Urban Legend – The Haunted Oxford Saloon – Snohomish, Washington

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

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!

Urban Legend: Ghost Town of Lake Lanier

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

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

Urban Legend: Louisiana Vampires

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

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/

Urban Legend: The Ghosts of Slaughterhouse Canyon

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

Urban Legend: The Ghosts of Slaughterhouse Canyon of Arizona
In 1882 the town of Kingman, Arizona was officially established; throughout its history it had served as both a military camp and a reservation for Native Americans. It eventually experienced growth when a section of railroad was routed through the area.

The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush started in Arizona around 1858 and just like elsewhere in the western United States, it was a rough experience for those who expected to strike it rich. Once prospectors realized their chance of finding gold in Arizona was rare, they instead sought out the more common copper and silver ores. At one point, the worth of gold sank below that of copper and silver, due to its lack of prevalence in the region.

The established families that were uprooted and relocated in the west in search of wealth and success ended up being the ones who sacrificed the most. After lengthy and often excruciatingly difficult searches, many ended up starving to death.

The Ghostly Legend of Slaughterhouse Canyon

Like any urban legend that has arisen from times of extreme hardship, this story reeks of trauma spurned by sickness, starvation, heartbreak, and madness. This particular ghost story is one that swiftly turned from being a simple tragedy to macabre madness, which is why this canyon was put on the map of paranormal destinations.

Luana’s Canyon

When the first white settlers found the area, the area was named Luana’s Canyon, after the matriarch of the impoverished family who lived in a small wooden shack near the dry wash in the heart of the canyon.

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Dreams of Wealth

As one might expect, living in a small shack in the desert was no easy task. One miner, notably a dreamer, wanted to be able provide a better life for his wife Luana and their children. This miner would regularly venture off into the mountains to work in the gold mines and to search for food for his family. Their lack of a regular income made it difficult to keep food on the table, so the only food the family had available to them was what the miner was able to bring back from his regular expeditions.

The miner would set of to the Northwestern Mountains on his trusty mule, but different accounts of this story can’t agree on whether the miner left home every two weeks, or if he would be gone for two weeks at a time. What is known is that this was a pretty typical experience during the Gold Rush era. Regardless of how often he was away from home, his family’s only source of food, money, and supplies was what the miner was able to bring back with him. Luana and the children could consistently expect the miner to return with what they needed for their comfort and survival.

One fateful day, the miner kissed his wife, Luana, and children goodbye and was on his way—unfortunately, that would be the last time the family would see their father. Days turned to weeks and soon Luana began to worry that something had happened to her husband. As the supplies dwindled, her concerns that her husband had fallen ill, had an accident, or worse, had been killed by wild animals, or even the victim of robbery. The miner had seemingly become another tragic victim of the unforgiving Gold Rush.

Descent Into Madness

Luana’s reliance upon her husband’s consistency meant that she had not rationed any of the supplies that her husband had brought back on his last trip, so when food and supplies ran scarce the family began to starve. Living alone in the canyon meant that the family had no other possible means of support and soon the children wither and wept in pain. Despite being pale and weak with starvation, their screams and cries echoed throughout the canyon and even traveled on the nighttime breeze. The starving sobs of her children constantly begging Luana for food began to tear her down mentally.

Each day that went by pushed Luana closer toward the brink of insanity until one day, she just could no longer stand to see her children suffer and she snapped. Unable to cope with the reality of watching her children starve to death, Luana’s psychosis drove her to do the unthinkable. One night during a thunderstorm, tormented by her children’s screams and own agonizing hunger, she put on her wedding dress and slaughtered her own children to end their suffering.

Her mind lost, she chopped their dead bodies up into several pieces, splattering the walls of the small shack with blood, which earned it the name of the Slaughterhouse. After finishing her horrible deed, she carried the pieces of her children and tossed their remains into the river. At the river she collapsed into a heap, her wedding dress soaked in the blood of the children she had slain. Luana was overcome with sadness and guilt; she remained on the river bank, wailing and screaming over what she had done until she succumbed to starvation herself, the next morning.

Slaughterhouse Canyon

Slaughterhouse Canyon

Today, Slaughterhouse Canyon can be accessed by the public, it’s only a twelve minute drive from Kingman, AZ. It is said, that on quiet nights when the moon is full and the air is thick, that those brave enough to venture into the desert canyon after midnight are likely to have experiences. The dark oppressive nights allow the anguished screams of the mother and the bloody cries of her slaughtered children can still be heard throughout the canyon.

