by T.G. Reaper
“Harvey, you never treat me to coffee, or anything for that matter without wanting something.” I took a drink and watched his face for any expression. I’ve known him long enough to read his expressions like a book. He didn’t disappoint me. He sat back in the chair and stared at the ceiling of Starbucks, hoping for some kind of answer to my question. When he turned back to me he had a worried smile on his face.
“You are the best paranormal investigator out there. I need your help.”
“Since when did you get into hauntings? I thought theme parks were your game.”
Then it made sense. “No! You are not going to glorify people’s death!”
“Nothing like that,” Harvey said. “I recently purchased an abandoned asylum. I want you to investigate to make sure it’s not haunted. That’s all.”
“Why do you need it investigated? Why did you buy something like that?”
Harvey took a nervous sip of his coffee. “If it is haunted, I would like to get the spirits sent to wherever you send them to. If it’s not haunted, I have a business project that it would be perfect for.”
Harvey apparently has learned to read my face as well. He caught the expression and took a deep breath.
“I want to put in housing for the poor. “
“Wait, no theme park? No ghostly roller coasters?”
“No. I am trying to help the community. But I will not endanger any lives by building on haunted land.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I studied spirits and hauntings for years before ever getting into investigating. I have learned to love and respect the dead, and it pissed me off to see them exploited for the fun of the living. Harvey knew my position on this.
“Okay, you got me. What happens now?”
“You will investigate for three days. At night, I have you booked at the Rosebud Hotel. Go in, do what you need to do, and get out. Simple.”
“No. Just get me the information so I can get the ball rolling on this.” Harvey pulled out a stack of papers. “These are blueprints and history of the place.”
“Okay, thanks. When do I start?”
“Take the stuff home and study it. I will have a car waiting to take you to Vermont this Thursday. Spend the weekend there and come back to a five-thousand-dollar paycheck.”
I did as I was told and studied the information. By Thursday I knew every nook and cranny of the place. The car was waiting as promised and soon I was on my way to the Asylum. Vermont was about an hour’s drive and the asylum and hotel were just inside the state line. The two buildings were across the country road from each other and both were surrounded by woods. It was truly in the middle of nowhere. The car dropped me off in front of the Rosebud and the driver told me he would be back on Sunday evening.
There was a young woman of Asian accent standing behind the front counter. She smiled and waved as I walked towards her.
“Hi! I’m Rosie! Welcome to the Rosebud!”
“Thanks,” I said. “I believe I have a reservation. Brittney Riker?”
“Oh yes! The paranormal investigator! “She checked the register book. I noticed some of the dates on it dated back over a hundred years. “You are on the third floor, room 312.”
I wondered while I climbed the stairs if she was always so perky. I also wondered why the register book was so outdated. One mystery at a time. I walked down the hallway, passing people wearing old fashioned clothes. I asked one woman if it was a costume party and she just smiled and kept walking.
My alarm went off at five am. Not that it mattered. I spent the night floating from one nightmare to the next. Images of people being stabbed in their sleep, bodies burned and buried, and a dream about a banquet, where people were served as the main course. I’m not much of a dreamer, so these nightmares really burned into my brain.
It was just getting daylight as I crossed the empty street and walked up to the front door of the asylum. It felt like a hundred eyes staring at me. I unlocked the padlock and went inside.
Most investigations take place at night. I usually do a day sweep to get the lay of the land and to see how much energy is already in the building. I went room to room with my gauges, and by the end of the day I had nothing. During the day, this place was dead. I set up some cameras and recording devices and went outside to get some air and wait for nightfall. There was a bench at the right corner of the building, and when I looked over, I saw an old lady sitting there. She looked at me as I got closer and smiled.
“Fancy meeting you here,” she said, running her fingers through her long, silver hair. “Have a seat.”
I sat down next to her and felt a cold sensation. Like I was sitting next to an open refrigerator. She stared at me, smiling.
“Have you met the others yet?” She asked. “I know they want to meet you.”
“I’m sorry, others?”
“You’ll see. They come out at night.” Her expression changed to one of total seriousness.
“Be careful of Rosie. She’s the reason most of us are here.”
“And you are?” I asked.
“You can call me Beverly.” She reached her hand out and when I reached to shake it, she vanished.
