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Horror Mystery and Lore

Telling the Difference Between Demonic Entities

Possession movies, even when they are highly religious in context, bring in huge crowds of fans, starting with The Exorcist (1973) and continuing on throughout the years, we never really get down to the brass tacks of demonic entities, who they are—or might be—and the people they have affected. Demon lore is complex in every religion and affiliated culture, there are elaborate organizational schemes for demons dated back from the 16th and 17th centuries and yet we still have so little understanding of them. For the many ills and misfortunes that plague the human race, there is the possibility of a demonic association that leads to exorcisms in many cultures. Specifically, in Catholicism, exorcisms deal with demonic possession, in which demons are said to battle for control of the soul of the victim they have targeted, these practices date back to 1614.

The Demons that Invade Our Lives

Christian demonologist Johann Weyer estimated that there were nearly 7.5 million demons that served as minions to 72 different princes of hell. Each of these demons belongs to a class of demons; to name a few, there are demons that attack people in their sleep, drain vitality, or possess those who are struggling with their own identity. So, let’s take a look at the different types of demonic entities that go beyond the typical Catholic exorcism expectations.

Attractive demoness
Photography by Alice Alinari

The Succubus

During the Middle Ages, authorities within the Christian religion asserted the existence of sex demons, which they furthered that to insinuating that sex with such demons was a sign of witchcraft. Although it’s a widely accepted possibility in the paranormal community, the stories and theories of such acts are described as horrific to experience. To be clear, while this may sound like an exciting ride for some lonely people out there, it’s not something that anyone in their right mind would purposefully pursue—it’s never consensual.

The Djinn

Collection of Genie Lamps--don't summon a Djinn!
Photography by Louis Hansel

Between 100 and 400 AD, the Testament of Solomon was written, which served as a list for Hebrew, Greek, Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Persian demons. The Djinn are self-propagating, malicious, yet mortal demons. They are an invisible creature by nature but have shape-shifting abilities so they may better stalk their prey. Solomon was able to control these types of demons which he called djinn with his magical ring and he would frequently treat them as his own personal slaves by making them transport him wherever he wished upon their backs.

My Dream, My Bad Dream, Fritz Schwimbeck, 1915. Fritz Schwimbeck
My Dream, My Bad Dream, Fritz Schwimbeck, 1915.

The Nightmare

The story of this nocturnal visitor originated in the ancient world, in which a spirit or demon would come into the room of its sleeping victim, male or female, to incapacitate the individual and feed off of their vitality. In all reported cases, it is said the victim awakens to either a heavy weight on their chest or one that starts at their feet and progresses to their chest, either way, they are unable to move out from under the weight of the night hag. As they’re feeding off of the individual, the victim feels as if they’re suffocating and paralyzed, despite being fully conscious. Victims of the night hag end up reporting feeling groggy, sick, and otherwise exhausted both mentally and physically the next day.

Western-style vampire bears her fangs.
Photography by Rondell Melling

The Vampire

Now just wait, you’re probably conjuring up an image of Dracula hunched in a dark window of his castle in Transylvania, brooding and dangerous. The concept of the vampire in modern culture, especially since Stoker’s rendition, are the undead who return to kill and torture the living, but the actual origin is somewhat different. Older than the Slavic version of Dracula is a supernatural and demonic entity that did not actually take human form and it spans the world with small variations.

Categories
Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore

Ten Books Based on Real World Hauntings

This summer finally sees the release of the latest entry in a surprisingly successful cinematic franchise. 

No, I’m not talking about Loki, or Black Widow, or any part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m talking about The Conjuring universe, which stretches to nine films with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do ItThe Conjuring franchise succeeds where so many other cinematic universes have failed not just because of their strong filmmaking and compelling performances. Many people love the Conjuring films because they tell true ghost stories

Based on the case files of ghost hunters Ed & Lorraine Warren (portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), the Conjuring movies are part of Americans’ long history of fascination with real-world hauntings and paranormal experiences. But before they were blockbuster films, these stories were successful books, which captured victims’ encounters with the mystical in the written word. 

If you just can’t get enough of real-world hauntings, here are ten other collections, sure to keep you up at night. 

