American Horror Story Halloween Party

 

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My family enjoyed the annual family Halloween party on October 28. With a new theme, fresh costumes and lots of delicious food, the party was a huge success.

Take a look at the total house transformation for the American Horror Story Halloween Party…if you dare!

American Horror Story Halloween Party title

Meet the Hosts

This yearly party is created and hosted by my sister Debbie, niece Ashley, nephew in law Jon and their children.

This clever, resourceful and hard working bunch goes way beyond the typical Halloween party! Adhering to a new theme each year, Debbie, Ashley, Jon and kids transform their home, room by room. Furniture is stored away and personal items removed, to create a blank canvas for their work.

They build, repurpose and create all the decor from wall coverings to life sized mannequins to the smallest macabre details to create an authentic experience. They begin preparations early in the year, scouring estate sales and discount stores, procuring what they need. Using those items as a base, they add to them or remove pieces to shape their creations.

Additionally, the ample food buffet that they prepare matches the theme.

These family members put a LOT of time and effort and not a small amount of money into this party and it shows. I’ve said for years that they could make big bucks doing parties professionally. At this time, everything they do is for love and fun.

American Horror Story Halloween Party hosts
American Horror Story Halloween Party – hosts Ashley, Kaleb and Debbie
And Jon
And Jon! Other two adult children pictured in a costume photo later in the post.

2023 Party Theme

This year’s party theme was American Horror Story.

This anthology television series, which began in 2011, features different characters and locations that showcase varying aspects of horror. Each year  focuses on a different story. Created by Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy, the series has attracted big name stars over the years such as Lady Gaga, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, Emma Roberts, Zachary Quinto,  Wes Bentley and Dylan McDermott.

American Horror Story is currently in its 12th season. You can watch in on Hulu.

For the family Halloween party, guests were encouraged to dress as any character from any of the seasons, giving a wealth of possibilities! Our hosts decorated different rooms in their house, corresponding with the first five  seasons of the series.

As you see from the pinnable title photo, Freak Show decor welcomed guests into the home. Lights, music, fog and mannequins contributed to the creepy vibe!

Enter the American Horror Story Halloween Party…if you dare!

American Horror Story Halloween Party hallway
American Horror Story Halloween Party – even the hallway gets a makeover.

Season One – Murder House

Synopsis: Ben Harmon, his wife Vivien and their daughter Violet move across country to get a fresh start in life. They purchase and move into an old house with a dark, troubling past: the previous occupants were the victims of a murder/suicide.

In fact, many people were murdered within the house. The family experiences a series of horrific, twisted events through this first season.

The living room became the basement from Murder House. Note the incredible details!

American Horror Story - Murder House
American Horror Story Halloween Party – Season One Murder House
Guests in the Murder House
My nephew, niece in law and their daughter Lola in the Murder House.

Season Two – Asylum

Synopsis: Briarcliff, a former tuberculosis hospital, is now an insane asylum run by the Catholic Church. Sister Jude Martin is the day administrator to a host of seriously disturbed patients. There’s something sinister, something secret, going on in the asylum. The in house doctor treats patients during the night and disposes of their bodies immediately when they die.

The dining room transformed into the asylum rec room.

American Horror Story Halloween Party - asylum rec room
Season Two Asylum rec room. My mom getting comfy there.
The Barnes kids, in costume.
The Barnes kids, in costume, in the rec room.
Aubrey and London in the asylum rec room.
Aubrey and London in the asylum rec room.

Season Three – Coven

Synopsis: A young girl named Zoe discovers she possesses a genetic affliction tracing back to Salem, Massachusetts. She is sent to Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, a mysterious boarding school in New Orleans dedicated to protecting the remaining descendants from this unique bloodline.

The sunroom became a Louisiana swamp, where one of the series’ characters lives.

American Horror Story Halloween Party season three swamp
Season three swamp.
The Coven
The Coven includes me, my mom, niece, daughters and granddaughters.

Season Four – Freak Show

Co-joined twins Bette and Dot join a circus in Jupiter, Florida, after their mother’s shocking murder. Show owner Elsa Mars rents a farmer’s field and sets up tents for the show. The community does not welcome the troupe and few people attend the show, especially after a strange series of disappearances and murders by Twisty the Clown.

The family room/den morphed into a striped tent.

American Horror Story Halloween Party freakshow
American Horror Story Halloween Party – Freak Show tent
American Horror Story Halloween Party eating in the tent.
American Horror Story Halloween Party – Greg and Finley eating in the tent.

Season Five – Hotel

Synopsis: A pair of sisters from Sweden check into the mysterious Hotel Cortez, a place known for its many paranormal activities. While there they encounter a Los Angeles detective who is investigating the brutal murder of a couple in the hotel. This season ties in with Murder House and Coven.

The upstairs landing, hallway, a bathroom and two bedrooms became Hotel Cortez.

American Horror Story Halloween Party hotel room
American Horror Story Halloween Party – Hotel Cortez
Secret room at Hotel Cortez
Secret room at Hotel Cortez.

That’s a Wrap for This Year

We had such a fun afternoon and evening at the family Halloween party! As always, it was fun to tour the house to see this year’s amazing transformation and to chat with family and friends.

I don’t know what next year’s theme is yet…but I look forward to attending the party, in costume of course!

Did your family gather for a Halloween party this year?

Yearly tradition
A yearly tradition, the sibling photo with my brother and sisters.

Check out last year’s party!

Same house, different theme.

Antonia Graza Ghost Ship

 

Get an American Horror Story tee! Click image or this link.

