Monday, October 17, 2016

The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis-MTEP 14

MTEP 14-The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis



Mystery Tidbits Episode 14-The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis
Listen at Podcasts.com 
It can also be found on itunes

Music for this episode was provided by www.bensound.com


He was a field scientist. A man who was sent to chronicle botanical, zoological, meteorological, geographic, and ethnographic information. However to most people back in the early 1800's and today, Meriwether Lewis is best known as an explorer. He and William Clark led the Lewis and Clark expedition through areas of Americas center that, as far as we know, no one has explored, with the exception to the Native Americans of course. To put this in perspective-For those of you who were around when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first step foot on the moon and how big of an event it was, this was as big of a deal for Americans in the countries infancy as that. The expedition took them down the Ohio River, up the Missouri River, across the continental divide into the Pacific ocean. When they returned home they were treated as elites for accomplishing a major task that had been thrust upon them by President Thomas Jefferson.(1)

Lewis received payment for his efforts as well as 1600 acres of land. He was also made governor of the Louisiana territory in 1808. Oh, yes, and did I mention that he had accomplished all of this by the time he was 34 years of age?

I wish I could say that everything worked out for Lewis in the end, and that he lived a long and healthy life basking in the success of his valiant effort, however, I cannot. Lewis died a year after being appointed governor, in 1809, at 35 years old. To many historians his death is believed to have been a suicide, but there are many out there who are convinced that rather, he was murdered. Evidence exists for both claims.

Prior to Lewis's death he had planned a trip to Washington, DC in order to resolve some "issues regarding the denied payment of drafts he had drawn against the war department while serving as governor of the upper Louisiana territory leaving him in potentially ruinous debt." (2) For this specific journey he was to travel on a ship from New Orleans. He changed his plans and decided to take an overland route instead which would take him on the Natchez Trace and then East to Washington. On the evening of October 10, 1809 Louis and his two servants arrived at and inn known as Grinders inn. It was a poorly built cabin that took an overnight customers but nevertheless it was still a roof over their head. Mr. grinder was away therefore Mrs. grinder and her children were left alone to hold down the fort.


According to Mrs. grinder, after Lewis had checked in and settled down for the evening Louis had began to act quite strange, pacing in front of the cabin as if extremely nervous about something. She even stated that at dinner he started speaking to himself in a violent manner. He then lit a pipe, told Mrs. Grinder what a pleasant evening it had been and then proceeded to pace the yard. As Mrs. Grinder prepared Louis a bed he told her that since the Louis and Clark expedition he could no longer sleep on a feather bed and that he would sleep on the floor. His servants went to the barn for the evening and Mrs. grinder to the kitchen. She claimed that for several hours she could hear Lewis pace and speak to himself in the lingo that a lawyer might use. 

In the early hours of October 11, Mrs. Grinder heard a gunshot and then heard Louis fall to the floor and yell "Oh Lord". She then heard another gun shot. He had been shot once through the head and once through the chest. He had survived both gunshots managed to pull himself out of his room and say "Oh Madame give me some water and heal my wounds." Mrs. Grinder did not immediately go to the aid of Lewis but instead waited until first light and sent her children to go grab his servants. He supposedly told his servants that he tried to kill himself to deprive his enemies of the pleasure and honor of doing it and then proceeded to tell his servants to take his rifle and blow out his brains and that they could have all his money from the trunk. Shortly after this Louis passed away. (3)

It truly sounds like a suicide and perhaps most likely it was. Let's take a look at the suicide scenario. 

Lewis was young. Extremely young to have taken on what he did from the expedition to his governorship. Perhaps he was extremely stressed by these undertakings and not to mention he was in pretty bad debt as well. This alone could make A person question life, not knowing if constantly worrying about money is worth living.

There is one theory that persists which could have caused his stress to become amplified. We all know of the famous book or movie Alice in Wonderland and one of its most infamous characters, the Mad Hatter. We all know that the Mad Hatter is a little off...or crazy. Well this goes back to the days of fur hat making. Hatmaker's would use mercury to treat the fur and then they would shape the hats with bare hands. The mercury would be absorbed into the bloodstream and in most cases would cause mercury poisoning. Chronic low level exposure to such a metal overtime can cause many issues including aggressive behavior, memory loss, depression, irritability and learning deficits, not to mention physical problems such as liver and kidney dysfunction, fatigue, infertility and headaches.(4) So what does this have to do with Meriwether Lewis? Well, Lewis needed a fair amount of medicines for the expedition. His medical advisor Dr. Benjamin Rush told Louis the following "when you feel the least in disposition do not attempt to overcome it by labor or marching. Rest in a horizontal posture. Also fasting and diluting drinks for a day or two will generally prevent an attack of fever. To these preventatives of disease may be added a gentle sweat obtained by warm drinks, or gently opening the bowls by means of one, two, or more of the purging pills.The purging pill was generally known as "Thunderclappers". Rush felt that basically they were a cure-all. These pills were, unfortunately, composed of Calomel, A mixture of six parts mercury to one part chlorine and Jalep. This was the preferred treatment for syphilis which was used up until World War II when penicillin came to be.(5) To add more insult to injury it is said that Thomas Jefferson reported that Lewis's family history was said to have been filled with manic depressants, bi-polar disease as we know it today.(6) So with all of the evidence I just spoke of is it probable that suicide was the cause of death? Absolutely, however because conspiracy theories exist on the contrary it is important to discuss them as well.

