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31 Days of Spook – Children Say the Darnedest Things

Sometimes, little ones can say the darnedest things when you are least expecting it.  They say that children are more ‘open’ to the paranormal.  After reading these stories below, do tell me what you think. Have you ever been told anything of this nature by a child?


A few years ago, I was putting my friend’s daughter to bed for the night.  She was about three at the time and she was fighting going to sleep.  She asked me why she had to go to bed and I said, “Because it is late and it’s time for little girls to get a good night’s rest.”  

She then pointed at nothing across the room and said, “What about that little girl?”


I was heading to the bathroom on the second floor of my aunt’s house when I saw my cousin April on the stairs.  April was four and very animated.  She was busy making funny faces while sitting on the stairs.  I asked her what she was doing and she said, “I’m copying the lady with the braid.”  I looked around and there was no one else but us.  I asked, “Where is the lady April?”  She pointed to a beam running parallel to the stairwell.  I asked April, “What is the lady doing?”  She said, “Making funny faces.”  I smiled and started walking up the stairs again when April said something that stopped me in my tracks.  “Her braids are wrapped around her neck.”  I turned back and and asked April to repeat herself.  April pointed and said, “The lady is hanging by her braid, she’s making funny faces.”  Then April started making a face which I then realize was as if someone was gasping for air.


I watched a few kids while their parents were at a movie.  I put the youngest kid, age 4, to sleep and watched television downstairs until the parents came home.  The next day, the parents called me.  According to the 4 year old, I stood inthe doorway and stared at him for a very long time just smiling.  

 

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31 Days of Spook – Frankenstein Friday

Hello spooky friends.  Today, October 29the is Frankenstein Friday – booyah!  Frankenstein Friday is always the last Friday in October.  It’s a day to celebrate the birth of Frankenstein and its creator.

Frankenstein is one of the best known characters from horror movies and dates back to the 1800’s.  Frankenstein was born and created in 1818 by Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley at the age of 21 when she wrote the ever famous Frankenstein.  Can you imagine being so young and creating a character that would last forever?!

Do you know where the origin of this day came from?  Today was created by Ron MacCloskey from Westfield, New Jersey in 1997. He picked a Friday to celebrate so more people could participate.

Have you heard of Westfield, New Jersey before?  Does that sound familiar?  Well, Westfield, New Jersey is also the hometown of Charles Addams, the New York Times magazine cartoonist who created The Addams Family.  Small world huh?

 

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31 Days of Spook – Mental Health Ward

Today, let’s tell another true story from daddy.  I know you’re dying to hear it – evil snorts.

To get through college, daddy worked at a local hospital on the mental health ward.  No those rumors are not true – that is not where he met mommy – snorts.  When he first started at the hospital, he worked the midnight shift. The mental health ward during this time was in the basement right beside the morgue.  That would bring shivers to this little piggy to begin with.

One of his co-workers  told him a story the first couple of days that he was in training that still to this day puts his nerves on edge.  They said that years earlier, a mental health patient had gotten out of their rooms in the middle of the night.  They went into the  elevator and hung themselves around 3:00AM. Staff of the hospital found the mental health patient hanging in the elevator dead.

Since then, the elevators had locks installed on them and they won’t work without the key being inserted to call for the elevator.  The nurse told daddy that every night at 3:00AM, without fail, the elevator doors would open by themselves.  Daddy didn’t take too much into this until the first time he worked by himself.  The nurse’s station was right in front of the elevator doors.  Exactly at 3:00AM, the doors opened all by themselves. It still sends chills up and down daddy’s spine.  And the elevators to this date, still open and close exactly at 3:00AM.  Nothing is wrong with them, they’ve been checked.  There is no reason for them to open at this particular time.  Anyone going up?

 

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31 Days of Spook – Headless Ghost, Spirit and Swamp Sightings

Welcome back my fellow spooky friends.  Today, hold someone tight – these are true stories from not too far from the Hotel Thompson.

