Archive for the ‘Unusual Findings’ Category

Willowbrook State School, it was constructed in 1938 for the care of mentally handicapped children. In 9142 the building was converted into an army hospital then in 1947 it was named Willowbrook State School. In 1962 the hospital was pretty much a dumping ground for the poor mentally ill children, the place was for a 4000 occupancy and swelled to over 6000. the conditions were horrific for the children and with severe under-staffing the conditions could only worsen.

1963-1966 they were conducting medical studies on children, these poor things were infected with hepatitis, some of these occurred by them being fed the stool of another child. I’m sorry I can’t see how that is a medical study, it just seems cruel and gross.

In 1971 cuts for funding escalated the problems, the local media soon got wind. Once the exposure came so did the lawsuits, 1983 they planned closure, the last child left in 1987. In that year Andre Round, who had worked there, killed and buried Jennifer Schwieger on the abandoned grounds.

From the buildings tragic tale come stories of ghosts, satanic worship and people being followed by dark figures. It is of course possible that when you are being followed by mysterious dark figures, they are homeless people wondering what on earth other people see in the place…

Bedell Ghost, Staten Island’s avenue has the tale that if you go down the road at night with no lights on you can see a ghost hanging from the trees. The road was a dead end but has now opened up as where the mansions were built.

The consensus from sceptics and sensible folks is that it may well have been an optical illusion,. Or popularised from a small source and it escalated. I am sure that is more likely the case, with no reason for the hanging to be there and nothing to suggest a body was found it seems more likely to be a local urban legend.

Vanderbilt tomb it is located in the Moravian cemetery, Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the richest Americans of all time, donated 8 ½ acres to the cemetery. His son William Henry Vanderbilt then donated a further 4.

The tomb was constructed by William and designed by Richard Morris Hunt, a famous architect of the time. It was built between 1885 and 1886, and is three stories high. It is a replica of a Romanesque church in Artes, France. In the tomb is Cornelius and several family members.

The section that contains the tomb is closed off to the public by means of a large iron gate. The area has been said to have tragedy and accidents linked to it, a woman was killed there when she tried to open the gate and it fell on her. She was killed instantly. A man in a grey suit is also said to chase passers-by from the tomb, it may be that Cornelius is still protecting his resting place.

One widely reported occurrence seems to be that if you take a photograph in front of it, you may find that people are not in it that should be, or you have a random addition.

If you have visited or have any experiences to share please do.

 

Vanderbilt Mausoleum

Cornwall Jail, Ontario, the jail had it’s last official prisoner in 2002, before the war of 1812 the original courthouse was used as barracks, the courts were held in St John church and local taverns. 14 years later it burnt down, the new jailhouse was completed in 1834. It has a plan for 50-60 prisoners but was often over capacity with around 100.

Only 3 guards were on duty at any time and exercises in the courtyard for example, could not be controlled. It’s possible this led to some of the suicides in the jail. One of the suicides took place in the building, belts and shoelaces had been removed but he still found a way to hang himself from the bars, after his suicide Plexiglas was installed. The second was a suicide that took place overnight in a busy prison, and it seems strange that even with it being overcrowded it took a while for anyone to find them, did they have a cell mate I wonder?

Ten inmates were hung at the gallows before executions ended in the courtyard in 1954. Peter Balcombe, a 24 year old man, was the last hanging at the jail on the 25th May 1954, he had been found guilty of murder. Many of those executed were buried in the courtyard, a new section was added in the 1960’s, three ‘cells’ were laid in the ground, supposedly they were used for punishment but there appears to be no record of their existence.

In 2005 the jail opened as a tourist attraction for Ontario, whilst it is there for a historic purpose there are also those who are interested in the paranormal side too. Reports have included hearing the sounds of trolley movement, cell doors that were closed the night before would be found open the next day; or vice versa. Numerous orbs have been caught on photography or film, staff have reported hearing a humming from a male, some believe that woman and children also haunt the jail. TAPS investigated and aired a show from the site.

Cornwall Jail

(METPO-2)

Page 69, Fodor’s Moscow & St Petersburg

Moscow’s metro is one of the deepest in the world, but below it, if you believe the Soviet Legend, is a second even deeper metro system, Metro 2. This metro was purportedly built for Stalin as a private line for top party officials. One of the lines supposedly led from the Kremlin to the Lubyanka, the home of the feared KGB.

