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haunted hotels

Ghost Hunter’s Journal Now on Sale on Amazon

The Ghost Hunter’s Journal is a softcover ruled, indexed notebook journal that contains 200 pages to help keep you organized when documenting all of your ghost adventures. You can purchase your copy for just $12.99 on Amazon!

Ghost-Hunter's-Journal
Ghost Hunter’s Journal

The indexing system aids in reflection and planning throughout the year. The pages contain sections for the Who / What / When & Where details of your ghost hunts; followed by sections for: hotspots of the area and building that you are investigating; legends & lore; equipment used; and weather. The following page contains a full section for your notes.

The last few pages of the indexed book journal come with marked pages that have been indexed for you. Sample topics include: Best of (every month); Most Overrated; Equipment to Buy; Places to Visit – Bucket List (with one page completed as a suggested travel list based on my own travel research from my first two books).

 

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Interior pages of the Ghost Hunter’s Journal, with bonus index and sample content pages.

Make sure to check out P. 197 for a recommended beginning bucket list of paranormal places to explore! I included places investigated for America’s Most Haunted Hotels and Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums.

Ghost-hunter's-journal-bucket-list

Each indexed book journal features 200 ruled pages that are numbered for your ease of use. The numbered pages with an index will help keep you organized and make it easy to find your important entries. To really make your brain sing, we recommend that you use tabs and update your book journal’s index as necessary immediately after you have completed your journaling.

Specs: black and white interior ink, 200 ruled, indexed, and numbered pages.

Historic Hotel – Baxter Hotel: Bozeman, MT

Unfortunately for me, The Baxter is no longer functioning as a hotel. However, they do special events, and lease commercial and residential space. There are dining options on site. My choice was The Bacchus Pub, and it was fantastic!

Is it haunted? I have no idea, but would love to hear from anyone who has stories!

Here are a few of my photos from August 2016:

Baxter Hotel - Bozeman, MT
Baxter Hotel – downtown Bozeman, MT
Baxter Hotel - Bozeman, MT
Historic Baxter Hotel in downtown Bozeman, MT
Baxter Hotel - Bozeman, MT
National Register of Historic Places – Baxter Hotel, downtown Bozeman, MT
Baxter Hotel - Bozeman, MT
Lobby (Baxter Hotel – Bozeman, MT)
Baxter Hotel - Bozeman, MT
Ceiling Detail in Lobby (Baxter Hotel – Bozeman MT)
Baxter Hotel - Bozeman, MT
Baxter Hotel – Historic Sign in Lobby

Dining

http://www.bacchuspubbozeman.com

Garnet Ghost Town – MT

“Never built to last.” Yet last it did.

A short look into MT’s most intact ghost town. Gold ore boomtown circa 1898 – population 1,000. By 1905, only 150 remained.

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Arriving – Garnet Ghost Town
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Welcome – Garnet Ghost Town
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Outside

 

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Looking In
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Okay, we know that I am wearing a green jacket, and it has been reflected back in the above photo. So who is this in the window all in black?! (We think it is the back side of Bob).

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J.H. Wells Hotel

And yes, I think it is haunted!

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Outside looking in – J.H. Wells Hotel (Garnet Ghost Town)

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Inside the old Garnet Jail

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Back view of the J.H. Wells Hotel – Garnet Ghost Town

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Flooded mine shaft – Garnet Ghost Town

As always, we were sure to update our analog travel journal. We use “Play” by Stealth Journals. “Play” is an indexed book journal that should be used to record all of your good times!

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.

 

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
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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.

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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!

Why is the RMS Queen Mary Considered to be One of the Most Haunted Hotels in the World?

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?

  • Allegedly, when the ship was being built in 1934, two men died and their corpses were later discovered close together, with a welding torch nearby. Peter James thought that the spirit called “John Henry” was one of these men.
  • A spirit of a ghost girl, thought to have broken her neck from a slide down the forward third-class banister.
  • During the war years, many people died onboard of heat stroke and exhaustion.
  • People have heard sounds of screaming and rushing water in the area of ship where the propellers used to be. Perhaps this is a residual effect from the Curacao accident of 1942, which killed 338 men.
  • There is a little girl spirit called “Jackie” that could be from the late 1940’s.
  • An officer ingested poison and died on the ship.
  • John Pedder was crushed in a watertight door (Number 13) in 1966 when he was working in the engine room.

