Historical Haunts: The USS Constellation “Baltimore’s Haunted Warship”


by Tony Harrington

Permanently docked in Baltimore’s “Inner Harbor” at the famous Pier 1, the USS Constellation stands regally amidst a booming tourist destination. She has been returned to her former splendor thanks in part to a restoration effort that spanned over three years, an effort that replaced nearly every square inch of the ships surface with new wood, paint, and fixtures.

There is little of the original ship remaining but it is still indeed the very same ship that served the country from the Civil War to the cessation of World War II in many capacities, from full-fledged battle ship to serving in a diplomatic fashion as a flagship of the USN African Squadron whose duty it was to intercept vessels partaking in the slave-trade.

The ship’s construction was completed in 1854 as a sloop-of-war and named The USS Constellation, a name which would ultimately lead to historical identity confusion in the 1990’s when repairs began on the vessel restoring it to a frigate ship instead of a sloop-of-war. The Frigate Constellation, the ship from which the sloop-of-war took its name, was never struck from the Naval Vessel Register. To this day there seems to be some confusion as to whether the ship in the harbor is a rebuilt sloop or frigate.

Regardless, the storied past of the ship is what lends credence to the claims of paranormal activity.

A vessel can’t simply shrug off its past. From the civil war to WWII the ship served many roles and in its time on the sea it was host to many horrors. Of course, some stories are legend and don’t have a lot of records to back up the claims.

One of the stories revolves around a ship-hand tried for and found guilty of treason. He was tied to the front of one of the cannons on the ship and the cannon were fired, literally blowing the man apart and sending him to a watery grave.

During reconstruction efforts while the ship was dry-docked at the haunted Fort McHenry, crew reported the sensation of being watched, seeing an apparition of a man dressed in Civil War era dress, while others reported hearing crying followed by the sound of cannon fire. Could the ghost of the treasonous sailor be playing out his horrific ordeal time and again?

nother atrocity aboard the ship is the undocumented death of a young boy who was serving as a powder-monkey. Allegedly the young boy was attacked and killed within the bowels of the ship and to this day, visitors claim to hear a young boy screaming followed by the sounds of a struggle as the child is forced to play out his untimely and violent death over and over.

A very friendly ghost, thought to be that of a former captain of the vessel has allegedly given full-fledged tours of his ship to unsuspecting visitors who thought they were being entertained by a docent. Turns out their docent had the distinction of actually having served on the ship, over 100 years ago.

The ship, docked at the Inner Harbor can be boarded and toured for a small fee and during the Halloween season, if you are brave enough, board the ship for an entertaining haunted attraction but don’t be surprised if the ghosts you encounter are not actors playing a role, but the spirits of those who served and lost their lives aboard the USS Constellation.

For more in-depth historical information on the Constellation, and other historic ships docked in Baltimore, or to plan your trip to walk the ship in real life, please visit http://www.historicships.org/.

THE STARS AND YIPES! (Fort McHenry)


by Tony Harrington

 Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland as a child who was interested in history was an awesome experience.  The city was brimming with historical landmarks that were rich with stories of our nations past.  From Edgar Alan Poe’s home and burial spot, to the history of Johns-Hopkins Hospital, from the final docking spot of the U.S.S. Constellation to the historic Fort McHenry there was plenty of stories to go around.

Hiding behind the stories told by tour guides during the day at some of the locations were darker stories that were whispered from the lips of employees and visitors that told of strange goings-on in these incredible institutions.

Among the many sites rumored to be haunted in Baltimore, perhaps the most famous is Fort McHenry.

Construction on the fort as we know it today was completed in 1798 by French architect Jean Foncin. The fort was named after the Secretary of War serving under President George Washington, James McHenry. Fort McHenry was completed after America won its independence from Britain and was designed to secure the port of Baltimore from attack.

The Fort stands on the Locust Point peninsula that sticks out into the harbor. The design is a classic 5-star shape surrounded by a dry moat.

Shortly after completion the War of 1812 came to the Port of Baltimore as British ships tried to enter the harbor. The battle raged for 25 hours beginning on September 13, 1814 at six a.m. and ending on the morning of September 14, 1814.

During the bombardment on the Fort a young lawyer who had come to Baltimore to negotiate the release of a political prisoner of war was so moved by the attack and the sight of a flag sewn by a local seamstress Mary Pickersgill which remained standing during the attack that he penned a poem called “The Defense of Fort McHenry.”  That lawyer was Francis Scott Key and the poem he penned would later become the National Anthem of the United States and re-titled “The Star Spangled Banner”.

During the attack on the fort 4 people lost their lives including a black soldier and an unfortunate woman who was cleaved in half by a bomb as she carried supplies to the soldiers on the battle front. Additionally 24 soldiers were wounded during the attack.

During the Civil-War the fort served as a prison for confederate prisoners as well as a myriad of public political figures who were accused of being confederate sympathizers. There were deaths reported during this phase.

Fort McHenry went on to serve as an enormous hospital for troops returning from the battlefront of World War I. Several lives were lost at the fort during this time.

The history of the fort coupled with the tragic loss of life witnessed within its walls and within the harbor just beyond have led to rumors that there is something not at rest on the grounds. Visitors report a sense of dread, the feeling of being watched, and the sensation of movement around them when no one else is nearby.