 

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Ghost Stories from Savannah

 

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Savannah is a beautiful, fascinating, historic city in southern Georgia. Home to 22 squares, cobblestone streets and a bustling river front, Savannah is filled with southern charm and hospitality. It is also considered one of the most haunted cities in the US. Savannah claims so many haunted locations, in fact, that I had a difficult time narrowing my stories down to five.

Check out these ghost stories from Savannah. And discover the possible reasons for the city’s haunted reputation.

Ghost Stories from Savannah title

Why is Savannah so Haunted?

Savannah was Georgia’s first city and it has a long, and often somber, past. According to historians and paranormal researchers, the following reasons contribute to the high number of hauntings in Savannah.

Many catastrophic battles occurred in the area. From the Siege of Savannah in 1779 to Sherman’s capture of the city during the Civil War, battles left behind energetic residue and hundreds dead around the city.

Yellow Fever epidemics in the 1800s decimated the population in Savannah, leaving restless spirits clinging to their former homes.

Deadly fires swept through the city in 1796 and again in 1820, destroying almost 900 houses and buildings and resulting in many untimely deaths.

Savannah was heavily dependent upon slave labor and the port played a part in the horrific Atlantic slave trade.

And, Savannah has known its share of mysterious murders, from the death of Danny Hansford in the Mercer House to the controversial deaths of three sisters in a house near Taylor Square. Souls who met such unfair deaths often stay earth bound.

Now, five of Savannah’s most haunted locations.

Ghost Stories from Savannah moon river brewing company
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Moon River Brewing Company

Moon River Brewing Company

Today a place to grab a hand crafted beer or dine on excellent food, Moon River Brewing Company resides in what began as the first hotel in Savannah. Built in 1821, by Elazer Early, over the years the building also offered the first post office in the city, served as a warehouse for lumber and coal, housed the dying during Yellow Fever epidemics and eventually became a supply store with a printing press. It is estimated that hundreds of fever patients died on the upper floors of the building.

The building then sat empty until the mid 1990s, when it was renovated and turned into the brew pub. Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures have shot episodes here, helping it to develop the reputation as the most haunted building in Savannah. Moon River Brewing Company boasts so many ghosts that I’ll take the building floor by floor, sharing some of the stories.

Moon River Brewing Company Basement

Toby is one of the most well known ghosts in the building and he prefers to haunt the basement. This ghost prowls the underground space and likes to brush up against people playing in the basement billiards room. Sometimes he gives more of a hard push! Patrons and staff report sudden cold spots in the basement, bottles falling off of shelves or flying across the room and being touched and then realizing no one is near.

Moon River Brewing Company Main Floor

A man named James Stark was shot and killed on this floor by Dr. Minus. His angry spirit makes bottles fly and he is deemed responsible for more violent acts such as grabbing, hitting and pushing people.

In the main floor dining area, guests report being touched when no one is around. Women complain about getting locked in stalls in the restroom or of feeling extreme cold there.

Moon River Brewing Company Top Floors

The top floors in the building are considered the most haunted. A full body apparition, known as the woman in white, appears here. She is referred to as Mrs. Johnson.

The third floor is the site of the yellow fever hospital. Many, many children died here of the disease. Workers and visitors report hearing children talking and playing on this floor or running up and down the halls. This floor is so haunted that construction workers do not like to work here. Some have complained of being pushed on the stairs. One said his wife was pushed so hard she fell all the way down the stairs. He quit that day.

There is also a dark energy that permeates the fourth floor, at the top of the building. More fever victims died here and perhaps their feelings of hopeless and despair remain behind.

Ghost Stories from Savannah kehoe house
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Kehoe House

Kehoe House

This Queen Ann mansion was built on Columbia Square in 1892 by William Kehoe. This enterprising Irishman made his fortune in iron and became one of Savannah’s most prominent businessmen. His home showcased his iron trade. Much of the exterior details are made of iron.

The Kehoes had ten children. It is reported that two of those children, twin boys, died in the house, possibly of yellow fever. Later the mansion became a funeral home and it was owned for a short time by football player Joe Namath. Today it is a popular bed and breakfast that does not hide the fact that it’s haunted.

Guests and staff report the sound of ghost children playing in the house. Several staff members tell of hearing a boy’s voice in an empty room, asking for someone to come play with him. A guest in the front sitting room heard a disembodied voice whisper in his ear as the room suddenly grew cold.

Other paranormal phenomenon  includes  the scent of perfumes from ages past wafting through hallways and bedrooms, lights flashing on and off, doors locking and unlocking, shadows flitting by and the doorbell ringing when no one is there. Guests also report feeling someone touch them, waking them from sleep. Others wake up feeling someone unseen sitting on the bed and noticing an indentation appear on the bed.

Ghost Stories from Savannah colonial park cemetery
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Colonial Park Cemetery

Colonial Park Cemetery

Called one of the most haunted locations in Savannah, locals nicknamed this cemetery Paranormal Central.

The oldest burial ground in Savannah, Colonial Park Cemetery opened in 1750 and within its six acres lie more than 10,000 bodies…not all of them at rest. Visitors walking past the cemetery at night report shadowy shapes and ghostly figures moving among the gravestones and a greenish mist hovering around vaults.

Visitors report strange or dark energy in the area. Before the cemetery began to close its gates at night, voodoo practitioners performed ceremonies there. And grave robbers disturbed graves to obtain human bones. Before it was outlawed in Savannah, duelists squared off on cemetery grounds and the surrounding area. Often the duels resulted in one or both men dying. All of these occurrences created low vibe energy that contribute to hauntings.

Ghost hunters using recorders pick up ghostly voices and sounds from within the cemetery, especially in the northeast corner.