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The Haunted House – Walter Hubbell

One of the earliest non-fiction haunting novels, The Haunted House set the standard for the genre. Published in 1879 and written by actor/amateur sleuth Walter Hubbell, The Haunted House adapts a diary kept by the author during a summer spent in the Teed House in Nova Scotia, Canada. Hubbell was drawn to the location after learning about teenager Esther Cox, who began undergoing unexplainable phenomena after escaping sexual assault. Even before Hubbell arrived in the town, local witnesses saw the moving furniture and threatening messages left by malevolent forces. The novel captures all these details, which served as the basis of a lecture tour Cox embarked upon after finally escaping the ghosts’ thrall. 

The Amityville Horror Book Cover

The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson

Ghost stories have been around longer than the United States itself. But the modern American version starts with The Amityville Horror. Not only did the story launch one of the longest-running film franchises, but it set the standard for 20th century haunted house stories. The book follows the 28 days in which the Lutz family stayed in their Long Island house on 112 Ocean Drive. A year earlier, young Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six members of his family, reportedly driven to act by demonic voices. Combining strong reportage with powerful prose, Anson brings the reader into the horror that the Lutzes endured during their month of dread. 

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The Haunted – Robert Curran

When Jack and Janet Smurl moved into their new Pennsylvania home in the summer of 1986, they expected a few pests. But nothing could have prepared them for the demon occupying the house since 1974. Written by journalist Robert Curran and based on case notes from the Warrens, who were called upon to investigate the house, The Haunted is one of the classics of true American ghost stories, rivaled only by The Amityville Horror. Curran captures in vivid detail the Smurl’s harrowing experiences, from the ghastly smells that filled the house to the inexplicable pounding they had to endure. 

the world of LORE Dreadful places book cover from he LORE podcast

The World of Lore: Dreadful Places – Aaron Mahnke

Started as a mere experiment in marketing, the podcast Lore by Aaron Mahnke quickly grew into a sensation, spawning two television series and several books. In many ways, the show’s success is no surprise, as Mahnke does diligent research to bridge the gap between creepy folklore and true facts, often revealing that actual history is far more terrifying than anyone could make up. The World of Lore collects some of the best stories that Mahnke has uncovered, from hauntings in Colorado’s Stanley Hotel, the same place that inspired the Overlook Hotel in the Stephen King classic The Shining, to specters floating along the streets of New Orleans. 

The Demon of Brownsville Road Book Cover

The Demon of Brownsville Road – Bob Cranmer and Erica Manfred

When Bob and Lesa Cranmer got a deal on their Pittsburgh dreamhouse, they thought it was just a stroke of good luck. The previous owners were ready to sell and accepted Bob’s lowball offer with no more negotiation. But shortly after the Cranmers moved in with their four children, they understood why the previous owners wanted to leave. Paranormal instances of lights turning on themselves developed into full-on mental attacks on members of the family, forcing them to reach out for help from the Catholic Church. Working with editor Erica Manfred, Bob Cranmer talks not only about his family’s ordeal but traces the evil through the years to 18th-century violence. The Demon of Brownsville Road is available at Horror Hub Marketplace.

Ed & Lorraine Warren's Graveyard Book Cover

Graveyard: True Hauntings from an Old New England Cemetery – Ed Warren

“White Ladies” are one of the most popular genres of true ghost stories, tales about mysterious female figures who float along with fringe spaces in shimmering white clothes. In Graveyard, Ed Warren retells his own confrontations with a White Lady ghost who haunted Connecticut’s Union Cemetery. Although we can no longer see that footage that Warren claims to have shot of the Union Cemetery White Lady, we can read his detailed account of the events. 

Horror in the Heartland strange Gothic Tales from the Midwest book cover

Horror in the Heartland – Kevin McQueen

When one thinks of American horror, it’s usually the deep south or New England that leaps to mind. But in this academic book for Indiana University Press, Dr. Keven McQueen uncovers hauntings in the Midwest. Moving through states better known for their football teams and auto factories, McQueen describes spectral sightings in Wisconsin and unexplained phenomena in Ohio. Well-researched and thoroughly enjoyable, Horror in the Heartland reminds us that mysterious spirits can manifest anywhere. 