Docents who work at the fort recounting history to tour groups remain tight-lipped about their experiences during the day, but secretly admit to experiencing paranormal phenomenon that defies logical explanation. One worker who tells stories from the prison cells to passers-by during the well it hours of day recalls a time when someone prevented his evening departure when the last of the tour groups had made their way through.

This particular worker had always felt as if he was not alone in the prison cell that he occupied during the day. In order to humor himself and provide some comfort he took to calling his invisible friend “George”, assuming it was the ghost of former Baltimore Mayor George William Brown who was a political prisoner at the fort during the civil war era. Each night before the worker would leave his post and head for home he would wish George a goodnight. One particular evening the worker failed to bid his ghostly friend adieu and the worker claims that as he pulled the cell door open to exit it felt as if someone had slammed the door closed.

He tried once again to make an exit and once more the door was ripped from his grasp and slammed closed forcefully. It was then that the docent felt someone push him away from the exit and further back into the cell. The employee was terrified, but realizing his departure from his standard parting salutation he cried out, “Goodnight George!”

The cell door creaked open slowly and the worker was permitted to leave the cell without further incident.

Many visitors to Fort McHenry report seeing the figure of a black male with a rifle resting on his shoulder as he paces back on forth seemingly on patrol. Many believe it is the spirit of the only black man to lose his life in the bombardment on the fort during the War of 1812.

Workers and visitors alike have also reported shadow figures, the smell of gunpowder, the sound of crying, and drums being played in the distance.  Allegedly, a malevolent energy haunts the interior halls of the fort that has attacked and/or frightened workers at the fort.

Regardless of the paranormal activity, Fort McHenry is an incredible place to visit where one can reflect on the birth of a nation, the origin of the Star Spangled Banner, or simply enjoy a picnic lunch on the very grounds where once a battle raged between the British and the Americans for the Port of Baltimore.

For more information of Fort McHenry, please visit the official website of National Parks Services.

SUPERNATURAL WARFARE: How the Occult, Psychics, and Past Lives Affected the Warfront


by Tony Harrington

War is ugly. That is a stone cold truth that has been etched into countless textbooks, film, newspapers and other social media throughout time. Even cave drawings from before when man walked completely upright show opposing tribes locked in bloody combat.

We go to war for many reasons: to protect our freedoms, to help our allies, to liberate foreign nations under oppressive regime rule, and many other reasons.

Is it therefore appropriate that some of the most haunted spots in America and abroad are the battlefields where so many young men and women lost their lives? The supernatural and war have long been intertwined and it is easy to understand why. When someone loses their life suddenly and in terrifying conditions it makes sense to think that they would stick around. Either because they do not know they are dead, they feel they have unfinished business (to get back home to their loved ones perhaps), or because they are angry and stick around out of spite to terrorize the living as a penance for our actions of participating in the war that cost the spirit its life.

Gettysburg, PA claims to be the most haunted city in America. Having visited there myself I can not say for certain that this claim is valid. There are a lot of old homes and businesses with bullet holes in them and massive graves of fallen soldiers, many unidentified. As you walk the battlefields and through the streets of the city you are reminded by the constant flow of motor vehicles pumping loud music and the sounds of college kids screaming out their windows not to believe the stories of ghosts and hauntings being told by your tour guide that this is a modern town that happens to have historical value. There is a conflict raging today in the streets of Gettysburg between what once was and what is threatening to be.

Regardless of the naysayers, one must draw their own conclusions, even if you do not see the spirit of Jennie Wade or the apparitions of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who lost their life, it is impossible not to feel the heavy pall in the air as you recognize that the ground on which your feet are planted once flowed red with the blood of the dead and dying.

But I digress, this story is not solely about Gettysburg and the ghosts of the past. It is about something more shocking and surreal. This article tells the stories about the role the supernatural and paranormal played in shaping wars.

Abraham Lincoln Predicts His Own Death:

This story is hotly debated as there is no direct written account by the President himself, but stories from his advisors and close friends. This particular instance does not deal with shaping a war as much as it puts a final nail in the coffin of the most tragic war in U.S. History.

It was April 9, 1865 when Confederate commander Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House signifying the end of the civil conflict. Though the war had come to an end smaller skirmishes still carried out and a plan was put into place by a band of   Confederate sympathizers to assassinate the President.

Lincoln would ultimately meet his fate at the hands of an assassin’s bullet while attending a play at Ford’s Theater. He was shot and killed on April 14th, 1865, but just ten days prior while the country was still at war he made the following statement, an eerie premonition that came true.

“About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. ‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers, ‘The President,’ was his answer; ‘he was killed by an assassin.’ Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since.”

An intriguing footnote in US History related to two presidents who were assassinated 100 years apart shows that history repeats itself with almost supernatural precision. I submit, for your consideration the strange case of the Lincoln/Kennedy Parallels

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head.

Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners.
Both successors were named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.

Lincoln was shot at the theater named “Ford’s”.
Kennedy was shot in a car called “Lincoln – made by Ford Motor Co”.

Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse.

Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.

Both John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

HITLER AND THE OCCULT

The rise of the Nazi regime which led to the occupation of several countries and the extraction and eradication of countless Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, aged, disabled and children did not happen by accident. It was a calculated move by the leader of the regime Adolf Hitler.

