Posts Tagged ‘America’

Animal Planet – The Haunted, Episode 1, Season 1 in 2009 had found a nameplate with “The Blakely Home” upon looking for information, the owners of a software company, find that from 1919 to 1950 it was an insane asylum. Going outside the owners of the company find empty animal cages, the cages seemed big enough for cats, dogs and other small animals. Some weeks after this the motion sensors went off the police could find no reason for it.

I tried to look into this, I really found it quite hard work as I am not local and the information online is scant. I found that there were references to Blackley, Blockley or Blakely Insane Asylum all in the area. What I could find in general was an old reference to Blakely Home as an historical building stating it is now used by Calvert Laboratories. The company deals in pharmaceuticals and my research online shows animal testing is mentioned.

Initially I was getting frustrated but genealogy sites can really be of great help. The Blakely Home is located in Lackawama County, PA, USA. Kriswfield has entered a message on ancestry.co.uk about the place, he says that his father and his partner brought the property from the county in 1976. The business his dad owned ran up until 1982. He comments he could not say about the ethics of the lab that came in after that. He does however say that the labs were tightly regulated by the FDA and says in the main building, where they lived, that it was never considered to be haunted.

A nurse prior to that was able to say it was used as convalescent home and she worked there from 1971 to 1972, she states that it was a nice place to work.

Mentions I found in the area:

Built 1891 – Blakely Poor Farm.

Active Electronics building 2014, the PPA.net shows a picture of the building.

Ease Diagnostics – Auto Inspection & Testing Services

What can I work out? There was more than one building and I’m sure there are blurred lines here as I am not local and actually you need to ignore Ease Diagnostics, I believe. So that leaves the electronic company and Calvert Laboratories Inc on the same site. In 1891 the poor farm expanded and on that area there has been an old poor house; insane asylum, nursing home and then animal testing lab. So perhaps the bit more referred too is the one used by the electronics company and its really more coincidence Calvert Laboratories Inc are nearby now.

Haunted Title Screen.jpg
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Barbara Ann (Hackman) Taylor, ‘Bobbie’ was initially an unknown American woman who was referred to as Tent Girl.

Wilbur Riddle was out in Georgetown, Kentucky, on 17th May 1968 searching for glass insulators at the side of U.S Route 25. He was there to work as a water well-driller and was handed a note to pass some time until his boss arrived, he spotted some telephone workers and they were discarding the glass insulators as part of an upgrade program. He knew they would be useful for a friend so went to collect them.

He was on his way back from his collecting when something caught his eye as he headed back up the dirt track. The smell alone gave away there was nothing good to be found, he nudged a wrapped up green canvas and the body rolled down the slope. It exposed the body of a decomposing woman wrapped up in a heavy green tarpaulin. The material was the type of thing used in the manufacturing of tents, hence the identification.

Riddle immediately drove two miles down the road to alert the Scott County Sheriff, Bob Vance. Vance and his team then came to see and looked into the matter further, her eyes had already rotted away and her flesh was mottled, the poor woman was too decomposed to get a full fingerprint and they had to take one and rehydrate it with chemicals to attempt to gain anything at all.

They were unable to fully establish a cause of death, the best theory to date is that Bobbie was somehow knocked unconscious and rolled up and confined, eventually dying of asphyxiation. There was a section of white towelling and the green canvas sent over to the FBI laboratories in Washington for further analysis but at that point there was not very much more they felt they could do.

A lead came up about her in June, 1968 when her description matched enough features to show up missing Pasadena girl, Debbie Krane, who was last seen getting into the car of her 17 year-old boyfriend, Carl Colby. The 15 year old had gone missing March 3rd, 1968 and with the period of her death being loose enough they decided to ask her parents to come to see if they were able to identify her.

Debbie Krane’s dental records loosely matched that of the girl and at that point the police must have felt they were on track to finding her identity, then an anonymous call came in that said she was alive and well in Bradford, Pennsylvania. A long drive out to Bradford found Krane was alive and well, living with her boyfriend and that she had absconded from her home but was not deceased. They were then stumped once more.

