Category Archives: ghost walks

Miramont Castle (Manitou Springs)

Miramount Castle (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29421&preview=true); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Miramont Castle (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29421)

Miramont Castle
~ 9 Capitol Hill Avenue Manitou Springs Colorado 80829 USA – miramontcastle@yahoo.com – http://www.miramontcastle.org/ ~

An oddity overlooking the village of Manitou Springs, Miramont castle is a manor house, museum, and tea room that was originally built in 1895. It was the private manor house for french born Catholic priest Father Jean Baptist Francolon. He later donated his home to the Sisters of Mercy for use as a sanitarium for those seeking healing from the magical waters of Manitou’s springs. The Sisters of Mercy set up the sanitarium in 1895 as a house to heal tuberculosis. They expanded the building in 1896 to take care of additional patients. The sisters were known for their motherly care, cleanliness, and excellence. They not only cared for patients, but contributed to the town’s culture, offering piano, violin, mandolin, guitar, and banjo lessons for the towns folk. The castle fell vacant from 1900 to 1904. The Sisters were urged by Dr. Geierman to purchase the castle for use with workings and healings achieved by German priest Sebatian Kneipp who initiated a water therapy system involving drinking prodigious quantities of Manitou’s healing waters as well as bathing in them several times a day. The Castle experienced a devastating fire in 1907 caused by an electrical fire, destroying part of the Montcalme sanitarium. Patients were relocated to the Castle for the next 20 years. In 1928 the Castle and sanitarium experienced financial difficulties so the sanitarium was converted to a boarding house for the wealthy and tourists, retreat for clergy, and eventually closed. It remained empty until privately purchased in 1946. The castle has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and has achieved national landmark status. Built by Father Jean Baptiste Francolon in 1895 with an eclectic style blending various architectural styles from Byzantine to Tudor styles. It today stands as a great example of Victorian Era design. The museum is fully accessible for tours and events. There is a climbing staircase as well as two chairlifts within. The castle is rumored to be haunted with numerous ghosts and poltergeists. Visitors can view all 42 furnished rooms, the gardens, and the tea room. Rated 5 stars out of 5

Miramount Castle (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29421&preview=true); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Miramount Castle (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29421&preview=true); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

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The haunted White Eagle Tavern (Portland, OR)

White Eagle Hotel and Pub:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903.  Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281.  To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
White Eagle Hotel and Pub: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903. Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

White Eagle Hotel and Pub
~ 836 N Russell St, Portland, OR 97227
Phone: (503) 282-6810 ~

Another McMannamin’s favorite tourist destinations, the White Eagle is more of a hostel than it is a hotel. It is located in one of the micro-brewery destination neighborhoods of Portland, Eliot in North Portland with a style of a hotel in glamour of rock n’ roll themed lodging and saloon. The building dates back to 1905. The basic rooms are located above the pub and individually furnished, has free wi-fi, and wash basins. Some rooms have bun beds. There is no air conditioning and the bathrooms are shared between rooms. The bar has a artsy feel, with rock-n-roll and odd sideshow decor, with a beer garden and nightly live music. The establishment lacks in parking, although it has a very small lot. While we have yet had a chance to lodge in this hotel, we did eat and drink at the pub in the beer garden. Service was friendly, albeit moderate in speed. It was overall a good experience. Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The Tavern:

Folklore: – the Tavern is purported to be haunted. According to Ghosts and Critters this is a favorite haunted night spot. There are tales from Jeff, the assistant manager and other employees that various strange events happen on occasion, especially after hours. There was a time when the bar was empty and employees smelled smoke inside. They investigated and never found evidence of fire, and on occasion in addition to this smell, they would be overcome with the odor of cheap perfume. Once Jeff while working in the kitchen had witnessed a menu board fly across the doorway to the basement and strike flat against the left-hand wall with a loud clap. He couldn’t figure out how that happened. Especially on its own, with no employees nearby except for one standing behind him and witnessing the event.

White Eagle Hotel and Pub:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903.  Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281.  To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
White Eagle Hotel and Pub: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903. Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Twilight Tour, Forks, Washington

Twilight Self-Guided Tour: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26105. Forks, Washington: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26115. Olympic National Forest and Park: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 26, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Twilight Self-Guided Tour: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26105. Forks, Washington

Twilight Self-Guided Tour, Forks, Washington

Located on the outskirts of the Olympic National Forest, is the small lumber town of Forks, Washington. This town would not be so popular as it is today had it not been used as the actual setting for the Hollywood famed thriller “Twilight” movie series as well as their inspired saga novels they are based on. Because of the films and books, fans from far and wide travel to this town to see where the characters lived, roamed, and had their supernatural events. So popular there is a paid tour fans can go on, or for the budget conscious, to head off to the visitor center for a free self-guided tour brochure. The novels were written by author Stephanie Meyer who wrote about them using the city of Forks as her inspiration. The town hosts an annual celebration honoring the author here the 2nd week of September every year. Map and self-guided tour can be found here: http://forkswa.com/twilight/. For a non-fan like myself, it was a bit boring and un-inspiring, but to the fans, they seem to have fun. Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Twilight Self-Guided Tour: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26105. Forks, Washington: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26115. Olympic National Forest and Park: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 26, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Twilight Self-Guided Tour: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26105. Forks, Washington: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26115. Olympic National Forest and Park: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 26, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Icelandic Wonders Museum

photos 08/27/12 172 to 240

Icelandic Wonders Museum
* Hafnargotu 9 * 825 Stokkseyri * + 354 483 1202 * info@icelandicwonders.com * http://www.icelandicwonders.com/ *

As a enthusiast about folklore and faerie lore I was very excited to hear that Iceland had a Elves and Trolls museum. Ventured in we did to find a collection of the legends and lore of Icelandic unseen people. It is dedicated to Trolls, Elves, and the Northern Lights. Within a maze of rooms within a very large 1200 meter square warehouse is a tour through the faerie world as a glimpse of how the elves and hidden folk live, as well as learning about the Northern Lights. At $24 / 1,500-kr) equivalent entrance fee for an adult it is extremely over-priced. It probably is only appreciated by someone who is an avid fan of such things, a complete rip-off for the general public. Its attached next to the Ghost Center which is even less interesting than the Troll museum. You wander through the Troll cave and learning about these giants, hang out in a special room dedicated to Northern Lights, and end at the Souvenir Shop. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Thomas Baurley