Hitler grew to power in an almost seemingly divine manner and by all accounts it never should have happened. He was short, unimpressive in looks and composure but he did have charisma and that trait coupled with the ability to stir pride within a people who were devastated after the events of World War I got the German people listening. This little man with a skill for public speaking rocketed to icon status after he was arrested for his failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch.

The rise of the Nazi party culminated from a collection of existing occult groups that sprang up in Europe in the late 19th century as a result of advances in materialism and technology of the day. The groups spoke of a new age and the coming of a new messiah that would save Germany. A youthful Hitler was inspired by these tales and began to believe that he was the one prophesied, and a chance encounter with The Spear of Destiny all but sealed the notion. The spear was part of the Hofberg library in Vienna.  Hitler overheard a tour guide describe the spear by claiming This spear is shrouded in mystery; whoever unlocks its secrets will rule the world”A witness to a young twenty-something Hitler’s meeting with the Spear of Destiny  describes the change in the soon to be ruthless dictator of the German people.

“Adolf Hitler stood like a man in a trance, a man over whom some dreadful magic spell had been cast…he was swaying on his feet as though caught up in some totally inexplicable euphoria. His entire  physiognomy and stance had transformed as though some mighty spirit now inhabited his soul, creating within and around him a kind of evil transformation of its own nature and power.” -Dr. Walter Stein

Hitlers obsession with the dark arts only continued. With his messiah status all but sealed he set about trying to perfect alchemy (the turning of lead into gold). He also came to believe that Germany could be elevated by creating a race of super-beings, the next step in the evolution of man. He saw this race as fair-haired and blue-eyed, the supreme race gifted with strength, will and resolve. He authorized countless tests to be performed on twins, convinced these anomalies of the human race held the key to evolution locked in their brains.

Hitler and his henchmen held secret meetings that borrowed heavily from the masons, the Thule society and a variety of other brotherhoods masked in rituals, sacrifice and conjuring of the spirits.

When one makes deals with the devil it comes at a cost. The rise to power typically means that the way down is a long way to fall and ultimately Hitler ended up taking his own life rather than face a tribunal for his crimes.  Hitler’s control over the dark forces of the occult was most impressive as evidenced by his followers belief that he was indeed the chosen one.  Joachim Von Ribbentrop said  at the Nuremberg trials of his former leader: “Even with all I know, if in this cell Hitler should come to me and say ‘Do this!’, I would still do it.”

General George S. Patton

Many Americans believe General George Patton to be the finest example of military leadership in the history of the armed forces. What made him such an effective leader? Other than his ability to incite pride and valor and deliver soul-stirring speeches that could rally the fighting forces of the USA he was a dynamic military force. He knew his enemies, he was brilliant at establishing offensive and defensive maneuvers. Some say that he had more than a lifetime of experience in combat and he would most likely agree.

Patton believed in reincarnation and believed that he had lived previously as a Carthaginian and even as Napoleon himself. He wrote poetry speaking of his past lives as soldiers in many wars and the experiences he brought with him from life to life:

“Through the travail of the ages,
Midst the pomp and toil of war,
Have I fought and strove and perished,
Countless times upon this star.

So as through a glass, and darkly
The age-long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names, – but always me.” -George S. Patton

Psychics and Remote Viewing (The Stargate Project)

It sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but the fact that it exists and has been admitted by the government is an amazing thing in and of itself. I am talking about “The Stargate Project” and other remote viewing projects used during wars. Fully sanctioned and government-funded programs designed so that psychics could remotely view enemy strongholds, targets and other data during the time of war. That’s correct, the government had and still has psychics in their employ. This section is a bit convoluted and the vast history of the programs which ultimately inspired the book and film “The Men Who Stare at Goats”can get muddled. Rather than put research into my own words, I will allow the kind people at Wikipedia to speak on my behalf. Click here to read all about remote viewing and how it shaped the theater of war.

These are just a few examples of how war and the supernatural are intricately tied. The point of the article is not to imply that the paranormal/supernatural and war are mutually exclusive, it just goes to show that even in the most brutal of times there is still a fascination with the things we can’t understand or fully grasp. Sometimes the desire to understand topics beyond our scope of comprehension can lead us to do horrible things or it can lead to great or just slightly odd things. Regardless of the outcome of each example above, the very presence of the supernatural in times of war is unique.


HISTORICAL HAUNTS: FORT MORGAN, AL


 

An aerial view of historic Fort Morgan

Fort Morgan sits at 30°13′41″N 88°1′23″W at the mouth of Mobile Bay, AL.

Prior to Fort Morgan, the land at the above coordinates belonged to a smaller redoubt fort made of earth and wood. That particular fort was known as Fort Bowyer taking its name from the colonel John Bowyer who completed construction of the fort in 1813.  About a year after completion of the fort, Americans abandoned the structures but found their way back to garrison it in 1816 under Major William Lawrence.

The fort’s curved front faced the shipping channel into Mobile Bay while on the landward side there was a bastion flanked by two smaller bastions. Fort Bowyer was designed to keep British soldiers from invading the port through the Gulf Coast during the war of 1812. The British made 2 attacks on the fort, their first unsuccessful and their second was successful though celebration was short-lived. Upon seizing the fort, the British received word of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent which signified the end of the war. The British troops turned around and headed home just two short days after raising their flag over Fort Bowyer.

The British lost 32 lives in the land and naval attacks on Fort Bowyer while the United States lost only four lives.

