Friday, August 30, 2013

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem Massachusetts:

    Salem has been haunted since the 1600's but its the brutal histroy that makes it so haunted.

    It was in the winter months of 1692 that the Salem witch trials kicked off when two young girls Betty Parris, age 9, and her cousin Abigail Williams, age 11. Began to have fits described as "beyond the power of Epileptic Fits or natural disease to effect". The girls screamed, threw things about the room, uttered strange sounds, crawled under furniture, and contorted themselves into peculiar positions, according to the eyewitness account of Rev. Deodat Lawson. The girls complained of being pinched and pricked with pins. Even the doctor couldn't find any physical evidence of any ailment. 
   When Lawson preached in the Salem village meetinghouse, he was interrupted several times by outbursts of the afflicted.
   The first three people accused and arrested for allegedly afflicting Betty Parris, Abigail Wiilliams, Ann Putnam Jr., and Elizabeth Hubbard. Were Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba. Once they were tortured they gave up names just to make it stop as did the others and so on until there were 150 men, women and children behind bars out of that 33 people died. The Salem witch hystria ended in 1693. 

   Most of the people who accused the innocent used spectral evidence, or testimony of the afflicted who claimed to see the apparition or the shape of the person who was allegedly afflicting them. The theological dispute that ensued about the use of this evidence centered on whether a person had to give permission to the Devil for his/her shape to be used to afflict. Opponents claimed that the Devil was able to use anyone's shape to afflict people, but the court contended that the Devil could not use a person's shape without that person's permission; therefore, when the afflicted claimed to see the apparition of a specific person, that was accepted as evidence that the accused had been complicit with the Devil. 

   Another way people would claim a person was a witch was by Witch Cakes.

    At some point in February 1692, likely between the time when the afflictions began but before specific names were mentioned, a neighbor of Rev. Parris, Mary Sibly, instructed John Indian, one of the minister's slaves, to make a witch cake, using traditional English white magic to discover the identity of the witch who was afflicting the girls. The cake, made from rye meal and urine from the afflicted girls, was fed to a dog. According to English folk understanding of how witches accomplished affliction, when the dog ate the cake, the witch herself would be hurt because invisible particles she had sent to afflict the girls remained in the girls' urine, and her cries of pain when the dog ate the cake would identify her as the witch. But this was later forbidden as it was white magic and using any kind during that time was considered going to the Devil for help against the Devil. 

   Another way to find a witch was using the Touch Test. 

   The most infamous employment of the belief in effluvia and in direct opposition to what Parris had advised his own parishioners in Salem Village was the touch test used in Andover during preliminary examinations in September 1692. If the accused witch touched the victim while the victim was having a fit, and the fit then stopped, that meant the accused was the person who had afflicted the victim. As several of those later recounted, "we were blindfolded, and our hands were laid upon the afflicted persons, they being in their fits and falling to their fits at our coming into their presence, they said. Some led us and laid our hands upon them, and then they said they were well and that we were guilty of afflicting them; whereupon we were all seized, as prisoners, by a warrant from the justice of the peace and forthwith carried to Salem"  

   Other Evidence 

Other evidence included the confessions of the accused, the testimony of a person who confessed to being witch identifying others as witches, the discovery of poppits, books of palmistry and horoscopes, or pots of ointments in the possession or home accused, and the existence of so called witch's test on the body of the accused. A witch's test was said to be a mole or blemish somewhere on the body that was insensitive to touch; discovery of such insensitive areas was considered de facto evidence of witchcraft, although in practice the witch's teat was usually insenitive by design, with examiners using secretly dulled needles to claim that the accused could not feel the prick of a pin. 

This tragic event has left its mark on Salem for good it is the most famous haunted town on the map, but just in case you would like some place to visit in Salem thats haunted here's a couple places.

   House of the seven gables:

Is another structure in Salem that has the reputation of being haunted. Many of the local residents refer to this location as the “Turner-Ingersoll Mansion”. This is because these two names reflected the two names reflected the two families that once resided at the structure. The first family, the Turner family, built the home in the year of 1668. Eventually, the Ingersoll family purchased it due to financial losses suffered by the Turner family. One lady, whose name was Susan Ingersoll, was a cousin to the famous author, Nathaniel Hawthorne who wrote the book on the structure. She remained a resident of the structure until the age of 72.

