Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

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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The Amusement Park is located at Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA. In 1983 the park suffered a fire that damaged the place financially leaving them without some of their main attractions, but it has a 125 year old history and remains going.

In 1860 The Fairground began and one of he rides now shut-down was said to be haunted by Solomon Dorney. Solomon opened his place to the public and it’s been visited regularly since then. The ride went under the mansion, since demolished, and this appears to have upset Solomon greatly.

Thrill ride ‘The Dominator’ is said to have a ghost around it there are some small shops and eateries. Connecting two eateries is a corridor that leads into an old mining shaft. Reports say that a man appears and disappears at the door, along with that are strange noises and odd occurrences in the area.

The antique carousel there, also reported as haunted. A woman named Mrs Muller had a husband who carved the carousel horses. In 1917 he created one that she fell in love with and the horse spent 50 years on the road before being given a permanent place at Cedar Point’s Fronter Town in 1971. Legend says that she followed the carousel after her death, and at night when the park closed she would be there. It’s said that the lights would come on, presumably thanks to Mrs Mullar, and a ghost in white could be seen riding around on the carousel.

The ride then headed over to Dorney Park, and the stories carried on about this matter too. Reports keep coming in about lights being seen and it coming to life at night, the only other mystery? Her favourite horse never left Cedar Point and remains in a museum so it’s not clear as to why she might have followed.

Dorney-park-night-1950

 

Byberry Mental Hospital was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was opened to the patients in 1907; it was a work farm from 1910-1920 until construction for a larger asylum was began and completed. Asylums were at a popular high and with it came more and more patients, Byberry was one such place. As the population of the patients grew so did the tales of patient abuse and neglect.

Without the right funds for the place the patients were left naked, starving and sleeping in sewage filled halls, not to mention the state of the hospital itself that was in disrepair. The patients would be huddled together in dingy rooms, they did not socialise correctly and they often had little to no supervision.  So imagine the stories of the very worst asylum treatments and you are probably close to their experience.

There were padded cells, they had restraints, they would use solitary confinements and physical punishment. This in turn went with the lobotomies and the electric shock. Byberry was known as a “real life house of horrors” and there were murders and suicides, the heavy handed regime was a part of many patients lives. In 1990 the doors of Byberry were closed by state authorities, there had been an investigation into the place and the awful conditions within its walls.

And so, here goes! There are many stories about Byberry and after it closed it invariably became a den for vagrants, delinquents and satanic cults. It also possibly would have had former inmates returning after it closed as they had no other place of knowledge and would have likely been institutionalized   Underneath the asylum there are catacomb like tunnels that give way to an urban legend, a violent and psychopathic patient hides in waiting with a large knife to slice the throats of anyone in his path.

Of course if that isn’t enough for you, do take note that apparently at some point the Satanic cultists have managed to open a doorway to hell, and here was me thinking Buffy had closed it at her school…

(I have found out that this place is now demolished but decided to post it anyway)

Okay it’s not ghosts or supernatural but sometimes human beings love to leave us things we could use for our own imagination. Driving along roads at night can be lonely enough however there is also a great sense of imagination when you pass a half completed road or perhaps even half over-grown ones.

For instances in Portland, Oregan there is a section of unused ramp at the western terminus. How about heading on to Interstate 189 in Burlington Vermont, there are now lanes blacked by discarded electronics.

Older areas might well have been left behind when an amendment to a highway/road has occurred and it’s not longer needed.  A good example of this appears to be the Pennsylvania Turnpike where two-lane tunnels and four-lane approaches were bypassed. The old tunnels and roadways on this one were reused as a multi-use trail. There are also some where the road might have been a ramp up to a bridge that was demolished.

Sometimes it’s due to the road never being finished, perhaps they started and ran out of cash or someone managed to put a stop to it. In London (England) the M11 motorway has two unused slips at Junction 4 (Charlie Brown’s) which would have gone into the link for the M12 motorway going to Essex.

The A47 in Rutland, near Wardley has an unused stretch of carriageway that now only sees use as access to a transmitting station. The A2 in Kent ended up with part of the road being made into a public park then it was realigned back in 2009.

1000 Islands Parkway in Eastern Ontario, this is another interesting one as it has two Ghost Lanes down it’s 40km length, these lanes are now used pretty much as a pedestrian or cycle lane on a scenic area. Originally it was going to be an alternate route to the main inland highway and be a sort of divided highway. The plans were put in motion and began sometime in the 1930’s where the unnamed route was began, when the wartime shortages affected it part of the road was left as gravel and finished in 1945 when the war ended. Highway 25 was then added to the 1948 Ontario Maps. In 1952 the entire thing was then redesigned on another route by December 1952 as Highway 401 and the route was no longer in use.

The Highway was due to become part of the freeway route but public outcry would be huge and so in the early 1960’s the plans were abandoned and the restoration on the river road but it’s fully decommissioned status as a road was eventually logged September 8th 1970, King’s Highway was to be no more.  Whilst I have really skipped over many facts that could have been put up here really I just liked the story of the scenic parkway that sits there now.

So perhaps if you are out travelling and spot somewhere as a road to nowhere you might like to hit me with a reply about them.