I must admit, with some embarrassment, that I am an avid PC gamer. Hidden Object Games are my favorite. One game I played was named The Wild Hunt.  It had the paranormal aspect I am drawn to. After all, I write Supernatural Thrillers that revolve around legends.

I always wondered about the origin of the phrase The Wild Hunt. Much to my delight, I came across the legend today. The tale of the Wild Hunt is told in many parts of England and Wales. The following story is one retold by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch in Folklore of a Cornish Village.

With some creative embellishment, this story is one to tell friends are a dark, stormy night. Even better told around the proverbial campfire.

(Source: Psychic Animals, A Fascinating Investigation of Paranormal Behavior by Dennis Bardens)

“Stories of a ‘wild hunt’ – a spectral gathering of hunters and dogs – are told in many counties of England and Wales, as well as in Scotland. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, in Folklore of a Cornish Village, tells of a poor herdsman who was crossing the moors one windy night when he heard coming from the rocky peaks the baying of hounds and recognized it as the ghostly dog pack known in the area. But he was still three or four miles from his house. The light was poor, the path indeterminate and difficult to follow, the soil lumpy and damp. The howling of the hounds came nearer until, to his horror, he could see in front of him a ghostly concourse of hunters, their horses, and the dogs. They were about to rush upon him when he fell down upon his knees and prayed. He heard the hunter shout “Bo shrove” (meaning ‘The boy prays’) and the ghostly hunt sped away.”

No one can say too much about the power of sincere prayer.

 

Until next time,

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Ravens Cove, An Iconoclast Thriller, is the first book in this series. Many people do not know that the inspiration for my books is an object. For Ravens Cove the catalyst was a tree. A tree that looked as if it had a body, arms, head, and hair. My interpretation of that tree, the Hag Tree, is in three books of the Iconoclast series. It does have a character all its own. In Gorgon, the third in the series, what spirit the Hag Tree held is revealed.

It follows that when I ran across this article on tree ghosts, I was intrigued. I found it interesting enough to share with you.

(SOURCE: The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits  by Rosemary Ellen Guiley)

Trees are widely believed to be a favorite dwelling for ghosts of the dead. In northern India, for example, many local shrines are built under trees for the propitiation of the resident spirits. The Bira is a tree home to the Bagheswar, a tiger godling that is one of the most dreaded deities for the jungle tribes of Mirzapur. In the Dakkim, it is thought that the spirit of the pregnant woman of Churel lives in a tree.

The Abor and Padam peoples of East Bengal believe that ghosts in trees kidnap children. In the Konkan, the medium, called a Bhagat, who becomes possessed is called a Jhad, or tree. In India lore, Devadatta worshipped a tree that suddenly broke in two one day. A nymph appeared and lured Devadatta inside, where he found a palace full of jewels and saw the maiden daughter of the King of the Yakshas, Vidyatprabha, lying on a couch.

In 1981, more than 5,000 persons from around the United States flocked to see an allegedly haunted and crying pecan tree in Gilbertown, Alabama. The tree was in the front yard of a home belonging to Mrs. Linnie Jenkins. On April 12, 1981, Mrs. Linnie reported to relatives that her pecan tree was making an “awful noise.” Her brother, sister-in-law, and others heard the strange crying sound, but no one could determine a cause. Rumor is that the house stood on an ancient Indian burial site, and therefore the noise was the sound of an unhappy Indian warrior spirit crying.

The story was reported in the media, which attracted curiosity seekers. People came to stand in Mrs. Linnie’s yard and listen to the tree. As the crowds grew, the concerned but enterprising Mrs. Linnie began charging 25₵, which had no effect, and then 50₵, which did seem to lessen the number of spectators.

Within a month, the noise in the pecan tree began to weaken. A copper tube was drilled into the tree to serve as a megaphone. The noise died away shortly after the last story appeared in a local newspaper on April 30.

No satisfactory explanation was ever put forward. It was proposed that the noise was caused by Bess beetles or by gases produced from the souring wood in the tree. One fanciful explanation held that seals in a subterranean sea were making whimpering noises.”

We humans try to find a rational explanation for something we cannot explain. To this day, no one knows what caused this tree to cry. As curious, what caused it to stop crying?