Many hauntings have been recorded at the House of the Seven Gables. It is believed that Susan’s spirit remains at the home. In many instances, a female has been seen peering out of the windows, and then disappearing. It is also believed that the spirit of a young male can be heard playing in the area of the attic. Employees and other individuals who have visited this particular home have been rumored to hear strange sounds in the structure, and have even witnessed strange occurrences in the home, such as faucets and lights turning on and off with no explanation…. 

                                   Hawthorne Hotel:

There is a hotel that is believed to be haunted by the residents, as well as those that have stayed in the structure. This is the Hawthorne Hotel. In the early 1900s, the individuals in Salem saw a need to have a hotel built for those traveling through the city, and those visiting the city. In the year of 1925, the project was completed, and named the “Hawthorne Hotel”. They named the hotel after the famous author named Nathaniel Hawthorne, who had grew up in the area of Salem as a child.

There are many ghostly tales surrounding the Hawthorne Hotel. The first directly relates to a lady by the name of Bridget Bishop. This lady had an apple orchard on the same property where the hotel is located. She was the first to be executed in the ever-famous “Salem Witch Trials”. Today, when one visits the hotel, the smell of fresh apples can often be experienced – despite the fact that there are no apple trees or orchards located anywhere near the structure. In addition to this, paranormal researchers have picked up on energy in the structure with EMF detectors and the KII Meter. Strange sounds, mists, and smells have been experienced by numerous people….

                                      Gallows Hill:

Is an area in haunted Salem where the ever-popular “Bridget Bishop” met her fate by hanging in the year of 1692. She was the first individual to be executed as part of the Salem Witch Trials. In addition to this, eighteen other people were also murdered here as part of the Salem Witch Trials. It was later discovered that these individuals were actually innocent of the crimes that they were charged with. While this area now plays host to a large playing field for schools engaging in certain sports, it is also considered to be an area that is highly haunted.

Many ghost pictures, ghost videos, digital audio recordings, and EMF readings have been taken in the area of Gallows Hills and have revealed apparent apparitions, mists, orbs, and other types of unexplained phenomenon. If you want to experience a true paranormal hot spot as far as spiritual activity is concerned in the haunted ghost town of Salem, Gallows Hill is definitely a location that you are sure to gain an appreciation for!

                                Joshua Ward House:

Is another area that is located in the city that is believed to house several different types of spirits. This structure emerged right around the year of 1750. It is believed that the spirit of the Sheriff of the time of the Witch Trials haunts this building. It is also believed that the spirit of the man named Giles Corey also haunts this structure. This is the man that was murdered by stoning. The story of an angry woman in her older years is said to haunt the stairs, and many have felt an extreme uneasiness when entering in the home….

                                      Salem Jail:

From the year of about 1885 to the year of 1991, the Salem Jail in the ghost town housed a number of criminals. To this day, the prison remained abandoned, and for a very good reason! It is believed to be extremely haunted. It is believed that many of the criminals who were once imprisoned at the Salem Jail remain imprisoned even at the onset of death and their entrance in the spiritual world. You can often hear chains, screams, and crying as you walk in the building….






Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Bhangarh, India:

    Is a town that is famous for it's historical ruins within the Banghar Fort which was built in 1613. it is in the Rajgarh municipality of the Alwar district in the state of Rajasthan. Bhangarh is at the edge of the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The modern village has a population of 1,306 in 200 households. Bhangarh is also a popular tourist attraction.
    Bhangarh is also a pre historic site. The most remarkable of it's 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.
   Entry to Bhangarh is legally prohibited between sunset and sunrise. It's the only 'Legally Haunted' location recognized by the Indian Government. 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".
    According to legend, the city of Bhangarh was cursed by the Guru Balu Nath. He had sanctioned the construction of the town on one condition, "The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, the city shall be no more!" When a descendant prince raised the palace to a height that cast a shadow on Balu Nath's forbidden retreat, he cursed the town. Balu Nath is said to be buried there to this day in a small samādhi.
   There exists another myth. This is the legend of the Princess of Bhangarh, Ratnavati. She is believed to be the jewel of Rajasthan. On her eighteenth birthday she began to get offers of marriage from other regions (i.e. nobility). In the area lived a tantrik, a magician well versed in the occult, called Singhia, who was in love with the princess but knew that the match was impossible. One day Singhia saw the princess's 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 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 tantrik 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. Legends says that there are ghosts in Bhangarh and that is why entry is prohibited for tourists in the fort after sunset and before sunrise. The locals believe that the princess Ratnavati has taken birth somewhere else and that the fort and the empire of Bhangarh is waiting for her return to put an end to the curse.
    So what makes this place so haunted, no one knows but what is for sure is that anyone who enters this place after dark is never seen again.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Eastern State Penitentiary

