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By David Hoes - Although most small towns can claim a haunted building or two, Arcadia, Florida is a focal point for the paranormal. This town of 7,100 residents can even challenge Key West and St. Augustine for the title of "Paranormal Capital" of Florida. Among the local "hot-spots" are:
• A haunted opera house
• A haunted hotel
• A haunted "hanging tree"
• A "rock of love" in a local river. (According to the legend, couples who camp near the rock will get married.)
• A phantom hitchhiker
• The ghost of a boy who appears on a local river
• A mysterious black hearse seen traveling local roads
• A nearby ghost town
• Several haunted residences and antique shops.
• A hill where ghost lights have been seen
• A haunted cemetery
Today's article will provide some details on the last two phenomena -- the Oak Ridge Cemetery and Goat Hill Ghost Lights.
Just north of town is a small rise locals call Goat Hill. Sadly, the area is on private land and is inaccessible to the public. The road going in has been blocked by a gate and signs are posted letting visitors know they are not welcome. However, a few locals have apparently gained access and have seen the mysterious lights.
On the website 'Haunted America Tours', Clifford Murphy describes his encounter with the lights:
"We put on the river at the park and started up the river going slow and quiet. We tried to run off the moonlight and not use the spotlights.
Once we got away from the road, it was pretty eerie on the river. The banks are high and full of oaks and cypress. The shadows are deep and there are lots of logs and stumps to dodge. Once you are north of the railroad bridge, there are no houses for miles.
Finally we got to a big bend in the river with a giant, high beach of white sand. That was the closest landing to the woods with the Goat Hill. We beached the boat and climbed up the beach out into some flat pasture lands with scrubby trees scattered around. The moon was bright, but there was this weird low ground fog that was a couple feet high. Fences, trees and stuff kind of stuck up out of the fog and you had to watch where you were walking.
It’s hard to explain, but the farther we went from the river the weirder things felt. And the screwing around just kind of stopped and everybody got real quiet. We broke out of some trees, and then we could see the hill where the orbs were supposed to be. It was a couple hundred yards out in the middle of a flat pasture. It’s a big round hill covered in oaks. It was black compared to the white fog that hugged the ground. There was a herd of cows, and it was funny because you could see their backs and heads but not their bodies and legs in the fog.
"Then it was like something just ‘happened.’ I felt something cold come over me. The hair on the back of my neck started to prickle and it felt likes something marched up my back. Like my skin crawled. Just then the cows started mooing and then they all took off running through the fog. You could hear the thuds and feel the rumble under foot. Everybody looked at each other and there were a lot of big eyes.
And then we saw the orbs. My jaw just dropped. This faint orange light came up out of the ground in the trees on the hill and slowly went up through the air to the tree tops. It hovered there. Then three or four more came up and started drifting through the trees. They started getting brighter and whiter and bigger.
The next thing, a big wind came out of nowhere and the mist started rolling around and the orbs seemed like they left the hill and started towards us. Somebody said ‘let’s get the hell out of here.’ And the whole bunch of us took off running for the river. It would have been funny to watch but it wasn’t at all funny at the time. I didn’t look back, I was too busy running."
There are two theories concerning the Goat Hill lights. The first relates to the tragic murder of seven children in 1967. All of the children of James and Annie Mae Richardson became violently ill shortly after eating lunch on October 25, 1967. Within twenty-four hours they were dead; their food had been laced with pesticide. Richardson and his wife both worked, and next-door neighbor Bessie Reese babysat the Richardson’s youngest children. She served all seven children lunch when they came home from school at noon -- a meal of rice, beans and hogshead cheese that had been prepared earlier that day by their mother.
James Richardson was arrested and tried for the murders and would be convicted based on flimsy evidence. Decades later he would be freed when Bessie Reese, who was on her death bed in a nursing home, confessed to the murders.
British Cadets Marker and Graves
Cemetery records indicate that Alice, Diane, Dorine, James, and Vanessa Richardson, all of whom died on October 25th and 26th, are buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery, which is just south of Goat Hill. Are their spirits responsible for the lights? Or are the lights related to the 23 dead RAF pilots who are also buried there?
During World War II, British pilots came to South Florida for training. They were stationed at a base near Lake Okechobee. A few of their barracks are still standing; they were moved to serve as housing at a local fish camp.
Twenty-three of the pilots were killed during training and were buried at Oak Ridge. Some locals believe their spirits are responsible for the Goat Hill Lights.
Old RAF Barracks
In addition, some residents have reported strange occurrences at their gravesite. One posted a story on Facebook that when he visited the graves, he saw a Union Jack hanging from the flagpole. Later, when he viewed the photos he had taken that day, there was no flag on the flagpole. Others told the following tales:
"We used to rent a house across the little gully that runs along the south side of the cemetery, across from the British plot. Sometimes late at night we would hear voices from that direction. We could never exactly hear what was said, but they sounded like it had an accent. Never exactly felt the urge to go check it out."
"One night I parked on the side street that dead ends at the cemetery with some friends. We heard singing - really old stuff. Sounded like a bunch of drunk guys. British accents. I didn't know any of the songs, but there was something about the 'white cliffs' (Dover?) and the 'lights going on'."
"I know for a fact that the Arcadia police went in there one night looking for somebody playing the bagpipes."
So are the Goat Hill Ghost lights the spirits of murder victims, RAF pilots or are they something else? I hope to learn more about this strange little town in the near future.
In keeping with the Halloween spirit, I have found a few interesting 'witchy' posts from the past years. Though this is only a small sample, I hope you'll enjoy reading:
Bell Witch Story: Missing Grave Marker Returns After 40 Years
11/5/08 - The latest chapter of Middle Tennessee's famed Bell Witch story could be titled "The Tale of the Homesick Headstone."
It begins in 1860, when the 22-year-old great-granddaughter of John Bell died and was buried in the family cemetery, her rest undisturbed until the headstone disappeared about a century later.
