Posts Tagged ‘history’

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

Cattle Mutilations are known as bovine excision, this subject refers mainly to cattle but other livestock and wild animals have been reported with similar conditions that would put them in this bracket, Often the animals put into this bracket have died with trauma that seems unusual such as missing organs or lack of blood.

In 1606 a case was recorded and is perhaps the first for this subject, it refers to sheep. It is recorded in the records of James I of England and records sheep had been slaughtered in London and around the shires nearby. It records how nothing but their tallow and some internal parts were missing, some conjecture was also made that fireworks could have been involved. Stalking the Herd: Unraveling the Cattle Mutilation Mystery – Christopher O’Brien is the source, via Wikipedia it is also noted that Charles Fort collected cases between the 19th and 20th Century.

9th September, 1967 saw Agnes King and her son, Harry, found their dead horse, Lady, who was only three years old. The horse had been skinned, de-fleshed and some cuts that king felt looked very precisely aimed. They noted that there was a medicinal smell, there was no blood on the scene and at the time the cause of death was not determined. “No Earthly Cause” and the press for some reason put it down as Snippy, not Lady. Snippy was a sire and you can go visit the website, snippy.com which goes into more detail. There are also comments on there about how it could be naturally explained so you can investigate a little more if you wish.

1975 saw a Democratic senator Floyd K Haskell approach the FBI to ask for help due to public concern over mutilations. His claim was that there had been 130 cases of animal mutilations in Colorado alone, there was further public concern that another 9 states reported more of them, the details can be found at the FBI Vault and again if you want to read up, you should. The FBI indicated that overall 8,000 mutilations in Colorado cost around a million dollars in damage.

In 1979, Sheriff Herb Marshall of Arkansas, USA, dealt with the event in Washington County, a little differently. Having gained a fresh cow corpse, he left it in a field and then watched it, for 48 hours he had it watched. It was observed that a series of natural events and entomology on a basic level provided them with similar results. The cow split open from gasses and flies/maggots would eat away at eyes, hips, anus and accessible soft tissue. It felt like it was case closed to Marshall. A Canadian study ten years later added natural scavengers to the list but pretty much agreed with his summons.

So, what should we be looking for in these cases? Well often it will appear that the animal has been drained of blood or there is no sign of blood in the area around their wounds. George E Onet, a doctor of veterinary microbiology, investigated and concluded that in these cases predatory animals would avoid the beast for several days after the death. He also observed that domestic animals would be ‘visibly agitated’ or even ‘fearful’ of that carcass.

Dr Howard Burgess, recorded the average ages were between four and five years old, 90% of his cases fit that range, this would put Lady out of that range.  (Alien Contact: top-secret UFO files revealed, Good Timothy).

Lady does fit the bill for the lack of tracks and any clues around the body. They noted that there were strange puncture holes in the ground and in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, 1976 found those as well. The conclusion was that the indentations came from a tripod. I found no conclusion about why these marks were involved.

Some, but not all, animals have shown either unusually high or low vitamins or minerals in their tissue samples. The samples were of chemicals not normally found in the animals either.

It seems to be that lab reports feedback some interesting points too, as an example it seems the time of death and decay were hard to pinpoint, just the knowledge of when the animal was last visibly seen then up until their discovery, again reference to this is in the FBI documents released.

1978 New Mexico, the death of an 11-month-old bill was found with what might be considered as classic signs. They sent samples off for testing and gave no conclusions or investigation why the heart was an unusual colour or texture, the second lab concluded did find the liver was devoid of copper and had four times the usual level of zing, potassium, and phosphorus but could not explain how or why it may have occurred.

In this case they had blood samples from the scene it was pink in colour and did not lot after several days. There was a note that the flesh was very brittle for an animal that had been dead around 5 hours and the flesh underneath was discoloured.

I also found a more recent case in Trinidad, Colorado, USA about cattle mutilations on Tom Millars farm and an investigator called Chuck Zukowski. Zukowski indeed the missing udders, tongue and that on one bovine the rib cage was separated from the back bone from a very serious impact. There had been two cows, one dead with the trauma already mentioned and a second one that had internal injuries, the injuries led to the animal being put down.

Both had gone missing and were then recovered in their state but the rancher noted the gully was not deep enough to have injured the animals that way, the deaths did not resemble animal attacks and could not see the dead animals condition being a result of scavengers either.

I found nearly all references related to sources for cases in the USA which makes me wonder, do aliens only want to test cows from there? Well no but it seems the phenomenon isn’t entirely all theirs and I did start with that London note.

