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Archive for the ‘haunted places’ Category

 

Church and coffin in Chester Sandstone – Chester

Just recently Maggie and I had spent the day walking around the walls of the ancient Roman city of Chester – the town from which her father came and in which her mother had worked as a nurse. Apparently the two of them met when her father was choking after an appendix operation and her mother applied her nursing skills.

We had visited Chester some twenty years ago and had stayed in a bed and breakfast down on the banks of the River Dee.

This ruin was situated above Chester’s Roman Wall and it is part of the structure of the church of Saint John the Baptist. Set up into the wall there is a most unusual feature – a medieval coffin of solid oak. It looks like the coffin was cut from a solid tree trunk and inside it is inscribed “ashes to ashes.”

Nobody really knows the exact story behind the coffin but there are many theories – everything from, “it was bought from gypsies,” to “somebody dug it up while digging another grave.”

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Urban exploration

It would seem that I get a lot of hits for people looking for tunnels under the University of Guelph. I cant say that I have any experience there, but my wandering has taken me here.

I took this picture while knee deep in water in the middle of winter. I believe this must be somewhere under the railway line as it passes through town (Guelph). I am not alone, greasy furred creatures of some kind had initially plopped into the morass and disappeared from view. I think they must have been rats.

There’s lots of history beneath foundations. Look at Rome and the explorations that have been done in those ancient Roman sewers – “Cloaca Maxima” I think the main one’s called – fascinating. I’m off to London in about a month. Hopefully I can see a little of the forgotten side of the city.

Too bad that we only have a century or two to play with here in North America. I like the feeling underground. It’s like you touch the past. I believe this was once above ground. It was part of an old River system.

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New Ireland – Papua New Guniea – Malagan mask  by Anne Gordon

This picture was taken by Anne Gordon (The well known travel writer) see her blog in the travel section of my links (Travels with Anne). The carver wears his mask and the tongue comes separate – she was kind enough to bring this back for me (both the tongue and mask) .

The malagans are distinctive to the tribes that make them and they along with the various other adornments and implements are all part of a funerary right and are collectively known as “malagan”.

It is common for one side of the mask to differ from another and they are sometimes worn to attack the property of the dead person several years after their death to clear the world of their influence. Interesting how this stuff develops. I suppose it helps people forget if sad memories keep hanging on. my mask was specifically made by the carver (Fabian P.) for sale to foreigners. Fabian is an apprentice under a master mask carver in Papua New Guinea (PNG) Most specifically an island called “New Ireland”.

While on the subject of New Guinea, The Underground Atlas” talks of its cave potential as amongst the most exciting in the world – enormous underground rivers and depth potential that can exceed a thousand meters. Very little has been explored, but there is a growing local caving scene. New Ireland – where the picture of the malagan was taken apparently has extensive karst formation – like Jamaica,  cone karst and extensive dolines.

I suppose you can guess where I am hoping to take a holiday some day. Check out Anne’s blog for further New Guniea stuff (travel link to the lower right).

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Cant imagine where some of those reflections were coming from

I saved the strangest till last in my story of the Broadview Hotel in Wichita.

As mentioned in previous posts, the Hotel is supposedly haunted. Though the topic of hauntings intests me, I am by no means a believer. I would like to find evidence of paranormal activity, but aside from the “haunted tree” in Burlington, there has been nothing that I have come across that leaves me convinced – and even the haunted tree was not really a conclusive experience – but it was certainly wierd.

Anyway, I had been returning to my room after a few drinks down in the bar and in riding one of the old brass and mirror elevators up to the third floor, I was plagued by a jerky ride and flickering light – that left me wondering whether I was about to become stuck. Looking into the mirrors all round was quite dis-orientating and for a brief second, I was left with the impression that there may have been some kind of filmy human form that appeared down one of the endless panels of reflected glass. It wasn’t really spooky, just a little unusual and as I said – I was coming back from the bar downstairs and had already beeen primed by stories of the supernatural. Anyway, I looked around to see what might be standing next to me, thinking that the reflected image was someone else in the elevator, but there was nothing there.