   There Is no place more haunted in America than Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Eastern State Penitentiary:

   It was operational from 1829 until 1971. The penitentiary refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration first pioneered at the Walnut Street Jail which emphasized principles of reform rather than punishment.
Notorious criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone were held inside its innovative wagon wheel design. At its completion, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected, and quickly became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.
   The prison is currently a U.S. National Historic Landmark,which is open to the public as a museum for tours seven days a week, twelve months a year 10 am to 5 pm.
   Designed by John Haviland and opened on October 25, 1829, Eastern State is considered to be the world's first true penitentiary. Eastern State's revolutionary system of incarceration, dubbed the "Pennsylvania System" or Separate system, encouraged separate confinement (the warden was legally required to visit every inmate every day, and the overseers were mandated to see each inmate three times a day) as a form of rehabilitation.

    The Pennsylvania System was opposed contemporaneously by the Auburn System (also known as the New York System), which held that prisoners should be forced to work together in silence, and could be subjected to physical punishment.
   Originally, inmates were housed in cells that could only be accessed be entering through a small exercise yard attached to the back of the prison; only in a small portal, just large enough to pass meals, opened onto the cell blocks. But this design proved impractical, and in the middle of construction, cells were constructed that allowed prisoners to enter and leave the cell blocks through metal doors that were covered by a heavy wooden door to filter out noise. The halls were designed to have the feel  of a church.

    During its rein as a solitary confinement facility prisoners were not allowed to communicate with other prisoners or guards. Even uttering words aloud to themselves was strictly forbidden. Many Men once sane quickly slipped into madness. They were locked in their cells for all but one hour a day, wearing black hoods over their heads during those times they were allowed to venture outside. The purpose of this act was to eliminate communication between prisoners and guards. It also served to keep them disoriented in order to discourage and prevent successful escape attempts. It was reported that the guards wore socks over their shoes to muffle any potential noise indicating their presence.
   Severe punishments included the water bath, the mad chair, the iron gag, and the hole. The water bath consisted of dunking the prisoners in baths of ice cold water and then stringing them up so that they were suspended from the prison wall. They were left hanging for the entire night. During the winter months layers of ice would form upon their skin.
    The mad chair had tight leather straps that restrained movement. The straps would be fastened so tightly that they would cut off circulation to a majority of the body. In conjunction with that the inmates would often go days without food. Their skin would turn purple from lack of circulation and in many cases was known to drive men mad.
    The iron gag was one of the most deadly of the punishments used by the guards at the prison. Death could result from significant blood loss. This severe punishment was often implemented when the no communication rule was violated. An inmate guilty of this crime was fitted with an iron collar that had an iron mouth piece which clamped down on the offender's tongue. The collar was then attached by a chain to his wrists and his arms were strapped high behind his back so that any movement of his hands or arms would cause the clamp to tear into the flesh of the tongue causing it to bleed. Too much movement would result in severe tearing and bleeding of the tongue. in this case an inmate could potentially die before his torment had reached the end. There is at least one documented case of a prisoner bleeding to death from this practice but others are suspected.
    The hole was a large, underground pit dug under cell block #14. The most disruptive and defiant of prisoners were placed here sometimes for weeks on end. It was filled with cockroaches and rats. There was no light, no circulating air, and only a slice of bread and some water would be tossed down to the inmate. In the pitch blackness the prisoner had to pray that they got to these items before the rats and roaches. As a result of these conditions there was a high incidence of disease.