Ghost Stories from Savannah sorrel weed house
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Sorrel-Weed House

Sorrel-Weed House

Located on the edge of Madison Square, the Sorrel-Weed House is stunning. Built in 1841 in the Greek Revival style, the house was constructed by Francis Sorrel and later passed to his son, Moxley.

When Francis’ first wife passed away he married her younger sister Matilda AND continued an ongoing affair with a young slave girl named Molly. Francis even moved Molly into special quarters he made in the carriage house.

When Matilda found out about Molly, she leapt to her death from the house’s second floor balcony. Two weeks later, Molly hung herself in the carriage house. There are many reported paranormal occurrences in this house.

Matilda and Molly haunt the house, appearing as dark shadows walking through rooms or caught as reflections in mirrors. Visitors report the sensation of nausea or chocking while on the property and others enter the house with a fully charged phone and leave with a dead battery. People claim to hear voices coming from the empty living room at the front of the house. The voices stop when anyone enters the room.

Another contributing factor to this location’s haunting is that the Siege of Savannah, a very bloody American Revolution battle, took place here leaving more than 1000 dead. Some believe there are fallen soldiers buried beneath the house. Passersby at night claim to hear the sounds of that long ago battle and feel a dark energy.

Ghost Stories from Savannah andrew low house
Ghost Stories from Savannah – Andrew Low House

Andrew Low House

Andrew Low built his house in 1848 for his wife and growing family. Unfortunately, his wife died just a year later, in childbirth. Andrew remarried three years later and remained in the house until his death.

William Low inherited the house and he and his wife Juliette lived there until she caught him with his mistress. After the divorce, Juliette kept the house and lived there until her death in 1927.

The ghosts of the Andrew Low House are considered the friendliest in Savannah.

Andrew loved his home and roams it still. He is often spotted in a rocking chair in his study, slowing rocking back and forth. Some visitors only see the chair rocking on its own. Staff members in the house have heard the sound of someone coming up the basement stairs and then continuing on throughout the house. Except, no one can be found.

Visitors sometimes see Juliette lying peacefully on the bed in the room where she died. And Tom, the faithful family butler, can be heard walking down the hall, checking doors and rooms. He is known to move items around or put furniture back where it once sat, when he was alive.

Guests to the house also report catching ghostly images reflected in mirrors.

Would You Visit Savannah?

With its reputation as one of the most haunted cities in the US, would you visit Savannah?

For me, that was one of the draws to Savannah…the hauntings and the history. It is a beautiful old city, full of charming ambience and perhaps, characters from the past.

Don’t let that stop you from exploring all that Savannah has to offer. As a solo traveler, I did well there. And yes, I had a few ghostly encounters of my own. I’m an intuitive however, sensitive to spirit, experiencing unusual things wherever I go.

I know this…I will most definitely return to this city.

Andrew Low Study
Andrew Low Study

Check out the rest of this year’s ghost stories:

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA

 

And, check out my favorite map of the Savannah Historic District. I used this fun map EVERY day while there.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion

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When a business related trip took me to Northwest Arkansas recently, I built in time to visit Peel Mansion and Museum, in Bentonville. I’ve wanted to see this grand old house for several years, however I usually stop by too late in the afternoon to get a tour.

This time, Greg and I squeaked in on the last available tour of the day. I’m so glad we did. This beautiful home has been faithfully renovated and restored, in a way that preserves the authenticity of the house’s past.

Not only was it fun to tour the house and gardens, taking photos as I went, it was also interesting to learn more about the family.

For spooky October, this is installment two, the ghosts of Peel Mansion.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion title

Peel Mansion History

Col. Samuel W. Peel built his mansion in 1875 and name it The Oaks, in honor of the many oak trees surrounding it. It is a two story stucco and brick masonry building, with a three story hip roof and a rectangular tower at the front of the house.

Samuel purchased the  180 acres in 1872, promising his wife Mary Emaline that he would build her a house that rivaled the ones she remembered from her childhood in Alabama. This Italianate style mansion, with its 14 rooms, fulfilled that promise. Eight unique fireplaces grace the home, each created as a work of art by John C Sheffield. Double front doors open to a covered veranda.

The ground level features a large entry with stairs that lead upward, a ladies’ parlor, designed by Mary as a place to receive guests, Samuel’s study, where he worked diligently on his business papers and a formal dining room. The kitchen is separate from the rest of the house, for safety reasons.

Upstairs there are bedrooms for the parents, daughters and sons, a sitting room and an extra room that over the years served as a nursery and later a sewing room.

A steep flight of stairs leads from the second floor to the attic.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion exterior
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – side view
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion dining room
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – dining room

The Peel Family

Samuel Peel was born in Arkansas in 1831. He was a lawyer, politician and jurist who served in the US House of Representatives from 1883 until 1893. When Arkansas seceded from the Union, he served in the Confederate Army, ultimately reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He married Mary Emaline Berry in 1853 and they had nine children, eight of which survived until adulthood.

Mary requested the addition of cellar rooms beneath her new home. During the Civil War, she saw houses burned to the ground, including her own home at that time. And she witnessed starvation among her neighbors and she and her children experienced hunger as well. As a result of those difficult times, her cellars were always filled with food from her huge garden, along with apples from the orchard. Mary was known as a generous woman who shared that abundance of food with others.

