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Zombieland, Pennsylvania

Zombieland

Hillsville, Pennsylvania

Along the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania, in Lawrence County, just north of the small Italian immigrant populated village of Hillsville is a unsettling quiet and eerie region locals call “Zombie Land”. Mainly “urban legend” than actual historic folklore are tales of the macabre, mystical beasts, deaths, and grisly murder. There is definitely a feeling of “odd” and “something not right” when entering this several mile strip of heavily wooded spots meeting farming, transportation, and industrial works along Lawler Ford Road a.k.a. “Zombie Road” or Route 224.

The Virgin Mary:

It begins around the old St. Lawrence Catholic Church which has long been converted to a private residence and its accompanying graveyard along route 224. There is a alcove with a statue of the Virgin Mary who has a creepy air about herself. Legend has it, she will greet visitors with open arms when it is safe to enter Zombie Land, and have praying hands when it is not. In the 1990’s it was reportedly vandalized and a plexiglass (or glass) window was installed to protect the statue.

St. Lawrence Church and Graveyard:

Some say the gravestones behind this church glow at night. Others say it is at the Presbyterian graveyard down the road. We’ve been to both, and outside of solar-powered grave lights, there is no glow. Others say it is a historic stone in the older part of the graveyard behind the old Church (St. Lawrence) that has a particular shine that reflects off the full moon or light from the house (old church). We unfortunately during our night visit did not see that section, although we did explore the two graveyards – seeing no glow, but experiencing the eerie ambiance.

The Hilltown Bridge:

Just down the road from the St. Lawrence Graveyard north is the Hilltown Bridge. The original Bridge in March 1913 was swept away and has since been replaced by a new concrete monster. It was torn down again in 2007 and replaced with a modern concrete span. It is from this bridge that reports of unexplained lights moving around it and underneath, like the Will o’ Wisp has been reported. Also some say one can hear screams and gun shots from the bridge at night. It has also been reported to be a “crying bridge” with sounds of a crying baby underneath, with the urban lore that a mother tossed her child over the edge. It has reports of suicides being conducted from its rails.

The Killing Fields or “Murder Swamp”:

Just north of the Hilltown Bridge are the “Killing Fields” where at night many report hearing screams and gunshots. In the woods bordering the railway some say there are “ghost whistles” to be heard late at night. If one parks near the rails, strange things will happen to the car. It is also reputedly where a serial killer dumped more than a dozen bodies with decapitated heads in Zombie Land. From 1921-1942, between Mahoningtown and New Castle, over 15 bodies were found in the swamp and may have been the same serial killer who conducted decapitations in Cleveland around the same time. There are many stories of the Italian Immigrants who settled in the area also killing many farmers, authorities, and residents leaving them in the Killing Fields to decay. It was in 1907 when several Italian men in Hillsville, believed to be associated with the Italian mafia/mob who proclaimed that “No person in the Hillsville district, either Italian or American, will give the slightest assistence to any officer desiring the prosecution of Italian offenders.” and it was then that a Hillsville farmer allowed an officer named Sealy Houk to use his phone to effect an arrest of an Italian found to have killed his cow. It is believed that the officer was killed and dumped in the “Killing fields” of the region, discovered by a train passing by. Three days after Houk’s body was discovered, three Italian mob men went into the fields killing and pouching animals, aggrivating and attacking (murdering at least one – William Duff) farmers who tried to stand in their way.

The Mines:

There are said to be various mines in the area used by the mafia from Youngstown to dispose of bodies. While travelling through area, we only saw signs for “Limestone” mines.