     One of its most famous inmates was none other than Al Capone, was was incarcerated there on illegal weapons possession in 1929. During his stay, it is said that Capone was tormented by the ghost of James Clark, one of the men Capone had murdered in the infamous St. Valentine's Day massacre.
Other reported haunting activity includes:
  • A shadow-like figure that scoots quickly away when approached.
  • A figure that stands in the guard tower.
  • An evil cackling reportedly comes from cellblock 12.
  • In cellblock 6, another shadowy figure has been seen sliding down the wall.
  • Mysterious, ghostly faces are said to appear in cellblock 4.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Torso Murder's

The so called Torso Murder's (chiefly named that because thats usually what they found) were perhaps the most sensationational crimes to happen, not in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles but in Cleveland Ohio, home of less than a million people. During a span of roughly 4 years from 1934 to 1938, at least 13 known citims were and have been attributed to this series of unsolved slayings. The crimes were almost evenly committed against both sexes, 7 males and 6 females, so the murders don't appear to be gender based.
   Also known as the Kingsbury Run murders (after the supposed perpetrator, the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run", and with the torso's being found in that general area.) The bodies started appearing shortly after Eliot Ness appeared in Cleveland. With only 2 bodies found identified, the killer was either lucky or chose his or her victims well. Ness was never able to solve these crimes and went to his grave a broken, alcoholic shadow of the legend he once was. As the title of at least one book attests, he may have been the 14th victim, but thats just myth.
   it was stated during the investigation that Eliot Ness indicated that he knew who the killer was, but could never prover it.
   The Torso Murderer always Beheaded and often dismembered his victims, sometimes also cutting the torso in half, in many cases the cause of death was decapitation itself. Most of the male victims were castrated, and some victims showed evidence of chemical treatment being applied to their bodies. Many of the victims were found after a considerable period of time following their deaths, sometimes a year more. This made identificantion nearly impossible, especially since the heads were often not found.

    In December 1939, three decapitated bodies were found in railroad boxcars near Pittsburgh and although Ness sent three investigators to look into it, there was no solid evidence to connect these murders to the Butcher’s earlier handiwork. It should be noted however that no real clues were ever found in these murders and they remain unsolved to this day. Incidentally, the Butcher was also blamed (by some theorists) for the 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, in California. Her body was also cut in two parts, just like the Butcher’s seventh victim.  
   Who the “Mad Butcher” may have been, as well as who many of his still unidentified victims might have been, remains a mystery to this day. The killer simply slipped away and vanished into the mists of time. However, legends say that many of his victims have not been so lucky. There are those who believe that some of them still walk.

   According to locals, the ghosts of the Butcher’s mystery victims still prowl through the region around Murder Swamp, haunting the place where there bodies were found -- and where the riddle of their deaths has never been answered. Some even go on to say that the specter of the Butcher himself may walk here as well. If this place is where he truly began his horrific killing spree, then perhaps he had never left…