Was it truly a natural phenomenon? If so, why couldn’t it be explained? Why haven’t we heard about more such crying trees? Or, with a supernatural thought, did someone appease a tree ghost? A wonderful mystery with supernatural undertones. Just what I enjoy – I hope you do, too.

Until next time,

Mary Ann

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Overtoun Bridge has been dubbed ‘The Dog Suicide Bridge by some. It is an innocuous looking structure. One that seems like many in Europe.

Local researchers estimate more than 300 dogs have sailed off the Overtoun bridge; tabloid reports say it's 600. At least 50 dogs are said to have died.

Overtoun House and Overtoun Bridge have an extensive, and interesting history. None of which, though, seem to lend the bridge to becoming a paranormal phenomenon.


The History of Overtoun House and Overtoun Bridge

In 1859 a retired lawyer named James White bought Overtoun Farm with the purpose of building a mansion there. It was to be his retreat in the country. He first acquired 900 acres, then increased his land to 2,000 acres. White hired the architect James Smith (father of the murder suspect Madeleine Smith) to design and construct a house. Overtoun House was built between 1860 and 1863, though Smith, the architect, died before work was completed. The house was completed through one of Smith’s partners. White's family began living in the mansion in 1862.

James White owned the property for 22 years. In 1884 he died. His son John moved to the estate in 1891 after the death of James’s wife died. John White wanted expanded the property further, by coming to an agreement with a local pastor, Reverend Dixon Swan, the heir to the adjacent Garshake Farm lands. Under the deal, John White laid out the West Drive and its lodge. The eastern and western sides of the estate were split by a waterfall on the Overtoun Burn. To connect the two sides, a road was built and the Overtoun Bridge erected.

For reasons this author doesn’t understand, John White took the additional surname of Campbell, and was elevated to the peerage as Baron Overtoun in 1893. Since he died childless in 1908, he was succeeded by his nephew Dr Douglas White, a London-based general practitioner. John’s wife, Lady Overtoun, continued to live in the house until 1931. When it was left vacant, Dr White, who seldom visited Scotland, gave the house to the people of Dumbarton in 1938.

During the Second World War Overtoun was turned into a convalescent home for injured soldiers and locals. The house remained mainly isolated, and it was not damaged during the war.

In 1947 Overtoun was turned into a maternity hospital. A fire destroyed part of the house in 1948, although there were no deaths, and the hospital remained in operation until 1 September 1970. In 1975 the British government decided to use the house as a base for its Quality of Life Experiment. From 1978 to 1980, a religious group, the Spire Fellowship, utilized the home, and from 1981 to 1994, the estate was used by a group named Youth with a Mission.

The house fell into abandonment soon after Youth with a Mission left the area, but in 2001 Pastor Bob Hill from Fort Worth, Texas, leased the property from West Dunbartonshire Council to use as a Christian center for Scottish youth. The house was used in the 2012 film Cloud Atlas, where it doubled for the house of Vyvyan Ayrs in the 1936 segment, and Aurora House in the 2012 segment. Regeneration, which was partially filmed in Overtoun House, is a 1997 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Pat Barker. The house was also used in Caro Emerald's 2013 video for I belong to You.

In October 1994 a man killed his baby son by throwing him from Overtoun Bridge. As far as I can tell, this is the only reported tragic death associated with this bridge.

Since 2005 there have been a number of media reports of dogs making what appeared to be a suicidal leap from it. This was attributed to supernatural influence, or explained by the dogs being attracted by scents then losing balance on the sloping parapet of the bridge.

Looking for a ‘rational’ explanation, some say the Mink and other animals living near or under the bridge are the reason for the dogs taking this dangerous, possibly lethal plunge. Others say there haven’t been any Mink in the area for years.

No one has been able to come up with a concrete reason for why dogs are jumping.

All I know is, if I lived near Overtoun Bridge, I would avoid walking my dogs anywhere near it. I would hope anyone else would do the same.

Source: Wikipedia

–If you’d like to sample my writing and also obtain over $400 in eBooks from various well-known authors, please visit: https://www.readersandwritersbookclub.com/ravens-cove

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Near the banks of Caddo Lake (aka The Big Cypress Swamp) is Jefferson, Texas. Jefferson is only a few miles from the Louisiana border.

The entire town of Jefferson seems to be rife with paranormal activity. Purportedly haunted are The Grove, The Excelsior Hotel, and The Oakwood Cemetery, to name a few. But one of the particular supernatural hot spots is The Jefferson Hotel. It is not only one of the most haunted hotels in Texas; it may well be one of the most haunted hotels in America.