  A HEADLESS GHOST

An Okefenokee area ghost tradition, this one dating to the 1930s, owes its existence to the railroad. A man fishing along the tracks at Henson Creek, near Manor, fell asleep one night with the rails as his pillow. A train appeared, sounding its whistle frantically, but there was no response. Steel wheels kept on rolling, and the fisher person was high landered.

Now for a twist. The legend is that the body can be seen walking the rails at night swinging a phantom lantern in search of its head. Kevin Dial claims that his grandfather went in search of the “shade” one night. Sure enough, it approached, solid white and six feet tall, walking directly toward Gramps, who fired a futile shot before fleeing.

GHOST SPIRIT SIGHTINGS

A log cabin on Okefenokee’s East Side by an area called Camp Cornelia on Trail Ridge is where this haunting took place in the early 1990′s. A former Refuge volunteer, who resided in the cabin, reported strange visitations of Spirits. The Spirits were Native American Indians in full regalia. These spirits were not aware of the walls and boundaries of the cabin, but seemed attached to the land the cabin was on. They seemingly went about their daily tribal existence without concern.

SPECTRES OF THE SWAMP SIGHTING

This one was reported in January 1998 on Trail Ridge, the ancient geological feature which makes up the eastern boundary of the swamp. A traveler on vacation and hiking near the boardwalk area was surprised by the sound of drums in the distant piney woods. Native American spectres carrying objects and walking swiftly in a single file line were sighted off in the distance heading south on the ridge. The vacationer did not linger long to watch the procession. He reported no sense of hostility, but felt uneasy as if he was seeing something he should not be observing.

 

 

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Shout out to our friends from Okefenokee – special hello’s to Steve, Jo and their black cat Tequila.  They gave me special permission to use their stories and pictures from the Okefenokee Pastimes Inc.

 

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31 Days of Spook – Okefenokee Swamp Thing, Big Foot and Pig Man

Today, I want to bring you tales of a creature that goes by many names such as Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Skunk Ape, Yeti and such.  Tales of this huge creature have been seen all over the world in remote places.  In the southeast corner of Georgia, Okefenokee has it’s own creature.  Here are some true reports from the Okefenokee X-Files.  Are you brave enough to read them?

A SWAMP THING

The Okefenokee Swamp was truly a land of mystery in June 1829, when the Milledgeville Statesman published a bizarre story about it. The tale was related by a John Ostean, “residing on the borders of this swamp in Ware County,” and others who lived on the opposite side in Florida. Locals had long heard from Creek Indians of an enchanted island inhabited by “mortals of super-human dimensions and incomparable beauty.” The story goes that two men and a boy had taken advantage of a long dry spell and pushed deep into the swamp for two weeks to seek this island. However, “their progress suddenly arrested at the appearance of the print of a foot-step so unearthly in its dimensions, so ominous of power, and terrible in form,” that they paused. The print was eighteen inches long and nine inches across, the stride of this giant over six feet. The party hastily returned and spread the tale of the “Man Mountain.”

Hearing the story, nine Florida hunters ventured into the swamp. After several days’ journey, they found a similar print and others. The men followed the tracks for several days and had camped on a ridge when two of their members “simultaneously discharged at an advancing and ferocious wild beast” whose screams made the swamp “reverberate with a deafening roar.” The creature came “full in their view advancing upon them with a terrible look… Our little band instinctively gathered close in a body, and presented their rifles. The huge being, nothing daunted, bounded upon his victims, and in the same instant received the contents of seven rifles. But he did not die alone; nor until he had glutted his wrath with the death of five of them, which he effected by wringing off the head from the body.” The four surviving men examined the prostrate giant as it died, “wallowing and roaring. His length was thirteen feet, and his breadth and volume of just proportions.” Fearing the struggle might have alerted similar beings; the men gathered their comrades’ guns and fled for home.

