Friday, December 16, 2016

Oh There's No Place Like a Haunted Home for the Holidays...



Christmas is filled with many songs that celebrate the season. My personal favorite is the children's version of Canon in D famously performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. But, as the title of this post suggests, there is more to Christmas than just the joy of Christ's birth. There is also the warmth felt by family as they gather together to create enduring memories in the house of the chosen host. Or, maybe your holidays are tainted with family strife and conflict, overshadowing the joy of the holiday season. Whatever may be your story, and I do hope it is the former, nearly every home has its history. And it is these events that open up the doors to the paranormal world and may even bring a little haunting to your Christmas dinner table.



In this article I wanted to bring you, the reader, home to where I live in St. Louis, Missouri and open up a few of the front doors that lead into some of this area's most haunted locations. Come along...let's step aboard the Christmas sleigh and drop inside for a very haunted holiday season!!






The Dependahl House



The first stop on our sleigh ride through St. Louis takes us to the smaller suburb of Manchester, Missouri. Here in this once small farming community, covering five square miles, live about 18,000 people. Among those inhabitants, at the intersection of Henry Avenue and Andersohn Drive, sits the Dependahl House.

This two-story home was once a big farmhouse that still today hosts some very strong paranormal activity.

"The main ghosts that haunt it are the two E-- brothers.... There was an evil one and a sad or depressed one, and the depressed one hung himself in the historical house across the street... he had hanged himself in the front window."

It is said that the depressed brother was broken up over a love affair. The story of his life was discovered in a series of photographs in a history book of the area. The hanged man has been observed on numerous occasions, still haunting the property. The brother's full-body apparition has been seen standing at the foot of a bed, just staring at one of the tenants and startling the crap out of him. The second brother was standing next to him with an evil look on his face. He is claimed to be the most active in the house. The depressed brother's head has also been seen floating in a bedroom of the Dependahl house:

"I woke up one night and saw just his little head, right by the light switch, in my room. He was looking at me.... He had a sad look to him. And he had that short, black hair; really short, and parted on the side. Very distinct-looking hair."

The paranormal activity of the two brothers is just the beginning of what is happening on the property. Outside in the yard voices have been heard on more than one occasion:

"...we heard this evil laugh in the yard. It was not even a normal voice; it was like hahahaHAHAHAHA! It was just too weird of a laugh...."

In one of the rooms facing west, on the side of the house facing Andersohn Drive, there have been claims of a woman bellowing a blood-curdling scream:

"It's usually in the dead of winter when it's cold out and it's quiet. It sounded like it was coming from another dimension, not this world."


There are also reports of a cat that has been seen outside the home. This calico is said to have died in the barn out back during one of the rougher winters. Tenants have seen this cat wandering around the premises and one in particular watched the animal walk right through a closed garage door. The mysterious calico has even made its way into the screaming woman's room as well, scratching at the rug at night.

There is one final story coming from the Dependahl house that runs its roots back to the Civil War era:

"In the rear of the house is an old smokehouse, which had a noose and a trapdoor inside and appeared to be untouched when [the] family moved in.... Legend had it a black man was held and later hanged inside, allegedly for raping a schoolteacher...." 


The Mottin House

If you hop back onto our winter chariot, we'll travel a bit further north in St. Louis to area known as Florissant. On the 100 block of Rue St. Catherine the Mottin House stands as an historic ghost story embedded in the roadside trees. The paranormal activity in the home is very reminiscent of the images we might have about Christmas.

One family that lived in the house reports seeing a figure standing in the second floor window. The mother had loaded up the kids to take them to school one morning and while she was backing out, she looked back upstairs for some reason. Perhaps her mind picked up that someone was staring at her from a distance. (Ever heard of scopaesthesia?):

"She saw this figure standing in the window, an older woman with a funny little bonnet-type of hat, cap. So [the mother] went back into the house, and of course, there was no one there."

This same woman has been seen by more than family in the house's history. "Gretchen Crank, an office manager, is the down-to-earth subject of the 'old woman in the window' story. She and her husband, Nelson, purchased the home in 1977 and restored it to its 1905 splendor, when it was built by Felix Mottin, a house builder."

Their story happened in 1978 or 1979. They too, like the other family, were backing out of the driveway and looked back towards the house. On the second floor Gretchen saw a woman leaning out of the window and looking toward the driveway. The apparition looked at Gretchen and realized she had been seen in the window. In response, the apparition moved back inside. Gretchen, afraid that there was someone in the house, pulled back into the driveway, ran into the back yard, and grabbed a baseball bat off the porch. She did a sweep of the home, but found no one. The lady in the window is believed to be Agatha Mottin, Felix's wife.


