I could not be happier right now. I have no idea who reviewed the book, but THANK YOU, whoever you are. Wherever you are.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The Captain Lord Mansion has claims associated with it that involve a female apparition walking through the Lincoln bedroom.
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.
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.
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!
Mock-up for the cover of our first book together! Amazon is taking pre-orders:
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:
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 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.
After their dinner, Tabitha returned to their room and King wandered the hallways of the empty hotel.
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.
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”).
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.
The Mourning Theatre is held down here (stories told by candlelight).
There are many original artifacts from the Victorian Mourning Period in the basement, including these hair wreaths, pictured below.
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.
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.
The Queen Mary has been called one of the most haunted places in the world, and perhaps there is a great deal of truth to that label. Bob and I investigated the ship in March of 2015 for our upcoming book with Llewellyn “America’s Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in With Uninvited Guests.” Brian Clune and Bob Davis wrote about the ghostly legends surrounding the ship in their 2014 book entitled Ghosts of the Queen Mary. The late Peter James (former resident ship psychic and probably most famous for the television show “Sightings”) thought that he had been in contact with about 600 spirits during the course of his employment on board the ship. What are some of the most popular stories that are discussed in the Clune/Davis book that could explain some of the hauntings?
Burials at Sea
I have another possible theory for all of these hauntings that I have not seen discussed in print or even heard anyone mention in passing thus far. Sometimes, passengers and crew members were buried at sea. I find this tradition to be particularly haunting for some reason. It just seems so lonely and unsettled. You can never really know what happens to the body, and no one can ever visit a grave. But, there is a purity in it too. After all, if you are a transient (and aren’t we all if we are brutally honest about it), you are just passing through, wherever you are, and no matter if you have been in the same place for the last twenty years, you are still just a transient here on Earth. Exhibits in the ship state that traditionally, a sailor would be sewn in his own hammock, but first, a stitch would be made through his nose first to make sure he was actually dead. In modern times, the burials at sea would be completed by wrapping the body in about three yards of canvas, and the last stitch was omitted from the customary historic ritual.
I consulted a research paper (“Interment without Earth: A Study of Sea Burials during the Age of Sail) by a student at Duke University by the name of Johnathan Pryor to learn more about the customs of sailors in handling the dead while at sea. Historically, there exists much superstition among sailors from every culture about having a corpse on the ship. There were important rituals that must be done in order to avoid invoking the anger of the dead. The body had to be washed, dressed and enshrouded, a service had to be held, and then the body would be committed to the deep. Often, the body would be weighted by a cannon ball, shackles, or chains to make sure it would not surface. Taking into consideration that there do not seem to be any records of burials at sea while the Queen Mary was serving as a war ship during World War II (from about 1939 – 1946), it really makes you wonder just how many men were thrown over, and if there is something to all that superstition after all.
There is a very famous (and haunting) image on file with the National Archives that is of a burial at sea on board the USS Intrepid after an attack during World War II.
As part of researching for my second book, I stayed overnight on board the Queen Mary and attended a ghost hunt late Friday night, March 20, 2015. I submit to you a personal report of my haunted experience with the famous ship:
Evening Ghost Hunt with Matthew Schulz, Project Founder / Investigator – ParaXplorer Project
Matthew Schulz is the RMS Queen Mary Paranormal Investigation Tour Host. The evening began at 11:00 p.m. and lasted until well over 3:00 a.m. Our first stop was in the engine room and we were briefed on the legend of John Pedder (a worker who was crushed by a watertight door on July 10, 1966 on Voyage 483 West) and introduced to dowsing rods and some other tools. We were allowed to wonder for a good deal of time in the area alone, or with a small group, and I ventured off by myself to explore and take photos. The lights were kept on (I would imagine it is for insurance reasons), so it was a little difficult to “get in the mood,” so to speak. Nevertheless, the photo opportunities were incredible, and it was a good experience to be down there without a large crowd or to feel rushed through at all.
The famous door where John Pedder was crushed:
Engine room shot:
Matthew played some of the Class “A” EVPs that have been captured down here and what is so amazing to me is that you can hear what sounds like the same male voice responding to different people over the years. I checked back with Matthew, and he clarified that the EVPs appear to come from an older gentleman, possibly an officer, saying “Get out!,” and “It restarts me.” The EVP possibly attributable to John Pedder was a “Yes” response to the question “Are you here, John?”
Our next stop took us to the boiler room and to the green room, where there was an impressive set-up of experiments. There were laser grids set-up for us to sit quietly and watch for shadows to break the light displays. There were also headsets in the green room that were connected to a recorder with a ten second delay to listen to any EVPS captured in real-time! While I did not personally experience anything while partaking in this part of the hunt, I did note how progressive and thoughtful this outfit was. I have yet to be anywhere where this type of technology is being used during public events. Typically, they just walk us through with a flashlight and that’s it. Matthew had quite the set-up going on!