The Uninvited - True Story of the Union Screaming House

The Uninvited – Steven LaChance

Many of the books on this list come from ghostwriters or reporters who collected accounts of hauntings from the victims. But with The Uninvited, Steven LaChance shares his encounter with the supernatural. Told from a visceral and immediate first-person perspective, The Uninvited traces LaChance’s initial recognition of odd phenomena in his Union, Mississippi home to more horrific attacks, including murdered pets and even sexual assault. Although the story reads like a gripping paperback thriller, LaChance grounds it in his own life events, which only sharpens the terror. 

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Grave’s End – Elaine Mercado

Although undoubtedly intense, most hauntings tend to be fairly short. After all, who would stay in a haunted house for more than a month? But Grave’s End tells a different type of story, one not of escape but of endurance. Mercado relates incidents of spectral interference that happened to her and her two daughters over a thirteen-year period. Grave’s End features all the chilling detail you would expect from a ghost storybook, but it takes a unique approach, explaining how Mercado and her family found the strength to fight through the horror and make peace with the spirits surrounding them. 

House of Darkness real Haunted House book

House of Darkness/House of Light – Andrea Perron

This list could not be complete without Andrea Perron’s House of Darkness/House of Light, published in 2011. Perron’s account served as the inspiration for The Conjuring, describing the trials endured by her family in 1970. When the Perrons moved into a Rhode Island house, they quickly become inundated by attacks from a hateful spirit called Bathsheba, who targets Andrea’s mother Carolyn. Like many of the other books on this list, the story does involve intersession from the Warrens. But the real draw is Andrea’s perspective, who tells in her own words her family’s petrifying encounters. 

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Best Horror Podcasts Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

The 10 Scariest Podcasts Out There

It seems that podcasts are a dime a dozen these days, but fortunately for horror fans, the quality quite closely matches the quantity. We have scoured the web to find you the scariest podcasts. Also, quite luckily for the fans of the horror genre, the popularity of podcast creation is still on the rise. Like audiobooks, horror podcasts have turned into a popular form of entertainment because it only requires that we listen. We can listen to music, an audiobook, and even a scary podcasts while we’re doing our daily routine–when we’re getting ready for work in the morning, while we’re working out, while we’re commuting to or from work, and when we’re taking a relaxing bath… With horror podcasts, we especially enjoy allowing these creepy stories into our brains during the relentlessly sleepless nights, when an audio-only creepfest entitles us to retreat to the safety of our comfiest blanket while the darkness envelopes us entirely. Check out the ten scariest podcasts below.


10. Ghosts in the Burbs

Ghosts in the Burbs is a podcast made by a children’s librarian, who interviews her neighbors in Wellsley, Massachusetts about stories that no one would ever want to tell children. While she doesn’t bring all the special effects of music, special editing, or anything extraordinary, it’s her content that drives the creepy content of her podcast–while the stories don’t need to be heard in any particular order, we still recommend that you start at the beginning so you can get the full experience that Liz brings us with her dark tales that lurk in the otherwise sunny Wellesley.


9. The NoSleep Podcast

If you follow the NoSleep subreddit, then you’re probably not a stranger to the NoSleep Podcast, but if you’ve never heard it before, then give it a listen–there are so many plausible horror short stories that are a variety of styles as well as perspectives, but the one thing that they all share is the quality of scares. You’ll be consistently spooked by the stories told by NoSleep and you can thank us later.


8. PseudoPod

It seems like PseudoPod is kind of a horror-household name, they have amazing narrators, read some of the best horror short stories, that have come from some of the best authors around. There is something for everyone with this insanely simple and blood-curdling story-telling experience, it stands to reason if you don’t like one you should try another one, you’ll find something that you’re bound to enjoy.


7. Knifepoint Horror

Where other podcasts have an amazing track, or melodious narrators with voices of angels, who can emote through their presence of voice alone, Knifepoint Horror seems to only use the strengths of the narrator voices as well as limited sound effects somehow makes it feel like you’re there in the room with the characters. It makes you feel as if you might be the one that will next fall victim to the horrors that the characters are made to face. We highly recommend this horror podcast if you want something that will make your skin crawl at its best points and intrigue you at its slowest parts.


