Ghosthunting Illinois (Americas Haunted Road Trip)
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The name she got was Fidelia with the middle name Elvira. When a local woman volunteered to do research to see if there was any record of this girl, she found an exact match with the same age and cause of death. It is possible that Fidelia died at the inn while waiting for medical care. More than a couple of psychics who have visited the inn have sensed the spirits of a little boy and girl, with a cat, hanging around near the bottom of the main staircase by the front desk.
No one has ever seen these little wraiths, but members of the staff have commented on feeling a presence on the stairs, and some have even heard a cat in the same vicinity. An apparition of a Colonial soldier has been seen on the second floor, but not of late. The room this ghost haunts is now used for storage and is seldom opened. A ghosthunting group took photographs inside the storeroom and captured strange distortions that they believed to be evidence of a vortex or doorway into the spirit world.
One of the guestrooms on the second floor is also notorious for providing photographic anomalies. A guest once took a picture of this room and noticed there was an image of a tic-tac-toe game within the mirror. When the mirror was examined, no explanation could be found for it.
Nothing was discovered on or behind the glass to account for the phantom marks. A guest who stays regularly at the inn during hunting season had an experience in that same room that caused him to leave for the woods much earlier then usual. She could see that he was badly shaken and immediately asked him why he was up and leaving so early.
When the guest was finally able to talk to Charlotte about his rapid departure, he told her that he had been woken up by being pelted with little bars of guest soap. When he jumped up out of his bed, he could see no one responsible for the toiletry attack.
The man then noticed there was a full-body impression on the mattress of the unused bed in the room. This was too much, especially since he had checked into the room alone. The hunter decided it would be a lot safer in the woods, so he headed for the hills as fast as his legs could take him. Michael J. Here is his report! My interaction with museum staff when I visited the site in May with my father, mother, and wife left me inclined to believe that there was a reasonable chance the site was, indeed, haunted.
But when I heard the irregular, garbled sounds that obscured my one-hour taped interview with curator Robert Kocovsky, I joined the ranks of definite believers. This did not make me in any way unique, of course. The Exchange Hotel has for some time run ghost tours of the property for those with a casual interest in the subject, and it has made provisions for ghosthunters and others with a stronger interest to conduct investigations overnight in the building.
From what I understand, they are rarely disappointed. A new era began for Gordonsville on January 1, , when it became a stop on the Louisa Railroad—renamed the Virginia Central 10 years later—allowing passengers to travel to and from the town and goods to be shipped from the farms and plantations of the surrounding area. Its first depot was opened in , at the south end of Main Street, when the Orange and Alexandria Railroad extended its tracks from Orange to Gordonsville to connect with the existing line a second depot was built in and its last one in People coming into or departing from the depot frequented the nearby tavern run by Richard F.
Omohundro, who did a brisk business in food and drink. When this establishment was razed by fire in , Omohundro immediately built a beautiful new hotel, complete with high-ceilinged parlors and a grand veranda, on its ashes. The elegant, three-story Exchange Hotel combined elements of Georgian architecture in the main section of the brick building and Italianate architecture in its exterior features, both styles popular in the pre-war years.
Other features included a restaurant on its lower level, spacious public rooms, a central hall with a wide staircase and handsome balustrade, and central halls running through each of the upper floors. It quickly became a popular and inviting spot for travelers. When the Civil War began in , towns like Gordonsville and the railroads that ran through them became critical strategic assets to the Confederate government. In March , the Confederate military authorities took over the Exchange Hotel and established it as the headquarters of the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital, which provided medical care to tens of thousands of Northern and Southern troops over the following four years.
Wounded soldiers from battle- fields that included Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, Mine Run, Trevilian Station, and the Wilderness were brought into town by rail, unloaded, and moved directly into the sprawling hospital compound that grew up around the former hotel. In an era when men died of injury and disease in droves—about twice as many as those slain in combat—the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital was the exception to the rule, with a markedly lower death rate compared to most other contemporary medical facilities. Of the approximately 70, men treated at the hospital, only somewhat more than died at the site, a much smaller proportion than what was typical for the conflict.
The deceased were buried on the hospital grounds initially and then later exhumed and moved to the nearby Maplewood Cemetery. According to Kocovsky, the spirits of some of the buried soldiers apparently remained behind, and the area where the cemetery was located has been the site of ghostly phenomena. The director of the hospital was Dr. Lebby, who oversaw its operations through October Although pro-Confederate and a native of South Carolina, Lebby had received his medical training in the North and was both compassionate and proficient. The relatively low death rate at the hospital a mere 26 Union soldiers can be attributed to his humanity and skill as a physician and administrator.
