Recent Posts in the 'Ghosts' Category

Composing From the Grave

Most ghosts are hopelessly vague, so much so that one wonders if you can accomplish anything at all in the afterlife. They appear and disappear transiently, leave us muffled and hard to understand EVPs, and for the life of them can’t do anything on demand or repeatable to prove their existance beyond all shadow of a doubt. Of course, there are exceptions.
Two resounding examples come in the form of mediums who have made contact with dead novelists and composers. This in itself isn’t out of the ordinary, famous people are allegedly channeled all the time. But this duet of cases stands above the crowd in that actual artistic work resulted from the contact in such a way that the medium should not have been capable of faking.


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Great Lakes Ghosts

More like inland seas than lakes, the Great Lakes of North America are among the most treacherous bodies of water in the world. Terrible seasonal storms batter ships that choose to sail the lakes at the wrong time of year. These great gales, called the Witch of November, have claimed many lives and ships over the years, the most famous of which was the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. Strange things happen on the lakes that are unique to them, and sailors have long told stories of ghost ships on the great lakes in the same maritime tradition of the salt water ocean.

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The Ghost of Xunantunich

Belize does not immediately come to mind when thinking of hot bed areas for ghostly activity, but in fact it has one of the more intriguing and long-lasting ghost stories I’ve run across in recent years. The ancient Mayan ruin of Xunantunich lies about 80 miles west of Belize City. The phenomena is so strongly associated with the area that the site itself is now named after the ghost, Xunantunich is mayan for “stone woman”.

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The Strange Sea – A Few of Our Favorite Ghost Ships

In 1880, the future King George V of England and his brother Prince Albert Victor (incidently a suspect in the Jack the Ripper case) saw a ghost ship while serving in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Bacchante. It appeared around 4 AM off the coast of Australia, glowing with red light with all sails set. The Princes, along with eleven others, momentarily saw the ship off their port bow at a distance of about 200 yards before it vanished as quickly as it appeared. The next day, the seaman who first sighted it fell to his death in an accident. King George V is the most noteworthy person out of hundreds said to have seen the Flying Dutchman.

The story behind the Flying Dutchman is unfortunately convoluted and colored by the exaggeration of centuries of sailors. The earliest written accounts describe a ship lost with all hands off the Cape of Good Hope. Another story describes a Captain Fokke, who made a deal with the devil to increase the speed of his ship. Then there’s the famous Captain van der Decken, who pushed his ship too hard, cursing at the wind to change direction, promising to push his ship forward until judgement day. It is unknown if all of these accounts describe the same ship, or different ghost ships, but the sightings are always said to herald disaster. Read more

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The Phantom Black Cat of Washington

This week seemed an apt time to ponder our nation’s political ghosts. We all know Abraham Lincoln haunts the White House along with Andrew Jackson and a host of first ladies, Woodrow Wilson is seen in a rocking chair at Blair House, and a great many ghosts are associated with the other federal government buildings in Washington. But one ghost is known to be seen in at least two places always heralding disaster for the nation.

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Would You Live in a House Where an Exorcism Was Performed?

We’ve all seen “The Exorcist”, the infamous film based on William Peter Blatty’s equally infamous book. We also know that Blatty based his story on something that really happened, the exorcism of a boy in 1949 that took place at no less than four different places during the months-long exorcism. For years it was thought that a house in Mt. Rainier, Maryland was where it all started. Problem is, it wasn’t the place. For years the Mt. Rainier house sat vacant, presumably in part because of its “history”, where it was frequently broke into by teenagers who were undoubtedly scared out of their wits and the place became the brunt of god knows how many ghost stories. Ultimately, the local fire department burned the home in an exercise and that should have been the end of the story.

It wasn’t. In 1998 writer Mark Opsasnick determined in an article for Strange Magazine that this home wasn’t just the wrong house, it was in the wrong city. The actual case began in a home located in Cottage City, Maryland. I am uncertain as to whether or not this house is still standing, but the other places associated with the exorcism are not. After moving the boy from Maryland to St. Louis, three places have gained notoriety for their involvement with the story. Read more


The Himuro Mansion Haunting

According to urban legend, lying just beyond the city of Tokyo is one of the most haunted locations in all of Japan. The exact location of the Himuro Mansion (or Himikyru Mansion as it is sometimes known) is widely unknown but the legend puts the mansion in a rocky region just beyond the city limits of Tokyo.

A Purported Image of the Himuro Mansion

The mansion is said to have been home to one of the most gruesome murders in modern Japanese history. Local lore has it that for generations, the Himuro family had participated in a strange, twisted Shinto ritual known as “The Strangling Ritual” in order to seal off bad karma from within the Earth, every half century or so.

The most popular version of the tale states that bad karma would emerge each December (other versions simply say “toward the end of the year”) from a portal on the Mansions grounds. In order to prevent this, a maiden was chosen at birth by the master of the household and isolated from the outside world in order to prevent her from developing any ties to the outside world, which would in turn, jeopardize the effect of the ritual.

On the day of the Strangling Ritual, the maiden was bound by ropes on her ankles, wrists, and neck. The ropes were attached to teams of oxen or horses to rip her limbs from her body, quartering her. The ropes used to bind her appendages would then be soaked in her blood and laid over the gateway of the portal. They believed that this would seal off the portal for another half century until the ritual had to be repeated.

During the last recorded Strangling Ritual it is said that the maiden had fallen in love with a man who tried to save her from the ritual. This “tie” to Earth tainted her blood and spirit and ruined the ritual altogether. Upon learning of the maidens love, the master took up his sword and brutally murdered all of his family members, before finally, in fear of what would soon happen, fell upon his own blade. Read more