Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

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

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Carl Tanzer, Feb 8th 1877 to July 3rd 1952, was a German-born radiologic technologist in Key-West, Florida, USA who developed a particularly morbid obsession for Elena Milagro de Hoyos, a tuberculosis patient. During his childhood and later in Genoa, Italy, he claimed he had been visited by a dead ancestor who revealed the face of his true love, her face was one of an exotic dark-haired woman.

22nd April 1930, de Hoyos came to the hospital for an examination, she was brought in by her mother. He recognised her as the woman from the visitations of his ancestor. De Hoyos was diagnosed with TB, a fatal disease at the time and eventually despite Tanzler’s best efforts she succumbed to the disease.

Tanzer paid for her funeral, with the permission of the family he then commissioned the construction of an above ground mausoleum. It was constructed in the Key West Cemetery and he visited there pretty much most nights. To be honest this already seems to rate high on the WTF list, but it gets more bizarre.

April, 1933 Tanzer crept into the mausoleum and stole her body, taking her home and here he said her spirit would visit. He claimed she often asked him to take her from the grave, and so it seems he did. What he did to preserve her sounds like a work of horror fiction. Her bones were attached together by wire and coat hangers, her face was fitted with glass eyes and as the corpses skin decomposed he would replace it with silk cloth, soaked in wax and plaster of Paris.

Her hair was replaced by using Hoyo’s wig hair, who gave him the hair? Well her mother had collected her hair for a wig and gave it to him after her death. I am still wondering why but at this point the story continues…

Tanzer filled her chest and abdominal cavity with rags to keep her in her original form, then dressed her, put on stockings and jewellery and kept her body in his bed. He then used a lot of fragrances, detergent and preserving agents to mask the msells. Yes I am still going, I did say it was morbid.

October 1940 (Seven years later) her sister visited Tanzley, she had heard odd rumours, Florida authorities were notified when she saw the truth for herself. He was found to be mentallyl competent, he was charged with destruction of the grave and theft of the body. Bizarrely he never had to defend himself because the case was dropped, the statute of limitations for the crime had expired. Even more upsetting for her family the body was put on display at the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home and around 6,800 ish people came to see it.

Eventually she was reburied at the cemetery but to prevent tampering it was an unmarked grave. Strangely it seems the public mood was that sympathy for a hopeless romantic should be given to Tanzler. I can’t help but think that’s not quite the reaction I’d have had… later there was a claim that he had inserted a tube into her vagina too but this evidence has been met with scepticism, mostly because other than the rumour there appears to be no evidence…

Separated from the woman’s body he then used a death mask to create a life-sized effigy of Hoyos, the effigy lived with him until he died 3rd July. 1952. He was found on the floor three weeks after his death and died under the name Carl Tanzer.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum in Key West, Florida has an exibit that recreats the caring he did to her body. And Svbway to Sally have a video themed around it.

Carl Tanzler (1940)

Jacksonville, Florida, is home to an odd brown, brick school infamously known as the ‘Devil’s School’. It’s original and official name is/was Duval Country’s public school No 4. The hauntings allegedly began when a furnace exploded back in the 1960’s, it killed half the students, some faculty members and the janitor.

It was said it’s victims were very active in their haunts, teachers refused to work there and it was forced to shut for a brief time. A priest was called in to exorcise demonic presences but that wasn’t enough, and it seems to have secured it’s grizzly place in history.

The principal was a cannibal, if students fell asleep in class they were sent to him and never seen again.  He had a closet in the office he had converted into meat lockers.

Let’s not forget the janitor, a janitor supposedly went on a rampage and slaughtered a number of children.

In reality what can be found out is that it has had more than one name, it was a vacant building that could be used by local transients and kids would hold “initiation” rights there for their various clubs.

A fire did occur, in 1995, most likely due to it’s homeless visitors and not due to anything paranormal. There seem to be no documents to support the deaths, or strange occurrences, just a lost of hearsay. It’s been marked for destruction as part of a local development plan. I put this one down as a series of local tales and urban legends.

In Palm Beach County, Florida there is an hold Victorian House that had been built in 1905 at West Palm Beach but was dismantled and moved to Yesteryear Village. This is a historical park in the South Florida Fairgrounds, Royal Palm Beach. Riddle House was a funeral parlor that became privately owned by Karl Riddle in the  1920’s. It was also called Gatekeeper’s College, and there was a cemetery in the area known as Woodlawn that unfortunately suffered at the hands of criminals. Bodies were exhumed so that they could try and get hold of the deceased’s possessions and that’s when the house was built for security.

