Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Spooky Case of Mistaken Identity

I love today's Throwback Thursday vintage news article. It's a funny story about mistaken identity, and is even illustrated! The story was published in the September 6, 1907 edition of the Daily Telegram, a Clarksburg, WV newspaper. (The original is available on Chronicling America.) However, the incidents took place in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Since the text is a little hard to see, here's the full transcription:

GHOST ON A BICYCLE
Turns Out to Be a Girl Asleep in Her Nightgown

The ghostlike apparition of a girl astride a bicycle flitting about the streets after midnight will not startle residents in the east end of Fort Dodge, IA any longer.  For weeks pedestrians abroad late at night have been scared.

On a recent night a policeman, attracted by a crash and a scream, ran around a corner and solved the mystery.  He found a young and pretty girl clad in a thin nightdress, which had suffered severely when the wheel she riding struck a brick.  The girl was dazed, but told the policeman where she lived.  He escorted her home and startled her father, a well known merchant, who thought his daughter was safe in bed.

The girl said she had no recollection of her midnight rides.


*Theresa's Note:  I found this story especially interesting because my own mother is a huge sleepwalker, or somnambulist, if you want the fancy title. My biggest fear is that she will attempt to drive off somewhere while in her sleep, but luckily that hasn't happened. The worst she's done so far, to my knowledge, was sleep-order a bunch of crap off a home shopping channel. Usually she just walks around, mumbles about some weird stuff, and eats. Thank goodness she doesn't own a bicycle!

So tell me, are you a sleepwalker or is someone in your family prone to these nighttime escapades? What is the weirdest thing YOU'VE ever done while asleep? What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen a sleepwalker do? Let me know below!




Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Donkey Tree of Kentucky

Kentucky has a lot of weird trees! Last month, I posted about a tree near Paducah that kept trying to tell passersby that there was treasure buried at its roots. Today, however, is dedicated to the Donkey Tree, a cursed tree near Springfield.

Source


Like all urban legends, the story behind the Donkey Tree changes slightly depending on who is telling it. Along with the background, the consequences of visiting the cursed tree also change from person to person. But, here's the gist:

There was once a farmer who was especially cruel to his donkey, and would often beat the animal severely. One day, the farmer took it too far and beat the animal to death. Atop the site where the donkey died (or was buried) grew what is today known as The Donkey Tree.

Visitors to the spooky tree, which does closely resemble a donkey, believe that the tree is cursed. It is said that anyone who touches the tree will have bad luck. Some believe that touching the tree will result in the person being in an accident, and some even say that its a death sentence. On the flip side, putting an apple in the 'donkey's' mouth is considered good luck. If you do put an apple in its mouth and then leave, you'll find that the apple has mysteriously disappeared by the time you get back.

According to the Donkey Tree Facebook page, in October 2014, people began contacting the admins of the site to report that they were hearing the sounds of a child laughing or crying near the tree between the hours of 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Even stranger, the Facebook page mentions that an abandoned car was found in front of the Donkey Tree in September of 2015. The car allegedly belonged to a YouTuber from Indiana who was visiting the area to shoot a documentary for his channel. No updates were ever posted, and I couldn't find any additional information on this case.

Having said that, if you're still brave enough to visit the Donkey Tree yourself, it's located on Valley Hill Road in Springfield, KY. Roadside America gives the following directions:

Directions:  From Springfield drive north on Hwy 55/Bloomfield Rd. Just past the nursery on the left, turn left onto Valley Hill Rd. The tree is on the left, just past the little one lane bridge.

*Kentucky has donkey trees...West Virginia has men's faces in rocks.  It's all thanks to the wonders of Pareidolia!  Learn more about pareidolia at the link provided!*


Monday, April 23, 2018

If I Were a Ghost



I don't WANT to come back as a ghost. But, knowing me, I will. I'm one of those people who fear, and even resist, change. The thought of what lies beyond this world terrifies the heck out of me...so I'll probably be too scared to follow any white light and thus, get stuck here on Earth for who knows how long.

I'm not entirely sure how I would spend my time as a ghost, though. Maybe I'll try to watch over my loved ones, especially my son.  Maybe I'll haunt someplace that makes me happy, such as a library, museum, amusement park or zoo.  Or, maybe I'll just float around, wailing, and occasionally screwing with the pictures on peoples' walls!

If YOU found yourself "living" as a ghost, how would you spend your time? Let me know in the comments, or hop over to Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page and join the discussion there! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Eleanor Cooper's Ghost



On January 28, 2012, Stuart Cheveralls and his partner Natalie visited London's Dominion Theater. They were there to see the We Will Rock You show, and after settling into their seats to wait for the show to start, Stuart used his iPhone 4 to snap a quick selfie of himself and Natalie.