“Easiest case ever,” I said as I wrote down the event. I started back towards the hotel when I saw two little girls appear and dance in a circle in the asylum courtyard. They looked over at me and waved before vanishing again. A man ran down the sidewalk wearing a straightjacket while a nurse chased him holding a large old-fashioned syringe. They vanished as they stepped onto the street. I thought for a moment. Call it a day, confirm the haunting and collect the pay, or investigate to discover why it is haunted, who is this Rosie the ghost mentioned, and if possible send them on their way? It took all of ten seconds to make up my mind. I pulled out my cell phone and made the call.
“Harvey, the asylum is haunted as hell!”
“Okay, job well done. Come on home and we will take it from here.” He didn’t sound the least bit surprised. That made me curious.
“Harvey, what’s going on? If you already knew it was haunted why did you send me?” Silence. I could picture him on the other end, searching deep for an answer.
“I wasn’t exactly truthful with you before,” he finally said. “There is more to the haunting than what I told you.”
“Harvey, if you are turning this into some kind of horror amusement park I swear I will get a five gallon bucket of holy water and cleanse the whole damn town!”
“Nothing like that.” Another pause. “There was someone in the asylum who was very special to me. I wanted to know if she was still a prisoner of that place or if her spirit was free.”
“Okay, I can do that. I need a name.”
“Slender, long silver hair, nice person?”
“She’s here; I met her about fifteen minutes ago.”
“My God. She’s trapped there.” His voice was dripping with pain and remorse. I had to do something.
“Harvey, I can free her. I can’t cleanse the entire asylum alone, but I can at least find and free her.”
A cold chill ran down my spine and I instantly felt like I made a mistake. I hung up and headed back to the hotel.
I spent the next several hours praying and putting together some equipment for the night’s investigation. I packed an oculist box, a device that allows a person to speak to a ghost in real time instead of recording it and playing it back. I also took a bottle of holy water, a notebook, an EMF detector, and a pair of brass knuckles, just in case not all the creatures are ghosts. I put everything in a messenger bag and headed back out to the asylum.
Darkness swept the empty street. I could hear children playing in the courtyard as I neared the door. I could hear them, feel the eyes watching me, but couldn’t see anything but dark. I heard footsteps behind me, turned but nothing was there. I started back towards the door, walking a bit faster. The padlock fell off the chain, the chain dropped and the door opened wide for me. I stopped dead in my tracks. Every part of me wanted to turn and run back into the darkness and back to the hotel. I looked back and could only see the night. The hotel was no longer visible. As if the night swallowed it. I took a deep breath, turned around and walked into the house of madness.
The EMF meter spiked instantly. I walked around, hoping to find some clue as to where to find Beverly. Shadows moved in the cells, and someone somewhere was humming. There was a common area straight ahead. It was a round room enveloping around a large circular couch. I took a seat and turned on the oculist box. The static filled the room. I could hear bits and pieces of conversation, and some moans.
“Beverly, are you here?” I asked. More moans and static, and then giggling filled the room.
“Fancy meeting you here.” The voice came from beside me, not the box. I turned and Beverly was sitting there, smiling at me.
“Harvey sent me here to free you,” I said. “He wants you to be free of this place.”
Beverly’s expression changed to that of concern. “That bastard put me here in the first place!”
“Were you friends?” I asked. She shook her head and closed her eyes.
“He’s my brother. How do I leave here?”
I bowed my head and prayed. I could feel warmth all over that place. I opened my eyes and saw that I was surrounded by people, some were patients and some were staff, all were staring at a bright light that hovered above us.
“Just move towards the light,” I said. “You don’t have to be afraid anymore.”
Rosie charged from the darkness. She had a lead pipe in her hand and was running towards me.
“They are mine! You can’t free them!”
I slid my hands into my brass knuckles and waited for the attack. She swung the pipe at my head, just missing me by inches. She was incredibly fast. She swung at my ribs, the metal connecting and dropping me to my knees. It hurt to breath. She stood over me, pipe pulled back over her head. She was ready to finish me off. I could hear the spirits crying all around me. I had to do something for them. I climbed to one knee, pulled my arm back and shot myself forward, my augmented fist crashing against her cheek. She screamed, moved back and dropped the pipe. I found new strength and fired another right cross, followed by a left hook. Both connected. Blood flew from Rosie’s split lip and teeth rained on the filthy floor. I fired an uppercut that caught under her chin and knocked her off her feet. Before she could stand the spirits swarmed her. I didn’t want to see what was going to happen next so I turned and started towards the door. I saw Beverly still sitting on the couch.
