Saturday, September 25, 2010

Satan's Hollow


We were checking out Ohio for some of its witchy past, and hey - we discovered that not many witches seemed to ply their craft there.

But we did find an urban legend concerning a storm sewer where some devil worshipers used to chant and sing, and figured "close enough." This is the tale of Satan's Hollow, a series of drainage channels located by a small creek in Blue Ash, a suburb of Cincinnati.

It's said a group of satanists used to meet in the pitch-black, cave-sized tunnels (you can easily walk upright through them) and conduct their rituals, including, of course, animal sacrifice. The followers of Beelzebub were said to have brought forth spirits and were visited by the kingpin, Satan himself, during their ceremonies.

They gathered in an altar room, and even opened a direct gateway to Hades, now marked in graffiti and tagged as "God's Chamber," a manhole with an impressive drop; it seems deep enough to reach China, if not the depths of hell. It doesn't appear that the coven is active anymore; teens with spray paint seem to have taken over the complex. But the cultists have left their reminders behind.

Female screams can be heard at night echoing through the concrete conduits. There have been reported sightings of various apparitions, including floating skulls and a demon, not to mention the usual assortment of earthly critters drawn to a nice dark cave.

The star spook is the "Shadow Man," one of Old Scratch's loyal demons, left to guard the tunnels. Kinda appropriate that one of the Devil's boys is keeping an eye on a sewer, hey? He gets his name because the imp has a human form, but it's completely blacked out, like a floating shadow.

One reader shared his experiences there: "We heard a girl's voice saying 'help me' and there was a black figure walking back and forth that just disappeared. We freaked out and started to run, and it felt like something grabbed me and my brother by the ankles when we were running out up the side hill, and we felt like we were being dragged."

There are a also couple of Satan's Hollow YouTube vids out, filmed by intrepid explorers of the occult. One group has seen and heard spooked-out things, the other just walked through with nary a sighting.

Urban legend or not, Satan's Hollow is the perfect place to spawn a scary tale; black as sin, echoes resonating, occult symbols (and no small amount of obscenities) covering its walls... a shadow man would be the ultimate finishing touch.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hexenkopf Rock - The Witches Head

Hexenkopf from Racheshop

In Northampton County, Hex Rock has been held in awe by the locals since the early 1700s, when it was reputed to be the hangout of the area witches. They would sing, dance, and of course plot against their more saintly neighbors, causing crop failures, miscarriages, illnesses, and farm animal deaths.

Dubbed "Misery Mountain," it used to cast an imposing shadow on the lives of early German settlers. Some nearby residents still refuse to stray too close to the rock at night, especially on Halloween, when the witches party at Hexenkopf Rock.

One story claims that a witch who lived on the forested hill placed a curse on her neighbors for nebbing in her affairs. When people started falling sick, the villagers took justice into their own hands and hanged her. She was later seen wandering the hill seeking vengeance.

An older bit of lore passed on by Rick Cornejo says that local shamans would perform rituals known as "pow-wows" to draw the evil spirits out of the sick. These evil spirits would then be imprisoned in the mountain. It is said the hill used to glow at night from all the evil trapped inside it.

The hill has long lost its eerie night glow. Skeptics speculate that the glow had been caused by a coating of a mineral that has eroded away. But some say it's because the spirits aren't in the rock anymore; they're out roaming the woods, looking for a new body to call home.

Other witchy spooks have been allegedly spotted, along with a the ghost of a headless hunter and various locals who have met their doom there. There have also been sightings of strange floating lights and the sounds of eerie noises have been reported. Some say it's the sound of debauched witches; others say it's just the cry of vultures. Neither one sounds very melodious.

Witches Head abounds with local lore of ghosts, disappearances, demons, insanity, and suicides. One legend we'll pass on is that of a one-legged farmer, who fell to his death chasing (or fleeing from) a demon; it's said you can still hear the tap-tap-tap of his wooden leg in the area.

