Showing posts with label hauntings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hauntings. Show all posts

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror
It’s October – my favorite time of year, and with it comes the chance to investigate some haunted places around the U.S. This year, A Grave Interest will focus on haunted houses, and the spirits who are living up to some interesting mischief making …

November 13, 1974 was a chilly night in Suffolk County, New York. In the  early evening hours, Ronald (Burch) DeFeo Jr. ran into a local bar and told patrons that his parents had been shot. So began what would become known as The Amityville Horror.

Nothing about this unassuming 3-story Dutch Colonial home, located at 112 Ocean Avenue gave any indication as to the tragedy that had happened inside. When police arrived that evening, they discovered six members of the DeFeo's family had been shot execution style; all were found lying face down on their beds.

The DeFeo's oldest son, Ronald (Butch) DeFeo, Jr. was charged with murdering his family and sentenced to six concurrent sentences of 25 years to life. At his trial, DeFeo claimed that he had been possessed by the evil that resided in the house. He had heard it use his family’s voices in plotting to kill him, so he killed his family first.

George & Kathy Lutz
In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz moved into the Long Island house with her three children. The Lutz’s claimed strange things began to happen as soon as they arrived.

It started that evening with a plague of flies inside the house; cold spots were prolific and terrifying sounds would wake them at 3:15 a.m., the time when the murders were committed. Then the paranormal activity increased. Objects were thrown around the house by unseen hands; a green slime oozed from the walls, children were levitated in their beds, and a demonic pig with red, glowing eyes was seen. They moved out 28 days later.

The Lutz’s story was taken and crafted into the best selling book “The Amityville Horror” in 1977. A movie spin-off was made two years later that received an Oscar nomination and spawned several sequels. For over a generation of readers and viewers, The Amityville Horror became America’s best-known haunted house.

William Weber
But rumors spread that the Lutz family had taken a gruesome situation and made up terrifying incidents as a way to gain fame and fortune. Local attorney William Weber claimed that he and the Lutz’s “created the story over many bottles of wine.”

The Lutz’s retaliated by suing Weber, along with a ghost writer, two clairvoyants, the New York Sunday Times, Good Housekeeping magazine and Hearst Corporation for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of names for trade purposes and mental distress. A Brooklyn judge dismissed the claims ruling that “to a large extent the book is a work of fiction, relying in a large part upon the suggestions of Mr. Weber.”  The Lutz’s disappeared from public view.

Daniel Lutz
But others still believed. Daniel Lutz was 10-years-old when his family lived there for that month in 1975. He says the claims of evil forces in the house were true, and blames his stepfather, George Lutz for dabbing in the occult and bringing about the horrifying paranormal encounters. (Both George and Kathy Lutz did pass lie detector tests concerning their ordeal in the house.)

Daniel Lutz remembers books about magic and satanic practices that his step-father kept on his bookshelves, and believes that George Lutz opened a gateway to paranormal forces before discovering that he couldn’t control what he’d let loose.

Jim and Barb Cromarty
Jim and Barbara Cromarty purchased the house in 1977 and lived there for ten years. They reported nothing unusual happened there during that time.

In fact, several families have lived in the house since the Cromarty’s sold it in the 1980s. None have reported any supernatural happenings in the residence.

The truth of the Lutz’s claims may never be known.  Kathleen Lutz died in 2004, and her ex-husband George died in 2006, both still affirming that the paranormal events did happen.

The house has received a face-lift and an address change over the years in order to keep visitors at bay. After almost 40 years without any paranormal reports, maybe its time to find another house more deserved of the attention, and let these tales die a natural death …

~ Joy

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hauntings At The Hannah House

Haunted Houses
It’s October – my favorite time of year, and that means getting to investigate some haunted places around the Midwest. This year, A Grave Interest will take a stroll through some well-known (and not so well-known) haunted houses, trying to discover more about the spirits that keep these places "interesting" …

Hannah House
In Indianapolis, Indiana, "The Crossroads of America," there is a stately old Italianate-style mansion that is said to be haunted by the people who died there when the owner was trying to help them reach freedom.

Hannah House was built in1858 by 37-year-old Alexander Moore Hannah, a prominent Indiana businessman. The brick home is made up of 24 rooms, located on two floors with an attic and a cellar.

Hannah was an abolitionist who stood up against slavery and intensely debated his policies with all who would listen, including President James Buchanan. It is no wonder that he allowed his mansion to become a stop on the Underground Railroad. But this assistance ultimately led to tragedy.

Underground Railroad
One night, several runaway slaves were being hidden in the cellar, awaiting the next "conductor's" arrival, when someone knocked over an oil lantern. Fire ignited quickly in the cramped quarters and in no time the cellar filled with smoke. The blaze swept through the fugitives quickly. It's not known how many slaves were in the cellar at the time, but many died from the smoke; others from burns before the fire could be contained.

A Cellar Floor
Hannah feared punishment if it was learned that his home was being used as a stop on the Underground Railroad, so the truth of the fire and deaths of the escaped slaves had to be hidden. Those who died in the blaze were quickly buried under the cellar's dirt floor - their names and identities lost forever ...

Hannah continued to live in the house until his death in 1895. The home sold in 1899 and immediately, reports of shadows, screams and strange happenings began.

There were rumors that the stench of burning flesh would drift through the house from time to time, followed by the scent of gangrene, and there were also the shrill screams of a woman in agony.

Objects moved around of their own accord, especially in the basement, and items were thrown about by unseen hands throughout the house; whispering can still be heard but the words are unintelligible. Cold drafts will suddenly permeate a room when no door or window has been opened, and shadowy figures still  move about the mansion; some claim one of them is Mr. Hannah.

