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Ghost Brothers at The Fitzpatrick Hotel

“Juwan said he thinks he closed the portal, and now I’ve got to go sleep in there.” — Marcus

Many years ago, Sam Queen and I conducted a mini-investigation at The Fitzpatrick Hotel in Washington, Georgia. I remember investigating the ballroom late at night, and although we did not believe the investigation turned up any “evidence,” we were both impressed by the beauty and the feel of the old hotel, as well as the history of the restoration as evidenced in the book that was shared at the registration desk.

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The Fitzpatrick Hotel, and the small town of Washington, Georgia, itself, is a special place, and I remember the hotel and town fondly. It’s funny, because I couldn’t even tell you what drew me to the place. A feeling, I guess. A rogue hunch. I needed to get into that tower room, and Sam and I needed local places to practice before ultimately researching and traveling for the book we worked on in 2012 (Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums – released in 2013 by Llewellyn Worldwide).

The whole town is full of history, and old buildings that beg to be investigated.

It pleased me to watch this new paranormal team feature and investigate The Fitzpatrick Hotel. It was educational to learn more of the history of the land and building, because we did not know any of this when we visited. For instance, these interesting little points from the show:

  • Built on top of a cemetery from the late 1700s. They moved the headstones away, but not the bodies. Polly Barclay, hung for killing her husband, may be buried in this cemetery.
  • Woman pushed out of window (Room 307) by lover’s wife in the 1930s. Guests report strange energy in that room. You will see that I took a picture in May 2011 of the keys to Room 307. I had no knowledge of the hotel’s history, but was drawn to specially selecting this room for our investigation. Interesting. 
  • Robert Geiger, Owner of Talk of the Town (the attached restaurant), gave a story that he’s had a basket thrown out of his hands and smashed into a wall.
  • Co-owner, Jim, believes Room 200 is haunted by the Fitzpatrick family.

I thought the show was hilarious! Seeing the guys reluctantly participate in some of the paranormal investigations was a refreshing take on the typical “[Insert mysterious loud noise] Did you hear that?” schtick that unfortunately gets overplayed a bit for the paranormal television genre. The Bloody Mary experiment is something that I have never done, and never will do. I can’t look at myself in the mirror for that long of a time in the dark. It’s just not right.

The guys had flashlights lighting up seemingly in response to questions (you know I love that method!) and batteries were drained in combination with an EVP of a mysterious breath. I thought the Spirit Circle experiment that they conducted in the ballroom was interesting, with the alphabet represented on pieces of paper. It was as though they were participating in a life-size human Ouija Board. Marcus declined to participate in that one, because he didn’t want to “open anything up.”

Strangely, despite voicing that opinion, Marcus was the one who was woken up in the middle of the night because something touched him. He was not having it at all, and woke his team up. It was time to go. Active dreaming, hallucination, or real unexplainable touch? Who can say.

They had a lot of interesting things happen to them that they captured on camera, and they were entertaining to watch. My takeaway from the show? Me, slamming my fist in the mattress while I watched, exclaiming: “Man, I knew that place was haunted!”

If you ask me, that whole town is haunted. Particularly, that white columned Vampire House that smells old. Trust me on that one.

 

Riding the Spanish Moss Trail – Beaufort, SC

Who knew such a beautiful bike trail exists about an hour outside of Savannah?! Well, we do now.

Inside the old barn:

The ruins of the Old Pickle Factory:

End of the line:

End of the Line - Spanish moss trail

As always, we log our adventures inside our “Play” Journal, by Stealth Journals. “Play,” is an indexed book journal by Stealth Journals that should be used to record all of your good times.

Kennebunkport, Maine – America’s Most Haunted Hotels?

Well, no one told Maine that it was summer, because I just left and it was about 60 degrees up there. Refreshing, though! And it smells sweet. You can use your pretty words to trick the tourists into seeing Savannah in the summer, but we all know what it is if we are being honest with ourselves:  stinky, sweltering, and buggy. Yeah, I said it. But I digress.

Also, even though Tybee Island and Savannah are obviously right on THE WATER, our seafood has never tasted as good as the lobster roll that came out of this shack here.