In , Historic Gordonsville Inc. Today, the Civil War Museum at the Exchange Hotel contains exhibits on the history of Gordonsville, the hotel, and its transformation into a receiving hospital, the only one still standing in Virginia. It includes an impressive collection of artifacts relating to medical care during the war, including surgical instruments; pharmaceutical bottles and containers; medical knapsacks and panniers; stretchers and litters; prosthetic devices; and even dental tools. It is also home, Kocovsky said, to at least 11 ghosts that he and the staff have identified!
The museum makes no secret of this presence and touts it both in its published materials and highly popular ghost tours. While not all the ghosts have been identified by name or connected with specific historical figures known to have been associated with the Exchange Hotel, quite a few have, in part through the help of ghosthunters and psychic researchers who have visited the site.
Another is Mrs. Leevy, the wife of one of the doctors assigned to the hospital, who went mad during her stay at the site. A number of nameless ghosts, believed to be those of Civil War soldiers who died at the hospital, quite possibly in agonizing surgical procedures or of one of the diseases that claimed so many lives, are also among those that haunt the site. Kocovsky also told me about a dark, shadowy, and hostile ghost—whose name is yet unknown—who has frightened a number of people over the years, including, on one occasion, some police officers who were checking to make sure the building was properly locked up.
Other ghostly incidents people have reported at the museum include sightings of a spectral woman sitting as if upon a chair, even though one was not there, and photographs that have picked up a number of anomalies, including spirit orbs. Despite the vast number of incidents that have occurred at the Civil War Museum at the Exchange Hotel, it is, unfortunately, a bit much to expect that one should experience anything similar during any particular visit especially a first one, it would seem.
Good advice indeed. Because if the strange, incomprehensible sounds—voices? Located on Main Street, the inn was originally built in as a home for a sea captain and his family. The Inn at Duck Creeke is actually made up of four separate buildings. The Duck Creeke Tavern is the oldest existing tavern in Wellfleet. The current owners of the inn are Bob Morrill and Judy Pihl. Bob and Judy first became associated with the inn in the mids when they were leasing the Sweet Seasons restaurant.
In , they bought the inn. Shortly after Bob and Judy had settled into the property, the ghosts made their presence known to them. Judy needed a large pot to cook the lobsters in, so she sent Bob to retrieve one from the kitchen of the Sweet Seasons restaurant. It was a cold, dark night as he walked up the lane, flashlight in hand, and entered the kitchen from the back of the restaurant. The ghost of Eulalia, wife of Joe Price, may have been responsible for that flying piece of kitchenware. People who remember Eulalia say she was a serious, hardworking woman.
Price was from New York and had a background in the theater. Well into the early s, she wore long, old-fashioned dresses that were starched and ironed to perfection. A woman who worked for Mrs. Price told Judy Phil that Eulalia was the kind of manager who would line her staff up for inspection and count the number of peas on the plates.
Price is believed to be the woman in white who has been seen at the restaurant and its kitchen. Judy saw her ghost one afternoon in the lobby area of the restaurant. I took two steps back. I then watched a very diminutive woman float from one side, with the sun behind her, cross the lobby and back again, and then disappear. It was three-dimensional; you could almost see through it, and it was female. Even though these two restaurants are attached, there seems to be a different group of ghosts in The Tavern Room.
Over the years, Bob has learned of three deaths that occurred on the property. Two of those deaths happened inside the Tavern Room. Years ago, when the tavern was called The Chart Room, a husband-and-wife musical act used to play there regularly. One night while they were performing, the wife died on stage.
Judy used to wonder if maybe he could see his wife on the stage. A female ghost has been seen around the Tavern Room, and most feel that it is her spirit. Musicians have reported hearing a woman singing while they were performing. One night when a piano player was on stage, Bob noticed that he was moving his head around and swatting at the air with his right hand. When he took a short break, Bob asked him why he was jerking his head and wav- ing his hand around.
A piano player also passed away suddenly while performing. If this pianist is haunting the stage, he might be responsible for the microphones and amplifiers being turned off while musicians are playing. One vision in particular that he told his employers about was seeing a man hanging himself from a large locust tree in back of the tavern. Bob had cut the locust tree down 10 years before this young man had started working for them. Bob and Judy said they had never doubted Eugene, especially when he told them that their inn was haunted by many ghosts.