At number 6 in our scary podcast recommendation list is a self-proclaimed modern take on the Twilight Zone, it doesn’t fail to deliver with its eclectic collection of author contributions as well as narrators along with stellar audio effects make this an immersive experience, but what really makes this podcast special is the agonizingly spooky and mysterious nature of these short stories. The variety available with The Other Stories is perhaps one of its most attractive qualities of this horror, sci-fi, and thriller fiction show–but there’s also the themes that they tackle with each chapter. We even came up with a list of our favorites, so take a look at this podcast, we guarantee you won’t regret it!


5. Limetown

This horror mystery podcast gives the feeling that there is something real going on, it has the depth of a real news story–kind of like a forensic crime documentary. There is something wonderful about the production value of this particular podcast, as it features a fictional host of the fictional American Public Radio who is trying to solve the mystery of several hundred people vanishing from a town in Tennessee a decade ago. The interesting thing about this particular ongoing story is that there are moments where, despite being reminded that it’s pure fiction, that you can’t really be sure of whether or not it’s real. What’s more, there are moments where you might entertain conspiratorial beliefs about it being an elaborate cover-up. Regardless, it smacks hard of the Orson Welles’ adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic War of the Worlds as a radio broadcast that convinced many people that the world was being invaded by creatures from another planet.


4. Video Palace

So if you were to stumble upon Video Palace without any previous knowledge of what they were about, you might think that the narrative was a true story–it starts when the narrator’s girlfriend wakes him up after he began sleep-talking in a non-existent language. They decide to do a full investigation into what could be causing this and what they end up finding is something of a mystery that needs to be solved. The thing that really makes this fictional podcast feel all-the-more real, is the real-life writers, bloggers, and filmmakers that have their own history in the horror genre.


3. Unwell

There’s something very unwell about Mount Absalom, Ohio–even if everything about it screams hospitality. When Lily Harper returns home to Mount Absalom to look after her mother, Dot, she encounters all of the things she hated about visiting her mother during the summers. This podcast is amazingly done, with impeccable audio and a quirky sense of humor that doesn’t overwhelm the darkness and malice that lays beneath the facade of niceties. If you want to disappear into a story, then this is an incredible one to immerse yourself in.


2. The Magnus Archives

Another anthology podcast with a classical sense of tone, the cadence of the narration weighs heavily upon the mood that is delivered–there is something soothing, but utterly petrifying about the way the words are spoken. Something that we find wonderful about the Magnus Archives is the fearless nature in which it tackles each of the episodes–the eerie ability to pull you into a story–submerse yourself in the Archives.


1. Alice Isn’t Dead

There isn’t a way to describe this podcast without gushing like a complete geek–there is something in the production value of this podcast that truly pulls you into the story. We’re following a female truck driver as she searches for her previously thought-to-be dead wife through a desolate landscape of mystery, allure, and a darkness that is difficult to capture through words. With a stunningly capturing score, an entrancing voice actress who gives us a narrative that we don’t want to quit. Just take a listen and tell us you didn’t want to keep listening through to the end.

We hope that you enjoyed this discussion on horror podcasts–it’s an eclectic bunch of channels, but if you’re a horror junkie, you now have hours of content at your fingertips and all for the low-low price of your time and attention! The popular Lore Podcast did not make the cut here, as it isn’t fully horror-based, but we do have a list of some of the scariest Lore episodes you can check out. Let us know what you think about these podcasts and let us know if you feel we should include other horror channels in any future podcast discussions?

Categories
Horror Mystery and Lore Indie Horror

The Appearance of The Shadow Man

I never heard of a “sShadow Man” until my first-hand experience. It was a crisp October night and I was preparing for bed. My children were all gone and it was a beautiful evening alone with my husband. As I made my regular stroll through the house ensuring all doors were locked, windows closed, and the lights were off, I entered the hallway that ended at the master bedroom. The only light I could see was the bedroom light ahead of me and the waning full October moonlight shining in the windows. As I entered the bedroom I went to turn off the light when I saw a shadow. It could only be described as a man with a hat on, around 6 feet tall, standing in my hallway. I instantly felt goosebumps all over my body and I was frozen. I couldn’t move or speak. I just stood there, staring at this shadow, trying to comprehend what I was experiencing. I continued to watch for what felt like an eternity while the shadow man disappears through a wall.