The house is said to be haunted and in 2008 was visited by the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures for an investigation. It’s hardly surprising that an old funeral home would bring these sorts of rumours; however I can safely say that when I worked in a funeral home the worst offenders of scaring me were other members of staff and certainly not spectres.

In the early days of the place there was a tragic death, the worker at the cemetery died during an argument with someone in the community, the locals reported that he could be
seen walking along the cemetery and around the home. He carried on as he had in life with his work but never seemed vengeful or angry. Of course coming face to face with him was pretty scary in itself.

Riddle then got the property in the 1920’s and acquired the position of manager of the city; they had a need for someone to oversee the cemetery and provided him the home to live in. Riddle enjoyed the home until an employee hanged himself in the attic of the house to escape economic woes and depression. It seems that the house has taken on a  creepy little life of it’s own really, noises and distant conversations have been commonly reported. There were also the sounds of chains that moved and in the end the Riddle house fell into disrepair because of the frightful events meaning people did not stay long. The house seemed doomed as businesses failed and paranormal reports continued. Palm Beach Atlantic were the local  college that tried to use this as a dorm for female students but this also failed.

1980 saw the city opting to destroy the property but Karl Riddle’s nephew, John, felt that it has historical value and should be preserved. It was moved to the Yesteryear Village to be enjoyed as a historical monument. But the story never ended there, workers putting it back together again found their tools moved, the windows broken and described  their personal experiences. Many of the workers had quit before it was decided they would postpone the construction for a while and eventually work continued and the building was completed.

There was a social gathering the day it opened and already people wanted to go into the place that had a history of paranormal events. They appeared to have got a lot more than anticipated when numerous people took pictures of a couple that did not show up in any of the pictures. It seems that the property and not the location are the attraction for the spirits at Riddle House.

Stockstill: We did something to the altitude.
Loft: What?
Stockstill: We’re still at 2,000 feet, right?
Loft: Hey — what’s happening here?

Eastern Air Lines, Flight 401 is famous due to the tragic accident that occurred, 29th December 1972. The crew did not see the deactivation of the autopilot during a troubleshoot with a malfunction on the landing gear indicator system, as a result 101 people lost their lives. 77 survived but of those 2 died shortly afterwards. It was the first crash of a wide-bodied aircraft and the deadliest in the USA, as it crashed into the Florida Everglades.

Bob Loft had been with the airline for over 30 years, the flight carried 163 passengers and 13 crew. Upon reaching Miami International Airport and all looked fine until first officer Stockstill noticed the green light for the landing gear was not showing and as it was possible the gear was not all the way down so they tried again to try but aborted it when no light arrived.  They flew out around the Everglades to try and resolve the problem, so the autopilot was put on and for 80 seconds they carried on with a level flight.

When it was noticed that they had already descended below, the initial message above is the one recovered from the flight recorder later on. The plane was travelling at 227 miles an hour when it hit the ground and broke up as it slid along the swamp ground.

A hero of the crash is Rob Marquis (Bud) who was in the swamp when the plane hit. He rushed to the scene and assisted with the rescue. His efforts gave him the Humanitarian Award and the Alumitec Airboat Hero Award. In 2007 he was awarded a plaque, but sadly the injuries that he had suffered also contributed to his death in 2008 (Rest in peace hero).

The swamp that they landed in helped to save the lives of some crash survivors as it lessened the impact on the plane, and blocked up some wounds.  Eight passengers were however infected with gas gangrene and hyperbaric chambers had to be found for them to ensure they could recover.

Of the survivors 60 received serious injuries, 17 had minor injuries and did not have to be hospitalised. The most common injuries included fractures and 14 of the survivors had varied degrees of burns.

I am going to leave the crash causes etc and move on to the reason I picked this for a post. Ghosts…

The plane had some salvageable parts and Flight 401’s parts were re-used amongst Eastern’s planes.  Reports had been made on planes amongst the fleet about sightings of the crew and passengers of the flight being aboard. Sightings of Don Repo and Bob Loft were so becoming a worrying problem, the company warned staff of dismissal if they were caught spreading the ghost stories.

It is worth noting that the sightings were only on planes with the salvaged parts too. Whilst the rumours were washed away by the company it is reported that all the parts were then removed and replaced. An original floorboard remains in the archives at History Miami in South Florida. Reports have since petered out.

the crash and a mention of the ghost story is mentioned in Series 5, Episode 9 of Air Crash Investigations.