There was another lead for the identification, a somewhat similar case that was linked up, this time from Northampton, Pennsylvania. Candace Clothier was found 13th April, 1968 and had last been seen 9th March, 1968 until her body was found. Two fishermen discovered the young lady decomposed and floating in the creek, she was found in a black cloth bag. Similarities in the case led to a question about them being linked, there is no more on her case, her case has been closed as it was felt that due to no leads and the chances of her murderer already being dead there was nothing more they could do.

‘Tent Girl’ was then a feature in American magazine, Master Detective, in the hopes that it might bring even more to the case and perhaps lead to her identification. She was eventually buried in an unmarked grave, No 90. She was buried in Georgetown Cemetery with a donated headstone and along with the police sketch of her, based on reconstructions from her body, there was also an inscription.

TENT GIRL

FOUND MAY 17 1968

ON U.S HIGHWAY 25,N.

DIED AB OUT APRIL 26 – MAY 3, 1968

AGE ABOUT 16-19 YEARS

HEIGHT 5 FEET 1 INCH

WEIGHT 110 TO 115LBS.

REDDISH BROWN HAIR

UNIDENTIFIED

She was identified in 1998, it was a result of the efforts of Todd Matthews. He was the son-in-law of Wilbur Riddle and having found out about the story he invested in a PC and got a website up and running. He had combed through lists of missing people online. He has since founded The Doe Network, an online database to identify missing people and unidentified descendants.

He got an e-mail from her sister, Rosemary Westbrook, about a young woman who had gone missing from nearby Lexington. It transpires that the family were told by her husband, George Earl Taylor, that she had run off with another man. It seems that this never rested well with Rosemary and she extended her contact to Todd Matthews, Matthews and the family were convinced enough that it led to the exhumation of her body and DNA testing. Cells from Rosemary’s teeth were compared to that of the unidentified woman and they matched up, she was finally identified. Her body was re-interred at the cemetery with her full headstone placed under the original. There is no mention of her marital name on the headstone.

The prime suspect in her murder is Barbara’s husband, George Earl Taylor, and he died of cancer in 1987. This is mentioned on Wikipedia but I have to admit I found no other source about this, given this I am not going to surmise he was involved, there is no evidence she ran away with another man but then again there is no evidence to say she did not.

What we do know is that she was finally identified and given a proper burial based on who she was, her sister was able to learn her fate and mourn properly and Todd Matthews has founded something wonderful to help as many as he can who might be sadly facing that sort of tragedy.

Barbara Ann Hackmann Taylor.jpg
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Hotel Cecil is an interesting place in itself, it has a sordid and dark set of rumours attacked to it and is known to have been a residence for the serial killer, Richard Ramirez (the Nightstalker) and it was also a place that once housed serial killer Jack Unterweger.

One of the interesting cases from the Cecil Hotel is that of the death of the Canadian Tourist, Elisa Lam. There are plenty of speculations that are around the internet so I will briefly outline and let the readers to their own further research and make conclusions.

Elisa Lam went missing 31st January 2013, her body was found 19th February 2013, her body was was found, decomposing, by a maintenance worker in one of the water supply tanks on the hotel roof, the discovery came because quests complained about a funny taste and low water pressure.

Her death was ruled as an accidental drowning, but the video from the elevator shows her displaying erratic behaviour just before her disappearance. Her behaviour has led to theories about what led up to her death. Unfortunately Lam had a history of bipolar and may have contributed to both her behaviour and her death.

A 2005 horror film, Dark Water, has been compared to her story, Dahlia moves in with her daughter to a new apartment, and she spots water leaking from the ceiling and finds out a woman drowned in the roofs water tanks. The water then consequently turned black, the owner knew about it and never took any action, her body was in that water tanks for two weeks and that’s how it led to the black water.

Still interested?

Shortly after the discovery of Elisa Lam’s body there was an outbreak of tuberculosis that happened near Skid Row, this was near the Cecil Hotel. This was brought to attention because the test kit used for TB was Lam-Elisa.