Was Lewis murdered? 

If Lewis wasn't having a mental break down and as Mrs. Grinders account tells us that Louis was talking to himself before the gunshots rang out, then if it wasn't himself he talking to then who was is? A drifter? His servants? Perhaps Mr. Grinder came back unnoticed and after an altercation shot Louis Dead, told his wife to make up a story and then fled, after all it is said that John Grinder was later arrested and brought to trial before a grand jury for the murder of Lewis, however charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. According to historian Jon Guice, who is a retired professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi and editor of the book By His Own Hand? The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis, there is scant evidence for suicide and several possible motives for murder. He states that "There were many people in St. Louis who were unhappy with his decisions concerning property and mining rights and money" He also said that Lewis was in a bad neighborhood of Tennessee especially for someone carrying large amounts of cash guice also wonders where all of Lewis's money went because again according to Guice "When they inventoried his possessions, there was no mention of any money."(7)


Now this is curious to me because if you remember from earlier in the story Lewis had "told" his servants to take his rifle, blow out his brains and take all of the money from his trunk. Could his servants have a murdered him for his money? I suppose it's entirely possible, especially when stories of eyewitnesses don't add up.

Either way Lewis's ending was tragic, especially for a man who dedicated so much of his life to the exploration of America and service to America in general. One thing is for certain though, and that is that Meriwether Lewis will never be forgotten

(3)-From Undaunted Courage, Written by Stephen E. Ambrose, pg. 473-475
(5)-From Undaunted Courage, Written by Stephen E. Ambrose, pg. 89

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Keseberg the Cannibal"-MTEP13

"Keseberg the Cannibal"-MTEP13

Mystery Tidbits Episode 13-"Keseberg the Cannibal"
Listen at Podcasts.com 
It can also be found on itunes

Music for this episode was provided by www.bensound.com

We all know it. The stranger than fiction story that encompasses humans having to eat other humans in order try and survive a long, harsh winter, trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Most of us hear the words "Donner Party" and instantly think of a group who found themselves so hungry that their only option was to become cannibals. But that's typically where people leave it. Most people have probably never even looked into the whole story to figure out why they did what they did. There are journal entries that explain their situation and to be honest, who are we to judge their actions. Hunger, the cold, and isolation can, in some cases, make someone do things that otherwise they may not. This group i'm sure didn't happily choose to eat each other but rather did it out of desperation, at least most of them anyway. The story goes that one member of the Donner Party may have developed an unhealthy appetite for human flesh, a Mr. Louis Keseberg to be exact.

It is appropriate to first, in a condensed fashion that is,to give a little background of the Donner trip from its genesis.

It was spring of 1846 and a man by the name of George Donner had placed an advertisement in the Springfield Illinois Gazette for as many as 8 young men basically touting that, to those interested, much land was available for the taking in California, and it wouldn't cost them anything. It wasn't just young men that answered the call however, it was whole families.

The exact number of people associated with the Donner party varies, but it was approximately 87 Men, Women and Children. Their journey west began 3 years before the gold rush in 1846 as part of the settling of the west . Along their journey a few members passed away but it wasn't until their use of an untried shortcut, known as the Hastings cutoff, that would cut the lives of some 40 people short. The Cutoff proved unsuccessful and fatal when it was discovered to be more treacherous than thought, which added more time to their trip and ended up leaving them stuck in the Sierra Nevada mountains during one of the harshest winters known in that area.

It was late October of 46' and the first blizzard hit them hard. They stopped and proceeded to build shelters and after being weeks behind schedule, the party soon found that their food supply had become diminished, They had even resorted to boilihng and eating the hides of their cattle.  One can imagine how hungry a person can get when they haven't eaten for a while. Members of the party began to die within the Sierra Nevada Mountains and that's when the survivors made the decision to partake of the deceased, giving them a glimmer of hope that they might survive.