The Clam Shack
The Clam Shack

Kennebunkport is a touristy little spot with plenty of shops/restaurants/galleries, and I imagine it gets very crowded, very fast. We killed a few hours there when the beach got too cold. Check out the locks of love bridge. I guess you two crazy kids are supposed to write your names on the lock, and then throw the key into the ocean. What a bunch of assholes.

Locks of Love Bridge
Locks of Love Bridge – Kennebunkport, Maine

Luckily, if you like to hunt ghosts at night in historic properties, and lounge on blue blood beaches by day, Kennebunkport may be just the spot to spend a long weekend. Don’t tell them I sent you, because some of these places are straight up lips sealed about their ghosties. Pictured below is the Tides by the Sea, which sits on Goose Rocks Beach. The cat is officially out of the bag on this one, since Frances Kermeen wrote about her stay in 2002’s “Ghostly Encounters.” At the time, the building was known/operated as the Tides Inn-by-the-Sea.

The Tides Beach Club
Tides by the Sea – Kennebunkport, Maine

Emma, the former owner of the 1899 hotel (known back then as The New Belvidere), is said to haunt the building, particularly Room 25. In her time, she hosted such guests as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Theodore Roosevelt. According to Kermeen’s interview with the former owners, Emma notoriously had a habit of causing trouble for ill-tempered men who checked into “her” Room (No. 25).

Goose Rocks Beach
Goose Rocks Beach – Kennebunkport, Maine

Colony Hotel

Colony Hotel's Beach
Colony Hotel’s Beach – Kennebunkport, Maine

The Captain Lord Mansion has claims associated with it that involve a female apparition walking through the Lincoln bedroom.

Captain Lord Mansion
Captain Lord Mansion – Kennebunkport, Maine
Captain Lord Mansion 2
Captain Lord Mansion – Kennebunkport, Maine

The Breakwater Inn is situated right off the river (flowing from the ocean) into the port. The hotel is in an interesting position to watch for ghost ships.

Breakwater Inn
Breakwater Inn and Spa – Kennebunkport, Maine

The Captain Fairfield Inn is one that may have a spirit or two, but as of 2013, the owners were NOT open to exploring or encouraging that line of questioning. Still, reports persist. I have several books in my library that cover this house. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Captain Fairfield Inn
Captain Fairfield Inn – Kennebunkport, Maine

Walker's Point

As always, our travels are kept in an analog version as well. We use “Play,” by Stealth Journals. Play is an indexed book journal that should be used to record all of your good times!

Scenes From Swamp Rabbit Trail

The Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, SC, is a multi-use trail that is about 21 miles long. Bob and I saw it via bicycle. Our preference was to start at Travelers Rest, pass Furman University, and end at Falls Reedy Park and the Clemson campus. Then, pedal uphill to Main Street and find a cup of coffee before turning back around.

For the paranormally inclined, you may want to stay at the Westin Poinsett, which has been written about in Jason Profit’s “Haunted Greenville,” and just also happens to be centrally located, with easy trail access so you can park onsite and ride to the trail.

As always, we log our adventures inside our “Play” Journal, by Stealth Journals. “Play,” is an indexed book journal by Stealth Journals that should be used to record all of your good times.

Additional Reading:

GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail

http://www.traillink.com/trail/greenville-health-system-swamp-rabbit-trail.aspx

http://greenvilleghost.com/tag/westin-poinsett/

http://southernspiritguide.blogspot.com/2012/01/carolina-cornucopia-haunt-brief.html

 

On My Radar: Lava Hot Springs Inn -Lava Hot Springs, ID

Just musing and adding this location to my wish list of future haunted hotels to investigate/visit.

Why am I so intrigued? I have an idea that a possible sequel to “America’s Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in with Uninvited Guests,” would feature locations that are either in mining towns; built around natural springs; or are former hospitals. The Lava Hot Springs Inn hits 2 out of 3 wish list categories! After everything I’ve seen, I believe that geology plays a huge part in what we refer to as “hauntings” (for lack of a better term), or at least plays a bigger role than I could understand five years ago when I first started traveling and investigating haunted locations.