A BOY AND HIS BIG FOOT

This report was forwarded to the Georgia Swamp Ape Research Center, GSARC and detailed an encounter in the Okefenokee Swamp. While a fourteen-year-old boy and his family were camping on the West side at Stephen Foster State Park in 1972, the boy was walking along a waterway when he heard footsteps behind him, drawing closer. He assumed it was his siblings. “I figured they were going to scare me, and I decided to let them sneak up and I would jump out and scare them.” Moments later “a thing that looked like a cross between a chimpanzee and a little man” approached along the path. “It saw me and let out a sound like from hell,” then crouched down and nimbly sprung on the boy. “It knocked me down and tried to get its teeth in (to) my neck. I screamed. I thought I was dead.”

Fortunately, the youngster’s parents heard the scream and shouted back. “It raised up real slow and sniffed the air for a few seconds,” he continued. “Then it just got up and walked into the canal and swam across to the other side,” disappearing into the woods.

THE PIG MAN A.K.A. SASQUATCH SIGHTINGS

It has been many years since a sighting, but old swampers would call him the South Georgia Pig Man. Over the years reported sightings have persisted in and around the South Georgia swamp areas, especially deep in the remote recesses of the Okefenokee swamp.

Reports describe the creature as a large ape like being, that walks upright, has abundant hair and a nose similar to a pig. Observers have commented on a skunk like odor that has accompanied the sightings. There have been no reports of hostility or aggression, in fact the creature was referred to as timid and shy with sad expressive eyes.

These Okefenokee area sightings have many details in common with creature sightings documented in the Everglades. A very similar missing link referred to as the Florida Skunk Ape. Could it be possible these beings are related genetically?

Before development transformed Florida, these man like creatures might have migrated. One of their routes could have been by way of the Kissimmee River Valley up along the Lake Wales Ridge to the extensive game rich swamps associated with the St. John’s River Basin.

The migration would have passed right by what is today the city of Jacksonville onward to the Okefenokee and beyond.

Who knows?  Maybe I’m related somehow in some fashion or form to this Pig Man?  It could happen… we could have matching snouts.

I want to send huge hogs and snout kisses to my friends Steve, Jo and their black cat Tequila at Okefenokee.   They gave me special permission to use their stories and pictures from the Okefenokee Pastimes Inc

 

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31 Days of Spook – St Louis Cemetery #1, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and Howard Street Cemetery

So you were brave enough to come back for another scare my friends?  How brave you are.  You may want ask your human to get you a night light tonight because it can only get worse from here – insert evil snort.  Today we are going to highlight some famous and eerie cemeteries.  Are you brave enough to enter my cemetery of the famous dead? I’ve wandered throughout the internet and done a lot of research to bring you some intriguing places of final rest… or is it?  I hope that you find them interesting.

 Let’s take a little stroll amidst the stones shall we.

When I think of scary and mysterious cemeteries, my first thoughts have to go towards New Orleans.  Let’s visit the St. Louis Cemetery #1.   This cemetery opened in 1789 and there are over 100,000 residents.  With that much of a crowd, you know some have to be a little unhappy with their final resting place.  I know I would be.  The most famous tenant here is Marie Laveau.  Marie Laveau was a famous voodoo priestess.  People visit her grave site often and mark three “X’s” on her grave.  People that do so believe that by marking the three “X’s”, Marie Laveau will grant them their wish.

The next that came to mind were two different cemeteries in the Chicago area.  One was Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Chicagoland.  I’ve heard about this place a lot over the years.  I’ve seen specials on television and mommy has read me different chilling facts in books.  Not only does this cemetery have a history of unexplained lights and ghosts, it has an entire house that mysteriously appears and disappears.  Many people that have seen the house describe it as a white farmhouse with pillars and a swing.  The other cemetery was Resurrection Cemetery in Chicago.  This story sends chills up and down my spine every time I see it on television.  It starts off with a beautiful girl who was walking home from a dance one late night.  She was hit by a car and killed and has been looking for a ride home every since.  I saw a story one night where a man picked up this lady at a dance.  They danced into the late hours and he admitted that she felt cold to the touch.  Upon taking her home after the dance, she asked him to stop in front of the cemetery.  She got out and disappeared into the air.

