Monday, November 19, 2012

Places you Wouldn't Visit Alone

Palace Theatre, New York City:

Located at 1564 Broadway (47th) in midtown-Manhattan. Vaudeville acts dreamed of a chance to "play the Palace" and over 100 ghosts are supposed to haunt the Palace Theatre, including a white gowned cellist playing in the pit, a young girl looking down from the balcony, the apparition of a little boy near the mezzanine. Also piano keys can be heard playing when no one is there, the smell of burning cigarettes at the spot where a former manager purportedly committed suicide. And Judy Garland, who is sensed near the rear orchestra door built for her. The one ghost you don't want to run into at the Palace is that of the acrobat who died when he broke his neck there -- legend claims that those who see him will soon die.

Brookdale Lodge, Santa Cruz California: 

Nestled deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains lies the historic Brookdale lodge. Surrounded by giant redwoods, Brookdale Lodge was originally opened in 1870 as the headquarters of the Grover Lumber Mill. The mill was purchased by H.J. Logan of Loganberry fame in 1900 and was converted into campgrounds and a hotel. Since then the lodge has passed through numerous hands.
   Between 1922 and 1945 the lodge was operated by Dr. F. K. Camp, a Seventh-day Adventist physician and a strict prohibitionist. It was Camp that built the magnificent Brookroom, a dining room that encloses a natural stream flowing down its center. This was the lodge's heyday. The Brookdale was the second most popular resort in California and played host to Hollywood stars, prominent families, foreign diplomats, and even a U.S. President. Famous persons passing through Brookdale Lodge included: Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Tyrone Power, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Hedy Lamarr, and President Herbert Hoover. The lodge was also famous for its first rate entertainment, attracting the best big band and swing groups of the era. There are at least three swing era songs written about the Brookdale including, My Brookdale Hideaway, A Place known as Brookdale, and Beautiful Brookdale Lodge.
Shortly before his death, Dr. Camp sold the property in 1945 to A. T. Cook and W. G. Smith. In 1951 it was again sold to a consortium of San Francisco businessmen and then to Barney Marrow, who also owned the Brookdale Inn across the highway.
    It was in the '40's and '50's that the lodge entered its most intriguing period, becoming a home for gangsters and other shady characters. Secret passageways and hidden rooms were installed throughout the lodge and rumors of buried bodies under the floor began to circulate. Also during this time, six year old Sarah Logan, the niece of the lodge owner, drowned in the dining room creek. It's her ghost that is most often seen at the Brookdale. But Sarah wasn't the only watery death at the lodge. In 1972, a 13 year old girl drowned in the kidney shaped pool above the mermaid room forcing its closure.
   Over the years there have been many sightings of little Sarah Logan. She is often seen in a white and blue Sunday dress walking through the lobby or near the fireplace between the lounge and Brookroom. She has also been seen playing on the balcony of the Brookroom, an area off limits to visitors and guests, and sitting beside the fire in the Fireside Room.
   Some have even been approached by the crying Sarah asking if they could help her find her mother. As they turn to look for the little girl's mother, Sarah vanishes. The sightings aren't limited to visitors. The owners of Brookdale Lodge have also seen Sarah running about the lodges' lobby. From their description, Sarah was, "very clear, like a whole person" and wore a 1940's style formal dress. She ran silently across the lobby for about five seconds before disappearing through the office window. The owners must have been quite "spooked" because soon after the they hired several priests and psychics to try and rid the lodge of its spirits.
   The niece isn't the only paranormal activity visitors to the lodge have experienced. In the Mermaid Room visitors have experienced hearing voices, the clinking of glasses, and soft music when the room was empty. The jukebox located here has been known to turn itself on and off when nobody is near it.  

