The Ghost of Deer Island

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore NA

Deer Island sits just offshore from the coast of Mississippi. It’s maintained by the Mississippi Coastal Preserve and it’s 400 acres are home to the great blue heron as well as ten different rare or endangered species. If seen from the nearby beaches of historical Biloxi, one would hardly assume this undeveloped paradise for boating and beach recreation is also home to some of the state’s most haunting urban legends – The Ghost of Deer Island.

Deer Island Biloxi bay

One of the legends tells of a supernatural occurrence from centuries prior. The “Firewater Ghost”, as it became known, was a mysterious blue light that people would see roaming Biloxi Bay between Biloxi and Ocean Springs. One sighting, from back in 1892, describes a luminescent ball hovering about a foot over the water’s surface. It’s believed to be a restless sentry protecting the bay.

Legend of the Headless Ghost

The most famous urban legend from the area concerns a headless ghost that haunts the island. As the story goes, two fishermen happened upon the island back in the 1800s. They explored and decided to camp for the night. Later that evening, while tending to their fire, they heard rustling noises coming from the bushes. They assumed the raucous was caused by wild hogs, but when it didn’t let up they went to investigate. Imagine their surprise when a headless skeleton jumped out of the palmetto bushes and chased them all the way back to their boat! They returned to the spot the next morning, but the creature had vanished without a trace.

Skeleton hand reaching in the dark

This particular story was first documented in a 1922 article written by local author and historian A.G. Ragusin for the Sun Herald. His primary source for the article, appropriately titled “Headless Ghost Haunted Deer Island In Olden Times”, was Captain Eugene Tiblier, Sr., who had lived in the area his entire life. But he also had the story verified by other fishermen who had visited the island and experienced similar sightings. In all instances, the men were confronted with a terrifying bone man before narrowly escaping his clutches, and this infamy has earned him the title of “Ghost of Deer Island”.

Fact or Fiction?

This legend of a headless haunt appears to originate from an even older source. According to an old pirate tale, a pirate captain once steered his ship to Deer Island in order to hide a large amount of treasure. Once the gold was buried, the captain asked for volunteers to stay behind and guard it. One of the crew members volunteered, not realizing that this participation would involve cutting off his head so that his ghost could guard the hidden riches instead (the captain assumed his eagerness was due to the fact that he wanted the treasure for himself when everyone left). His head was hung in a tree and his body laid to rest nearby, allowing his ghost to be sole protector of the loot. 

Haunted Treasure chest in sand

Despite the grisly account, and the few eyewitness accounts from long ago, there hasn’t been much in the way of recent sightings. But the legend is still entertaining, and it remains a favorite piece of lore for the area. And who knows? The alleged treasure has never been found and could still be out there. Perhaps one day soon a happy go lucky tourist, sailor, or fisherman will cross the wrong spot at the wrong time and come face-to-skeleton with…the Ghost of Deer Island.

Sources

https://www.sunherald.com/living/article39639327.html

https://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/biloxighost.html

https://theresashauntedhistoryofthetri-state.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-headless-skeleton-of-deer-island.html

The Ghost of McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Other than perhaps the Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon—the Grand Lodge located in Forest Grove, Oregon is known as one of the most haunted places in the state.

History of the McMenamin’s Grand Lodge

The Grand Lodge sits on approximately thirteen acres of park-like land, which has an old school brick lodge sitting right in the center. The Grand Lodge was originally constructed as a Masonic Lodge in 1922, featuring the iconic white columns, marble accents, tons of natural light, hardwood floors, and fireplaces. When the McMenamin’s restored the building, they filled it with furniture, added stained glass, original ironwork, and artwork by local talent. This historical monument to rich splendor, it boasts more than just guest rooms and a very nice restaurant with bars; it also features a spa, a soaking pool, a billiards room, and a movie theater. Other than these lavish features, the main building has multiple parlor rooms with fireplaces, comfortable couches, and a table to play board games. Aside from the main building, there is a Children’s Cottage—which exists because the adult residents of the lodge preferred that the Mason’s orphans to live in separate quarters—and a Masonic Museum, for the days in which it was used as a Masonic Lodge.

The Haunting of the Grand Lodge

Every bedside table in the Grand Lodge comes with complimentary earplugs because there is no room in the entire lodge where people didn’t complain about unidentifiable noises in the night. One particular guest reports that they had a set of keys that inexplicably disappeared—at first believed it to be absent-mindedness—then they all-but turned over their entire room in search of them only to discover that they were still nowhere to be found. The keys reappeared miraculously on their bedside table, which only the night before was completely bare. They reported their experiences to the lodge’s staff, they were told they were one of several of such similar reports—they were even allowed to borrow a binder that was full of witness statements to learn more about all of the ghostly experiences that had occurred inside of those walls.