And how can we forget the most eerie of places in Salem, Massachusetts at Howard Street Cemetery.  With all of the witch hunts that took place here, this has got to be one of the most haunted places in the United States.  Just think of all of the innocent people that were slowly tortured and burned at the stake for the public believing they were witches.  How many of those spirits still walk around wanting people to know that they were innocent but forever labeled a witch.  Talk about your unfinished business in setting things straight.  This reminds me of a story that mom told me about a guy named Giles Corey.  He was officially the only person to die by torture during these Witch Trials.  He wouldn’t say that he was a witch so the sheriff of the time made him lay down in the middle of his field.  The sheriff then had a board placed across his chest and slowly added stones on top of the board.  Eventually two days later, Corey was crushed to death in a slow and agonizing way.

 

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31 Days of Spook – Ellis Hotel

Buckle up my friends… it’s going to be a bumpy ride today.  Today we are focusing on the Ellis Hotel that is located in downtown Atlanta, right in mom/dad’s backyard if you will.

The Ellis Hotel used to be called the Winecoff Hotel.  On December 7, 1946 it had over 260 guests checked in for overnight.  Around 3:00AM (the witching hour some say), an elevator operator smelled smoke near the fifth floor and notified other employees.  Unfortunately by that time, the third, fourth and fifth floors were already on fire. The hotel was suppose to be fireproof and it turned out that night that it wasn’t.  Due to being ‘fireproof, there was no fire escapes, no fire doors, no sprinklers or alarm system.  Over 119 guests perished that night.

The hotel was reopened in 1951 as the Peachtree Hotel on Peachtree.  It passed through multiple ownerships and in 2007 it was named the Ellis Hotel.  There are rumors of items being moved, voices, children running and woman screaming down the hallways.  One time, two weeks in a row, the current alarm system went off at 2:48AM – the same time each week.

Mom/dad felt festive one day about a year ago.  It was during their monthly date night and they spent the night at the Hotel Ellis.  It doesn’t take much to spook dad but mom on the other hand is a hard one to crack.  They stayed on the third floor in a very nice room.  Dad woke mommy up around 2:30AM complaining about the activity in the hallway.  When mom checked it out, there was nothing.  She didn’t hear it or see anything but dad said it woke him up.  Around 3:30AM, mommy woke up smelling smoke.  She’s very sensitive to the smell and she said it was overwhelming.  Again, she woke daddy up and he didn’t smell anything.  And for some reason, the elevator door went up and down a lot that night.  They could hear the doors opening and closing but no foot steps.  Needless to say, they didn’t get much sleep that night.

 

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31 Days of Spook – Dad’s Aunt Dorothy

Today’s spook tale is a real scary story, something that happened to my daddy when he was a young boy.  Are you ready for this?  Are you sure?  You might want to hold someone’s hand.

When dad was around was 10 years old, his mom’s Aunt Dorothy passed away.  She had a house in Blue Ridge, West Virginia.  It looked similar to this picture.  Up on a hill top, had a wrap around porch and was two stories with a full basement.  The house looked normal but had a little bit of an eerie factor… especially to a young child.  Let me give you a little bit background on some chilling history of the home.

Aunt Dorothy had a brother named John that also lived with her. There’s two different stories that circulated about what happened to dear poor John.  One was that Aunt Dorothy and John had dinner one night.  Afterwards, he stood up, crossed himself and then fell over dead.  They other story was they had a fight one day and Aunt Dorothy left the house.  When she returned from cooling down, he was dead.  No one knows which tale is how poor John really died.  Only one fact did remain – John was dead.  From that day forward, Aunt Dorothy locked his room and no one was ever allowed to enter his room.   And although the room was locked and she had the key, she would often mention how it sounded like someone was in the room at night walking around.

