Archive for the ‘Ghosts’ Category

It is also known as the Essex County Hospital, the area is heavily guarded for the sake of preventing further vandalism and general criminal activity. I for one salute this, preservation of these buildings seems to be scarce in my country so I am always glad to hear when action is taken anywhere.

In 1986 the land was designated for the new location of the insane asylum and was located in Verona, now Cedar Grove, it was selected as a remote location, high altitude and peaceful for rehabilitation.

Like many it was soon victim to being at full capacity, it was so large it had its own train stop, grew its own food and the farming was considered to be helpful towards the rehabilitation of the patients. It was its own little town and even had a semi-professional baseball team.

The 1960’s and 70’s brought the further introduction of new treatments, medication and brought a decline in admitted patients. It still operated into the 1990’s and slowly parts were abandoned, which meant urban explorers and then local legends started. In 2007 Essex Court announced a smaller, modern place would be built. Overbrook would become a 90 acre country park.

For New Jersey teens exploring this was a rite of passage, “the asylum”, “the bin” and “the hilltop” tested their mettle. It is a sad fact that the buildings have been demolished. Now the site will hopefully be used for local benefit.

The site for the asylum is not that of the sanatorium, the Essex County Mountain Sanatorium stood elsewhere but was left entirely without preservation and nothing remains. The once lovely building for aiding tuberculosis sufferers is no longer standing. Nearby the penitentiary from 1872 will eventually follow suit no doubt.

In 2008 Choke was filmed at the Overbrook Asylum and so has been preserved in the form of video/film at least.

21st December, 1917, an article appeared in The New York Times about a terrible tragedy at Overbrook. A set of boilers failed during a cold wave, 24 patients died within 20 days. There were 1,800 patients at the time in the asylum and it gave rise to 32 cases of frostbite. The conditions were bad enough that the director sent a letter to relatives, he encouraged them to take their relatives away until the situation could be resolved.

Ghost Adventures visited the site but they did not give the official location during the filming, but Ghost Hunters and their sister show, GH Academy also visited. The TV shows go with the idea that forgotten patients still wander the halls. Much like Danver’s and others of a similar build the idea of the underground tunnels draws a good deal of attention too.

Building II was the location for the morgue and criminally insane, apparently, I do wonder why these two always feature together on plans… and it is said that there is a nurse there walking the halls. Alongside this are reports of screaming, bangs and direct threats on a vocal level for people to leave the property.

I could find nothing outside of the TV shows about hauntings, I am more than aware about the claims from these shows about false evidence too. Many locals seem quick to dispute the cases and tales as well, so have you anything to add?

Overbrook Station.JPG
By J. E. Bailey – Images of America: Cedar Grove, Public Domain, Link

 

This case is interesting because it was in 1804 and set out a legal precedent in the UK about self-defense; could someone be held liable for their actions even if they were the consequence of a mistaken/misguided belief…

Near the end of summer in 1803 a number of people claimed to have seen and even been attacked by a ghost in the Hammersmith area, London. It was believed that the ghost was a man who committed suicide the year before and was buried in the Hammersmith churchyard. It was believed he should not be buried in consecrated grounds, it was thought that suicide victims would not find rest if that happened.

3rd January, 1804 and a member of the armed patrols set up in response shot and killed a plasterer, Thomas Millwood. The man mistook the white clothes of Millwoods trade for the ghost and 29 year old Francis Smith was found guilty of murder. Mr Smith was tried for willful murder, and a witness stated she had warned the victim he might want to put on something that stopped him being all white, she had said he had already been mistaken for the ghost on a previous occasion.

Millwood’s sister testified that Smith had called on her brother to sop or he would shoot but he then fired almost immediately. The Lord Chief Baron Macdonald advised the jury that Smith’s character before may well have been good and there may have been no malice but the question was more if he had at that point shot with intent to kill.

Smith had not been provoked and had not made any attempt to apprehend the ghost, therefore he felt that the jury should be directed to find him guilty if they believed the facts presented. It took an hour for the jury to come back with a verdict of manslaughter. MacDonald said they could not deliver that response, it must be either guilty or acquittal, the belief that he was a ghost was to him irrelevant to the case. The jury then came back with guilt… MacDonald stated he intended to pass the case to the king, who had the power to commute the sentence.