The Mottin House is also notorious for its paranormal smells. In particular, there is the scent of burning candles that can be detected at the foot of the living room stairs. Is it Agatha lighting up a source of Christmas cheer? Might she have been setting the holiday dinner table back in 1915 when she and Felix were raising their 9 children together? Could the lingering smell be a moment in time captured when Felix blew out the last candle, shuffling the children off to bed so that Santa Claus could come?


"You can smell it right at the bottom of the stairs, you can smell it going up the stairs and it gets stronger, like there something burning upstairs.... It's like a candle, like right after you've blown it out...."


The St. Ann Poltergeist


We have one last stop on our Christmas journey through the city of St. Louis and this house has a very unique history. It is located in the suburb of St. Ann and the origins of this haunting begins with couple named Hank and Ina. The year is 1974. The couple were married in 1968 in the Lutheran Church in Bel Nor, just around the corner from the famous 1949 Exorcist house. After the wedding, they purchased a plot of land in St. Charles county. On the property was an old dilapidated barn who some locals believed was haunted. Hank eventually tore it down and sold the property. After it was sold, Hank's health began to take a massive decline:

"Problems with his eyes was soon followed by accelerated diabetes. He developed leg problems, heart problems, and was soon being treated for acute depression.... Fearing he might soon become 'a burden' to Ina, he shot himself on Labor Day (1974) with a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson."  

At the time of Hank's suicide, he and Ina were living in a house in Bridgeton. Before they bought this house with the land sale money, they had considered buying a different house in St. Ann. At the time the St. Ann house was not available, but ironically, after Hank's death, it did hit the market again. Ina went ahead and sold the Bridgeton property and bought the St. Ann home. 


When she first moved in, the house was relatively quiet. That is, there was no paranormal activity at all. Then, right around the first anniversary of Hank's death, things began to change dramatically. Ina began hearing someone walking around in the attic and contacted her children one night in a full-blown panic. They came over to their mother's house, but did not find anyone. This happened on multiple occasions, but no strangers were ever upstairs.

In the photo to the left you can see an extension that runs from the main house of to the left and connects into the garage. When Hank and Ina first looked at the house to purchase it, it was decided that this would be the area for his private work den. The room originally was intended to be a sun room and so it was not wired for any electricity. It is in this section of the house where the poltergeist activity began.

One of the most mysterious phenomenon of the room was its consistently cold temperatures. Spirits are known to extract heat energy from the environment and we understand this as being "cold spots." Hank's den exhibited these "cold spots" on a daily basis:

"...no feasible explanation could be given how when in the high heat of August (with temperatures pressing near 100 degrees), why this particular room would continually feel “ice cold.” A faintness-like dizziness seemed to come over anyone who remained in this room for an extended period of time. In the adjacent garage, garden tools which Hank had once owned and used kept falling off their hooks and wall mounts. Shovels, rakes, hedge clippers and other items could be heard on a semi-regular basis falling loudly onto the garage floor. This would usually occur in the middle of the night, shortly before bedtime."

There was also a disembodied male voice that could be heard coming from the walls. Creaks, knocks, and pops were continuously heard by Ina in the house on Little Flower Lane over the next three years. Finally, in 1978, something happened that caused her to sell the property. She never told anyone what it was that drove her over the edge.

Have a Haunted Jolly Christmas


The city of St Louis is full of little suburbs and towns that are laden with paranormal activity. The Lemp Mansion and the Exorcist house are two of the most famous. I hope that as you have taken this little "sleigh ride" journey with me through some of my neighborhoods that you have gotten a good paranormal taste for some of the lesser-known hauntings in my area. 

I am always looking to create articles about haunted locations throughout the world that have not gotten Internet coverage. If you think your neck of the woods falls in this category, and if you would like to share some of your town's story, I'd love to hear from you. Just drop me a line @ ghosttracker423@gmail.com. 

Thank you so much!! Have a blessed and wonderful holiday season!!

Works Cited

http://www.excelentebruja.com.ar/seccion3.htm

Courtaway, Robbi. Spirits of St. Louis: A Ghostly Guide to the Mound City's Unearthly Activities. October 1999.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Haunted Wampanoag Sites in Plymouth, Massachusetts: Thanksgiving Redefined


In all of our United States history books we have been taught that the first Thanksgiving which took place in 1621 at Plymouth Rock was one of communal celebration between the Pilgrims and local Native Americans. Unfortunately the accuracy of historical events can be a bit skewed, deviating from the truth to make events seem more public relations-friendly. In the context of our traditional three day feast, Abraham Lincoln thought up the scenario pictured above as a way of showing a desire to cooperate with those peoples already living here in North America. But there is another side to the story: 

"You’ve probably heard the story of how Squanto assisted in their planting of corn? So this was their first successful harvest and they were celebrating that harvest and planning a day of their own thanksgiving. And it’s kind of like what some of the Arab nations do when they celebrate by shooting guns in the air. So this is what was going on over there at Plymouth. They were shooting guns and canons as a celebration, which alerted us because we didn’t know who they were shooting at. So Massasoit [the Wampanoag chief] gathered up some 90 warriors and showed up at Plymouth prepared to engage, if that was what was happening, if they were taking any of our people. They didn’t know. It was a fact-finding mission.....In those days, the English really needed to rely on us and, yes, they were polite as best they could be, but they regarded us as savages nonetheless.... You can see throughout their journals that they were always nervous and, unfortunately, when they were nervous they were very aggressive."