Based in the town of “Sleepy Hollow”, New York formerly known as “North Tarrytown” experiencing the name change to honor this story in 1996. The tale is not documented as an actual legend, but rather a tale by the American author Washington Irving while he was traveling abroad in Birmingham, England. He was a resident of North Tarrytown, New York and used the area as a setting for his short story. Irving included it in a collection of short stories and essays he wrote in 1820 called the “Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a classic example of American fiction, alongside his masterpiece “Rip Van Winkle” which made Washington Irving become a legend in the literary world. As of an “actual” headless horsemen, there exists no evidence of a prior legend or reporting in the means of how Washington Irving told the tale, though there does exist a headless corpse buried in a unmarked grave in the Old Dutch Burying Ground (Sleepy Hollow Cemetery) that matches the “Headless Horseman’s” lack of a head and being a Hessian soldier. (The Full legend and short story can be read here: http://www.sleepyhollowcemetery.org/sleepy-hollow-country/the-legend/. )

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The story details Sleepy Hollow and its inhabitants living there in 1790 around the historical Tarrytown as it existed in that day. The area was inhabited by all Dutch settler descendants who moved to this sleepy little glen called “Sleepy Hollow” by Irving’s story which was already basked in myths and legends making it a dreamy and drowsy place even before this tale came to be. Full of ghost stories and the paranormal, Sleepy Hollow was the perfect place for the existence of the spirit of a Headless Horseman. He was seen by some as the most popular curse upon the village, as he was apparently a ghost of a angry Hessian trooper who lost his head by a stray cannonball during the American Revolution and “rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head” eager to victimize those of ego and arrogance. The tale involves the local superstitious ego-centric school master named Ichabod Crane who was after the hand in marriage of 18 year old farmer’s daughter Katrina Van Tassel. He was in competition for the proposal with the town mischief maker named Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt. Crane was after the farmer’s wealth, Van Tassel estate, and saw marriage to Katrina as a way to obtain that status. “Brom Bones” however, also interested in Katrina, was interested in her for love. In his fight for the bride, he tries to mishap and veer Ichabod away from Katrina by performing numerous pranks on Crane, based around Crane’s paranoia and superstitions. Tensions become high, and during the annual Van Tassel harvest party, Crane is told ghostly legends of the area by Brom Bones and the locals. Crane is made so jumpy and nervous on that night that his intended proposal to Katrina was interrupted. He rides home “heavy-hearten and crest fallen” through the ghostly woods that the locals and Brom Bones told the tales of … edgy and spooked traveling from the Van Tassel farm to the Sleepy Hollow settlement. He passes by the tulip tree that had been struck by lightning and was reputedly haunted by Major André, the British spy. Instead of seeing that specter, he sees a cloaked rider at an intersection to the menacing swamp. This cloaked rider approaches him and rides alongside Crane. The man, large stature and size, appears to Crane not to have a head on his shoulders, but rather a decapitated cranium sitting on his saddle. Crane becomes spooked and races off to the bridge next to the Old Dutch cemetery. Upon reaching the bridge, the Headless Horseman vanished “in a flash of fire and brimstone” upon crossing the bridge. Ichabod crosses the bridge, but not before the specter re-appears on the bridge and hurls his head into Crane’s face. The next day, Ichabod could not be found except for his wandering horse, trampled saddle, discarded hat, and a mysterious shattered pumpkin. With Ichabod Crane nowhere in sight, the match with “Brom Bones” for Katrina’s hand in marriage was forfeited. Brom and Katrina married. Suspicion amongst the villagers bounced between believing the legend and “Brom Bones” being the villain who had the stature and size of the Headless Horseman. Many believe it was Brom in disguise, playing on Ichabod’s fears, and as a prank used to scare off Crane. However the Old Wives tales prevailed, stating that Crane indeed was “spirited away by supernatural means” and thereby increasing stories (mainly fabricated) of numerous sightings of the Headless Horseman to this very day.

Folklorists compare the American short story to the German folktale of “the Wild Huntsman” when a phantom races through the woods atop a horse scaring trespassers out of the forest. This tale most probably was the one that inspired Irving during this travels through Germany to concoct the tale of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

The German folklorist Karl Musäus states that the Headless horsemen was a staple of Northern European storytelling especially in Germany (“The Wild Huntsman”), Ireland (“Dullahan”), Scandinavia (“the Wild Hunt”), and English legends. These “headless” horsemen would race through the countryside with their decapitated heads tucked under their arms, often followed by hordes of coal-black hounds with fiery tongues (demon dogs). Folklore would talk of these as being omens of ill-fortune for those who chose to disregard their apparitions. These ghosts would mainly focus on individuals who had egos and arrogance, were overly proud, and/or scheming persons with misguided intentions such as the likes of Ichabod Crane. There are other folk tales and poems of a supernatural wild chase including Robert Burns’ 1790 “Tam o’ Shanter” and Bürger’s Der wilde Jäger, translated as the 1796 “The Wild Huntsman”.

The legend of Sleepy Hollow is classified as a fictional tale. It was set on a local bridge in Sleepy Hollow that crossed the Pocantico River into the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Irving most likely incorporated local residents as characters in the tale, whereas Katrina’s character has been matched by folklorists to local resident Elanor Van Tassel Brush. However, there is ample evidence to make it an actual legend based on place names, characters, and history leading to the fabricated tale by Washington Irving. There was a farm owned by Cornelius and Elizabeth Van Tassel that was raided by English and Hessian soldiers in November 1777. They tried to fight off the invaders which led to their farmhouse being burnt down and their family being held hostage. While they watched in horror as their farmhouse was burning, Elizabeth could not find their baby Leah anywhere, and upon trying to run into the flames to search for her baby, was interrupted by a Hessian soldier who led her to a shed where Leah was safely wrapped up in a blanket safe and sound. The family was so grateful to this soldier for the safety of their baby. After the event, when a Hessian soldier was found in Tarrytown (around the area now called Sleepy Hollow) dead missing his head, they gave him a proper Christian burial and buried him in the Old Dutch Burial Ground (now Sleepy Hollow Cemetery) in case he was the soldier who saved their baby.

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Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow was one of the historical sites where many battles and events of the American Revolutionary War took place, and was a great backdrop for this invented myth as many matching actual reports of hauntings and ghostly sightings that pervade the area. After these battles were done, a 30 mile stretch of scorched desolated lands were left to outlaws, raiders, and the corpses of the dead. One of those corpses was indeed a headless corpse of a Hessian soldier nicknamed Mr. Jäger found in Sleepy Hollow after a violent skirmish took place there. He corpse was buried by the Van Tassel family in a unmarked grave at the Old Dutch Burying Ground. While Washington Irving served New York Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, he had met an army captain named Ichabod Crane during an inspection tour of the fortifications in 1814. This meeting took place in Sackets Harbor, New York and not Sleepy Hollow. This meeting most likely inspired him to name the character as the schoolmaster for the name, and the schoolmaster image as Jesse Merwin, a local teacher in Kinderhook, New York he also inspired Irving.