Skyhill Road Bridge:
(aka Frankenstein Bridge, Hookman’s Bridge, Ghost Bridge, Graffiti Bridge)
A few more miles down into Zombie land on Skyhill Road is a small bridge that was built in 1917 crossing off the Coffee Run River. It also has been replaced in 2013 changing the eerie attraction. It became to be believed to be haunted by the “Bridge People” and the “Hook Man”. Apparently they were mutated zombie-like people who lived nearby that were bothered by people hanging around the bridge so would hunt them down to maim or kill them. It is believed that if one writes someone’s name on the bridge, the “Bridge People” or “The Hookman” would go murder them. The bridge is covered with peoples names and symbols. The Original bridge had wood railings where the graffiti would be, but now a metal railing, the graffiti is on the asphault itself. Oddly, underneath the bridge are lover’s dedications and love notes scrawled on the walls. The Hate is above, the Love below. We also saw the corpse of a dead deer lying halfway on the ground and in the water, half-wrapped in a garbage bag like an offering to the Bridge people. Someone else writing about the Bridge also stated there was a dead deer but that was back in 2016, so a different dead deer. It is said a young boy leaped from the bridge killing himself as a suicide.

The Zombie Torch:

Right around the corner from the bridge west is the Eternal Flame dedicated to the Zombies that haunt the woods. The mutant colored metal pipe protruding from the ground is just a stone’s torch from the road – it is a iron pipe venting fumes from the natural gas field below. If one lights the torch it will anger the Bridge People and the Hook Man, summoning them to cause death unto the one who lit it.

The Blood House, Bridge People, Hook Man:

Deep in the woods near the bridge and torch is the purported home of the Bridge People and/or Hook Man. It is said also to have been the home of a wicked witch named “Mary Black” who snatched and murdered children of the area, buring them in the fields. It has long been burnt down and demolished by authorities and no longer exists. Others state that the Blood House is located off of Erskin Quarry Road and had a small graveyard attached to it. Some say the Witch was a woman who went crazy and hung her children. Others say it all happened when some mental patients escaped and settled in the area. Others say the “Bridge People” were mutant-like residents of the woods who suffered from “hydrocephalus” or “water on the brain” that settled in the area along the Mahoning River to avoid being harassed for their deformities. They were also nicknamed the “Light Bulb Heads”. A escaped mental patient nicknamed “Zombie” who was a serial killer supposedly lived in the woods along this road. Some claim that his bloodied hospital gown was once found on the road and murdered local kids. Other paranormal investigators call the “Bridge People” as the infamous legendary “Shadow People” of lore. There is some belief that the “Hook Man” came from the Killing of Seely Houk written about above.

The Railroad Bridge:

Along Coffee Run, at Robinson’s Crossing, just north of the Manoning River, within Zombie Land, not too far from all the haunted locations is a Railway Bridge still in use by CSX trains was the scene of a grisley rape and murder of a 12 year old girl named Shannon Leigh Kos. Her boyfriend and two other 20 year old boys brought her there, raped her, and stabbed her to death. They attempted to burn her body, but her remains were found by the bridge three days later. The sick criminals – William George Monday (21), David Christopher Garvey (20), and Perry Sam Ricciardi II (20) were arrested and convicted. There are purported rumors that Robinson’s Crossing was once a popular “lover’s lane” but police reported many arguments and spats, domestic violence calls, etc. were popular there as well as abandoned dates they had to come to escort home. Rumors of suicides at this spot as well as the other bridges are also common.

The Glowing Green Man:
There are legends of a green man who had been burned in an industrial accident that lived in the area. Others say he was a local handyman who was electricuted and had a light green glow to his skin. According to Jim Mosley, the Green Man not only existed but was someone whom he had met on occasion through his wanderings in Zombie Land and spent many evenings drinking with him at the local pub. His real name was Raymond Robinson.

A zombie land facebook fan page exists here: https://www.facebook.com/ZombieLandHillsvillePA/ and t-shirts are sold at a local beverage shop.

Recommended Reading/Bibliography:

  • Associated Press 2000 “Accused told police of Killing”. The Associated Press. Website referenced on 11/12/18 at http://www2.sharonherald.com/localnews/recentnews/0011/ln111600f.html
  • Lawrence County Memoirs n.d. “Zombie Land – Hillsville PA” website referenced 11/12/18 at http://www.lawrencecountymemoirs.com/lcmpages/1073/zombieland-hillsville-pa
  • Reddit 2016 “Gruesome Murder of a Girl I Knew NSFW” by u/nebbles1069. Website referenced 11/12/18 at https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/462b6r/gruesome_murder_of_a_girl_i_knew_nsfw/
  • Penn Live e2016 “From Hell’s Hollow to Zombie Land: 13 western PA places with haunting legends. Website referenced 11/12/18 at https://www.pennlive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/10/haunted_western_pennsylvania.html
  • Summers, Ken 2011 “The STrange History Behind America’s Creepiest Zombie Road Legends … and How You Can find them”. Website referenced 11/12/18 at http://weekinweird.com/2011/09/26/home-zombie-roads/
  • Tinsley, M. Ferguson 2000 “This time, Zombie Land tale is true”. Post-Gazette Staff. Website referenced 11/12/18 at http://old.post-gazette.com/regionstate/20001031zombie1.asp
  • Torisk, Emmalee C. 2013 “Urban legends haunt Zombieland” : Vindy.com. Website referenced 11/12/18 at http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/oct/29/urban-legends-haunt-zombieland/
  • Warren, Louis S. unknown “The Hunters Game: Poachers and Conservationists in Twentieth Century America”. Website referenced 11/12/18 at https://books.google.com/books?id=OfeB1wAdQHwC&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=killing+fields+hillsville&source=bl&ots=GdJ2Dgjuqh&sig=A0EsgLm8cPefd44V8l6owSsq0IQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiZocuBqtDeAhUp11kKHYObBIsQ6AEwFXoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=killing%20fields%20hillsville&f=false

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Bridge Creek Flora Inn, Fossil, Oregon

Bridge Creek Flora Inn – A Haunted B&B
~ Fossil, Oregon ~

History: This Inn was built in 1905 and was a homestead operating as an early bed and breakfast Inn. There is a haunting tale of a farmer and his wealthy lover who bound themselves together through life and death. The lover was told by her family she was not allowed to marry the farmer so she took her life by falling to her death from the third floor. Many report seeing her in the window staring down into the street. The townsfolk blamed the farmer for her death and hung him on the tree in front of the inn. Some locals report seeing someone hanging from the tree late at night. Some report hearing hoof beats of his abandoned horse along the main street of thet own. The location is no longer called the Bridge Creek Flora Inn and has been renamed to potentially hide from this legend and spook-lore.

There is a theory that this is the former Inn:

Possible haunted bed and breakfast. is this the old bridge creek flora inn? (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27397) Fossil, Oregon (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=27373). Volcanic Legacy: Chronicle 25 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Oregon. Photos taken August 2, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21521. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

More information: https://www.oregonhauntedhouses.com/real-haunts/hotels.aspx

Rated: Unrated of 5 stars. This location has not been visited nor reviewed as of last update. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

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Old City Jail (Charleston, South Carolina)

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Old City Jail
* Charleston, South Carolina *

Just on the fringe of historic downtown is one of Charleston’s most infamous sites, especially amongst ghost and pirate tours is The Old Charleston Jail. It was well known as the melting pot of some of America’s most heinous criminals in the founding days such as civil war prisoners, 19th century pirates, and infamous criminals such as Lavinia Fisher. The Jail operated from 1802 until 1939. It was also the County Jail until 1939. When Charleston was laid out and built, a 4 acre section of land was set aside in 1680 here for public use. It eventually became a site of a poor house, a hospital, workhouse for runaway slaves, and finally the jail was built on the square in 1802. Originally it was 4 stores wit ha two story octagonal tower. It was stamped Fireproof by Robert Mills in 1822. In 1855 renovations and alterations added a rear octagonal wing, main building expanded, and Romanesque Revival details were added. The 1886 Earthquake damaged the tower and top story which were eventually removed for safety. During the Civil War, confederate and federal prisoners of war were incarcerated here. After sitting vacant for 61 years, the American College of the Building Arts acquired the jail from the City in 2000 and preserved its history with emergency stabilization aid. Today it serves as an inspirational living laboratory and classroom for ACBA students. Bulldog Tour’s Haunted Jail Tour takes patrons through the cells, hallways, and rooms as it is presumed haunted by the spirits of deceased prisoners who died in the jail.