The hospital theory is based on what I have experienced in connection with traveling and writing my first two books. I felt that the hospitals were more active, even, than the abandoned prisons! One of the theories that you might entertain as to cause is to consider the theory that the people in prisons had probably already given up and resigned themselves to death, while people who died in hospitals went in with the belief that they were going there to be saved. It’s obvious, but I think there is some real truth to the whole trauma/unexpected death theory causing what we refer to as a haunting. This isn’t all there is to it, but it is enough to have captured my attention over the years.

Spec sheet for Lava Hot Springs:

  • Built in the 1920s as the Lava Hot Springs Hospital. (Some original objects from the hospital, including a surgical bed are held at the South Bannock Historical Museum);
  • The curative healing springs remind me of the energy I felt in Eureka Springs, Arkansas (and the 1886 Crescent Hotel);
  • Sacred Native American springs;
  • High levels of “magic” minerals in the water. Manganese has been associated with shape shifting (could be why people see “shadow figures”). Copper is a conductor for electricity and is used in healing. Iron is used for out of body travel.

Further Reading:

http://www.lavahotspringsinn.com

http://www.idahostatejournal.com/members/ghost-adventures-will-explore-lava-hot-springs-inn/article_1a1534f8-3d8e-11e5-b569-ab595a93b2f0.html

http://lavahotsprings.com

 

 

What Did Stephen King See Inside The Stanley Hotel That Inspired Him to Write “The Shining?”

Bob and I spent Halloween weekend enjoying and investigating the famous Stanley Hotel in connection with a chapter for our upcoming book (America’s Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in with Uninvited Guests – slated for a 2016 fall release).

The Stanley Hotel - Estes Park, CO
The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, CO

The most fascinating question that remains for me is what exactly (if anything) did Stephen King see that fateful night in 1974 that inspired him to write The Shining?

If you haven’t heard the back story, allow me to brief you a bit. King had a hit with Carrie, and had just turned in Salem’s Lot. Both stories were set in Maine, and he wanted a change of scenery, so he moved his family to Boulder, CO to work on his next novel. He had been tinkering with the idea of a boy who had psychic abilities, but the venue was tentatively set in an abandoned amusement park, and he just couldn’t work out the logistics of how the family would remain trapped there. He was stuck.

Back in 1974, The Stanley closed for the winter, and King (along with his wife, Tabitha), just happened to find their way there on the last opening night prior to the winter shut down. They were the only guests in the hotel that night, and were given what was the best room in the house – Room 217.

"Stephen King's Room" - Room 217, Stanley Hotel - Estes Park, CO
Outside “Stephen King’s Room” – Room 217, Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, CO

After their dinner, Tabitha returned to their room and King wandered the hallways of the empty hotel.

The endless hallway, where Stephen King roamed and was inspired to write "The Shining."
The endless hallway, where Stephen King roamed and was inspired to write “The Shining.”

Try as I might, I have not been able to turn up anything on whether or not King had any personal paranormal experiences while staying in the hotel that night. Nevertheless, there is no denying that whatever happened to him during his stay, he was inspired to write The Shining.

On Page 69 of George Beam’s 1992 biography, the inspiration for the story is explained as: “He imagined the fire hoses coming alive, thumping across the carpet. By then, whatever it is that makes you want to make things up, it was turned on. I was scared, but I loved it.” And on Page 215 of Rebecca Pittman’s The History & Haunting of The Stanley Hotel, King is quoted as: “It was like God had put me there to hear that and see those things.

It is a teaser comment, to me. It can make you infer whatever you want to infer, and maybe that is the point. Perhaps the story is simple, and is one that many of us can relate to. Haven’t we all stumbled upon a place that was “magic” somehow? Maybe the place just made us feel good, or maybe it inspired us to create. After all, that is what travel and new experiences unarguably do. That’s the point – to experience and be inspired. Sometimes the freedom of escaping is the only way to trip the wires.

But maybe, just maybe, King was faced with someone or something while roaming the “endless hallways” of the fourth floor of the abandoned Stanley Hotel. I don’t know.

But I think about it.

The Farnsworth House Inn in Haunted Gettysburg, PA

Bob and I stayed at the 1810 Historic Farnsworth House Inn in Gettysburg, PA over Memorial Day weekend in connection with our upcoming book with Llewellyn (“America’s Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in With Uninvited Guests”).

