The Real Abandoned Overlook Hotel
Unlike the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, this hotel is really named the Overlook. The abandoned hotel is located in the small, wine growing town of Bernkastel-Kues in Germany. Aside from the fact that it has been unoccupied for about 13 years, there is no information as to why the hotel was closed. All of the furniture remains and it looks as if everyone there simply left. There are rumors that the hotel is haunted. According to urban explorers who frequent the spooky site, cameras malfunction, sounds can be heard throughout the premises and items seem to move around the hotel by themselves.
History of the Séance
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, spiritualism—a belief that the spirits of the dead can communicate with the living—was all the rage. There was no trendier activity than holding a séance led by a medium, who would mediate between the living and the dead. The mediums not only delivered messages from the dearly departed, but also demonstrated the presence of spirits in the room by levitating objects, ringing bells, and producing a substance from their bodies known as ectoplasm as seen in the photos above. In the fourth photo above, the medium can be seen “cheating” when the photographer caught her lifting the table with her knee.
Those were excellent tricks, but that’s all they were—mediums were often shown to be frauds. “Exposures are of frequent occurrence, many of them highly sensational in character,” wrote the New York Times in a November 21, 1909 article titled “Notable Charlatans Exposed In The Past: A Weird History That Leaves Spiritualism Undaunted.” (You can view a PDF of the article here.) “Slate writing, spirit pictures, table tipping, rapping, and other features of Spiritualism have been exposed time and again.”
The two last photos above, circa 1910, show medium Marthe Beraud excreting ectoplasm, her specialty, during a séance. In the last photo, a strange face appears on the ectoplasm. The material was said to be formed when mediums were in a trance state; it could only be created in near darkness and it was emitted from orifices on the medium’s body. But rather than being some spiritual substance, the so-called ectoplasm was usually gauze, muslin, or chiffon. Beraud was the first medium to perform the ectoplasm trick and one of her outspoken supporters was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Ghost in the Courthouse Window
In November 1876, the Pickens County Courthouse in South Carolina burned to the ground. Suspecting arson, residents wanted to punish the person responsible. After more than a year a former slave, Henry Wells, was arrested in connection with a string of burglaries and taken to the newly rebuilt courthouse. Thinking Wells was also responsible for the arson, a mob gathered outside, ready to hang him.
From a garret room upstairs, Wells was reportedly peering down at the angry crowd when a bolt of lightning struck near the courthouse and somehow etched the anguished expression on Wells’ face onto the glass of the window. The ghostly face is said to appear often. As for the legend’s truth, an urban adventure to the courthouse might provide the answers.
The Haunted Tomb of Captain Buck
In the town of Bucksport, Maine, there stands a cursed memorial where Captain Buck is buried. The tomb of the town’s founder, Colonel Jonathan Buck, features a mysterious stain — the image of a woman’s stocking foot or boot. The leg stain on the memorial, according to legend, came about when Colonel Buck burned a witch and her leg rolled out of the bonfire. Apparently before she died, she cursed at Buck that he would always bear the mark of his horrible deed. His heirs tried to clean the foot off the stone and are said to have replaced the monument twice but the foot kept coming back.
The legend of the Mysterious Tomb of Bucksport varies depending on who tells it. In one version, instead of burning her, he had her hanged. In another, she wasn’t a witch at all, just unfortunate enough to be pregnant with his child, and the witch execution was an easy fix to his inconvenient problem.
The legend grew over the centuries, fully forming as a tourist attraction when locals started selling postcards. Tourists started pouring into town to see the ghostly smudge. The town, recognizing a good thing, upgraded the Cursed Tomb experience in recent years. There is a little parking area next to the cemetery, and a wheelchair-friendly concrete ramp leading up to the cursed monument. You can photograph it through a wrought iron fence.
Helltown - Haunted Ohio
The Northern part of Summit County in Ohio is known by its eery name, Helltown. In the 1970’s, Boston Township was the site of a government buyout and subsequent mass eviction of citizens of the area. The houses were intended to be torn down and the land used for a national park, but the plans never quite manifested. Legends spawned wildly. Driving through the dark, wooded landscape was enough to give chills even when it was populated, but now the drive is by boarded up houses standing next to the burnt out shells of others.
