Post by Joanna on Nov 2, 2016 17:12:03 GMT -5
10 of America's Lesser-Known Haunted Places
Just about every city and small town in the US has a haunting to call its own. There are even haunted houses you can rent for a spooky weekend. Of course, not all spooky places are created equal. For every former-sanatorium-turned-exploitative-tourist-trap, there's a lesser-known historical home with a seriously creepy backstory.
With this in mind, we set out to find places in America with stories that match their scary reputations – and then some. These spots and their haunting pasts did not disappoint. From wine-stealing colonial ghosts to a hurricane-predicting spirit, these stories are best read on a dark and stormy night – but not alone.
Black Diamond Mines & Park (Antioch, California). The Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve plays host to Mary and Sarah, two very unfriendly female 19th century spirits – they even share the nickname "The White Witch," though their backstories are very different. Mary worked as a nanny in the nearby coal-mining town of Nortonville. She cared for several families' children, all of whom died from unexplained illnesses under her watch. The townsfolk suspected she was a witch and swiftly hanged her. Since then, many have reported seeing a bright, white apparition floating around the entrance to the mines. She never appears exactly the same, but witnesses agree on why she's there – to protect children from the hazards of the mines.
Sarah Norton was killed suddenly in a carriage accident, but had specified before her death that she didn't want any kind of funeral. The town held a service for her anyway, though they encountered what might be called supernatural resistance. Each time they attempted to hold Sarah's funeral, a bizarrely strong storm would whip up out of nowhere. She was finally laid to rest in the public cemetery (above) and there have been reports of a similarly bright, white apparition seen hovering over the gates to the cemetery ever since.
Red Onion Saloon (Skagway, Alaska). When it first opened in 1898, the Red Onion Saloon was a bustling brothel, warmly welcoming thousands of visitors to the area's gold fields. It enjoyed a brief period of success before experiencing a decline. In the summer of 1889, many prospectors left Skagway for the gold fields of western Alaska and the ladies of the evening followed them – except for one.
The Red Onion is now open to the public as a museum and quite a few visitors have reported encounters with ghostly mists, mysterious reflections and, most often, the shade of a prostitute named Lydia. She’s been seen and heard throughout the building from her phantom footsteps in the halls to the scent of her sweet perfume. But Lydia’s favorite place seems to be the madame’s old room where her apparition goes through the motions of watering plants and some have discovered the soil in the potted plants actually seem damp following her otherworldly watering ritual. seen going through the motions of watering the plants, which, when checked later, have actually been damp. No one knows how Lydia died, but some say her spirit is hostile toward male visitors.
The Abraham Curry House (Carson City, Nevada). Abraham Curry, founder of Carson City and the original owner of this house (above), died suddenly – and left unfinished business. The house has been renovated and added to since it was first built in 1871, but Curry’s spirit has remained. Although the apparition people see is very clearly Curry, there are a few theories as to why he isn’t at rest. Legend has it that he left his wife with a single silver dollar in her pocket when he passed and he’s still looking for her to make sure she’s all right. Curry died unexpectedly, and it is widely believed that sudden deaths sometimes result in hauntings. As the founder of the city, he was a prominent figure and probably left behind quite a few dreams he had for the future of the community.
Griggs Mansion (Saint Paul, Minnesota). Many have called Griggs Mansion “home” since it was built in 1883, but very few have called it home for long. Even Chauncey Griggs, the man who oversaw the Richardsonian Romanesque mansion’s construction, lived in his new home only four years. Today, the mansion is known as the most haunted house in Saint Paul and for good reason – residents and visitors have encountered apparitions of a Civil War veteran; a thin, long-faced man in a black suit; a former gardener; and a child’s disembodied head. Unexplained noises, flickering lights, shadowy figures, slamming doors and more are regular occurrences at the Griggs Mansion. No wonder no one sticks around.
Woodburn Mansion (Dover, Delaware). Built in 1798, the Woodburn Mansion has its fair share of ghosts who all seem to have one thing in common – they love to drink. The first of these wraiths appeared 25 years after the house was built, when a visitor asked his hosts about the “other guest” in the house, whom he'd seen on the staircase only moments earlier. He described the man and his hostess told him he had just described her late father, Charles Hillyard, III, who built the house. Hillyard was known to enjoy his liquor and past owners have left out full decanters of wine at night only to find them empty in the morning. Of course, this isn't all Hillyard’s doing – several other spirits, all in Colonial dress, have been caught stealing wine from the cellar.