Over the years since renovation, staff and guests have both reported having seen a woman with white hair and wearing a patterned dress with slippers. This particular apparition has been described in such a way that it matches the large portrait of a woman that hangs on the premises. They believe that this ghost is the spirit of a woman who lived there for many years and died just before her hundredth birthday and that her name was Anna.

Another Haunted McMenamin’s Location

So it’s true that the McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove is supposedly haunted, but what you may not realize is that there is another McMenamin’s location that is haunted as well! The White Eagle Saloon—the other McMenamin’s location—is home to a couple of apparitions, the ghost of an old housekeeper and Rose, the prostitute that was killed by one of her lovers.

The Ghost Soldier of Battery Russel, Fort Stevens in Astoria, OR

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

In the Historic Fort Stevens State Park, you can probably expect to run into the ghost of a soldier who patrols the area at night with a flashlight. There have been so many stories recounting the encounters that witnesses have had with this fallen soldier, who, when approached ends up disappearing into thin air.

The History of Battery Russel in Fort Stevens

It doesn’t really matter if you have a love for history, architecture, relics of the past, or the supernatural—Battery Russel seems to have it all. While this battery is no longer an active site, it was once of enormous importance in the defense of the Oregon coast during the Second World War. Fort Stevens was originally built around the time of the Civil War—this was when Battery Russel and other ramparts were constructed. It wasn’t until nearly one hundred years later that these ramparts and other structures of Fort Stevens were revived in order to fortify the defense of the Columbia River from a possible invasion during World War II.

Located on-site at the far end of the battery is the Pacific Rim Peace Memorial, which commemorates the American and Japanese soldiers that were involved in the attack on Fort Stevens and called for everlasting peace between these two countries. Despite its importance in the defense of the Columbia River, it was never a favored station of the soldiers who ended up there; it got the unfortunate name of Squirrelsville, due to the fact that many soldiers didn’t want to stay there, possibly because of the quickly built soldiers quarters, and because of the rotations in and out every few days. It wasn’t until after the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II that Battery Russel was manned full-time.

The Attack on Fort Stevens During World War II

In 1942 on June 21st, at 11:30 pm, an enemy Japanese I-25 submarine attacked Fort Stevens, it had somehow gotten through the mouth of the Columbia River and resurfaced just ten miles offshore. It began its attack by firing haphazardly towards the fort. Fortunately for the soldiers who manned Battery Russel, only a few of the submarine’s missiles landed near to their station, they held their ground and their fire—while the missile fire didn’t injure anyone, it did scare the local population. This led the local communities to set up a citizens patrol, they strung barbed wire up and down Clatsop Beach and even through the Wreck of the Peter Iredale. Oddly enough, this unsuccessful attack was the only action that Fort Stevens saw during the Second World War. This also made it the only mainland military base in the United States to be fired upon since the War of 1812 in which Canadians burned down the White House.

The Function of Battery Russel

One of nine batteries at Fort Stevens, Battery Russel was active for forty years, from 1904 to 1944, where Fort Stevens itself was in active service for eighty-four years, from the beginning of the Civil War all the way through World War II. It was named after Brevet Major General David Russel who fought during the Civil War. While it once protected the mouth of the Columbia River, it was one of three forts that created the Triangle of Fire—the other two being Fort Columbia and Fort Canby in Washington. This three-sided defense made it nearly impossible for enemy boats to go undetected into the Columbia River.

Battery Russel, Fort Stevens in Astoria, Oregon
Photography by Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

While there are many batteries at Fort Stevens, Battery Russel is one of the few that is open to the public to explore—literature is available on location that educates anyone, who is willing to look into a piece of our past, about the purposes of each of the rooms, as well as the history of the battery itself. There are two levels to this particular battery, the lower of which contains old ammunition rooms, offices, guardrooms, as well as storage facilities. The upper level is where the old gun pit is located, it housed two 10-inch disappearing guns; these guns would retract from view while soldiers reloaded, which provided ample cover from attacking enemies and each gun required a thirty-five man team in order to run.

Even though Battery Russel is an entirely unsupervised location it is well maintained, people are free to explore the historic battery; there is no electricity, so visits during the day are well-light by natural sunlight, but the lower level can become quite dark, so you’re better off carrying a flashlight if you insist on exploring for ghosts.