The persistent legends of Helltown add to its scary, abandoned status. The steep Stanford Road drop off, immediately followed by a dead end, is aptly named The End of the World. If you get stuck at this dead end for too long, you may meet your end at the hands of the endless parade of freaks supposedly patrolling the woods. Satanists, Ku Klux Klan members, escaped mental patients, abnormally large snakes, and mutants caused by an alleged chemical spill are all still being reported as haunting the area. If you stray from the roads, you may find Boston Cemetery, home to a ghostly man, grave robbers and, believe it or not, a moving tree. A true challenge for any suburban explorer.
Highgate Cemetery - London’s Most Haunted
Highgate Cemetery is steeped in supernatural lore. Constructed out of need with six others in the early 1800s, with London’s population nearing a million and the death toll rising, there was no more room to bury the dead. This cemetery is one of the most famous in the world, with many notable historic figures, such as Karl Marx, buried there.
The architecture of the cemetery is truly unique. In the heart of the grounds is an eccentric structure called the Egyptian Avenue which consists of sixteen vaults, entered via a great arch. Each vault fits twelve coffins, purchased and used by individual families. This avenue leads to the Circle of Lebanon which was built in the same style consisting of thirty six vaults. A separate gothic-styled catacomb, named the Terrace Catacombs, has an additional fifty five vaults.
But what lures most people to the cemetery are the legends and myths that include ghosts, a vampire and other unexplained phenomena. Spirits coming out of the mausoleums, a glowing woman who roams the paths in between the graves, a man in a top hat, and misty floating beings that hang around the tombs are just some of the the spirits that inhabit the cemetery. Its the account of the “Highgate Vampire” that makes the site legendary.
The first report was in 1970, when a young man reported that he had seen a dark figure resembling a vampire in the cemetery. Since then, hundreds of claims of suspected vampires continued to be reported. Helping the belief along was the fact that dead foxes, with their throats torn open, kept turning up on the grounds. Aside from ghosts and a resident vampire, Highgate Cemetery is a hauntingly beautiful place to spend eternity.
The Enfield Poltergeist
“Just before I died, I went blind, and then I had an hemorrhage and I fell asleep and I died in the chair in the corner downstairs.”
The eerie voice — which can still be heard on audio tapes today — is purportedly that of Bill Wilkins. The recording was made in Enfield, North London, in the 1970s, several years after his death.
Most horrifying of all, however, was that the voice was coming from the body of an 11-year-old girl, Janet Hodgson. She appeared to be possessed. It could have been a scene from the film The Exorcist — but it was real. The rasping male voice sent a chill through the room. Hauntingly, it delivered a message from beyond the grave, describing in graphic detail the moment of his own death through a living person.
Investigators experienced Lego pieces flying across the room, and marbles, and the extraordinary thing was, when you picked them up they were hot. Clothes flew across the room, sofas levitated, furniture spun round and was flung across the room, and the family would be hurled out of their beds at night. There were cold breezes, physical assaults, graffiti, water appearing on the floor, and even claims of matches spontaneously bursting into flame.
The ongoing knocking was one of the most chilling aspects of the case. It would run down the wall, fading in and out as it apparently played an unnerving game with the family — who became so scared that they slept in the same room, with the light on.
(Source: Daily Mail)
Ghostly Face Appears in Ultrasound
(Source: The Huffington Post)
“City of Ghosts”
High on the Ming Hill, Fengdu, the “City of Ghosts,” is situated at the northern end of the Yangtze River. It attracts tourists from all over and even many visitors from within China as it is the place to learn about Chinese ghost culture and the afterlife.
The city has been around for nearly 2,000 years, filling it with a spooky sense of the past. Its origin story begins back in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), when two officials decided to run away to the area and live out their lives, where they eventually, the story goes, became immortal. Yin and Wang, the names of the officials, were combined during a later dynasty to mean “King of the Underworld.” Locals deemed this a gathering place for spirits. The Ghost City that developed is a complex of Buddhist and Taoist temples adorned with macabre demon statues dismembering humans as they guard the entrance to the netherworld.
Most of the popular landmarks in the City of Ghosts bear names that reference the afterlife: “Last Glance at Home Tower,” “Nothing-to-be-Done Bridge,” “Ghost Torturing Pass.” Covering the sites are statues and other artistic depictions of ghosts and devils, terrifying works that represent what happens to those who haven’t lived good lives after theirs is taken from them.
The giant face seen in the pictures is called The Ghost King, and it holds a Guinness World Records title as the biggest sculpture carved on a rock. At 138 meters tall and about 217 meters wide, The Ghost King can be seen from all around the city.