“When you’re finished, go towards the light,” I said. Beverly nodded.
I staggered out into the night air. At first it stung my lungs, but after a minute it felt good. I looked over at the Rosebud and saw it in flames. Harvey was going to owe me more than just a few bucks. I started to walk towards the hotel but stopped. There was nothing more I could do. I walked up to the curb, sat down and called for my ride. It was over.
A BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER
We live in a world of the strange. Reports of Hauntings from Amityville to Connecticut, to hotels and homes up and down the California coast. So, what if it was a bridge that was haunted? And what if it haunted more than just people? Dogs are man’s best friends. Does that make them the spirit world’s worst enemy?
Overtoun Bridge – West Dunbartonshire, Scotland
This bridge is responsible for several mysterious suicides since the 1950s… but here’s the weirdest part: nearly all those deaths have been dogs, who for some reason are compelled to jump over the edge, plunging 50 feet into the waterfall below. The phenomenon has claimed so many furry friends that signs have been posted reminding pedestrians to keep pets on a leash when crossing. That’s not the worst of it, either: in 1994, a man named Kevin Moy, claiming that his infant son was the Devil incarnate, threw the baby off the bridge, then plunged into the falls himself.
Was Kevin tainted? His brain not quite what it should be? Did he really see the Devil in the child, or did the bridge make him see the boy that way? Like any mystery, we always seem to have more questions than answers. Kevin survived the suicide attempt, but more than fifty dogs have not been so lucky. Some claim the bridge and Overtoun house that was built by Lord Overtoun in 1895. The word Overtoun in Celtic means “The thin place,” a place where Heaven and Earth are supposed to be extremely close. Doesn’t sound very Heavenly to me.
Normally I would start talking about wanting to go explore the haunted location, or if I had been there before sharing some of my own experiences. Not this time. No thank you. Just a little too dark for my liking. If you ever do go to the Overtoun bridge, bring a cross, and leave Fido at home.
A place to remember
Greetings weary traveler. If you are seeking a restful night’s sleep in a real castle here in Michigan, someplace to rest your head, get a massage, enjoy an incredible meal created by a French chef and all at a reasonable cost, I have just the place for you. The catch? Well, it’s haunted. I wouldn’t be sharing this if it wasn’t.
The Henderson Castle, located at 100 Monroe Street, Kalamazoo Michigan is really a beautiful sight. The guests enjoy the best of everything, gift cards and reservations are available. So, with all of this, what is lurking in the darkness just outside of view? Was that a shadow moving in the corner of your eye? What haunts the Henderson Castle?
Over a century old and supposedly host to a legion of ghosts, Kalamazoo’s Henderson Castle is now a bed and breakfast that caters to the living… and the dead. The ghosts of the home’s original owners Frank and Mary Henderson, as well as those of a Spanish-American War veteran, a little girl, and a dog interact regularly with paranormal teams and guests alike. The apparently amiable spirits have favorite forms of communication, speaking through unplugged radios, tapping unsuspecting visitors on the shoulder, and sometimes appearing in full form, wearing period clothing.
So, take a road trip to the castle, and bring your radio. No need to plug it in, the ghosts that pass through the walls are dying to speak to you.
Thom Futrell Author/Screenwriter
THE LONG RIDE HOME
Nikkie pointed her Chevy at the highway and put it in drive. The phantom of a great meal at Elise’s kitchen faded in the rear-view mirror.
Tired eyes glanced down at her dashboard. She would have to get gas at the next exit. She could see the sign in the distance, creeping like a creature looking for flesh. Something stepped in front of the sign, something large, human shaped with sheep’s horns and wings.
The gas dial was kissing the “E”. It would be ten miles before the next station. No way would the car make it that far. She would have to pass the creature. She slowed way down, hoping it would just fly away and not notice her. She said a silent prayer as she turned onto the exit.
