Post by Graveyardbride on Oct 26, 2019 23:26:24 GMT -5
Seven Halloween Haunts
Anniversary ghosts usually appear just once a year, often on the dates of their deaths or some other significant event in their lives. Many phantoms are seen on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, particularly in England. Others have chosen to make their presence known on the night of the year when the ancient Celts believed the veil between life and death was at its thinnest, a night when spirits could cross over into the land of the living and visit the people and places they loved when they walked the Earth as human beings.
The Dakota Apartments (New York City). One of the many wraiths stalking the The Dakota Apartments at One West 72nd Street is Boris Karloff, who interrupts his rest to return to his old abode just once a year – on Halloween night. Karloff (born William Henry Pratt), like Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price, is one of the true icons of horror films. He wasn’t a handsome man and after he was cast as the monster in Frankenstein, the actor became closely associated with that role. He spent his final years at The Dakota, a building with something of a dark history – Rosemary’s Baby was filmed at The Dakota. Karloff was distressed that children in the spooky old structure avoided him because of his somewhat fiendish appearance and none came to his door on Halloween night. When he died of emphysema on February 2, 1969, a superstitious doorman at The Dakota quipped, “He’ll be back. Wait and see.” The doorman was right: The following Halloween, people reported seeing a strange, “evil-looking” man watching trick-or-treaters and following them onto the elevators. Even though it’s been 50 years since his death, young trick-or-treaters still occasionally claim to have seen a “weird guy” on the elevator, but when they reach their floor and look around, he is no longer there.
Gamble Place (Orange Park, Florida). James N. Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company is probably best-known for inventing Ivory soap. Few know he purchased land on Spruce Creek in 1898 and built the Florida Cracker-style house at 1819 Taylor Road in 1907. He christened his winter home “Egwanulti,” an American Indian word meaning “by the water.” In the late 1930s, Judge Alfred K. Nippert, Gamble’s son-in-law, inherited the estate. Entranced by Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, he had several structures in the movie replicated on the estate, including, among others, The Black Forest Cottage (formerly Snow White’s Cottage), the Witches’ Hut and a wishing well. The ghost said to walk the estate on Halloween night is that of a longtime and dedicated old caretaker, who once a year, strolls Gamble Place making sure all is well.
Oak Grove Cemetery (St. Marys, Georgia). One Halloween night in the 1960s or 70s, a group of thrill-seeking teenagers got the fright of their young lives when they saw what they described as an angel strolling through the moonlit cemetery. Someone later decided the perambulating angel had to be the splendid sculpture (above) watching over the graves of Frank M. Paige (1859-1893) and Camden Mason Sheffield (1869-1897). According to the story, Sheffield was originally buried at Sheffield Cemetery, northwest of Kingsland, against his wife’s wishes. So, without the knowledge of her in-laws, the young lady had her husband disinterred in the dead of night, transported the coffin to St. Marys and laid him to rest beside Paige in Oak Grove Cemetery. It was some time before Sheffield’s father found out what his daughter-in-law had done and he wasn’t happy, but, alas, there was nothing he could do about it. No one knows what the relationship was between Sheffield and Paige, but more than likely, Paige was one of Mrs. Sheffield’s relatives. No one knows why the angel allegedly steps down from her plithe and walks the cemetery on Halloween night either. Though the graveyard is closed at night, as recently as Halloween 2001, two ghost hunters reportedly saw the heavenly creature gliding about among the tombstones in the light of the moon.
Ocean Born Mary House (Henniker, New Hampshire). It is said that at midnight on October 31, a coach pulls up to the front of the old Georgian home (above) at 618 Bear Hill Road and a tall, titian-haired woman steps out. According to legend, the lady is none other than Mary Wilson Wallace, aka Ocean Born Mary, who was born July 26, 1720, aboard a ship overtaken by pirates. When the leader of the lawless crew saw Mrs. Wilson holding her newborn daughter, he offered to spare the ship if she would honor him by naming the child Mary for his mother. The young mother agreed and the pirate left the ship momentarily, returning with a bolt of luxurious green silk brocade for Mary’s wedding dress. She grew into a striking woman: 6-foot-tall with flaming red hair and eyes like emeralds, and when she married James Wallace in 1742, she wore a dress sewn from the exquisite fabric. Her sons and sons-in-law became successful, prominent men and she was living with her son, William, when death claimed her on February 13, 1814, at the age of 93. The house on Bear Hill Road was the home of her other son, Robert, and so far as is known, she never lived there. However, James Wallace, Mary’s spouse of 39 years, died October 30, 1781, and some surmise Mary’s annual haunting could be a re-enactment of events that transpired at the time of her husband’s death.
St. Rita Catholic Church (Chicago, Illinois). On All Souls Day (November 2, 1961), in excess of a dozen parishioners at the old Spanish Moorish-style church at 6243 South Fairfield Avenue were keeping vigil when the organ began to play. The organist wasn’t at the keyboard and when the men and women looked toward the organ loft above the main entrance, they beheld six robed, semitransparent figures – three in white and three in black – the faces and hands of whom were obscured by their garments. Terrified, the congregants rushed toward the door as the spiritual beings floated downward to the main floor, gliding above the pews. Then a disembodied voice implored, “Pray for us,” as a chill wind of unknown origin swept through the sanctuary and the doors were flung open by unseen hands. Since that time, others have reported seeing groups of people in robes both inside and outside the church around Halloween. Some say what they are seeing are mischievous teenagers playing a prank on gullible parishioners and curious visitors, however, some of the witnesses insist the figures are so transparent one can see right through them.
Senior Hall, Stephens College (Columbia, Missouri). Does Sarah Wheeler still walk the corridors of Senior Hall (above)? The story goes that during a skirmish during the War Between the States, a Confederate soldier was seriously injured and sought refuge at what was then the Columbia Female Baptist Academy. While the young women were nursing him back to health, he and Sarah fell in love. According to one version of the tale, Sarah and her beau eloped and drowned in either the Missouri River or nearby Hickson Creek. In another version – and the one most oft-repeated – the Yankees heard rumors the school was harboring a Confederate soldier, captured the young man and hanged him in front of the teenage girls who had saved his life. Distraught, Sarah committed suicide, either by taking poison, or jumping to her death from an upper window. For more than 150 years, students have reported encounters with Sarah, always on or around Halloween. For a number of years, Senior Hall stood empty and fell into a state of disrepair, during which time both students and outsiders would break into the building at Halloween to see if they could “raise” Sarah’s spirit. The Hall was renovated in the 1990s and is now used for music and dancing classes, but the stories of Sarah persist and every fall, as the days grow shorter and cooler and Halloween approaches, students make certain they don’t end up alone in the haunted hall.
The Yellow Frame Church (Frelinghuysen Township, New Jersey). According to legend, a minister at the yellow frame church at One Yellow Frame Road died after his first sermon. He was buried in the adjoining churchyard, but for reasons unknown, his body was disinterred and moved to a cemetery two miles away. It is said that every year around Halloween, he returns to the church where he was unable to complete his mission.
Sources: The National Directory of Haunted Places by Dennis William Hauck; Yankee Magazine; The Examiner, December 17, 2008; "The Little-Known Story Behind Snow White's Cottage," Chad Gallivanter; Tripadvisor; CrackerCreek.com; and IMDb.