Now, it is said that one member of the Donner Party, Louis Keseberg, developed an unhealthy appetite for human flesh. It is said that he loved it so much that rather than waiting for members of the party to die of starvation or of the cold, that he would murder the party members just to satisfy his cravings. Of course this sounds like a legend, and perhaps it is, but their is some pretty heavy evidence to back the claims up.

A party member named Tamsen Donner had a choice to make. A rescue crew was being sent in to take her and her children to California and her choice was either to stay with her dying husband or leave with the rescue crew with her children, leaving her husband alone to die. She opted to send her children with the crew and she stayed with her husband. When Rescue crews came back to pick up any remaining survivors, Keseberg was the only one still alive.

Now, Tamsen Donner and her family supposedly had some gold and silver that they had brought along on their trek west and it is also said that Keseberg was most likely healthy and strong enough to leave with earlier rescue parties but his accusers state that he stayed put because of his love for human flesh and organs as well as his desire to steal the Donner's riches. According to the final rescue teams leader, Thomas Fallon, in a diary he is said to have kept he states that they "Expected to find some of the sufferers alive.  Mrs. Donner and Keseberg in particular.  Entered the cabins, and a horrible scene presented itself.  Human bodies terribly mutilated, legs, arms, and skulls scattered in every direction.  One body supposed to be that of Mrs. Eddy lay near the entrance, the limbs severed off, and a frightful gash in the skull.  The flesh was nearly consumed from the bones, and a painful stillness pervaded the place."

Pretty harsh....

Of course, because the information is out there and it would not be fair to omit one important claim. According to B. Scott Christmas in his book Tragedy in the Sierra Nevada A Narrative of the Donner Party, He states that most likely the said journal was invented by the newspaper that had published its entries and that the journal in question has never been found. In any event, it is all part of the lore behind the Donner Party and therefore is still relevant. 

Continuing on with the journal, there are supposedly many accusations against Keseberg in it, one particularly disturbing incident is that he blatantly ignored available cattle beef which was uncovered by the melting snow and chose the human flesh instead, and of course was accused of stealing the Donner money. Keseberg allegedly  stated that the rescue crew  threatened to hang him if he didn't tell them where the money was. He eventually gave in and gave them what gold he had and told them where the silver was buried. 

Keseberg, having survived a harsh situation, was rescued and started a new life in California, but i'm sure it couldn't have been easy, you see he had become the villain. He was known as "Man-eater" and "Keseberg the Cannibal" for the rest of his days. He had been accused of killing people, for food. I suppose it's one thing to eat the already dead out of necessity, but to blatantly kill for the pure pleasure is, well, just wrong. Keseberg was known to rub people the wrong way. It is said that he was abusive to his wife and that his children hated him, so even if he didn't actually do the things he was accused of, it could have been just a good excuse to rub his name through the dirt by the ones that also survived the trek west with the Donner crew. His life after the event was difficult. Aside from losing 2 of his children during the expedition, and having lost one some time before the expedition, he had 8 more children, all but one preceded him in death Working was difficult because once people found out who he was he became a laughingstock.

Kesebergs story is sad, but whats more sad is the entire tragedy of the Donner Party. Its a good reminder to, for the most part, Follow the Beaten path.

Sources:
http://rootdig.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-donner-party-in-newspaper-before-it.html
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/introduction/donner-introduction/
http://articles.latimes.com/1986-05-11/news/vw-5740_1_donner-party/2
http://www.bookrags.com/ebooks/11146/166.html#gsc.tab=0

Be sure to check out B. Scott Christmas book Tragedy in the Sierra Nevada: A Narrative of the Donner Party at https://www.amazon.com/Tragedy-Sierra-Nevada-Narrative-Donner-ebook/dp/B0066YVC5Q


Monday, August 8, 2016

Sailor Superstitions-MTEP 12

Sailor Superstitions-MTEP12



Mystery Tidbits Episode 12-Sailor Superstitions
Listen at Podcasts.com 
It can also be found on itunes

Music for this episode was provided by www.bensound.com

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines superstition as "A belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck: a belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad luck". I think it is safe to say that all of us have heard some of the most common superstitions before, Don't walk under a ladder, Beginners luck, Find a penny pick it up, and Black cats crossing your path is of course bad luck. Most of us write these superstitions off as just being sill and made up, however, there is a good number of people who believe that their luck, good or bad, is made from following, or not following these superstitious rituals. One certain group who has a myriad of superstitions are seafarers. The ocean is vast. It almost seems never ending. Many say that we know more about space and its outer reaches than we know about our own planets oceans. So it would make sense I suppose for one to create beliefs to keep them safe while traveling the high seas for their living, after all, the ocean is full of the unknown. Here are five of the top superstitions that sailors put into practice.