The Haunting of Battery Russel

The haunting that is described at Battery Russel isn’t exactly one to be feared—because the well-intentioned ghost soldier doesn’t mean any visitors harm, in fact, he was stationed at Battery Russel in defense of the nation and its people. The unidentified army soldier has been seen by many visitors to the Fort, where they report him showing up in several different places in the battery. If the tales are to be believed, this uniformed soldier walks the area—he’s seen wandering around the park, the campgrounds, and more often than not, the concrete battery. Those who have encountered him in the campground report the crunching gravel as he passes the area outside of your tent.

Another commonality between separate encounters is that the apparition of this soldier is that he simply disappears after being spotted. One recollection of an encounter told to the Oregon Coast Beach Connection, was that the witness was walking along the Seaside’s Promenade one night when he saw the army man in a uniform that was reminiscent of the forties. The two men nodded to each other, but when the witness turned to inspect the dated uniform, the army man had mysteriously vanished. To be sure that he hadn’t psyched himself out, the witness even went into the nearby hotel lobbies and asked the reception clerks if an army man had come into their lobby, but after having no luck in locating where the man had gone, the witness was convinced what he had seen was a specter.

Other legends that have popped up about this mysterious soldier are centered around the old guardhouse which is located in a now-residential neighborhood. Residents in the area have caught plenty of, what they believe to be, spirit orbs on camera, while others claim that they have seen him pacing the yard where the museum now stands. Whether this apparition is holding a flashlight and walking the grounds, or he’s holding a knife within the battery itself, no one has ever reported feeling any malicious intent from the spirit.

What is truly curious about this haunting is that no soldiers actually died at Battery Russel, Fort Stevens during World War II, but seeing as it was active during the Civil War, it is believed that he could have been a soldier that passed during that time.

The Ghosts of 274 Charming Forge Road

Categories
Horror Mystery and Lore

Built in 1749 on roughly forty-eight acres of land the Charming Forge mansion is nothing short of that, charming. Originally under the ownership of Baron Stiegel, a well renowned glassmaker and ironmaster in Pennsylvania, the mansion features seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, seven different fireplaces, original colonial woodwork, and a history of paranormal encounters within the property.

blank
Charming Forge Plaque

Snesnig Family

In August of 1976 Charming Forge came under the ownership of Luther Sensenig Womelsdorf and her sister Lewis Everline. Sensenig said her family experienced paranormal encounters very frequently. The first phenomenon Sensenig and her family recall happened on the lengthy stairs leading from the entry way of the mansion to the top of the third floor. Sensenig was in the kitchen and heard footsteps. She called out to whoever was running on the steps, but there was no answer.

As she made her way into the hall she arrived in time to hear the footsteps turn at the first landing of the stairway. Nobody was in sight even though she could see the opening of the stairway up to the third floor. What made it all the more odd was the phantom footsteps continued to be heard as if someone were running up to the third floor. She followed the sounds up the stairs . Once the unknown footsteps reached the third floor they immediately stopped. No one was there.

Over the course of the Sensenig families’ residency at Charming Forge footsteps were heard occasionally throughout the house as well as unexplained clunking and scraping of chains, screams, bumps, doors creaking and loud crashes. Sensenig also recalled a day walking through a hall directly next to the main hall and noticed a black cloud was floating just above her head. As soon as she noticed the apparition it quickly disappeared. On separate occasions Mr. Sensenig and his daughter Peggy had both hear the screen door slam shut, but no one was there. There wasn’t any wind according to Sensenig and the spring on the screen door was locked.

The Ghost of the Weeping Lady

Another legend surrounding Charming Forge includes the “Weeping Lady” and her lover “Stiegle.” The story of Stiegel recalls that he galloped up to the Forge on his horse where he saw his beloved on the mansion hill, waving a kerchief at him. He rose on his stirrups to acknowledge her but the action spooked the horse which reared up and threw him from the saddle to his untimely death. Some accounts add the disturbing detail that as he was being tossed the reins wrapped around his neck and severed his head. She is said to roam these halls aimlessly awaiting the return of her lover, crying and weeping. Some say you may even see her deceased lover in the yard at night, a headless ghost.

More Legends of Charming Forge Hauntings

Others say you may hear the sounds of German prisoners from the American revolution that died on these grounds. It is also noted the original owner, Baron Stiegel himself is said to have died in the house while his nephew was looking after him. Some believe Baron Stiegel haunts the house to this day.

