Monday, April 28, 2008

Why Are Ghosts Always Dressed?

We were cruisin' the web in search of boo-licious gems when we ran across this enigma of spookdom: Steve Wagner from AboutCom: Paranormal Phenomena asked some famous ghost hunters the age old question - "Why are ghosts always wearing clothes?"

Well, we got to wondering ourselves. Are clothes mandatory in the afterlife? Are ghosties gun shy? Who's their tailor? The spook sleuth's answers:


American Ghost Society

Why do ghosts need clothes? No one really seems to know, but it’s possible that in most cases, ghosts seen wearing clothing are simply “residual” images – imprints or memories that linger on the atmosphere of a place like a recording. A ghost of this sort would have no “personality” and is simply like an old movie that just keeps playing.

But what about ghosts that are not merely imprints? What about those which are true, traditional spirits who died and stayed behind? Many researchers feel that ghosts are made up of electromagnetic energy. This energy, inside of the body, forms what we call our spirit, soul or personality. Now, science cannot prove this energy or personality actually exists, yet we know it does. If it can exist inside of our bodies, then why can’t it exist outside of the body, once the body itself stops functioning? It’s possible that it does and that this electromagnetic energy contains our personality and is what we think of as our spirit.

It has been shown through scientific experiments that exposure to high levels of electromagnetic energy can cause people to have vivid dreams, nightmares and even hallucinations. In other words, people are seeing things as a result of exposure to this energy. If spirits have any sort of control over the energy they are now comprised of (or even if their personalities are somehow manifested in the energy), then I would think it possible for the witness to see the spirit as the spirit sees itself. If the personality really does remain, the spirit would visualize itself as it was when alive, appearing as a living person and wearing clothing.

This could be a totally unconscious effect of the energy on the living person, or it could be a manipulation on the part of the spirit itself, perhaps causing the person to see what it wants them to. To understand this, I suggest that you close your eyes for a moment and then visualize yourself in your mind. How do you appear to yourself? Most likely, you were wearing clothing in your imagination. With the idea that a ghost appears looking in the same way that he sees himself, this might explain why so many ghosts that are seen are not only wearing clothing.


Ghost Stalkers

Ghosts and the clothes they wear have long been a snickering question. It’s a sort of “gotcha” question debunkers use, and it tells more about the way ghosts are interpreted than anything about them. Ghosts appear as wearing cloths because that's how they appear to us. In our era, clothes are part of what we are. They are part of how we see ourselves and this mental image is the one projected and picked up. In fact, clothes can many times give us information about who the ghosts are and what lives they had. There are some reports of nude ghosts, but they are few and far between. Ghosts tend to be seen in the garments they are buried wearing. In many ways the clothing helps us to indentify who they are.


Founder of Ghost Village and author of The Ghost Files

In many cases, a ghost is a projection of a person. Whether that projection is coming from our own heads, some intelligent energy swarming all around us, or imprinted on the location itself, I don't know. Consider this: If you were to picture yourself somewhere, it's likely you would envision yourself wearing clothes, looking comfortable, yet presentable, and maybe you'd even drop a few pounds in your "projection" (hey, it's cheaper than liposuction, so have at it).

Very few people would picture themselves naked (though there's usually one exhibitionist in every crowd). If you could project any image of yourself that you like, maybe you'd project yourself bleeding from the gunshot would you sustained in your last moments of life in order to make a point to whoever receives that projection. The apparition is always a representation of something/someone else. It's not an entity unto itself; otherwise it wouldn't be so fleeting.


Central New York Ghost Hunters

I believe that ghosts can show themselves in whatever form they want. If a spirit were more comfortable at a certain age, they may show themselves at that time. I'm not too familiar with any person who is comfortable showing themselves in the nude, therefore they wouldn't want to show themselves au natural in ghost from.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blue Myst Road

blue mist
Blue Mist from Picasso Web Album - Anna

This is one of Pittsburgh's better known spook spots. There's a blue mist that covers Noth Park's Irwin Road every night. Stories about the road abound.