After the seizure of the fort during the War of 1812 the U.S. decided that strengthening their seacoast defenses was of vital importance. In 1818 The U.S. contracted Benjamin Hopkins to start construction of Fort Morgan on Mobile Point working from drafting plans by Napoleon’s former military engineer Simon Bernard. However, little was accomplished on  the fort when Benjamin Hopkins succumbed to yellow fever. The government then brought in Samuel Hawkins to complete the design but he died before he completed any work at all.

The task of completing the fort was ultimately handed over to the Corps of Engineers who, using slave labor, completed the fort in 1834 and handed it over to the 2nd US Artillery Division. The unit remained at the fort for less than 2 years before being called away to assist in the Second Seminole Indian War.

During the Civil War the Fort fell to Union soldiers during the battle of Mobile Bay that raged from August 2nd – August 23 of 1864. The battles resulted in the loss of approximately 1,822 lives with the Union suffering 322 losses and the Confederacy suffering a staggering 1,500. The exact number of lives lost at each fort is undetermined as a majority of loss most likely took place in the bay between the forts.

Though Fort Morgan fell in the battle, the city was never captured.

 

The entrance to Fort Morgan

Between 1845 and 1900, Fort Morgan was fortified with 5 concrete batteries with the latest in fire-power, electric, and top-tier communications. Fort Morgan was hit by several natural disasters in the form of hurricanes between 1906 and 1916 which caused major damage to the structure and officers quarters along the coast and though the fort remained operational it was the beginning of the end of an illustrious fort that had served the military proudly.

The fort served as a training ground for artillerymen when war was declared on Germany in 1917. Seven short years later, the U.S. Army abandoned the fort and it quickly fell into disrepair. Life returned to the fort for a short 5 years starting in 1942 around the start of World War II and it received several weapons fortifications before it was abandoned once more and handed over to the State of Alabama in 1946.

Fort Morgan was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960 but little was done to preserve the fort and in 2007 the Civil War Preservation Trust named the fort “One of the Nations 10 Most Endangered battle Sites”.

The historic fort is now a popular tourist destination for those visiting the gulf shores. Over the years there have been reports of tourists encountering otherworldly activity within the dark recesses of the former stronghold of Mobile Bay.

One female tourist recalls seeing shadow figures looming about a dark corridor. She thought they were part of her tour group and as she descended further into the near pitch-black room she discovered that her tour group was not there and she was alone. Still, she could see the distinct shapes of people moving about the dark room.

Other reports from visitors claim to feel a heavy sensation within the fort. An oppressive sensation of dread and fear and anger, and it seems to proceed the appearance of an apparition dressed in “old-time” clothing.  Could this figure be the lost soul of one of the battles at Fort Morgan or does he hang around from his service at the former Fort Bowyer?

Other visitors have reported seeing strange mists, glowing lights and hearing odd sounds from disembodied voices and whispers to scratching and moaning. One startling report from a visitor to the fort claims that he was physically thrown tot he ground by something unseen.

The Fort’s staff is quick to denounce any rumors of a haunting and insist the claims are just the over-active imagination of people visiting a place that has seen war and war related deaths. They claim that the place is rife with shadows because of the lack of lighting in the Fort and of course there is going to be ambient noise as the structure is not in the best condition.

The Spirit Seekers’ founder Alan Lowe believes that something is not at rest at the old fort. A previous tour of the fort yielded an experience that he can not quite explain away so easily. Convinced that what he saw was paranormal he contacted the proprietors of the fort and sought permission to bring in a team of investigators. He was granted permission and an investigation is just three short days away at the time of writing this article. In time we will know the answer as to whether or not Fort Morgan is haunted.

Please check back often for details on this SPIRIT Seekers landmark investigation into Fort Morgan and follow along with the investigators as they tweet live from the investigation.

 

 

 

HISTORICAL HAUNTS: AXE AND YE SHALL RECEIVE


by Tony Harrington

 

Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden

 

Lizzie Andrew Borden was born on July 19, 1860 to Andrew Jackson Borden and Sarah Anthony Morse in Fall River, Massachusetts, joining older sisters Emma Lenora and Alice Esther( who died at 2 years of age).

By all accounts, growing up in the Borden household was not easy and things only seemed to worsen when Sarah Borden lost her life in 1863 and Andrew re-married, taking Abby Durfee Gray as his wife.

Andrew’s decision to reject modern conveniences resulted in the family having to empty slop buckets (human waste) in the backyard of the family home. Andrew’s daughters grew increasingly distressed over the lack of modern conveniences in the home and reveled in the chance to visit their friends “in town” where they got to sample modern living. As time went on Andrew and his wife began distancing themselves from their children leaving the daughters in a precarious position.

Because of Andrew’s decision to reject modern standards, his daughters were not marrying material and soon progressed past marrying age and were known as spinsters with no marketable skills to speak of. The upstairs of the Borden home was ultimately broken into halves with Lizzie and Emma occupying the front half and Andrew and his wife Abby occupied the back half of the house.

Life went on in the Borden home but things began to sour when an aging Mr. Borden began contemplating the division of family assets, most notably, the family farm in Swansea. In his late seventies, Mr. Borden was faced with his own mortality and, much to the chagrin of his daughters who had expected a windfall in assets, Andrew began dividing his estate amongst his step-family with relatives of his wife getting a house and several parcels of farm land.