It ends earlier this month, when the missing marker turned up in Nashville, upside down and broken in two.
"The stone was found in Madison," said Tim Henson, a local historian and curator of the Adams Museum in the Robertson County town. "It was used as a stepping stone in someone's yard for at least 41 years."
Now the marker is in its rightful place. Getting it there had its spooky moments, which seems fitting for a member of the family at the center of one of the South's most celebrated ghost stories.
Story begins in 1817
In 1817, an angry spirit took up residence on the Bell farm in Adams, about an hour's drive northwest of Nashville. Some people identified her as Kate Batts, an eccentric woman who believed John Bell had cheated her in a land deal.
She tormented the family, slapping, pinching and pulling the children's hair. She sang hymns, preached and plagued their father, who fell into recurring bouts of illness until he died in December 1820, a terrible smell on his lips and a mysterious bottle of black liquid nearby.
The tale has been the subject of books and movies, including An American Haunting (2006). And townspeople and tourists say Kate still haunts today, throwing salad spoons and blue balls in the air.
The supernatural Bell mystique may extend to the headstone of Mary Allen Bell Coke, if the story its finder tells is any indication.
The marker had made its way to a trash bin in Madison, where a homeowner found it years ago and added it to the lawn.
"A contractor from Springfield, working on that house, brought it home," Henson said. The contractor, Janie Hudgens, was intrigued and went online to research the dead woman. That led to funeral director and Bell descendant Bob Bell in Springfield, who called Henson.
Hudgens said that after she and husband Sparky found the stone, she made it her mission to find out where it came from.
"I'm from Alabama, and we respect the dead there," Hudgens said.
"When we found the headstone, that bothered me. For three nights straight, I was on the computer till 3 or 4 in the morning looking for where the tombstone belonged."
The night before they were to give Henson the marker, they were in bed with the room dark when the screen came to life, static crossing its screen. Not long after she turned it off, "it came on again, and it was on the page about the Bell family."
Then there was the wind, which she said "blew the deadbolt-locked door open."
As she told Henson, "I think this stone wants to get home."
Henson recently took it to the cemetery and placed it on the grave, but that was just for a brief visit. It'll remain in storage until it can be safely and securely displayed.
"We just want to place it back in the Bell cemetery that it belongs in," he said. "We know within a foot or two where it's supposed to go. We want to put it back so that it can't be taken away again."
Haunted Earth visits Canewdon Church, famous for it`s alleged connection with witches and witchcraft.
Here Chris investigates local history as well as connecting with the spiritual presences of this grave yard.
Canewdon is a village in the Rochford District of Essex in England.
The origin of the name is unclear. It is believed by some to come from Canute the Great. The village is on a hill, and locally is claimed to be the site of an ancient camp used by Canute, during a battle during his invasion of Essex in 1013.
The 14th century church of St. Nicholas, with its 15th century tower and porch, stands on a hill 128 feet above the marshes. The oldest part of the church is the outside wall of the north aisle which contains many Roman bricks, presumably from an earlier building.
There is much superstition around the village, believed to be a centre of witchcraft. Legend has it that while the church tower stands, there will always remain six witches in Canewdon. Local folklore also has it that if you walk around the church seven times (anticlockwise) on Halloween you will see a witch, and thirteen times you will disappear. Both these stories can make the village a popular destination on Halloween, to the extent that the police have been known to seal off the village to non-residents.
Whilst the church of St Nicholas stands full on Beacon Hill, Canewdon, it is said that there will be as many witches in silk as in cotton.
A lot of the folklore probably came from George Pickingill who, living in the village during the late 19th century, still apparently practised pagan rituals in the church grounds. The idea that something magical can happen from running about the church is probably an exaggeration of what scared locals saw the witch master and his nymphs doing 'walking the circle' as it is known in paganism.
Most of the village was built in the mid-Sixties, much to the old locals' dismay, and until recently there has been an "us and them" situation.
There are many ghost stories within the village, most again central to the church. The most famous ghost is the grey lady who reportedly floats down from the church's west gate towards the river Crouch. These stories often attract ghost-hunters and young curious people who can prove a nuisance to the village.
The image was captured at Canewdon St. Nicholas Church. Famous for its tales of witches and witchcraft. The police normally seal off the church at Halloween due to so many people trying to access the graveyard. The image was taken with no external lighting... there have been tales of a fire elemental at the graveyard.
Film Crew 'Possessed' During Seance at Pendle Hill
4/11/09 - A film crew got a little more than they bargained for when making a documentary about the Pendle witches.
As part of Pendle’s Paranormal Road Map, presented by Clitheroe-based TV historian Simon Entwistle, the crew bravely ventured into a barn on Pendle Hill to conduct a seance in the hope of contacting the spirits of the witches.
According to Simon, the team got a fright when three of them ‘became possessed’, causing them to turn ‘distressed and violently ill’.
Simon described the material, which also includes a dramatic reconstruction, as the best he had ever seen.
And he is convinced the witches’ 400-year-old story is worthy of a place on the silver screen.
The 11-strong film crew, with a stunt man and 20 actors in 17th Century attire, descended on Pendle Hill to make the documentary.
But it was not long before the ‘spooky’ aspect of the setting became apparent.
An elaborate stunt had to be cancelled when a seemingly fit horse involved went lame, according to Simon.
The first part of the film deals with the history of the Pendle witch trials and what is now considered an appalling miscarriage of justice.
Members of re-enactment group, 17th Century Life and Times, were on hand to ensure complete historical accuracy.
Simon said they did a “fantastic job.” He added: “For me personally, it’s the best material I have ever seen relating to the Pendle witches.
“It’s the best story in East Lancashire. In America they have a huge museum in Salem and quite proud of the story.
“People come from all over for the Pendle witch tours. If Steven Spielberg got his teeth into it I’m sure he’d do a fantastic job.”