Historic Picture of the Haunted Charming Forge Mansion
Outside of Charming Forge

A story from 1926 recounts that while the mansion was undergoing construction, an Indian visited the site and warned crew members and the owner at the time that it was being built upon an Indian burial ground. This is believed to be true as old records of the Forge mentioned the discovery of several human bones  during the renovations. 

The Curse of Charming Forge

As the story goes the ironmaster scoffed at this notion and waved off the Indian. The Indian is said to have placed a curse on Charming Forge. However, seconds after the Indian spoke he was killed by a blow from a piece of faulty ironmaking equipment. His ghost too is believed to roam the yard of Charming Forge.

The last homeowner who lived there for fifteen years before recently selling Charming Forge hasn’t had any paranormal experiences himself, though some guests have felt the presence of the paranormal and have been uneasy in the house. Charming Forge is filled with history of the paranormal, and the attraction to it leaves those interested in the paranormal in awe.

This house just changed owners in September of 2019. As you might imagine it sat on the market before finally selling for the low price of $650,000. Perhaps buying haunted real estate is where the best deals are… if only you can find a brave enough buyer.

The Goatman of Pope Lick – Urban Legend

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

A quietly picturesque scene can be found beneath the old railroad trestle over Pope Lick Creek, in the Fisherville neighborhood of Louisville in eastern Jefferson County, Kentucky. The place is calm and arguably rather beautiful, with nothing that might suggest danger, mystery, and even death. 

Such monstrous things, however, can be found in abundance here. 

Goatman of Pope Lick Legend

There is an urban legend that has haunted Pope Lick Creek since the late 1940s, deterring sensible townsfolk while drawing hundreds of daring youths and out-of-town legend trippers to its location. Folk say that it is part man, part goat, and some say even part sheep. In the beginning it was said to have been responsible for mass killings of livestock in surrounding farms. Since then it has been said to lure passersby onto the trestle to meet their demise before the next passing train, while other tales tell of the creature leaping from the trestle onto unsuspecting cars. Some even say that the very sight of the fiend wielding a blood-stained axe is enough to cause people to jump from the 90 foot bridge, scattering them on the ground below. This particular entity of darkness is known as the infamous Goatman of Pope Lick.

While Bigfoot is still by far the best known wildman of the United States, sightings of Goat Men have circled the country for decades, particularly in the southeast in places such as Virginia and North Carolina. One tale, as described by Author David Domine, explained, “The goatman arose as a tale of a local farmer back in the day. Tortured a herd of goats for Satan and signed a contract with him and forfeited his soul. In the process he was converted into this terrible creature that was sent to live under the trestle seeking revenge on people!”

The Legend Variation

Old Train Bridge

Another popular legend Domine shared claims, “A circus train was crossing the trestle one day and it derailed and in one of the cars there was a kind of circus freak.” The freak was said to have been mistreated by the circus and, after escaping the crash with its life, took revenge on any folk unfortunate to cross its path. Some say the Goatman only wants to be left alone; one story telling of how a group of Boy Scouts were chased from their nearby camp by a screaming beast who threw rocks at them. One particularly chilling detail that perseveres through Goatman legends is that his screech is an imitation of the whistle of the train which passes through his territory. 

Adding weight to this legend is the bleak and tragic history of the trestle itself. Extending over 700 feet long and 90 feet high, the rickety old train bridge is not one of the more advisable places to cross. However, it has been a popular dare to do just that for decades now, probably far more frequently since the birth of the Goatman legend. Many think the trestle is unused in this day and age, whereas in reality trains pass over the spot every single day. Due to the odd acoustics of the place, trains can be nigh-on impossible to see or hear coming until they are on the trestle itself. With no walkways, railings or ledges to cling to, daredevils finding themselves near the centre of the trestle at this point will have little hope of survival. 

A gruesome myth with enough real deaths to back it up, The Goatman has the potential to bring a shudder to even the more hardened legend tripper. We can only hope it deters anyone else from crossing the deadly trestle, a location seemingly as dangerous as the legends surrounding it. 

https://everything2.com/title/Pope+Lick+goat+man#:~:text=The%20Pope%20Lick%20goat%20man%20is%20an%20urban,monster%2C%20haunts%20the%20area%20around%20the%20trestle%20.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Lick_Monster

https://www.wattpad.com/640260275-urban-legends-haunted-places-etc-the-goat-man-of

https://www.wave3.com/story/25479436/numerous-urban-legends-tell-of-louisvilles-goat-man/