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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Catman – An Urban Legend

newspaper clipping from Colonel Armwell Long's obituary

You may have heard about Catwoman, the iconic superhero known for her ultra-tight leather suits and wall-climbing abilities that look even better on the big screen. But there’s also another fictional feline that you should know about…a Delaware urban legend that’s far less sexy and far more scary. Like many other ghosts who haunt hallowed grounds, the Catman is said to hang around the Long Cemetery in Frankford, Delaware. But this graveyard is more than just a favorite spot; he has a special attachment to the property that is said to go back decades. 

The Long Cemetery

Located at the end of an old dirt road near Selbyville in Sussex County, Delaware, Long Cemetery dates back to the 1800’s.  Joe Long Cemetery, its full name, is also known as Colonel Armwell Long Cemetery. Long served in the War of 1812 and died in 1834 at the age of 80. He was the commandant of Sussex County, Delaware Militia and Waples Company during the War of 1812. He was executor of David Long’s will, and probably donated the land for the Col. Armwell Long Cemetery where it was turned into a public graveyard.

The Legend of Catman

Before he was one of the most famous ghostly figures and urban legends in Delaware, Catman was a caretaker on the cemetery grounds who took his job very seriously. He didn’t just look after graves and keep the place looking hauntingly beautiful – he also scared away teenagers who were causing trouble among the headstones. Any time a young adult would pull out the ouija board or try to get frisky among the dead, Catman was there to banish them…and it wasn’t exactly difficult to do with a face like his. While he wasn’t literally a human-cat hybrid like his name suggests, he had feline-like features that were very intimidating. His stare was as intense as any favorite feline, and people would generally run the other way at the sight of Catman.

Long Cemetery with gravestones near where catman was buried

When Catman died, it’s said that he was rewarded for his lifelong dedication to Long Cemetery with an above-ground tomb. This was sadly torn down in 1994 due to threats of vandalism, but those who saw the landmark prior to its destruction noted a few strange markings on the tomb. Like a set of cat scratches, perhaps? While his body may not be physically at the cemetery anymore, Catman still makes his presence very known throughout the grounds.

scary cat eyes

Not only have there been supposed sightings of his ghost throughout the years, mostly from teenagers and young adults, but there’s also a neat party trick for those who are brave enough. All you need to do is head over to the remains of the brick wall that sit at the back of the property, and knock three times. It’s said that doing this will cause the former caretaker to come mess with your car. Your vehicle will stall or fail to start, leaving you behind at the cemetery that Catman cherished so greatly. If this seems like a fairly harmless prank, that’s because it is…especially compared to other urban legends that involve bloody hatchets, cheating scandals, and escaped mental patients with a hook for a hand. But Catman’s goal is not to kill or hurt, only to scare away the mischief from Long Cemetery.

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Char Man Urban Legend


Camp Comfort County Park can be found along the scenic Creek Road in Ventura County, California, not far south of Ojai. The park has been a resting spot for weary travelers for centuries, with its picturesque, oak-sheltered location and abundance of clear running water. It was commonly referred to by travelers as a “comfort spot”, which was where it got its name. Of course, even the greatest of comfort can never ensure true safety, just as the most peaceful of locations can house the darkest of secrets. The darkest perhaps being the legend of Char Man.

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Ojai

Ojai has a plethora of grim and unsettling urban legends under its belt, including the Ojai vampire which was said to have travelled there from either Italy or Spain in 1890. Another more common, and far more grisly, tale is that of the infamous Char Man. One particular bridge in Camp Comfort has been dubbed “Char Man Bridge”, legends telling that any motorist who dares get out and shout for the hideously burned spirit shall meet an agonizing death at his disfigured hand.

Char Man Legends

This particular legend is subject to far more speculation than most. Seemingly everyone has a different version of how the Char Man came to be. A few of these stories begin in a huge fire in 1948. Some surmise that a firefighter was tragically caught in that particular blaze, burning alive in his suit. Others say that a father and son were badly burned in the fire, the father being killed in the blaze while his son went mad from the pain and torment, peeling his fathers burned skin and hanging the corpse in a tree before retreating into the woods.

A third tale revolving around the same 1948 inferno was that a woman was trapped indoors while her husband, badly burned but still breathing, listened to her cries from outside as the fire slowly consumed her. Dark tales from the people of Ojai, to say the least.
That particular fire was reported to have no casualties, so unfortunately these theories into the dreaded Char Man’s origins don’t hold much weight.

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One common story told by locals is of a brutal automobile fire near Char Man Bridge, wherein a motorist escaped his car and fled into the woods, still enwreathed in flames. The unknown driver was said to survive the severe burns he endured and still stalks the roadside to this day.