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.

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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:

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Engine room shot:

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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.

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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:

Stealth Journals
RMS Queen Mary: Play, by Stealth Journals.

On My Bookshelf: The Ghosts of Chicago, The Windy City’s Most Famous Haunts, by Adam Selzer

I picked up a copy of Adam Selzer’s The Ghosts of Chicago a few weeks ago when I was scouting locations for my upcoming project (Haunted Hotels).

Selzer

He is absolutely hilarious, which is very hard to be in this genre. I knew I was going to love his book when on page 3 of his Introduction he talked about seeing Scooby-Doo as a kid and thinking “driving around in a van solving mysteries was the way to live.” Don’t we all still think that thought?!

Adam is a tour guide and historian, and I love his explanation for authenticating evidence (pointing out that the official records, newspapers, and even surviving relatives cannot always be relied upon). In addition to educating me, he kept me plenty entertained with his musings about what it is like to ride a bus in Chicago (Page 125: “I sometimes think I must have a sign on my back reading, Tell Me About Judgment Day”). I can so relate to that just about every single time I wind up in the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport.

Here is what Adam had to say about ghost evidence, the famously haunted Congress Hotel, and the rumors about the upcoming season of American Horror Story: Hotel.

I love how you explain to readers in your Introduction that there is no such thing as “good” ghost evidence, only “cool” ghost evidence. Page 11 contains a note to ghost hunters about gear and equipment. Can you elaborate on that a bit for us?

I think most of those gadgets are just toys, at best. More often than not they’re just devices for tricking yourself into thinking you saw a ghost. There’s almost always another possible explanation for photos, sightings, recordings, everything. Equipment readings, that much more. None of this stuff is going to hold up in court or convert the unbelievers – even with the best of the stuff, people just have to take your word for it that you didn’t fake it. That’s part of why I hate it when people ask me to analyze their photos. I don’t want to have to accuse them of faking things! But sometimes even the fact that something can be explained doesn’t mean it isn’t cool.

What do you think about the Congress Hotel today? The legends are fascinating to me. I wonder if it would be your nomination for the most historic haunted Chicago hotel, or if there is a less famous haunted hotel that you would recommend for travelers.

If the Congress isn’t haunted, no place is haunted. But as its fame as a haunted spot has grown in recent years, the amount of nonsense stories going around is skyrocketing. I think that every time someone calls and asks for the most haunted room, they just give them some random room number and then the people go online and say “room 441 is the haunted one!” This all comes out of nowhere. But it’s not like we NEED fake stories about the place; there’re plenty of stories about it already.

Chapter 3 educates us about The Eastland Disaster, which was a ship that tipped over in 1915 and killed anywhere from 844 – 1200 people. What are your thoughts about some of the residual experiences that you’ve had near the LaSalle Street Bridge?

Tough one – I’ve seen and heard some weird stuff around there, but it’s such a busy area that it’s particularly hard not to think it must have been something else. But here’s an interesting thing: the LaSalle bridge wasn’t there in 1915, but there WAS a pedestrian tunnel under the river at LaSalle. A lot of people are said to have died in it during the fire in 1871. The tunnel is bricked off now, but it’s still down there someplace.

The upcoming season of the popular television show – American Horror, has announced that their new theme for fall 2015 will be “Hotel.”  There has been some internet buzz that the inspiration for this theme was H.H. Holmes. If this is true, how do you imagine all the ways that the show will get this completely and totally wrong? 

Oh, geez, I hadn’t heard that…. Holmes’ building was briefly called “the World’s Fair Hotel,” but it wasn’t a hotel in the modern sense of the word. There was no front desk, no lobby, no check-in times, no nightly rates. It was more short term apartments. The third floor was added specifically for use as world’s fair flats, but I think the main idea was that it gave him a reason to raise money from investors. Most people in that building lived there for months at a time, I’m not sure much was EVER done on the third floor. It wasn’t structurally very sound.  People tend to get just about everything about Holmes wrong; the story we hear about him now is sort of taking all of the wildest theories tabloids could come up with at the time and assuming they were all true. And it got pretty nuts. He’d been out of the building for a year and a half when they started investigating, and there were a couple of weeks where they were just saying “We found some rope – was he hanging people? We found a board with a nail in it – was THAT how he did it?” It was out of control, really. The whole idea of him preying on Wold’s Fair victims came from one offhand line in a New York paper. It was just a wild theory of what he COULD have been doing.