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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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Reynold’s Square (Savannah, Georgia)

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Reynold’s Square
* Abercorn street * Savannah, Georgia *

Along the downtown district lies historic Reynold’s square in the heart of Savannah, Georgia. It is located between Bryan and Congress streets, on Abercorn street. Reynolds Square alongside Reynolds Ward were laid out on Abercorn street in 1734, later renamed after John Reynolds in 1750, the least popular and the first colonial Governor of Georgia. In 1754, John Reynolds first arrived in Savannah after the Trustees had turned Savannah’s colony over to the Crown, and where this park now sits, was the center of the colonial government, the central business district, and was where the House of Assembly first stood. It was here that the first reading of the Declaration of Independence took place in Georgia. A dance for president George Washington’s honor was held here in 1791. Because of all the activity that took place through time around this Square and it being central to all activity, it suffered from Savannah’s ill-founded urban renewal projects as well instead of the more historic preservation angle that later followed. However, many of Savannah’s most historical buildings are located in this area so in a way the square is a passage through time. The Filature for silk making was located here, though the silk worm cocoons wouldn’t mature properly due to the humid climate, leading to a failure of the industry and the filature was later converted to a meeting house. It then became the city hall and meeting hall until 1845 despite fires and re-building that took place continually through this section. The building fell into ruin and did not survive to present day. The Pink House or “Habersham House” built in 1789 (23 Abercorn street) in Georgian style as well as the Oliver-Sturgis House from the 19th century did survive. Habersham house was built for James Habersham Junior and now stands as the Pink House Restaurant (formerly the Planter’s bank, First State bank of Georgia, home of the Habershams, the Boltons, and Alida Harper’s tea room to prevent if from being destroyed. The Oliver Sturgis house (1813) (27 Abercorn street) was the home of Oliver Sturgis, one of the planners who crossed the Atlantic in the Steamship SS Savannah. In the center of the square are fabled old Spanish oak trees and a bronze memorial statue of John Wesley (1969), the founder of Methodism and one of the first rectors of Savannah’s Christ Church. The statue was done by Marshall Daugherty to honor him because of the visit he took for mission work in Savannah from 1735-1738. He was also the founder of the first Sunday School in America. It is believed that his home was on this very spot. Just off to the side of the park is the infamous 1921 Lucas Theater (22 Abercorn Street) and the Leroy Myers Cigar Building (18 Abercorn Street). The Lucas theater used to show vaudeville acts and silent films. The Cigar building built by Henrik Wallin in 1911 and was done in Mediterranean style with arches and overhanging eaves as well as a tower. Today its used for the Christ Church administrative offices. Legend has it that one of the buildings nearby was used as a hospital for malaria patients and a makeshift crematorium once stood in Reynolds Square for those that did not recover. Bodies were believed to have been wrapped in sheets, then burned here to prevent spread of the disease. Legend has it some were burnt alive that were thought to be dead, but were just in a coma-like state. Some ghost hunters say you can hear their cries. Others say photos of the Square and statue cause strange colors and hazy patterns believed to be the ghosts burnt alive.

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The Brennivin Ghost


Icelandic Wonders Museum, Iceland

The Brennivin Ghost of Iceland

While visiting the Icelandic wonders museum, we learned about the infamous Brennivín Ghost, haunting the region where the original Icelandic Schnapps is named. Haunting the halls at Kolviðarhóll, who is the apparition of the Danish “Assistant” who worked in the Sunchenberg Store in Reykjavik. His job was to keep count of liquor in the store, and as a avid lover of the spirits, would travel by horse back to Kolvidarhóll and Marardalur to drink. He passed away in his bed while in Reykjavik. He apparently haunts the stores, halls, and the meadows on Kolviðarhóll.
The first recording of his apparition was two men the following winter from Suarnes travelling over the heath and stopping to sleep at the refuge hut in Kolviaarholl. As they entered the hut, heard chanting in the loft, and were greeted with a vision of a man sitting alone, striking, and elegant with a large top hat and wig, drinking a big container of brennivin. Other reports were as similar. The Icelandic Wonders Museum claims the ghost watches over them.