1933, summer, and two men found a centuries old tunnel within sight of the Kremlin, excited that they might find Ivan the Terrible’s gold-covered books they found 5 skeletons and a rusted door they could not open. They didn’t dare let on what they had found during Stalin’s reign but when Mikhail Gorbechav came to power surviving engineer, Apollos Ivanov, recalled the tale.

It’s a good old-fashioned conspiracy dive, Metro 2 is the informal name for the secret underground system which parallels the public metro system in Moscow. It is theorised that it was built, or at least started, during the era of Joseph Stalin and codenamed D6 (Д-6) by the KGB.

The KGB (Комите́т Госуда́рственной Безопа́сности (КГБ)) was the main security agency for the Soviet Union, 1954-1991 until the breakup of the union. D6 is still rumoured to be operated by the Main Directorate of Special Programmes and Ministry of Defence.

In 1992 a journalist magazine called Yunost published a novel by Vladimir Eonik. It was called Преисподняя  (Preispodniaia or Abyss) and was sent in an Underground bunker in Moscow. The idea of the D6 project had been introduced to them via 20 years of collected papers and works on secret bunkers and an underground railway system that connected them.

Russian reporters have neither confirmed or denied the existence of D6, but there is supposedly evidence of it and when the Rossiya Hotel was demolished near the Kremlin a tunnel was found, providing another potential link into the conspiracy theory being more of a fact. Given that tunnels are all over major cities I’m not actually sure if this is to be counted as proof. So, let’s take a look into what we can find for further information.

1994, an exploration group “Diggers of the Underground Planet” claimed they’d found an entrance to the system, before that in 1991 the United States Department of Defence published a report ‘Military Forces in transition” that had a diagram of the system that was superimposed on a city map which was, it states, designed for 100,000 people.

Igor Maleshenko, the Deputy Director Broadcaster, gave an interview in 1992 with Time and discussed a similar project called Sofrino-2, he said that it has been built in case of a nuclear war but like many of the installations it was unusable. The age, deterioration and flooding had affected a great number of them.

2004, former advisor to Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Shevchenko confirmed that there was a secret in the Moscow Metro, however he said that the number of these things were greatly exaggerated. He then touched upon the subject again, “currently, the Kremlin subway cannot be called a transportation artery, and, as far as I know, for its continued operation it requires major repairs; for among other things there are a lot of underground utilities which will eventually decay.”

2008 – Mikhail Poltoranin, a minister under Boris Yelstin’s reign, confirmed an extensive network of tunnels for the purpose and mentioned Metro-2 directly.

Dimitry Gayev, ex-chief of the Moscow Metro felt that it would be of little surprise if it existed, in 2008 the head of the Moscow Metro, Svetlana Razina, also discussed that there had been recruiting for a service on secret routes and they required special clearance.

2007 ITAR-TASS stated “line of the Metro-2 has long been in the KGB office.”

Alexander Muzykantskiy was the former Head of Moscow’s Central Administrative District and spoke of a gigantic underground system. They had designed a place to ensure the stable operation of military and political operations during nuclear conflict, and for 91 years was kept as a highest state secret. I also think I will mention England tried to set up the same and I am sure it’s commonplace in many countries and not just Moscow.

Speaking of, the British Secret Intelligence Service also got a little information that was put out via defector. The former colonel of the KGB Oleeg Gordievsky said it was one of the main KGB secrets. The massive complex would likely never be shown to anyone, that huge underground city was not for the common eye.

A 2005 BBC article interviewed Eugine, who was 22 years old and a ‘digger’, they explore the underground spaces of Moscow and he relayed how a Russian reporter wrote about that secret network and was then questioned by the FSB (successor to the KGB). He was careful not to say how they got to their places and had a lot of images that they had collected as a group of diggers.

How has it been used in the media?

Well one of them favourite games uses it, I came across D6 in Metro 2033, a video game based on the series of books by Dimitry Glukhovsky. I’m 100% biased with my love of this nuclear survival and urban-ex nature of the game and in the book, it sends the main character, Artyom, to find the massive ‘bunker-like’ system. The existence is a legend amongst the underground dwellers of the Metro, and they reach one of the entrances located near Kievsaya Station. In the books D6 is only mentioned as Artyom does not go there himself.