History of the Jefferson Hotel

The Jefferson Hotel has offered lavish hospitality for over a hundred years, and its quaint early Victorian structure has stood for fifty more.

In the 1850s, Jefferson was one of the most developed cities in Texas, second only to Galveston, thanks to newly chartered steamboat routs along the bayou. For traders working along the Mississippi and its tributaries, Jefferson was the go-to destination. The goods could reach this westernmost port without being transferred from vessel to rail.

The building now known as the Jefferson Hotel was built in 1851 as a warehouse to support the exploding cotton industry.

No one knows for sure, but the Jefferson Hotel opened its doors as a hospitality center somewhere between early as 1870 or late 1900. Once opened, it also “dipped its toes” into a business every bit as lucrative as cotton, especially on its “ill-famed” second floor. To this day, a long veranda encircles that floor where the hotel’s good time girls once advertised their wares.

During the Prohibition era, the Jefferson Hotel became a roaring nightspot and speakeasy under “The Crystal Palace.”

The hotel’s ballroom, maintained with period furnishings, has born witness to many an evening of tipsy risk-takers gambling with their fortunes and couples dancing the night away to lively ragtime piano.

The property’s many ages and ownership changes have left subtle marks beneath the preserved period décor. Handwritten records overflow with guest sightings of at least five separate entities from beyond.

Ghosts of the Jefferson Hotel

Ghosts at the Jefferson are said to be mean or have a mischievous streak, as they are known to throw things at the guests and even lock them in their rooms. Following are a few interesting paranormal events reported through the years.

The Book of the Dead

Staff kept a “book of the dead” behind the front desk during its latter years of operation. Guests were encouraged to write down the details of any supernatural contact. The brave and curious were even permitted to check volumes of the book out for bedtime reading.

Following are some of the most reported encounters with the supernatural.

The Mill Children

While there are many reported specters of the Jefferson Hotel, some of the most commonly sighted are a pair of children of about seven years old, a boy in knee-length britches and a girl in a pinafore—believed to be casualties of the building’s days as a cotton warehouse. Still, despite their laborious lives and untimely deaths, they’re now some of the hotel’s most high-spirited inhabitants, often heard laughing and chasing each other through the halls.

Hold on to your keys and valuables in the vicinity of the Jefferson Hotel; the mill children love to play with small objects and pull pranks on guests, moving possessions around and turning lights on and off.

The Vanishing Man

Little is known or even suspected about who this man might be, but numerous reports have described a tall male figure in a long coat and high boots who comes and goes as he pleases. Though he makes no threatening moves, some guests have found him unsettlingly persistent, sitting or standing in their rooms throughout the night.

Whoever he is, he’s the hotel’s most solid and hard-to-miss apparition. Some guests have even reported following him down a hall, thinking him to be another living guest, only to watch him vanish as he turns into one of the rooms.

Judy’s Mirror

Room 19 is a particularly volatile hotspot of paranormal activity attributed to the anguished spirit of a teenage girl. Though records of the hotel’s history as a bordello are understandably spotty, the girl may have been a prostitute stabbed by a client and left to die slowly in the room’s bathtub.

She now appears in the mists of hot showers and leaves messages on room 19’s bathroom mirror. Sometimes the words seem to be warnings, other times pleas for help. People report seeing the name “Judy” among her scribbles, but it’s unclear whether she’s introducing herself or calling out to some long-gone friend or coworker for aid.

Libby in White

This beautiful young woman appears most often to male guests traveling alone. Guests recognize her by her bridal gown, golden hair, and feet that never touch the ground. Though seen all over the property, Libby mainly seems to haunt a specific bed rather than a location, following it around through multiple remodels.

Experts and staff members disagree on this spirit’s exact identity. However, the most likely suspects are an Elizabeth and a Lydia, who stayed in the hotel almost fifty years apart. Both women were jilted on their wedding days, both were likely pregnant at the time, and both subsequently hung themselves from the bed’s unusually tall headboard.

Libby and the bed have inhabited room 12, room 14, and even room 19 at different times. One can only hope that she and Judy have found some post-mortem comfort in each other’s company, whatever both their actual names may be.