    “The Brennivin Ghost: One of many acquaintances Kolviaarholl was the Brennivin Ghost. He was believed to be the ghost of the Danish ‘Assistant’ Sunchenberg store in Reykjavik. He had the responsibility of counting the beverages in the store, but he was very keen on the beverages. It was his custom, summer after summer on holy days, to ride his horse up to Kolviaarholl and into Marardalur to consume a substantial amount of the libation. He thought that those trips were his greatest pleasure in life … Now, this man passed away in his sickbed in Reykjavik, but the following winter two men from Suaurnes went over the heath and were planning to sleep at the refuge hut at Kolviaarholl. When they opened the hut, they were shocked when they heard a chant up in the loft. The two men weren’t expecting anyone to be there, because they didn’t see anything outside that indicated that someone was there. When the two men went inside the house and up to the loft, the most surreal vision awaited them when they opened the hatch. On the floor, just by the window, there was a man sitting alone who seemed to be very mellow. He was striking to see and very elegant, with a large top hat and a wig, and was wearing clothes with silver buttons on both lapels. Between his feet on the floor, he had a biggish container full of brennivin, from which a sweet smell emanated. In one hand the man had a tin mug that he used to take brennivin from the container, and then he drank from the mug and tipped the rest of the brennivin back into the container. He looked roguishly at what he was doing. The two men greeted the strange man and made his see how surprised they were about his behavior and how well stocked he seemed to be with beverages. He didn’t respond to their greetings, but instead he extended one of his feet, on which there was a Danish shoe, and said a little verse with his dark voice. Then he stood up and swung out his hand with the bennivin mug. With that he disappeared in an instant with a bright glow, and the loft became dark. The two men felt uncomfortable and a little shaken, and ran down the stairs and out into the bright spring night, after whch they started to feel better. Needless to say, the two men continued over the heath until they reached Reykir in Olfus early next morning.” ~ museum sign in Icelandic Wonders Museum.


Icelandic Wonders Museum, Iceland

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Black Swan Pub and Folk Club, York, England

Black Swan Pub

* http://blackswanyork.co.uk/ * Peasholme Green * York, England *

One of York’s haunted locales, this is also one of York’s more authentic pubs. In medieval style and decor, this timber framed house holding a pub and folk club retains classical 17th century interior decor. Within is a large stairway leading off to a main passageway, another room hosts a roasting pit, and another smaller room has a giant open fireplace. Originally built in 1417 as a family residence of the Bowes family (1417/1428 Lord Mayor of York), gable ends were added in the 16th century, and main structural alterations made in the 17th century for it to be open for business as a pub. There is evidence that there was a secret passage leading from this residence to St. Cuthbert’s church, and a secret room once believed to be used for cock fighting. The parents of General James Wolfe lived here from 1724-1726. Many reports of apparitions, noises, and ghostly tales take place here … one is of a chalinesque figure wearing a bowler hat wandering aimlessly through the rooms, a beautiful young ghostly woman wearing a long white dress has been noted distractedly staring into the fire her face hidden by her long black hair. Others talk of a pair of male legs seen walking around in the landlord’s accomodation. Pub fare is offered as well as a wide selection of ales, beer, and other drinks. Folk music takes place on thursday as well as other clubs and associations holding special events, classes, and discussion groups.

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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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06.29.10: CSTL: The Witch Potato Project (WPP): Day 25 – Potato famines, Revelations, Dublin …