What is your favorite place to take travelers to and why (both paranormal travelers and tourists in general visiting Chicago)?

The Congress is a fun one – even putting all the paranormal stuff aside there’s history in ever nook and cranny of that place. They’re not as apt to give me the run of the place as they used to be, though. As business has picked up (and the number of people asking about nonsense ghost stories has increased) they’ve gotten less accommodating. But I can still usually show people the ballrooms. I also like to show off places like the law library high up in the Daley center, the old swimming pool in the Intercontinental, and the old mansions down on Prairie Avenue.

What is the most over-rated sort of tourist trap of Chicago? Where do the locals like to eat?

Navy Pier. I’m never sure what the point of that place is; it’s just a little off-site place to keep the tourists. Locals don’t generally go to places like Hard Rock Cafe, Rainforest Cafe, etc.  Everyone gets their own favorite neighborhood spots after a while. I like a place called Pie-Eyed at Chicago and Milwaukee.

Do you consider yourself a paranormal enthusiast, ghost hunter, or a folklorist (or what term do you think is best if you even identify with a label?!)

I usually prefer “historian who specializes in places that are supposed to be haunted.” I’m always afraid to say “ghost hunter” because then people imagine me running around in old buildings shouting “Come at me, bro!” And I’m pretty skeptical about paranormal or supernatural explanations for things – these things usually turn out to be something else, and I know that very well, even though it doesn’t keep me from having fun on investigations. I’m fine with letting my imagination run away with me in the heat of the moment.

What were your biggest challenges in writing this book? Looking back, how was your experience with the publishing process, and what have you learned over the years about publishing and marketing?

Trying not to ramble, if I remember right! It’s been a while since that one, really. I haven’t even been with the tour company in the book in years now. But it was a fun one; it was my first sign of just how much easier nonfiction is to promote than fiction. I’ve learned that repeatedly. I mean, I had a book about silent film production in Chicago out through a university press last month. It got more press in one week than my last three novels combined.

Take us through your writing process for a non-fiction book. (Do you write by hand or always type? Do you keep a writing schedule? Do you have a certain number of drafts you complete before turning in final copy?)

Hand write? How old do you think I am? Haha. I type and type. I usually get up in the morning and go right to the coffee shop and write until I’m done. Then I work at my desk at home in the evenings. With nonfiction there’s a lot more research in the middle.

Tell us how to keep up with you and about your upcoming projects/happenings.

Your best bet is probably the Mysterious Chicago blog – http://www.mysteriouschicagoblog.com

On My Bookshelf: Southern Arizona’s Most Haunted, by Renee Gardner

Bob and I were in Bisbee last month staying at The Copper Queen Hotel in connection with our upcoming book with Llewellyn “America’s Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in With Uninvited Guests.” We booked a tour with Renee of the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour and she briefed us on many of the legends associated with The Copper Queen Hotel as well as many of the historic hotels in the two mile radius of historic downtown Bisbee.

If you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend that you book her tour for your evening outing. She will take you on a flashlight walk around the town and if you are in a smaller group, you may even get to go inside some of the other hotels on the tour like we did! She also runs ghost hunting programs inside The Copper Queen Hotel and her book contains many personal accounts from those experiences.

I ordered her book from Amazon when I got home and sent her a few follow-up questions which she has answered below:

Tell us about growing up in a haunted house!

Growing up in a haunted house was fun looking back. At the time it was a little scary. We named the ghost George Hossinfeffer and he seemed to like my sister. I believe it lived in the attic which was accessed through my bedroom. He never hurt anyone, he was more of a nuisance.

Bisbee seems to be sort of weird or paranormally charged, if you will, throughout the town. What are your theories as to why?

I believe Bisbee has a lot of paranormal activity because the town itself sits atop a large source of minerals, especially copper. What is copper? A conductor of energy. What are ghosts? Energy. GET IT?

The Mining Museum has an exhibit that informs visitors that many homes in Bisbee come with their very own subterranean passage-ways. What can you tell us about this?

Subterranean passageways are simply the steps and cobblestone paths that lead to their homes. Some of the homes here don’t have streets, they were built into the side of the hill. Getting to them can be an adventure!