Around this time, John Morse, brother of Andrew’s first wife arrived in town to facilitate the transfer of farm property including the Borden Summer home that had been used primarily by the Borden daughters. Infuriated, the Borden daughters began voicing their disdain at being cut out and were promptly asked to leave on an extended vacation while the rest of the estate was divided.

Lizzie ended her vacation short and on her way back home she stopped by the local pharmacy and asked the druggist for a bottle of hydrogen cyanide. The druggist denied Lizzie the purchase, leery of her stated intention of cleaning a leather cloak.

Lizzie returned home and shortly after her arrival the entire family grew deathly ill after eating a meal together. Abby, Lizzie’s stepmother, thought the family was being poisoned as a result of her husband’s unpopularity in town, but the family doctor summed the entire illness up to food poisoning as a result of ill-prepared and stored mutton.

On August 4th, 1892, 72 year old Andrew Borden went into town to run errands at the bank and the post office and returned home at approximately 10:45 a.m.. Fifteen minutes later the housekeeper in the Borden home, Bridget Sullivan, who was napping in her third floor bedroom, heard Lizzie yelling that her father had been murdered.

And he had been.  His body was discovered slumped over on a downstairs sitting room couch as if he was sleeping. His head and body had sustained 11 hatchet wounds. The body of Andrew’s wife Abby was discovered upstairs in a guest bedroom, laying on the floor beside the bed and having suffered approximately 19 blows from the blade of a hatchet.

Lizzie was arrested and ultimately stood trial for the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden. A jury acquitted her on lack of evidence and no other arrests in the murders were made, making the Borden murders one of America’s most horrendous unsolved cases.

In the court of public opinion, the majority feels that Lizzie was the culprit with a smaller camp taking the mantle of staunch defenders. Other theories are not as black and white and involve an illicit affair resulting in Andrew’s bastard child and Lizzie’s illegitimate half-brother, William Borden carrying out the slayings as a result of unsuccessfully attempting to extort money from the Borden’s.

Regardless of the who and why, ultimately the ending is the same. Andrew and Abby Borden lost their lives that day and no justice for the crime has allegedly left their spirits earthbound. The Borden home is now an operational Bed and Breakfast. The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast/Museum at 230 Second Street (historically 92 Second Street) invites curiosity seekers and paranormal thrill-seekers the opportunity to stay in the very home where the murders took place. Guests will stay in one of 8 rooms and will eat a delicious breakfast consisting of items similar to that which the Borden’s ate on their last day, which includes bananas, johnny-cakes, sugar cookies and coffee in addition to standard breakfast staples.

But visitors should be warned, there are spirits at unrest in the Borden home. Guests to the home have reported a myriad of phenomena, including but not limited to:

  • Hearing a woman crying softly in the night
  • Shoes moving across the floor on their own
  • Full bodied apparitions of a woman in period dress tuck guests in
  • The sounds of thumping from the third floor (could it be a hatchet?)
  • The ghostly images of Abby and Andrew Borden seen throughout the house
  • Doors opening and closing on their own

For more information on the history of the Borden murders check out Haunted Hamilton’s  Borden House page.

For those of you who are a little more adventuresome and want to visit the Lizzie Borden bed and breakfast, you can fulfill all your needs by visiting the official bed and breakfast site by clicking here.

A House is Not a Home (when ghosts around it roam): The Amityville Horror Case


The infamous "High Hopes" house at what used to be 112 Ocean Avenue.

Long before Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George graced the screen in the glossy big budget 2005 remake of “The Amityville Horror”, James Brolin and Margot Kidder starred as real-life husband and wife George and Kathleen Lutz who after moving into their dream home find themselves terrorized by unseen forces resulting in the family fleeing the house after only 28 days.

The original film from 1979 was based on the novel of the same name by Jay Anson and covers some of the more spectacular encounters with a supernatural entity/entities seemingly stemming from the tragic murders of the DeFeo family at the hands of the eldest son Ronald DeFeo, Jr.

But, is truth stranger than fiction?

This “Historical Haunts” piece takes a look at the true events surrounding “The Amityville Horror”.

Ronald DeFeo, Jr.

The fascinating tale of a house possessed starts with a troubled young man named Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, Jr. who at the age of 23 years old took a rifle and opened fire on his unsuspecting family as they slept in their beds on a stormy night around three in the morning.

Ronald Jr. burst into a local bar on the following evening of the shootings and announced “You gotta help me, I think my mother and father are shot!” A small group of patrons accompanied DeFeo to the family home to discover the horrifying scene. The entire DeFeo family consisting of Ronald Sr (43), Louise (42), Dawn (18), Allison (13), Marc (12), and Matthew (9) had all been shot in their beds. The parents were shot twice while the four children were shot once.

Ronald DeFeo, Jr. was taken into custody by the Suffolk County police for his own protection after DeFeo lied and said he believed the family was killed as a result of a mob hit carried out by a local gangster. The following evening, after several inconsistencies in Ronald’s statements led police to suspect Ronald himself was implicit in the slayings, DeFeo confessed.

DeFeo stood trial on October 14th, 1975 and with the help of his lawyer, he entered a plea of insanity because the voices in his head urged him to kill his family.