She stared straight ahead, trying not to look at the creature. She could feel it staring at her, almost through her. It jumped onto the exit sign, claws scraping the metal. Nikkie fought back the urge to scream. As the car passed it, the creature crouched and then took off. The wings sounding like flags in a hurricane. A scream crossed her lips before she could stop it. She looked in the rear-view mirror to see it looking back at her, nodding and smiling, but not changing direction. Soon it was a speck in the sky.
Nikkie kept looking up as she filled her thirsty car. The gas station attendant watched her intently. She fumbled with her purse as she tried to get out her MasterCard.
“You saw him, didn’t you?” The attendant asked as he ran her card. “The fallen angel.”
“It has a name?” Nikkie was both surprised and relieved. She wasn’t the only one so she knew she wasn’t insane. “What is it?”
“According to the locals, it comes after the tainted, takes their souls to hell.”
Nikkie sighed. “I guess I should feel blessed.”
“Did it see you?” He asked.
“Looked right at me, but flew the other way.”
The attendant suddenly looked nervous. He handed her back her card. “Yeah, you’re lucky. Have a nice evening.”
Nikkie couldn’t get what the attendant told her out of her head. She relived it in her mind all the way home. She remembered as she got out of the car and climbed the front steps how the creature looked back at her, smiled and nodded. She turned her key in the lock and the front door swung open. Before she walked in the moon above her was blocked out by a large human shape, and the night was filled with the sounds of flapping wings, and screaming.
A LOOK INSIDE THE HOUSE THAT WOULD NOT DIE
I’ve always wanted to visit china. To experience the culture and see for myself what it is like to live there. When I first learned about Chaonel no.81, I found another reason to visit. What haunts this abandoned mansion? Darkness walks the halls in this forsaken home and something is in that darkness…watching….waiting….what’s inside? Let’s go inside and find out…A LOOK INSIDE THE HOUSE THAT WOULD NOT DIE\
From the outside, Chaonei No. 81, an abandoned, Baroque-style mansion in the Chaoyangmen neighborhood of the Dongcheng District in Beijing, China appears to be a waste of a beautiful home.
But locals know the real reason this building has lain abandoned for over 50 years: It’s a house inhabited by the dead.
Legend goes that following the Communist victory against the Nationalists in 1949, a high-ranking government official fled his mansion home for safe haven in Taiwan, leaving behind his wife–or possibly mistress–to fend for herself. In desperation, the woman hung herself from the rafters of their home. Her ghost has haunted the house since that fateful day.
Though historians haven’t been able to corroborate the veracity of the story, they point out that records around that time were suppressed and destroyed.
Those who live near Chaonei No. 81 claim to hear wailing screams, that reach a fever pitch during thunderstorms. Moreover, a number of disappearances have been linked to the house, which go back to the very origins of the property. Historians say the house was built for an English priest, to be used as a church. He disappeared before construction was completed. When investigators searched the house, they found a secret crypt that opened onto a tunnel, one that snaked through the darkness to the Dashanzi neighborhood in the northeast.
Not long after they commandeered the house in the 1960s, the Red Guards abandoned Chaonei No. 81. The house slipped into abandonment, leaving the locals even more wary of entering. “Even in the 1970s, people thought the house was haunted,” said Li Yongjia, who grew up nearby, to The New York Times. “As children, we would play hide-and-seek in the house, but we didn’t dare come in by ourselves.”
A more recent legend holds that in 2001, a group of construction workers, renovating the basement adjacent to Chaonei No. 81, thought it would be fun to break through the thin wall separating the properties. They were supposedly never seen again.
People passing Chaonei No. 81 claim to feel an enormous sense of dread or foreboding; it’s said that even during the humid summer months, standing in the mansion’s doorway is much cooler than any other shaded entrance nearby.
Speculation about the house was so intense amongst Chinese youth that a film studio set a 3D horror film there, called The House That Never Dies, in 2014.
The house’s reputation (and its condition) makes it a hard sell for potential buyers. Realtors estimate that the renovation alone would cost nearly $1.5 million dollars. As of now, the Catholic diocese of Beijing owns the house, and denies any claims that the property is haunted. As if to reinforce this, a chalk inscription outside the house reads, “there are no ghosts here.”