The latter part of the material features the seance, co-ordinated by renowned ghost hunter Roy Basnett and the Pathfinder PI team.
Director Mark Howard, whose previous credits include Roddy Smythe Investigates with Peter Kay, said: “Almost 400 years on from the actual event, here we are, with actors in clothing from the period, possibly walking in the very same tracks trodden by the original protagonists. Bit of a weird feeling really.”
The tour around the hill, described by the crew as “informative and unsettling,” also features Liverpool actress and radio presenter Margi Clarke and BBC radio presenter Alanna Rice.
It was produced by Manchester-based independent company GCH Entertainment and filming took place on Sunday April 5.
Abducted By Witches, Woman Recalls Her Shocking Life in the Coven
4/24/09 - At the age of 15, Nikki Russo checked into a California hospital for treatment of an eating disorder. It was in this hospital that she was eventually abducted by a nurse, initiated into a coven of witches and thrown into a dark world filled with drugs, alcohol, abuse and intimidation.
The book, published by iUniverse, is written by veteran Gulf Coast Newspaper staff writer Bob Morgan, who first interviewed Russo in October 2007 and wrote an article regarding her story.
Why come forward with such a painful book now?
“Timing is everything,” Russo, now 37, said this week. “It’s a means of survival. You can only keep the memories down to a certain point. It gets to the point that more or less you have to deal with it.
“I hope that people walk away with the knowledge of what is out there and what can happen,” Russo said. “I hope this book can open people’s eyes.”
Morgan, who has won 20 Alabama and Mississippi press awards, said Russo’s story is the most compelling he has personally encountered during his years in journalism.
“Two things I would say about Nikki’s story. First, anybody who has a loved one needs to hear Nikki’s story and confront the reality of what can potentially happen when people turn to societal institutions that should be trustworthy. And second, the amount of courage it took for Nikki to come forward and tell this story is beyond question. The book is not only shocking, but intensely personal.”
According to Morgan, the tone of The Pomegranate Seed was set by two considerations. The 2007 newspaper article, once it hit the Internet, was scrutinized by many Wiccans or witchcraft practitioners, some of whom dismissed Russo’s story as so-called “Satanic panic.” Thus, Morgan said the book was written with an eye to dates, court documents and depositions that leave no doubt that Russo’s story happened in the real world.
The other consideration was Russo herself and the personal pain and trauma she continues to go through after nearly 20 years. Going over the events that occurred from 1988-90 during interviews for the book often pushed Russo to her limits, Morgan said. He adds that on some occasions Russo had to take a week off before delving into the material again.
“You and I might take a day for granted but Nikki does not,” Morgan said.
According to Morgan, he got the idea for the book title from a poem of Homer, the ancient Greek writer. The “Hymn to Demeter” tells the story of a maiden who was forced to live her life partially in the light and partially in the dark because she ate pomegranate seed in the Underworld.
It was through this process and release of the book that Russo hoped she would find the closure she has so desperately sought. For Russo, unfortunately, the release of the book has not brought that closure.
“When stuff like this happens, you can’t walk away from it, it stays with you.” she said. “I’ll never get back what was taken. I’ll never be able to get away from the memories.”
Some of the frustrations that Russo encountered almost 20 years ago in dealing with the State of California, she continues to experience today in connection with what she calls the “victim-witness” program.
In the same way that Russo had to change her name years ago to escape threats from coven members, she knows today that the person they abducted no longer exists. At the same time however, she is comfortable with the person she is today.
After she left the “Brotherhood,” the coven of witches in which she was initiated, a deprogrammer told Russo she had two choices: She could either go into a padded room or try and function and contribute to society.
“The padded room was really not that appealing,” Russo said.
6/3/09 - More than 300 years ago, a series of strange events struck old Princess Anne County, Va. farmers.
Cotton plants withered. Cows' milk dried up. Husbands' eyes wandered from their wives.
Who was to blame? According to the local women, Grace Sherwood.
The farmer's wife knew a little too much about herbs, was a little too pretty and wore clothing that was a little too tight, according to local historians. So they accused her of witchcraft.
A judge ordered Sherwood to be tried by ducking. So on July 10, 1706, with her thumbs tied to her big toes, Sherwood was ducked in the Lynnhaven River.
The street leading to her ducking spot now carries her legend as Witchduck Road.
"It's named after Grace Sherwood's ducking," said local historian Deni Norred, who co- wrote "Ghosts, Witches and Weird Tales of Virginia Beach." "She was the first person tried by water in Virginia for witchcraft."
Sherwood escaped her bonds and swam to safety, which the court considered proof of her devilish dealings. The day's wisdom dictated that an innocent woman would have sunk, Norred said.
Sherwood served several years in jail before returning to her three sons. She lived to be nearly 80 and died at her farm in Pungo around 1740.
Witchduck Road isn't the only landmark named after Sherwood or her trial. There's also Witch Duck Bay, Witch Duck Point, Witch Point Trail and Sherwood Lane.
Three years ago, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine exonerated Sherwood. A bronze statue at Sentara Bayside Hospital, located on the corner of Independence Boulevard and North Witchduck Road, honors her legend.
But according to local stories, that legend isn't quite over. Some say Sherwood returns to visit her ducking spot every July and can be seen as a spot of light dancing on Witch Duck Bay.
Grace Sherwood's Story
Early court records tell the tale of Grace Sherwood, who was tried in 1706 as Virginia Beach's first witch. Unfortunately, there are no existing images of Grace. Her story is perhaps the most fascinating of the folklore in the history of Tidewater. Witchcraft was a very serious and real thing to the colonists. The cult was believed to be a threat to the Christian Church, and everyone during the early 1700's was on the lookout for witches, who could be recognized by so-called unusual or mysterious behaviors.