DeFeo was convicted on six counts of 2nd degree murder and Judge Thomas Stark sentenced DeFeo to six consecutive sentences of twenty-five years to life ensuring that Ronald DeFeo, Jr. would never see the world outside of the confines of Green Haven correctional facility in Beekman, New York.

A little over a year after the horrible murders of the DeFeo family, a young newlywed couple along with their children from a previous marriage purchased the 6 bedroom home at 112 Ocean Avenue.

George Lutz and his wife Kathleen along with their three children took possession of the home in December of 1975 and fled in fear for their life 28 days later leaving behind their belongings and never returned.

"The Amityville Horror" by Jay Anson

The account of what transpired during those unrelenting 28 days was documented in the Jay Anson novel “The Amityville Horror”.

Some of the experiences of the Lutz family at the house have been described as follows:

  • George would wake up around 3:15 every morning and would go out to check the boathouse. Later he would learn that this was the estimated time of the DeFeo killings.
  • The house was plagued by swarms of flies despite the winter weather.
  • Kathy had vivid nightmares about the murders and discovered the order in which they occurred, and the rooms where they took place. The Lutzes’ children also began sleeping on their stomachs, in the same way that the dead bodies in the DeFeo murders had been found.
  • Kathy would feel a sensation as if “being embraced” in a loving manner, by an unseen force.
  • Kathy discovered a small hidden room (around four feet by five feet) behind shelving in the basement. The walls were painted red and the room did not appear in the blueprints of the house. The room came to be known as “The Red Room.” This room had a profound effect on their dog Harry, who refused to go near it and cowered as if sensing something negative.
  • There were cold spots and odors of perfume and excrement in areas of the house where no wind drafts or piping would explain the source.
  • While tending to the fire, George and Kathy saw the image of a demon with half his head blown out. It was burned into the soot in the back of the fireplace.
  • The Lutzes’ five-year old daughter, Missy, developed an imaginary friend named “Jodie,” a demonic pig-like creature with glowing red eyes.
  • George would be woken up by the sound of the front door slamming. He would race downstairs to find the dog sleeping soundly at the front door. Nobody else heard the sound although it was loud enough to wake the house.
  • George would hear what was described as a “German marching band tuning up” or what sounded like a clock radio playing not quite on frequency. When he went downstairs the noise would cease.
  • George realized that he bore a strong resemblance to Ronald DeFeo, Jr., and began drinking at The Witches’ Brew, the bar where DeFeo was once a regular customer.
  • While checking the boathouse one night, George saw a pair of red eyes looking at him from Missy’s bedroom window. When he went upstairs to her room, there was nothing to be found. Later it was suggested that it could have been “Jodie”.
  • While in bed, Kathy received red welts on her chest caused by an unseen force and was levitated two feet off the bed.
  • Locks, doors and windows in the house were damaged by an unseen force.
  • Cloven hoofprints attributed to an enormous pig appeared in the snow outside the house on January 1, 1976.
  • Green slime oozed from walls in the hall, and also from the keyhole of the playroom door in the attic.
  • A 12-inch (30 cm) crucifix, hung in a closet by Kathy, revolved until it was upside down and gave off a sour smell.
  • George tripped over a four-foot high china lion which was an ornament in the living room, and was left with bite marks on one of his ankles.
  • George saw Kathy transform into an old woman of ninety, “the hair wild, a shocking white, the face a mass of wrinkles and ugly lines, and saliva dripping from the toothless mouth.”  (Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amityville_Horror)

After the family fled on the 28th night, backlash and skepticism against their claims began almost immediately.

The Lutz family was accused of cashing in on the murders of the DeFeo family and there were many inconsistencies in the revelation of events as described by George and Kathleen individually.

The book deals, the films, interviews and documentaries brought the family, who was struggling financially, a much-needed cash windfall and only served to incite skeptics all the while fascinating a public who were unfamiliar with the goings on behind the scenes.

Ultimately, both George and Kathleen took a polygraph test and both passed. Their claims, by way of lie detector testing, proved to be true. The list of questions asked was not released to the public, only the results leading many skeptics to cry foul.

Only one family knows for certain what transpired during those 28 nights at 112 Ocean Drive. Kathleen Lutz died in 2005 around the release of the remake of the original film leading people to believe that a curse continued to plague the family. The fact that Kathleen succumbed to cancer and had been in poor health for over a year prior to her passing did little to allay the public fascination with the case.

The Lutz children, now adults, have refused to speak publicly about the events letting the books and films speak on their behalf.

The house at 112 Ocean Drive still stands to this day and is happily occupied by an anonymous family who is pleased to report that nothing of a paranormal nature has ever transpired and they would be thrilled if gawkers and onlookers would simply, like the Lutz family that once occupied the home before them, go away.

HOAXED ENCOUNTERS OF THE FOURTH KIND


ALASKA ABDUCTIONS: Beyond the 4th Kind

By S.M. Belekurov

Almost as soon as it hit theaters Universal Picture’s “The Fourth Kind”met suspicious criticisms. Questions arose as to the legitimacy of the film’s “based on true events” claim. Since then, new information seems to support the initial skepticism.   The movie revolves around “Dr. Emily Abigail Tyler” and her treatment of the people of Nome,Alaska. In studying the sleep disorders of her patients Dr.Tyler begins to identify recurring patterns (the night-time visits from an owl invoking the image of a grey alien in the mind’s eye) and comes to believe these encounters are actually screen memories of alien abductions.
One interesting “by-the-way” feature in the movie had the “abductors” as the Annunaki* who would naturally be interested in Nome because of it’s claim of having “the world’s biggest gold vein”.
Interest in the case prompted the search for the “real” Dr. Tyler which has so far yielded little results. Then in November 2009 Universal Pictures agreed to pay a 20,000 dollar settlement to the Alaska Press Club
in regards to “complaints about fake news archives used to promote the movie”. Universal Pictures admitted to planting fake online news articles and obituaries to bolster its claim of “based on true events”.

