In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Location - Indian Head Rental House

Can a home have a 'feeling'? Can past tragic events forever leave their mark on the building in which they happened?

Prairie Specters was asked by a reader to come out and visit their home. The home-owner was in the process of moving out but wanted to share some of the past events with us.

"Once I moved in I immediately felt like there was a dark cloud over the house, there was a cold uneasiness about the house and I quickly began to hate being there. After months of always feeling like I was being watched, more loud bangs and strange noises from the basement I started to question my sanity. I was so frightened to go in the basement ..."

A man was rumored to have hung himself in the basement. A second death incurred in the home as well. Interested in finding out more we packed up our gear and headed out to Indian Head to visit the home.

Part I

The house, we were told, is over 100 years old and like most older homes is quite small. The upstairs having a common area, kitchen, and two small bedrooms and a bathroom that appear to have been added on to the original home. Right away I can tell this home has a uneasy feeling to it. After a brief tour the owner describes the experiences they have been having, most of which seem to involve the basement. Shadows would be seen moving in the kitchen around the area leading down to the stairs.

"I would take my laundry to a laundromat because my washer and dryer were in the basement, I didn't even like going to the bathroom at night because I had to walk past the basement stairs to get to it. "

Loud bangs were a common phenomena in the home. Most coming from the area directly under the stairs.

"While I was painting the walls going down into the basement a very loud bang came from underneath the stairs, so loud I could feel the vibration in my feet. The original owner of the house had hung himself in the basement 20 years ago..."

The reluctant , but brave :), owner led us into the small basement to have a look around. Again the same uneasy feeling was present here as well. We took photos and I placed a digital recorder near the space under the stairs. Light bulbs have a tendency to explode down here, our guide explained, the evidence crunched beneath our shoes. They had an electrician out to try to find the cause but he came up empty handed.

The small basement has weird feeling to it. You can feel it as a sort of vibration in your feet. I thought it may be the train tracks the run nearby, but after checking for a train I ruled that out.

It was while we were down there the second time a loud bang was heard upstairs. I was standing directly under the living room where it seemed to originate and could feel the vibration from the wooden floor above. We quickly moved upstairs and found nothing had fallen or anything to explain the bang we had heard. I got the impression that something did not like us being in the basement.

With nothing initially showing up on the photos or digital recorder we decided to leave but with a plan to come back soon after we had done some more research and with some more equipment for a longer visit.

[ photos to follow ]

Part II

Dead Steve Irwin tells dad everything's okay, where are my socks

MUSCLING in on the wacky turf of La Toya Jackson, Bob Irwin has gone public about a beyond-the-grave dialogue with Steve.

Woman's Day reports its psychic Deb Webber hooked Bob up with his late son during a private reading at his remote Queensland property, according to the Courier-Mail.

Bob said the psychic left him with "goose bumps" by relaying things only he and Steve knew about.

The clincher? Steve wanting to know what Bob had done with the old socks and hat he'd pinched years ago.

"We talked about so many things, some too personal to talk about," Bob said.

"He told me everything is OK, not to be sad and to keep up the fight, to continue looking after the animals."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Heavyweights of the Paranormal - Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Three days of the bloodiest fighting of the American Civil War have forever etched these hallowed fields into the memory of a country and a people. But in the hundred-plus years since the last shot was fired and the last man fell, there continue to be reports from the fields of the fallen: reports of spectral armies still marching in step, of ghostly sentinels and horsemen, of mournful women in white, and the ghostly wails of orphans and animals alike.

The Gettysburg Battlefield was the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, fought July 1 to July 3, 1863, in and around the borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the county seat of Adams County, which had approximately 2,400 residents at the time. It is now the site of two historic landmarks: Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

The town was the center of a road network that connected ten nearby Pennsylvania and Maryland towns, including well-maintained turnpikes to Chambersburg, York, and Baltimore, so was a natural concentration point for
the large armies that descended upon it.

To the northwest, a series of low, parallel ridges lead to the towns of Cashtown and Chambersburg. Seminary Ridge, closest to Gettysburg, is named for the Lutheran Theological Seminary on its crest. Farther out are McPherson's Ridge, Herr's Ridge, and eventually South Mountain. Oak Ridge, a northward extension of Seminary Ridge, is capped by Oak Hill, a site for artillery that commanded a good area north of the town.

Directly south of the town is Cemetery Hill, at 503 feet (153 m) above sea level, a gentle 80 foot (24 m) slope above downtown. The hill is named for the Evergreen (civilian) cemetery on its crest; the famous military cemetery dedicated by Abraham Lincoln now shares the hill. Adjacent, due east, is Culp's Hill, of similar height, divided by a slight saddle into two recognizable hills, heavily wooded, and more rugged. Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill were subjected to assaults throughout the battle by Richard S. Ewell's Second Corps.

Extending south from Cemetery Hill is a slight elevation known as Cemetery Ridge, although the term ridge is rather extravagant; it is generally only about 40 feet (12 m) above the surrounding terrain and tapers off before Little Round Top into low, wooded ground. At the northern end of Cemetery Ridge is a copse of trees and a low stone wall that makes two 90-degree turns; the latter has been nicknamed The Angle and The High Water Mark. This area, and the nearby Codori Farm on Emmitsburg Road, were prominent features in the progress of Pickett's Charge during the third day of battle, as well as General Richard H. Anderson's division assault on the second.