I wanted to highlight this little known perspective on American history because it gives us a side of a very popular holiday tradition in our culture we do not read about in textbooks. Please understand that in no way do I wish to demean the "spirit" of Thanksgiving or to assert that I am an authority of history. The other cultural perspectives are fascinating and should be given any merit they deserve. Despite the story presented by the Wampanoag people, many Native Americans today do treat this cultural event as a positive celebration and agree with the implied spirit of cooperation.



In this article you will discover haunted sites in the Plymouth, Massachusetts area that will continue to redefine your perspective on the Thanksgiving holiday. The Wampanoag people not only offer a rich history of culture and traditions, but they also have a past that is shrouded in the paranormal. What I hope to reveal to you are paranormal connections to the celebration of Thanksgiving that go far beyond the simple feast of 1621. The haunted sites, attributed to the Wampanoag tribes, are ones you may have heard of; however, you may not have made their direct connection with our November celebration or the Pilgrims who survived the dangerous journey.

Journey Across the Sea  


The 23 Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1621 and with them they brought the microorganisms of their native country, England. By the grace of God they made it to North America and were determined to settle and raise their families. The problem was they needed help to maintain survival. Here is where the Wampanoag Indians stepped up and showed them how to plant and grow corn. This honorable gesture on their part opened their people up to something they could never have anticipated - disease.


As a result of exposure, the Wapanoag people have suffered several different epidemics - each one wiping out a huge part of their population. The first, which came in three waves over four years, was in 1614 and is believed to be caused by a bacterial infection called leptospirosis or the 7-day fever. This disease, caused by infected rats, took a population of 12,000 and reduced it all the way down to 2,000. These mass epidemics created massive burial grounds on the Massachusetts mainland. 

The Wampanoag were also inhabitants of nearby Nantucket Island, 40 miles southeast of Plymouth rock. Here is where our paranormal journey begins.

At the island's high point, the Wampanoag population reached almost 3,000. After the Pilgrims migrated to the area and over a century later, the Wampanoag tribe had gone completely extinct from the Nantucket Island. At one point in history, right at the start of the Revolutionary War, 222 members of this tribe -then only numbering 358 - had died of a devastating epidemic. This time around the cause was blamed on viruses and bacteria that the Pilgrims had brought with them. Here, southeast of Plymouth on Nantucket Island, the Miacomet burial grounds were dug for these victims. This island remains very haunted to this day because of this sacred ground.

Since Nantucket is such a small island, there are very few paranormal investigation groups that pay a visit. There is one local team, the Nantucket Paranormal Group, that has been documenting paranormal experiences since November 2006. Over the past decade the Miacomet burial ground has gathered some attention from their investigations:

  • Since whaling was a popular trade in the 1800's, there have been reports of seeing a deceased captain haunting Nantucket Island. 
  • There is a story, shrouded in folklore, that tells of a little girl who met an untimely death. She is believed to still haunt the island. 
  • Ray Sylvia, Jr. is the founder of NPG and it is his own great-grandmother who has gained the reputation on Nantucket as the "Centennial." She lived to be 102 years-old and there are claims by other family members that they have seen her walking the island. 
"We saw something in a house in Sconset....It was 11 or 11:30 at night, about 20 degrees out. In the master bedroom we heard what sounded like a little girl's voice playing in the front lawn. Of course, there was nobody out there... We couldn't find a rational explanation for that one." - Ray Sylvia


Since it was literally freezing cold outside, the voice they heard had to be from a residual haunting. With over 200 Wampanoags being buried in such a small area in an even shorter time frame, this opens up huge opportunities for these types of hauntings. I have yet to find an investigation team, or individual for that matter, who has experienced paranormal activity from the deceased Native Americans. But, I believe, there has to be a massive prevalence of this activity.

To give you a little context for my reasoning, let's look at Civil War cemetery sites. I peronally have experienced soldiers running from behind trees and tombstones, curious of anyone who enters their cemetery. I invite you to check out one of my earlier posts on my experiences in Alton, Illinois at this link: 

http://ghosttracker423.blogspot.com/2014/04/civil-war-cemetaries-hot-zones-of.html

The residual hauntings in the Alton National Cemetery are rather intense and have left quite an impact on both my wife and myself. And so it really is no stretch of the imagination to suspect that the Miacomet burial grounds may very well be just as haunted. Anytime there is a major traumatic experience with individuals or groups of people, residual hauntings tend to be created. Since there is ghostly documentation of little girls on the island, the children may have been more strongly impacted by the epidemics. 