If you’d like to experience what the Hannah House has to offer, plan on taking a tour of the house and grounds on selected dates. The next event is scheduled for this Sunday, October 4th from 1 to 4 p.m. eastern time. To check on other tour dates, email the Hannah House or call (317) 787-8486.

Happy Hauntings!

~ Joy

Friday, November 1, 2013

Haunted Towns in the Midwest - Evansville, Indiana

Haunted Evansville, Indiana and the Willard Library

Once again, the month of October has come and gone…. a time for hauntings, Halloween - and all things spooky.  Yes, I know, October was officially over yesterday, but I couldn’t close our look at haunted locations in the Midwest, without an overnight visit to Willard Library. And, maybe, just maybe, catch a glimpse of the Grey Lady…
Willard Library By Moonlight

On a cool October night, with a full moon looming above the Gothic library, I met with the Willard Library Ghost Chatters group (WLGC) for their annual paranormal investigation of "their" library.
WLGC Investigate

has been meeting here every year in October since 2000 when founder Maer Mack suggested that a few chat room friends interested in paranormal and the Grey Lady (the resident spirit of the library) meet at Willard Library once a year to investigate. One thing has led to another over the years and now the group comes from all over the country, and Canada, prepared to search for ghosts, while getting caught up with each other during their weekend reunion in Evansville.

In the Stacks
EVP Session in the Children's Room
Everyone has a story to tell - of orbs bouncing between the book stacks; books sailing off of shelves and even striking people; water turning on and off at the janitor’s sink; shadows passing up the stairs; cold spots moving through the rooms… EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon) are prevalent in the library: a little boy’s voice, a woman’s, and sometime a man's can be heard.

Paranormal Investigator Tim Harte
How many spirits abide at Willard? Hard to say – WLGC estimate that there are at least eight entities here. Tim Harte with Mesa Project has been researching the paranormal for decades. Each year he brings his equipment to the library and sets up in a room, measuring a variety of energies that are associated with paranormal phenomena.

Ghostly Activity
Tim Updates the WLGC's
Harte’s equipment collects data on visible, incident infrared, and ultraviolet light intensities: “natural and artificially generated electromagnetic fields, gamma ray radiation, galvanic skin response of a human subject, infrasound, and vibration." On this night, he picks up some activity in the Bayard Room, a known “haunt” of the Grey Lady’s.

Willard Carpenter
Willard Library
It all began when Willard Carpenter, a well-known businessman in the Evansville community, decided to build a library that would be “for the use of people of all classes and sexes, free of charge, forever.” Willard Library opened in 1885, housed in a 3-story Victorian Gothic style building. It is the oldest public library in Indiana.

Dark Shadow (Circled)
The first report of the library being haunted occurred in the winter of 1937. The library janitor was stoking the basement furnace in the early morning hours when he came face-to-face with a woman dressed in grey. When he asked what she wanted, she simply faded away. That was the last time the janitor was in the building; he quit the next morning.

Louise Carpenter
Investigating the Children's Room
The Grey Lady has been rumored to be Louise Carpenter, Willard’s daughter. Unhappy with her inheritance, she is said to haunt the library, which received the bulk of her father’s money. But many say that just doesn’t feel right. They believe the Grey Lady may be the spirit of a former librarian. Especially since the spirit seems to like being in the children’s section in the basement.

Grey Lady on Stairs
Bayard Room
The Grey Lady is known to move furniture around, push books off shelves, or move them forward to the edge of the shelves. Footsteps can be heard when no one else is on the floor in question, and the scent of lilac or lavender perfume is sometimes noticed. She has been seen on the main staircase and has been felt as a cold spot. She also likes to touch female patrons hair or earrings – and this I can vouch for; it’s happened to me in the Bayard Room.

Moonlight Through a Window
City police take it in stride when motion sensors set off the alarm system at the library at night. Once a policeman, stationed outside during an alarm, saw a woman standing in the window of the Bayard Room. When he asked if they had apprehended her, he was told that the police could find no one in the room, or
the building…

Basement Hallway
Janitor's Sink
Sightings have continued to this day, and not just of
the Grey Lady. There is also a young boy, known as “Billy” who plays tricks on staff and patrons. Could he be the spirit that turns on faucets at a janitor's sink on the first floor, knocks or throws books off shelves, and operates the elevator for unseen patrons? There is also a male apparition called “Frank” that is
sometimes seen in the basement. And, there are also others...unnamed.

Library Director Greg Hager
Willard Library has been featured on paranormal programs broadcast on the Discover Channel, the Sci-Fi channel, CNN, and the Travel Channel, just to name a few. According to Library Director, Greg Hager, there is currently a waiting list for paranormal groups who would like to do an overnight investigation here; the next available night will be in October 2031! But the door is always open to the WLGC - the group that started the search.

Louise is Ready for Halloween
As for those just wanting to learn more about the paranormal activity here, the library offers free Grey Lady tours on select evenings in October, but reservations are strongly recommended.

The Witching Hour at the Library
Although it’s too late to catch an evening tour this year, check with the library about free tours held year-round during the daylight hours. And if you’re still wanting to see what happens in the library at the witching hour, check out the Library Ghost Cams at Library Ghost and Willard Library Ghost Cams

Down the Staircase
Reading Room
Willard Library is like a step back in time, full of beautiful wooden trim, long library tables with individual reading lamps, and a helpful staff that won’t look askance when you ask, “Who was that woman who just touched my hair?” 

The Grey Lady...
“Why the Grey Lady, of course,” will most likely be the reply.

~ Joy