Historic Farnsworth House Inn
Historic Farnsworth House Inn

The history and hauntings will be addressed in the book, but for now, follow me into the house and downstairs into the depths of the basement.

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The Mourning Theatre is held down here (stories told by candlelight).

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There are many original artifacts from the Victorian Mourning Period in the basement, including these hair wreaths, pictured below.

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Traditionally, when a relative died, a surviving family member cut off a piece of the deceased’s hair and sewed it into the family wreath and hung it on the wall like that was a totally normal piece of art. This was a way for the family to remember their loved one, and especially so if they could not afford the expense of photography. The Victorians were also fond of using the hair in jewelry. I have no idea what sort of weird residual attachments might go along with having that amount of strange, dead, human hair stored in one place that has so many deaths and tragedy connected to the sight. It is worth considering though, when you think about the reasons for the hauntings.

After all that darkness, we headed for the light of the battlefield. It was a haunting place, but peaceful just the same.

Gettysburg Battlefield
Gettysburg battlefield, near the Devil’s Den area.

As always, we log our adventures inside our “Play” Journal, by Stealth Journals. “Play,” is an indexed book journal by Stealth Journals that should be used to record all of your good times.

A Visit to the Indiana Medical History Museum

The 1896 Pathology Building is just about all that is left of the former Central State Hospital in Indianapolis a/k/a The Indiana Hospital for the Insane (Circa 1848 – 1994). The two-story building has been preserved as a museum. Admission is just $10.00, and includes a one-hour tour that is highly informative, enjoyable, and tastefully macabre (if that is a thing – I kind of just made it up, but I think that phrase sums it up perfectly).

The museum carries a warning to the public: “Young children and visitors sensitive to topics such as mental illness, death, and autopsy may find the museum disturbing. Human skeletons and preserved organs are on display at the museum.”

Step inside.

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Our tour begins in the teaching amphitheater. In its day, the facility was cutting edge, and doctors were diligently working to discover the causes of psych conditions and diseases (dementia / depression / schizophrenia).

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Autopsies were performed and organs were kept to be studied.

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The morgue:

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The Anatomical Museum and a lab room. There is a skylight above the marble table because it provided the best light for dissecting.

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I could have spent hours in the library, but the books are fragile, and off-limits. Don’t all of those “American Journal of Insanity” volumes from the early 1800’s look fascinating?!

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Lastly, the photography room:

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Even if you do not have any medical background whatsoever, you can appreciate how far we have come in just 100 years.

As always, we log our adventures inside our “Play” Journal, by Stealth Journals. “Play,” is an indexed book journal by Stealth Journals that should be used to record all of your good times.

Further reading:

http://www.imhm.org/

The Galloping Hessian of the Hollow

Sleepy Hollow is only about 40 minutes outside of Manhattan. Made famous by Washington Irving, it wasn’t even called Sleepy Hollow until 1996, when GM closed a plant in North Tarrytown, and citizens elected to get smart and re-brand. Dig the horseman icon at the top of the street signs. Brilliant.

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The Cemetery is still there, of course, as well as the Old Dutch Church. As we were walking the grounds, I think I just might have stumbled upon the grave of the Hessian.

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I mean, who else would they want to keep locked up?!

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It was not hard to imagine (even in the light of day) the Hessian beginning his ride out of that grave, and trotting down the hill. All the graves are lined up, facing this path, as though they are cheering him on while he rides.

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There is not much of a bridge left at all. More of a site-marker.

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I found a weathered and slightly yellowed copy of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow after we got home from our Labor Day trip to New York. You really owe it to yourself to sit down one of these few remaining October nights and read the story (by firelight, if at all possible). The language is just fantastic. The story has stood the test of time, and it remains today one of the very best scary stories I have ever read.

“There was a contagion in the very air that blew from that haunted region; it breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land.” 

As always, we log our adventures inside our “Play” Journal, by Stealth Journals. “Play,” is an indexed book journal by Stealth Journals that should be used to record all of your good times.

Headless Horseman Bridge

http://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-sleepy-hollow-new-york-2014-10

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