This short story has been one the most well studied and examined of tales of its time and of Washington Irving’s works. Numerous re-tellings and re-writings have come about through the ages. Numerous plays, films, and television shows were done to memorialize the legend such as Edward Venturini’s silent 1922 silent film “The Headless Horseman” playing Will Rogers as Ichabod Crane; 1948 Broadway Musical “Sleepy Hollow”; Walt Disney’s “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” in 1949; Disney’s 1958 “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; the 1980 Henning Schellerup “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” television classic; 1988 PBS adaption; The one-act stage adaptation by Kathryn Schultz Miller in 1989 called “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; Nickelodeon’s 1992 “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” episode “The Tale of the Midnight Ride”; Rocko’s Modern Life “Sugar-Frosted Frights” parodie; Canadian television’s 1999 “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; The 1999 Speaker and Orchestra 15-minute composition by Robert Lichtenberger called “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; and the most famous 1999 Tim Burton’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Casper Van Dien, and Christopher Walken. The Legend continued through film and audio tellings with the 1999 computer animated classic “The Night of the Headless Horseman” by Fox; Porchlight Entertainments 2002 “The Haunted Pumpkin of Sleepy Hollow”; Steven J. Smith, Jr.’s 2004 “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in Concert”; the television movie by ABC Family Channel in 2004 called “The Hollow”; 2004 “Charmed” episode of “The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell”; PBS “Wishbone” series “Halloween Hound: The Legend of Creepy Collars”; The 2009 Opera “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Robert Milne; William Withem and Melanie Helton’s 2009 Legend of Sleepy Hollow Opera; the Jim Christian and Tom Edward Clark 2009 Musical “Sleepy Hollow”; The 2011 Hunter Foster book and play called “The Hollow”; Darkstuff Productions 2012 adapted Legend of Sleepy Hollow; and in 2013 a Fox TV series pilot called “Sleepy Hollow” is in production as a modern tale.

North Tarrytown in 1996 changed their name to “Sleepy Hollow” as a memorial to Washington Irving, and its local high school team are called “The Horsemen”, by 2006 a large statue of the Headless Horseman chasing Ichabod Crane was erected, and since 1996 at the Philipsburg Manor holds a Legend Weekend where the story is retold and played out just before Halloween.

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Whitby Abbey

The Gothic Abbey
The Gothic Abbey, Whitby, England

The Whitby Abbey
* Abbey Lane, Whitby, North Yorkshire – YO22 4JT *

I have always been drawn to the iconography of the Gothic Abbey atop the hills of Whitby, England. It is that vaguely interwoven backdrop of the gothic culture that is drawn to this city that once was home to Bram Stoker and the concept of “Dracula”. This fabulous monastic ruins was founded in 657 of the Common Era by King Oswy of Northumbria as a “double monastery” Anglo-Saxon style masterpiece housing both men and women. Equip with a decent visitor center and museum, one can walk the majestic ruins of this Yorkshire image. The 1220 Early English Gothic style ruins belong to the church of the Benedictine abbey re-founded on its site by the Normans. Embracing the sky with high richly carved pinnacle d east and north end transepts brandishing the marks of war, nature, and history as it is slowly reclaimed by the Earth. Definitely a spectacular monument not to be missed. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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It was this Abbey, belonging to the Benedictine order, that was left in ruin after the dis-establishment after the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the auspices of King Henry VIII. Now preserved, monitored, and cared for by the English Heritage with its museum housed inside the Cholmley House. One of North Yorkshire’s most memorable monuments, it has been used for numerous photo shoots, films, documentaries, and settings. Whitby was originally called “Streoneshalh” (named after Fort Bay or “Tower Bay”, of the Roman settlement that stood here first) and was home to the first Anglo-Saxon monastery here in 657 C.E. by Oswy (Oswiu), the King of Northumbria at the time. Lady Hilda, the abbess of Hartlepool Abbey, and grand-nieces of the first Christian King of Northumbria, Edwin, was appointed founding abbess of this “Streona’s Settlement”. This was a “double monastery”, managed and occupied by Celtic nuns and monks. It was also the home of the great poet Caedmon. By 867-870, the Danes led successive raids of the monastery, leaving it in ruins for almost 200 years. When Reinfrid, one of WIlliam the Conqueror’s soldiers travelled to this site as a monk, it was called “Prestebi” meaning “white settlement” in Old Norse. He founded a new monastery atop the ruins of St. Peters with two carucates of land, joined by the founder’s brother Serlo de Percy, they began Benedictine rule. In 1540, Henry VIII declared the Dissolution of Monasteries, thereby falling into destruction and ruin. Locals mined stones from its structures, leaving it but a crumbling ruin on the landscape. It however was still used as a landmark by sailors coming into port, and was heavy inspiration for Bram Stoker when writing “Dracula”. In 1914, it was shelled by German battle cruisers by a mis-fire giving it un-repairable considerable damage.

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The Dracula Experience, Whitby, England

Dracula Experience
Dracula Experience

The Dracula Experience
* 9 Marine Parade North Yorkshire, Whitby YO21 1EA, United Kingdom * 01947 601 923 *

How could one come to Whitby? the home of Bram Stoker, without thinking about peeking one’s curious head into the “Dracula Experience”. Well, bother not. It’s a chain horror shop that can be found throughout the UK. Very cheesy, kitch, and boring. Of course i did his when no live actors were running around, so I got in for only a few pounds. Still, i can’t imagine the live actors justifying the price they are asking. It was a quick walkthrough. They do attempt the tale of Dracula in this creepy town with its famous Gothic abbey with animated scenes, electronic special effects, and live actors. Not impressed. 1 star out of 5.

