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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Urban Legend – The Haunted Oxford Saloon – Snohomish, Washington

Would you like a few ghost sightings with your burger? Only at the Oxford Saloon. This establishment has been standing in downtown Snohomish, Washington for over a century – starting out as a Dry Goods Store before transforming into a saloon for locals and travelers. The only issue? When these visitors aren’t enjoying live music, good food, and rounds of pool, they’re committing acts of violence and occasionally killing each other. Okay, maybe even more than occasionally – as there have been at least ten documented killings at The Oxford Saloon over the years. Any building over 100 years old is bound to have a little history, and here’s what you should know about one of the most haunted places in Washington.

Haunted Oxford Saloon Snohomish Washington

From the outside, The Oxford Saloon looks like your typical saloon and dive bar. But Henry, the ghost of the policeman who died from a stab wound after trying to break up a fight, would have to disagree. He’s one of the most famous paranormal residents of the bar, frequently seen in the women’s restroom, near the men’s card room, and at the bottom of the stairwell. He is a fairly mischievous entity – as many guests have reported being pinched or watched by his spirit. But all you need to do is confront him, and he’ll disappear! In fact, the main floor is generally pretty harmless when it comes to hauntings, as guests have reported seeing full-body apparitions and orbs in their photos – but the vibes stay positive and not exactly scary.

However, things get a bit darker when you head to the second bar of The Oxford Saloon. This is where a woman named Kathleen is said to have run a brothel, and many instances of violence and death occurred within the space. In fact, Kathleen herself was decapitated and murdered by a man while she was upstairs taking a bath… and that very same bathtub sits at The Oxford Saloon to this very day. Not creepy at all. Her ghost is seen as an older woman wearing a purple dress, along with one of her younger girls, Amelia – whose body was found dead in her bedroom closet. The third most popular ghost resident that you’ll find on the second floor? A tall man in a bowler hat – which gives us terrifying The Haunting of Hill House vibes.

There’s no denying that The Oxford Saloon is a fun and legendary hangout – and not just for humans.  Countless paranormal investigators have visited the spot, with many picking up EVPs that would send chills down anybody’s spine. They range from simple and cute, like the sound of a child laughing, to hearing a man’s voice repeating and mocking everything the female investigator said. Not cool. And while some establishments try to hide their haunted history, fearing that it may affect business…. Oxford is definitely not one of them. The staff will happily chat about the paranormal activity and spirits roaming the bar, and even has a feature on their website that lets you share your very own ghost experiences at The Oxford Saloon. It will likely stand for another 100 years, so next time you’re in Washington… don’t forget to stop by for a sandwich and a possible ghost encounter!

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Urban Legend: Ghost Town of Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier is the largest lake in the state of Georgia, boasting more than six hundred miles of shoreline that borders five different counties. It is itself a man-made lake, created to establish flood control as well as hydroelectric power and drinking water to much of the surrounding area. It provides many practical services, but it also provides a place for nautical excursions and summertime pleasures. Every summer millions of people flock to this massive body of water in North Georgia to enjoy boating, fishing, and time spent on the beach. But would so many carefree cavorters come if they knew of the deadly lore of the ghost town that (quite literally) lies beneath the surface?

Lanier County and Lanier Lake map in Georgia

The Ghost Town of Lake Lanier is a sprawling urban legend that concerns unmarked graves, displaced souls, hundreds of deaths, and vengeful spirits. Back before the lake was built, the area was home to a variety of businesses, churches, and homesteads. When the government decided to dam up the Chattahoochee River in the 1950s, thus creating the lake, they had to pay off and remove around 700 families.

Though the US Army Corps of Engineers removed many of the buildings in the area (though some built of stone and concrete still remain on the lakebed), they had a harder time when it came to the cemeteries scattered throughout the land. Try as they could when relocating the bodies, there was no way to account for every single soul buried in the soon-to-be-flooded region. By 1956 the lake was finally filled in.

And that’s when the deaths began.