Other things that have been noted were biblical references, a supposed body language study saying her behaviour in the list was flirtatious, and there were ideas about it being linked to Crowley. Whatever happened the life of a young body was lost. It’s worth remembering that as we get intrigued and people find tenuous or even strange things about it, the life of a young lady has been lost.

 

A German submarine built in 1916 had trouble only a week after it was launched, mysterious events occurred and an unusually high number of fatalities occurred on board. The first of the events came when a steel beam swung out of position and the chains broke, it crashed to the ground and a worker there died immediately, a second died only two hours later from the injuries he had sustained.

When testing the vessel ready to be declared seaworthy they had further troubles, one of the crew members ended up swept overboard whilst inspecting the hatches. He was never seen again, presumed to have died in the accident.

Whilst loading torpedoes the Second Officer, Lieutenant Richter, was killed when one dropped and exploded. In the engine room a malfunction set off fumes that killed three men because no one reached them in time. During a storm a crewman went overboard, but onlookers said it looked more like he’d been pushed. On one occasion UB65 was preparing to dive and a crewman saw someone standing on deck. The figure turned his way and the lookout recognised him as the Second Officer that had been killed, his terrified yell meant the captain also saw it before it disappeared.

There were enough sightings around the sub it had the reputation of being haunted. It made it harder to get crewmen to work on her. A torpedo gunner witnessed something that disturbed him so much he jumped overboard, he had said that the ghost would torment him at night, his body was never recovered. In the end the German Naval Command felt forced to investigate and asked a priest to perform an exorcism.

July 10th 1918 it had all been quiet but that day a crewman claimed to have had a run in with the Second Officer. Later that day an American sub spotted the UB65 and prepared to attack; suddenly as they were making checks the UB65 sub exploded without warning and when the smoke cleared all they could see was debris and no survivors.

The results of the investigation showed that the UB65 had attempted to fire her torpedoes but there had been a malfunction and they exploded inside the submarine. In all accounts with the Second Officer it seems he had been trying to communicate with the crew, suggesting that he was trying to act as a death omen. Certainly it seems that for a two year life of a submarine she claimed quite a few lives.

The hotel is located in Manhattan, New York and a half-block away from Times Square. It was originally financed by a loan to Harris and Percy Uris in May 1929, then chartered by M C Levine on 22nd April 1930. Until 1976 the hotel was known as the Dixie Hotel and it is 24 stories high, when it opened it had 1000 rooms and now has 700. It was incredibly large but the wing on 42nd street has since been demolished.

Thanks to reviews from 2004-2008 the hotel gained notoriety because it was voted the dirtiest hotel in America for those four years in a row, numerous reports on Trip Advisor warned of bedbugs and unsafe conditions. As of 2012 it was still in the process of renovation and mixed reviews are on trip advisor of late with the location being it’s primary bonus but the reviews still seem to show that the hotel’s age and wear still show. I am a little frustrated that I found out about this after I had been, during my visit to New York I am sure I would have convinced my friend from Connecticut that we could have a nose around!

The hotel has seen several owners and so I am going to just pick up on relevant points for interest in regards to this blog. For instance the hotel and bus terminal were sold in March 1932 during the Great Depression to pay off a debt, Roy S Hubbel gained control of it and incidentally died in the hotel in his room October 1932, aged 55.

In 1942 The Carter Hotels corporation took over, they allocated money to it in 1976 for renovation and sign alterations as part of the project to clean up the Times Square area. They then changed the name to fit with the chain of hotels. The bus depot there was in used for 27 years, finally closing July 1957. At the peak it handled 350 buses per day in summer.

April 1942 it got an increase in people using it as a permanent residence, there was a 255 seat theatre there that opened in 1966 and was then used as a nightclub and restaurant. Food was served in the hotels restaurant and amateur magicians would drop in during the 70’s to sit around the “Dixie Round Table” to swap stories and tricks. The theatre is now occupied by the Cheetah’s Gentleman’s Club.