The interior of Chaonei No. 81, however, is covered in graffiti, warning visitors that if they know what’s good for them, they’ll stay out. A friendly warning by the living, or a message from the dead?
I went over the slicer with a hot, soapy rag. It was finally quitting time and even though I love my job, I was ready to go home and slam a brew. I got the slicer to shine just as the door opened. I peeked over the counter and saw a man on a cell phone and a woman going through her massive hand bag. Neither looked very happy to be here or with each other. I wanted to tell them we were closed, but I figured I wouldn’t get the business if I did.
“Be right with you folks,” I said instead. I walked out to the counter and pulled a notepad and pencil. The man looked at me and waved his finger as the woman rolled her eyes at him.
“Can’t you leave your business alone long enough to order?” She said. He shot her a dirty look and hung up the phone.
“Listen Charlie, we need two egg salad sandwiches and coffees to go.” He put his phone in his jacket pocket and stared at me. I started to write it down when she spoke up.
“I will take a Turkey and Swiss on White bread with that coffee,” she looked at the man and smiled. “And I will eat it here.”
“What?! We have to go!”
“Mind if I take this?” She ignored the man’s rant and picked up a hot pot of coffee off the warmer.
“Yeah, that’s fine,” I said. She mouthed a thank you and walked slowly to the back corner booth. The man looked at me with hell in his eyes.
“I’d leave the hag here if it didn’t cost me half of my stuff in the divorce.” He grabbed a handful of napkins. “I’ll have what she’s having, light on the mayo for both.”
“Yes sir,” I said. I was almost afraid to leave them; the tension in the room was at a fever pitch. I pulled the cutting board and my carving knife and put it as close to the door as possible. Then I went to the cooler and pulled the Turkey box and cheese. The bread drawer was between me and the counter so I pulled four slices of white on the way. I laid out the bread and put a smooth layer of mayo on two slices. I stacked some slices of turkey and topped them off with thick sliced Swiss before covering it with the other slices. I stacked the sandwiches on each other and was about to cut them diagonally when I heard the shot.
Carving knife in hand I charged out of the kitchen. The man was standing over a brown liquid pool with broken glass everywhere. He looked over his shoulder at me when he heard me coming.
“Holy crap! I’ll pay for the cup, don’t go all Michael Myers on me!”
The woman looked up at the knife and smiled, then hugged her purse.
“Sorry, sir.” I said. I walked back to the kitchen, my face was burning. I cut the sandwiches and plated them with lettuce, tomato and onions. The man found the mop and had the mess cleaned up by the time I delivered the food. Neither said anything, but he looked at me nervously and I could feel him staring at me as I returned to clean my cutting board. I washed up my area and returned to the counter just as he walked towards the back to the bathroom.
“Pay the man, would you?” He said. “I have to take a leak.”
“What a gentleman,” she muttered as she opened her purse. “What do I owe you?”
I laid the knife on the cutting board and wiped my hands on a rag. “Five dollars will cover it.”
She reached into her purse and as she pulled out her wallet some other items fell on the floor.
“Let me get that.” I walked around the counter and got on all fours. I discovered a lipstick, nail file and a change purse. I handed her back her items and she handed me a ten dollar bill.
“Keep the change for your troubles,” she said. He came out of the bathroom, back on his cell phone and walked out without saying a word. She smiled at me and followed him. I was so glad they left. I stepped back around the counter to take care of the carving knife and discovered it was missing. I looked around the area in case it fell. Then I realized, she kept hugging her purse every time she looked at it. I ran to the window and watched the tail lights get swallowed by the night. I wondered if death was waiting to swallow him. Cheaper than a divorce.
THE HELLFIRE CLUB
I have a question for you: What does it take to haunt a location? A traumatic event? A murder? How about graveyard desecration? In my years of paranormal research and writing I have heard these reasons and countless others.
If I had to choose what would be the worst haunting, this place would be in the top ten of my list. So much negative energy in one area is bound to make things happen. I once ended my book Night Songs with the line “Death leaves a bit of herself as she walks through the room.” In this case death left quite a bit.