Unnatural Encounters

Imagine a vast body of murky water, in the depths of which resides an abandoned ghost town of concrete skeletons, rusting ferries, countless debris from personal belongings, and even the grandstands of an auto-racing track known as Looper Speedway. Now imagine you’re going for a swim and you feel unknown hands grabbing at you from beneath the waves. Or, conversely, imagine you’re going for a dive and you feel body parts frozen in rigor mortis. As local longtime diver Buck Buchannon tells it, “You reach out into the dark and you feel an arm or a leg and it doesn’t move”. 

Dark water with hand coming out

In addition to these grave encounters, other apparitions have been sighted by lake goers throughout the decades. For some it’s giant catfish as big as station wagons. For others it’s a raft piloted at night by a cloaked figure who vanishes when you go for a better look. But the most detailed and famous story involves two women who drowned there in the fifties. 

The Lady of the Lake

Back in 1958, friends Delia Mae Parker Young and Susie Roberts were driving their Ford across Lanier Bridge over the lake when they suddenly veered off the edge into the water. Divers searched the area but could find no evidence of the women or their car. Then a year later a body was discovered, missing both hands and several toes, but it could not be properly identified. Finally, thirty-one years later in 1990, the Ford is discovered with the body of Susie Roberts still inside, leading most to assume the body discovered decades earlier belonged to Delia. 

Where the story really gets creepy is that for years people have claimed to see a lady walking the length of Lanier Bridge, dressed in blue and missing both hands. Not only would that sight be enough to scare the bravest away, but some have reported that the spector will accost them, using her maimed arms to try and drag them into the lake. Chilling stuff. 

Creepy bridge at night

Lake Lanier Now

Many who visit Lake Lanier would never suspect that such nefarious legends surround it. In fact, its popularity has only increased over the years, and it has become a number one destination in the state during the summer months. However, it is also a place with a checkered past. In addition to the alleged supernatural occurrences, there have been over six hundred people who have died in the lake since it was created. That high body count, much higher than any similar lake in the area, has only buoyed confidence from those who believe the area to be haunted. The truth of the matter is, there is an actual ghost town beneath Lake Lanier, and it’s a sobering fact that hundreds of bodies, both living and dead, were displaced in its creation. Sounds ripe for a haunting to us!

Sources

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/31/us/lake-lanier-urban-legends-trnd/index.html

https://www.southerngothicmedia.com/lake-lanier

https://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/issue-113-summer-2021/the-haunting-of-lake-lanier

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Urban Legend: Louisiana Vampires

Vampires have been one of the most beloved and obsessed-over monsters in popular culture ever since F.W. Murnau’s highly influential silent horror film, Nosferatu (1922). The dark-dwelling bloodsuckers appear frequently to this day, from mainstream titles such as Resident Evil: Village and Twilight to lesser-known works like Stakeland and What We Do In The Shadows. In fact, vampires have existed long before these in many aspects of human culture, fantasized about in folklore and depicted in a myriad of mystical and horrifying tales throughout history. Widely reported from Eastern Europe in the late 17th and 18th centuries, some surmise that the vampire was born from paranoia of widespread illness, though certain figures have been particularly convincing in the existence of these nocturnal immortals.

New Orleans 19th Century

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Cut to 19th Century New Orleans, one of the most prominent places in regards to hauntings, vampire sightings, and cult speculation. Tuberculosis, consumption, and syphilis are running rampant. In a city so accustomed to suffering, fear quickly becomes paranoia, which in turn rapidly morphs into superstition and comprehensive folklore. Among these, and strangely enough confirmed by the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, is the account of real vampires living in New Orleans.

Louisiana Vampires

The city was the inspiration for many of Anne Rice’s gothic novels, most notably 1976’s Interview With The Vampire, whose story was also based there. Many locals would take the tale further, claiming that multiple real vampires reside in their city. Some would reference the brothers John and Wayne Carter, who in the 1930s were arrested following a string of peculiar murders. The brothers, it was found, drained the blood of over a dozen victims using some unknown method, and were only caught out when a blood-soaked woman managed to escape their New Orleans apartment. When the brother’s corpses disappeared entirely from their family’s funeral vault, suspicion and surmise only grew as to their true nature, and their true species. Reports of sightings of the brothers occur to this very day.