1.No Bananas on Board
Sounds strange right? it's just a simple, delicious fruit, what could be so bad about a banana on board a ship? Bananas apparently have been known to bring bad luck on ships. During the trading empire between spain and the Caribbean in the 1700's most ships that disappeared were carrying bananas as cargo. Who knows my a lot of pirates had a major hankering for bananas. Other theories persist that bananas are bad luck because bananas spoil quickly. When transporting them, sailors had to get them to their destination quickly. This means that the fisherman on board couldn't really stop to catch anything, therefore gaining a major dislike for the fruit. Bad luck, no, just inconvenient. Perhaps the most frightening reason sailors consider bananas bad luck is because a deadly species of spiders can possibly hid within the peels of the banana. The bite of this spider could supposedly cause a sailor to die very suddenly. It seems "No Bananas on Board" is more so for practical reasons, however, it may be safer to just leave the delicious, yellowy goodness on land.

2.No Women on Board a Ship....Unless She is Naked
As one can imagine, a crew full of men out in the middle of the ocean for months at a time can get pretty anxious for a woman's touch, or just for the sight of a woman for that matter, this is why it's said that having a women on board a ship is bad luck, because it was distracting to the sailors. This distraction in turn caused the sea to become angered. The sea Gods would cause horrible water conditions as revenge. The one exception to no women on board though was that if she was somewhere on the ship naked, she actually calmed the sea. This is supposedly the reason why so many ships had figure heads on their bow that were women with bare breasts.

3.Never Rename your Vessel 
It is said that one should never rename a vessel. This is because once a vessel is built, or born, and it is given a name, it begins to develop a mind and character of its own. This one, to me anyway, actually makes a tiny bit of sense.

4.Never Kill an Albatross
An Albatross is one of those winged creatures that most people call a "bird" It is thought to be very bad luck to kill an albatross, for it is believed that these creatures carry away the souls of sailors lost at sea, however, to see an Albatross fling over the ocean is considered good luck. A cargo vessel crew in 1959 supposedly went on strike after an albatross that they had been transporting in a cage died. The main generator for the ship broke down and the hot water heating system failed. The captain had told newspaper that the albatross was probably to blame for the strike.

5.Burial at Sea
It is said that having a dead body on board your ship is bad luck. Once a sailor had lost his life, it was imperative that the corpse be buried at sea as soon as possible after death but never parallel to the line joining the bow and stern of the ship. If a body must stay on the ship, when it docks the deceased must be take off first before anyone else disembarks.

Are superstitions strange? I personally don't think so. It is no different than the egyptians, greeks or christians believing in their gods and trying to do what they feel their gods want as to appease them so that destruction and chaos don't strike. We are human, and perhaps maybe we are all just a little obsessive compulsive.

Refrences:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/superstition

http://www.boaterexam.com/blog/2011/07/boater-superstitions.aspx

http://www.maritimemuseum.co.nz/top-20-sailing-superstitions

http://www.steppingintobooks.com/JRogers%20Pirate%20School/N3-Superstitions.htm

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ghostly Garnet-MTEP11



Ghostly Garnet-MTEP11

Mystery Tidbits Episode 11-Ghostly Garnet
Listen at Podcasts.com 
It can also be found on itunes

Music for this episode was provided by www.bensound.com


Ghost Towns, probably some of the more intriguing land marks to visit and explore in the United States. Full of mystery and history, these sites can make for some exciting sightseeing and they can open your mind to wonder what exactly  happened there. Were the gun fights? Was there murder? Probably so.

Many Ghost Towns of the west were built for the sake of miners. A place to house them while they looked for their treasures in the hills. But when the gold or silver runs out and those towns become abandoned and desolate, then what? What remains is an empty, ghostly memory of a time and place in history that we all hope can live on forever through historical preservation, interviews and records from the past.

But what if some of those residents who lived in these ghost towns never left? What if they continue to inhabit its building years after they have passed on. One small ghost town in Montana may truly be inhabited with real ghosts. Welcome to Garnet.

Garnet, Montana, a small town which was born in the year 1895 was occupied by hundreds of people, particularly miners and their families. The town boasted hotels, stores, saloons, a school, a drug store, an assay office and it even produced a weekly news paper. It was a bustling little town for a while however, within only 10 shore years of its existence its population decreased from over 1000 people to just 150 people. A fire destroyed most of Garnets business section in 1912, large mining strikes had mostly been depleted and most of its miners had packed up and moved on to seek out new riches. The town made a brief comeback in the 1930's during the great depression, however that didn't last long and it has pretty well been deserted ever since, at least deserted by physical beings that is.