Grace lived her entire life in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach (named for Indian chief Machiopungo), and married James Sherwood with whom she had three sons. She was said to be strikingly attractive, string-willed, and a non-conformist by nature. These traits were resented by her neighbors, who began spreading rumors about her witch-like behavior. She was accused of blighting gardens, causing livestock to die, and influencing the weather.
After eight years of constant slander and bickering by her neighbors, Grace was formally charged with suspicions of witchcraft. A jury of women were ordered to search her body for suspicious or unusual markings, thought to be brands of the devil himself, and naturally the jury found, "marks not like theirs or like those of any other women." However, neither the local court nor the Attorney General in Williamsburg, would pass judgment on declaring her a witch. It was finally decided that Grace, "by her own consent, be tried in the water by Ducking, (dunking)." Water was considered to be the purest element and the theory was that it would reject anything of an evil nature. Based on this theory, the accused was tied up and thrown into the water. If the person drowned, he was declared innocent of witchcraft; if he could stay afloat until he could free himself, he was declared a witch.
On July 10, 1706, Grace was marched from the jail (which located near the present day site of Old Donation Church) down the dirt road (now Witch Duck Road) to the Lynnhaven River. This portion of the river has since been named Witch Duck Bay in memory of the occasion. This being a big event, hoards of people from all over the colony flocked to the scene as news of the Ducking had spread throughout the Commonwealth.
Grace Sherwood was tied crossbound with the thumb of her right hand to the big toe of her left foot, and the thumb of her left hand to the big toe of her right foot, and thrown into the water. As predicted by her accusers, Grace managed to stay afloat until she could free herself and swim to shore. She was jailed and awaiting trial for witchcraft for nearly eight years, when the charges against her were dropped due to the softening of her accusers hearts, and she was set free. She moved back to her Pungo home and lived there until her death at the age of 80.
Many stories have been told and retold over the years about this most remarkable woman. One of the many tall tales that have been handed down from generation to generation has to do with the day of her ducking. When they led Grace Sherwood through the crowd that had turned out to see her put into the water she told them, "All right, all of you po' white trash, you've worn out your shoes traipsin' here to see me ducked, but before you'll get back home again you are goin' to get the duckin' of your life." When they put Grace into the water the sky was as bright blue as a bird's wing, but immediately afterward it grew pitch black, the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed all across the heavens. The terrified people started for home, only to be washed off the roads and into the ditches by a regular cloudburst.
Since the Halloween season is upon us, I hope you enjoy these short classic tales:
The Benevolent Goblin
By Gesta Romanorum - In the kingdom of England there is a hillock in the midst of a dense wood. Thither in old days knights and their followers were wont to repair when tired and thirsty after the chase. When one of their number called out, "I thirst!" there immediately started up a Goblin with a cheerful countenance, clad in a crimson robe, and bearing in his outstretched hand a large drinking-horn richly ornamented with gold and precious jewels, and full of the most delicious, unknown beverage.
The Goblin presented the horn to the thirsty knight, who drank and instantly felt refreshed and cool. After the drinker had emptied the horn, the Goblin offered a silken napkin to wipe the mouth. Then, without waiting to be thanked, the strange creature vanished as suddenly as he had come.
Now once there was a knight of churlish nature, who was hunting alone in those parts. Feeling thirsty and fatigued, he visited the hillock and cried out:
Instantly the Goblin appeared and presented the horn.
When the knight had drained it of its delicious beverage, instead of returning the horn, he thrust it into his bosom, and rode hastily away.
He boasted far and wide of his deed, and his feudal lord hearing thereof caused him to be bound and cast into prison; then fearing lest he, too, might become partaker in the theft and ingratitude of the knight, the lord presented the jeweled horn to the King of England, who carefully preserved it among the royal treasures. But never again did the benevolent Goblin return to the hillock in the wood.
The Old Witch
By The Brothers Grimm - There was once a little girl who was very wilful and who never obeyed when her elders spoke to her - so how could she be happy?
One day she said to her parents, 'I have heard so much of the old witch that I will go and see her. People say she is a wonderful old woman, and has many marvellous things in her house, and I am very curious to see them.'
But her parents forbade her going, saying, 'The witch is a wicked old woman, who performs many godless deeds - and if you go near her, you are no longer a child of ours.'
The girl, however, would not turn back at her parents' command, but went to the witch's house. When she arrived there the old woman asked her:
'Why are you so pale?'
'Ah,' she replied, trembling all over, 'I have frightened myself so with what I have just seen.'
'And what did you see?' inquired the old witch.
'I saw a black man on your steps.'
'That was a collier,' replied she.
'Then I saw a gray man.'
'That was a sportsman,' said the old woman.
'After him I saw a blood-red man.'
'That was a butcher,' replied the old woman.
'But, oh, I was most terrified,' continued the girl, 'when I peeped through your window, and saw not you, but a creature with a fiery head.'
'Then you have seen the witch in her proper dress,' said the old woman. 'For you I have long waited, and now you shall give me light.'
So saying the witch changed the little girl into a block of wood, and then threw it on the fire. When it was fully alight, she sat down on the hearth and warmed herself, saying:
'How good I feel! The fire has not burned like this for a long time!'
The King of Cats
by Ernest Rhys - Once upon a time there were two brothers who lived in a lonely house in a very lonely part of Scotland. An old woman used to do the cooking, and there was no one else, unless we count her cat and their own dogs, within miles of them.
One autumn afternoon the elder of the two, whom we will call Elshender, said he would not go out - so the younger one, Fergus, went alone to follow the path where they had been shooting the day before, far across the mountains.
He meant to return home before the early sunset - however, he did not do so, and Elshender became very uneasy as he watched and waited in vain till long after their usual suppertime. At last Fergus returned, wet and exhausted, nor did he explain why he was so late.
But after supper when the two brothers were seated before the fire, on which the peat crackled cheerfully, the dogs lying at their feet, and the old woman's black cat sitting gravely with half-shut eyes on the hearth between them, Fergus recovered himself and began to tell his adventures.
