Friday, November 6, 2009

Devil's Tramping Ground

Hi! This is my first entry...I'm so happy that Nickie, Bridget and I have gotten together to collaborate on this blog. I have always been a huge fan of the paranormal, the bizarre and the macabre. I was the only person I knew who subscribed to the Twilight Zone magazine and had fascinations with paranormal tv shows. I may be dating myself here, but I was obsessed with the television show "Werewolf" that came on Fox when Fox was a fledgling tv network. They had a 1-800 number you could call each week after the show and listen to a new recording about werewolf sightings and information. I think I wore out the numbers on my swatch phone calling multiple times every week. I was also obsessed with my home state's legends. Though I love California and lived there for many years (it is truly my second home) and have many ghost stories to share of my time there, I am originally from North Carolina, who has it's own share of spooky legends and stories. I am proudest that my state had an entire college department investigating the paranormal at one time (sadly, it no longer exists)-- Go DUKE! The experiments and research that happened there are famous in the paranormal community.

Not far from my hometown exists an area that is known simply as "The Devil's Tramping Ground." It is an area in the middle of the woods (no, seriously, it was in the middle of nowhere) where all vegetation has ceased to grow. It is a little barren area of dirt. Specifically in a circle that is 40 foot diameter. Nothing grows in the path of the circle. Items that are placed in the middle of the circle or in the circle's path will be moved out of the way or out of the circle when checked in the morning. It is said this is the very spot where the Evil One comes each night to stomp around and plot his nefarious plans for mankind.

Scientists have tested the soil; there's no reason they can find that nothing grows here. There have been numerous geological tests. This area has been this way for at least 100 years. The theories range that it must have had something to do with the old Druids, aliens, and possible Satanic rituals. It is a regular "dare" destination: many people go out there to party and scare each other. No one usually ends up spending the whole night there. No one is brave enough!

I wanted to go out there and see it for myself when I was in high school, until my Dad told me about the experiences he and his friends had there when he was younger. They tried to spend the night and couldn't. They kept hearing horrible noises as if a lot of people were coming closer to the site. They got freaked out and left. I probably would have too. But I promised my Dad I wouldn't try to spend the night there either, so I never have.

Here's a photo of the spot in 2007. Even the NC Dept of Agriculture doesn't know what to make of the place. If you're ever in Chatham County, NC with some free time-- grab a tent and a sleeping bag and see if you can stay the whole night!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween--I'll be outta town!

Happy Halloween everyone!
Just wanted to say that in advance as I will not be around on Oct. 31st--gotta go get my "ghoul-on" in Atlantic City!
Will have lots of fun costume shots to throw up here because honestly, how can you be into the paranormal and not into Halloween???
Yeah, thought so.
Posted by: Nickie

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Willard Library's "Lady in Grey"

I hail from Evansville, IN.

One of my favorite aspects of this southern Indiana town is it's famed Willard Library.

Many believe it to be haunted, many books and camera crews have dedicated time to this very subject.
The story is documented in many books on famous hauntings, as well as many Ghost Hunter type television shows.
Please, familiarize yourself on this subject, and try to capture the "Lady in Grey" yourself by visiting the 3 ghost-cams they've so kindly set up for the internet public's viewing pleasure.
If you think you got something, make sure to click the camera and submit immediately!
(the "Lady in Grey")

(Willard Library; located in Evansville, IN)

"The Victorian building is a beautiful, gothic masterpiece that is home to a vibrant library of artistic and cultural artifacts.
It's also home to a spiritual presence, an apparition, a veiled lady in grey... a haunting... a ghost."
More on this story: HERE

-Posted by Nickie

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Beginning

This is the beginning of a wonderful collaboration between 3 talented, inquisitive, savvy, gorgeous ghouls. We all come from different towns, strewn across the eastern half of the US. We similarly grew up on bad horror flicks, (which I readily admit most of 'em scared me sh#@less!) and had a decent dose of god-fearing religion (at least I know I did!). We are brought together by the desire to explore the mysterious part of human existence—what happens in the thereafter and why these ghostly encounters, sometimes horrific stories, have such a pull in our lives and culture. 

I've had a few run-ins with spirits mostly between the years 2-11. In my college years I’ve also had some experiences. It was terrifying to remember them and I resisted exploring this until, a kind friend mentioned, now 6 years back, that para should be negated from the word paranormal. If considered a normal, natural event, the occasion of encountering a spirit would be less like a B horror movie and more like encountering another amazing facet of our existence. 

In starting out on this exploration I have many "big" questions. Why are some spirits still here? Is it a conscious decision to stay? Are they stuck in a rut or confused? Or is it that they have a message for the living? There are many reasons I'd heard of, some irrational sounding, like an attachment to a piece of furniture. Before I become the next "Ghost Whisperer," I'd like to better understand current stories, the accounts of local people in real time who claim to have experiences similar to mine. The comparison and dialogue could shed light on those questions and better aid me in any future ghostly encounters that I may have. Perhaps going on our outings and experiencing a contact with ghosts will bring answers regarding the idea of a universal idea of mankind as a species. Who knows, it may help confirm a few theoretical and philosophical questions I've had.