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LaTouche Bridge, Dublin, Ireland

LaTouche Bridge
LaTouche Bridge, Rathgar/Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland

LaTouche Bridge
* Bridge R114 * Lower Rathmines Road/ Richmond Street South / Grand Canal, Portabello, Dublin, Ireland *

This bridge was the first intriguing crossing to catch my attention during my life in Dublin. It is a small cross-over bridge (and lock) with Rathmines street above and the Grand Canal below (offshoot from the Libbey). As I was walking over it one evening, I spied a “Troll Below” graffitti stenciled on the sidewalk just above the bridge. My next crossing i peered under, and there was a police boat docked beneath the bridge. Off to the right was a red graffitti painted of Cernunnos or an Antler-God with Ogham script that I have still yet to decipher. But nonetheless, these elements struck a cord in my curiousity enough to photograph and investigate the bridge further. The Bridge was built in 1791 and named after William Digges La Touche (1747-1803), a popular Director of the Grand Canal Company as well as prominent Irish businessman in his time. Steel parts of the bridge was replaced in 2004. It is also nicknamed the Portobello Bridge for it is right under the Portobello school in the Portobello district. The Portobello district of Dublin, just like its counterpart in London, was named after the capture of Porobelo, Colón on Panama’s Caribbean Coast by Admiral Vernon in 1739. This district encompasses the stretch of the Grand Canal from the Robert Emmet Bridge (Clanbrassil Street) to South Richmond Street to Rathmines. In 1861 this bridge experienced a horrible tragedy when Patrick Hardy was driving a horse-drawn bus up the steep incline and one of the horses reared, became uncontrollable, backing the bus through the wooden rails of the bridge, causing the bus, 6 passengers, and the horses to be plunged to their deaths in the deep (20 feet) dark cold waters of the canal lock. The conductor was saved by a passing policeman, but the rest were drowned. One of the passengers was the father of the Gunne brothers who opened the Gaiety Theater, there were two mothers each with a little girl, one of which was the niece of Daniel O’Connell. On the night of the accident’s anniversary, it is reported that a brilliant light is seen to rise from the canal water and turn into a human shape which is known as the ghost of a lock-keeper who drowned himself after being sacked for drunkenness was to blame for the tragedy. Some say this same ghost arose when the horse drawn bus was crossing the bridge, thereby spooking the horses. During the 1916 Easter Rising, the Irish Citizen Army had a group of men seizing a delaying position at this bridge to allow fortifications to be constructed in the city center. The group was led by the non-author James Joyce and made into a military outpost. But once his unit burst in where he worked at Davy’s bar near the bridge, he was sacked. This was also the location for the murder of Sheehy-Skeffington the same year. As members of the British 11th East Surrey Regiment arrest Francis Sheehy-Skeffington here on April 25th with no reason while he was returning to his home in Rathmines. He was taken to the Portobello barracks and held as an enemy sympathizer. Later that evening, he was taken out as a hostage with a raiding party led by Captain J.C. Bowen-Colthurst of the Royal Irish Rifles to the home and shop of Alderman James Kelly at the corner of Camden Street and Harcourt Road, where they bombed the shop with grenades. On their way back to Rathmines, Skeffington was witnessed to two murders committed by Bowen-Colthurst and his party on two unarmed civilians including a 17 year old boy returning from church. Both the former Kelly’s tobcacconist and Sheehy-Skeffington was taken and the following morning shot by a firing party along with two pro-British journalists – Thomas Dixon and Patrick McIntyre who were unlucky enough to have been in Kelly’s shop when it was grenaded. The three were shot in the back and the British authorities kept the killing a secret.

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The Gypsy Graveyard (Crown Point, Indiana)

The Gypsy Graveyard, Crown Point, Indiana


THE GYPSY GRAVEYARD
Crown Point, Indiana
Apparently a group of Gypsies had moved to Crown Point in the early 1800’s and were kicked out of town (as is usual with travelling gypsies) after being in town for only a couple of days. Accused of stealing livestock, stealing, immoral values, pagan rituals, they were pressured to leave. The gypsies were hit with a plague of influenza and told the townspeople they couldn’t leave till they got better, but the citizens of Crown Point were uncaring and turned their backs refusing to give them medicine or care. The Gypsies moved on, and buried their dead in mounds on this site that was the gypsy encampment now turned cemetery. It is believed they cast a spell on the area – a spell of protection and vengeance, cursing Crown Point and the land that is now “South East Grove Cemetery”. Reports from visitors to the cemetery include apparitions, a man with a shotgun chasing you off, blood on the bottom of your pants after visiting, balls of light/orbs chasing you, noises, etc. Since several books and ghost hunter stories have published the myths and lore about this cemetery, the cemetery has been plagued by local satanists and vandals, with acts ranging from knocking over gravestones, digging up bodies, decapitated heads, and other malicious activities.

Location: 155th and South Grove Rd. in Crown Point, Indiana.

Directions: Take 65 to US 231(exit 247). Turn east on US 231 and follow it for almost a 1.5 miles. You will see flashing yellow lights, turn right and you will be on Iowa St. Go down Iowa St. for almost 3 miles until you come to a stop sign. You want to go straight(it’s not really straight it’s at an angle, but it’s the one in the middle). You will be on South Grove Rd., follow it for about 1 mile and you will see the cemetery on your’ left.

More Links:
angelfire.com/theforce/haunted/gypsiescemetery.htm
lowellpl.lib.in.us/gypsy.htm
castleofspirits.com/stories04/gypscem.html
radiodizzy.com/shadowvalleyghosthunters/id20.html
angelfire.com/realm/releaseme/Indiana.html
http://www.lowellpl.lib.in.us/history.htm
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Gypsy+Graveyard%22

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Monster Quest: Season 2 – Vampires in America (2008: NR)

Monster Quest: Vampires in America
* www.imdb.com * August 6, 2008 * NR/Documentary * The History Channel * Creator: Doug Hajicek * Writer: Joe Danisi * Starring: Stan Bernard and Konstantinos * 45 minutes *
Monster Quest is a History Channel Documentary look into the strange and unknown creatures that are believed to be lurking in the shadows of time spotted around the world. In Season 2, Episode 11 they explore “Vampires in America”. Focusing on the 18th century Vampires scare in New England, focusing on vampire legends and graves in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the investigators excavate the purported grave of J.B. the Vampire and hunt for the vampiric Johnson children. They make the rational link that many purported vampires that were dug up and had their graves desecrated were indeed victims of consumption or tuberculosis. Hysteria and fear affecting the communities making it a widespread practice in New England as well as Europe. As they explore European influences, including Bram Stoker, Nostferatu, Elizabeth Bathery, and Mercy Brown. They then address modern day people who claim they are vampires. Testing the blood of a modern blood drinker as well as gauging energy exchange of a self-proclaimed energy vampire. The episode was captivating and interesting: Rating 4 stars out of 5.