Other reports of paranormal activity include knocking on the walls in the middle of the night, footsteps running down the hall, disembodied voices, and strange shadows.

If you cannot find a room at this extremely haunted (by all accounts) location, I suggest trying the Excelsior. It, too, is haunted. No matter where you end up in Jefferson, enjoy the history of this small Texas town.

Until next time,

Sources: https://myhauntedsalem.tumblr.com/;  https://www.hauntedrooms.com/

 

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(Note: The Baker Hotel is currently in renovation. Thanks to a $65-million project, the Baker Hotel is being restored and is projected to open by the end of 2022.

The Baker Hotel History

The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, located about 50 miles west of Fort Worth, towers over the little town. The 14-story Baker Hotel was once the crowning glory of the tiny city, host to the rich and famous and anyone hoping to benefit from the local healing waters. Now, it’s a fascinating abandoned hotel in Texas.

TD Baker built the Baker Hotel in 1929 and opened its doors only two weeks after completion. The Baker had a lavish pool and spa filled with mineral-rich water, which drew all the famous and sick people to its doors.

The hotel went bankrupt in 1932 due to the stock market crash, but new owners bought it, keeping it alive for a few more years. It then changed hands again during WWII and became a military dependents quarter from 1941 till 1944.

The doors reopened as a hotel in 1963, but interest in the health spa waned with advances in modern medicine. It closed in 1972 and has remained so to this day.  

Helen Keller, Clark Gable, Judy Garland, and even the infamous Bonnie and Clyde stayed at the Baker in its heyday. Back then, this 450-room hotel was the height of luxury. There was a fancy spa, magnificent ballrooms, a bowling alley, a gymnasium, and the first hotel swimming pool in Texas.

The Baker Hotel Hauntings

As for the paranormal, there are supposedly dozens of spirits who chose to stick around the Baker Hotel. Some of them may have passed away while waiting to be cured by the healing waters. Some people even claim that the ghosts of Bonnie and Clyde still occupy one of the rooms, having a great time spending their stolen money.

The most famous ghost story is the haunting of TD Baker himself and his mistress.

TD Baker supposedly haunts the Baker Suite on floor 11. Baker is said to have died in his suite, leaving him to walk the halls of his masterpiece endlessly. Tour guides always knock on doors of the Baker suite to not anger TD by them entering.

Witnesses have claimed the entire 11th-floor smells of cigar smoke, matching the habit of the late TD Baker. Whenever a tour enters his suite, small items often disappear from the guests’ handbags or pockets. The tour guides will find them lying on the floor of Baker’s room hours later when it is time to close up for the night.

Baker is believed to have kept his mistress on the 7th floor. Some say the affair became too much. She decided to take her own life and jumped from the window of the 7th floor to her death. The reason for her suicide is unknown, but she is now a permanent guest of the Baker.

Countless patrons have spotted her. Her red hair, piercing green eyes, and lavender perfume are unmistakable. She was first seen in the 1950s by a hotel worker.

Later, a hotel maid found broken glass scattered all over a room on the 7th floor, stained with the same red lipstick the mistress wore.

The mistress will roam to different floors if she gets restless. Tour guides will hear the sounds of her high heels walking all around the first floor.

She is a flirtatious ghost who will touch and poke male tourists that she fancies. Mistress Baker is one of the most active spirits in the hotel, next to Baker himself.

The most gruesome spirit of the Baker is a bellhop. This poor young worker was chopped in half in an elevator accident in the 1950s. His apparition is only the top half of his body.

Historical records have confirmed the death of the young elevator attendant, matching the description of the ghost seen haunting the hotel.

There is another young boy who walks the halls. He passed around 1933 from leukemia while seeking treatment from the mineral springs. A shaggy dog often accompanies him.

He is one of the few spirits who has made an effort to communicate with local mediums asking for help. Most of the spirits who haunt the Baker hotel do not want help.

One medium claimed that the Baker might seem like a hotel full of tortured souls but is the exact opposite—many of these spirits returned or stayed because of the great peace and relaxation they found while staying at the Baker Hotel.

Sources: https://www.hauntedrooms.com/texas/dfw/haunted-places/baker-hotel-mineral-wells; https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/texas/haunted-hotels-tx/

his hotel has all the makings of a fantastic haunted destination when it reopens in 2022. What do you think? Are you scheduling your trip?

Until next time,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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