Shadow Man
Shadow Man

I tried explaining to my husband what just happened and how the whole situation rattled me. It took a long time to shake the uncomfortable and terrifying feeling I had. The next day I met with a colleague and tried to discuss what happened. This was when I learned about the Shadow Man.

A Shadow Man, aka Shadow People or Shadow Beings, is a supernatural being that has been sighted for centuries. It (or he) appears as a dark, human-like silhouette, or a moving shadow, with no apparent features. It feeds off the fear of an individual and often will torment your dreams, making you paralyzed, but in awake-like state. There are various types of shadow men. The most demonic is known as “The Hat Man”. This being often appears with a hat and cloak and piercing red eyes. He will appear in your peripheral vision and disappear as you turn to gain sight of what you think you saw. A Shadow Man is a soulless entity that is conscious, intelligent, and can move between dimensions. He has never been alive.

The general consensus is that Shadow Beings are attracted to negative energy. The main line of defense is to start clearing out all the negative energy in your life. Calling on a higher power for help is expected, whether is it your God, spirit guides, angels, or ancestors, invite them to lend you their energy and protection.

At one point on another, we have heard the term paranormal, maybe it was in a television show regarding haunted artifacts or places, ghost stories, or a movie that’s primary topic was the paranormal. You may have seen the Shadow Man in movies such as, Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Ouija, and even in Amityville. They are often seen but not acknowledged or recognized as the Shadow being they are. Many believe it couldn’t happen to them or the skeptic inside tells you this is not real, but what if it happened to you? If you are dabbling in the paranormal via rituals, divination, channeling, or summoning, you must take precautions to ensure your physical, emotional, and spiritual safety. My experience might resonate with you.

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

The Beleaguered Buckner Building of Whittier, Alaska

The Buckner Building stands in Whittier, Alaska—the gateway to Prince William Sound—as a relic to a forgotten past. It is tucked away in the hidden port town of Whittier, a town that can only be accessed by boat, plane, or through a single train tunnel that moonlights as a passage way for big rigs, and automobiles. The bay area that surrounds Whittier is solely deep-water ports that stay ice-free year round and the railroad port is one of two, all-weather ports that supplied Anchorage with military necessities and during times of war was of key importance in order for it to stay functioning and safeguarded. The climate that the port operates under is one of nearly constant cloud coverage, which is beneficial in the respect that it protects the port and its facilities from air strikes. With all aspects of this port town taken into consideration, Whittier was possibly the most perfect place to have a military base of this caliber.

The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska
The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska Photography by Mary Farnstrom
The Buckner Building in Whittier, AK
The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska
Photography by Mary Farnstrom

The Construction and Function of the Buckner Building

Early in the course of World War II General Simon Buckner, the commander of the defensive forces of the state of Alaska was highly concerned that the state would be vulnerable to air attacks. Buckner also believed that the best type of facility would be one that autonomous, with its own power plant, sufficient storage space, and bomb-proof. The Cold War began two short years after the end of World War II and in 1953, six years into the second red scare, the construction of the Buckner Building was completed, and having been cast in place by reinforced concrete on a bedrock of slate and greywacke the building was on stable ground not susceptible to seismic shifting from earthquakes, or from thawing of any remaining permafrost.

The building was once listed as one of the largest in the state, it stands six stories tall, is approximately 500 feet long and between 50-150 feet wide (depending on which part of the floor plan it is)—all of this adds up to around 275,000 square feet of space. This massive concrete building was built in seven sections, each section having been separated by eight-inch gaps—as a means to have the structural flexibility to ride out large magnitude earthquakes and concussive forces.

In its heyday, The Buckner Building once housed the entire city of Whittier, Alaska—within its walls were also all of the relevant services were located. There was a small hospital, a 350 seat theater, four-lane bowling alley, six-cell jail, church, bakery, barbershop, library, radio station, rifle range, photography lab, commissary, officers’ lounge, as well as a mess hall, and innumerable sleeping quarters for military personnel and their families.

