Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Haunted Places Around the World

The Alkimos shipwreck, Australia:
The Alkimos was a greek owned merchant ship which was wrecked on the coast of Perth Western Australia in 1963. The wreck is a popular diving venue, and is also reputed to be haunted, making it of interest to ghost hunters.
   The ship was built during world war II by Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards in Baltimore as part of the United States' Liberty ship program and was originally scheduled to be named George M. Shriver. It was launched on October 11, 1943. However, on October 20, the vessel was re-assigned to the Norwegian Shipping & Trade Mission, was re-christened Viggo Hansteen. And saw war service for about 18 months, primarily in the Mediterranean and was crewed by mariners of various nationalities. It served as a troopship and transported cargo, in convoys that were sometimes attacked by German aircraft and U-boats.
    A murder-suicide took place on board Viggo Hansteen in August 1944, while the ship was at Naples (some sources say Piombino); Canadian radio operator Maude Steane is reported to have been shot by another crew member, who then killed himself.
    After the war it was sold to a Greek shipping company and renamed Alkimos, after a word meaning "strong" and a Greek god, Álkimos.
    As Alkimos, the ship plied the world's oceans for some two decades. In March 1963, the vessel was on a voyage from Jakarta to Bunbury when it struck a reef off the Western Australian coast. It was salvaged and towed to Fremantle, the port city for Perth, where it underwent repairs for two months. After settlement of a dispute concerning payment for the repairs, the Alkimos left Fremantle under tow by an ocean-going tug from Hong Kong.
     Only a few hours out of port, the tow line gave way and the Alkimos was driven onto the shore. Although the ship remained intact, it could not be floated off at that time, and so it was filled with water to secure it in place and left in the charge of an on-board caretaker. Another tug returned in January 1964 and the ship was refloated, but the planned journey to Manila had hardly begun when the tug was seized at sea by authorities and the Alkimos was left anchored. In May 1964, the vessel broke anchor and was driven onto the Eglinton Rocks near present-day Yanchep. On this occasion it was more severely damaged, and all thought of salvaging it intact was abandoned.
    It was later sold by the owners for scrap. However, in 1969, salvage workers were driven off the wreck by a fire. One of the salvage workers also reported hearing ghostly noises. After that time, the partly dismantled remains of the ship sat in several metres of water, visible to visitors, but gradually disintegrating.
                                                           Ghost stories
    A variety of events and allegations throughout the vessel's history have given rise to it being regarded as being 'jinxed', cursed or haunted, both during its working life and since it was wrecked. This aspect is the main focus of present-day interest in the ship.
    Allegations that, during it's hasty construction a defining characteristic of Liberty Ships welders were sealed between hulls and their ghosts have haunted the vessel ever since.
    Apparitions of a small dog in the engine room during the ship's service.
    A woman, working on board as a caretaker, suffering a serious fall, resulting in the birth of a premature stillborn baby.
    Phenomena reported by salvage workers occupying the wreck, including: footsteps heard on ladders and following workers around the vessel at night.
    Cooking smells and noises emanating from the galley.
  Tools were reported to be moved by unseen hands.
    An apparition of a human figure in rubber boots and oilskins (nicknamed "Harry"), has been sighted on the wreck by various people including local cray fishermen.
    The skull of Herbert Voight, a prominent long distance swimmer, being found near the wreck after he vanished in 1969, while attempting to swim between Cottesole Beach and Rottnest Island.
    The ship being bought and sold at least eight times while stranded, along with suggestions that purchasers suffered bad luck (such as bankruptcy and life threatening illness.)
    Bad luck is also said to have plagued other people associated with the wreck:
  A US Navy submariner by the name of Ted Snider was killed in a plane crash after assessing the wreck.
    Jack Wong Sue was hospitalised, in intensive care, with an unidentified respiratory disease after researching the ship.
  Numerous other stories of near drownings, engine failures and accidents near the wreck are reported.
    Horses riding along the beach are claimed to refuse to pass the wreck.

Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, Australia:
Originally known as Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum is a decommissioned psychiatric hospital located in Beechworth, a town of Victoria, Australia. Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum was the four such Hospital to be built in Victoria, being one of the three largest. Mayday Hills Hospital closed in 1995 after 128 years of operation.
                                  Admission process
People could be admitted to the asylum as a lunatic patient by a number of means:
    At the request of a friend, relative or acquaintance, with medical certificates written by two medical practitioners. This method was amended by The Mental Health Act 1959 which stated a person could be admitted upon the recommendation of a medical practitioner who had examined the person. As soon as possible after admission the superintendent of the hospital was required to examine the patient and either approve the recommended admission or discharge the patient.
    Any (lunatic) person found wandering at large or not under proper care and control could be brought before two justices who could order the person's removal to an asylum. The police were usually responsible for bringing the person before the two justices.
    Any prisoner of the Crown thought to be a lunatic could be removed from a gaol to an asylum by order of the Chief Secretary.
    Voluntary Boarders were those who requested that they be admitted for a mutually agreed period of time (from 1915 onwards).
    To be admitted, only two signatures were required. To be discharged, eight signatures were required, thus it was a lot harder to get out than to get in.
    One of the ghosts most often seen at Beechworth is that of Matron Sharpe her apparition has been seen in several different parts of the hospital. Matron Sharpe's ghost has been seen in the former dormitory area, which is now part of Latrobe University's computer rooms. Witnesses have seen her walking down the granite staircase and into one of the classrooms. Matron Sharpe was apparently very compassionate toward the patients, which is uncharacteristic of the era.
    One patient whose ghost is thought to haunt Beechworth is Tommy Kennedy. Tommy was well liked at the hospital and was given a job as a kitchen hand. Tommy actually died in the kitchen which is now part of the Bijou theatre, it is here that people have said they have felt the sensation of someone tugging at their clothes or poking their ribs.
The Reaction Hall was an area where patients could sing, play music or perform in plays, on Sundays the hall doubled as the chapel. In 1939 the hall became a cinema, where inmates could come in to watch movies. There are two common sightings in the hall, one is of a young girl, who approaches women and desperately tries to communicate with them. The other ghost has been seen in a window that was once part of the Bell Tower; the apparition of an elderly man facing away from the window is often seen.
    The Grevillia wing was the section of the hospital all patients feared, it has been closed for 13 years, and now in a derelict state. As medication wasn't introduced until the 1950s, restraints such as straightjackets and even shackles were commonly used as well as electro-shock treatment. Electro shock treatment was widely used in the hospitals early days and there are stories of mass treatments in which almost the entire patient population was shocked in one session. When the shocks were administered the patient's bodies either splayed out backwards with force or contracted inward into a fetal position, which ever position ligaments would snap, bones were often broken and teeth shattered.
There are two common sightings in Grevillia, one is thought to be that of an unknown male doctor, his apparition has been seen wandering the corridors at night. The other is Matron Sharpe whose ghost was often seen in this area by the nurses who worked at Mayday Hills. They would report seeing the Matron sitting with patients who were due to have electro-shock treatment. Those who say they've witnessed this say the room was icy cold, but her presence was comforting, and seemed to bring a sense of reassurance to the patients.
    Workmen at the hospital have reported hearing the sound of children laughing and playing; when they investigate the sound they are unable to trace there source. Several years ago on a ghost tour a parent noticed their 10 year old son talking to himself when asked who he was talking to the boy said he was talking to a boy called James who lived there.
    A patient, a woman who was a big chain smoker was thrown out of a window to her death by another patient who wanted her cigarettes. Because the woman was Jewish her body was not allowed to be moved until a Rabbi had seen it, so her body was left lying out the front of the hospital dead for 2 days whilst the Rabbi made the trip up from Melbourne. Her ghost has been seen on the spot where she fell, by several witnesses over the last decade. The photo on the right was taken of the window from which she was thrown, an orb is clearly visable in the photo.
    The gardens of Beechworth have long been subdivided into allotments; those who live nearby have seen the ghost of a man, wearing a green woolen jacket. The ghost is thought to be of a gardener named Arthur who worked the gardens for many years earning ten shillings a week. He wore his green jacket in winter and summer and no one could persuade him to remove it. After Arthur died, it was discovered why Arthur had been secretly storing his wages in the seam of his jacket. When the nurses opened it, they found 140 pounds, over four years of his wages, hidden inside.
    There's one final and grizzly tale of a patient who disappeared, despite efforts by staff to locate him. Several weeks later his location was discovered when the resident dog Max, was found chewing a leg near the gate house at the grounds entry. A second search found the body up in a tree; the body had decomposed so badly that his leg had come off. The ghost of the patient has been seen near the entrance to the Asylum, the sightings have often been in the early hours of the morning.