Upon Aunt Dorothy’s death, daddy’s mom and dad took him to the house so they could start cleaning some things up to sale the home.  They traveled out of state and got to Blue Ridge, West Virginia on a Thursday evening.  They went to Aunt Dorothy’s home the next day to start the clean up.  They went inside and it was cool inside, almost like goosebump kind of cool with the hair on your arms standing up.  This was strange because in that time during the 1970’s in this area, there really wasn’t central heating and air.  It was the middle of August and it was hot outside, in the 90’s plus.  Typical summer time weather – hot and very humid.  But, in the home it was cool and comfortable, almost ice cold.  They commented on how it was so cold that you could almost hang meat.  But they started to go through the home to see what they wanted, starting with the upstairs.

They found the key to the locked room that once belonged to Aunt Dorothy’s brother John.  The room had just been locked and never touched – as if he was returning back home one day and it was just frozen in time.  There was a book on the bedside table that was still marked where he had left off from reading.  Clothes were still scattered about the room.  The bed was still made.  There was a partial letter written on the desk to an old friend that was never finished.  The room had a eerie feeling like someone was still there and it was cold in this room as well.  One thing that was strange about the room.  There was no cob webs, no dust, nothing that looked like this room had been vacant for over 15 years. It was bizarre but they figured Aunt Dorothy had been in dusting.  But why dust and not pick up the scattered clothing?

Daddy’s father wanted him to go down into the basement alone to check for any tools that they possibly might want to bring home.  Daddy being all of 10 said sure.  How very brave of him.   Each step he took going down into the dark, cold and dank basement, he felt like he was being watched.  At times, it was like someone was following him but no one else was there when he looked around.  He found some things that they might possibly want and he gathered them up.  Slowly, he took everything upstairs with each step still feeling like he was being watched and followed.  And yes he was a child and you might be saying that he was scared because of his age.  Well, was he?  Let’s continue our story.

They stayed at the house on/off for the next couple of days cleaning.  They would go back to the hotel each night and return in the hot August weather with the coolness inside of the home.  Each day they were there cleaning and fixing things up, the house remained cool like there was an air conditioner on… but there wasn’t one. 

On the last day, dad’s mom asked him and his father to start cleaning up the living room area while she was starting in the parlor.  There was an old china cabinet that had french doors on the front.  When you looked through the glass panes, you could see a locked latch across the front.  Dad’s mom tried the doors, but she couldn’t get them open.  They were firmly locked.   Inside of the china cabinet, there was some sterling silver and china that dad’s mom wanted to take back home.

She didn’t want to break the doors in hopes of selling the antique furniture.  On the opposite side of the wall, there was a hutch.  She asked for the boys to come over to possibly help find a key to the china cabinet.  While the boys were searching the hutch, all of a sudden dad’s mom let out a chilling scream.

They turned around immediately and the french doors to the china cabinet were standing wide open as if someone had opened them both at the same time.  Dad’s mom took full advantage of the opportunity and removed the pieces she wanted.  Afterwards, she pushed the doors back together and the cabinet locked itself back up.  You could hear the click-click sound of the latch going right back to where it was previously.

We took the items we wanted out to the car while dad’s father took the trash out.  We came back into the house to lock it up to leave our final time.  We noticed that the house had lost the coolness feeling that it had and had become hot just like it was outside in the August air.  Three days of air conditioning, goosebump coolness, hair standing on your arms and now hot humid heat.  We left that day and never returned.

 

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31 Days of Spook – The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

Today is one that is close to our hearts here at the Hotel Thompson.  Today, we focus on one of the all time greatest movies, “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken”.  What, you don’t believe me when I say it’s scary?  Let’s discuss shall we.  What is a hero – snorts.

This movie came out in 1966 and starred Don Knotts as Luther Heggs.  It starts off with Luther driving down the street and hearing screams of, “Murder, murder” from a neighbor.  He takes pictures, gets the story from the neighbor and then goes to the local police station to report the crime.  While he’s reporting the crime, who walks in but the local ‘victim’.   The town thinks he’s a laughing joke.  And to top everything off, the full time writer for the paper, Ollie Weaver, lives in the same boarding house as he does and tells everyone over breakfast the next morning about what Luther did the night before.  This is also the time that you get to meet Ollie’s girlfriend, Alma Parker, who Luther has a secret crush with.