The last area on our hunt was the first class swimming pool and dressing room. We walked (or scaled) across a dark catwalk to get there. I am struggling with how to write about my feeling and impression of this area without sounding like a melodramatic sap. The best way that I can think of to convey how it felt was that it looked as though I had stumbled upon one of those old Hollywood synchronized swimming movies. The area is extremely dimly lit, and it is hard to make out the colors in the old tile, although they appeared to be a mint green and yellow. While the pool has been drained for structural reasons, and is in a state of disrepair, it is evident that the room used to be quite the beauty.
It feels otherworldly, to say the least, and almost electrically charged. The strangest thing that happened here was that our entire small group was gathered closely together by the stairs and were listening intently while our guide spoke to “Jackie,” the famous spirit believed to be a little girl. Suddenly, we heard what sounded like the disembodied giggle of a little girl over our heads! The Ghosts & Legends tour that uses special effects was actually closed down for maintenance on my March 20, 2015 visit. It seems unlikely that given the approximate 2:45 a.m. time, that there would have been an actual child outside the room somewhere making the noise. Additionally, everyone in the group was legitimately shocked to hear this sound. There was no one above us, and I don’t believe anyone in the group made this sound. I saw everyone’s face and no one looked like they were guilty or having a laugh at everyone else’s expense. Is it possible that we were experiencing one of those DVP’s (Direct Voice Phenomenon) that Peter James used to report and that Brian Clune and Bob Davis have written about?
Things got weirder when we moved the party to the dressing room. It could have been a combination of the pitch darkness, the late hour, how tired I was, and the fear effect, but as we all divided ourselves up and claimed individual changing stalls for our own, I started to get a little bit uneasy. The uneasiness grew to a feeling of outright uncomfortableness, and then spiked to absolute terror. I was alone in the pitch dark, but ultimately in close range to a group of people, including our group leader, who had been very nice and accommodating to me coming alone on his tour without a small group of my own. I have no idea why I started to panic. After all, we were in the dark earlier in the green room and in the boiler room. I really had to talk myself down in my head. I started getting control of my breathing, and I had to keep repeating to myself that I was okay. There was a moment where I felt frozen, and I was afraid to turn around in my stall, because I had an image in my mind of a bad lady who had stringy long hair, black eye sockets, and rotting flesh. I rationalized that as long as I refused to acknowledge her existence, she couldn’t get me. This is a case of your mind running away from you, because there are no documents of anyone drowning in this pool, and Matthew had not been telling us scary stories in the dark. In fact, he had not even said anything about a woman haunting this area at all, our focus was completely on trying to make contact with Jackie, the child spirit. I was just standing alone in the dark, replaying every horror movie I had ever seen on a loop in my own head, like a crazy person. I felt my knees buckle, and I had to steady myself by bracing both arms against the walls.
Shortly after that, we all heard a loud knock, seemingly in response to a question, but that could have been anyone on the tour who was further down the hallway in the changing rooms. I got so exhausted and dizzy, I began to hallucinate. I thought I was seeing different mist type things at the end of the hallway moving about, but I would blink and shake my head and then there would be nothing but darkness again. I briefly considered curling up at the back of my stall and going to sleep. I wondered if they would find me, or if I would wake up by myself at 5:30 a.m. down in the bowels of the ship and have a heart attack down there when I realized I was all alone and lost. All of these events cycled through in the course of just a few minutes. Ultimately, I kept chewing on my tongue and reminding myself that I was a badass and I needed to get it together before somebody had to come and carry me out of there like a little baby. I finished the tour like a champ. When I returned home and began reading about the ship, I found out that many visitors have referred to this area as a vortex or a portal site. In fact, consider these excerpts from the Clune/Davis book:
Page 68: “There are many paranormal hot spots throughout the ship, but as we all know, the first-class poolroom is the center of all the activity that goes on in the ship and is located in the heart of the ship. The corridor of dressing rooms located in the poolroom is rumored to harbor a vortex where the spirits enter and exit, and many psychics believe that a vortex is always located in the heart of a building or location.”
Page 112: “This portal to the other side is purported to be located in the narrow aisle between the changing closets, three stalls back from the port side. It is said that if you stand at this spot, you will feel the hair on the back of your neck and on your arms rise, your skin will crawl and eventually you will begin to get dizzy. People have claimed that when they are near this spot, they get the feeling of being watched, their adrenaline will start to pump uncontrollably and they will have a strong urge to flee the cramped changing room area.”
When I came across these passages, I found myself covered in goosebumps from head to toe. Reflecting back upon my ghost adventure while on board the RMS Queen Mary, I am only left to wonder if there is something to those vortex claims about the first class swimming pool after all.
Be sure to keep all of your adventures logged and indexed in your very own copy of “Play,” by Stealth Journals. “Play” is an indexed book journal that should be used to record all of your good times! A sample entry page is pictured below:
I am longing for a second visit to the 1886 Crescent Hotel this spring for our upcoming book with Llewellyn “America’s Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in With Uninvited Guests.” Bob is out flying tonight, and I was remembering the article I wrote for Llewellyn that is linked below, and just remembering that visit so vividly.
As always, our travels are indexed within “Play,” by Stealth Journals. A sample entry page can be seen below:
A glimpse inside our stay at The Jerome Grand Hotel. We were traveling in January 2015 for our upcoming book with Llewellyn “America’s Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in With Uninvited Guests.”
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.