Monte Cristo Homestead, Junee Australia:
Is a historic Australian property located in the town of Junee, New South Wales. Constructed by local pioneer Christopher William Crawley in 1885, it is a double-story late-Victorian manor standing on a hill overlooking the town.
    The Crawley family remained in residence until 1948. The house then stood empty under the care of several caretakers until 1963 when it was purchased by Reg and Olive Ryan, who restored it to its current condition. It operates as a museum, antique store and tourist attraction.
    Monte Cristo is claimed to be Australia's most haunted house, with reports of ghostly figures, strange lights, invisible forcefields, phantom sounds and animal mutilations. These are attributed to several tragic incidents in the property's past including the murder of a caretaker in 1961 and the imprisonment of a mentally impaired man for many years in the dairy. During the Crawleys' occupation a young child is said to have been fatally dropped down the stairs, a maid to have fallen from the balcony, and a stable boy to have been burnt to death.

Princess Theatre, Melbourne Australia:
It was first erected in 1854 by actor-manager George Coppin, who would create Melbourne's theatre land. He already owned the Olympic (known as the 'Iron Pot') on the corner of Exhibition and Lonsdale Streets, installed gas lights in November 1855 into Astley's, and then he would go on to take over the Theatre Royal in Bourke Street.
    The Princess Theatre is the second building on the present site - the first being Astley's Amphitheatre which opened in 1854 containing a central ring for equestrian entertainment and a stage at one end for dramatic performances. It was named in honour of the Astley Royal Amphitheatre, also known as Astley's Amphitheatre, near Westminster Bridge, London.
In 1857, the amphitheatre was renovated and the facade extended, then re-opening as the Princess Theatre and Opera House.
    By 1885, the partnership of J. C. Williamson, George Musgrove and Arthur Garner, had been formed and they became known as 'The Triumvirate', the business becoming known as J. C. Williamson's. The Triumvirate resolved to build a new theatre.
    Completed in 1886 to the design of architect William Pitt; George Gordon to design the interior; and Cockram and Comely as the builders; re-development of the Theatre took place at a cost of £50,000. The design is in the exuberant Second Empire style, and the theatre forms part of the Victorian streetscape of Spring Street.
When completed, it featured the world's first sliding or retractable roof and ceiling. It also featured state-of-the-art electrical stage lighting.
    The theatre re-opened, again, on 18 December 1886, with a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. The marble staircase and foyer was hailed as equal to that of the Paris Opera, the Frankfurt Stadt and the Grand in Bordeaux.
On 26 December 1922, new owners Ben Fuller and Hugh J. Ward renovated and reopened the theatre, with a performance of The O'Brien Girl.
    In 1987, David Marriner purchased the Princess Theatre; he renovated and had the 1922 origins documented, then 9 December 1989, the theatre re-opened with the musical Les Misérables, followed by The Phantom of the Opera, establishing a new record for the longest running show ever staged in Victoria.
                               Ghost sightings
The theatre has experienced several reported ghost sightings.
    On the evening of 3 March 1888, the baritone Frederick Baker, known under the stage name "Frederick Federici", was performing the role of Mephistopheles in Gounod's opera Faust. This production ended with Mephistopheles sinking dramatically through a trapdoor returning to the fires of hell with his prize, the unfortunate Dr Faustus. The audience was spellbound. As the audience held its collective breath as Federici was lowered down through the stage into this basement, he had a heart attack and died immediately. They laid him on the floor, lifeless, in his crimson vestments. He never came back onstage, never took the bows. When the company was gathered together to be told that Federici had died, they asked, "When?". Being told of what had happened at the end of the opera, they said, "He's just been onstage and taken the bows with us." Since then, many people who have never heard of the Federici story have claimed to see a ghostly figure in evening dress at the theatre. For many years, the third-row seat in the dress circle was kept vacant in his honour.
    When a documentary was made nearly 80 years later, by Kennedy Miller in the early 1970s, a photograph of the film set revealed an ashen-faced, partly transparent observer. No-one on the set saw the figure on that day; only the photograph revealed 'the ghost'.