While New Orleans is by no means the first place to encounter the Louisiana vampire legend, (some instances go as far back as ancient Greek Mythology!), it is definitely holds prominence as the home of the most infamous documented vampire existence in the world. To explore this we must dive back to 1700s France where a man, if he can so be called, by the name of Comte St. Germain came into the public eye. While this was the first solid evidence of his existence, figures from around the globe such as French historian and philosopher Voltaire, King Louis XV, and Italian writer and adventurer Casanova all professed to have met the timeless individual. He was said to have been an alchemist, one who knew all and never died, who grew diamonds and created beautiful jewels from stones. The alchemist attending the execution of Marie Antoinette was apparently trained by Comte St. Germain, and claimed to have sighted him at the deadly proceedings, long after he was known to have died.

Skip ahead two hundred years to when a French immigrant known as Jacques St. Germain interloped to the US, settling into a place on Royal Street, New Orleans. Coincidence, no? Any right-minded historian would no doubt agree. However, stranger still was the man’s wit, charm and charisma, his seemingly ageless appearance and the painstaking detail in the tales he told of hundreds of years past. He threw parties that would roll Gatsby’s eyes, all while never consuming a single bite of the food he offered his guests. A few tales surround Jacques St. Germain in this period, including guests claiming he tried to bite their necks, bottles of red wine in his house that later were found to be human blood, and the fact that he didn’t own a single utensil. By the time baffled police made these discoveries in his home, Jacques St. Germain was gone, never to return.


These days, according to a survey by the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, there are over five thousand people in the US today who identify as a vampire. Over fifty of these live in New Orleans alone, past superstitions making the place a veritable hotspot for dwellers of the dark, immortal or not.

References

https://uk.hotels.com/go/usa/creepy-new-orleans
https://pelicanstateofmind.com/louisiana-love/jacques-st-germain-louisiana-vampire/

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Urban Legend: Pukwudgies

Bristol County lies in the southeastern corner of Massachusetts, and is known by locals as the single most haunted place in New England. A short stay at Bristol Country is likely to expose you to some of the strangest urban legends around; tales of malevolent energies that lay dormant around the area, awakening only to play the culprit to the county’s many weird occurrences.

Spectral armies traversing the night, haunted schools, strings of unexplained suicides, murders and disappearances rank among the oddities, along with a bestiary of mythical creatures commonly sighted in the dense forestry around the county. These sightings include huge, monstrous versions of animals such as bears and snakes, and other more legendary and widespread entities such as Bigfoot and the Thunderbird.

Like something from a HP Lovecraft story, the place is also a hotbed for cult activity. For over forty years, police in Bristol County have been puzzled by the bizarre and usually criminal activity involving congregations of Satanic cults from all over the US. All that being said, the most dreaded of the many horrors inhabiting Bristol County is not ghostly, or animalistic, or even masses of Satanic cultists, but in fact a two-foot demon called the Pukwudgie.

What is a Pukwidgie?

A Pukwudgie is essentially a New England Ewok. According to historic folklore dating back long before Europeans had even set foot in the US, Pukwudgies are the spirits of the forest, inhabiting swampy and densely wooded areas. They vaguely resemble humans, except they are around two-to-three feet tall and boast cartoonishly large ears and noses as well as eerily long fingers. They have been compared to goblins and trolls and are said to have smooth, grey skin.

Also known as bagwajinini, which translates to “person of the wilderness,” Native American tribes say that Pukwudgies once lived alongside humans in the wilderness around North America, though they turned against them when members of the Wampanoag tribe evicted the then-helpful Pukwudgies from the area in a rather brutal way. Natives from a wide array of tribes all feature Pukwudgies heavily in their folklore, from the Wampanoag tribes of Massachusetts and Southern New England to the Algonquian tribes of the Great Lakes region. According to many of these tribes, the creatures were best left alone. 