Initially the trial stated that it was a sentence of hanging and dissection. It was commuted to a year’s hard labour. The publicity meant that the true culprit of the ghostly encounters came forwards, John Graham had been pretending to be the ghost so that he could frighten his apprentice, and his apprentice had been scaring the local children with stories of ghosts.

The impact on the law was that a question arose about whether the action taken under a mistaken self-defense would be chargeable, and it went to the Court of Appeal. It wasn’t clarified until 1984, when appellant, Gladstone Williams, had seen a man dragging a younger man along the street, the younger man was shouting for help. Williams thought that an assault was taking place and intervened, Williams had not known but the person being dragged had been caught trying to commit theft. Williams was then convicted of assault with actual bodily harm, and the Lord Chief Justice Lane referred to the debate when the appeal came up.

It was a problematic issue, Williams was trying to help albeit without understanding the situation he had seen someone in peril and thought he was doing the right thing. It was not unreasonable perhaps, that he stepped in trying to assist, the man was crying out for help. So in the end for Williams an appeal was allowed and his conviction was quashed… the decision was also later written into a more concise reference for law, Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, section 76.

And all this because a man dressed up in a white sheet and tried to scare his apprentice!

Hammersmith Ghost.PNG
Public Domain, Link

 

Fan Man-Yee was a 23-year-old night-club hostess was kidnapped and tortured in Hong Kong; the events led to her eventual death and a morbid fascination in the case for any true crime enthusiast. The crime occurred March 7th, 1999 and caused a media storm around the world. Three men were convicted of manslaughter but because the exact cause of her death could not be determined even though it seems pretty clear that they were the arbiters of her demise.

Man-Yee was kidnapped by Chan Man-Lok, Leung Shing-Cho and Leung Wai-Lun, three members of the triad (gangsters). Before she met her husband, it was alleged that she had stolen the wallet of one of the gangs, the wallet belonged to Chan Man-Lok who was a drug lord and had around $4,000 inside. He made a plan to take her and use her as a sex worker, his plan to was make her work until she had paid him off but slowly that plan morphed into something far worse.

She was taken to apartment 31 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong where she was held prisoner after Man-Lok hatched the plan with the other two people involved. The apartment was decorated with Hello Kitty products and that is where the murder earned its nickname. She was beaten daily and tortured over a debt of 20,000 Hong Kong dollars. Whilst they were enacting their terrible punishment on the poor woman the 34-year-old Man-Lok was dating a 13-year-old girl, she is noted as “Ah Fong” and she was pushed into witnessing and participating in the event. Ah Fong spoke about how she watched Man-Yee being hit around 50 times and she was encouraged to do it for fun.

They also found out further horrific acts had been perpetrated on the poor woman, they had forced her to consume human waste and had urinated in her mouth. This poor mother had been tortured by having melted straws and using hot melted plastic on the soles of her feet, Ah Fong admitted that she had taken part in those acts too. She was tired, beaten and endured far too much for anyone, I found this one a very hard read I have to admit. Following her death Fong suffered nightmares and was convinced that Man-Yee’s restless spirit was haunting her, she felt the only way to release herself of this was to go to the authorities. The teenage girl had gone to the police to report as both a witness and participant to the crime, it seems almost fantastical in nature and they were met with the unimaginable when they attended the apartment and found what was inside.

One-month later Man-Yee was dead and the investigation was not able to conclude if she had died because she had overdosed herself or they had administered them. The three men attempted to argue that she had died when she overdosed on methamphetamine but if it was an accident why wouldn’t they get help? Oh right… because she was dead and had been dismembered. When she died, they placed her corpse in the bathtub and then set to dismembering her with a saw. They tried to get rid of her remains and to stop her body decomposing and causing an obvious smell they cooked her remains on a stove, sometimes this was right beside where they were preparing their normal good.

Searching for her skull the authorities found that her skull had been stuffed into a giant Hello Kitty doll. Most of her body parts were discarded and only her skull, a tooth and some internal organs were retrieved.  They found a tooth there that belonged to her, they found her organs in bags partially decomposed and with the physical evidence they arrested the three men for the crime.