Now it's largely deserted, with the ruins of a few old farmhouses left in the woodlands. But occasionally a crop circle will pop up on one of the local farms. It's blamed on the whirling witches leaving their ghostly imprint on the field after their Hexen Danz.

If you really want the whole story, read Ned Heindel's 1976 history of the place, "The Hexenkopf Mystery, Myth and Legend."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Susquehanna Spirits

Seibert Hall

Located in Selinsgrove, Snyder County, Susquehanna University is a small, liberal arts school that was founded in 1858 as the Missionary Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Susquehanna Female College. And like so many of its' sister schools, it lays claim to a haunted library and theater among other venues.

Blough-Weis Library: Students working in the library basement at night have felt a presence watching them and seen an occasional apparition, followed by intense cold afterwards. No one knows who the spirit is.

Charles Degenstein Campus Center: Charlie the ghost has been seen atop the catwalks and in the audience of the Degenstein (not Digestion, as often reported) campus theater in the "Deg." He's such a well known figure there that Charlie's Coffee House located in the Center is named in the ghost's honor.

Seibert Hall: Seibert is a colonial-style building and listed as a national historical landmark. Many students living there say they have experienced objects moving and have heard strange noises in their rooms. A former resident of the building said, "I used to see objects frequently fall off my desk and shadows of people when no one else was in the room." Dowsing rod divinations found that the spirit is that of a little girl who enjoys playing tricks on students.

Trax: Trax is a student-designed nightclub and entertainment venue. It's said to house the ghost of a worker who died in the building when it was a warehouse. Many employees claim this spook has played tricks on them, such as breaking props, throwing glass and pushing people down stairs. The spirit also told psychics that he gets lonely at Trax and enjoys seeing and interacting with the students. This spook is considered friendly if somewhat mischievous.

Weber Chapel Auditorium: The Chapel Auditorium holds 1,500, and hosts numerous university events, guest lecturers and visiting artist performances as well as chapel services.

A faceless spook has been spotted numerous times in the Auditorium. The ghost has mostly been sighted in the basement. Dowsing rods detected a middle-aged male ghost who had some relation to the Phi Mu Delta fraternity.

Former frat members believe the shade may be that of Charles Degenstein of "Deg" fame, as he not only matched the description but had a son who was a member of the fraternity. Many have felt a strong breeze and some claim that they saw a dark figure moving among the auditorium seats. Old Deg must really love the stage!

And one of our readers wrote in to tell us that we may have only reported the tip of the iceberg: "There are a lot more occurrences that happen on campus, such as multiple ghost (sightings) in Sorority houses, one which was exorcised." So give us a yell if you can add to the SU lore.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wilmington College Haunted Horses of Old Main

College Hall

Wilmington College of Clinton County was founded in 1870 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). This affiliation continues today. It offers a wide ranging education: it's the only private school in Ohio to offer an agricultural degree, and also features the largest depository of materials outside of Japan relating to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

The college is also home to the Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center, a museum, gallery, and meeting house. It's been said that Wilmington College is the most visible legacy of Quaker culture in southwest Ohio. Its offices are even located on Quaker Way.

But there are no Quakers haunting the halls of Wilmington, nor farmers nor A-Bomb victims. Nope, just a couple of old nags that won't leave College Hall.

The first Wilmington College building, College Hall was built in 1866 as the site of Franklin College, a non-sectarian institution which went out of existence in 1869.

On August 11, 1870, the college was auctioned to a group of local Quakers represented by Civil War Colonel Azariah Doan, a Quaker officer famed for being unarmed while leading his men into battle. That's living the Book.

The institution was renamed Wilmington College, and construction resumed so the single-building college could open in spring 1871. It was dedicated April of that year, with the first day of classes commencing the next day.

College Hall or Old Main, as it was often called, has served many purposes; now it's the administrative and faculty offices and several classrooms. In 1972, it was added to the National Register of Historical Places.