Freetown State Forest


The paranormal activity on nearby Nantucket Island is quite fascinating, but there's an area even closer site that is even more baffling. Freetown-Fall River State Forest is about 30 miles southwest of Plymouth, Massachusetts. It too is the burial site of Pocasset Wampanoag Native Americans, but this forest has phenomenal activity and folklore that goes off the charts. 



The wooded area cover 5,441 acres and is notorious for its scenery and nearly 50 miles of unpaved road. It is a hotspot for hikers, cyclists, fishermen, and hunters. It also has perhaps the most diverse paranormal activity known anywhere.

"The forest sits squarely within the infamous 'Bridgewater Triangle,' a 200 square mile area within southeastern Massachusetts that is the epicenter of a mind boggling array of inexplicable bizarre phenomena reported since colonial times, including strange creatures, Bigfoot, UFOs, ghosts, specters, ominous black helicopters, mysterious orbs of light, strange disappearances, giant snakes, poltergeist activity, and cattle mutilations, to name but a few."

Check out this 4 minute video to learn even more about this geographic area:




Thanksgiving Thoughts


The events at Plymouth Rock that occurred almost 400 years ago have forever changed American society. All of us are familiar with the Pilgrims who came to this country, but how much do you know about the other half of the Thanksgiving table? The Wampanoag people have a different perspective on our holiday and their culture has a very deep and rich tie to the paranormal.

The activity on Nantucket Island was brought about by epidemics, created naturally and brought over by the fleeing Europeans. The unrest their deaths has caused created a series of hauntings on the island, documented by the Nantucket Paranormal Group.

But what is surprising about the Wampanoag Native Americans is how strong and diverse the paranormal attributes are to their culture. The Bridgewater Triangle is certainly comparable to an Area 51 and the claims and legends coming from this huge forest seem almost unbelievable. One of my favorite claims from this area is documented on the website
 Mysterious Universe:

"The forest is said to be home to a race of diminutive humanoid creatures known as Pukwedgies, which have long been known by the native Wampanoag tribe. These creatures are described as being troll-like beasts around 2 to 3 feet in height and with smooth, hairy grey skin that is said to glow on occasion. The Pukwedgies have a notorious reputation for mischief and mayhem, and are said to intentionally startle people, throw rocks or sand in their faces, push or shove them, kidnap them, hurl them from cliffs, wrestle with them or even attack them with knives or spears.... Although this may seem at first glance as nothing more than spooky folklore, there are numerous visitors to the forest who have claimed to have seen such creatures, and the mischievous beasts have been blamed as the cause of the unusual number of people who have supposedly fallen from cliffs to their deaths in the area."

Works Cited:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-was-on-the-menu-at-the-first-thanksgiving-511554/?no-ist

http://www.ack.net/island091307.html

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/11/23/what-really-happened-first-thanksgiving-wampanoag-side-tale-and-whats-done-today-145807

http://www.nha.org/pdfs/otherislanders/1aWamp1o2.pdf

http://newenglandfolklore.blogspot.com/

http://www.ack.net/Paranormal103008.html

http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/06/the-cursed-forest-of-massachusetts/

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Wild West Ghosts of Colorado


When we think of Halloween, certain images come to mind. Ghosts, jack-o-lanterns with spooky eyes, dark clouds surrounding a full moon, children trick-or-treating, and cemeteries are a few of this holiday's historic icons. For anyone interested in the paranormal, this is an exciting time of year - and I absolutely agree. 

Ever since I was a child and watched Charlie Brown's The Great Pumpkin, I have had a fascination for the paranormal ( I just watched it again this week with my son). And so this month I thought I would bring you a post that represents the "spirit" of Halloween - but with an Old West twist. 

In this article you will be introduced to two towns in Colorado that host the classic icons of Halloween through intense paranormal activity throughout their locations. 

In the first stop of our journey, we head into the mountainous town of Ouray, Colorado and visit the Beaumont Hotel and Spa. If you are a subscriber to our newsletter, then you will already have had an opportunity to watch the video and get a sense of the beauty of this town. If not, here is the link: http://eepurl.com/ci_KbT 


This hotel, located on Main Street, is riddled with paranormal activity that covers nearly all of our Halloween icons. Here you will also meet Mark Todd and Kym O'Connell-Todd. He is a professor and she is a graphic designer by day who also are recently-converted paranormal investigators. Together they have published a travelogue book, Wild West Ghosts, that documents the 14 different locations they investigated in the Colorado area. The Beaumont is one of these hot spots.