But that’s not to say that all Pukwudgies were deadly. In fact, they exhibited a wide range of characteristics; friendly and helpful in some areas, mischievous in others, and downright murderous in some. The detail which is possibly the most frightening is that Pukwudgies had power, and possibly even control, over the spirits of their victims. It is said that should one annoy a Pukwudgie, the beast would stalk them and either play one of their many insidious tricks or, if the offense was great enough, advance with murderous intent. 

Pukwudgies in Pop Culture

Hagrid from Harry Potter

Pukwudgies have been popularized in modern culture largely thanks to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter universe, in which they are described as follows: “The Pukwudgie is also native to America: a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature distantly related to the European goblin. Fiercely independent, tricky and not over-fond of humankind (whether magical or mundane), it possesses its own powerful magic. Pukwudgies hunt with deadly, poisonous arrows and enjoy playing tricks on humans.”

This was not the first use of the Pukwudgie in the arts, however. In 1855, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published his epic poem “The Song of Hiawatha,” which mentions the critters as the “mischievous Puk-Wudjies” who killed the giant Kwasind by pelting him with pine cones.

“Far and wide among the nations

Spread the name and fame of Kwasind;

No man dared to strive with Kwasind,

No man could compete with Kwasind.

But the mischievous Puk-Wudjies,

They the envious Little People,

They the fairies and the pygmies,

Plotted and conspired against him.”


Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Urban Legend: The Devil’s Chair of Alma Cemetery

Devil’s Chairs, also known as haunted chairs or witches chairs, are funerary monuments carved into the shape of chairs or benches. Stone furniture such as this was usually placed beside the grave as a sort of “mourning seat” for visitors, though they also functioned as memorial sculptures as well.

Devil's chair made of stone in cemetery

Over time these chairs became imbued with supernatural significance as spots where one may encounter the paranormal (and usually not in a good way). Some were meeting places with the Devil, others were gateways to the underworld. Usually the chairs were cursed in a way that whosoever sat on them would die, either immediately or within a year.

Devil’s Chair in Alma Cemetery

In the heart of the Flint Hills in Kansas sits the quaint little town of Alma. Also known as the “City of Native Stone,” Alma is an unassuming community of less than a thousand people and a multitude of options for outdoor enthusiasts. But hidden beneath the natural beauty and wildlife is a dark secret that has frightened and intrigued urban legend trippers for years. Let’s take a journey over to Alma Cemetery to find out why.

Downtown Alma, Kansas

Cemeteries, by nature, are fraught with paranormal sightings and incidents. However, there is a particularly fascinating story involving the cemetery in Alma. As the urban legend goes, back in the 1800s, before the cemetery existed in its current form, the land was private and owned by a farmer. When the city was being built developers came to purchase the land, but the stubborn farmer refused.

Some say the farmer was pushed into his well, others say he fell in on accident. When the city officials came out again they couldn’t find the farmer, but they did notice strange smells emanating from the stone structure. The Sheriff declared the well empty and had it sealed off. The farmer was never seen again, and the land was eventually taken by the city and turned into the cemetery it is today.

Alma Cemetery in Kasas

The Hauntings

There are a variety of hauntings that people claim to have experienced at Alma Cemetery, from floating orbs to disembodied voices to ghostly physical encounters. But the boarded up well – the site of the farmer’s disappearance long ago and now an altered version of a devil’s chair – holds a particular sway over the area. Back in the 1980s a group of teenagers decided to explore and see if they could catch a glimpse of the dead farmer. One of the teens was dared to sit on top of the well by the others, but when his friends turned back around he had disappeared, never to be seen again.

Sealed and abandoned well

Since then other people have been reported to have disappeared as well after sitting on the fateful well. As with other locations involving infernal chairs, the idea is that an evil presence is forcibly taking these unfortunate souls. Many believe that it is specifically the spirit of the old farmer, exacting his revenge on the city that caused his demise. Either way, if you ever visit the cemetery it’s best to observe the well from a safe distance and, whatever you do, don’t sit on it.

Sources

https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/kansas/kansas-cemetery-alma/

https://www.joincake.com/blog/devils-chair-cemetery/

http://www.theshadowlands.net/places/kansas.htm

https://www.anamparanormal.com/148