Mary died in 1906 and Samuel moved into a smaller house, shortly after. Over the years the home passed through several owners and began to decline. Eventually it sat empty and neglected and was under consideration for demolition when the Walton Family purchased it and restored the house, preserving its history.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion parents' bedroom
The parents’ bedroom upstairs
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion Bucky
Bucky the rocking horse was loved by four generations of Peel children. It has a permanent spot in the house.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion

There are three ghosts associated with Peel Mansion. Staff, tour guides and visitors frequently report paranormal experiences.

The Ghost of Samuel Peel

It seems that at least a couple of the Peel family members liked the house so much that they chose to stay around.

Colonel Peel makes his presence known in various rooms throughout the house. Primarily, however, he is seen or heard in his study where he spent much of his time in life working, meeting with dignitaries or reading.

Samuel is seen as a shadowy figure prowling about the house or he is experienced through loud, unexplained sounds and footsteps.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion Samuel's study
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – Samuel’s Study

The Ghost of Minnie Bell Peel

The other family ghost is one of the daughters, Minnie Belle.

She is spotted in the house and described as a playful young woman wearing white. And she is quite musical. Minnie played the piano in Mary’s parlor for guests and also for her father, who especially enjoyed his daughter’s musical abilities.

Tour guides and visitors report hearing the piano playing in the empty room. However, if anyone enters the parlor while the piano is playing, the music stops abruptly.

Interestingly, the piano is known as a coffin piano. The top closes, creating a flat surface for a coffin to rest upon. Back in the Peels’ time, a loved one’s body was kept in the house after death, so that family and friends could visit and pay their respects to the deceased. The front parlor was the most common room for the dead to lie in, hence the piano that doubled as a table for a coffin.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion coffin piano
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – the piano in Mary’s parlor

The Ghost of Margery English

The English family purchased the Peel Mansion in the 1920s and moved into the home. The family included four children, two sons and two daughters…twins Margery and Elizabeth.

As a child, Margery fell ill. Eventually she suffered from a ruptured appendix. A local doctor and nurse attended her at home, performing surgery in her upstairs bedroom on a makeshift operating table. The infection from the appendix was so severe that the doctor gave Margery little hope of recovery and didn’t even close the incision. The nurse cared for the young girl until she passed away, 10 days later.

Margery’s body lay in her bedroom, covered with a sheet. And this is where the story gets strange. Five hours later, Elizabeth saw the sheet move and cried out for help. Margery, it turns out, was not dead. According to her account, she felt herself leave her body and move toward a bright light, however she was not allowed to go beyond that point and eventually returned to her body.

The Ghost Girl

Margery survived, grew up and married. She brought her husband to the home she grew up in, now owned by Lee Allen. Margery’s room, where she had surgery and died, was locked. Mr. Allen explained that the room was haunted by a little girl that cried and they didn’t use that space. Supposedly, the room remained locked for 40 years.

Staff and visitors hear a girl crying in that bedroom still. And some report experiencing a sudden drop in temperature in the room and feeling a sharp pinch on the arm by invisible fingers.

This story is an unusual one in that the girl died, but did not remain dead and yet there is a haunting associated with the room. Could it be the energy of extreme grief that permeates the room? And perhaps the crying comes from Margery’s twin sister.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion girls room
The Ghosts of Peel Mansion – girls’ bedroom

My Experience in the Peel Mansion

I didn’t do any research on the house until after my tour. And I deliberately did not ask our tour guide about ghosts in the house.

As an intuitive, this is what I felt.

Mary’s parlor felt odd to me…like I was on alert and watchful eyes followed me. I did not hear the piano play however I felt drawn to it. My scalp tingled, which is my sign that benign spirits are present.

I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary in Samuel’s study.

Upstairs though, I felt a great heaviness as I walked into the girls’ bedroom. Greg and I were alone in this room, which houses a collection of vintage dolls. I don’t like dolls. But the heavy feeling didn’t come from them. The energy in this room made my scalp tingle even more and I could hear a faint clicking sound in the room…disturbingly like dolls eyes snapping open and closing.

Sadness permeated the room. Reading about Margery after the tour I thought of her illness, her near death experience, the grief of her family and then the girl’s year long recovery. Those strong emotions seem to linger in the room.

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion gardens
The gardens surrounding the mansion are beautiful.

Visit Peel Mansion

If you are in Northwest Arkansas, stop by this beautiful, interesting home. Tours are free. Peel Mansion is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 until 3:00 with the last tour beginning at 2:30.

The property, which contains the house, a gift shop and botanical gardens, is located at 400 S Walton Boulevard, Bentonville, Arkansas. After your tour, visit the charming downtown square for lunch or dinner.

Have you visited a real haunted mansion before? Where was it located?

The Ghosts of Peel Mansion

 

Check out last week’s spooky post:

Bigfoot Stories from Blue Ridge GA

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Closer to home, this week’s spooky tales come from a city about an hour from Joplin. It was fun to spend a day photographing haunted locations and to take an evening ghost tour of a castle.

The castle proved so interesting that I’ll do a separate post to adequately highlight all the spooky happenings there. Check out all five of the locations I visited for Ghost Stories from Springfield MO.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO title

Springfield, Missouri

Currently the third largest city in Missouri, the Springfield area originally was home to Native American tribes that included Kickapoo, Osage and Lenape. The first European settlers arrived in 1829, from Tennessee.

John Polk Campbell later donated land from his property for Springfield’s public square and he platted the town site. Springfield incorporated in 1878, with the nickname of “Queen City of the Ozarks”.

The city held strategic importance during the Civil War, with Springfield’s divided loyalty between the North and the South. On August 10, 1861, Union and Confederate troops fought for control of the city in the Battle of Wilson Creek. Considered a Confederate victory, the battle saw the death of Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general killed during the war.

