The name sounds like a fantasy town, unfortunately a town that is no longer there it having been in Ohio, USA. It was a mining community and little remains except for a few foundations, cemetery and an old rail-road tunnel that is the subject of numerous ghost stories.

It was never a big town with a peak population of around 100, the area was fairly isolated in the woods and walking the rail-road tracks was dangerous. One trestle was over Raccoon Creek, 50 metres from the tunnel and by 1920 five or six people had lost their lives.

The decline in use meant that the last family left in 1947, the town was then fully abandoned. By the 1960’s the buildings were gone. In 1981 a signal on the Moonville rail-track was erected, in 1985 the last train took that route in August and the tracks were removed. It is still possible to access that area but there only the abandoned area of the lines.

There is a ghost that appears in the tunnel and swings a lantern, attempting to stop trains that are no longer running. The other ghost walks the tracks near Moonville on the other side of the tunnel. 

B+O Engineers on the line would tell the each other about the ghostly lantern. Sometime in the 1920’s a group of men, some miners, were drinking and playing cards in a shack nearby. Full of moonshine and frivolity one inebriated chap wandered off with a lantern I hand off down the tracks. A train came from the other side and too drunk to think about backing up he waved the lantern, hoping to stop the train most likely. He was hit and killed and buried in the local cemetery, since then his aimlessly wandering ghost has been witnessed.

Another story is about a headless conductor but the details given seem less widely known than the lantern carrier. There are several accounts around a decapitated man who walks the tracks, often with a lantern, so I suspect this might just be an elaboration on the original tale.

Advertisements

The 2013 film is pretty much the found footage type and I don’t review films often. This was one recommended to be watched via Lovecraft E-Zine. It is directed by Karl Mueller and written by him too, it was to DVD 2nd May 2014 and has a fairly simple beginning.

The characters played by Jon Foster and Sarah Jones are a couple that go into the woods to work on a film, but end up locked into a series of very strange events. It was inspired by the memory of a neighbour; the man lived in a cabin with no running water and who trapped animals and hung them up around the woods. They made up scary stories about him to scare themselves at night, helped by the fact he had a lot of old and unusual looking farming equipment.

The movie itself is one of those types that appeals to those with more of a surreal taste, it is also not for those expecting some sort of splatter gore. This is more about the characters and their discoveries than it is about monsters…

Mr Jones is an elusive character in the story; Penny and her boyfriend Scott are the main characters who are off to make a nature documentary. Penny realises that he has not planned it very well and is annoyed, she gave up her job to help him. They find Mr Jones’ place and the artist is an elusive man that was never identified. As they investigate it more he decides to make Mr Jones the subject of his documentary. Despite the people he interviews telling him to stay away it is inevitable that he does not, the story progresses as more events unfurl and I am not going to spoil it by commenting about the end result.

The two characters do not seem unlikeable so that makes the film watchable, unlike Paranormal activity where I positively didn’t care what happened to them. The interaction with them seems more realistic and if you are into one that makes you watch for the story not the free gore porn you will likely enjoy it.

It won’t be the best thing you have ever seen but as it was streaming on Netflix and I was enjoying it I think I’d say, watch it if you like those genres of film. Out of 5 I give it a 3.5 because I think it’s nothing amazingly new but as far as that genre goes it’s far better than many. If you are looking for a comparison then I would say for unusual films I’d put it alongside the 2010 film Yellow Brick Road.

Mr Jones 2013 horror thriller poster.jpg
By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, Link

Like many asylums this Australian institute is reportedly haunted and as of 1999 its closure has brought paranormal adventurers to the sight. It was part of a larger complex known as Mont Park, it had 750 patients at its peak and has housed some of the most mentally ill criminals in Australia.

It was the first treatment centre for Peter Dupras, a serial killer with rape and false imprisonment included in his history. It is also the birthplace of Lithium, used in the treatment of the manic episode of those suffering bi-oplar.

The asylums construction started in 1938 but WWII disrupted it, it formerly opened it’s doors in 1953. The asylum grounds now have 550 residential dwellings and the last remaining wards are due to be redeveloped.

As for ghostly goings on? Expect the usual of banging, children’s laughter and crying. One rumour of a child on the third floor of a building playing a music box kept turning up in my searches. The creepy sounds and music may well be from the local university who intend its use to scare away trespassers. As with all of these glorious old places I can see why, vandalism and graffiti disturb me more than ghosts, because ghosts down show a blatant disregard for property and history.

Atlas Obscura Entry

Wikipedia Entry 

Mont Park.jpg
By MelburnianOwn work (Digital photograph by author), CC BY 2.5, Link

A wonderful thing about being in England is there is a lot to see and do, from Nottinghamshire it’s a fairly short journey into the Peak District. One of the places on my list was Eyam Village, the plague village as it is also referred to.

Eyam village would have been quite isolated during the period of the plague and our journey by car was very far removed from the foot/horse travel of the day. It is however beautiful and part of the Peak Pilgrimage, its also a working village where people see us tourists coming through every day.

In 1665 Mary Cooper lived with her two sons and a lodger called George Viccars, who was a travelling tailor. She was a widow and was living fairly comfortably. Around march 1665 she had re-married to Alexander Hadfield and his will shows that he was also a tailor. She is also referred to as Mary Hadfeld in his will. Tradition holds it that a box came from London and arrived August/September containing clothes, her husband was away at this period and it seems likely he stayed with non-infected family for the year as he came back and died 12 months later. The box was opened and found to have wet cloth in it, so Viccars hung them to dry and within the week. It is thought that perhaps a flea was in the clothing and this bit him, within another two weeks Mary’s youngest son, Edward, had also died.