A Montana state historian, by the name of  Ellen Baumler claims that once the sun goes down on Garnet, the spirits of the this once booming town come out to play. She wrote in her book Montana Chillers  that "Sometimes, in the deep winter quiet, a piano tinkles in Kelley's Saloon and the spirits dance to ghostly music. Men's voices echo in the empty rooms. But the moment a living, human hand touches the building, the noises stop." She continues by stating about Garnets Ghost residents "They cause no trouble and anyone who visits the deserted town in the dead of winter should be prepared to meet them."."They hide in the shadows, laugh in the wind, and come out when you least expect them".

Ummm.....Creepy.

Perhaps the Kelly's Saloon is the most haunted building in Garnet, Montana. In the winter of 1972-1973, the Bureau of Land Management decided to have someone stay in Garnet all year long, including the winter. The lucky soul was a man by the name of Mike Gordon. Gordon was given a snowmobile, though snowmobiles back then weren't near what they are now. He mainly got around by using snow shoes or ski's with a toboggan that could carry his equipment. He was isolated, basically being transported back to winter time in the late 1800's. There was no electricity. He kept warm by continually stoking the fireplace and would most likely read by lantern or flashlight. One day, in January or February, Mike had just put another log on the fire and was writing a letter home when all of the sudden he heard the sound of a piano in the town. Thinking that it was just his imagination he blew it off until he realized it wasn't in his head. As he continued to listen, he said it sounded like an old honky tonk piano. He eventually decided to investige.

Mike left his cabin and headed down main street. As he approached the Kelly's Saloon he realized the music was coming from within it. The Kelly's Saloon was in the downstairs of the building and a living quarters was on the second floor. There was to much snow to enter the main floor so Mike decided to go to the back side of the building where snow was piled up and there was a plank that let from the hill to a door on the second story. He began walking across the plank, still hearing the Honky Tonk music and then froze. He was frightened and didin't have the best feeling about the situation. He left and headed back to his cabin.

A little while later, Mikes curiosity got the best of him. He decided to head back to the Saloon. As he approached, he could still hear the music. He opened the door and entered the living area. Straight down the corridor was a stairway, where he began to walk toward. He realized that the music was coming from the bottom floor. As he walked down the stairs and made it to the bottom, the music suddenly stopped. In disbelief, he looked around the bar area. It was completely empty. Mike has always wondered if he imagined the whole incident.

Kerry Moon, who was a fire control chief working for the BLM in the 1970's stayed in Garnet to protect against vandalism, with a crew in the summer and by himself in the winter. He states that "You could hear activity in the town almost any time of day...During daylight you could hear the sound of horses and men and wagons, regular activity that would have taken place back then. At nights, especially for some reason on Wednesdays, you could hear the sounds of partying-singing and dancing and laughing, lights in windows, and even honky tonk music". The noises kept the fire crew up at night, Kerry continued by saying "We decided we were going to have to get used to it...None of us had gone crazy. We just all realized that whatever was here when these people were alive brought them back in death".  

It would seem that the activity became more intense in the winter. Moon states that "I don't know if it was because all the tourists were gone or because winter keeps people indoors up here, but the ghostly activity really increased. Somebody was knocking on my door almost every night, and there was a lot of noise downtown, almost continuous noise. I got so I just had to ignore it and do my work,...I think the worst thing was the forge in the blacksmith shop...I would hear that heavy pounding and think someone was in there fooling around. Then I would realize there was no one up here but me".

Moon also heard the honky tonk piano play at the Kelly's Saloon in the dead of winter.

Oh, yes, one important piece of information I believe I failed to mention is that at the time these men heard the piano in the Kelly's Saloon, It had long since been removed.

Apparitions have been seen as well. In an account from Ellen Baumler, she talks about tourists seeing former store owner Frank Davey, who lived there until his death in 1947. She states that "Park ranger Allan Matthews, who works for the Bureau of Land Management, knows this all to well. According to Ranger Matthews, on a recent summer day a volunteer was working at the visitor center. Three tourists-a woman and her two kids- came in and asked, "Who's that man over theree, standing at the door of the icehouse, with his arms spread out funny? The volunteer looked in the direction of the icehouse, where old Mr. Davey stored his gold. She did not see anyone. The confused volunteer asked the family to describe him. One of the kids said, "He has white hair, and he's wearing a three-piece suit, and he looks really mean." Their mother nodded in agreement. The volunteer shrugged and said that it was probably just another visitor. She did not want to scare them. She did not thell them what she knew"

Baumler also says that Park Ranger "Matthews and others have seen a woman in one of the upstairs rooms in the hotel, gazing out the window"

Garnet sounds intense. It sounds like when you step into the town, it acts as a time machine, wanting to take you back to when the town was booming and bustling, to a time when one had to make their own way.