Of course the media gleefully denounced the film as another “Blair Witch Project”. But in doing so they threw out the baby with the proverbial bath water, ignoring the history of the area. And that is a much more interesting story with several layers that we will now examine.

The FBI, Serial Killers and Little Green Men

Since 1960 at least 24 people (all natives) have disappeared in Nome, Alaska (pop. 3500) with 10 occurring since 1990. 17 men, 7 women with 9 bodies still unaccounted for. The remainder died under “suspicious circumstances”. This case has been ignored almost entirely by the media in the lower 48 until the release of “4K”.

Contrary to the “4K” claims the FBI have not visited Nome “over 2000” times in fact the problem was the case was getting no attention. Their involvement was primarily in thanks to council member Delbert Pungowiyi of the Savoonga tribe (whose brother disappeared in Nome in 2004). Pungowiyi felt that “more than one person” was preying on the native folk in Nome. Pungowiyi stated “It should have been given attention years ago…The
region is just overwhelmed with this. They’re tired of living with these big gaping holes and no closure.”

Local law enforcement is viewed with distrust to say the least. The Norton Sound Health Ward passed a resolution seeking a federal rights investigation due to “extraordinarily high” numbers of missing and dead and “discriminatory harassment and excessive force” by the Nome police. Trust was at an all time low after Nome Police Officer Matthew Owens was convicted of the murder of local resident Sonya Ivanof.  Finally the feds responded reviewing the 24 cases.

And while the feds did receive a little more cooperation from the understandably skeptical natives, they quickly ruled the disappearances to be related to “alcohol and exposure”. They concluded that a serial killer was not at work. The new Chief of Police in Nome, Craig Moates discounted the alien abduction scenario and in a telling statement declared “We’re trying to separate this urban legend from fact.” To me “urban legend” has the same connotations as “native superstitions” it’s just a little more PC sounding. This declaration ignores an interesting and possibly relevant
history, but that too seems to be nothing new.

For 5 consecutive days in 1988 there were encounters with “little green men” witnessed by dozens of Nome residents. Researcher Mark Chovinsky related some of these encounters in an article for Fate magazine (January1990).

1) August 24, 1988 apx. 3:00 am
Several witnesses were driving on Beltz Road outside of town when they observed a strange glow in their rear-view mirror. The group turned around, driving toward the source which was a short, muscular man surrounded by a greenish glow with red eyes. The group began to chase the entity, who then ran out in front of their vehicle. The entity was run over but no sound was heard. The creature seemed to flatten itself out and vanish. The group drove into Nome, gathered more witnesses and returned to the scene. Several of the witnesses then chased the little man on feet but then were in turn chased by him, at which point the returned to their vehicles and left.

2) August 25, 1988 apx. 2:30 am
Three car-loads of witnesses encountered a little green glowing man standing in the middle of a roadway. Again a vehicle ran over the creature with no apparent ill effects. A witness claimed the car “ran right through him”.

3) August 26, 1988 apx 2:30 am
Another group witnessed 3 little glowing men standing in the middle of the road. The group pulled over and the entities changed colors 3 times during the encounter. Some of the witnesses compared them to “holographic
projections” but others were convinced they were flesh and blood(so to speak).

4) August 26 1988 apx 2:30 am
A number of people gathered on Beltz Road observed 3 of the little men standing on the side of the road. 1 was silver, another black and the third was blue-green in color. They all had a green glow surrounding them.

5) August 27, 1988 apx. 2:00 am
Several witnesses gathered on the Beltz Road sighted 2 little glowing green men with red eyes that “seemed to dance in the middle of the road”. Witnesses who approached the pair reported a whistling or hissing sound (this is a recurring element in the Para-World).

Reporter Janet Ahmasuk of the “Nome Nugget” quipped “I have heard little green men stories as long as I have lived here. From reindeer herders, miners, highway camp workers, village folk, folks who just moved here”. In other words not only natives but people unaware of the native history which is replete with stories of the little green men.

Chorvinsky also cited a story told by Lois Foster whose family originates in the nearby village of Koyuk. For as long as she could remember Foster’s Great-Great- Grandmother told the family of the 3 little men who came to the village of Koyuk in a “silvery looking disc that sailed through the air”. Chorvinsky put this date between 1795 and 1805.
Lois’s grandmother also talked about the 3 little men who she encountered when she was a little girl. They were old but still alive, this would have been around 1913.

According to the Great-Great-Grandmother the little men were extremely strong for their size able to carry large logs without assistance. They lived in the area and over the years learned the native tongue. They explained to the townspeople that “some mechanism had broken down in their craft permanently disabling it.”

A Forgotten Link?