The power of suggestion can do some strange things to the mind. as I said, I am not a believer, by the haunted tree in Burlington really had me wondering. (Thats another story)

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Ghost

P1020576, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Led by our flapper guide we filed down a stairway into a forgotten segment of the 1920’s. We saw a tunnel (filled in at its mouth), and numerous rooms and abandoned bits of this and that. This picture is of the old boiler; an impressive old machine with doors that hung open like gaping eye-sockets.

Much of our trip beneath the hotel centered either around various stories to do with Al Capone or Clarence the ghost. As the story goes, Clarence who had been working at the hotel – or was it visiting, I cant remember, discovered his wife having an affair with one of the other guests. He is said to have shot her and then thrown himself off a balcony to his death.

As for traces of Clarence – my room (301) sure sounded haunted, the windows shook and rattled all night with a vicious Kansas wind. I got up around 01:00am to try and do something about the window, but for whatever reason, I could not locate the exact source of the noise. As for cold, I was wandering around in the dark, bumping into things and by the time I got back to bed, I was totally numb and nursing a toe that I stubbed up against the bar fridge.

As for sight of Clarence, I cant say that there was anything in there that really suggested a paranormal presence. The following morning I overheard Tony, telling the front desk something of an unusual phone call story – it sounded like the sort of thing that Clarence was known to do; just simple stuff, no chains rattling or headless apparitions.

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Broadview hotel – Wichita – Kansas (who is in control?)

P1020556, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

If you are dealing with demons “you gotta be authorative”, or thats what Jim said on that day up in the Muskokas. Patrick Cross, Jim, Bev and I had gone up to Cooper’s Falls to exorcise a house of whatever was living there. I was just a spectator – observer for reasons that I am not willing to divulge at this time.

As far as authority goes, this lady had it all – no messing with her. Most of the people on the tour were a little tipsy by now – they needed discipline. This fellow standing next to the guide was told he was now called Al, last man in the group, his job to ensure that the tour stayed together. We were issued maps so that nobody got lost in the rooms beneath the floor.

Apparenttly Al Capone had a favorite drinking spot, “Al’s Room” and the speak -easy that operated down there was joined to other areas of the city by tunnels. Six hundred at a time packed the space beneath the Broadview Hotel. And of course Clarence was sometimes seen down there (the ghost). “Keep snapping away, someone always finds orbs on their camera”.

Though Patrick and Jim say they now refuse to have anything to do with demons, “Way to dangerous”, I felt safe going down there with this lady. I am sure she would quickly whip a malevolent presence into line.

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BTK spent some time here – Broadview Hotel

Well now! Staying at the Broadview would be a hollow experience if one made no attempt to follow up on the Ghost story. Clarence as an entity is well known around there.

By all descriptions Clarence seems harmless enough, but as with any place thats haunted, it seems that a one-off paranormal situation is the exception not the norm. Some have felt cold patches in their rooms, others shaking at the doors. A disembodied voice – a small child, is sometimes heard in the halls at night. Apparently Clarence likes messing with the phone – endless dialing down to the front desk from such and such a room, but when the staff go up to investigate, there is nobody there. The lady who ran the tour told us that sometimes orbs appear on people’s pictures.

I wonder if some places are more conducive to paranormal activity than others? I have long been interested in the lay-line theory. I know from a few examinations in Ontario where I have accompanied the highly acclaimed paranormal investigator – Patrick Cross that paranormal entities seldom occur in ones. In Burlington – Patrick’s place of residence, the very streets are oozing spirits – here a poltergeist, there a moving statue and of course the infamous tree – posessed of an evil energy – I myself almost came “acropper” at that dismal spot, but thats another story.

Lay lines, you have to wonder, they supposedly stretch between places of cultural and religious significance – threads quite plainly seen by some, only felt by others. Witchita is dead-smack center of the continent, a veritable power house of culture and religious worship. Odd though it might seem, BTK was some kind of church elder at Wichita’s Christ Luthern Church and he is known to have spent time in the Broadview Hotel. Not being an expert in lay line divination, I wonder what a dowser would find in the plains around the city.

This picture above is the bar in the Broadview Hotel – a beautiful tin ceiling’d space with stained glass and plenty of pints of my new favorite beer – “Amber Bok”. The Flapper tour that takes residents down to the basement starts in the bar – led by the lady on the left in the red dress.

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