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Hellfire Club Dublin

Hellfire Club Tour – Dublin, Ireland
* http://www.hiddendublinwalks.com/ghost-tour-dublin.php

I really wanted to experience this ghost tour – but unfortunately Hidden Dublin Walks cancelled the tour sometime between me waiting at the Brazenhead and the 20 minutes it took for a representative to show up to tell me it was cancelled. So its on my list of things to do for my next visit to Dublin in 2011. For €22 the Hidden Dublin Walks will bus you out to the infamous ruins of the Hellfire Club and tell you haunted tales. They do the tour every thursday at 7 pm meeting outside the Brazenhead tavern at 20 Lower Bridge Street in Dublin. However, best to book online or make reservations for if they don’t have enough attending, they won’t do the tour. The also offer private larger group excursions upon reservation request. On the dark road to the Hellfire Club they will tell more legends and lore, ghostly tales, and stories about St Patrick’s Cathedral, Rathfarnham Castle and Kilakee House as well as the dark Dublin Mountains range that you will be entering. A walking tour through the haunted hunting lodge that dates to 1725 C.E. that is a rumored location for Satanic rites, supernatural tales, and Occult practices. The storyteller tells the tale of its history, the destruction of ancient megalithic monuments on the site, the exhumation of the demonic statue and dwarf statue as well as the presumed evil rituals, events, and black masses, rumored human and animal sacrifices, and the infamous card game called “cloven-hoofed visitor”. Travel time and tour takes about 2 and a half hours.

The Legendary Hellfire Club a.k.a. Club Thine Ifrinn is a ruin located on Montpelier Hill that stands about 383 metres high in County Dublin, Ireland. The building is an Palladian architecture designed old hunting lodge built in 1725 by William Conolly, a Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Conolly purchased Mountpelier Hill from Philip the Duke of Wharton, the founder of the first Hellfire Club in 1719. The upper floor consists of a hall and two reception rooms, on the east side was a third timber-floored level with sleeping quarters. The Ground floor hosts a kitchen, servant’s quarters, and the stairs to the upper floors. The house had a semi-circular courtyard enclosed by a low stone wall and entered by a gate. Originally on this summit was a cairn with a prehistoric passage grave that was desecrated and used to construct the hunting lodge formerly called “Mount Pelier Lodge”. A standing stone that was on the hill was used for the lintel over the fireplace. Shortly after its completion, a storm blew off the roof, which locals blamed was the work of the Devil as punishmen for destroying the cairn/passage tomb. Conolly rebuilt the roof which remains today. Connoly died in 1729. The Connolly Family let the lodge to the Hellfire Club. Members of the Irish Hell Fire Club, an elite social group of occultists, have been said to actively used the lodge as their meeting place from 1735-1741. Rumors and local imaginations ran amiss claiming wild parties, debauchery, occult practices, human/animal sacrifices, Satanic rites, and demon manifestations took place at the location. No accounts of how much the Hellfire club actually used the estate as it was pretty remote. Many publications such as Robert Chamber’s Book of Days (1864) and the Gentleman’s Magazines (1731-1922) states there was heavy use of the estate by the Club. The lodge was damaged by fire so the members of the Hellfire Club relocated down the hill to the nearby Steward’s House which is also rumored to be haunted by a massive black cat. Today Montpelier Hill and much of the surrounding lands are owned by the State forestry company Coillte and are open to the public.

The Hellfire Clubs internationally were the name for several exclusive clubs of high society rakes that were established in Britain and Ireland in the 18th century. These were related to the “Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe”. Supposedly these clubs were the meeting places of “persons of quality” who wished to take part of immoral acts. Most of the members were politicians. The very first Hellfire club was founded in London in 1719 by Philip Duke of Wharton. The Club motto went with the philosophy of “Fais ce que tu voudras” (Do what thou wilt) – a philosophy of life associated with François Rabelais’ fictional abbey at Thélème and later used by Aleister Crowley. Practices were believed to be rigorously Pagan with Bacchus and Venus as the Deities of honor who were legendarily sacrificed to while nymphs and hogsheads were laid in against he festivals of the new church. The Irish Hellfire Club was founded in 1735 by Richard Parsons, the 1st Earl of Rosse and Colonel St. Leger. The president of the club was Richard Chappell Whaley, a descendant of Oliver Cromwell and was known as “Burn Chapel” Whaley since he had the thirst for setting fires to Catholic churches. Most of their meetings took place either at the Eagle Tavern on Cork Hill near Dublin Castle or at Daly’s Club on College Green. Legend has it that the members drank “saltheen” – a mixture of whiskey and hot butter and that they left a chair vacant at each meeting for the Devil. Their mascot was supposedly a big black cat. One of the legends is of a stranger who arrived at the Club on a stormy night. He was invited in and joined the members in a card game. One player dropped his card on the floor and when he bent down under the table to retrieve the card he noticed the stranger had a cloven foot. Shortly after the visitor disappeared in a ball of flame. Another tale tells of a priest who came to the house one night and found the members engaged in the sacrifice of a black cat. Supposedly the priest grabbed the cat and uttered an exorcism upon which a demon was released from the cat’s corpse. Another tale tells of Simon Luttrell, the Lord Irnham later Earl of Carhampton and once Sheriff of Dublin has supposedly made a pact with the Devil to give up his soul within seven years in return for settling his debts, but when the Devil came to the Hellfire Club to claim his due, Luttrell distracted the Devil and fled. Luttrell is also the man referred to as “The Diaboliad” in a 1777 C.E. poem dedicated to the “Worst Man in England”. Another legend states there was a sacrifice of a dwarf on this site. The Hellfire Club was revived in 1771 and active for another 30 years and called “The Holy Fathers”. They too supposedly met at Mount Pelier Lodge. One legend has it the members kidnapped, murdered, and ate a nearby farmer’s daughter. At this time its most notorious member was Thomas Buck Whaley the son of Richard Chappell Whaley. When he passed away in 1800, the Irish Hellfire Club supposedly died with him. Supposedly in 1970 a dwarf human skeleton was found below the floor of Killakee House, another location for Hellfire Club meetings.