Today, with a population of more than 170,000, Springfield is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the state. Their historic downtown is enjoying a resurgence and the city’s lively culture includes theaters, art, music, dance and opera.

With her turbulent history that includes the forced relocation of Native peoples, Civil War battles and racial violence, there are plenty of locations within Springfield that classify as haunted.

Bride Ghost of Phelps Grove Park Bridge

This 31 acre park, established in 1931, is situated in a beautiful older neighborhood in Springfield. Once part of the Phelps homestead, the original 1,050 acres belonged to the founding “father” and “mother” of Springfield, John and Mary Phelps. John, a Missouri congressman and the 23rd Governor of Missouri, and his wife Mary aided and educated orphans during and after the Civil War.

At the entrance to the park, visitors cross over an old fieldstone bridge that arches over a drainage canal.  Legend has it that on their wedding night, a couple crossed the bridge in their carriage. The horse bolted, causing the carriage to flip over the railing of the bridge. The carriage landed upside down, killing the newlyweds.

People claim to see a woman near or under the bridge, dressed in a flowing white wedding gown. She appears forlorn. And some report that her face is missing. The park and bridge are popular sites for paranormal investigations and abnormal energy readings.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO phelps bridge
Ghost Stories from Springfield MO – Bride Ghost at Phelps Bridge

Drury University Ghosts

Drury University opened its doors to 39 students in 1873. Over the years, the campus expanded as did the student body. Today the 40 acre campus includes many academic buildings…and more than a few ghosts.

Drury University occupies land that once served as Native American burial grounds. Later the Civil War raged around it. And Smith Hall, a women’s dormitory, is built on the site of a row of Victorian homes. A little girl, caught in a fire that caused her demise, lived in one of those homes. Her ghost lingers. Dressed in pink, the ghostly girl wanders the hallways, looking for her teddy bear.

Other students in the same hall report locked doors and dresser drawers opening and objects out of place in their rooms.

In Clara Thompson Hall, students report pianos that play by themselves and doors that slam closed. And in Wilhoit Theatre flickering lights move about the building when no one is inside.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO drury university
Ghost Stories from Springfield MO – Clara Thompson Hall at Drury University

Restless Spirits at Landers Theatre

This pretty terra cotta building, built in 1909, has been in continuous use since its completion. It began life as a playhouse and later became one of the first “talkie” motion picture theaters. After major renovations in the 1980s, Landers Theatre today hosts plays, musicals, ballets, symphonies and other artistic performances.

It is also home to restless spirits.

One of the most frequently seen ghosts is a janitor who died in the theatre during a fire in 1920. The janitor hangs out in the balcony, claim the actors who see him from the stage. Others report experiencing another ghost, a baby who accidentally fell from the upper balcony. They hear the fall repeatedly, on a loop. Or hear the baby crying, followed by comforting sounds from the baby’s ghost mother.

Above the stage, a vaudeville stagehand hanged himself from the rigging. His ghost haunts the catwalks.

Another ghost peeks from a fourth floor window, watching passersby walking along Walnut Street. This spirit, a man with long blond hair and wearing Elizabethan clothing, is never spotted from inside the theatre…only by people outside the building.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO landers theatre
Ghost Stories from Springfield MO – Landers Theatre

Permanent Guest at Walnut Street Inn

This pretty bed and breakfast at 900 E Walnut Street, built in the mid 1890s, has a permanent otherworldly guest. She claims the Rosen Room as hers. A man staying in the room looked up from where he reclined on the bed to see a woman sitting at a table against the wall.

“Excuse me,” he said. “This is my room!” The woman replied that it was her room…and disappeared.

Others report seeing the woman sitting on the edge of their beds. And people often feel a cold draft on the backs of their necks.

Activity appeared to increase in the inn after a 1998 renovation. If you dare, you can make a reservation HERE. Would I? Yes! In fact, I hope to stay there soon.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO walnut street inn
Ghost Stories from Springfield MO – a permanent guest at Walnut Street Inn

Haunted Castle

I only recently learned that Springfield has a castle! Image my excitement to discover that it offers year around ghost tours.

Pythian Castle, constructed in 1913, originally housed older members of the Knights of Pythias and their widows and orphans. Later the military purchased the castle and used it as a prisoner of war camp during WWII and a place to rehabilitate burned and injured US troops. It is now privately owned and available for special events and history and ghost tours.

At least 100 deaths occurred within the castle. Causes of death range from diseases such as tuberculosis to accidents to suicide. Many spirits haunt Pythian Castle.

Ghosts include children who speak to and play pranks on visitors, Mr. Boots who lurks in a tunnel in the basement, the spirits of soldiers and shadow people.  Several paranormal investigators have captured audio and video evidence of the hauntings at the castle, including the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures crew.

Tours last 90 minutes and include a very interesting and informative video. If you live in the area or pass through Springfield, stop for a tour. Info HERE.

Does your city offer ghost tours?

I learned a lot of Springfield history while checking out these haunted locations in the city. In fact, that’s one of my favorite reasons for participating in a ghost tour or creating my own version of one…learning the oft times hidden history of a place.

It’s fun to explore historical cities, such as Washington DC, and learn about their local ghosts and legends. However, small towns and perhaps YOUR hometown have their own spooky tales as well.

You can read Joplin’s ghost stories. And I’d love to learn about your city’s ghost tales as well. Share a spooky story in the comments below.

Ghost Hunting
Ghost Hunting at Pythian Castle

Ghost Hunting Finds from Amazon:

 


 

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Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

The second installment in the October spooky series is Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands.