From Witches at the Blarney Castle to the Irish Potato Famine Memorial, it has been an interesting last few days for our travellers. Much of Sir Thomas Leaf’s Quest has been met – he’s gathered sacred waters from the Madron well, investigated the artifacts and excavated the ritual offering pits at Saveok in Cornwall, gathered some charms along the way, pranced with the faeries and saw the Summer Solstice over the legendary lake where Excalibur was given to Arthur, escaped the Bodmin beast, trompled around on the Giant’s Causeway, searched for Oisin‘s grave, and hit several Faerie Sidhe in search of clues, omens, and oracles. He kissed the Blarney Stone and received the endowment of gab and a granting of a wish by the Blarney Witch. Soon he will be travelling to Kildare to receive the sacred flame of the Goddess Brighid and take some of her healing waters back across the great pond. Today is the end of the journey for his fellow German travellers Sir Sven and Lady Vanessa of the Rhine. They had one more morning to explore Dublin together. Last night, they hit Farrington’s Irish pub for a traditional Irish breakfast along with cider, then headed off to sleep at the Dublin International Hostel. That morning, a final breakfast together in the hostel’s chapel of a dining hall called “The Church” and then on to the streets of Dublin to turn in their rental chariot. They wandered up and down the canals of Dublin, visited the Famine Memorial, off to the Oriental Art Museum to see Oriental Art, Irish Furniture, clothing, and history. Visited the Military exhibits and went off to explore the city parks. A trip back to the hostel for bidding each other farewell. Sir Thomas Leaf then headed off for an early evening by attending the Northside Ghost Tour and investigated all of the haunted spots of the Northside of Dublin and ending at the Brazenhead. Afterwards, he turned in back at the hostel for a quiet night of writing ….

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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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Paranormal Activity (R: 2007)

Paranormal Activity (R: 2007)

* Director: Oren Peli * Starring: Katie Featherston … Katie; Micah Sloat … Micah; Mark Fredrichs … The Psychic; Ashley Palmer … Diane; Amber Armstrong … Amber. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1179904/ *

A Blair witch styled film about a young, middle class couple that moves into a suburban ‘starter’ tract house and become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be somehow demonic. Always happening in the middle of the night when they are trying to sleep. Its based on the couple filming the activities with their own camera. The demonic activity begins to happen in the day and has some shocking, startling, and terrifying moments that catch you at the edge of your seat just like the Blair Witch did, without knowing if what you’re watching is real or not. Completely fictional. Great flick! Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5.

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7.24.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 14: ‘Briarhurst Manor, Ghosts, & Frog Legs’


[ Back to Chapter 13: The Four Horsemen ]   [ Chapter 14: Briarhurst Manor ]   [ Chapter 15: Halloween Comes Early ]


Me and Viktoria @ the Briarhurst Manor
My Review of Briarhurst Manor

From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf: The 24th of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era


“A zombie I would be since I had to crawl into the laboratory. Another day, another dollar, but thank the Goddess it be friday. It’s been a hard week, so excited for the weekend and my upcoming adventure to Faerieworlds. Viktoria came into town early as she was heading back from Dreamtime. She decided to take me out to the infamous haunted Briarhurst Manor that lies at the edge of downtown Manitou Springs. I had always wanted to check this restaurant out, especially since my daughter used to work there, but at the hefty prices for the menu items, I just could never drag myself down to going there. It would definitely compromise a journey. But luckily Viktoria had some 2-for-1 coupons from her Denver Dining and Coupon guide so we were able to get a taste of riche and fantastique, or so the rumor of the place goes. It was a quite elegant manor, and you definitely could feel the chill of a presence there. The waittress told us about the spirits that haunt the house, and gave us a small history pamphlet that talked about them. We dined on roast rabbit, escargot, and frog legs. What a delicious meal! Thank you Viktoria! You rock! It was great catching up with Viktoria as we hadn’t much time together at Dreamtime. As she headed back up to Denver, I headed home, to turn in early, and to add final touches to my pirate costume, for tomorrow ‘Halloween Comes Early this Year’.”

My review of Briarhurst Manor, its history, and its ghosts


Viktoria

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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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7.22.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 12: ‘The Otherworld, Haunting in Connecticut, Contemplations about the Afterlife’


From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf: The 22nd of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era


“Awoke with many dreams of Faerieland and Faerieworlds. Of course that just feeds into my upcoming Adventure to Faerieworlds come the end of this month. I was up in a shake and off to the laboratory to work on some artifacts and maps. The restrictions on technology, portable drives, and network connectivity is really stressing me out at work. In an age where technology is at our fingertips, I come to wonder what the problem is. Why is it failing? and of all places within the government. So after work, decided nothing better to dispell the stress but renting a good movie … one I’ve been wanting to see, especially since I’m such a big Supernatural, ghost story, occult, and horror fan … none other than “The Haunting in Connecticut”. Pretty freaking good movie if you ask me. An early night, dreams of the Otherworld, and since I’m on a run with all the alternative community views of upcoming apocalypses and great transitions, why not start grasping concepts about ‘the Otherworld’ and beliefs some have in the veils between the worlds dissipating and the spirit and undead realms merging with our realm, even moreso than it has over the last several hundred years. Lets talk about the Otherworld and/or the Underworld.”