Nick Redfern wrote a book which includes a 1985 case from Cannock Chase, it seems he found other animal mutilations I his book were quite often linked to occult sacrifice but he found one that might suggest something else. It was in the autumn that year and around 8,30pm, father and son were crossing a fairly large area of woodland to collect a motorbike. Driving along they went around a bend, coming to an area that had once been used by the military, about 100 feet away and up in the air was a large black triangular object with three lights on the underside.

The two men got out to look closer, reminder this is before smart-phones, and the object flew off without warning – prompting the man to race off and then once back in their car they raced home to Rugeley. They reported it to the police and the matter was going to rest there but then nearby in Penkridge a man was out in the early hours of the morning for a ‘duck-shoot’ and saw an object that flashed down a light beam towards a herd of cows in a nearby field.

The man was astonished to see that the beam aimed at them and he ran to his car to get his friend. The two ran back but the cows were fine and neither saw the strange object, had he witnessed and interrupted a cattle mutilation attempt?

So how/what causes this phenomenon and can it all be explained away?

The FBI had come under pressure to explain it and opened up ‘Operation Animal Mutilation’ in May, 1979. Rommel’s report was 297 pages long and cost $45,000 which centralised on the New Mexico events. It concluded that many of the results could be explained as a natural phenomenon. The report did conclude that some of the anomalies could not be concluded. Rommel conclude that the answer was down to normal predator and scavenger activity.

An ATF investigation concluded another investigation in New Mexico, they found some evidence that there were animals that had been tranquilised and treated with anti-coagulant but could not find out who was responsible or any motives.

So, if it is not natural or caused by humans who seem cruel what else can it be?

It it’s not just about cruelty but down to humans could it be cult activity? It suggests that the acts would be planned and the theory is supported by the idea that there is a lack of blood at the sites, the organs may have been removed for ritual needs and some think that they may even be aiming for some cattle with unborn they could extract.

At the height of this period during the 1970’s and 1980’s there was reason to attribute some of them to this, Jonestown and People’s Temple were in the news and TV evangelist Bob Larson spoke on his programmes to raise public awareness about it, no doubt adding fuel to the fire.

This was harder to investigate when so many animals were too far decayed to look at or had been given a natural cause of death for the cow’s demise.

There has also been rumour about government involvement with one going back to the 1985 case at Cannock Chase, already mentioned, the idea of it being that they might be testing an aircraft, or perhaps, as some might think, they may be testing diseases or viruses they might want to test about when they came into contact with human beings. I was unable to find more information that I could summarise with, there is a lot of information to wade through, can you help with anything you might know about this? Any reported illnesses or cases of this I can look at about humans getting sick after handling cattle mutilation cases?

In regards to another theory – Aliens/UFO involvement and that other worldly investigations are/have been conducted. It is the idea that they may be using them to gather information on living beings. A hypothesis exists that the UFO’s can collect the animals, investigate on their ships and then deposit the remains back down or conduct them very swiftly and leave with the parts they need for further analysis.

Other theories are that creatures like the Chupacabra might be involved. There are, simply put, a varying number of explanations and some might feel more reasonable over others but also that comes down to personal belief or experience.

Sources:

https://www.amazon.com/Stalking-Herd-Unraveling-Mutilation-mystery/dp/1939149061/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Wikipedia

Vault – FBI files archive

Skeptoid

Ufonut.com

Kdvr.com

Google

Fortean Times

 

(image – South Park Cows)

Non-human-wild-animals-cows

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

 

Carrying on from Part One. 

In January 2007 Anwar Rashid brought Clifton Hall for £3.6 million, he had made his money from nursing homes in Dubai and by no means had to worry about finance (and still does not I believe). The pan was to use the Hall for both living and wedding events. 8 months later, the story goes, the family left the property, defaulted the mortgage and refused to go back. He had called in a local paranormal team and said that he had found blood marks on a quilt that was being used for his 18-month-old son, a the time it was quoted like he felt like it was the film “The Others” (side note – not a bad film!)

T.A.P.I.T (The Ashfield Paranormal Investigation Team) based in Sutton in Ashfield were formed in 2006, by Lee Roberts. I listened to an interview he did with at Parasearch Radio and I will go into that in the last part of this little series but before that lets recap and look into more of this story.

Anwar Rashid brought the property, he already had a 25 million fortune and brought the 52 room Hall with 17 bedrooms, a gym, cinema, 10 reception rooms and 10 bathrooms. At the time he was a 32-year-old businessman, with a 25-year-old wife, three daughters and two sons.