Last year, after my first visit to Charleston, SC, I shared ghost stories from that beautiful and historic city. This year, I returned to the area, staying this time on nearby Johns Island. It wasn’t difficult to find spooky tales from the cluster of South Carolina sea islands to share.

Grab a beverage of choice and get comfy. And you might want to leave the lights on.

Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands title

South Carolina Sea Islands

The sea islands are a chain of tidal and barrier islands in the Atlantic Ocean, along the Southeastern US coast.  Near Charleston, South Carolina the major sea islands are Johns, James, Kiawah, Madmalaw, Folly, Seabrook, Sullivan’s and Edisto. The largest of these is Johns Island.

Plantations existed on most of the sea islands, growing crops of cotton, rice, indigo and tobacco, with enslaved people doing the work. After the civil war, most white land owners fled, leaving their former slaves behind to fend for themselves. Northern charities stepped in to provide help so that the remaining residents of the islands could become self sufficient.

From those peoples came the Gullah culture, one of the oldest surviving African cultures in the US. The descendants of the Africans brought to the South Carolina Colony in the 1500s now number more than 500,000.

The sea islands are unique, offering laid back vibes, a rich culture and many fun places to visit and explore. As with any historical site that has known great change and trials, the sea islands have their ghost stories. These five tales come from Johns Island and Edisto Island.

Angel Oak Tree Spirits

Located on Johns Island, Angel Oak Tree is considered the largest southern live oak tree east of the Mississippi. This massive tree stands 66.5 feet tall, boasts a trunk circumference of 28 feet and spreads its Spanish moss draped canopy over 17, 200 square feet.

There are many ghost stories associated with the Angel Tree. While the tree is beautiful and serene during the day, at night a different energy emanates from the ancient oak.

Native Americans reportedly gathered beneath the sprawling tree and made it a sacred burial ground. It’s believed that the shining spirits of Native Americans surround the tree to protect it when it is in danger.

There are also stories of slaves being hung from the thick branches of Angel Oak. According to legend, a curse was put on the tree because of the violence that happened there. Some people in the area avoid the tree at night because of the curse. They report seeing ghostly figures hanging from the branches.

And in more recent years, people report seeing glowing lights and faces in the branches and trunk. One couple snuck back to the tree late at night, after a wedding ceremony beneath the branches. When the new husband tried to carve a heart on the massive trunk,  the murmuring sounds of an angry mob swirled around them. A flash of light revealed a grim face staring at them in warning. Terrified, they ran away, looking back to see many glowing figures around the tree.

Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands angel oak
Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands – Angel Oak Tree

Fenwick Hall Plantation’s Headless Horseman

John Fenwick arrived on Johns Island from Britain, in 1703. After building a log cabin for his wife Elizabeth, John eventually constructed a Georgian style plantation house. John’s son Edward inherited the house and 11,000 acres in 1747. He added extensive stables to the property for his many horses.

During the British occupation of Charleston, the large house served as headquarters for the British army. One local story claims that Edward Jr invited their American neighbors to a dinner party. They met their demise at the hands of the British soldiers.

Over the years the property changed hands several times. Civil War battles razed the fields. The land was sold off. In 1980, new owners turned the house into an alcohol and drug rehabilitation hospital. Then the property sat abandoned from 1995 until 2000 when new owners purchased it for renovations.

Fenwick Hall Ghost Stories

The most infamous story at Fenwick is a tragic one as well. Ann, the daughter of Edward Sr., fell in love with a handsome young groom named Tony, who cared for her father’s horses. Although Edward disapproved, the couple eloped and married.  When her father found the couple and brought them back to the hall, he instructed his men to place a noose around Tony’s neck and hoist him upon a horse, facing backward. Edward forced Ann to strike the horse with a crop, hanging her own husband from one of the old oaks on the property. The force of the hanging decapitated the unfortunate young man.

Ann never recovered from her husband’s shocking death. She wandered the grounds, calling Tony’s name until she died a short time later. After her death, people reported seeing a headless horseman riding through the property, looking for his wife and his head. He’s appeared on the grounds for more than 250 years.

Visitors also report hearing Ann crying and calling for her husband. Her spirit is seen in the East Parlor in the house and on the staircase. And some claim to see a young ghostly couple walking hand in hand down the long driveway to the house.

Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands fenwick hall
Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands – Fenwick Hall Plantation

The Tomb that Would Not Stay Closed

The graveyard of the old Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island dates back to the late 1700s. In the cemetery is a mausoleum, famous for the fact that it’s always open, with the door removed.

Why? Read on.

Julia Legare, the wife of a wealthy planter on Edisto Island, came down with a serious illness, thought to be diphtheria. Tragically, she died of the disease in 1852.

After Julia’s burial in the Legare Mausoleum, the door was sealed shut, as is customary. A couple of years later, Julia’s young son died and the grounds keeper reopened the door for burial. To the family’s horror, Julia’s decomposed body was found inside, crumpled up near the door. Scratch marks on the door interior brought the shocking realization that Julia was entombed, alive.

After reburying Julia’s bones and adding the deceased child, the family resealed the mausoleum door. However, this time, the door refused to remain closed. Visitors to the cemetery repeatedly found the tomb standing open. Locks and chains could not keep the door closed. Eventually, church members removed the door and the tomb remains open to this day. Tombstones within memorialize Julia, her husband John and their son Hugh.

Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Island legare tomb
Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands – Julia Legare Tomb

A Haunting Love Story

The Brick House on Edisto Island, built in 1725, used bricks imported from Boston for its construction and aged wood. The French Huguenot influenced structure was part of a 300 acre plantation.