It was a rally site for the KKK, complete with a “hanging tree” for unfortunate African Americans. There's an old cemetery nearby and the headstones of two lovers touch in a cold kiss during the full moon. (Another version of the story says the dead paramours try to meet, but if they ever succeed, the world will end!)

The foundation of an old building was once home to a witch. Another house is called “The Midget Farm” and allegedly the little folk will angrily chase away the curious.

According to one tale, a man caught his wife cheating and killed her and their kids. He dumped them in a septic tank where his house stood in the mid-1900s. Their spooks frequent the road.

A spectral dog and a half deer, half human, mutant both haunt Blue Myst Road. One story says a bold teen honked the horn of his car to alert the critters he was coming and later he was found dead, dripping blood, dangling from the “hanging tree.”

The "Hanging Tree" has its own lore, as related by a reader that lives nearby the Park. "The story I was told was that when you park your car at one end of the road, because both ends are blocked off, you're supposed to honk your horn 3 times and 3 bodies hanging from the 'lynching tree' and human-like figures walk towards you, aka the KKK. I'm not sure how true this actually is..."

In actuality, Irwin Road is an unlit, unpaved lane dotted with some scattered homes along it. It has “road closed - no access” signs posted at both ends of the five mile street.

There is no written history of the KKK ever meeting there, much less lynching anyone (although a reader wrote and said "The KKK did gather there and they did rallies and lynched several people; back in those days every thing was hush hush and not to be spoken about"). The ancient lovers' headstones are in reality just inches apart and leaning towards each other, and it's just a matter of time until they do meet (We hope the world ending tale is just an urban legend!)

A local resident wrote in to debunk the whole scene. "There are at least two foundations of homes on the road. One was torn down and the other had a fire. No deaths have happened by the road. The graves are from early settlers and they are from 80 years apart, not lovers. As for the orbs as a photographer I can deduce this from both the pollen and dust on this dirt/gravel road."

People being chased and harassed there is usually the result of annoying Irwin Road residents beyond the pale. They have been reported to sic their dogs on and toss some words (and stones!) at overly bothersome visitors. If you're on Blue Myst Road, be civil and make the effort to stay on the local's good side.

Still, it's a great spot to let the imagination roam on a black moonless night and the perfect layout for urban legends to take root and flourish. But...

While the Pittsburgh Ghost Hunters found nothing to verify the usual stories and rumors, they spotted an orb the size of a softball floating around, changing speeds and radiating a glow for at least a minute, a long time for that sort of phenomena.

And one of readers wrote in with her near-identical experience while out with her boyfriend: "We weren't on Blue Mist Road, but on the main road by the lake. As we were walking, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. As I turned to look to see what it was, it was flying towards us and turned. It flew above where the lake is. This 'thing' had a lime green glow to it, and appeared to have wings! There were no car headlights nor street lights at all! It just completely disappeared! And it was too big to be a bat, and birds don't glow in the dark."

So maybe there is something lurking out there...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Fulton Opera House

fulton theatre
Fulton Theatre

Lancaster's Fulton Opera House opened in 1852 as the Fulton Hall, and the "Grand Old Lady of Prince Street" has seen performances from Sarah Bernhardt, W.C. Fields, Al Jolson, Mark Twain, Helen Hayes, Marcel Marceau and Irene Dunne among others. It's a historic landmark and now is the home to several regional performing arts groups.

It's said that once you're inside the old building, you can hear the sound of phantom applause and the piano playing itself. It's supposed to be the home of several spooks, too. Two of the more famous wraiths are thought to be Sarah Bernhardt and silent film star Marie Cahill.

It's oldest phenomena dates back to 1763. The Fulton House was built partially over the foundations of the old Lancaster jail, which once housed 14 Conestoga Indians that escaped from the Paxton Boys massacre. They were in jail to protect them from the anti-Indian hysteria of the time, but it backfired.

A mob rushed the jail, took the Indians and then tortured and killed them. It's said you can still hear the screams of the Conestogas from the corner of the building built over the old prison's foundation.