Welcome to Dublin’s notorious Hellfire Club – one of the most terrifying places on Earth! Perched high on a mountain-top overlooking the city of Dublin, The Hellfire Club is a place of Evil, of Terror and of Death. Built in the Eighteenth century on the site of a sacred Stone Age tomb, The Hellfire Club was constructed in a spirit of blasphemy and sacrilege. The young bucks who built it said it was a hunting lodge. It’s real purpose – the worship of The Devil!
Cursed from the very beginning, the aristocratic members of The Hellfire Club used this place as a headquarters for their wild debauchery. These rich young men liked nothing better than sex and drinking.
This lonely hilltop is haunted by many, many ghosts. You might just hear the screams of a woman who was rolled down the hill to her death – in a burning barrel! Local people avoid the area after dark. Dogs whimper and turn away as they reach the summit. The few who are brave enough to go inside frequently report the smell of Brimstone – unsurprising given that Satan himself has been known to pay a visit!
There are poltergeists in The Hellfire Club – if you wear a chain around your neck, be warned, invisible hands might pull it clean off! Could they be the hands of the poor young dwarf, brutally murdered and buried under the kitchen of nearby Killakee House, with a horrifying effigy of a demon?
And if you hear the hiss of a cat, be afraid, for this is no mere pet – the area is known to be haunted by the dreaded Black Cat of Killakee – a huge and malevolent elemental spirit.
This place truly has it all, and even though it has long since ended its run, you can still go and experience the darkest past Ireland has to offer.
I have never stepped onto the dark soaked land where the Hellfire club stands, but I would love to at some point. So much there just waiting to be explored. Just be sure to proceed with caution.
WHERE YOU HANG YOUR AXE IS YOUR HOME
Thom Futrell writing as T.G. Reaper
While many haunted houses can trace their legends back to grisly murders which took place within their walls, the “Villisca Axe Murder House” is more unique in that the killings themselves took place under unexplained circumstances. On the night of June 10, 1912, eight people – the Moore family and two guests – were bludgeoned to death with an axe. To this day, the perpetrator has never been found; the primary suspect was tried and eventually released based on a lack of evidence, but has since been connected to several similar murders in other states following the Moore deaths. Over a century later, the house – now a museum – made news again when “recreational” paranormal investigator Robert Laursen Jr. stabbed himself while on a tour. He survived, but the motivation for the self-wound has never been explained. Once the murderers were discovered, the news traveled quickly in the small town. As neighbors and curious onlookers converged on the house, law enforcement officials quickly lost control of the crime scene. It is said that up to a hundred people traipsed through the house gawking at the bodies before the Villisca National Guard finally arrived around noon to cordon off the area and secure the home.
The only known facts regarding the scene of the crime were:
Eight people had been bludgeoned to death, presumably with an axe that was left at the crime scene. It appeared they all had been asleep at the time of the murders.
Doctors estimated time of death as somewhere shortly after midnight.
Curtains were drawn on all the windows in the house except two, which did not have curtains. Those windows were covered with clothing belonging to the Moore’s.
All of the victims faces were covered with the bedclothes after they were killed.
A kerosene lamp was found at the foot of the bed of Josiah and Sarah. The chimney was off and the wick had been turned back. The chimney was found under the dresser.
A similar lamp was found at the foot of the bed of the Stillinger girls, the chimney was also off.
The axe was found in the room occupied by the Stillinger girls. It was bloody but an attempt had been made to wipe it off. The axe belonged to Josiah Moore.
The ceilings in the parent’s bedroom and the children’s room showed gouge marks apparently made by the upswing of the axe.
A piece of a keychain was found on the floor in the downstairs bedroom.
A pan of bloody water was discovered on the kitchen table as well as a plate of uneaten food.
The doors were all locked.
The bodies of Lena and Ina Stillinger were found in the downstairs bedroom off the parlor. Ina was sleeping closest to the wall with Lena on her right side. A gray coat covered her face. Lena, according to the inquest testimony of Dr. F.S. Williams, “lay as though she had kicked one foot out of her bed sideways, with one hand up under the pillow on her right side, half sideways, not clear over but just a little. Apparently, she had been struck in the head and squirmed down in the bed, perhaps one-third of the way.” Lena’s nightgown was slid up and she was wearing no undergarments. There was a bloodstain on the inside of her right knee and what the doctors assumed was a defensive wound on her arm.