St. Augustine Lighthouse (St. Augustine, Florida). Standing in the nation's oldest port, the St. Augustine lighthouse is believed to be the home of numerous ghosts. The souls of pirates are said to hang around the locations where they are buried and legend has it that some of those men of the sea are buried near the tower. In addition, some of the men who kept the light over the years never left their posts. Members of staff have claimed to smell cigar smoke inside the tower and it is said former keepers Peter Rasmussen and Joseph Andreu were both known to enjoy a smoke now and then.
But the most well-known – and perhaps the most tragic – lighthouse spirits are those of the daughters of Hezekiah Pity. The family lived at the lighthouse in the late 1800s while Pity did repairs on the buildings and tower. One day, 13-year-old Eliza and 15-year-old Mary fell into the bay while playing and drowned. People near the lighthouse at night have reported hearing the laughter of children.
Sumpter Valley Dredge (Sumpter, Oregon). Throughout its years of operation, the Sumpter Valley Dredge (above) has hosted the malevolent spirit of Joe Bush, a man who may have died while working on the dredge. People who worked on the dredge, which shut down in 1954, knew to brace themselves for a visit from Joe when the power would go out. A junior employee would be left alone in the dark to wait for the dredgemaster to arrive and fix the power. “There were no lights, nothing. They just sat in the dark and waited for Joe Bush to come by,” recalled one former employee. “[The dredge] never shut down, unless Joe Bush got into something,” another said. Joe was also known to eat workers’ lunches, steal their tools and leave damp, bare footprints on the deck. The dredge is now a historical landmark and holds regular tours, though Joe finds ways to interrupt the fun, often moaning and slamming doors on innocent tourists.
Pawley’s Island (South Carolina). As menacing as he may sound, the Grey Man of Pawley's Island is actually helpful. For the past two centuries, he has appeared on the beach just prior destructive storms, a signal to the island’s residents to leave at once. Those who heed his warning survive and the homes of those to whom he appears are spared. He rarely speaks to those who see him. Instead, he simply stands on the shore, gesturing as if to say, “turn back” as the storm kicks up.
Fordham University (New York, New York). Among the innumerable haunted colleges and universities in the US, Fordham stands out for the wide variety of ghosts stalking its dormitories and other buildings. Finlay Hall, today an upperclassmen dorm, was once the university's medical school. Students living in the lofted rooms have reported awakening at night to find apparitions of medical students in lab coats staring down at them. Others have felt the sensation of choking or being toe-tagged as they slept. The freshmen dorm of Queen's Court is a veritable hotbed of paranormal activity. A Jesuit priest who is said to have committed suicide speaks to students and a dead girl's doll, crying out for its mommy, has appeared multiple times in one room in particular. Other campus hauntings include the spirits of a little girl and a man in Martyr’s Court, a construction worker who fell to his death in O’Hare Hall, and Collins Auditorium is plagued by strange whispers and cold sensations and a spook called “Johnny,” who turns off the lights.
Wizard Clip (Middleway, West Virginia). This final story about an angry ghost that haunted the Livingston home in the late 1700s. One night in 1794, a stranger showed up at Adam Livingston’s door seeking shelter. The man became seriously ill and begged Livingston to fetch a Catholic priest to perform last rites. Livingston and his wife were devout Lutherans and refused to send anyone out in the dead of night to find a priest and decided to wait until morning. By sunrise, the traveler was dead. They laid out the stranger, but it was said the candles placed around the corpse would not remain lit. Later, items would go missing and the family was plagued by the phantom sounds of galloping horses and breaking crockery, but worst of all, spectral scissors cut linen, clothing, papers and even sliced off the heads of the family’s flock of ducks.
After enduring the supernatural activity as long as they could, Livingston called on an Irish priest, who anointed the house with holy water. Livingston was so grateful he converted to Catholicism and deeded a portion of land to the Catholic church, which, to this day, is known as Priest Field. Later, a Franciscan retreat was established on the property and operates to this day as the Priest Field Pastoral Center.
Source: Sara Coughlin, Refinery29, October 31, 2016.