The biggest mystery of the North is probably the case of the “Disappearing Village at Lake Anjkuni”. It is either a hoax that has been reported as fact over the years or a genuinely fascinating case. Some of the criticisms seem valid and it has been “debunked” a couple of times over the years. The world-famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Mounties)
have labeled the case as, again an “Urban Legend”.  However given the treatment of the Native folk, from the forced relocations and discriminatory policies of the past to present day native disappearances and allegations of “police brutality” in Nome, and the systematic ignoring of “little green men” tales for over 200 years we should proceed with an open mind.

The story was originally reported by Emmett E. Keller whom the RCMP label, with some justice, as a “journalist of some repute”. The picture that was run with the story was a photo taken in 1905 not at the date of the story (however this is a fairly common news practice). It ran in the Toronto Daily Star on November 23, 1930 but was largely forgotten until it was included in “occult investigator” Frank Edward’s book “Stranger than Science” in 1959. And supporting the “UL” status the Mounties claim, the tale has grown. The missing went from 30 to 1200 to 2000, how’s that for a bump. So we will use what we found in the older sources, tell the tale and try to keep the personal commentary to as minimum.

On a cold November night in 1930 a fur trapper named Armad Laurent was travelling with his two teenage sons. The trio witnessed a “huge light, for it seemed to be as big as a steamship, changed shape from moment to moment…..it was as round as a ball, now like an enormous bullet, now shaped like a star. The light changed course in the sky many times before streaking at a great speed, straight as an arrow, towards the north and out of our sight.”

A couple of days later a pair of Mounties were said to stop at Laurent’s isolated home. As they partook of a generous standing offer of hot coffee, biscuits and homemade honey Laurent inquired what brought them out his way. They are rumored to have replied “Eskimos disappearing, stuff like that. Nothing important.” Now we include this here-say  to show the PERCEPTION (if not the reality) of the disregard towards Natives. Nothing important.

Laurent is said to have related his tale and inform the Mounties that the “light seemed to be heading in the direction of the lake.” Laurent was never questioned further, a disappointing but understandable oversight.

Enter French Canadian trapper Joe Labelle (who the Mounties said was “new to the area” ie outsider). Labelle claimed to snow shoe to the remote Eskimo village near Lake Anjkuni(Angkun). Normally greeted by the barking of sled dogs
and children begging for hard candy he was instead met with silence. The village of approximately 30 people was deserted. It was the manner in which the village was left which has been the souce of the long-lived mystery.

Labelle found “pots of stewed caribou with a thick layer of ice…..children’s toys were scattered on the floor.” He found a seal-skin parka with two bone needles still in it. Labelle continued “The boats and the kayaks were tied at the shore. Even the harpoons were still on board, and the half-stripped carcass of a walrus was just as the men
left it.” Even the rifles were left behind. Some hanging over makeshift fireplaces others propped next to the caribou flap doors of empty homes.

Labelle informed the Mounties (who acknowledge contact and claim they asked neighbors of Lake Village and decided it was false information) and as the “story” goes the Mounties came out and investigated the village. They found the missing sled dogs tied to some trees under a snow drift (at this point the village men would be without their guns, sleds, kayaks and harpoons not one of these items would have been left behind in the village). The Native folk are nomadic but according to the tale the place seemed abandoned in the middle of a normal day. There were no signs
of a struggle and no footprints that lead way from the scene. Supposedly the RCMP employed some of the best trackers in a “search” that spanned all of Canada and even ventured into the northwest United States to no avail. We have been contacted by an individual who claims to have a request from the Canadians in regards to this story but we have not
received follow-up information in 6 months, so if he reads this “holla” as the kids say.

The most disturbing claim in this case is the apparent exhumation of an Eskimo grave(s).  The rocks marking the grave were undisturbed but the grave had been dug up. If this is true it would be quite the feat. The land was in a state of permafrost, one account tells of an unnamed Mountie who said it would have required a jack-hammer and weeks of back-breaking work to empty the grave. A FOIA request regarding this case has been filed with no reply back yet.

So what do we make of all of this? Is it all sensationalized stories with no basis in reality, churned out solely to enthrall readers? Is there a grain of truth and history behind this so-called “Urban Legend/Native Superstition”? Was there a cover up and disinformation campaign, or even more likely just a dereliction of duty in dealing with Native matters like we see today in Nome? Whatever conclusion you come to ultimately only raise more questions. So maybe the one thing we can take away from “The Fourth Kind” is that in the end it is up to each us to decide for ourselves. Nanu,Nanu.

Special thanks to my pops for purchasing “The Fourth Kind” for me to review.

Dedicated to all the families of the lost (Nome and Anjkuni) our deepest sympathies. Also dedicated to the victims of the August 10th,2010 airplane crash near Dillingham, AK (including Former Sen. Ted Stevens).

Resources include:
Stranger than Science by Frank Edwards, Chilling Mysteries by Alex Hammer,Strange Disappearance by Brad Steiger, Nome Nugget, Anchorage Daily News, Mark Chrovinsky, Janet Ahmasuk, January 1990 Fate Magazine, Toronto Daily Star, Emmett E. Keller


*(in Zacharia Sitchen’s work the Annunaki are the Sumerian’s name for their alien gods who came to Earth to mine gold for their planet) .

About the author: S.M. Belekurov is a paranormal profiler and author of “2012: The Paranormal Cookbook”, contributor to “Paranormal Underground” magazine, epicparanormal.com, and charter member of APA Cryptozoology).