The first haunted horse belonged to Azariah Doan. When the steed, "Ole Bill," passed on, the good Colonel decided to bury its remains between floors of Old Main for reasons only Doan knew. In 1957, Ole Bill's skull was put on display in College Hall, part of its complete skeleton which was found during renovations.

The other galloping ghost parades on the top floor. According to college legend, a student prank, pulled off decades ago, involved locking live farm animals in the building. An unfortunate horse went berserk and injured himself so badly that he had to be shot.

Both horses are blamed for the clip-clop sound of horse hooves on the tiled hallways of Old Main, as well as the sound of snorts and whinnies.

There was one other tragic incident in the building. During the early days, the long smooth banisters on the stairways leading to the second floors tempted the students to slide down them. In 1899, Ethel Sparks, sliding down the banister with her arms full of books, fell off the rail, struck her head on the floor below, and later died. But there has been no reported return visits by the unfortunate Ms. Sparks.

If phantom horses don't get your paranormal juices flowing, there are a couple of more traditional haunts in the town of Wilmington.

One fright site is the Haw Chapel Cemetery, just outside of Wilmington. The small cemetery has a tombstone that sits underneath a small grove of trees and can be seen to be glowing from Haw Chapel Road.

The Snow Hill Country Club is allegedly so spooked out that they have a regular "Dinner and a Ghost" feature every October, the "200 Years of Whispers Haunted Tour" and a "Sleep With a Ghost" room special.

The main hotel building dates to the 1820s and has been plagued by mysterious occurrences for a long time. Most of the spooky reputation has been validated by EVPs and orb pictures; there isn't much in the way of full-throated screaming meemies reported from the CC.

Finally, there's the Old Mill, an old-fashioned haunted house that was built before the civil war. Here's how its story goes:

A Civil War vet brought back a small pack of illegal slave children to help him take care of his business and home. The man would beat the children constantly for doing little things, sometimes just for laughing. They were better off as slaves, which was what they were to the old soldier.

One night while the man was sleeping, the children entered his bedroom and killed him.

It's said today that you can see the rug rats running around at night and hear their cries. Sometimes you can actually see the kids reenacting their revenge. And you can sometimes see a man and two children standing in front of the mill. He'll be holding one child’s hand and with the other he will be holding his hat across his heart, staring at you. Brrr!

Now we couldn't find any mention of an old mill in Wilmington. But there is an Old Mill mall, a group of antique/collectible dealers that have turned an old feed mill into a shopping mecca. So if you're local and can help us out re: the Old Mill and whether these buildings are one and the same, give as yell.

Haunted Homestead Police Station In The News

Two years ago, the Allegheny County Homestead Police Station and Municipal Offices were a hotbed of eerie rumor; the cops and staff dealt with touchings, voices and electronics gone haywire. Hey, the cell block was tougher on the officers than it was on the bad guys!

In came the Greater Pittsburgh Paranormal Society to check the Mon Valley spirit world in the spring of 2008. They recorded some EVPs, heard a door open and footsteps across the first floor, and collected some orb-like video anomalies.

It was enough that the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's Mary Neiderberger chronicled their investigation in her piece "Haunted in Homestead?" on Thursday, April 17, 2008.

The spooks' audience would soon be on the move, though - a new building would welcome the politicos and police within months.

Well, two years later, after the old station house was empty, the Haunting Research people went in with a dowsing rod to see who - or what - stayed behind after the living had moved on.

Among those they said they communicated with were a former mayor from the 1800s, a woman who said she died as part of a murder-suicide pact and assorted others. They also got videos of orbs, and found a friendly spirit, that of the current Mayor's dearly departed white Maltese pooch, Suze!

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette's Mary Niederberger again wrote up the results in "Ghost Seekers Uncover Spirits In Homestead Police Station" on Friday, September 03, 2010.