Ah Fong gained immunity from her crimes for selling the other three out, and the trial lasted six weeks. They admitted to preventing her from a lawful burial, a crime in Hong Kong but they did not admit to murder. Chan and Wai-Lun both pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and tried to minimise the actual events that had taken place. She had been known as a former drug user but her husband had told them that she had stopped using them years earlier when she had learned about being pregnant. The men were remorseless about the crime and there will be no review for parole for them for at least twenty years. It was revealed to have been one of the most gruesome crimes to have occurred in that territory.

In 2012 the building where it occurred was demolished, no one wanted to rent or buy the place and for good reason. The flat sat empty for years and people stopped buying any of the other apartments in the building as many believed her spirit was there haunting the place and eventually an investor had the building demolished.

 

OKAY I am off to watch cute kittens and puppies on the internet… sheesh!

Sources:

Ranker.com

The New York Times

Wikipedia

Youtube

ABC News

Hello kitty character portrait.png
By Source, Fair use, Link

 

It was originally known as the Eastern State Institution for the feeble-minded and epileptic, it closed 9th December 1987 after a decade of controversy. From 1903- 1908 the original buildings were constructed, there were further additions to the site in 1919, 1921 and 1929. It didn’t stop there either, more were contributed in the 1960’s and again in 1971.

23rd November, 1908, they admitted patient 1 and within four years it was overcrowded and pressured. The patients would be classified, and the status of admitted children would be seen as abhorrent these days. They ranged from the mute, blind, epileptic to deformity, offensive habits and more. Yet somehow they also for the patients into making mattresses, shoes, farming, laundry and other trades.

There were other assumptions, one of them was the Chief Physician (and eugenicist) thought that all of those of feeble mind were potential criminals.

In 1968 a CBS10 correspondent Bill Baldini anchored a five part exposé about the poor conditions. In 1983 there were nine employees on charges of patient abuse and finally the Halderman Case details the wide-spread abuse and finally resulted in its closure.

Halderman was a resident who upon her release filed suit in the federal district court. It had started when she visited her parents and had unexplained bruises, it led to the courts finding that Pennhurst was unsanitary, inhumane, dangerous and violating the fourteenth amendment (an easy summary being an Equal Protection Clause), and essentially the patients rights had been abused.

It has since been through various attempts at reincarnation for use. Now the administration building has been partially renovated and opened as the Pennhurst Asylum haunted house. It attracts quite an interest but those formerly affiliated with the place seem to find this disrespectful and controversy about it remains. Former patients, I presume from some feedback, find the tourism and sensational way it is handled as somewhat akin to a slap in the face.

Pennhurst has attracted its fair share of TV coverage, with shows like Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters (TAPS) and Haunted History in the name.

Reports on the paranormal side involve partial and full-bodied apparitions, the noises of screaming and piano playing. Along with various reports of this, those interested in the exposure of the place will find Suffer the Little Children both interesting but at the same time it can be a quite disturbing watch.

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By Smccphotog (talk) (Uploads) – Own work, Public Domain, Link

 

The Film Star, Rudolph Valentino, owned a great Dane who was buried in the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery, supposedly Kabar is often seen or heard by visitors giving the occasional lick to an unsuspecting guest. It is also said Kabar has been spotted at Valentino’s old home.

Rudolph Valentino is said to haunt his former estate, Falcon’s Lair, as well as Hollywood Forever Cemetery as he died with unfinished business. He is interred in the Cathedral Mausoleum, crypt 1205, as he lost his wife to his movie obsession, filming ‘The Hooded Falcon’ when she left the stress may have left to the onset of his perforated ulcer. He died 23rd August, 1926 with Kabar by his side.

Kabar was heard to howl mournfully when his master’s spirit crossed over and finally they had to overpower the dog in order to get Valentino laid out in state.

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By Associated Press-much of the stamp is under the wire copy, but “Associated Press Photo” can be read. – Original text : eBay
front
back
archived links
The Warren Tribune 26 August 1926 page 1), Public Domain, Link

 

http://undereverystone.blogspot.com/2013/08/rudolph-valentinos-faithful-dog-kabar.html

A deeper dive into the story, and worthy of a click!

Tea break over… back to work.