On our second and final stop of our Wild West Halloween, we travel southeast to the even smaller town of Antonito, Colorado and get a haunted Old West feel for an area that is credited with having 11 cemeteries within its jurisdictions. Inside its borders, as well, exists an incredible amount of paranormal activity, specifically at two locations - the Steam Train Hotel and the Rivers Inn Bed and Breakfast. By the time you finish experiencing all of these sites, you may want to find a local watering hole and order up a cold one!



Beaumont Hotel and Spa

505 Main St, Ouray, CO 81427
Phone: (970) 325-7000


Mark and Kym live in the Centennial state area and have taken on an amazing project. In their book Wild West Ghosts (click title for Amazon link), they visit fourteen different locations in the Colorado area - documenting the history, physical description, and paranormal claims of each site. They also have brought along with them some basic ghost hunting equipment so that they can document some of the claims by the owners and guests. 

The Beaumont Hotel was "built in 1886 of bricks fired from the mud of local hot springs. The hotel began as an enterprise to entertain railroad and mining investors to the area and claims the distinction as one of the first in the country wired for AC current." (pg. 166)

The site was also known as a place for the ladies of the night to work from - with "[t]he hotel's lounge...[being]...named after Luella Huey, the last known prostitute practicing out of the Beaumont." (pg. 167) It had been shut down for nearly forty years after tourism died out in the 1950's and 60's. New owners purchased the property in 1998 and remodeled it towards its reopening in 2003, restoring it beautifully.



In the photo on the left you see the Luella Bar, named after Ms. Huey, that reflects the grandeur of the hotel's remodeling. I can certainly imagine Luella and a possible client leaning on elbows and having some small talk. You can fill in the blanks for the rest of the conversation....





The Beaumont has had its fair share of controversial activity that stems far from just entertaining guests. Many of these events have shaped the ghostly activity found on the grounds:

"At least one murder occurred on the premises through the early years, involving a hotel waitress named Eller Day in 1887. A jealous pastry chef shot her four times in the Luella Lounge. Authorities incarcerated him for a pending trial, but the jail burned down at the hands of enraged vigilantes that very night with the chef still inside."    

The action at the Beaumont is wildly intense and certainly exhibits many of the spooky aspects associated with Halloween. The site's activity spans a broad range, almost in its entirety, of paranormal events:
  • Doors throughout the hotel lock and unlock by themselves.
  • Smells permeate the entire site ranging from perfume to the scent of burning tobacco.
  • One area of the dining room is reported to drop 23 degrees in temperature for no apparent reason.
  • Ghosts have been seen multiple times a week reflected in the bar room mirror.
  • Poltergeist activity ranges from workers' tools being scattered around overnight to bottles of skin and body care being relocated in different positions.

In the photo to the right you see the third floor balcony where a full-bodied apparition has appeared in the doorway on the far side. On this same floor in the atrium "another guest witnessed a full-body apparition wearing a long white dress." There have been a couple reports of other apparitions, one in particular was a "nurse ghost," being seen throughout other parts of the hotel.



"One source relates the story of a ghostly woman said to walk the halls at 2:15 a.m. on every quarter of the moon. Some say her husband murdered her, and she continues to look for him. Supposedly the ghost scene replays [the sign of a residual haunting], but only with her and not her killer husband."

Many times hotels have certain rooms that exhibit more paranormal activity then the others. This generally happens because intense events have occurred in the rooms and the residual energy lingers on, embedded in the atmosphere and in many of the objects contained in the room. The Beaumont is no exception to this rule.




Room 304 is credited with regular poltergeist activity ranging from a bathtub mysteriously filling with water to strange lingering aromas. The photo on the left shows the luxurious bed in this room. It is here that Mark and Kym decided to do a flashlight session to see what they might discover. 




The 1-minute video below is a snippet of their experiences and the responses they received: 




Oh Little Town of Antonito

Antonito, Colorado is a very small town - 0.4 square miles to be exact - that hosts approximately 780 residents. It is located in Conejos County and began as a sheep herding camp previously named San Antonio Junction. It is one of Colorado's 160 statutory towns, which simply means they are run by a mayor and four to six additional members who are elected. It's kind of like the Old West towns we might see in the old television westerns.

Steam Train Hotel
402 Main St, Antonito, CO 81120
Phone:(719) 298-8908

Even though this town is a mere speck on the Colorado map, it hosts an amazing amount of paranormal activity. The Steam Train Hotel is one that offers up perhaps one of the most notorious of our Halloween icons - the dark and mysterious clouds. 