"You must be wondering," said he, "what made me so late. I have had a very, very strange adventure to-day. I hardly know what to say about it. I went, as I told you I should, along our yesterday's track. A mountain fog came on just as I was about to turn homewards, and I completely lost my way. I wandered about for a long time not knowing where I was, till at last I saw a light, and made for it, hoping to get help.
"As I came near it, it disappeared, and I found myself close to an old oak tree. I climbed into the branches the better to look for the light, and, behold! there it was right beneath me, inside the hollow trunk of the tree. I seemed to be looking down into a church, where a funeral was taking place. I heard singing, and saw a coffin surrounded by torches, all carried by. But I know you won't believe me, Elshender, if I tell you!"
His brother eagerly begged him to go on, and threw a dry peat on the fire to encourage him. The dogs were sleeping quietly, but the cat was sitting up, and seemed to be listening just as carefully and cannily as Elshender himself. Both brothers, indeed, turned their eyes on the cat as Fergus took up his story.
"Yes," he continued, "it is as true as I sit here. The coffin and the torches were both carried by CATS, and upon the coffin were marked a crown and a scepter!"
He got no farther, for the black cat started up, shrieking:
"My stars! old Peter's dead, and I'm the King o' the Cats!" Then rushed up the chimney, and was seen no more.
By Anonymous - A young man and his wife were on a trip to visit his mother. Usually they arrived in time for supper, but they had had a late start, and now it was getting dark, so they decided to look for a place to stay overnight and drive on in the morning.
Just off the road, they saw a small house in the woods. "Maybe they rent rooms," the wife said. So they stopped to ask. An elderly man and woman came to the door. They didn't rent rooms, they said, but they would be glad to have them stay overnight as their guests. They had plenty of room, and they would enjoy the company. The old woman made coffee and brought out some cake, and the four of them talked for a while. Then the young couple were taken to their room. They tried to insist on paying for this, but the old man said he would not accept any money.
The young couple got up early the next morning, before their hosts had awakened. They left an envelope with some money in it on a table near the front door, to pay for the room. Then they went on to the next town. They stopped at a restaurant and had breakfast. When they told the owner where they had stayed, he was shocked. "That can't be," he said. "That house burned to the ground, and the man and the woman who lived there died in the fire."
The young couple could not believe it. So they went back to the house. Only now there was no house. All they found was a burnt-out shell. They stood staring at the ruins trying to understand what had happened. Then the woman screamed: In the rubble was a badly burned table, like the one they had seen by the front door and on the table was the envelope they had left that very morning.
The scenario...an unknown hitchhiker flags down a car and gets into the backseat. As they drive away and travel a short distance, the stranger may say a few words...after which, the phantom suddenly disappears. It's the one encounter that really sends a chill down my spine. I have listed a few 'vanishing prophet' tales followed by disappearing hitchhiker accounts that are published in the media:
A lady was driving and saw a young man walking beside the road. Never before had she picked up a stranger, but she felt that she was to pick up this man so she did. He had a hood over his face and she was not able to see his face at all. She began driving and said to him "Son, where are you going?" He said to her "My lips are near the trumpet." She turned to look at him but he was gone! Startled, she pulled over to the side of the road. As she sat there, a police officer stopped to see why she was parked by the side of the road, telling her that it was too dangerous for her to be there. "I'm so shook up I can't drive" she told him. "Why, what"s wrong?" he asked. She said "If I told you, you wouldn't believe me!" He asked again what had happened and she told him. The officer said to her "You are the fifth person that has told me this!"
A man driving along a busy motorway sees a hitchhiker and stops. The hitchhiker gets in and straightaway announces the 'End of the World.' The way he speaks makes a deep impression, but when he says he is an angel, the driver looks round at him incredulously, and at that very moment there is no one there; he has dissolved into thin air. The driver's surprise is immense. He stops the car, looks around him, and sees a police car approach. "You are by no means the first to tell me this story," says the officer when the driver tells him his tale.
During the latter part of WWII came a pipe-dream rumor which was undoubtedly the most popular of all:
The weird tale of the man who picked up a strange woman in his car. Arriving at her destination, his passenger allegedly offered to pay the man for the gas he had used. But the man refused to accept the money, so the woman offered to tell his fortune. And, as the rumor went, mysteriously she told him, "There will be a dead body in your car before you get home, and Hitler will be dead in six months." Supposedly, then, on the way home the man had seen a serious automobile wreck and had taken one of the victims into his car to rush him to the hospital. But the injured person died en route, which left the hopeful implication that Hitler would therefore be dead within the following six months.
There are many more listed throughout the internet...the 'vanishing prophet' tales
I don't know the validity of the story but it is definitely worth the read:
In 1973 I met two very tall persons, about 8 to 12 feet tall; a man and woman on the side of Mt St Helens. I went there as a prep trip to go canoeing on the, not there now, Spirit Lake. Since it was March, I found the lake under snow drifts so I went up to the top of the mountain to climb it.
As I got out of my VW Super Beetle I was overcome with fear. Terror gripped me.
Try as I might I could not force myself to cross the parking lot to the beginning of the trail where a family were beginning their ascent. I could not move because the fear within me petrified my body.
I then saw in my mind's eye, through my third eye, the mountain blowing up right underneath me. I saw the mountain and the rocks and the trees below me and all around me being superheated and exploding into shreds.
I shouted to the family to get out of there because the mountain was about to blow. They looked at me like I was some nut probably on drugs. I did have long hair in those days.
The day was a beautiful, clear day, and I quickly realized that the sensation I was receiving was only a premonition of an event to come. I fell back into my car and got outta there.
On the way down I stopped at the Lodge where I bought some beer from the owner, Harry Truman, who made a snide comment to me when I stopped to debate getting a bag of chips after buying some beer. I almost, with knowing, said to him that someday he would die up there with his mountain; I didn't, and I left.