So if you're there and hear an ear piercing note shatter the air, don't necessarily assume it's coming from the diva...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Farnsworth House

farnsworth house
The Farnsworth House

The Farnsworth House was built in 1810 as a farmhouse and got its' name from General Elon Farnsworth, who died during the Battle of Gettysburg. It was also the site of a rebel sniper's nest, and is thought to be the place that the musket ball that killed Jennie Wade was fired from. The B&B is allegedly loaded with spooks from the battle.

The sharpshooters in the attic are still there and supposedly are very active. It's said that you can hear one of them play a Jew's Harp to while away the time. You can hear the footsteps of another carrying a dying comrade down the stairs to the basement, where he softly sings to comfort him. Shadows have been spotted flitting throughout the house, mostly at night and often in the dining room. Footsteps have been heard pacing up and down the main hall.

But quite a few of the wraiths came as part and parcel of the house's history. A youngster named Jeremy was trampled to death outside the Farnsworth by a buggy while playing tag with his friends, and allegedly you can see him being cradled in a blanket by his sobbing father carrying him into the Inn. It's said that the boy roams the hotel, stealing things and exchanging them for toys. Jeremy's also supposed to haunt two other nearby houses, one a shop and the other a home.

A former resident called Mary died in the Sarah Black Room. She's appeared to guests there, dressed in a blue gown. She sits on the end of the bed and likes to toy with visitor's personal belongings and sometimes their hair. It's thought that she's been spotted in the next door Catherine Sweeney room, too. The guest that saw her had a cold, and Mary was a midwife in real life who tended to the House's ill. Mary's also been spotted accompanying the Farnsworth Ghost Walk Tour.

Another spirit was reported as a black mist that slowly morphed into the form of an old woman. A lady dressed in 19th century garb has been seen checking out the kitchen supplies. She vanishes when you approach her. It's thought she's an old employee of the Inn keeping an eye on the shop. There's also been quite a bit of poltergeist activity involving the help - touchings, tugs on their aprons, overturned trays, the works.

One great Halloween story comes from there. A local radio station was setting up to broadcast from the Farnsworth on All Hallow's Eve. They were dressed in blue jeans and blue company tops. When they called into the station to check on their feeds, they talked to a person who was nicknamed Captain.

Apparently all the people in blue reporting to their "Captain" put the rebel spirits into an uproar. A psychic that was along for the show said the spirits were afraid of being discovered by the Union troops - the people dressed in blue - and told her that there was a spy in their midst. She tried to tell one of the spooks that the war was over and he could move on. He didn't believe her.

The Inn has been featured on A&E's The Unexplained, Sci Fi Channel's Sightings and the History Channel. It's in a virtual library of both history and spook books. The Farnsworth House is famous for more than its' hospitality.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Wheezer

Raj's Photoblog

The tale began when a Gannon fraternity held a Halloween costume party in their West Seventh Street house in 1961. One brother noticed a man in a dark cowboy outfit (another version has him dressed like a preacher) and a wide brimmed black hat. Not knowing who the person was, he followed him when he went up the stairs.

The figure wheeled around, looked at the student, and disappeared into thin air. Later, hearing banging noises from upstairs, several of the brothers went up to investigate. It was the cowboy/preacher again. This time he rasped “Get out!” at the men. They told him he was trespassing, and he replied “No, it is you,” and vanished again. His hoarse voice earned him the nickname of the Wheezer.

On Christmas Eve that same year, a sleeping brother was awakened in his second floor bedroom in the house's master suite by the Wheezer. The student leaped from his bed and got some help. When they returned, the spook was gone. The balcony doors were wide open. But underneath it, the fresh snow showed no signs of footprints. Hmmm...

Years later, a lone brother in the house heard footsteps and loud breathing upstairs. He went to check on who could have come in past him, but no one was there. However, a window that had been stuck for years was now wide open.

Then he heard the same sounds from the floor below. Suspicious, he crept silently down the stairs. The breathing came from the master suite. As he got to the room, a voice said “It is you who trespasses.” He threw open the door. The lights were on, but again no one was there.

The Erie fraternity has since moved, but reportedly the ghost hasn't. The Wheezer is still haunting his old home and doesn't intend to share his house with anyone. They're all trespassers to him and always will be.