To give a little background history - this small brick hotel was built and completed in 1911 and hosts nine guest rooms. It is named after the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad that runs through Antonito. The town's geography is prime for hunters, anglers, hikers, and anyone who loves to snowmobile. When enthusiasts come for these sports, they stay at the popular Steam Train Hotel. And, from the stories told, they get more than what they bargained.


"[the hotel is] haunted by a hovering cloud, which has been observed making its way between rooms before disappearing into the inoperable elevator shaft."

You might first say that this claim of a "cloud" floating from room to room sounds ridiculous, but there really is such a phenomenon. It is very rare and most paranormal investigation teams will not have encountered this black mass. From my own personal experiences I know of at least one location where this has happened. The feelings with this cloud tend to be dark and I believe that it is an entity trying to manifest itself in a very grandiose manner. It takes a lot of energy for a spirit to attempt the cloud manifestation and that is why it is seldom seen. Here at the Steam Train Hotel the source of this energy is open for speculation. Perhaps a few of its guests brought a few ghosts of their own!

Rivers Inn Bed and Breakfast
317 River Street
Antonito, Colorado 81120 USA
Phone: (719) 376-6029

The next location in Antonito that is even more active with supernatural happenings is the River's Inn Bed & Breakfast. This site has an amazing amount of paranormal craziness on the premises. It has 5 rooms available for a comfortable stay, although you may be a little on edge when you learn about its incredible spectrum of ghostly happenings.

If you have 20 minutes to check out this video, I encourage you to watch an investigation done by Krystal Leandra. She was a host investigator on Zak Bagans' Ghost Adventures and is now doing her own work. I don't normally put videos this long in an article, but she and her friend Blake have done a great job with this production.



Krystal's team has quite a few experiences at the Rivers Inn that seem almost unbelievable because of how intense they were. The Inn owner, Ursula, mentions some of the other strange things that are tied to the property. Sightings of Chupacabra, Bigfoot, and a local entity known as "La Llorana" have been reported. UFOs are claimed to have visited the area and they even have installed a tower to keep watch. Cattle mutilations, which have been reported all over the country, have been found here as well.

The ghostly events in the Rivers Inn discovered in this video can be summed up:

  • Black shadow on the stairs leading to the second floor can be seen reflected in the downstairs mirror.
  • Mr. Jordan, the original 1907 owner, is claimed to have committed suicide in a barn out back, although he was found shot. The suspicion is murder. His spirit is believed to still haunt Rivers Inn. One paranormal investigation team has claimed to have made physical contact with Henry Jordan. (from Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/Rivers-Inn-Bed-and-Breakfast-434373183335733/)
  • Knocks and loud bangs have been heard on all floors of the hotel.
  • In the basement Krystal had a rock thrown at her. In order for this poltergeist to happen, a large amount of energy must be used. The innkeepers believe there is a vortex in the basement that would fuel this kind of activity.
  • Perhaps the most interesting capture by Krystal and Blake is the plasma that can be seen in the doorway. It travels downward just like a spider, and yes, this is another Halloween icon - the creepy spider!
Colorado has proven itself to be far more than just stories of the Wild West. The state hosts a myriad of paranormal activity that embodies nearly everything we might think of when the word Halloween comes to mind. Mark and Kym have done a fantastic job of capturing evidence in their own neck of the woods and I definitely encourage you to check out their book. Wild West Ghosts is a reflection of what the Centennial state is all about - a rich history, a plethora of paranormal activity, and many locations for you to visit and have a great stay!


Here's the link again to lasso up your copy - Yeehaw!!




Works Cited

http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/search/searchterm/Antonito

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/316166836314009071/

https://www.wanderable.com/hm/kateandjoel





Friday, September 30, 2016

Extreme Native American Legends: The Wendigo and Skadegamutc



If you have never heard of the Wendigo or Skadegamutc, then you are in for a real treat...or a trick of the mind. These two Native American legends are rooted deep in the traditions of the northernmost U.S. and Canadian regions of North America. The tribes that claim their existence do so from real experiences that they have had with these creatures. How exactly could such menacing entities have come into existence? Perhaps they are simply a scary oral tradition that was passed down through the generations as a means of ensuring that Native Americans stay true to the creeds of respect, healing, and balance? 

This article will walk you through the concept of animism and the world of the shamans. Then you will meet, firsthand, these legendary entities and read actual stories of their encounters. The first is a very realistic fictional account of the Wendigo written by author Brian Moreland. The Skadegamutc tale is retrieved from the archives of the Folklife Center at the University of Maine.

The Spirits Are Everywhere


Native Americans are known for their deep connection with Nature. For these indigenous North Americans, everything organic and inorganic has a spirit. Wind, fire, water, rocks, plants, animals - nearly every aspect of this planet - Mother Earth included - is attributed with an internal spirit. These spiritual incarnations give Native Americans their unique perspective on life, death, and the afterlife. Their beliefs and legends distinguish them from many other cultures throughout the world and in history. Native Americans embrace the essence of everything they encounter because within everything is their understanding of God. And respect should always be given to the universe's life force. 