Farther down the mountain top as I turned a sharp corner I passed by two persons who were dressed in white robes. At first glance I thought that they were Hari Krishna's out for a hike, and being twenty miles from Toledo, WA I pulled over and got out to offer them a ride to town.
Immediately, two things happened.
First, as I walked up to them I realized that I had to look up at them like I was looking at the top of a basketball net. That realization freaked me out, but I love an adventure. As I walked up to them, I offered to give them a lift to town.
The woman then turned to the man and said quietly, "I thought we were supposed to meet someone here." The man who also had long hair only slightly raised his right hand in my direction to indicate that I was the contactee they were waiting for.
This point was not lost on me.
Next, a car pulled up and asked me if I was alright. Again my senses told me all was not normal...at all. I "knew" the man and car load of four persons, perhaps a man and his wife in the front seat with his daughter and son in the back seat could not see the tall persons towering over me.
I said that I was simply overtaken by the beauty of the scenery and just had to get out and look at it. Slowly, very slowly, they drove away. I had covered for what to then seemed like me talking to imaginary persons.
But they were real, very real.
The woman again turned to the man and said, "He can see us," to which he replied, "He's in an altered state of consciousness."
Then the man turned to me and said, "You deceived them?"
Thinking that I had done them a favor by covering for them, I did not have a ready reply. I then asked them if they wanted a ride to town. I was torn at this point between what I know about my reality on this dimension and what really knew I knew who were standing before me were beings who were not from this dimension.Yet, I could not wholly accept that fact.
The man turned to the woman and said with a sweeping gesture toward the car "Shall we?"
So they walked to the car. I wanted to tell them about what had just happened on top of Mt. St. Helen. As they approached my Super Beetle I knew that they were very very tall; not normally tall but way tall and would not fit in my car.
I said, "Maybe it's not such a good idea," to which the man replied, "We'll fit fine."
Before my eyes those two beings began to shrink. The man got into the back seat along with the lady, which in our culture the man would usually get into the front, right?
After they got in the man turned to the woman and said, "Are you okay?" she said, "I'm fine."
I needed a beer. I opened a Bud (this was rural backwoods Washington State and 1973) and offered them a beer too. I took in my now normal sized guest in the backseat of my souped up Super Beetle.
Their robes were somewhat soiled, and had dirt marks and signs of wear like they had been hiking through the woods. I did not expect this from what I had come to accept as aliens or some kind of angels.
They really looked real. The guy had very long fingers and that's when I saw that, to my surprise, that he had six fingers on his hands!
Since I was driving at the time the man said in a polite but commanding voice, "Turn around and watch the road," to which I replied as any young twenty year old who had already totaled three cars doing stunts...
"I'm good man. I can drive and talk at the same time."
"What are you drinking?" He said,
"It's a Bud," I said.
"What is that," he said.
"Beer, you know, alcohol."
That's when he said, "Alcohol? That's poison."
My guest hesitated for a few seconds before he spoke again,
"Alcohol is going to cause you a lot of problems in your lifetime." He was right about that.
I turned around again to scope out these two hitchhikers. The young woman smiled. They both looked to be in their early thirties. She had long brown hair. His hair was as long as hers which was at least shoulder length
I said, "Toledo's twenty miles away. That would have been a long walk," I said.
"What were you doing on the mountain?" he asked.
My mind was fighting with the thought now of that I just may have two aliens who just shape shifted in size in the back of my car, and who just chewed me out for drinking. I was beginning to question my rationality, and what if they wanted to eat me or something?
I told them all about my experience on the mountain and the feeling and the vision I had just had. That's when he began to give me specific details about the date, the time eruption of Mount St Helen. He even told me how many people were going to die up there.
"About 60 to 70 people will die on that mountain when it erupts," he said.
Sixty eight died on it that May 18th in 1980.
Seven years later I would find myself working for Lewis County as a transporter for Senior Services. I had something to do with the red zone being established, but that's another story. I had told so many predictions about the mountain that came true before the eruption that one grandma, just after it erupted, said "You did it! You made that mountain blow up!"
The alien, or whatever, said something that triggered a repressed memory I had. He said it would happen because of the flood that we had prevented that year.
Then I began to feel real strange about this encounter. I was sure that he could not have known about the topographical map I had drawn in my cabin last year, and how I had highlighted in blue everything in the state of Washington under 3,000 feet and wrote a short story about me and my family living on Mt St Helen Island after the flood, or could he?
"Who are you," I asked.
The woman leaned over to him and quietly with her easy smile asked him, "Should we tell him who we are?"
"No," he said.
Then he said to me, "We're Watchers," he said.
Right about then I knew I had stepped into a forest I did not know the way through.
"I mean what's your names?"
He said his name was, "My name is Geruisyumain."
I said I would not be able to remember his name, and I didn't for thirty three years. Then in a dream I heard his name as he had spoken it.
"And my name is Isyu. It's real easy to remember. Just think about it this way. Say "Is you," and you will remember it."
I did remember it. Also I read something unique about the name IS You and a significance about that name...but again, I can't place what that importance is.. you guys know?
Of all the wonderful questions I could have asked them I failed to do so. I still beat myself up for letting a great opportunity slip through my fingers out of primal fear of the unknown.
We were about ten miles out of Toledo, Washington by then and Gerisyumain said "Pull over, here and when we get out don't look back."
So I pulled over, and let them out. And of course as I pulled away I looked back to see them grow back to their ten-ish or so feet height and then vanish.
Later, the next year in a total accident, I was pinned inside my Super Beetle on a bridge over a river. With no way out and not knowing how to swim, I was lifted out of the window and flown out over the river. I was set down in front of a car and the driver took me to the hospital.
"Who are you?" she asked.
I'm just a man," I replied. It's all that any of us can be.