Refrences:

Ghost Story: Garnet Montana a haunted ghost town.-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qM2800QYl4




The Federal Government Will Put You Up In This Haunted Ghost Town, If You Dare-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/17/garnet-ghost-town-haunted-montana_n_7086722.html



Friday, July 8, 2016

Haunted Disneyland-MTEP10

Haunted Disneyland-MTEP10

Mystery Tidbits Episode 10-Disneyland Hauntins
Listen at Podcasts.com 
It can also be found on itunes

Music for this episode was provided by www.bensound.com

I can remember the first time I visited Disneyland, vividly. I suppose I should remember it so vividly being as I was 25 years old the first time I went.  I remember that from the moment I walked into the gates I was blasted with heavy smells of popcorn, churros, turkey legs and corndogs, only to have my imagination sparked with interest and wonder, considering this was Walt Disney’s baby at one time and to be standing and walking on the paths where he once did is truly magical, something, that in my mind, is the closest thing to a time machine we will ever have. I suppose I should remember it so vividly being as I was 25 years old the first time I went.

Since that first visit, I have been several more times. It created an obsession for me, a desire to learn every bit of history about Disneyland I could. The best part is, it is ever changing, always adding new attractions, it’s essentially the educational gift that keeps on giving, from learning about all of the rides, old ones, new ones, retired ones, future ones, to learning about why and how Disney does what they do in the parks for convenience and marketing reasons such as why attraction lines are as swerving as they are and the fact that they have machines called Smellitzers spread throughout the park in order to spray different scents in different areas to entice your taste buds to go pick up a sweet or salty treat. But on top of learning about these kinds of trivia there is always that question that comes up when dealing with popular and historic locations, and that is: Is this place haunted? The following is somewhat of a compilation of the strange, paranormal and urban legends that have been floating around on the internet for many years.

The park opened on July 17th, 1955. Walt, being the person he was, loved overseeing his ventures. He enjoyed personally being involved in projects that he was presenting to the world. Disneyland was no exception. When entering the park, just to your left, one can see the Disneyland fire station. Just above the fire station Walt had built an apartment. This apartment was for him and his family to stay at. It is said that Walt enjoyed very much so peering through the window, watching families walk through Disneyland and enjoying their time together. It is said that many years after Walt’s death that a cast member was up in the apartment dusting. When she left she made sure to turn out all of the lights. As she made her way down stairs she looked up and noticed that the lights were back on up in the apartment. She headed back up to the apartment, again, turned the lights off and made her way back to the first floor. When she got back down, the lights were on again. She headed back upstairs for a third time. When she entered the apartment a disembodied voice spoke to her saying “Don’t forget, I am still here”. It seems that even in the afterlife, Walt Still wants his presence to be known. When entering the park next time, be sure to take a peek at Walt’s apartment, just above the fire station, maybe even give a little wave, just so he can be aware that you know he is still there.

Space Mountain is one of those thrilling, roller coaster rides, the only caveat to the ride is that you are in the dark with only gleaming stars around you. In each row of the roller coaster you can seat two. It is said that, if you are a single rider with no one next to you, a large man with red hair and a red face may sometimes appear as your “riding companion”, however he will disappear just before the ride ends.

The Haunted Mansion has a Legend attached to it involving the mother of a young boy who had been killed. She supposedly asked some Disneyland cast members if she could scatter her sons ashes around the Haunted Mansion, being as it was his favorite ride. Disney told her no, however she took it upon herself to sneak some of the ashes onto her “Doom Buggy” and scatter them about the ride. It is said that the little boy has been seen sitting in empty “Doom Buggies” and that near the exit of the ride a disembodied little boy’s voice can be heard crying. Another tale from the Haunted Mansion claims that in the 1940’s a man crashed an airplane in Anaheim, I assume that it was somewhere around where Disneyland is now located. A cast member supposedly saw a man with a cane, again assuming that it fit the pilots description, on the loading dock where visitors enter their “Doom Buggies”

A ride operator for Pirates of the Caribbean told a group of people once that he was doing his ride pre-check, taking a stroll in one of the boats, making sure that it was in tip top shape for the day. At one point during the ride he claimed he saw a small boy or girl in the boat with him. Another tale from the ride is that in the “Transition Tunnel”, which is the darkest part of the ride, it is said that when the ride is shut down and the soundtrack is turned off, strange noises and giggling can be heard. At other times, it is said that a boy can be seen on the ride security cameras of Pirates but cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Tom Sawyers Island is also said to be haunted. Supposedly, a teenage boy attempted to swim to, or from the island (depending on which website you are getting the story from) and that he drown in the rivers of America. Cast members claim they have seen him rippling the water. Cast members have also reported seeing small children running and playing in and near the caves on Tom Saywers Island, when they attempt to go retrieve them they are nowhere to be found.