The Saltworks House is the oldest building on the property. It was built in the early s and was originally located by the harbor. The house is named for the grinding stones that were taken from an old salt mill and used to make its front walk and steps. The couple no longer lives in the house; it now contains five small guest rooms. During the years they did live there, Judy said she would sometimes hear the sound of someone walking around, softly, upstairs.
On more than a few occasions she heard what sounded like beads from a broken necklace bouncing across the floor, but she could never find the source. One season, some guests who were staying on the ground floor of the Saltworks House complained about the patter of little feet in the room above theirs. Another time, a couple had commented on hearing a baby crying in one of the upstairs rooms.
Bob and Judy are pretty sure they are the wife and two daughters of the sea captain who lived in the house. As far as anyone knows, the two daughters were seen only once, but are often heard moving about on the second floor. In the early s, a female guest awoke with a scream when she found a strange woman in her room. This woman glided across the bedroom, through the furniture and up to the guest.
They wanted to know the identity of the woman whom their child kept talking about. The young girl told her parents that a nice lady, dressed in white, had talked to her in their room. This woman wanted to make sure the little girl was taking her medicine. And, as with most places of a certain age, it has a number of ghost stories and is a stop on local ghost tours. George Washington celebrated his birthday at the tavern in and ; Thomas Jefferson held his inaugural banquet there in ; and the tavern served as a hub of political, business, and social interaction for many years.
One is a museum, located in an older, two-story building, and the other is a restaurant, located on the ground floor of a three-story expansion to the original structure built in then dubbed the City Tavern and Hotel. The most famous involves a beautiful young woman who died at the establishment nearly years ago and whose specter is sometimes purportedly still seen there.
As a common version of the story goes, the young woman and her husband arrived at the port of Alexandria in October from points unknown. Despite their best efforts, however, she died on October For reasons still unknown, her husband made everyone they had dealt with swear that they would never reveal her identity; he had her buried in nearby St.
Explanations for who she is have included the ward of an aging English aristocrat who was accidentally slain by her lover, with whom she fled to America; the daughter of Aaron Burr, who gunned down Alexander Hamilton in a duel; and an orphan, separated from her three siblings at a young age, who inadvertently married her brother.
Die nameless and leave bills behind and, specifics aside, the stories about you are pretty sure to be sordid. Other ghost stories associated with the tavern are fairly typical of those associated with haunted sites in general and include candles or lanterns that appear to be burning, but, upon examination, have not been recently lit. Glancing at the upper-story windows of the buildings as I approached them, I did not see anything out of the ordinary. Upon seeing my disappointment, however, he graciously relented, showed me to a two-person table in the dining room, and asked his waiter to bring me a beer.
I introduced myself and briefly explained my interest in his establishment. Eventually, however, he decided to bestow something more substantial upon me. There, he proceeded to tell me about three strange episodes that some would take for evidence of a ghostly presence—all of which had occurred in the previous month!
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In the first, he said, one of his waitresses walked into the kitchen and asked if anyone knew where beverage napkins were. As if in response, a package of beverage napkins pitched off a nearby shelf and landed on the counter next to the stunned young woman. The second incident took place in a dining room that had been set up for a dinner party. With no apparent cause or prompting from anyone, a spoon from one of the place settings slid off the table and clattered onto the floor.
And, in the third incident, three or four of the waitstaff were working in the tavern after it had closed when they all distinctly heard a candle in the main dining room—where none of them were—being blown out.
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As is the case with most ostensibly haunted sites, none of these incidents necessarily mean anything in and of themselves. Even when they are considered as elements in an ongoing pattern of similar incidents, they prove nothing. But they do reinforce to those willing to acknowledge them that there is more in this world than can easily be explained by most philosophies, to paraphrase a famous playwright.
That was what I thought to myself, in any event, as I finished up my pint of ale and snapped a few more pictures of the tavern. Collecting my things, I thanked Mr. After all, if you stare at something long enough, you can end up seeing just about anything, whether it is really there or not. Paranormal researchers have to be ready for any- thing and everything when ghosthunting.
Shows like Ghost Hunters have an established crew that sets up the monitors, cameras, and equipment, hoping to catch paranormal activity on film. Some people describe it as the biggest barber pole they have ever seen. I like the swirl-style painting of the lighthouse. The lighthouse was supposed to have been painted in a diamond pattern, but the engineer was confused by the plans and he designed the spiral instead, making the lighthouse very distinctive.
The lighthouse was built to warn sailors of the Diamond Shoals, which are sandbars that shift often and can extend more than 14 feet outward from the shore at Cape Hatteras. In addition, it is in this area of the Atlantic that the Gulf Stream collides with the colder Labrador current. Often, the end result of the collision between the warm Gulf current and the cold Labrador current is the creation of powerful ocean storms and high sea swells.