I've always been interested in history. If only we paid attention to the mistakes of the past so as not to repeat them over and over again... One of the highlights of the tour we took last Friday was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory site (Currently the top three floors of the NYU biology building). This site is a perfect example of a human tragedy that in time strengthened the Nation's and International labor movements. 

Another remarkable feature was the all too familiar doofy hangout spot, Washington Square Park. I learned that long before it became a NYU haunt, it served as a Potter's Field and Yellow Fever mass burial ground, as well as various churchyard cemeteries throughout the late 18th C to mid- 19th Centuries. To this day, they speculate 15,000-20,000 bodies buried underneath. A gallows hung on the premises as well.

I know that NYC has more crazy spirit / person per capita to discover. We just now have to figure out our methods and see how to find them. I was convinced that my poke at Peter Stuyvesant's nickname would coax him out of St. Marks Church, but I guess in 300 or so years, he's become used to the sarcasm.

I am happy to be a part of this ghoulishly delightful association. I want to thank Nickie for putting this blog together. As we walked through the damp, mystical city streets with our trusty tour guide last Friday night, I couldn't help but feel like we were on a great adventure, even comical, like a Scooby-Doo episode.  Nickie got some pics with unexplained results, even though it was overall misty and raining night.  I look forward to unveiling what I can of this great mystery with the greatest reverence, respect and goodwill for all that we may encounter. And hey, maybe we can help another ghoul out! 

Here is a great link I found on The Triangle Factory Fire:


Sunday, October 25, 2009

NITE OUT: Ghosts of NY (walking tour)

As posted, the Ghouls had their first outing on Friday, October 23rd.  It consisted of two walking tours, visiting locations notorious for their reports of haunting or the unexplainable.  
The walking tours were given by Ghosts of New York licensed guides.    

Before I take you on a photographical journey of Friday night, let's introduce you to the three Ghouls behind this blog, and a few of their friends who agreed to partake in the event.

Nickie: 1st ghoul
(don't judge by the drink in her hand...she drinks this stuff like it's water)

Jarrett: the boyfriend (practically forced to come along)
(the skeptic, and overall not interested one of the group)

Nickie and the rest of the gang:
(from left: Bridget-fellow ghoul, Leah, Mel, Nickie, Eric, and Jana-fellow ghoul)

The East Village walk started out with Peter Stuyvesant, A.K.A. "Peg-Leg Pete", his tomb within St. Mark's Church in the Bowery, a creepy bust of him, and two sets of lights that eerily went on and off.
One of the lights was above his tomb, the photo on the left is "off", the photo on the right is the same light.  This "on-off" activity happened several times while we spoke about his final resting place. 

Call me crazy, but this is a rather large moisture droplet if that's what you want to call it.  I find the shape of it to be interesting, a possible orb???  Maybe ol' Peg leg Pete paying a visit?

Another stop, McSorely's Old Ale House...
a favorite watering hole of Harry Houdini. 
McSorely's boasts being the oldest ale house in the city, along with being allowed to stay open and fully operational during the prohibition (it pays to know people in high places).
Houdini gave them handcuffs from his very last performance/escape.  
To this day, they still remain in the bar.
Houdini, as well as accounts of small children in the bar, have been witnessed to this day.  And by the way, the "small children", they're dressed in old garb, not modern day fashions.

One of the most interesting stories came from the Merchant House.
Not to mention, this place boasts to be the Most Haunted House in the city!

The last stop on the tour was what is now a restaurant called Il Buco
Back in the 19th Century, it was a favorite wine bar of Edgar Allan Poe.
I will not get into the unexplained happenings in the cellar to this day, but I will enlighten with the tidbit of thought that
  this place could've been Poe's inspiration behind 
"The Cask of Amontillado"

The second tour through the West Village began at one of the last fire stations in the city.

Then onward to Washington Square Park
built over the top of 15,000-20,000 graves, of which still remain buried below.
This was the point of most "activity" throughout the evening.
At this point, I must admit it was drizzly and very soggy outside.  But someone, kindly explain how these "raindrops" (as the more skeptical would have it) seem to be traveling upward!?!???
Below is the site of many hangings, back when NYC used this as a method of justice, seeing many criminals to a final demise:
And the sight to my most intriguing photos of the evening...
Seriously, look at that dragon-like demon looking object...

Then to W. 10th Street, and a residence to many over the years....
said to be home to 22 different spirits; 
one of which is Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) 
and a ghost-cat.

The final stop on Friday's tours was Edgar Allan Poe's house.
He's said to be seen in the second floor window, writing by candlelight.

There were many other stops along the tours that I did not get into such as Cooper Union--a theater President Lincoln attended, a theater Washinton Irving is said to haunt, and the building to which the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 occured.

While some may dismiss these stories or simply chalk them up to pure whimsy, whatever the case, the tours were extremely informative and fun.  I also plan to make another trip, or many, back to Washington Square Park to document more.  Perhaps this will be the next Nite Out???

-Posted by: Nickie

Friday, October 23, 2009

1st Nite Out

Welcome readers, this evening will be the Ghouls'

1st Nite Out!

Tonight's Agenda:
I promise pictures, stories, and goosebumps for myself.
Check back this weekend...and thank you for stopping by.
-Posted by: NICKIE