Incidentally Metro, 2013, is a film set in the Moscow metro when a major leak sets off a pretty decent disaster movie. It has all the classic hallmarks of the type of film this genre holds and was fairly well received. My Russian understanding is minimal at best, but the plot was fairly simple to follow – spoiler alert below.

Rich man, c husband of wife and their daughter all end up trapped when the area floods. The old and busy tunnels become fatal for various reasons. Character (and a dog) all end up dying, trapped etc and you get some very good footage of the metro as this story goes on. It is clear that when travelling miles of these tunnels and seeing various entrances it would not be hard to believe that there is more than meets the eye, you get a similar feel when you go on the New York subway or the London Underground and so I think it is a subject for interested.
What do you think?

Jalopnik.com

inyourpocket.com

mmorpgforums.com

atlasobscura.com

metro.ru/metro2/

globalsecurity.org

bbc.co.uk

Metro 2003, Dimitry Glukhovsky


(more…)

In Traverse City, Michigan, US there is the last of the Kirkbride style building which is one of four that were originally in Michigan. It was established in 1881, due to the demand for a third psychiatric unit at the time. In 1885 it opened with 43 patients, James Decker Munson was the superintendent from its opening until 1924. It was, at the time, one of the largest employers in the area.

Before the 1950’s and drugs, Munson advocated therapy, kindness, comfort and pleasure for rehabilitation and treatment. He forbade the use of restraints, such as straight jackets, and the idea of therapy via productive work was one thing that seemed key. 1910’s to 1930’s the farm there was even home to a world champion milk cow, Traverse Colantha Walker, her grave is at the end of the farm dirt trail and asylum route.

It was primarily for the service of the patients, needing psychiatric care but also expanded during the outbreak of TB, typhoid, influenza, polio and diphtheria. At some points in time it was used for the care of the elderly and drug rehabilitation. The asylum/hospital then carried on from 1926, into the 1950’s and a portrait of Dr Munson hangs out at the main lobby of Munson Medical Care.

The decline came like many during the 1950’s, most of the buildings were demolished in the 1970’s and in 1989 it closed with a loss of 200 jobs to the local community. In 2000 there was an agreement reached to secure and renovate the existing buildings. It seems that not all of the hospital could be saved but it is fortunate that some of it has been.

Searching around I found reference to a take about the Hippy Tree, if you walk around it in the ‘correct way’ you can find a portal to hell. Sounds fun for a random nonsensical urban legend.

Other than the usual stories of spooky noises, bangs and echoes I could find nothing worth on the paranormal scale. Again, if you can show me something worthwhile I’ll take a look.

Traverse City State Hospital postcard circa 1930.jpg
By Unknown author – postcard, Public Domain, Link

 

Podcast notes

In the last installment for this series I have reviewed Lee Roberts and the Parasearch Radio, I made notes against the information on the last two posts I made about Clifton Hall. It was uploaded to youtube in 2008 and if you want a far more in-depth listen, I have linked it below.  The first thing I will say is that I listened to the beginning and wondered if this was really my kind of listen, but I did enjoy it overall. They go over the history of the hall and the presenter has clearly spent time going into the past, even noting that Gervase Clifton had seven wives, and all died young, she said even for the time it was a lot.

Percy Clifton’s history was touched on, last Lord of the Manor, he lost his eldest son Gervase Ronald Bruce on the HMS Mommouth. Supporting information can be found here – https://secure.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/RollOfHonour/People/Details/9543 and was a young midshipman, at 15 it seems a sad loss of life, along with the other 735 crew that went down with the ship when it sank.

Along with this the rumours and hauntings from the Grammar school years are discussed noting that the rumours of hauntings do indeed go further back.

After this Lee Roberts is introduced who explained that at the time, they were trying to get TAPIT noticed and their name out there as an investigation team. He explains that the PA for Anwar Rashid contacted them to invite them in and they clearly wanted to go, Roberts says that they scheduled it for a three night visit where they could take some baseline readings for humidity, room temperature and air temperature. He goes on to say that there was a scenario where he got lost in a way he never should have, he left the nursery and went down a straight hallway then got turned around back into it, he could give no explanation about how it happened.

He references another event, there is a black and white chequered room that they went into and Roberts says the whole floor was covered in wasps. He turned to his brother-in-law and said they needed to get their cameras and record it all, they passed Rashid’s brother, they told him, and all went back to the room. When they got there the room was clear, there was no sign of a wasp in sight. Roberts says it took only 30 seconds but even if it was slightly longer than that it would surely have meant some evidence of them was left, even a straggler? It turns out that this was not a one-off thing, but they also found out that the wasps were never seen anywhere but that room.