Have you made any attempts to get the Bisbee Queen Mine on board with your ghost tour company taking folks down? I think that would be amazing!

They allowed us to do an investigation inside the building for one of our Paranormal Weekends.  The building use to be where the smelters were. We caught some crazy stuff including footsteps! Going into the mine would be difficult because of all the dusk and dirt, it would cause for a lot of contamination to do an actual investigation.

The story about the boys who claimed to have been saved from a rockslide by the Lady in White – is this one of those legends that has been lost in time, or does anyone know what happened to them when they grew up? Any chance they are still in town?

Yes one of the boys still lives in town. The owners of the Bisbee Inn know his name, at the moment I can’t recall it.

How did you come to start the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour and the hunts over at the Copper Queen?

Bisbee is such a haunted town I was shocked that there wasn’t a ghost tour here already. It seemed like a natural location for one, so I started it! Same with the Ghost Hunt at the Copper Queen Hotel. It seemed like it would benefit both them and us to have a bi-monthly hunt there for guests interested in the paranormal.

Have there been any additional events or personal experiences that have happened since this book was published that you wished you could have updated in a following edition?

I am writing a second book…so you will have to wait til it comes out to find out 😛

Looking back, how hard was it to get your first book deal, and what have you learned over the years about publishing and marketing?

It really wasn’t hard at all to get my book published. My publisher was looking for an author in my region to write stories about the ghosts. I have also learned that unless you are a huge best selling author don’t bet money on making money off your book! I market the book to my guests on the tours and sell most that way, though you can find it on Amazon and in big book retailers in Arizona!

Take us through your writing process for a non-fiction book. (Do you write by hand or always type? Do you keep a writing schedule? Do you have a certain number of drafts you complete before turning in final copy?)

I type because I am a super fast typer and it is easier for me. With the first book I kept a very strict writing schedule, the reason the second book is taking me so long is because I don’t have the same schedule or time as I did when writing the first book. I did one draft then sent it to a gazillion friends to proof for me. Then I rewrote the changes they recommended and then I sent it off to the publisher for print.

Tell us how to keep up with you and about your upcoming projects/happenings. 

I highly recommend everyone to follow me or the tours on Facebook.  Old Bisbee Ghost Tour or Sweet Midnight, or Renee Harper!

Bisbee, AZ – One Perfect Day

An old mining town in the Mule Mountains, Bisbee is home to The Copper Queen, and we were there on an official investigation for our upcoming book with Llewellyn “America’s Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in With Uninvited Guests.” last week. One cannot live on ghost hunting alone, so off to the streets we went. When possible, I like to soak in the culture of the local town to better understand the atmosphere and history of the place I am writing about. Artsy, quirky, and weird is what I saw during my short time there (although to be fair, it was my second visit). “Weird” is not a derogatory designation, by the way.

Bisbee is a winding, hilly town populated with too many sets of stairs for me to count, let alone climb in a few short hours. Officially, the 1,000 step challenge does come with a map at the Visitor’s Center, but I think I found myself climbing up many sets of random stairs before I realized that I was trespassing onto someone’s property instead of staying on the official path. Thank God everyone was cool and this doesn’t seem like the type of place where people are going to call the cops on you (like Charleston, for instance, where they call the cops if your dog pees in the wrong yard). I can dig that.

Random stairs?

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Back on the path:

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The downtown view and street shots:

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The Copper Queen Mine Tour and the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum were world-class facilities that really impressed us. I know they will never do it, but if they opened up that mine to ghost tours, they would really see a lot more money roll in! You tell me, wouldn’t you pay $100 per person for you and ten friends to shut the mine down on Friday night for a few hours?! The place is AMAZING!

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After a fantastic pizza at the Stock Exchange Saloon and a brief conversation with the Duchess (who was wonderfully charming and fascinating!), we were off to meet Renee, our Ghost Host from the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour (and author), who briefed us on many of Bisbee’s historic haunted hotels. We then settled down for the night in the Julia Lowell Suite inside the famous Copper Queen Hotel.

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And that, my friends, is a tale for another time.

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

Further Reading:

http://www.discoverbisbee.com/index.htm

http://www.bisbee1000.org/

http://www.queenminetour.com

http://www.bisbeemuseum.org/

http://www.stockexchangesaloon.com/stock-exchange-saloon.aspx

http://www.oldbisbeeghosttour.com/

http://copperqueen.com/

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