This is the reason why they practice certain traditions and perform various ceremonies, like the wedding celebration pictured above right. Everything they do in their daily lives serves a specific function that is dependent on the environment and each other. Furthermore, and most importantly, Native Americans do their best not to leave an ecological footprint. This phenomenon, from a more scientific perspective, is known as animism.

"Animism (from the Latin: animus or anima, meaning mind or soul) refers to a belief in numerous personalized, supernatural beings endowed with reason, intelligence and/or volition, that inhabit both objects and living beings and govern their existences. More simply, it is the belief that 'everything is conscious' or that 'everything has a soul.'"


For many Europeans and similar Western Cultures, the realms of the physical and the spiritual are generally considered to be separate entities. Through this point of view there is a definite veil that divides these two worlds. Native Americans, however, view the physical and spiritual worlds as one coexisting entity. They are inseparable - one relies on the other. For their culture, there really isn't the dividing veil that is perceived to exist in more European and Western societies. 

This is beneficial for the shamans and medicine men (tribal leaders within Native American societies) because it allows them a direct connection to the tools needed for healing, insight, and direction. Allowing our physical world and the spirit realms to exist in a complementary duality opens up unique opportunities to make amazing things happen.

"Animistic creeds have in common an undertaking on the part of people to communicate with supernatural beings, not about metaphysics or the dilemmas of the moral life but about urgent practicalities: about securing food, curing illness, and averting danger."


When any Native American wants help with an issue, there is always a way to turn to the spirit world for answers. Balance and respect are always considerations, as can be seen when the hunt ensues. No one will ever over-hunt a species and all deaths are given the same sentiments of loss as one would give to a human. The creeds are weighted with a balance that is meant to never take anything for granted and to search for the deepest meanings for all aspects of existence.


Transcendental Visionaries


Native American shamans are key elements to these "creeds." They are endowed with an ability to leave their physical bodies and seek out spiritual help wherever it may be found in the outer or inner dimensions. This shamanic ability gives American Indians a unique edge in understanding the paranormal world on a level we might only be able to imagine. They can tap into the spiritual essence of everything living and nonliving in our environment. They may even be able to better grasp why limestone has its unique paranormal properties. But that is another post....

There is a great beauty in this astral connection that I believe we as humans, in general, are losing sight of in our daily lives. Nature is becoming something to be removed, a source of inconvenience or an entity to be forgotten as useless. We also can become so lost within ourselves that we forget to respect our world and each other. We would do well to remember the gifts that Native Americans have to offer us.

But not everything is balance and respect within Native American tribes. Like any other society, there are members who do not necessarily have the best interests of their people and environment in mind. They are, perhaps, out for their own gain or selfish exploration. Within the legends of Native Americans we find very strong manifestations of these "dark spirits." Two such entities who represent these very destructive elements are the Windigo and the Skadegamutc.


Driven by an Unsatiable Hunger


The Wendigo is a creature spawned from human cannibalism. There are various descriptions of what they are, but generally they range in size from human stature to over 15 feet tall. They "have glowing eyes, long yellowed fangs and overly long tongues." These manitou are driven by an insatiable hunger for flesh that grows exponentially as they grow in size from each feeding. This supernatural creature will continuously hunt until it starves to death or is killed.

The Witigo is usually categorized as a cryptid; however, its existence crosses over both physical and spiritual realms. This legendary anomaly is primarily attributed to the Algonquin tribe in the northernmost parts of the states that border the Great Lakes, but it can also be found in the Inuit, Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), and Cree literature. It has been seen in various parts of Canada as well. It has many different names, depending on the region. Wiindego, Witiko, Wee-Tee-Go, and Windigoag (plural form) are a few.

    "The Wendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tightly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Wendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody [....] Unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, the Wendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption."

The quote above is taken from a well-known Ojibwe storyteller Basil Johnson who has written extensively on these creatures. The Wendigo has the ability to take on two forms. One is the spirit that has been mentioned, the manitou, and the other is "the power to turn humans into cannibals who suffer the same voracity."

These transformed humans have been the main focus for certain shamans or other tribal members who have hunted these creatures and encountered humans who were about to be transformed. There are several documented cases of Native Americans who have been put to death for murder. Those convicted swear they were disposing of a human who was turning into a Windigo. One of the most notorious convicted hunters was known as Jack Fiddler. You can find his story here. 