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The Mummies of St. Michan’s Church

St. Michan’s Church of Ireland and it’s Mummies
* Church Street * Dublin, Ireland * Hours: Nov-Feb: Mon-Fri 12:30-2:30pm, Sat 10am-1pm * Admission: Free to Church; Guided tour: €3.50 adults, €3 seniors and students, €2.50 children under 12 *

A little hidden secret to Dublin tourism is St. Michan’s Church. St. Michan’s was named after a Danish Bishop. The Church is most famous for its ancient Viking origins, it’s 18th century organ, its mummies in the basement that were an inspiration for Bram Stoker in doing Dracula. The Church was built on the site of a Danish chapel that was originally founded in 1095 C.E. by he Danish colony in Oxmanstown, located near 4 Courts, and for many centuries was the only parish on its side of the Liffey River. It served the Viking population that was expelled from within the city walls. It was rebuilt in 1685 to serve a more prosperous congregation by Sir Humphrey Jervis and restored in 1998 and is now under control of the Protestant Church of Ireland. Church may have been designed by Sir William Robinson, Ireland’s Surveyor General. The Church has fabulous woodwork, a large 1725 organ which is legendary to have been played by Handel for his “Messiah”, has a 1516 chalice, a Penitent’s Stool, and and 18h century font and pulpit. Its biggest attraction is in its crypt where the dry climate created by limestone walls has preserved centuries old bodies intact like mummies. The Church runs guided tours down into the stone tunnels that are lined with decaying coffins, haunted burial chambers, and crumbling corpses can be seen up front and maybe even touched. Amongst the Deceased are the notorious Four: a 400 year old Nun on the left, A woman on the right, a thief – as he is missing a hand and both feet in the center, and towards the rear – A 6 and a half foot man believed Possibly to be a Crusader who was sawn in half to fit into the coffin – he’s the most intriguing as one of his hands is lifted slightly in the air. Folklore states that Bram Stoker visited this crypt and it is responsible for part of his inspiration for Dracula. The last room in the corridor holds the coffins of the Sheare brothers who were executed for the 1798 Rising as they were hung, drawn, and quartered by the British. Also buried here is Oliver Bond, another 1798 Rising participant; the Mahematician William Rowan Hamilton; and maybe even the remains of Robert Emmet who was executed during the 1803 Rising.

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Northside Dublin Ghost Tour

Northside Dublin Ghost Tour
* http://www.hiddendublinwalks.com/northside-ghosts-walking-tour-dublin.php * Dublin, Ireland *
One of the fun little excursions I took during my time in Dublin was the Northside Dublin Ghost Tour. I had the honor and pleasure of having John as our fabulous guide who knew the haunted history of Dublin like the back of his hand. Dublin being such an ancient city, and over a thousand years of history, has been labelled as one of the most haunted cities in the world. The tour begins at a street corner, where one is left wondering – is this the right location? is this where the tour begins? and just as you begin to give up hope … a man drab in black with a “Hidden Dublin Walks” umbrella walks up to those that show up. Our guide was John, and he was extremely intelligent and presented the tour is a historical manner which was greatly appreciated. He then takes you on a foot walk beginning in the oldest parts of Dublin – from a deconsecrated graveyard that is now a city park; to the Viking enclave known as Oxmantown, to a small ruin down an alleyway to Dublin’s most powerful monastic settlements during Medieval times – Saint Mary’s Abbey; to peer over the fence of Saint Michan’s Church where mummies rest in the cellar where Bram Stoker was inspired; Croppie’s Acre – a long abandoned mass grave that was converted to a football pitch in the 20th century; the legend of Scaldbrother – the infamous medieval thief who hid treasures in the tunnels under Smithfield; Billy the Bowl – an 18th century legless murderer who terrorized Stoneybatter and Grangegorman; visit a site of a 21st century apparition of the Virgin Mary; a creepy walk just as it becomes dark down Hendrick Street – where two of the ost haunted houses in Dublin existed (#7-8 Hendricks); by the haunted hospital where ghostly nurses have reported to been seen; on to hear the story of the sadistic “Hanging Judge” Lord Norbury who hung Robert Emmet who is said to haunt The Brazen Head. The tour is roughly €13, and happens every Friday and Sunday at 8 pm, meeting on the Mary Street Corner opposite McDonald’s. I had a great time and even got cameo’d in the below Youtube video while on the tour. I definitely felt presences and strange feelings, especially at the hospital and Hendrix street, and saw some oddities with St. Mary’s Abbey; but did not see any ghosts. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcdN8o6JTLo

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Brazenhead Pub Dublin


The Brazen Head, Dublin, Ireland

The Brazenhead
* 20 Lower Bridge Street * Dublin 8 * Telephone: +353 (0) 1 6779549 / 6795186 * www.brazenhead.com *
The pub professes to be the oldest Pub in Dublin. The site of the pub dates to 1198 as some sort of public house. The building itself is from 1688 and may have been preceded by numerous taverns, one after another, as it is a good location for them. There are alot of old history surrounding the building from the piece of graffiti where John Langan etched his name and date. Michael Collins and Wolfe Tone met here. This is considered to be one of Ireland’s traditional Irish pubs. A hangout of tourists as well as locals, and legal professionals, he pub has live folk music sessions there almost nightly. It is believed to be a haunted pub wih apparitions wandering about. One of which is believed to be Robert Emmet. James Joyce, Brendan Behan, Jonathan Swift, Robert Emmet, Wolfe Tone, Daniel O’Connell, Van Morrison, Hothouse Flowers, Mary Black, Garth Brooks, and Michael Collins have hung out here.

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St. Michan’s Church, Dublin

St. Michan’s Church
* 8 E Church St * DUBLIN 3, Co. Dublin, Ireland * 01 8724154 *
One of Ireland’s most macabre and spooky sites, St. Michan’s Church is an early Danish chapel that was built in 1095, then reconstructed in 1686 as a church, and may be the only parish church built on the north side of the Liffey that survived from a Viking foundation. The exterior is very bland, but the interior has fine woodworking, a beautifuly 1724 organ, a simple church, and creepy vaults beneath. Underneath the church in its crypts are many naturally mummified remains of the dead so haunting that they inspired Braum Stoker with Dracula. Because the walls of the vaults contain limestone that keep the air dry, the bones were able to preserve on their own – and its dead are infamous as a 400 year old nun, a 6 and 1/2 foot tall man who is thought to be a crusader, and a body with its hands and feet severed – a thief, and the Sheares brothes – Henry and John who were part of the 1798 rebellion. Many claim the church and crypts to be very haunted. Tours are open on Saturdays and some weekdays.

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St. Mary’s Abbey of Dublin

St. Mary’s Abbey
Dublin, Ireland

St. Mary’s Church
On the corner of St. Jervis and Mary Street, St. Mary’s Church of Ireland was one of Ireland’s earliest examples of a galleried church. It was built in the early 18th century, boasting of the Renatus Harris organ and spectacular stained glass windows. As it fell in ruin, it closed its doors in 1964 until it was taken over by John Keating in 1997, restored and re-opened as John M. Keating’s Bar in 2005. By 2007 it became the “Church Bar and Restaurant” as a Cafe, Juice Bar, Night Club, and Barbeque Restaurant. The Church was infamous, as Arthur Guinness was married here in 1761; John Wesley the Founder of the Methodist Church did his first Irish sermon here (1747); it saw the baptisms of Sean O’ Casey the Playwright/Author of ‘The Plough & The Stars’, ‘June & the Paycock’, & ‘The Shadow of a Gunman’; Theobald Wolf Tone; and Jonathan Swift (Author of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’), and the Earl of Charlemont attended service here. Mary Mercer, founder of Mercer’s Hospital and the Hanging Judge Lord Norbury are buried here.