  When the Brookroom is empty you can sometimes hear glasses and plates clinking and people talking as if dozens of ghostly diners are having a meal. A ghostly woman, has been seen walking over the brook as if supported by a bridge removed long ago. Psychics speculate that she is the mother of Sarah Logan returned to find her daughter. The smell of gardenias often permeates the room at night although there are no gardenias in the Brookroom or the lodge. Could this be the perfume of Sarah's mother?
Big band music has been heard playing faintly in the Fireside Room and in the Pool Room. People have also reported cold spots, presences, and even being touched by unseen forces in the Pool Room.
   Late at night doors slam and footsteps are often heard in empty rooms. They are particularly loud from the second floor conference room. Many have reported strange smells and having a sense that the room is full of people when it is empty. Psychics have identified one of the conference room spirits as a man by the name of George. He is a lumberjack and has also been encountered behind the lodge at a place where in the lodge's early years they chopped wood for its many fireplaces.
   In the 1970's a wing of motel rooms was built over the spot where once stood the lodge's camping cabins. Room 46 of the motel wing is reported to be very haunted. A woman who worked at the lodge in exchange for lodging has reported that at night objects and shapes would fly across the room. Ghostly ballroom dancers would swirl around leering at her as they floated by. Ghosts would materialize around her bed, their faces sometimes vague and sometimes very very clear. One of the ghosts was a little boy, perhaps 12 or 13 years old, another was a man with his eye hanging loose on his cheek, and still another was a man with a knife wound across his face. Not all of her experiences in room 46 were visual. She also reports that once she felt somebody sit on the edge of her bed and stroke her arm.

Ryman Auditorium, Nashville Tennessee:

The Auditorium opened 1892 as a the Union Gospel Tabernacle. It was used as a church and then later as the Grand Ol' Opry site from June 5, 1943 to March 1974 as a radio location. With no less than three ghosts said to visit the building known as the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium can indeed be considered haunted. Capt. Thomas G. Ryman opened the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892, intending the building to be used for religious activities. Renamed the Ryman Auditorium upon his death in 1904, the building soon became an entertainment venue, but the captain reportedly made his presence known following any performances that didn’t meet his approval. Legend has it that Ryman was so disturbed by one rather risqué musical event in the early 1900s that he proceeded to thrash about, creating so much noise that patrons couldn’t hear the performance.
   A ghost of a quieter nature is a figure known as the Gray Man. While numerous employees and artists have reported seeing someone dressed in gray sitting in the Ryman’s balcony during rehearsals, this gentleman has never been seen attending an actual performance -- and has, in fact, never been found. A quick search of the balcony always reveals an empty seat, with no one dressed in gray anywhere inside the building.
   The most famous ghost of the Ryman may also be country music’s busiest. Several Ryman employees report seeing white apparitions, but a few claim that they’ve come face to face with the actual ghost of Hank Williams Sr. Some say they have encountered Williams backstage, while one employee seems to think the white mist she saw onstage was Williams singing. A recent visitor is convinced that he ran into Williams in the alley between the Ryman and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, another of Williams’ haunts.
                                 The Opry Curse
   One of the more compelling legends of the Ryman Auditorium is the belief in the "Curse of the Grand Ole Opry," because of the untimely death of countless of people who have performed at the Ryman, as well as Opry Land. The curse has been executed as a couple of plane crashes (Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Randy Hayes, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Jim Reeves), car accidents (Ira Louvin, Jack Anglin), murder (Stringbean Akeman, Jimmy Widener), house fire ("Texas Ruby" Fox), and many more. In total, the curse is said to have taken as many as 35-37 people over time.

Irma Hotel, Cody Wyoming:

The town of Cody was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody in 1896.
In 1902, Buffalo Bill built the Irma hotel, calling it, “Just the sweetest hotel that ever was.” Two suites and an office in the hotel were devoted to his use. Buffalo Bill had planned to have a line of hotels that travelers to the east gate of Yellowstone could stay in on their way to the National Park. The Irma Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Alfred Wilderman Woods, of Lincoln, Nebraska, designed the building. He was a church architect.
   The cherrywood bar, cited in some reports of paranormal activity dates back to the period when the Irma Hotel was constructed. An addition was made to the building in 1929 on the northwest side of the building. In 1976 and 1977, an addition was made to the southwest side of the hotel.