Similar Legends

The legend of Slaughterhouse Canyon bears striking similarities to other urban legends and ghost stories, such as the woman in white and the tragic Mexican legend of La Llorona, or the Weeping Woman. While it’s true that the stories are similar, make no mistake, they are separate legends.

What seems to be a common thread in all renditions of these stories is that the woman murders her children, but it’s the reason behind their vicious murder that varies from story to story. In La Llorona the most frequent rendition is that the mother kills her children after she finds that her husband has been unfaithful. However, every account of the Legend of the ghosts of Slaughterhouse Canyon alleges that the husband was not only a caring and loving partner, but a devoted father as well.

Personal Accounts & Experiences

Locals will tell you that it was popular when they were of high school age to load up a car with their peers and park down in the canyon by the remains of the old slaughterhouse shack. They would roll their windows down and sit in silence as they waited for Luana—inevitably, they would hear strange sounds that would prompt them to vacate the premises.

Another account recalls their experiences of hearing the stories of Slaughterhouse Canyon and their regular trips to the area with their brother. Their motives were simple curiosity and the desire to be teenagers away from prying eyes. They would have bonfires and act their age without consequence, until one night, after midnight they began to hear the wailing cries surrounding them. A quick search of the area revealed nothing, but frightened them enough to leave the canyon entirely.

Others still, primarily ghost hunters in search of the ghosts of Slaughterhouse Canyon, report that while driving down the road that leads into the canyon they would witness a mysterious woman wearing a black dress and dark veil while walking down the side of the road. Upon turning back to find her again she had mysteriously disappeared.

Sources

Urban Legend: The Jersey Devil

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

The Jersey Devil is a creature of legend and innumerable descriptions amongst Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia folklore. A flying, hoofed biped that has been described part kangaroo or part horse, with the wings of some huge malformed bat and the forked tail of Beelzebub himself. Like an equestrian chimera inhabiting South Jersey’s Pine Barrens, the Jersey Devil is said to move very fast, some say in great leaps like a hare, and known to emit a scream like grinding machinery. Not only elusive in appearance, the Jersey Devil also has a rich history of occultism, witchcraft and – oddly enough – politics to explore.

By the early 1900s, South Jersey was abuzz with reports of the Devil. Every man and his dog claimed to have seen or even caught the mysterious mishmash of animals. Commonly described as a combination of kangaroo, bat, and pony, several museums professed to have caught it, each offering their own false promises and disappointing hoaxes. Some said the thing was white, others said brown; some said it leapt, others said it flew. By this point the Jersey Devil was becoming one of the more widespread yet confusing urban legends in Pennsylvania.

Daniel Leeds House 1600's

Originally it was known as the Leeds Devil, a name traced back to a young quaker from the late 1600s, named Daniel Leeds, who emigrated to the US. Overestimating his political prowess, Leeds became involved in government and began writing an almanac. Overestimated still were his expectations on how his peers and neighbors would react to what they described as “Pagan” ideas on astrology and magic, or how they would respond to his allegiance to the royal governor of the colony, or the British in general. Local Quakers were quick to brand him as evil for his strange outlook and even wrote pamphlets labelling him “Satan’s Harbinger”.

In 1859 a reporter’s account of stories they had heard in the Barrens was published in the Atlantic. The tales told of Mother Leeds and her practice of witchcraft, devil worshipping, and appearances from the Devil himself. So the tale goes, in 1735 Mother Leeds found herself to be pregnant, the child she bore being her thirteenth. Mother Leeds, dwelling deep in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, said “Let this one be the devil,” and according to the most popular lore that child was born with horns, hooves, wings, and a tail. The devil flew from the dwelling immediately and into the surrounding darkness.

The legend was helped along by a few noteworthy figures, one of which being Joseph Bonapart, older brother of Napoleon, who in 1812 claimed to have spotted the beast while hunting near his Bordentown estate. From this point it seems every animal attack and odd footprint was blamed on the Devil. One key event cementing the Devil’s legend happened in 1909. In the month of January that year around a thousand reported sightings came in from around South Jersey. Navy Commander Stephen Decatur reportedly saw the creature while testing cannonballs at Hanover Mills Works and, despite blowing a hole through the thing with one of those shells, was not able to kill it.

The Jersey Devil legend has had its peaks and valleys in terms of popularity (one peak being when it was the center of an X-Files episode), though alleged sightings have not stopped to this day. All things considered, the sound of the Devil’s screech as it flies through the Pine Barrens is an experience I would like to miss out on.

https://www.nj.com/entertainment/2016/10/13_places_the_jersey_devil_has_been_spotted_in_the.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jersey_Devil_(The_X-Files)

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

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/17/jersey-devil-new-jersey-myth-photo-origin-story

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