NOTE: yeah, it's sound a bit fabricated...but who knows. Lon
Spectral Lady Hitches Ride...Then Vanishes
It happened like this: Shortly after midnight on July 11, a police officer in Mechanic Falls, Maine stopped to check on a teenage driver who was frantically flashing his headlights. When the cop approached the car, he found a 16-year-old named David who was badly shaken. The kid was in tears and babbling about something that happened moments ago in Poland.
The story David told was a crazy one but not unique. For generations, travelers through this dark place have told tales of a young lady dressed in white hitchhiking along Route 26. Sometimes she's dressed in a prom dress and sits quietly in the passenger seat. Other times, she is a bride dressed in white or a morose young woman with a cautionary message to deliver.
But our friend David had never heard those stories. He sat in his car stammering and trying to explain to the frowning policeman what had happened.
Just before 2 a.m., David was driving on Route 26 bound for Oxford. In the midst of all the darkness that collects in the middle of the night in Poland, suddenly there was a gleam of light at the roadside.
"She was standing on the side of the road, near the frozen custard place. At first, it was just a white glow," David said. "I drove up closer and saw that it was a woman. She looked to be between 20 and 24. I pulled over and she said, 'Can you bring me to the church on Route 11?'"
You or I might have left 100 yards of peeling rubber on the road as we beat a hasty retreat to a safer and more illuminated patch of the world. Because we have heard the legends before and brother, the Samaritan within us all tends to wither before the mighty force of self-preservation.
But David did the respectable thing and stopped to help the stranger. The woman in white climbed into the car, tucking her gown in around her. Past the middle and high schools they drove. The woman in white asked David if he went to school there. They made small talk but she appeared agitated.
"She asked me if I could start driving faster, because she was late for her wedding," David said.
Those of us who have been around a while know that when a woman found wandering the back roads starts babbling about going to meet her beloved, what you have on your hands is a ghost. We will take appropriate action, which may include flinging ourselves out the window.
But David steeled up and drove on with the curious woman in the wedding gown. He turned onto Route 11, where even greater darkness gathers, and within a quarter of a mile, he found what appeared to be a church. He stopped between two posts out front and asked his eager rider if this was the right place.
"She looked back at me and she looked like a regular person," David said. "She said, 'There is a cop coming.'"
Startled by the comment, David turned to look out the window. Sure enough, the lights of an approaching car appeared and as it passed, he saw that it was a police cruiser. As he continued to watch the police car shrink into the distance, he heard one final word from his passenger.
"She said 'goodbye,'" David said. "When I turned to look at her, she was gone."
I'll give you a moment to rub the chill from your skin.
David is absolutely sure the passenger door of his Camaro was never opened. When he peered out into the night around him, he saw no sign of the woman in white. No brightly glowing gown in all of the blackness along Route 11.
"I was so freaked out," David said. "I didn't stop crying until the next afternoon."
How rattled does a 16-year-old boy in a Camaro have to be to speed off into the night to chase down a police officer? You and I, when we were 16, avoided cops at all costs in the wee hours.
When he found the officer in Mechanic Falls, David begged him for insight. Did you see anyone in my car, officer? Did you see a woman in white climbing out of the passenger side? The officer had seen none of that — only a kid alone in a car sitting at the roadside.
The ghost hitchhiker of Route 26 comes with a variety of stories. In the most common, the woman wandering the dark roads is the murdered bride of George Knight, slashed to death in 1856 in her farmhouse on Route 11. The woman will deliver a warning, or perhaps a prediction, to the person who picks her up. Then she vanishes.
In another version, the roaming woman is the ghost of a young girl killed on her way to the prom. She is said to wander near the Poland Spring Inn, waiting for a ride in her eternal quest to make it to the dance. Like the slain Mrs. Knight, the ghost of the prom girl is said to vanish before the ride is over.
"I don't think it was either of them," David says of his spectral passenger. His research — there is plenty to be found on the Web regarding the ghost of Route 26 — has led him to believe that the lady who sat in his Camaro was a bride struck and killed by a car on the way to her wedding in the 1930s; a woman forever trying to reach the site of that long-ago blessed event and disappearing once she arrives.
David was also told that the man who was to marry the young lady is still alive, an elderly man who lives in Oxford.
The terrain of local legend is a labyrinth of falsehoods, misinformation and tiny kernels of truth that get built upon and built upon like papier-mache over decades of retelling. David relates his tale with excitement but without the kind of rhetorical battering you find in those who are trying to convince you of a lie.
I sought him out for this story; he didn't come to me. He spoke to me only hesitantly once I explained what I was after.
And at last, there is a police report on the matter. The prettily dressed lady may not have identified her killer, or made her way to the altar or the prom. But at the very least, she climbed her way up out of local lore and into the public record.
It took a brave kid in a Camaro to get her there. - SunJournal
A Tombstone Every Mile
"It's a stretch of road, up north in Maine that's never ever, ever seen a smile…"
Those words from the song "A Tombstone Every Mile" refers to the isolated highway in Maine that most folks called the Haynesville Woods. Country singer Dick Curless recorded this song in 1965 and it proved to be his biggest hit.
For many years, this section of Route 2 has made its way through some lonely and remote parts of Maine. Truck drivers and motorists alike dreaded traveling through the Haynesville Woods, especially during the cold and snowy New England winters. The place naturally developed a sinister reputation.
A native of Maine, Curless was one of the few country stars to come out of the Northeast. He was also a former truck driver who knew all too well the dangers of traveling through the Haynesville Woods. The song talks about all the truck drivers and others who were killed in accidents along this stretch of road, hence the title "A Tombstone Every Mile."
Any place that could inspire a song like this one must be scary. And it is probably haunted by those who didn't make it out of there alive.