Remember I mentioned the winding staircase? Well Roberts brought that up as well, they discuss King Charles and that the team had radio’s on them to communicate, over the radio Roberts heard “we know you’re alone in there,” which he explained was female and they checked locally for baby monitors or anything that could have come to the same channel but found nothing, a year late when he went back the same voice came over and said “so, you’ve come back again?” and they had no explanation for it.

The maid and her death are discussed too, they say a local witness talked about seeing a figure of a woman by the cliff and that the person had disappeared when they turned around. Roberts says that the team did not witness this, but they do muse about the subject of this as it is accepted that historically richer men would have affairs with their servants and the bi-product of unwanted – bastard- children was a reality. These scandals would result in women trying to self-terminate children or they must be secreted away to have them elsewhere.

It loosely linked into the story of the bricked-up room/wall and I think Roberts provides some better context about how this all came around. In the cellar they found that Rashid’s family stored boxes and belongings, also in there were some gargoyles and objects from the church along with an area that had been bricked up in the past that may be the tunnel to the church. It was reported that there were the sounds of scratching and of cries from behind it, realistically he points out that even if they wanted to sledgehammer the wall to find out more this was not going to happen and it was far to expensive to destroy the old wall.  Roberts goes on to explain that they did contact the local church and attempt to get information on the tunnel, but they got no reply. He does say that I was not unusual as many of the churches don’t want these teams coming in or making local sensations of them.

A year later Anwar Rashid contacted Roberts again to ask him to come back, he said that the situation had escalated to physical attacks leaving scratches and bruises. They had a priest come in who had left them prayers to print out and put around the house, the family had nailed them up high in all the rooms and it had not helped at all. He states that on the second visit it was a more active site, and this is where the Dark Mansions statement must have come in as well, he says that one of the team got scratched, another saw a reflection in the mirror and that two members passed out. Roberts says that this was the only time he had stopped an investigation and got the team back together through safety fears.

So here is a loose timeline I was able to make

Jan 2007 house is purchased

June 2007 the family moved in

August 2007 TAPIT call in the first time

August 2008 TAPIT go in the second time

October 2008 the family leaves.

Lee Roberts and his team had planned to put all their recordings and notes together ready to present to Anwar Rashid, he had heard nothing more from them and then one day he got a call from a newspaper for a quote. I rather liked that Lee Roberts made no hidden fact about the fact he enjoyed media attention and that he said he was happy to discuss it until he realised that they were after a sensational story about it all, at the time he was a police officer and was told by the force that he would need to remember this and keep it all professional so he held back from too much attention on himself.

Anwar Rashid gave some statements at the time, then he went media silent. This to me came across as quite a good point in the recanting of the events, the man didn’t want to make more money from it or bring his family more attention as he was more concerned about his family and their welfare. He mentioned that they also had a few things that were discussed like a little boy that appeared around a curtain and then could not be found, along with there being an elderly man’s ghost in the headmasters room but Anwar Rashid wanted to enter the tale no further. Lee Roberts say they keep in touch, but the subject of the Hall is not one to bring up, instead it is about how things are now.

I think there is a lot of interesting reading in Clifton Hall and the church, it is a small pocket in Nottinghamshire and has kept me busy reading for a while now! I hope you like the write up and that you find the subject interesting. I also hope you like my deep dives now and then as I do enjoy bringing more to the tale than a few tea-break paragraphs. Thank you also if you read all of this and if you want to offer any comments, I always enjoy seeing feedback.

Sources:

Wikipedia                            savills.com                                          History of Nottinghamshire, Vol 1

Telegraph.co.uk                mysteriousbritain.co.uk                nottsalgia.com

Haunted rooms                 theparanormalguide.com            Clifton-vollage.org.uk

Paranormaldatabase.com            Dark Mansions – Dinah Williams

BBC News                           kids.kiddle.co                                    officialleeroberts.com

Google                                 Fortean Times                                   alchetron.com/chek-whyte

Paranormal Network      Find A Grave                                      Parasearch Radio

Sky News                             nottinghamshistory.org.uk          The Clifton Book 1906. Rev Rosslyn Bruce