To conclude, It’s a small world may appear to be an innocent ride but come on, are we kidding ourselves, it’s a ride made out of dolls, we all know dolls are probably one of the freakiest objects out there. There are reports that some cast members who operated the ride loved it so much that they returned to It’s a Small World to reside. It is also said that after hours, once the ride has been shut down, the dolls do not. They continue to dance even though nothing is controlling them.


The happiest place on still is the happiest place on earth, to me anyway, even if there are those tales of it being spirited. There are many more spooky tales to tell from Disneyland so watch out for a second part to Disneyland Hauntings soon. 

References:

Monday, July 4, 2016

Titanic vs Titan-MTEP9

Mystery Tidbits Episode 9-Titanic vs Titan
Listen at Podcasts.com 
It can also be found on itunes

Music for this episode was provided by www.bensound.com

"Unsinkable-indestructible, she carried as few boats as would satisfy the laws"-Morgan Robertson
Sounds very similar to a ship we have all heard about, the Titanic. However this was not describing the Titanic. This was actually describing the Titan, a fictional ocean liner from a Novella, published in 1898.
Morgan Robertson

The Wreck of the Titan, Or Futility, authored by Morgan Robertson, follows the life of a disgraced, dismissed US Navy officer, who works as a deckhand aboard the , the Titan. Aside from the main plot of the story, the book received quite a bit of attention fourteen years after its publication due to the similarities it shared with the doomed ocean liner, the Titanic.


Interestingly enough, I first heard of this book back in the mid 90's, when I was a pre-teen, obsessed with the story of the Titanic and was trying to get my hands on whatever I could that dealt with the topic. It showed up on the armchair in the main characters apartment in a PC game that I was playing called "Titanic: Adventure Out Of Time" where essentially you are a british secret agent who failed his mission on the Titanic in 1912 and now, during world war 2 you are somehow thrown back in time and have a second chance at that mission. The book was "prophetic" in the game and apparently prophetic in real life and it sparked my interest so that I had to run to the library and check it out.

Here are the similarities, you decide if Morgan Robertson predicted Titanic's fate fourteen years prior to its sinking, or if it was just one big coincidence.
-First and foremost, the names:
  •           Titan, which means "A person or thing of enormous size, strength, power, influence, etc."
  •           Titanic, which means "titan. of enormous size, strength, power, etc.;gigantic"
-The Titan was the largest craft of its day, spanning 800 feet.
 The Titanic was the largest craft of its day, spanning 882 1/2 feet.
-Both the Titan and the Titanic only supplied enough lifeboats as required, the Titan with 24 and the Titanic with 20, this would supply seats for less than half of a ship with the capacity of 3000 people.

-Both ships were triple screw vessels, meaning they each had 3 propellers.

-The Titan struck an iceberg on an April night
 The Titanic also struck an iceberg on April 14th, 1912

-Both ships were deemed unsinkable, they both sank.

-The Titan had approx. 2500 people onboard
 The Titanic had approx. 2200 people onboard (not exactly the same, but close.

-The speed of the Titan at the time of impact with the iceberg was 25 knots
 The speed of the Titanic at the time of impact with the iceberg was 22.5 knots



Of course there are differences between the two, however the basics of the story are quite coincidental. Robertson actually republished Futility in 1912 after the titanic disaster, perhaps with the intent to cash in on the wreck, however all of the similarities detailed here are based off of the 1898 edition.

Was it fate, or just a coincidence? If anything it is very interesting none the less.



Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pesky Tommyknockers-MTEP8

Mystery Tidbits Episode 8-Pesky Tommyknockers
Listen at Podcasts.com 
It can also be found on itunes

Music for this episode was provided by www.bensound.com


I remember some years ago when i was in the fifth grade traveling with my class to Park City, Utah. At the time their was a popular silver mine which was available for tours (last i had heard it was shut down due to flooding). As we entered the visitor center we were told that we would be getting on an elevator in the mine and heading deep into its shafts. As we exited the elevator, our tour guide began showing us through some of the tunnels and gave us some brief history on the mine. For our own entertainment, the guide began to tell us of those elusive little people known as Tommy Knockers. Of course, when you are in fifth grade you are still impressionable and want to say you don't believe in something like that to others, yet question it in your own mind if they really exist or not. Needless to say, the interest in Tommy Knockers has always been there for me.

Wikipedia defines the Tommy Knocker as "About two feet tall and grizzled, but not misshapen, they live beneath the ground. Here they wear tiny versions of standard miner's garb and commit random mischief, such as stealing miner's unattended tools and food".