Dragsholm Castle, Zealand Denmark:
Is a historic building in Hørve, Denmark‎.    Dragsholm Slot is one of the oldest secular buildings in Denmark.
    For about 800 years there has been a building on the islet by the “drag”. From the original palace over the medieval castle to the current baroque style, Dragsholm Castle has had an influence on and been influenced by changing times and the surrounding community. Today, Dragsholm Castle has restaurant and hotel facilities.
    The original Dragsholm Castle was built around 1215 by the Bishop of Roskilde. During the middle ages, the building was modified from the original palace to a fortified castle. During the Count's Feud (1534–36) (Grevens Fejde) it was so strong that it was the only castle on Zealand to withstand the armies of Count Christoffer.
    In connection with the Reformation, Dragsholm was passed on to the Crown. As Crownland during the period from 1536 to 1664, Dragsholm Castle was used as a prison for noble and ecclesiastical prisoners. In the large tower at the northeast corner of the medieval castle, prison cells were made and equipped with toilets and windows depending on the prisoner’s crimes, behaviour and the seriousness of his insults towards his Majesty, the King.
    Some of the most well-known prisoners at Dragsholm Castle include the last Catholic Bishop in Roskilde, the former owner of the castle, Joachim Rønnow; the 4th Earl of Bothwell, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots; and the seemingly raving mad squire, Ejler Brockenhuus.
    During the wars against Charles X Gustav of Sweden, an attempt was made to blow up Dragsholm Castle, and the place was a ruin until the King as part payment of his outstanding debts gave the castle to the grocer Heinrich Müller, and he started the restoration.
    In 1694, Dragsholm Castle was sold to the nobleman Frederik Christian Adeler and finally rebuilt as the baroque castle we see today. Several owners from that family have made a lasting imprint on the development, including G. F. O. Zytphen Adeler, who took the initiative to drain the Lammefjord. The family line became extinct in 1932, and Dragsholm Castle passed over to the Central Land Board which sold the place to J.F. Bøttger, but only with the land belonging to the main estate.
    Numerous witnesses and psychics have claimed that there are three ghosts who are residents at the castle: a grey lady, a white lady and the Earl of Bothwell. The Earl is said to ride through the courtyard with a full horse and carriage. However the story of the White Lady is quite tragic. She was a noble lady who fell in love with a peasant. The family felt this was a disgrace, so they walled her in alive. The only reason we know of this is because they tore down the wall she was imprisoned in, and unearthed her skeleton.

Bhangarh, Rajasthan India:
 Is a ruined town in the Alwar district of the state of Rajasthan, India, famous for its historical ruins. Bhangarh is at the edge of the Sariska Tiger Reserve.
Bhangarh is a place between Jaipur and Delhi in Rajasthan state of India known for its ruins. Bhangarh is also a pre-historic site.
    The most remarkable of its buildings are the temples of Gopinath, Shiva (Someshwar), Mangla Devi, Lavina Devi and Keshava Rai. Other buildings include shops along the main road, several havelis, a mosque, and a palace. The palace was protected by two inner fortifications across the valley. The town is separated from the plain by ramparts with five gates.
    The town was established in 1573 (VS 1631) during the rule of Bhagwant Das as the residence of his second son Madho Singh, the younger brother of Emperor Akbar’s general, Man Singh I. Madho Singh participated in many campaigns with his father and brother. The next ruler of Bhangarh was his son Chhatr Singh, after whose death in 1630 Bhangarh slowly declined. When the Mughal Empire became weaker after the death of Aurangzeb, Jai Singh II attached Bhangarh to his state by force in 1720. After this Bhangarh diminished in population, and since the famine of 1783 (VS 1840) the town has remained uninhabited.
    It is very interesting to note that entry to Bhangarh is legally prohibited between sunset and sunrise. A signboard posted by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), which is a Government of India organization, specifies the instructions. While the board is written in Hindi, the instructions on it roughly translate into: "Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited. Legal action would be taken against anybody who does not follow these instructions". The board further adds to the mystery of the town, known in popular culture as "the ghost town".

Legend states that the city of Bhangarh was cursed by the Guru Balu Nath, who sanctioned the establishment of the town with one condition, saying, "The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, the city shall be no more!" When a descendant raised the palace to a height that cast a shadow on Balu Nath's forbidden retreat, he cursed the town as prophesied. Balu Nath is said to lie buried there to this day in a small samādhi.
    Another myth is that of the Princess of Bhangarh Ratnavati, said to be the jewel of Rajasthan, who on her eighteenth birthday began to get offers of marriage from other regions. In the area lived a tantrik, a magician well versed in the occult, named Singhia, who was in love with the princess but knew that the match was impossible. When one day Singhia saw the princess' maid in the market, he used his black magic on the oil she was purchasing so that upon touching it the princess would surrender herself and run to him. The princess, however, seeing the tantric enchanting the oil, foiled his plan by pouring it on the ground. As the oil struck the ground it turned into a boulder, which crushed Singhia. Dying, the magician cursed the palace with the death of all who dwelt in it. The next year there was a battle between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh in which Princess Ratnavati perished.