St. Mary’s Abbey
* Meetinghouse Lane, Off Capel Street and Mary’s Abbey Street * Dublin 1, Co. Ireland, Ireland * 01 8721490 *
Down a creepy alley, John our ghost tour guide asks us if we feel unsettled in this very alley. I must admit, something was amiss. This back alley enters into the hidden secret of Dublin – St. Mary’s Abbey, founded in 1130, one of the wealthiest Cistercian Abbey in Ireland. There are only two rooms remaining of the original Abbey – the Chapter House and the Slype. This Abbey had alot of involvement in the affairs of Ireland until it was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539. This is where “Silken” Thomas Fitzgerland began his unsuccessful 1534 rebellion, and is how the Abbey is mentioned in the “Wandering Rocks” chapter of Ulysses by James Joyce. Today it houses a fascinating exhibition constructed by the Public Works and the Dublin Archaeological Society, with Trinity College’s History of Art Department. The Abbey was only recently re-discovered, 7 feet underground, under a bakery in the 1880’s. Some say ghosts walk the alley and can be seen in the remaining rooms of the Abbey. Oddly, perhaps because the bakery above could have housed ghosts, someone leaves bread here all the time that requires the Council to post a sign to “Stop leaving Bread Here”. Please don’t feed the ghosts.

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Wolfe Tone Square (Dublin, Ireland)

Wolf Tone Square
Corner of Mary Street and Jervis Street, Dublin, Ireland

Desecrated Cemetery behind Church Bar (formerly St. Mary’s Church) that is now a City Park.

I walked through this park many times during my 2 week visit to Dublin … little did I know it was a grave yard. Formerly St. Mary’s Church, which is now the Church Bar Nightclub and restaurant, used to have a graveyard where this small city park now sits. St. Mary’s Parish was a large and wealthy church – as soon as the graveyard became overcrowded by the mid-nineteenth century – that “in order to make room for others, bodies were taken up in absolute state of putrefaction, to the great and dangerous annoyance of the vicinity”. The Churchyard eventually became a playground by the 1940’s and the tombstones were just piled against the wall. The Church of Ireland sold the graveyard in 1966 to the Dublin Corporation who converted it to the current “Wolfe Tone Memorial Park” and they moved the headstones around the perimeter. The park has never been successful except as a drinking spot for the youth. Ghost hunters and sensitives claim the land is haunting and much unrest is here, with reports of spirits wandering around during the day and night as well as many lured into suicides upon what is known as hanging trees. A revisit in 2012 saw a hauntingly empty carnival perched atop the remnants of graves no longer held sacred or respected as tires rest against the etchings.

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Rock Close: The Witches’ Kitchen and Stone

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The Witches’ Kitchen

Witches Kitchen
* The Rock Close * Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * http://www.blarneycastle.ie *

In the enchanted grounds of Rock Close in the fabled lands of Blarney Castle is the infamous Kitchen of the Blarney Witch. Archaeologically it is believed to have been a prehistoric dwelling potentially as old as the Neolithic (3,000-5,000 years old) if there is any connection of it to the The Rock Close Dolmen (Blarney Castle) or the Druid’s Cave and Circle. Atop her wishing steps is her kitchen. It has a chimney and fireplace within.

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The Witches’ Kitchen

Offset from the kitchen is her stone. Apparently by legend she is bound and entrapped in the rock in servitude to bestow wishes upon those who walk up and down backwards the wishing steps while thinking only of their wishes and not letting any other thoughts drift in. In exchange, the Blarney guardians provide her firewood for this very kitchen so she can continue her spell craft and crazy brews while staying warm at night for when darkness falls she is magically released from the stone she is trapped within. Some say if you arrive early enough you can still see the dying embers of the fire as she lights a fire every night. Many believe that it was the Blarney Witch who really told McCarthy about the power of the Blarney Stone while others claim it was her who enchanted the stone as a “thank you” to McCarthy for saving her from drowning in the river. No one seems to know how she was entrapped into her rock. The Echoe Ghost Hunters investigated this area in 2010-2011 and claimed very strong EMP’s were recorded in the area of the Witches’ Kitchen. Most of the lore in this area is centered around the Witch of Blarney.

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The Witches Stone

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The Wishing Steps of Rock Close

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Wishing Steps

Wishing Steps
* The Rock Close * Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * http://www.blarneycastle.ie *

Onwards with the quest for charms and blessings, just after kissing the legendary Blarney Stone for the gift of gab we wandered into The Rock Close of Blarney Castle. It was time to visit the wiley old witch of Blarney for a endowment of wishes. The witch requires the wisher to walk backwards up and down the steps with their eyes closed without stopping for a moment or thinking of anything other than the wish – then that wish will come true within a year. Of course I did it, and those who know me can only guess what my wish was … The roughly hewn 21-24 limestone steps climb up through an archway of limestone rocks. The steps can be wet and very slippery. Legend states that the witch was forced to do these blessings on the steps as a way for her to pack for her firewood she uses in the Witches kitchen located at the top of the steps. It is believed that if you go up the stairs early in the morning you will see dying embers in the fire pit of the Witches’ Kitchen and Stone which is supposedly lit every night by the Blarney Castle Witch.

The witch supposedly grants the wish within a year’s time. Others say a “year and a day”. My wish came true in precisely a year and 2 months. On June 28, 2010 I wished to be united with my soul mate and twin flame that previous prophecies said I’d meet. I also always had dreams as a child I’d marry an Irish woman. A year later in 2011 I was supposed to go to Ireland but while in Scotland ran out of money and called to tell my Irish friends I wasn’t able to come for a visit. They asked if I was going to Burning Man to which I replied, “I couldn’t afford it”. They had a position open for me as staff in helping build the Celtic dragon effigy for Ireland at Burning Man, so I went. I had a theme camp set up called “Tir na nOg” and was a base camp for the Irish crew. The night of the Effigy burn, I was a fire guardian and while watching the perimeter, had a friend from Colorado come fire spin for the event and she needed a safety person – unable to assist as I was already tied up with the boundary, I looked around the audience and saw a woman dressed like a leprechaun who was sober – I asked her to assist and she did. Afterwards I invited her back to our Tir na nOg camp, fed her fairy food and drink, and we fell in love. It turned out she was from Ireland, via the Pacific Northwest after working a summer on Vancouver Island, and lived in Cork – a stone’s throw from the Blarney Witch. She was looking for other Irish to hang out with. I moved to Dublin with her, two months later at the Stone of Destiny was inspired to propose to her, and we soon after married and gave birth to a beautiful son. So every year we return to the Blarney Witch to thank her for playing cupid. In our experience, we believe the wishing steps work.