My review of “The Haunting in Connecticut”

The True Story about the Haunting in Connecticut

“As we left off with the theories about the ‘Faerie Great Awakening’ in the previous post of these chronicles, there is a belief by many individuals and alternative sub-communities that there will come a time when the realms between the worlds will fade away and disappear, thereby placing inhabitants of other realms, including the faerie realm, and to some the Otherworld and Underworld, to become residents of this world / realm in which we supposedly live. So to explore this concept that we’ve all come picture and fantasize about from the fantastical television series of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, and “Supernatural”, lets discuss what exactly “is” the “Otherworld” and the “Underworld”. Interesting theories and prophecies out there. Many clearly claim these realms are already blended into our own. I might inquire … Do you believe in ghosts? spirits? demons? the undead? Vampires? zombies? and werewolves?”

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The Haunting in Connecticut (PG-13: 2009)

The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0492044/ * PG-13: 2009 *

Director: Peter Cornwell. Starring: Virginia Madsen … Sara Campbell; Kyle Gallner … Matt Campbell; Elias Koteas … Reverend Popescu; Amanda Crew … Wendy; Martin Donovan … Peter Campbell; and many others.

An incredibly sensational film about the telling of the story about the infamous “Haunting in Connecticut” on the big screens with the horror-all of Hollywood special effects and dramatization. The film starts out with a struggling mother named Sara who is trying to deal with her son Matt’s battle with cancer. They have to get a new house in Southington in order to be close to the hospital. Matt choses the basement so that he doesn’t disturb the family with his treatment’s side effects of late night visits to the bathroom and screams of pain. The basement however turns into a perplexing mystery as there is a door that he can’t get open. Dreams (or hallucinations from the medication he is testing) start to show horrorful and disturbed spirit unrest. He starts seeing things during waking hours that no one else is seeing. His family becomes affected. He discovers that the door leads to a former morgue. The horrors of what took place in the morgue and the house begin to present violent and supernatural events upon the family as Matt becomes possessed by the spirit of Jonah who is involved with the horrors that the mad doctor conducted in the basement. Matt discovers photos of the dead, box of human eyelids, and records that seances were conducted in the basement as well. As Matt and his friends investigate the house, they find the previous owner, Doctor Aickman was the madman behind the madness that has trapped dozens of disturbed spirits in the house. Aickman was conducting necromancy on the corpses to enhance Jonah’s abilities as a medium, and instead of burying the bodies in the cemetery like the public thought he had, he ripped their eyelids from them and stacked the corpses into the walls of the house. A fellow patient of Matt’s, a former minister named Nicholas, helps unravel the haunting mystery. It’s a crazy story based on a true incident. Very exciting tale. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The Haunting in Connecticut movie trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRJA3lN0xCQ

What really happened with the Haunting in Connecticut

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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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The Vogue Theater, Vancouver, British Columbia

Vogue Theater * 918 Granville St., Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L2 * http://www.voguetheatre.com/

Tickets: http://www.ticketmaster.com/venue/139279. In the heart of downtown Vancouver lies the historical remains of the Vogue theater. The Vogue is surrounded by many myths and legends especially amongst it’s association with being haunted. Many famous people have walked through these doors. In 2006 it was closed as its web site still professes. It is however still a very active theater with live music, comedy acts, and shows every weekend. In 1941 it was a monument of sophisticated art deco design and home to the arts. It housed 1200 seats that presented Vancouver’s hottest acts and talent through the years. It still is one of those hotspots. Conveniently located right on the main bus station route, its a hotspot of Vancouver’s heritage for events of all kinds and varieties. While I’ve never seen the ghosts that haunt these seats, I did however have some memorable moments of entertainment within those walls. Rating 5 stars out of 5.


the infamous haunted Vogue theater
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