Amiidaji, Japan:
Is in Dan-no-ura, in the Shimonoseki Strait.
   The Legendary Haunting Of Amiidaji
The Temple of Amida, located in the Shimonoseki Strait, is a very important place for the Japanese, and it is also a very important place for anyone interested in one of the most legendary haunting locations in all of Japan. Built over 1,000 years ago in 998 AD, it is a world heritage site and a favorite of Japanese ghost hunters.

According to legend, the blind man, Hoshi Hoichi, was visited every night by a ghost of a dead samurai. Each night, Hoshi was made to play the Biwa but when the priest of the temple he painted the heart sutra over all of Hoshi’s body, except for his ears. When the samurai returned, he only saw Hoshi’s ears, so he took the ears of Hoshi.

To this day, individuals talk of hearing people walking, and seeing ghostly spirits moving throughout the temple. Whether these are the ghosts of the samurai or of Hoshi, no one knows. What is known is that this temple is a very sacred, but very haunted place for the people of Japan.

Like any Japanese ghost story, it has its fair share of intrigue and speculation of whether or not it is true.

USS Zaca, Monaco:
    Was a wooden-hulled, schooner-rigged yacht with an auxiliary engine. She was designed by Garland Rotch and completed in 1930 at Sausalito, California by Nunes Brothers.
    Due to the need for local patrol and rescue craft in the busy waters in the San Francisco area during World War II, the schooner was acquired by the Navy from Templeton Crocker on 12 June 1942. Placed in service on 19 June 1942 and assigned to the Western Sea Frontier, Zaca, classified a miscellaneous auxiliary and designated IX-73 operated as a plane-guard ship, standing ready to rescue the crews of any planes downed nearby.
    Eventually relieved by the frigates (PF's) of Escort Squadron 41, Zaca was placed out of service at Treasure Island, California on 6 October 1944; and her name was struck from the Navy list on 13 November 1944.
    Turned over to the War Shipping Administration on 21 May 1945, Zaca was acquired in 1946 by Errol Flynn, an actor famed for his "swashbuckling" roles in numerous movies. Zaca is featured prominently in the 1947 Orson Welles film The Lady from Shanghai. Flynn owned the yacht until his death in 1959.
    As of 2008, Zaca is privately owned and berthed in Monaco.

    According to Richard Winer, the Zaca is supposed to be haunted. Witnesses have reported seeing the visage of Errol Flynn's frustrated ghost pacing on board. Others have described the sounds of voices and laughter as if a wild party was happening on board.

Koh-i-Chiltan, Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan:  
Is a peak located in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan. Lwarrh Saar is the highest peak of Chiltan range at 3,194 metres (10,479 ft), it is the third highest peak of Quetta after Zarghoon Ghar and Koh-i-Takatu and fifth highest peak of Balochistan. 
                              Chiltan Mount
Chiltan Mount is the summit of a steep, rocky mountain called Chiltan or Chehel-Tan (Persian/Balochi: 'Forty Bodies'). The mountain is said to be haunted. (Source: A Ride to India Across Persia and Balochistan by Harry de Windt (1856-1933).
    A local story about Chiltan Mount. A frugal couple, married for many years, were unblessed with offspring. They therefore sought the advice of a holy man, who rebuked the wife, saying that he had not the power to grant her what Heaven had denied. The priest's son, however (also a mullah), felt convinced he could satisfy her wishes, and cast forty pebbles into her lap, at the same time praying that she might bear children. In process of time she was delivered of forty babies rather more than she wished or knew how to provide for. The poor husband at his wits' end ascended to the summit of Chehel-Tan with thirty-nine and left them there trusting to the mercy of the Deity to provide for them while the fortieth baby was brought up under the paternal roof.
   One day however touched by remorse the wife unknown to her husband explored the mountain with the object of collecting the bones of her children and burying them. To her surprise, they were all living and gambolling among the trees and rocks. Wild with joy she ran back to her dwelling brought out the fortieth babe and placing it on the summit of the mountain left it there for a night to allure back its brothers but on returning in the morning she found that the latter had carried it off and it was never seen again. It is by the spirits of these forty babies that Chehel-Tan is said to be haunted.

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