Dominating the landscape are the Round Tops to the south. Little Round Top is a hill with a rugged, steep slope of 130 feet above nearby Plum Run (the peak is 550 feet (168 m) above sea level), strewn with large boulders; to its southwest, the area with the most significant boulders, som
e the size of living rooms, is known as Devil's Den. [Big] Round Top, known also to locals of the time as Sugar Loaf, is 116 feet higher than its Little companion. Its steep slopes are heavily wooded, which made it unsuitable for siting artillery without a large effort to climb the heights with horse-drawn guns and clear lines of fire; Little Round Top was unwooded, but its steep and rocky form made it difficult to deploy artillery in mass. However, Cemetery Hill was an excellent site for artillery, commanding all of the Union lines on Cemetery Ridge and the approaches to them. Little Round Top and Devil's Den were key locations for General John Bell Hood's division in Longstreet's assault during the second day of battle, July 2, 1863. The valley formed by Plum Run between the Round Tops and Devil's Den earned the name Valley of Death on that day.

Northwest from the Round Tops, towards Emmitsburg Road, are the Wheatfield, Rose Woods, and the Peach Orchard. As noted by General Daniel E. Sickles in the second day of battle, this area is about 40 feet higher in elevation than the lowlands at the south end of Cemetery Ridge. These all figured prominently in General Lafayette McLaws's division assault during the second day of battle.

After the battle, the Army of the Potomac and the citizens of Gettysburg were left with appalling burdens. The battlefield was strewn with over 7,000 dead men and the houses, farms, churches, and public buildings were struggling to deal with 30,000 wounded men. The stench from the dead soldiers and from the thousands of animal carcasses was overwhelming. To the east of town, a massive tent city was erected to attempt medical care for the soldiers, which was named Camp Letterman after Jonathan Letterman, chief surgeon of the Army of the Potomac. Contracts were let with entrepreneurs to bury men and animals and the majority were buried near where they fell.

Two individuals immediately began to work to help the town recover and to preserve the memory of those who had fallen: David Wills and David McConaughy, both attorneys living in Gettysburg. A week after the battle, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin visited Gettysburg and expressed the state's interest in finding its veterans and giving them a proper burial. Wilson immediately arranged for the purchase of 17 acres (69,000 m²) next to the Evergreen Cemetery, but the priority of burying Pennsylvania veterans soon changed to honoring all of the Union dead.

McConaughy was responsible for purchasing 600 acres (2.4 km²) of privately held land to preserve as a monument. His first priorities for preservation were Culp's Hill, East Cemetery Hill, and Little Round Top. On April 30, 1864, the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association was formed to mark "the great deeds of valor ... and the signal events which render these battlegrounds illustrious", and it began adding to McConaughy's holdings. In 1880, the Grand Army of the Republic took control of the Memorial Association and its lands.

On November 19, 1863, the Soldiers' National Cemetery was dedicated in a ceremony highlighted by Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The night before, Lincoln slept in Wills's house on the main square in Gettysburg, which is now a landmark administered by the National Park Service. The cemetery was completed in March of 1864 with the last of 3,512 Union dead were reburied. It became a National Cemetery on May 1, 1872, when control was transferred to the U.S. War Department.

The removal of Confederate dead from the field burial plots was not undertaken until seven years after the battle. From 1870 to 1873, upon the initiative of the Ladies Memorial Associations of Richmond, Raleigh, Savannah, and Charleston, 3,320 bodies were disinterred and sent to cemeteries in those cities for reburial, 2,935 being interred in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond. Seventy-three bodies were reburied in home cemeteries.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ghost Picture taken at one of Britain most haunted buildings Gwrych Castle

Ghost Picture taken at one of Britain most haunted buildings

A company boss Kevin Horkin was taken pictures at Gwrych Castle in Abergele, North Wales, the picture looks like a woman looking out of a first floor window. Kevin didn’t notice anything unusual until he downloaded the pictures to his PC. Kevin believes that the picture captured a ghost as it’s impossible for anyone to stand at the window because the floor in the room is completely destroyed.

North Wales Paranormal group have confirmed that many sightings have been recorded at the castle.
Local history claims that the first castle at Gwrych was built by the Normans in the 12th century. It was seized by the Welsh prince Rhys ap Gruffydd (the Lord Rhys) of Deheubarth in about 1170 who then rebuilt the timber castle in stone. This castle was later destroyed by Cromwell’s army following the English Civil War of the mid-17th century.

The later castle at Gwrych was begun in 1819. The castle is a Grade 1 listed building set in a wooded hillside overlooking the Irish Sea. It was the first Gothic folly to be built in Europe by a wealthy industrialist Lloyd Hesketh. Bamford Hesketh, his son, inherited the title of Gwrych in his early 20s and used his vast fortune to build the 4,000-acre Gwrych Castle Estate.

The castle once had a total of 128 rooms including the outbuildings, including twenty-eight bedrooms, an outer hall, an inner hall, two smoke rooms, a dining room, a drawing room, a billiards room, an oak study, and a range of accommodations for servants. There are nineteen embattled towers and the whole facade is over 2000 yards. Many feel the castle’s outstanding feature was the castle’s 52-step marble staircase.