It was the start of the outbreak of the plague in Eyam, in more modern studies some suggestions were put forwards such as typhus, anthrax or measles. Anna Seward was the daughter of the village rector saying that in 1757 men of the village had dug up rotten linen materials and three of the men succumbed to a putrid fever, another several villagers also died. Does this support the idea of anthrax? However, it is a generally accepted event of plague that has been given to this time period.

As records show the wealthier people left the village early on, some of the poor also tried. It wasn’t possible for everyone to simply lock up and leave, often their arrival to other places was met with hostility. It’s not solely an Eyam experience but if villagers/townsfolk herd where people were coming from they may well have been driven out too. Sheffield people created barriers and had guards there to stop strangers from entering and possibly bringing infection. This also led to some villagers taking to living in the fields and caves around Eyam Moor, creating makeshift homes to avoid contracting the plague.

October that year gave another 23 listed victims, it included Jonathan Cooper (Mary’s eldest son) and by April 1666 there were 73 deaths, some would have been natural but there was a definite spike to their numbers on the records. A lull in May would have presented a sense of hope and then in June it began again.

The rector, William Mompesson and his wife had sent both their children away, his wife Catherine begged them to go too but William felt a strong sense of duty to remain. William remained there and Catherine stuck by him, this choice came at the cost of her early demise. He was a young rector at 28 years old and his position was also taken up during the point of a fairly tumultuous religious period. Thomas Stanley had returned to the village after his and Shoreland Adams had been forced to leave down to Puritan pressure. Stanley had come back and he was liked in the village, both of them had differing religious views but the one thing they did work on together was what they could do about the plague.

It is known that during the plague period people were forbidden from crossing a stream to go to the local Bakewell market, they would leave their money in the local waters and trade from a distance. This was already in place by the time they had got the stages next taken. The villagers consented to three decisions to try and stop the plague from spreading and to bring it under control.

The first was that they would have no more organised funerals and church burials, the demand was too high and so people were advised to bury their own dead. It meant the clergy could do all the other work surrounding the death and it must have been hard for all involved not to have their dead buried on consecrated grounds, it prevented the highly religious people of the time from meeting their relatives on Judgement Day. Bodies had to be buried fast and they had to be wrapped and under the ground as it was thought it would help to stop the spread too.

A second decision was made to lock up the church until the epidemic was over, services would be held in the open air. How the plague spread seemed confusing and unclear. Contact needed to be kept to a minimum, whilst they wanted to unite and keep to their services the villagers also understood this was necessary. A rock, The Delph, and the open area near it was chosen as the rock could act like a pulpit and to this day an annual Thanksgiving is held there on the last Sunday in August.

The third decision was quarantine, it was to try and stop the spread of disease beyond the village boundaries. It is speculated that the people of Eyam had little choice and viewed as forced heroism but it would only have taken one person to ignore that and get away with the disease for it to have become worse so it seems that they all agreed and kept to it.

The Earl of Devonshire lived in Chatsworth House, he was their chief benefactor and arranged for good and medical supplies to be left at the southern border of Eyam. Any requests for specific items could be left at the boundary stone and paid for there too. Cynically this kept the Earl away from the infection but without him they would have had nothing to sustain them so he was doing something to help the local population. Money was placed in running water or wells, or was sterilised by placing it in holes made in the boundary stones were the money was put into vinegar.

The villagers were isolated but the disease did not spread, all they had to do now was wait and pray. The last death was recorded in either October or 1st November 1666. 1664 showed the consensus with around 160 households (800 population) and by the end an estimated 430 people. The Hearth tax return for 1670 suggests 350 taxed households but does not list exemptions and another suggestion of only 83 survivors seems more plausibly to be 83 households. It would be hard to exact numbers for those who died to the plague too, as an example Jane Hadfield had a baby that died only 2 days after birth, not listed down to plague but not ascertained if it contributed either.

In December 1666 the Christmas period was one of recovery, slowly life was returning to the stricken village and in the summer of 1667 they held a ‘great burning’ to remove all objects etc that might carry any remnants of the plague seed.

There are still recorded outbreaks of the plague today, in 1994 there was an outbreak in India and there have been pockets of cases reported in the USA – be wary of the chipmunks and prairie dogs in some of the larger national parks. The latest listed case on WHO is in Madagascar as of 2017.

If you want a lovely day out in the Peaks and want to learn more you can visit and see a museum as well as all the sign posts around the village. It was, for me anyway, a wonderful day out with a lot to take in

Sources:
Eyam Plague Village 1665-1666 by John Clifford
The Village Museum and boards around the village.
The National Trust
World Health Organisation 

The tiny village of Nyack in New York State was park of a court case that has become known as the ‘Ghostbuster’ ruling. It means that when selling a property there must be a declaration if it is haunted in the sale information.

The building was constructed around 1900, an imposing Victorian home which was purchased by the Ackley family in the 1960’s. She shared the house with her children and grandchildren and had reported to neighbours that the property was haunted. There were footsteps, doors slamming and beds shaking but she said they lived peacefully with the two spirits. Helen Ackley said they were Sir George and Lady Margaret both of which were a revolutionary war era couple and despite the neighbours scepticism she told the local media about it.

It most likely wasn’t anything too material, but again who knows, and yet the stories took hold either way. They rose in heat when a young and healthy guest at the home came for a dinner party only to collapse and die of a brain aneurysm.

In 1989 she decided to sell the home to Jeffrey Stambovsky, the sale fell through after he made the deposit only to find out that the property was on a local ghost tour. The court case was ruled in his favour as she had not mentioned this in the details. It’s worth noting that subsequent owners have not reported any strange goings on.

After the court case the disgusted Ackley left for Florida, she then declared she was taking the ghosts with her? Whatever the truth this seems like one hell of an odd statement to make…

You can read more about it here

NY-News-Day-1991_Page_2.jpg