In 1983 the hotel was home for 190 families and in December 1983 it was cited for constantly failing in regulations for health and safety, the city sued the hotel and by 1985 the owner (Truong) was found in contempt of court and ordered to pay out a $10,000 fine. New York City used it as a homeless shelter in June 1984 and the hotels 43rd Street Entrance was in regular use for teenagers and children to gather.

By the end of 1985 the number of families there had been reduced from 300 to 61 and eventually the city moved all of the homeless families from the hotel in 1988. They moved the homeless families because of troubles with plumbing, electricity, security and vermin, yet despite this they continued to try and attract guests to the hotel. In 1990 the Penthouse Hostel operated leases on the 23rd and 24th floors and the hostel sign was barely visible, then in 1998 the hotel was temporarily closed because an emergency fire exit was damaged.

There are a few anecdotes for the hotel, such as the store clerk, Sidney Miller, being arrested for violating an antismut law and was convicted in March 1966. He had an accomplice and the two were printing dirty magazines. In 1980 Darrell Bossett was an unemployed laborer who was arrested in a scuffle with police on the 4th floor. He was then charged with first and second degree murder, along with possession of a weapon, for the shooting of Officer Gabriele Vitale.

Along with this are the deaths, George R Sanders from Brooklyn jumped out of the 14th floor on 13th March, 1931. His body went through the roof of a single story restaurant; he landed at the feet of two customers and the night manager. No doubt scarring them for life! Mr Sanders left a note in his room to identify himself and citing that he was depressed.

Olga Kilbrick committed suicide too October 1931, she was the daughter of a wealthy Brockton, Mass insurance executive and had been staying on the 21st Floor. Police found a Brockton Musical Chorus card, 15 cents in change, her gloves and a pocketbook in her room.

Another suicide was Mr James M Fairbanks, a former office manager and was discovered by hotel employees on the roof of a three story extension, April 1932. He was avoiding a $29,000 embezzlement from his employers, he was staying in Room 2002 that night, and he was due to be sentenced the next day which would have carried a 5-10 year sentence.

September 1941 saw a young man from Wayne, Nebraska meet his end on the 12th floor of the hotel when he fell asleep smoking. The story made headlines because just after he arrived he got a letter from his father saying that he his mother had a premonition of something happening to him. He was found by the hotel employees in a chair with the clothes on his upper body burned completely, he died after being taken to Roosevelt Hospital.

In November 1983 there was a tragedy too, a 25 day old infant was beaten to death by Jack Joaquin Correa, the father and resident. He was charged with murder and child abuse. In 1987 a woman was thrown to her death from a window on one of the top floors and then in July 1999 a clerk murdered a co-worker in a brawl near the front desk.

31st August, 2007 a housekeeper found the body of Kristine Yitref, 33 years old, who was wrapped in plastic garbage bags under a bed in Room 608. Clarence Dean, 35 years old, was a sex offender who was charged with her homicide. “Miss Kris” was a former member of the goth rock group, The Nons, and turned to prostitution to fuel a drug habit, sadly she met her end at Hotel Carter.

That leads me to the whether or not it’s haunted, well it seems that guests think so. A review on Trip Advisor from May 2010 tells you that the place was dirty and the staff weren’t too great either. What they did put was that the elevator would take you to the wrong floor, it might be wiring but happened to others they new, they say that they had a shower and hangers kept swinging uncontrollably and even flew off for some reason. They radio then turned on, they had checked and there had been no alarm set. The customer said that they feel it was haunted.

The second one that I found was from further back in November 2003, so just before all the bad reviews really kicked into the limelight. The customer again mentioned the rudeness of some staff. They had a nicer hotel to start with but wanted to save money and so picked the alternative 2 star, sensibly so they had more to spend on things to do.

The review goes on to say that they felt “creeped out” and they assumed it was just down to it being an old hotel. The guests in the party got very little sleep in four days and when they she did sleep she was awoken to the feeling that someone was there, like they had jumped on the bed with them. Lisa says that two of her friends felt good with the ghost but she felt pretty freaked out. She even felt that she needed to shower with the door open and that she warns people that whilst the hotel was great you needed to be aware of the spooks