He brought the Hall in January 2007, from day one they believed it could be haunted as they said on the  first evening he heard a voice “is anyone there?” but could find no source and so tried to ignore it, he said that it was a man’s voice and that was not the only time they heard it. Nabila Rashid (his wife) saw her eldest daughter watching television at 5am downstairs, she went upstairs only find that she was asleep in her own bed. They also say that some of their family and friends outright refused to stay there to.

May 2007 – the planned license for marriage ceremonies was refused by the council but that didn’t stop them coming up with ideas for other uses on a commercial level.

Stories and dates are quite ambiguous because when I breakdown dates you may find they seem messy and I want to acknowledge that. One report says they left in August 2008 but TAPIT says they left in October 2008 as an example. On report says they stopped paying the bills in January 2008 but that doesn’t fit if they defaulted and left 18th September 2008 when Yorkshire Bank reclaimed the Hall. I believe that this would seem fairer as it coincided with the idea of them handing the keys in during August 2008bu either way they had defaulted and gone in 2008.

21st September 2008, Sky News covered the story, “Millionaire Flees Haunted Mansion”.

“When people used to tell me about ghosts, I would never believe them, and they would say ‘whatever!’. But I would have to tell any new owner that it was haunted having experienced it.”

Darren Brookes, manager at a security firm that used to manage Hall security also supported this view, “a monk walking through the grounds, a woman in the graveyard falling over, and chairs moving in one of the rooms”.

Dark Mansions – “During their stay, the family called paranormal investigators, but these experts could not drive the spirits from the house. In fact, two investigators, fainted after seeing the ghost of a boy”.

This is mentioned in the Parasearch podcast but outside of that I found collecting ‘evidence’ to be more rumours etc but not actual fact or evidence, however TAPIT have not released anything else I could find and I believe it is because Lee Roberts is planning to write a book on the matter and probably holding it all back for that reason.

Another small side note of interest that I found; it was mentioned about rumours of a heart in a casket at the church. The church has not precise date of founding so it was possible that the site was used for worship and predates the church being erected, again the earliest notation comes from the Domesday book, but we can likely designate the transition to a Christian church being around 1150, but before 1200. If you like local church history, I think this would be for you, but I am concentrating on the rumour of the heart.

The Clifton Book – 1906 says that the south side doorway is dated 1632 and opens into the Clifton vault.  There are 25 coffins noted in the book and he states that resting among them is the small leaden casket, he says that from the size and shape it “doubtless” contained a heart, this heart was believe to be from Sir William Clifton, a crusader. There is another mention – 1790 report by Throsby, saying that there was a lead coffin shaped to receive the head and shoulders, for Sir Gervase Clifton who was beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury but he did not see it himself.  I think there is genuine merit to the rumour and whilst it won’t be possible to confirm as the vault is going to be tended, and fortunately preserved, by the incumbent clergy it is highly probably this exists.

 The last part of this series is going to be write up of what I listened to, the notes I made and a link to that podcast. Overall, I found it very hard to get enough footage, pictures or further information supporting all the local rumours and events. I don’t dismiss that there have been multiple experiences, but I cannot find you anything more than those reports. BUT I hope you liked the deep dive and you like my photos from a wintery Nottingham village.

                  
         
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


The Manor/Hall of Clifton is located near the city of Nottingham, the manor now known as Clifton Hall, and for the ease of reading will just be Hall in this blog, was mentioned in the Domesday Book, 1086 and is located at the back of the River Trent and is a Grade I listed building. There is a cliff overlooking the river and in the 1086 Domesday book is noted as being at the top of a hill at the cliff edge of Clifton Village, most likely as this made it a more easily defendable position and is described as a fortified tower house.

It was listed as three stories high and was remodelled in the 18th Century in the Georgian style of architecture. It was largely done between 1778-1797 by Sir Gervase Clifton, he employed architect John Carr of York, it was here that the original house was predominantly demolished. The original domed Hall, built by Sir Robert Clifton was saved and used, the south Hall in Carr’s work and the north wing is of a later date.

The de Clifton family had brought the property from the de Rhodes in the 13th century. In 1896 Sir Harvey Juckes Lloyd Bruce succeeded Henry Robert Clifton. The early Bruce years at Clifton are recorded in the book Silken Dalliance (1946) written by Henry James Bruce. In the 1940’s Lieutenant Colonel Peter Thomas Clifton started to sell off the property and the Hall was sold in 1958, this ended 700 years of the Clifton family ownership.