Wherever the Char Man came from, his appearance is unmistakable: covered in horrific burns from head to toe, his skin blackened and peeling, clad only in a few charred bandages. Before unwary motorists see the spirit they shall smell his ghastly aroma of burned flesh, if they’re lucky. If not, the Char Man may just have another skin to replace his own.

Though for some, luck has nothing to do with it. Many locals have taken to the adrenalin-sport of stopping their cars on the bridge, getting out and calling “Help me!” to coax the flaming horror from the treeline. One thing is for sure, if an orange glow appears anywhere in the woodland by Creek Road, it would be best to keep right on driving.

References

Char Man | Creepy Urban Legends (quotev.com)
Creepy urban legends from around the USA (thevintagenews.com)

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Haunted Places

Dueler’s Alley

Date of Establishment

Francis Kinloch created this passage is 1776 known as Kinloch’s court, in 1796 and 1810 fire claimed most of the neighborhood leading to a rebuild of the area. In 1811 the court was reopened to the public and still stands today.

Name & Location

Originally known as Cow’s Alley and later renamed to Kinloch’s Court, then later changed to Philadelphia Alley after fires tore through the city. It is now known by locals of Downtown Charleston, SC as Dueler’s Alley.

Physical Description

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This beautiful alley strip is canopy covered and a cobblestone walkway lined with beautiful planets and doorways. The buildings have high walls adorned with windows and flower boxes. There was even a path to a local church’s graveyard at one end.

Origin

This passageway gained the name Dueler’s Alley because gentleman settled their disputes with the traditional 21 paced pistols duels in this perfectly spaced alleyway. One of the most famous duels was between Dr. Joseph Brown Ladd and Ralph Isaacs in 1786, leading to the tale of the Whistling Doctor who died proving his love and devotion. Many other young men lost their lives here in the alley trying to prove their honor, take out a rival, or in a drunken rage. This has led to a wide range of haunting stories, though none more famous than the Whistling Doctor himself.

Mythology and Lore

In 1783 a young doctor, Joseph Ladd, and his beloved, Amanda, came to Charleston hoping to establish themselves and escape poisonous gossip surrounding their relationship. He quickly established himself in the town as the prominent new doctor that had an undying love for whistling, poetry, and his dear Amanda. As his career grew, he had less time for friends and social calls, a resentment grew between him and Ralph Isaacs, one of his first friends in Charleston. Isaac became over-whelmed with jealously toward the doctor, in 1786 things reached their boiling point after a show. Isaac accused Ladd of begin infatuated with an actress from the production and threatened to tear him from his love Amanda. In Charleston at this time dueling was the only way Ladd could reclaim his honor, integrity, and prove his undying love for Amanda; so he challenged Isaac. As the duel began the two men took their paces, Ladd missed Isaac and was shot. After ten days of suffering, Ladd finally succumbed to his injuries and pasted at the age of 22 years old. Today he is reported to come to the alley and have a stroll down while whistling his beloved’s favorite tune. It’s reported before you see his spirit an unexplained mist rolls through the alley, and sounds of gunshots ring out as he pulls you to safety. Other spirits of fallen dueler’s have been said to haunt the alley as well, some seeking harm on the travelers within its high walls. It is unknown how many ghosts roam the alley to this day, but many locals enjoy the search for any of them.

Is there anything we missed about Dueler’s Alley? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Haunted Places

Geiser Grand Hotel

Date of Establishment

The Geiser Grand Hotel was originally opened in 1886 in the height of the gold frenzy in Oregon. The Grand still operates to this day even after a few reopenings and change of owners, the latest of which was in 1993.

Name/Name & Location

The Geiser Grand Hotel opened in Baker City, Oregon, which was known as the “Queen City of the Mines,” due to the Gold Rush happenings within the region. The hotel also became known as “the Grand” for short because of the advanced technology and beauty it held within its walls.

Physical Description

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An Italianate building containing technology that was ahead of its time: an elevator, a 4th story clock tower, a 200-foot corner cupola, a 2nd-floor balcony overlooking marble floors, crystal chandeliers, Honduran mahogany paneling, and stained-glass ceilings. All of these components made this hotel a grander of its time for all the wealthy and high society figures to flock to.

The Lady in Blue was also known as “Granny” Annabelle, a beautiful Victorian woman dressed in a blue gown is one of the hotel’s most known spirits. She was a permanent character making grand entries down from her room 302 and having her own reserved chair at the bar each night.

