen anything like her, before or since. Her daughter was there also, and she was very light in color, but not as good-looking as her mother. I was six or seven years old at the time. I was Kingsley's niece. The next morning my aunt, Mrs. Gibbs, sent two servants for us with a horse and buggy, and we were carried over to Newcastle. My mother was furious that we had spent the night at Ma'm Anna's, but it could not be helped.   In fact no letters, photographs, or personal effects of Anna’s are known to exist.  Even her grave is unmarked.  It is sad, but as we’ve discussed in other episodes, not out of the ordinary for a woman, specifically and especially a woman of color.   Now, let’s get into the ghosts.  There are a lot of fun sightings on the Kingsley plantation, which was converted to a state park in 1955 and later incorporated into a national park.  This designation has allowed the property to welcome many visitors who have seen strange things.   As I mentioned Anna’s ghost is often seen on the property and captured in photographs.  Maybe these are the only photographs of Anna Kingsley to exist.  However, it should be noted that she’s spotted in the main house…where she did not live.  As we know she had her special residence known as Ma’am Anna’s House.  She didn’t die on the property, and she hadn’t lived there for nearly 30 years when she did.  But it is still possible that she loved the property on Fort George Island.  Although a account from one of her white friends, Susan L'Engle, says that she seemed quite lonely but her work on the plantation and running the house kept her busy.   I wasn’t able to find any firsthand encounters of her ghost.  In fact, I discovered this story through reddit, where I was asking if anyone knew of any ghost stories of people of color because I was sick of talking about old white people.  For black ghosts it’s hard to search since shadow figures are described as black and will often show up, and when searching African-American it’s usually metaphoric ghosts that appear such as “The Ghosts of Slavery” or the “Ghosts of the Jim Crow Era”  Now, the thing I found sad, annoying, and frustrating is that my post was constantly downvoted.  I thought it was just me…but even the comments, one saying “Black ghosts matter!” was also heavily downvoted.  It’s just sad to see that happening.   And even though I did uncover this story about Anna, it is typically only discussed through the lens of her white, slave-owning husband.  But I digress.   There is another presence on the island that isn’t the powerful, inspiring woman that was Anna Kingsley.  Instead, it is a dark, malevolent entity that seeks to harm: Old Red Eyes.   Legend has it that Old Red Eyes was once a slave on the plantation.  This man raped and murdered girls on the island – both the daughters of white planters and fellow slaves.  Once the other slaves on the island discovered who was behind this brutal attacks, they banded together and lynched Old Red Eyes from an oak tree.  Now, Old Red Eyes lurks on the property, spying on visitors from the trees, looking for his next victim.  Some say if you say his name three times…he just may appear.   Old Red Eyes manifests as a pair of red, glowing eyes in the woods and was first spotted in 1978.  After the recounting of a tale by a local in 1993, he has been spotted much more regularly.   For me, the interesting thing about this story is that it is full of stereotypes and idiosyncrasies.  Namely the trope of a black man being portrayed as a murderer and a rapist is one that still pervades today, and these types of stories, whether true or not, were used to spread fear and rationalize lynching in the south.  However, during the plantation era, lynching was not common and was mainly seen in the Jim Crowe era.   Interestingly, the take on the Bloody Mary myth—chanting his name three times, seems to coincide with the 1992 film Candyman: a film where the son of former slaves and a lynching victim is conjured in a similar fashion.  This would also explain the increased sightings beginning in 1993.  Old Red Eyes is also a colloquial name for the devil in some parts of the south.   Emily Palmer, one of the Park Rangers at Kingsley plantation, has another explanation for Old Red Eyes.  She says, “Interestingly enough, along Palmetto Avenue we do have something hanging from the trees that would reflect bright red eyes if a brake light was shining in them.  They’re called possums. I believe that people have probably seen something of that sort… but I think it may have been a more natural explanation than what people are looking for.”   In addition to natural inhabitants like the possum, ghostly animals are also seen on the plantation.  At night you can hear the screams of a young girl, and if you follow the sound, you may be presented with a jarring sight: a ghostly white peacock.  Is it an omen?  In early Christian lore the peacock represents Christi’s resurrection and the soul’s ability to live on after death.   Again, Palmer is a downer, quoted as saying “If you’re unfamiliar with the fact that there are albino peacocks, and if you are not familiar with the sound a peacock makes when it’s doing its mating call, you might take that for a little girl screaming.  It’s a pretty unique noise.”   Okay, fine, Emily!  Stop being such a downer.  What about the ghost alligator that sits at the bottom of a stairwell?  Do you have an explanation for that?  No.  I didn’t think so.   A quick rundown of some of the ghostly encounters includes the smell of gingerbread in Anna’s kitchen, furniture that moves on its own, a crying child in the well, the apparition of an African man in a turban, and old Zephaniah himself.  There is a tradition that you must never say “Goodnight, Zephaniah” while locking up for the night because it can cause “bad things” to happen.  What this mean, I don’t know.  But I wouldn’t want to chance it.  Though it seems rude on Zephaniah’s part because you’re just trying to be nice and courteous.  But…he was a polygamist slave-owner who had to buy his wives so maybe he’s not very rational.   Kingsley plantation remains one of the most haunted places in Florida.  And whether or not its ghosts are real or simply spooky wildlife…the land is an important part of a freed black woman’s story and her family’s legacy.  I’m honored to have been able to tell it and I hope you enjoyed listening.   You can find historic documents and photographs are on the podcast Instagram @crimesandwitchdemeanors and sources are in the show notes.  So, please, beware of possums hanging in the trees, watch out for the ghostly crocodile at the bottom of your stairs, and as always, stay curious and stay spooky.  Bye~