The Jenkins family purchased the property in 1798. Shortly after, a beautiful young relative arrived from Charleston. Amelia, engaged to a man from a prominent family, quickly found herself in a dilemma. She fell in love with a wealthy planter on Edisto Island and attempted to end her engagement. The jilted boyfriend came to Edisto to confront his intended. And when she refused to reconsider her decision, he left with the words, “You will never marry him. I would rather see you dead first.”

A Lover’s Revenge

Months later, on the day of her wedding to the Edisto planter, Amelia retired to her upstairs bedroom to put on her wedding dress. The house was filled with family and friends, anticipating a beautiful wedding. As Amelia prepared to go downstairs, she heard someone outside calling her name. When she peered out the upstairs window, the sound of a gunshot rang out.

Amelia’s bridegroom was the first to reach her, but it was too late. A bloody handprint on the window frame marked the spot where Amelia stood, as she placed her hand on the frame after the fatal shot. Outside, the jilted boyfriend’s body lay beneath an oak tree. After shooting his former love, he turned the gun on himself.

Amelia’s bloody handprint remained on the window frame for 100 years until it was finally covered with dark green paint. In 1929, the house burned in a fire, leaving only the brick exterior standing. Every August 13, people report screams coming from the shell of a house. And Amelia is often seen at the open upstairs window, looking out in her wedding dress.

Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Island brick house
Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands – Brick House

House of Tragedy

Locksley Hall, also known as Seaside Plantation, was built before the American Revolution by William Edings.

Due to the many tragedies within the house and on the property, Locksley Hall became known as the House of Tragedy. Those tragedies contribute to the house’s eerie atmosphere and the belief that it is haunted.

Edings’ first wife died in childbirth. Two of Edings’ daughters died in the house, less than a week apart of diphtheria. A son committed suicide by cutting his own throat. The resulting bloodstains refuse to remain covered and people report hearing the sound of dripping blood in the room below.

A relative of the Edings’, who went to live with the family as an orphan, returned home after a hunting trip. As he carried his rifle upstairs, it discharged, striking and killing his old nanny who had been with him since early childhood. Grief stricken. the young man turned the gun on himself.

The McConky Family eventually bought Locksley Hall. The tragedies continued. A young daughter died there when her hoop skirt caught fire. Her brother died in the stable, after a mule kicked him. Another family member died under mysterious circumstances. And yet another committed suicide.

Today the property is privately owned by a Navy admiral, who seems immune to the house’s curse and its ghosts.

Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands locksley hall
Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands – Locksley Hall
*photo from South Carolina Department of Archives

Have You Visited the South Carolina Sea Islands?

One thing I’ve discovered, no matter where I travel, is the existence of local ghost stories. Every region has them because tragedies and  historical events happen everywhere.

The South Carolina Sea Islands are no exception.

Have you visited these charming, beautiful islands? If so, do you have a spooky tale to share?

Ghost Stories from South Carolina Sea Islands dark night
A dark night on Johns Island.

Sea Island Books from Amazon:

 


 

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Ghost Stories from Washington DC

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October ushers in spooky season, and that means it’s time for my annual round up of ghost stories from around the world. Every Friday during October I’ll post a fresh batch of haunting tales from my travels.

Having just returned from the beautiful US capital, I’ll start with Ghost Stories from Washington DC. Grab a cup of hot tea and read these fun scary stories.

Ghost Stories from Washington DC title

Haunted DC

Founded in July, 1790, DC is the capital of the United States. During its long history, the sprawling city has experienced military battles, fires, deadly duels, assassinations, untimely deaths and many other tragedies.

It’s no wonder that DC is considered a city of many haunts. Ghosts range from past presidents and first ladies to workers who died constructing the massive buildings to Civil War soldiers to government officials. There’s even the ghost of a black cat that appears in the Capitol Building.

Enjoy these five ghost stories from Washington DC…and watch for more in future posts.

Ford’s Theatre

Located at 511 10th Street NW, Ford’s Theatre is one of the oldest stage theatres in the US. Built in 1833, the theatre once housed a church. However, when the membership outgrew the facility, the building passed to theatre producer John T Ford. After a fire in 1861, Ford’s Theatre opened to the public in 1863.

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary attended a production of “Our American Cousin”, five days after the official end of the Civil War. Seated in the theatre’s presidential box, Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, seeking revenge for the defeat of the Confederacy. Lincoln died from his wound the following day.

While the assassination is the most well known death at Ford’s Theatre, it’s not the only one. In 1893 the front of the building inexplicably collapsed, killing 22 clerks of the War Department. Another 70 people were injured. The accident, never explained, led to the belief that the building is cursed.

Ghosts of the Theatre

Ghosts reported in the theatre include the somber specter of Abraham Lincoln, in his tall stovepipe hat, his wife Mary Lincoln who is seen leaning over the balcony and John Wilkes Booth, most often spotted sprinting across the stage or walking into the theatre box.

Visitors also report encountering cold spots, hearing disembodied voices and footsteps, ghostly gunshots and the sound of screaming and feeling nauseous and shaky on the stage where Booth apparently stood after shooting Lincoln.

Ghost Stories from Washington DC fords theatre
Ghost Stories from Washington DC – Ford’s Theatre

Ghost Stories from Washington DC – Ford’s Theatre

US Capitol Building

George Washington laid the cornerstone for the Capitol Building in 1791. The construction of the huge building was not without complications and perils however. A collapsed beam crushed the construction supervisor. Another man fell to his death working on the dome. Both of their ghosts haunt the structure.