For many years, people living in that section of Maine talked about seeing a woman in white walking along the road at night. She would appear out of nowhere in front of a tractor-trailer and ask the startled truckdriver for a ride. She would tell the driver that she and her husband had just been in a terrible wreck and they needed help. Those drivers who encountered the mysterious woman said later they could feel a weird chill when she got into their trucks. As they exited the dark Haynesville Woods, the woman would then vanish without a trace, according to a Web site.
The story behind the ghostly hitchhiker was that a newly married couple traveled through the Haynesville Woods one dark night. The husband was drunk and driving and the car crashed into a telephone pole. He died instantly. It is believed that his young wife crawled out of the wrecked car and she froze to death in the snow.
Folks living in that part of Maine believe that the young bride still wanders Route 2, desperately looking for someone to help her.
In another version of the legend, the ghost of a little girl wanders the road between Houlton and Haynesville. Like the young bride, she would try to seek help from truckers and other motorists traveling through there. But in some instances, she would suddenly appear in the passenger or back seats of cars and then just as quickly vanish into thin air.
Some people have talked about driving through the Haynesville Woods at night and seeing a red flashing light off in a distance. It would come closer and closer to their vehicles. Then, a white cloud would float over their vehicle and the flashing light would disappear.
Records from the state of Maine show that two girls, both 10 years old, died on Aug. 22, 1967 in the town of Haynesville. One Web site suggests that the ghosts of these girls could be the ones now haunting that lonely stretch of road "that's never ever, ever seen a smile." - Mcdowell News
Phantom Hitchhiker Sighting Causes Traffic Problems In Northern Ireland Town
This time of year is traditionally associated with high spirits as revellers welcome in another year.
However, a spirit of a different kind has been causing a bit of a commotion outside Coalisland in County Tyrone.
An apparent sighting of a ghost has led to crowds of people descending on the Brackaville area over the holidays.
"At one point, there was a line of up to 60 cars on the Mullaghmoyle Road with people trying to spot it," said Sinn Féin Councillor Desmond Donnelly.
"It wasn't just one night, it was going on for a week or so over the holidays. I'm not sure how it all started - I wouldn't be one for ghosts, but you know how this type of thing spreads.
"If you ask me, it's more likely to be a reflection of the moon on the river that flows through the area. Although the talk is that what was seen was in the shape of a person."
Pat Hughes, speaking at the Central Bar in Coalisland, said the sighting had certainly got people in the town talking.
"Everybody's been talking about it in the bar and it has also caught the imagination of young people," he said.
"It has got to the stage where it's a bit like a drive-in movie."
As with these sorts of things, rumours about what was or was not seen quickly spread. It was claimed the apparition was a woman who had lived locally.
Warren Coates of the Northern Ireland Paranormal Research Association (NIPRA) said he was aware of "previous paranormal activity" in the area.
"It related to a phantom female hitchhiker, but if anybody down there would like us to investigate this latest sighting, we'd only be too happy to help," he said. - BBC
In February 1948, macabre distress calls were picked up by numerous ships near Indonesia. The chilling message was, "All officers including captain are dead lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead." This message was followed by indecipherable Morse code then one final grisly message... "I die."
Through triangulation, the ships identified the vessel as the Dutch freighter SS Ourang Medan and located its approximate position within the straits of Malacca. Of the two American merchant ships that heard the Ourang Medan’s grim message, the 6,507tn Silver Star was the nearest and she raced to the aid of the stricken vessel.
When the rescue vessel arrived on the scene a few hours later, they tried to hail the Ourang Medan but there was no response to their hand and whistle signals. A boarding party was sent to the ship and what they found was a frightening sight that has made the Ourang Medan one of the strangest and scariest ghost ship stories of all time. All the crew and officers of the Ourang Medan were dead. As a May 1952 report of the Proceedings of the Merchant Marine Council put it: “their frozen faces were upturned to the sun, the mouths were gaping open and the eyes staring…” Even the ship's dog was dead, found snarling at some unseen enemy. A trip to the communications room revealed the author of the SOS messages, also dead, his hand still on the Morse sending key, eyes wide open and teeth bared. When nearing the bodies in the boiler room, the rescue crew felt a chill though the temperature was near 110°F. Strangely, there was no sign of wounds or injuries on any of the bodies.
The decision was made to tow the ship back to port but before they could get underway, smoke began rolling up from the hull. The rescue crew left the ship and barely had time to cut the tow lines before the Ourang Medan exploded with such a force that she "lifted herself from the water and swiftly sank”.
To this day, the exact fate of the Ourang Medan and her crew remain a mystery. Some say that pirates killed the crew and sabotaged the ship, others claim that she was transporting an illicit cargo of chemicals such as potassium cyanide and nitroglycerine (both of which become dangerous when combined with sea water). The condition of the bodies found aboard and haunting distress call, however, has led to more rampant speculation...ranging from the inhalation of carbon monoxide to some kind of nefarious UFO intervention. In the end, nobody really knows what happened.
Then again, did the Ourang Medan ever concretely exist? The first mention of the Ourang Medan was in a publication put out by the US National Coast Guard. One would think that meant sources were well documented. But perhaps this isn’t the case.
Several authors note their inability to find any mention of the case in Lloyd’s Shipping Register. Furthermore, no registration records for a ship by the name of Ourang Medan could be located in various countries, including the Netherlands. While some investigators of this case state that the identity of the Silver Star, which was reported to have been involved in the failed rescue attempt, has been established with some certainty, the lack of information on the sunken ship itself has given rise to suspicion about the origins and credibility of the account. Other researchers have put forward the possibility that accounts of, among others, the date, location, names of the ships involved, and circumstances of the accident might have been inaccurate or exaggerated, or that the story might be completely fictitious.
What really happened to the Ourang Medan? Did the ship ever exist? No record of it anywhere would certainly seem to indicate that it didn’t. Was there a cover-up because of top secret cargo? Until a specialized scuba crew can reach the supposed wreckage the only ones who know for sure rest at the dark bottom of the sea.