In 1958 Clifton Hal’s Grammar school for girls opened, for girls aged 11- 18 years and it closed in 1976. The head teacher for the school when it opened was Miss Heron, she died of cancer and was succeeded by Miss Squire, this happened around 1970. I could find no solid date online when I searched. 13th January 1970, a sixth former and 17-year-old, called Sandra Simpkin married 22-year-old Allan Barnes, a widow and she was given a day off from her lessons. The Grammar school closed in July 1976, and another Alumini of note that went there was Jayne Torvill (ice skater).

The Nottingham Trent University, then Trent Polytechnics, used the Hall after that until 2002.

Chek Whyte (Anthony Beardsley) then redeveloped the area, building houses on the ground, converted the Hall into two luxury apartments and 14 houses were listed as build on the south east of the Hall area. In 2007 he appeared on Secret Millionaire, he was then declared bankrupt in 2009 and was £20 million in debt but seems used to the life of a risk taker noting in a statement that he had been in the position before.

In 2007 Anwar Rashid purchased the property for £3.6 million and the family moved in, they used one wing of the Hall as a residency and planned to use the rest as a wedding venue or place for ceremonies. The Clifton Hall profile was raised again when the family left in 2008, having defaulted on their mortgage and allowing the Yorkshire Bank to repossess it, and it is listed for sale at £2.5 million, the reason was not cited as financial difficulty but the persistent danger to the family from paranormal threats. There is a current listing on Savills for the property.

I went to the area, Dec 2019, to look as the rumours about the place have reached an international interest historically and a friend of mine requested this as a blog. So here goes! The church, cemetery and Hall are at the end of the road and parking up I was greeted by a pleasant village view of the church and grounds entrance. St Mary’s is a pleasant churchyard and well kept, it sees current use and I took the time to photograph some of the graves for the website, Find A Grave. I also immediately heard voices in the trees, it was easy to work out that the source of this was ground workers, it was mid-day and there was traffic going into the workplace but it does come across a little weird and eerie as you hear it carrying across from the woods.

The place a history of ghosts and unusual events, Haunted Rooms had an entry, so let’s begin with that. A brief over-view of the history is there and mentions that in 1632 King Charles occupied the bedroom at the top of the winding stairs. I will be mentioning the stairs again later in one of these blog series. The quick summary here says there are dark apparitions of children, unexplained banging or tapping on the doors/walls, unexplained voices like low conversations and bloodstains appearing on bedclothes and floors.

The Paranormal Database also has an entry – The Clifton Family are said to have been warned about an impending family death of a sturgeon [fish] was seen swimming upstream of the Trent.

Local rumours?

One is that a painting used to be in the hall for the daughter of the Colonel, she died in a riding accident at Clifton Grove. Tracey Collins was a pupil there and said that the panting was rumoured to have been of his daughter but she died in a riding accident, instead they painted over the partially done piece and as a tribute a female foot on the colonel is actually what is left of her in her memory. This local legend has been disproven but the story still knocks around, the reason it was disproved as down to the fact that both daughters outlived their father and went on to marry. There is also nothing supernatural about it, but it is another weird local legend.

I also found a story from the Grammar School era about a bricked-up room, there are two stories that seem to centre around this theme. One is that there is a bricked-up room where a crying baby can be heard, not depending on the source it is either in the Hall or it is in the tunnel under it. This sort of ties in with the story of a tunnel that goes beneath the Hall to the church which also has a rumour that black magic rituals/satanism occurred there. Rumour also has it that this was in the stables as a witness say blood on the floor, there was a smell of burning herbs and all seems to link back to a crying child. I found nothing about this for any solid proof along with no named witnesses.

There are mentions of maids/women who grab up a child, in some local stories it is her jumping from a third story window with the child as a release from the Lord, in others it is a maid that jumps from the cliff into the river.

VWGolf (nottsalgia) refers to one of the bricked-up rumours potentially being a more mundane explanation. In the hall is an Octagonal dining room, and a creative centre piece which he says was all on a column in the middle of the room. It had statues and reliefs and upon searching around I found some photographs of it, Clifton-Village.org.uk seems to have supporting photographs at least.

Anwar Rashid and his family got unwanted fame about the Hall, along with Lee Roberts from TAPIT who was not so shy of being involved. The profile-raising section of this story and the paranormal side of Clifton Hall seems to have become more entrenched in modern history with their side of the saga and this is something you will have to wait more to hear about…

Part two coming soon.

 

 

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