                        Paranormal Reports
    Reports of full bodied apparitions of a soldier seen hear a the cherry wood bar. Also reports of a “white lady” on the second floor, purportedly the ghost of Irma Cody (Buffalo Bill's daughter).

Marshall House, Savannah Georgia:

This immense structure was created and brought to life in the year of 1851. Naturally, this hotel is said to be the oldest in the area of Savannah. Today, the Marshall House Hotel in Savannah, Georgia still retains some of the original construction pieces such as the beautiful brick walls and glamorous staircase still remain. There have been many renovations, though, and this seems to have stirred the spirits that apparently reside in the hotel.

The Hauntings
There are a number of said hauntings at this beautiful hotel. Many believe that, based on the history of death that has occurred in the structure that spirits remain lurking around the structure. In its history, this structure has served as a hospital. It was set up as a place to treat the sick and wounded during the time of the Civil War. In addition to this, the infamous “yellow fever” broke out several times in the area. When this occurred, the hotel was once again converted into a hospital. During this time, several people died. To this day, many say that the spirits of the individuals still linger in the structure.

• It seems that several spirits of children linger in the Marshall House. There have been times when people staying at the hotel and even those that work at the hotel have heard the laughs and playful voices of children within the building. Upon investigation, there were no children registered on the books, and there were no physical pieces of evidence that indicated children were present. Many claim that the echoes of children are a result of spiritual beings that reside in the structure.

• In the hotel, there is a hallway as well as an area that is referred to as the “foyer”. Several individuals who have visited the home hotel have reported that they have seen paranormal activity in these locations. This includes spirits, as well as objects moving on their own.

• Throughout the structure, many individuals have reported very unusual events that seem to be related to spirits that appear to be in the hotel. Examples include water turning on and off, lights powering themselves, and even electronic items powering themselves on and off. There is absolutely no explanation for these particular events, so they are accounted to the fact that there seem to be restless spirits in the room.

• In the area of the fourth floor in the hotel, several have witnessed loud noises. They seem to sound like a crash of some sort. Upon inspection, there is absolutely nothing that could have made the noise, nor is there anything in the area to indicate that something has fallen. Many have reported that door knobs in the area even wiggle a little as if someone is attempting to open them.

 Boca Grande Lighthouse, Gasparilla Island Florida:

The haunted Port Boca Grande Lighthouse is located on Gasparilla Island, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Built in 1890, beach erosion eventually threatened the lighthouse, but it was saved by the building of a 265 foot granite jetty to form a basin.

The haunted Port Boca Grande lighthouse marks the entryway into Charlotte Harbor. Still a working lighthouse today, it is part of the Gasparilla Island State Park and houses a museum, as well. In 1986, the lighthouse was fully restored as a working lighthouse, after being decommissioned by the Coast Guard in 1966 due to disrepair and the structure becoming unsound. Lighthouse keepers and their families stayed in the keeper's house from 1890 until 1951. The light was automated in 1956. But what makes this landmark haunted?

   The Port Boca Grande Lighthouse also served as the keeper's house. One of the lighthouse keeper's daughter's passed away in the home due to sickness. It was either diptheria or whooping cough that claimed her life. Legend has it that at midnight she can still be heard playing upstairs in one of the rooms (according to a former Park Ranger tour guide). The story of the young girl is not the only lore surrounding the Port Boca Grande lighthouse being haunted. There is another legend of sorts about this site.
   Some have claimed to see the headless apparition of a lady, believed to be a former Spanish Princess by the name of Josefa. The pirate who gave the island its name, Jose Gaspar, was said to be madly in love with Josefa, whom he had kidnapped and brought to the island where he had buried his treasure. After professing his devotion to her, she is said to have rejected Gaspar. In a fit of rage, he took off her head by his blade, then buried her body on the beach near where the lighthouse was later built. Her head, however, is believed to have left Gasparilla Island with the pirate. Does she still search the beach for her head? Some claim so, and it does make for a great story

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