When you arrive at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the first thought that hits you is how tall it is and how small you feel standing next to it. The second thought is that you want to climb it! The lighthouse has iron stairs arranged in a spiral. Climbing to the top of the lighthouse is equivalent to climbing a story building. There are a couple of windows in the lighthouse, but for the most part, the lighting is dim. You become very friendly with strangers as you negotiate to allow them to pass by you. Luckily, there is a landing every 31 steps to stop and wait when large groups are coming down.
I visited during the day to see the lighthouse, and I have plans to return again this summer when a full-moon climbing tour is offered.
This is a must-do, as the view from the top is spectacular. I look forward to seeing it on a moonlit night. In , the lighthouse was moved from its original location. Can you imagine the engineering feat it took to move a lighthouse? Erosion from the waves and shifting sands threatened to destroy the lighthouse in its former location, and the decision had to be made to either attempt to move the lighthouse to safety or to watch it disappear as the sand shifted and the ocean claimed it as its own.
This process took a painstakingly slow 23 days to complete. One haunting tale is the story of the Carroll A. Deering, a sailing ship that was returning from Barbados on its way to Hampton Roads, Virginia. On January 31, , the Carroll A. Deering was found run aground on the Diamond Shoals off the coast of Cape Hatteras.
The ship was a five-masted schooner built in in Bath, Maine. The Coast Guard was called, and guardsmen sailed out to inspect the ship, which was found empty with the exception of several very hungry cats. The investigation found that a dinner had recently been prepared and the dishes were still on the table. The ship was in good order, but the lifeboats were missing. What would cause the captain and crew to abandon the ship in such a hurry when the ship was in good working order?
Why would they leave their cats behind?
The research indicates that the crew left in a panic, as if they were afraid of something on the boat. Along with their dinner, they left a perfectly good boat in running order. There had to have been something extreme to cause a captain and his crew to leave a ship in that condition, especially when they were facing freezing cold weather and high sea swells in January on the Atlantic Ocean. Upon further investigation, the Coast Guard found that all of the anchors were missing from the ship, along with some papers and personal belongings of the captain and crew.
The vessel remained stuck on the shoals until it was towed away in March.
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What remained of the ship was blown up with dynamite. I found that fact surprising: Why would evidence of an unsolved mystery be deliberately destroyed? Reports state that in April of the same year, a North Carolina resident found a bottle washed up on shore with a note inside stating that the captain and crew had been captured by pirates. The letter was later determined to be a hoax. He agreed to look into the matter after his research showed that nine other ships had also disappeared in the same area. The FBI was sent to investigate the matter in July The investigators returned with reports stating theories of foul play, including attacks by pirates, attacks by rumrunners, and the possibility of mutiny.
The theory of mutiny was tossed aside. The seas are so rough in that part of the Atlantic in January that it would be a suicide mission by the crew and the worst timing on their part. The ship was only a day or two away from reaching Virginia, where it was scheduled to dock. In addition, a mutinous crew would have tossed the captain overboard and most likely would have continued on with the ship, sailing to a port in another country. Foul play with pirates or rumrunners also seemed unlikely, as there were no dead bodies left on the ship, as well as no signs of struggle or blood.
Although there was a detailed investigation, all of the leads turned up empty. To this day, the mystery continues. After the ship ran aground, witnesses in the area began reporting hearing people screaming for help near the shore. The reports state that when witnesses hear the screaming, they go to investigate, but no one is ever seen. Some of these reports say that several people have heard a man scream over and over that a monster is coming for him. Some locals think that a ghost appeared on the ship, perhaps one of the pirates from the many sunken ships that lay below the ocean near Cape Hatteras.
Perhaps these pirate ghosts boarded the ship as the crew prepared their dinner and scared them out of their minds, to the point that they jumped into the lifeboats and abandoned ship, leaving everything behind. In their fear and perhaps demise, it appears that they now have joined the ghosts and walk the beaches beside them. The most famous ghost on Cape Hatteras is the Gray Man ghost. He appears to people to warn them when a hurricane or severe storm is heading toward the island.
Some say that he is a sailor who drowned during a storm and now warns others of impending storms. Others say that he was in love with a local girl and in his haste to get back to her took a shortcut with his traveling companions through a swampy area and drowned in quicksand. The legend states that the local woman was devastated upon hearing the news of his death. National Historic Landmark summary listing. Archived from the original on April 25, Retrieved July 3, Swiftwater Bright Lights, Dark Nights.
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