Even in death.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Murder Castle

When a building gets nicknamed The Murder Castle, you the story behid it is going to be bad.
   Chicago's 1893 Columbian Expedition World's Fair presented the world with a number of modern marvels: electricity, the ferris wheel, Eadweard Muybridge's moving pictures, ragtime, the hamburger... and the nation's first high-profile serial killer, hotelier H.H Holems.
    In 1889, Holmes arrived in what is now Chicago's Englewood neighborhood and began working for Dr. Holton who at the time was fighting Cancer, and his wife who minded the store. As a pharmacist, He seemed to be the perfect assistant and neighbor: able and industrious. When Dr. Holton died Holmes used his well practiced skills of charm and persuasion to comfort and reassure the grieving widow. He subsequently convinced Mrs. Holton that selling the drugstore to him would relieve the burdened woman's responsibilities. It was agreed that Mrs. Holton could remain residing in her upstairs apartment. Holmes' proposal seemed like a godsend to the elderly woman and she agreed. Holmes purchased the store mainly with funds obtained by mortgaging the store’s fixtures and stock, the loan to be repaid in substantial monthly installments of one hundred dollars (worth $2,555 today). When he failed to pay his debt, Mrs. Holton sought legal action against him, but she mysteriously disappeared. Holmes told people that she was visiting relatives in California. As people started asking questions about her return, he told them that she was enjoying California so much that she had decided to live there.
   Holmes purchased a lot across from the drugstore, where he built his three-story, block-long "Castle"—as it was dubbed by those in the neighborhood. It was opened as a hotel for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, with part of the structure used as commercial space. The ground floor of the Castle contained Holmes' own relocated drugstore and various shops, while the upper two floors contained his personal office and a maze of over 100 windowless rooms with doorways opening to brick walls, oddly-angled hallways, stairways to nowhere, doors openable only from the outside, and a host of other strange and labyrinthine constructions. Holmes repeatedly changed builders during the construction of the Castle, so only he fully understood the design of the house.
   During the period of building construction in 1889, Holmes met Benjamin Pitezel, a carpenter with a past of lawbreaking, whom Holmes exploited as a stooge for his criminal schemes. A district attorney later described Pitezel as Holmes' "tool... his creature."
   After the completion of the hotel, Holmes selected mostly female victims from among his employees (many of whom were required as a condition of employment to take out life insurance policies, for which Holmes would pay the premiums but was also the beneficiary), as well as his lovers and hotel guests. He tortured and killed them. Some were locked in soundproof bedrooms fitted with gas lines that let him asphyxiate them at any time. Other victims were locked in a huge soundproof bank vault near his office, where they were left to suffocate. The victims' bodies were dropped by secret chute to the basement, where some were meticulously dissected, stripped of flesh, crafted into skeleton models, and then sold to medical schools. Holmes also cremated some of the bodies or placed them in lime pits for destruction. Holmes had two giant furnaces as well as pits of acid, bottles of various poisons, and even a stretching rack. Through the connections he had gained in medical school, he sold skeletons and organs with little difficulty.
     In 1894 Holmes killed his longtime partner Ben Pietzel rather than pay him his share of their latest take, and he added Pietzel's wife and three children to his entourage; he sent the woman east and told her he'd bring her children out later. He was arrested and briefly jailed for cheating in a horse trade. Then, he faked his own death and tried to collect the insurance money as someone else. When his insurance company balked, he just tried again. That scam worked—until an accomplice ratted on him. A Pinkerton agent pursued Holmes to Boston, and arrested him for another horse swindle. Meanwhile, the Pinkertons were starting to wonder where the Pietzel children were—and, following the trail through which Holmes forwarded his mail, they eventually found two of the children's corpses in Toronto. Finally, detectives got a warrant to search the Chicago Murder Castle.
    The horrors they found there defy the imagination: a dissecting table, bottles of poisons, containers of quicklime and acid big enough to eat away a body, a gas chamber, coffins holding female corpses, an incinerator littered with charred human remains: the skeletons of small children. The number of his victims has typically been estimated between 20 and 100, and even as high as 200, based upon missing persons reports of the time as well as the testimony of Holmes' neighbors who reported seeing him accompany unidentified young women into his hotel—young women whom they never saw exit. The discrepancy in numbers can perhaps best be attributed to the fact that a great many people came to Chicago to see the World's Fair but, for one reason or another, never returned home. The only verified number is 27, although police had commented that some of the bodies in the basement were so badly dismembered and decomposed that it was difficult to tell how many bodies there actually were. Holmes' victims were mainly women (and primarily blonde), but included some men and children.
   On May 7, 1896, Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison, also known as the Philadelphia County Prison. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression. Holmes' neck did not snap; he instead was strangled to death slowly, twitching over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung.
   Shortly thereafter—whether by arson as part of a cover-up or by disgusted neighbors, or an accident—the house burned to the ground. Neighbors avoided the block, claiming that the victims' ghosts haunted the building, their moans and cries lingering on. In 1938 a US Post Office was erected at the site, but the rumors did not fade. Reports of poltergeists and apparitions continue to this day, and some claim that Holmes's ghost also visits the nearby Museum of Science and Industry, one of the few remaining structures from the 1893 Exposition.