The Earthquake of 1964

In March of 1964, Alaska was hit by the most powerful earthquake in the history of North America (second most powerful throughout world history)—registering at a magnitude of 9.2 and lasting a full four minutes and thirty-eight seconds, the Great Alaskan earthquake caused multiple ground fissures along south central Alaska, but it also collapsed structures and caused multiple tsunamis—all of this resulted in an estimated 131 deaths. Whittier itself was not immune to the natural disaster, with thirteen people dead and damages to private and federally owned property that were over five million dollars. The Buckner building itself was also slightly damaged, although the structural integrity was not compromised due to the foundation upon the bedrock—the rest of the town received considerably more in damages due to the unconsolidated sediment that it rests on.

The Abandonment of the Base

The building was in operation until 1966, when the military finally pulled out of the Port of Whittier, the building was then transferred to the General Services Administration; after being vacated by the military, however, the ownership of the building changed hands several times. At one point Pete Zamarello, a man dubbed as the “Anchorage Strip Mall Czar”, obtained ownership of the Buckner Building with ideas of turning it into the state prison—but his deal with the state fell through and it was purchased by the citizens of the new City of Whittier in 1972. By the 1980s, the building had fallen into disrepair, windows and doors were missing, so the building began to decompose—being exposed to the elements allowed water to begin accumulating, and the building itself being in a constant state of freeze and thaw.

By 2014, nearly every inch of the building, inside and out, had been vandalized—the floors were covered in at least an inch of water, and was riddled with asbestos, mold, and mildew—suffice it to say it was no longer a safe environment for people to go exploring in. The problem was, was that there was hardly any regulation in place to keep people out of the building—so they began to crack down on trespassers on the property.

The city of Whittier came under the ownership of the Buckner Building in 2016 when the building officially went into foreclosure, it was at this point that a fence went up around the building to keep trespassers out. While the Whittier Department of Public Works and Public Utilities has done work on the property, and the city continues to express their desire to maintain it in order to preserve history, the Alaska Department of Environment Conservation has recommended demolition. While there have been many discussions to demolish the building, it has been ruled as being cost-prohibitive—this is due to the sheer amount of asbestos that is in the building and that the only land route in and out of Whittier. This route is through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, a two and a half mile railroad tunnel which allots thirty-minute windows for cars to travel through at certain times during the day—the only other option to remove debris would be on ships.

Having been abandoned for over forty years has taken its toll on the interior—where the ceilings are falling in, the light fixtures are and some parts of the exterior of the building which is tagged and degraded. The Buckner Building does still stand as of July 2020—it stands as a crumbling, darkened, cracked, and adulterated monument of an era of military and government ambition that has not since returned.

A Look Inside the Abandoned Buckner Building

Is the Buckner Building Haunted?

While this enormous abandoned building in Whittier looks incredibly spooky against the typically overcast, grey dreary skies of this hidden port town, there are also rumors of the building being haunted. While this writer’s personal investigation didn’t result in the capture of any evidence of the paranormal, other people have reported encounters and experiences that they have been more than happy to share. The Buckner Building is closed to the public, so going into the building itself is a no-go unless you want to risk health complications (mercury, lead, and asbestos poisoning is possible), injury, death, or–most likely, a hefty fine from the local police. Locals of Whittier are pretty vigilant to keep people away from and out of the building, but it doesn’t mean people haven’t ventured in to get an up-close and personal experience inside of these reportedly haunted walls. There are believed to be multiple presences within the building, although there are no records to explain these hauntings.

Due to the dilapidation of the building, the first basement is only accessible through a hole in the wall now, where the second basement is now only accessible through a hole in the floor. These two rooms are said to house an entity of “pure evil,” and people are warned to stay away from the area completely, especially the stairwell that has red, detached wiring hanging from the ceiling. Far southwest stairwell, the second corridor on the second floor, the jail, and the third floor are all haunted by apparitions–in particular, an entity that is witnessed hanging from water pipes on the second floor, and a little girl who is seen wandering the third floor crying. Room three to the right of the mental ward of the hospital, within the corridor right before the jail is reported to be especially haunted, to the point that the entity within will only allow certain people to enter the room. If this entity does not accept the person trying to enter, the door will slam shut before they can enter and seems to be locked from the inside.