While going over the pictures the next day, Stuart noticed that he and Natalie weren't alone! At the time of the photo, the couple was sitting at the end of a row of seats. The two seats directly behind them were unoccupied---they'd be filled later on by two men who arrived late to the show. But what showed up in the photo was definitely not an empty seat, nor was it a dude arriving late to the show!

What Stuart saw made the hair on his arms stand up. What showed up directly between him and Natalie was the ghostly pale image of a young girl! Intrigued, Stuart began doing some research on the theater, and found that it had a haunted reputation.

The Dominion Theater was built atop the site of the old Meux Brewery. On October 17, 1814, tragedy struck when a vat of beer burst. Over 3500 barrels of liquid were released, collapsing a wall and part of the roof, and reigning terror among the nearby citizens.  One of those citizens was a 14 year old girl named Eleanor Cooper who was a servant of Richard Hawes.

According to the British Library's Untold Lives Blog, "Richard Hawes gave evidence at the coroner’s inquest held on Wednesday19 October that he was in the tap room of the Tavistock Arms at 5.30pm on the previous Monday when he heard a crash. The back part of his house was beaten in and everything in his cellar destroyed. Beer was pouring into his pub and across the street. Eleanor Cooper was in the yard washing pots and her body was dug out from the ruins nearly three hours later. She was found standing by the water butt."

In total, 8 people lost their lives, many of them children. It's no wonder that staff and visitors to the Dominion Theater have reported the phantom sounds of a giggling child and the apparition of a brew-master! But the big question is...

Does this photo really show a ghost and if so, is it the ghost of Eleanor Cooper? Although Stuart claims that there was no trickery involved, many people don't agree. What about you? Do you think this is the real deal, or not?


Source:
Matthew Tucker: 'Theatre Ghost Picture Is Real' Insists Photographer Stuart Cheveralls - Are You Convinced?  (HuffPost, 31 October 2012)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Death and the Dancer



This spooky aquatint engraving was done by illustrator Joshua Gleadah, around 1822. According to the Oxford Index, "Joshua Gleadah executed a few engravings for A Treatise on the Principles of Landscape Design; with General Observations and Instructions to Young Artist by John Varley (1778-1842); and Journey Through Part of the Russian Empire by R. Johnston; and Album of the Spirit."  He was active between the years of 1815 and 1836.  

Aside from Death and the Dancer, Gleadah is responsible for two similar works, Death and the Industrious Wife, and Death and the Warrior. All three images are presumably from the same time frame and same publication.  They can be found on the Wellcome Collection's online database. 



Friday, April 20, 2018

Demons for Sale

If I managed this produce department, I'd FIRE the writer of this sign. Not only is it really weird that he/she chose to randomly use a cursive 'L' for lemons when all other letters are printed...but this sign contains one of my biggest pet peeves in the whole demon-infested world. If you are writing that something costs x amount of cents, and you use the cents sign, then you do NOT need to add the decimal!!! By adding the decimal, you're actually stating that the price of the lemons shown here are less than 4 tenths of a penny. Every time I see a sign like this, I want to challenge the cashier and refuse to pay anything but what is stated right there on the sign.  Wow, this sign really is demonic, lol. It has brought out a terribly ugly side of my personality, lol. 


Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Stinky Streak



Don't let the silly title of today's blog post fool you! This vintage West Virginia ghost? creature? oddity? story was reported in Cooper's Clarksburg Register on Wednesday, August 8, 1853 and sounds pretty horrifying! It appears that the original tale appeared in the Buckhannon Observer, so I would imagine that the strange events took place in that area.  However, I'm not EXACTLY sure what those strange events were!

While out riding, a group of men noticed movement in the distance. It streaked past them at remarkable speed, sounding like a buggy. It was dark brown in color, and smelled strongly of tar. The horses were spooked and a couple of men were even knocked to the ground. Upon returning to town, the men found that the THING, whatever it was, had passed through there as well, much to the puzzlement of the local citizenry. It was headed west, leading the people to surmise that this thing would show up in Weston and Parkersburg as well.

This is definitely one of the weirder articles I've come across, and much like the citizens of Buckhannon back in 1853, I couldn't even fathom a guess as to what it was that was experienced by such a large number of people. It certainly doesn't sound like a classic ghost story. Could it have been a Bigfoot? Were the sable garments actually dark brown fur? Bigfoot experiences are often reported as being accompanied by a foul odor.  However, I've never known such a creature to move that fast, nor sound like buggy. Perhaps it was some sort of demonic or other non-human entity.

I hope you enjoyed today's Throwback Thursday post as much as I did!  Join me over on Theresa's Haunted History Facebook and let me know YOUR theories!