Other Capitol Building Specters

The spirit of John Quincy Adams reportedly prowls the Capitol Building. He suffered a stroke while giving an impassioned speech on the floor of the House of Representatives. People claim to hear his wails throughout the building and even his emphatic “NO” that he uttered during that last speech.

During the Civil War the building served as a military hospital for Union soldiers. Cots filled the Statuary Hall. At least one ghost soldier remains in the building, his shadowy figure drifting among the statues

In 1890 Congressman William Taulbee was shot and killed on a stairwell by a reporter that Taulbee taunted. His blood stains the steps and Taulbee’s ghost likes to trip reporters as they climb those stairs.

The strangest spook in the Capitol Building is a black cat said to appear in the hallways before historic or tragic national events. As early as 1862, night watchmen reported spotting the cat and even shooting at it, only to see the animal disappear. The cat supposedly appeared before the assassinations of President Lincoln and President Kennedy.

Ghost Stories from Washington DC capitol building
Ghost Stories from Washington DC – the Capitol Building

The Ghosts of the White House

Since its completion in 1800, many presidents, first families and staff members called this grand house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home. The property is also the site of countless historic events. Over the past 200+ years, presidents, first ladies, visitors and staff shared stories about the ghosts that wander in the White House.

Abraham Lincoln

The most frequently sighted apparition is Abraham Lincoln. He’s most often heard or seen near or in the bedroom he used while living in the White House and occasionally peering out of a window in the room he used as an office.

In 1942 Queen Wihelmina of the Netherlands woke to the sound of someone knocking on the door while sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom. She opened the door to see the former president standing there…and promptly fainted.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stepped out of a hot bath and walked into that same bedroom where he encountered Lincoln’s ghost standing near the fireplace. Caught naked, the prime minister supposedly quipped, “Good evening Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage.” Lincoln smiled…and faded away.

Others report seeing Lincoln pacing up and down the second floor hallways, knocking on doors and peering out windows. President Reagan, in 1989, commented that his dog refused to enter that room. Others reported that their dogs barked at Lincoln’s bedroom door.

Other White House Ghosts

Other White House ghost stories feature Abigail Adams, hanging sheets to dry in the East Room and Dolley Madison, tending the garden. People report hearing Andrew Jackson swearing and Thomas Jefferson playing the violin. It’s even reported that David Burns, the man who sold the land for the building of the White House, introduces himself as Mr Burns in the Oval Office.

Ghost Stories from Washington DC white house
Ghost Stories from Washington DC – the White House (back view)

Ghosts of Lafayette Square Park

Directly behind the White House lies Lafayette Square Park. Created by President Thomas Jefferson in 1804, this green space served as a graveyard, a slave market and during the War of 1812, an encampment for soldiers. Many tragedies occurred in the park, including a revenge murder. It’s no surprise that ghosts haunt this spot.

Representative Daniel Sickles shot and killed District Attorney Philip Barton Key, son of Francis Scott Key, in the park when he discovered Philip was having an affair with his wife. Sickles pled temporary insanity and escaped a prison sentence. However, as fate would have it, while fighting in the Battle of Gettysburg a cannonball severed Sickles’ leg.  Both men supposedly haunt the park as Sickles relentlessly stalks Key.

Surrounding the park are a number of haunted buildings and houses. These include Decatur House, Hay-Adams Hotel, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Cutts-Madison House and Octagon House, now a museum.

Ghost Stories from Washington DC lafayette square park
Ghost Stories from Washington DC – Lafayette Square Park

Smithsonian Castle Ghosts

You’ve heard of the Smithsonian museums in DC. There are 19 of them. Have you heard of the Smithsonian Castle?

The castle’s namesake and founder of the institute, James Smithson, was born in Paris and kept a secret. He was illegitimate and not allowed to use the Smithson surname for many years. As a result of early rejection, he traveled throughout his life in search of a place to belong.

Although James never visited the US, when he died he donated his vast fortune for the founding of the Smithsonian Institute. His remains, brought to the US in 1904, are entombed in one of the castle’s main rooms. His ghost frequently wanders through the castle. So many people reported seeing Smithson that in 1973, they opened and examined his coffin. His skeleton remained within.

Today the castle serves as a space for administrative offices and a visitor center.

Other Smithsonian Castle Ghosts

Another frequently seen ghost is that of the first curator, Spencer Fullerton Baird. When approached by the night watchmen, Spencer vanishes.

Paleontologist Fielding Meek, who lived with his cat in a tiny suite of rooms beneath the castle grand staircase, also roams the hallways at night, seeking other scientists to converse with.

And James Henry, the Smithsonian’s first secretary, walks at night in the castle dressed in a frock coat, cravat and a starched white collar. When approached by security guards, he fades away.

Ghost Stories from Washington DC - smithsonian castle
Ghost Stories from Washington DC – Smithsonian Castle

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

You might, after this ghost story series completes at the end of October. I’m excited to share spooky tales every Friday, from different locations.

I believe that everything is energy and vibration. Some energy frequencies loop and repeat in a particular space, especially after a tragedy occurs, creating a haunting. And some lower energies feel heavy, troubled and yes, scary. Those are hauntings too.

When I visit a city or region, I learn the local ghost stories because historical information intertwines with those tales. Washington DC, with its long and varied history, is certainly a hotspot for paranormal activity.

Have you visited DC and toured any of the city’s haunted locations? Share your experiences in the comments below!

And check out one of the posts from last year: Ghost Stories from Rome

Ghost Stories from Washington DC st johns church
Ghost Stories from Washington DC – St John’s Episcopal Church, on Lafayette Square. Photo by my grandson, Dayan Reynolds.

 

Check out these DC finds, from Amazon:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.