Poor Luther.  He works as a newspaper typesetter and wants to be a reporter so bad.  The staff of the newspaper want to increase sales and sees an opportunity for Luther to help out…even if it’s a joke  Ollie challenges Luther to spend the night in the local haunted Simmons mansion on the 20th anniversary of the murders that took place in the home.  The story was that Mr. Simmons murdered his wife and then jumped to his death from the organ loft of the home.  Legend says that you can still hear the ghost of Mr. Simmons still playing the organ at night, a haunting macabre tune.  Luther takes the bait and accepts the challenge of staying in the haunted house all by himself.

So the night comes and Luther goes into the haunted Simmons mansion.  He looks around and you visibly see that he’s scared by his shaking.  He settles down on the sofa in his sleeping bag for the night.  At midnight, it starts.  Luther hears the old organ begin to play from the loft.  He goes up to the loft area and sees the organ playing the haunting melody by itself.  He runs down the stairs and sees the painting of Mrs Simmons on the wall with hedge clippers sticking in it and ‘blood’ like material dripping out of it.  The newspaper starts flying off the shelves of Luther’s story of his night in the haunted Simmons mansion.  So much so that Nicholas Simmons (the nephew of the deceased couple) sues Luther for libel.  When it goes to court, the judge orders the courtroom to the Simmons mansion at midnight to prove Luther’s story.  Nothing happens and Luther looks like a fool.

Everyone leaves the house except for Luther who is moping around feeling sorry for himself.  Soon after, the organ begins to play the haunting macabre tune from the loft area again.  Luther runs upstairs and behold he sees Mr. Kelsey (who is the newspaper janitor) playing the old organ.

Mr. Kelsey and Luther talk about what happened and guess what?  They confront Nicholas Simmons and we learn that he was the one that killed his aunt and uncle and have been trying to cover the story all of these years.  How did he get away with the murders you ask?  There was a secret passage from the study up to the organ loft that had been his alibi.  Mr. Kelsey knew the secret and wanted Luther to be the one to open the case wide open.  Just by luck, Luther knocks out Nicholas Simmons with a body slam and becomes the local hero.

And yes.  Luther even got a girl out of the ordeal.  He marries his secret crush, Alma Parker.  As they say their “I do’s”, the organ starts playing all by itself the haunting macabre tune that was being played in the Simmons mansion.

It’s a great movie, one that is watched many times here at the Hotel Thompson.

 

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31 Days of Spook – Oakland Cemetery

 I thought it was time to walk through a cemetery with you once again.  Today, I’m going to focus on one close to home – the historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.  Oakland Cemetery was bought in 1850 and was originally named Atlanta Graveyard or City Burial Place.  It was renamed to Oakland Cemetery in 1972.

Oakland Cemetery offers twilight tours of the cemetery – how scary huh?  And around this time of the year, the cemetery even offers what they call “Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours”.  What a way to catch some things that go bump in the night.  There are over 70,000 residents in over 40 acres that are just dying to meet you whether you have a guided tour or walk the cemetery by yourself… if you’re brave enough.

A lot of the history of this wonderful cemetery centers around the Civil War.  There have been stories in the Confederate portion of the cemetery of hearing names being called as if in a roll call.  But to look around, there is no one living there, just the statue of a lion guarding the unknown Confederate dead and he’s not talking.

Often the guides at the cemetery will tell you that people actually die three times.  Once on their last breath, once when they are laid to rest and once when they are no longer remembered.  Sounds just like a situation for a few people to come out and be remembered, doesn’t it?  So the next time you’re in the area, drop by for a visit.  I’ve heard they’re always looking for a good soul to fright.

There are lots of famous people buried here in Oakland.  Mom took this photograph not too long ago.  Do you recognize the name?

 

 

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