Origin

Opened in Baker City the hotel has stood for years and in 1906 was named the “the most fortunate place in the country” by a newspaper article. Ever since it’s 1902 reopening The Lady in Blue was a prominent figure at the Grand, which lead to the first tales of ghosts roaming the grounds after her death.

Mythology and Lore

The Lady in Blue has been a staple of siting’s at the Grand, multiple people have reported seeing her descending the staircase, sitting at the bar, and disappearing into the wall through-out the hotel. She is suspected of moving guests’ jewelry and items, nibbling snacks from their rooms, or down at the bar pinch the rears of those who sit in her chair. There are other well-known spirits to call the Grand home as well. There is a saloon girl in a red laced bustier who hangs about the balcony, a cowboy who chats with bar-goers, a little girl wandering the 3rd floor, and flappers from the 1920s. Many of the guests and workers have reported wide-ranges of experiences with the ghosts of the Grand, as well as paranormal groups who investigate the hotel regularly. Ghost Hunters and Atlantic Paranormal Group (TAPS) are two teams that see the Grand regularly and continue to collect data and do studies on the building and its spirits. The Grand also does daily ghost tours at the hotel to educate and tell the tales of the ghosts that stay at the Grand.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature

Coast to Coast Ghosts: True Stories of Hauntings Across America (2012) page 156

Television Series

Ghost Hunters (2013 Season 2 Episode 5)

Is there anything we missed about Geiser Grand Hotel? Let us know in the comments section below!

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Ghost Tales of the Arctic: The Frozen Spectre

Haunted Boardwalk
Haunted Boardwalk

One Halloween night, as the sun slipped beneath the horizon, the young children were coming back from their rounds through the little Yup’ik village on the tundra in Southwest Alaska. The teenagers had waited their turn and eagerly squeezed out of their home, as their mother told them they were allowed to leave. They raced through to each of the small houses that dotted the dark, decrepit, and narrow boardwalks that snaked through the village. Not all of them donned costumes and there was still not yet a flake of snow on the ground, a rare occurrence for such a chilly autumnal night. The tall grass line the boardwalk like two moving walls that whispered with the winds that rushed through the spaces between the houses. They grabbed candy within the first house, then came back out and started back off; at each of the doors, they held their plastic grocery sacks aloft, and they became more heavily laden with candies and treats.

After coming out of the fourth house they spotted something strange emerging from the tall grasses onto the boardwalk behind them—it was a traditional Yup’ik parka, the hood was up and the ruff obscured the view of the face within. It wouldn’t have been strange except for the fact that it had no visible feet or hands. The teenagers sprinted to the next house, scared to death and unsure of what the seemingly floating parka had really been, but they were unwilling to say anything about what they had seen to the adults that were now handing them candy.

Ghost Parka
Photography by Joe Leahy

Between each and every stop for candy, the teens stepped outside and the floating parka had appeared again, as if it was just waiting to scare them. They had all grown up hearing the traditional stories of ghosts and ghouls—all meant to teach them to be cautious in one way or another, as a way to keep them safe in their unforgiving lands. They had a sense that they were being pranked—as if to test their knowledge and preparedness, but not a single one of them could muster up the courage to approach the floating apparition or to try to figure out who was toying with them.

The far north side of the village is where the last batch of houses resided—the travel between where the teenagers were and where their last glimpse of the prized sweets laid was a lengthy weaving, dismally unlit sprawling boardwalk. This path took them directly past the hauntingly abandoned teacher’s quarters that the entire village regularly avoided being near and even speaking about in passing. They made their way down the boardwalk towards this last remaining treasure trove of candy, when the little parka appeared behind them once again. One of the teens looked behind them as they crawled into the artic entry of one of the houses and saw its silhouette looming alone between the spirit-infested teacher’s quarters and the house they entered, blocking their dark and dreadful passage home.

The teenagers reappeared cautiously from the house, but the little parka was nowhere to be seen–each house they exited they huddled together in fear that the ghostly figure would leap out of the shadows and attack them from the front or back, but it didn’t. Then one of the teens gasped and pointed, there it was in the darkness beneath a building, huddled behind one of the steel posts that propped it up from the permafrost–it sat upright, waiting for them. All at once, it sprang up toward them with a hideous scream and chased the teenagers down the boardwalk, growls emanated from the unending abyss of the hood. As the spirit overcame them, they recognized the dead black eyes that sat deep in his sunken frostbitten features; it was the village boy whose snow machine had broken through the ice on the river. The boy had then managed to climb out from what would have been a certain death only to succumb to the elements before anyone could find him, only a year prior.

Broken Ice
Photography by Eberhard Gross-Gasteiger