Lance Foster from the Paranormal Montana blog writes an account of an incident at the Charter Oak Mine in Montana: "During one of my initial visits, mining historian Mary Horstman was with me. We were looking around and was up by the compressor shed when we started hearing some sounds from inside the adit, the same one they speak of in the story as still being left open but protected by iron bars. We came closer and heard the distinct sounds of tap tap tapping, as of a steel hammer against rock. I looked at Mary, and she said, "Tommyknocker--" And she would know, because she came from a mining family herself. We listened to the sounds some more. They were not the sound of rock shifting, nor water dripping, but of tool against rock. We crept a little closer, and the sounds stopped. We had that feeling of awe, fear and joy you get when you encounter the unknown".

I can vaguely recall one thing from the tour in Park City that our guide told us about the Tommy Knockers, and that was that when you hear them knock the walls with their hammers, do no knock back. And if you hear the knock getting louder, that is you indication to get out of them mine, unless you want to join them of course.

Tim Willoughby recounts a good explanation of the Tommy Knockers in an April 18th, 2010 article of The Aspen Times titled Beware of Tommyknockers : “Don't go anywhere near the mines!” my parents said when I was in grade school. That admonishment carried little authority and less credibility because my mining father had taken me into mines. Many mine tunnel entrances were open then, and even a few shafts invited inspection. I rarely ventured beyond where a flashlight was needed, and my parents' stories of what might befall me should I venture too far underground protected me from serious danger.

When I was older and more likely to take risks, even just as a form of rebellion, my mother resorted to the parenting technique of my grandparents: stories of Tommyknockers.

Tommyknockers, like the Irish equivalent Leprechauns, are wee people who shared the underground with superstitious Cornish miners. Miners hear eerie sounds working underground. Sounds made by the earth moving along fault lines, miners in distant tunnels setting off dynamite charges, and whirring machinery echoing off tunnel walls — all could be attributed to Tommyknockers. Sounds of dripping water, braying mules and creaking mine cars were compounded by total darkness.

Cornish miners believed that benevolent Tommyknockers beckoned them toward finding fortunes. They believed that Tommyknockers warned them of impending disasters, especially cave-ins. Tommyknockers were the diminutive creatures knocking on tunnel walls, signaling immediate danger.

On the negative side, if you actually saw a Tommyknocker, you were going to die. This unfortunate characteristic has never been proven wrong; no one has ever seen one and lived to tell the tale. Trickster Tommyknocker tales were told both in jest and in seriousness; tools disappeared, items fell down shafts when dropped by deranged wee folk, they extinguished lamps and candles and left miners hopeless in the dark, and committed other malevolent folklore.

Tommyknocker stories traded among miners entertained listeners who believed every detail and perpetuated the mythology for generations. During my mother's generation, parents told their children Tommyknocker stories, most likely fabricated extemporaneously, that staunched any curiosity for entering mines. A Cornish miner's fondness for sharing the underground with short-stature helpers was replaced with negative “Hansel and Gretel” mythology. The possibility of Tommyknocker encounters prevented impressionable children from venturing far from their yards.

If you are hiking with children and come across an old mine tunnel entrance, listen for the Tommyknockers. You are bound to hear suggestions of their presence. Even if you do not hear them, tell a few Tommyknocker stories, ones about the playful short people who watch out for those who venture underground. Let's trade in Steven King's frightful Tommyknockers for those of Cornish folklore, unless you need to dissuade a daring 8-year-old boy from crawling into the mountain
".

To conclude, a tale from True-Ghost-Story.com concerning Walter Schwartz: "Walter knows the story of the ghost of Yuba Jack. He was a prospector and fell in love with the town's proprietor or also known as the madam. The madam ran the local bordello at Washington. The madam and Yuba Jack had a falling out and now Yuba Jack haunts the Yuba House looking for his long lost lover Cat House Kelly. So it appears that the Yuba House is not only haunted by Chili Jack, but also a ghost named Yuba Jack. Walter lives in a haunted house and things have been moved from one room to another and one time he found his kitchen in shambles by an unseen force. Walter's great grandfather was George Grizzle and legend has it that George was shot off a stagecoach while headed for Graniteville. Walter is a bit of a historian himself, he knows about how the Wells Fargo Stagecoach stopped here before heading over to Susanville. Walter tells about an old Chinese man ghost that waves at passerby's. He tells me about the Tommyknockers. During crispy Summer nights, people have heard clinging at the rocks near the creek. They hear a continuous ching, ching, ching. These are the Tommyknockers, ghostly miners that haunt the creek area. The largest gold nugget, 5lb, the size of a baseball was discovered in Washington. He also tells me how George Kohler, built the dry goods store next to his home and would sell everything from dynamite to dry beans. From all indications, the whole town of Washington is haunted and it appears the creek is haunted by the Tommyknockers and the ghostly children that play there."

Beware of the little guys, and keep an eye on your children, you never know when they may appear!