The Wendigo are very aggressive entities and they must be killed through extreme measures. As Brian Moreland recounts in his fiction book, Dead of Winter:

     "The cannibal charged, loping toward them, closing the distance with incredible speed. Tom hurled the lantern, striking the beast with a burst of flames that rippled across the fur parka. The ravens scattered. The cannibal roared, spinning, a whirling dervish of fire. Tom and the soldiers filled the killer's body with lead until he finally collapsed in a heap of flames." (Chapter 125)

Many tribes throughout the continent speak of these creatures, just with different names. Here, in Brian's words:

     "The folklore of the Canadian tribes all speak of legendary creatures that roam the wilderness. In northern Wisconsin, Dakota Indians speak of a bipedal creature named Chiye-tanka. And on the Pacific Northwest coast, the Athabaskan tribes have their Wechuge, and both Indians and Whites have reported seeing a hairy beast called Sasquatch or Bigfoot. These ape-like creatures are like the Abominable Snowmen of the Himalayas." (Chapter 114)

Brian is an excellent horror fiction writer who bases his books on actual people, events, experiences, legends, and entities. To breathe life into his writings, he researches extensively and will embed himself into the environment of which he is writing to serve as authentic inspiration. Currently, he is working on a few upcoming books based on a sabbatical from which he has recently returned. I invite you to check his amazing work at http://brianmoreland.com/

Coming from a paranormal perspective, the Wendigo represent an entity that has removed the veil between the physical and spirit worlds. Here the lines of reality are blurred and this Native American legend moves away from being just an oral tradition and becomes transformed into everyone's worst nightmare. But the Wendigo is not alone....
      

On an Extreme Scale

  

The Skadegamutc (pronounced skuh-deh-guh-mooch) is known by alternate spellings within the Wabanaki tribes (Skudakumooch, Skite'kmuj), but its creation is perhaps the most evil manifestation conceivable. The Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and Abenaki tribes are affiliated with the Wabanaki who are primarily located in the state of Maine.


These "ghost witches" were once shamans who manipulated dark energies. When they died, they refused to remain in the death state and continuously fight to re-achieve life status. As a result of these very twisted and dark intentions, a spiritual aberration is created - a sort of Native American vampire. At night these creatures come out "to kill, eat, and throw curses at any unlucky humans who come across them." The only way a Skadegamutc can be destroyed is by fire. Here is a documented account by the University of Maine's Folklife Center of one of these entities attacking and killing a member of a hunting party:

"There were these two hunters [and] they got lost in the woods. While they were hunting there came a big storm and they got lost, but they came to this deserted maple sugar camp, so they had to stop there for the night. One of them said, 'I don’t feel like going in that place. [It] seems to be haunted by something. . . . I don’t feel right going in there.'

[The other one] said, 'We’ll have to stop somewhere overnight rather than walk in that storm or freeze to death. We might as well stop here for the night and dry out our clothes, and we’ll start first thing in the morning.'


So one of the hunters there couldn’t sleep. The other one soon fell asleep and was snoring. But [the first one] he almost fell asleep once and he put in some more wood on the fire. And he could hear some noise, kind of a gurgling noise, and he looked behind and seen this dead man sucking the blood out of the other hunter. He’d come to life, must have been a werewolf.

Next morning [everyone from a local Indian reservation] went. . . to that place, and they found this dead man [the Skadegamutc] laying on the bunk right where they left him and they found this other one all [with] his jugular vein all broke open [and] the blood drained out of him. Well, they took him and buried him in the Indian burying ground, but this other one [the black shaman] they burnt him. . . . They tied him to a pile of wood. . . and burned him. That’s the only way they could kill him so he wouldn’t bother any more people. During the last, when he was burning there they could hear the bones cracking. Pretty soon they could hear a voice screeching way off into the air. That’s the only way they could get rid of him. . . ."



Final Thoughts


Legends are very prevalent within Native American cultures and anyone who is not of the tribes may read and find them to be merely from the depths of fiction. The funny thing about legends, though, is that nearly all of them are derived from real experiences by real Native Americans. They live according to a system of beliefs that allows them to perceive the paranormal world in ways we can only begin to imagine. What may seem to be the workings of an active imagination may, in fact, be very real. 

I challenge you as a reader to look deeper into these legends and decide for yourself. 

Are they really just something you read about in books?

Or... do creatures like the Windigo and the Skadegamutc really do exist - waiting and stalking to consume their next prey?





Works Cited


http://comicvine.gamespot.com/forums/battles-7/wendigo-until-dawn-vs-chris-walker-outlast-1808897/

http://www.blumhouse.com/2016/03/31/the-10-most-terrifying-native-american-legends/ 

https://www.britannica.com/topic/animism

http://www.cryptopia.us/site/2010/02/wendigo-canada/

http://www.native-languages.org/skadegamutc.htm

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Animism

http://www.prairieghosts.com/wendigo.html

http://umaine.edu/folklife/publications/northeast-folklore-2/miscellaneous-malecite-tales/#Hunters