Dr. Linquist, the coroner, reported a slab of bacon on the floor in the downstairs bedroom lying near the axe. Weighing nearly 2 pounds, it was wrapped in what he thought may be a dishtowel. A second slab of bacon about the same size was found in the icebox.
Linquist also made note of one of Sarah’s shoes which he found on Josiah’s side of the bed. The shoe was found on its side, however it had blood inside as well as under it. It was Linquist’s assumption that the shoe had been upright when Josiah was first struck and that blood ran off the bed into the shoe. He believed the killer later returned to the bed to inflict additional blows and subsequently knocked the shoe over.
Had these murders been committed today, it is almost certain that law enforcement officials would have easily solved the crime and brought the murderer to justice. Almost 100 years later, however, the Villisca Axe Murders remain a mystery. The murder or murderers are probably long dead, their gruesome secret buried with them. In hindsight, it’s easy to blame the officials at the time, for what could only be considered a gross mismanagement of what little evidence may have remained.
It’s important, however, that we also realize that in 1912 – fingerprinting was a fairly new venture, and DNA testing unimaginable. Although a local druggist had the forethought to attempt to enter the crime scene with his camera, he was promptly thrown out.
It is quite probable that even if the crime scene had been secure, the evidence would not have provided any real clues. There was no central database of fingerprints so even if any had been recovered, the murderer would have had to have been apprehended for a comparison. Granted, prints may have either convicted or cleared Kelly and Mansfield. Frank Jones, however, was suspected only of masterminding the plot, not actually committing the murders himself. Fingerprints would not have exonerated him.
Ever since the Moore house was opened to overnight visitors several years ago, ghost enthusiasts, curiosity-seekers and diehard paranormal investigators have come here in droves, all seeking the strange, the unusual and the haunted. Some have stayed here alone, like the Des Moines disk jockey who awoke in the night to the sounds of children’s voices when no children were present. Others have come in groups and have gone away with mysterious audio, video and photographic evidence that suggests something supernatural lurks within these walls.
Tours have been cut short by falling lamps, moving objects, banging sounds and a child’s laughter, while psychics who have come here have claimed to communicate with the spirits of the dead.
But is the Moore house in Villisca really haunted? There are many who maintain that it’s not. They say that many people lived in the house over the years and none of them ever mentioned ghosts or mysterious activity. It was not until the renovations began that visitors began to say that strange events were occurring within the walls of the “Ax Murder House”.
So, is it haunted? Are the spirits walking the floors of the old house, or, as some believe, the spirits are hiding in the shadows of the imagination? If you are ever in the area, I invite you to visit the house and make your own judgement. Who knows? Maybe the spirits want to talk to you.
A BEACON OF LIGHT
Indian Bay, located in Whitehall, Michigan, stands the White River Lighthouse. There are several in Michigan, and each one seems to have its own ghostly sightings. This one stood out to me not because of a creep factor, but because it shows that we are looked after, even after our caretakers are dead. </p>
Built in 1876, this lighthouse is said to be haunted by its first keeper, Captain William Robinson, and his wife Sara. They had 11 children and lived there for 47 years. Even after he retired and his son took over, the Captain kept up his duties. He died here in his sleep at age 87, the night before others were to take possession of the lighthouse. The sound of the Captain walking with his cane has been heard as he makes his rounds late at night, and his wife has been know to help tidy up from beyond the grave.
I’ve wanted to investigate a lighthouse ever since I saw a documentary about one in Florida where they caught the image of a ghostly person looking down the upper staircase at them. Lighthouse keepers tend to be very protective of their home, which makes sense; I mean they are the lifelines of the ships that travel at night or in the fog. It is a lonely existence, not being able to do much but man the light. Could these emotions be the cause of the many hauntings reported? Or is it the undying love of helping others? In my own studies and research, I developed the opinion that both could easily be the reason. Add to that the water, which has been thought by other investigators to hold and possibly amplify spiritual energy, and theoretically to have all the ingredients for a classic haunting. As of this writing, this investigator has not learned of anything hurtful or demonic at this site, just some lonely spirits, making sure their home is well kept.