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Windsor Ruins (Mississippi)


Windsor Ruins
Bruinsburg, Mississippi
One of Mississippi’s most fantastic secrets, hidden away in the swamps out in the middle of nowhere, are the ghostly remains of the Windsor plantation. The Windsor plantation was built from 1859-1861. The plantation was built, owned, and first inhabited by Smith Daniell who only was able to live in the mansion for a few weeks before he passed away at age 34. Smith Coffee Daniell II was born in 1826 as a son of a Indian fighter turned farmer. He was married to his cousin Chatherine Freeland (1830-1903) who bore him three children. Construction of the mansion cost him $175,000 to build it which included its furnishings. It was built with slave labor. The construction was designed by David Shroder. The original grounds were well over 2,600 acres. Atop the mansion was a roof observatory where Mark Twain would muse over the Mississippi River that inspired his works of art. Twain compared the plantation to a college instead of residence because of how large the plantation was. This observatory was also home to signal equipment that would notify Confederate troops of Yankee movement. The mansion was fixed with elaborate furnishings in its beginning, hosting wrought iron staircases to get from each of the four floors. Tanks resided in the attic to provide water for the baths within. There was 25 rooms with 25 fireplaces, a basement with a school room, dairy, commissary, doctor’s office, and plenty of storage rooms. The main floor held the master bedroom, a bath, 2 parlors, a study, a dining room, and a library. The third floor were 9 more bedrooms and an additional bath. The fourth floor held a unfinished ballroom. The roof held an observatory. It was a distinct portrayal of Southern Life during its era. The Mansion saw a bit of death – from Smith Daniell’s death to a yankee who was shot in the front doorway. Other deaths took place when the mansion once served as a union hospital and observation post during the civil war. Its involvement in the Civil War as a hospital saved it from being burned down to the ground during the Civil War. After the War it was burnt down during an accidental fire involving a misplaced cigar on the upper balcony during a house party on February 17, 1890. After the fire, it was never rebuilt. Parts of the mansion were scavenged, and even the wrought iron staircase found its home at nearby Alcorn State University. All that remain of the ruins is the foundation and the 23 – 30′ high Corinthian columns, some pieces of broken china, a set of wrought iron stairs, and portions of the balustrade. The Ruins have become famous, especially by Hollywood, as it was used as a setting for films such as “Raintree Country” (1957) and “Ghosts of Mississippi”. The property is now owned and maintained by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 23, 1971. The Ruins are located 12 miles southwest of Port Gibson off Highway 552. Also of interest in the area is the Ghost town of Rodney. A must see for any history buff. Rating : 5 stars out of 5. Visited 6/22/2005.

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Briarhurst Manor (Manitou Springs, Colorado)

Briarhurst Manor * 404 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO, 80829. (719) 685-1864 or 1 (877) 685-1448 * http://www.briarhurst.com/ *

Briarhurst Manor

Briarhurst Manor is bombarded with negative reviews for its wedding services and its dining food. So I’ve always been hesitant to try the restaurant out, even though i was deadly curious about the place. I agree, the food is “Very” expensive and you don’t really get to portions for what you are paying. In a way, you are paying for the ambience of the place. The servers are very knowledgable and professional. I found our server to be pretty friendly and servicable. We walked in, no reservations. We had with us a coupon essentially for 30% (?) off our meal. We had the lobster bisque, frog legs, roast rabbit, and the escargot. Figured we’d make a meal out of a selection of appetizers as the main meals seemed to be much more pricey with little in portions to share. The rabbit was dry as were the escargot, the frog legs were tasty, and the lobster bisque was delicious. The desert sampler came with dark chocolate torte, creme Brulee, and a lemon raspberry tart – which were very delicious, though again, the portions small. Service was good, the ambience was exquisite, the food was so-so. For the ambience alone I’d give the place 4 stars, but the food at maybe a 3, and the pricing a 2. So to meet in the middle, I rate the entire restaurant experience a 3.5.


Escargot

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Alta, Colorado (Ghost Town)

Alta Ghost Town
Alta (near Telluride), Colorado
Elevation: ca. 11,800 ft.
The remnants of this ghost town still remain, some as little as heaps of wood, others as frames, and some as full structures. Alta was a small mining town between Telluride and Rico housing a population of a few hundred. Gold was discovered here first in 1878 by Jack Mann, then population trends alternated up through World War II. An aerial tramway moved the ore to the mill below. This was the first mine to use AC current. The Mill burnt down in 1948. Some famous residents were George Westinghouse, Nikola Tesla, and others who made the town what it became. Through the years, the remnants of the town were vandalized after the last residents left and most of what remains has been destroyed. The land has been purchased by a developer who plans to pave the route up to it selling lots in and around Alta Lakes further up the road. Visited on 5/31/09.

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Ghosts of Williamsburg Candlelight Walking Tour – Williamsburg, VA

Wednesday, 21 May 2008 – Part 6 (8:00-9:30 pm)
Williamsburg, Virginia

So many people showed up for the Ghost walking tours this evening that they had to split us up into 4 separate tours. Interesting. This is with only one company. There were several other companies with the same amount of crowds, it was crazy.

Ghosts of Williamsburg candlelight walking Tour * http://www.theghosttour.com/ * meet in front of the William and Mary bookstore at the main gate for historic Williamsburg, Virginia * 757. 565.4821


numerous orbs in front of the George Wythe House

A crowd is led by lantern candle light down the streets of historic Colonial Williamsburg and on the site of the 2nd oldest University in the United States – William and Mary. For only $10 you get an hour long tour covering various subjects of folklore and haunted history in the area that eventually leads you to the graveyard. Based on the book The Ghosts of Williamsburg by L.B. Taylor. It was a very interesting and informative walk. I thought I caught a glimpse of something in the window of the Indian dorm on William and Mary, as well as something in the shadows near the George Wythe House. Looking over the photographs, lots of orbs and interesting elements and oddities to the pictures. Great tour! According to the tour guides it’s notorious that the cameras attract and capture unexplainable orbs, vapors, colors and shapes.”
Rating 4.5 stars out of 5. Taken 5/21/2008.

Afterwards, I returned to the hostel and had a good night’s rest. Tomorrow Yorktown and then a return to Washington D.C. for the remainder of the National Geographic Society Live events on the Hidden Treasures of Afghanistan, as well as attending “Goth Prom”.

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