Science, Tourism, and Ghosts…some opinions…

 

Original post found here:

Frightening Trend: Ghost Tourism Booms

Date: 29 October 2007 Time: 04:04 AM ET

Frightening Trend: Ghost Tourism Booms
CREDIT:

Odds are your city or town is haunted.

Just about every city has some supposedly haunted mansion, cemetery or lunatic asylum (“if you listen carefully to thewind on moonless nights, you can hear the screams of the insane…”). Most cities, in fact, have at least one company offering tours of their spookiest places.

Ghost tourism has boomed over the past decade, propelled by the public’s interest in the mysterious and supernatural. There are hundreds of ghost tours offered across the country, from Hollywood (“Come see Haunted Hollywood and ghosts of the stars!”) to New England (“Visit Boston’s infamous haunted locales!”).

Some places have more historical lore to draw upon than others. Salem, Massachusetts, for example, exploits its infamous witch trials of the 1690s, while tourists, goths, wannabe vampires, and Anne Rice fans flock to New Orleans, Louisiana, with its reputation for mysticism and voodoo.

Ghost hunting

Ghost Hunters Academy

Ghost Hunters Academy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ghost Hunters

Ghost Hunters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many tours tout their guides as “Certified Ghost Hunters” or “Certified Paranormal Investigators,” though that’s like claiming to be a “Certified Kitten Petter.” For better or worse (usually worse), anyone can call himself or herself a ghost hunter; there is no accrediting institution, and “certifications” can be bought from online diploma mills for about $50.

Ghost tours can be a very lucrative business: It is a service with little overhead and start-up costs. Anyone can offer a ghost tour, and tickets often cost $10 to $30 or more per person. With a large group, a good storyteller can make $500 in one evening for guiding a walking tour and telling ghost stories. Everyone likes a good ghost story, and the tours can be fun. The best ones tell their audiences about fascinating local history, throwing in some spooky lore as well.

Tours are often run by self-proclaimed ghost hunters, but no one should confuse telling folklore with doing actual investigation. Ghost tours are one way in which the public learns about “real” ghost hunting, with many companies giving a “Ghost Hunting 101″ course or talk along the way.

Reality

Unfortunately, much of what is taught (such as that spirit voices can be captured on audiotape, or that ghosts can be detected using electromagnetic fields) is unproven theory without any scientific basis. Most guides invite participants to take plenty of photos on the tour, and see if any “ghost orbs” (white spots) appear in the images.

If enough people take enough photos, usually a few will show something that looks odd, fooling the photographer into thinking a ghost has been photographed. What the tours often don’t tell the customers is that these “orbs” could be any number of perfectly ordinary things such as insects, dust, or moisture on the camera lens.

So this Halloween, if there’s a chill in the air and you want a chill in your spine, check out the local legends and lore—for entertainment only!

Why We Love to be Scared

Charles Q. Choi
Date: 30 October 2006 Time: 01:06 PM ET

Photo taken by Dave Dyet. There are no usage restrictions for this photo
CREDIT:

For all of their stomach-turning gore, horror films and haunted houses attract people in droves. This ability of the human brain to turn fear on its head could be a key to treating phobias and anxiety disorders, according to scientists.

When people get scared, their bodies automatically triggers the “fight or flight” response—their heart rates increase, they breathe faster, their muscles tense, and their attention focuses for quick and effective responses to threats.

“It’s nature’s way of protecting us,” said clinical psychologist David Rudd at Texas Tech University.

If the brain knows there is no risk of really being harmed, it experiences this adrenaline rush as enjoyable, Rudd explained. The key to enjoying such thrills lies in knowing how to properly gauge the risk of harm.

“Young children may overestimate the risk of harm and experience true ‘fear.’ When that happens you see the child cling to a parent and cry, convinced there’s a very real chance of harm,” Rudd told LiveScience. On the other hand, “adults may well scream but quickly follow it with a laugh since they readily recognize there’s no chance for real harm.”

On a higher level

This phenomenon also explains why people can enjoy skydiving, bungee jumping and extreme sports.

“In these cases, those engaging in high-risk activities will tell you that the risk is lowered by their training and precautions,” enabling them to enjoy the experience, Rudd said. The key structure in the brain responsible for this effect is likely the amygdala, he added, which is key to forming and storing memories linked with emotions.

The ability to enjoy fear makes evolutionary sense, said environmental psychologist Frank McAndrew at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.

“We’re motivated to seek out this kind of stimulation to explore new possibilities, to find new sources of food, better places to live and good allies,” McAndrew said. “People enjoy deviations from the norm—a change of pace, within limits.”

Key to therapy

If exposed repeatedly to a fearsome stimulus, the brain will get used to it and no longer experience it as frightening. This is a key behind cognitive therapies for anxiety dysfunctions such as phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder, where a person’s system overreacts to perceive something as threatening when it is not, Rudd said. When such cognitive therapies are combined with medicines, their success rate at improving symptoms “is 80 percent,” he added.

Meanwhile, McAndrew is exploring what makes houses feel haunted in the first place.

“We’re focusing on what architectural features make houses appear haunted or not,” he said. “We’re finding they tend to be laid out in a confusing way, so that you’re not sure where you are in the house. They’re high in ‘mystery’—you can’t see very far in the house. And there are all kinds of sounds and smells not usually found in a house that can make it seem creepy.”

5 Most Haunted Places In America

Stories of Ghosts, Spirits and Haunted Houses for Halloween

By Joe Oesterle     October 29, 2009
Source: www.joeartistwriter.com


5 Most Haunted Places In America
© Mania/ Robert Trate
 
 
Ahhh, Halloween. A time of free candy, hot chicks dressing up as French maids and strange stories of the dead. We’re all out Butterfingers, and the last babe in fishnets just left the building, but we still have plenty of grisly anecdotes.
So prepare to be terrified by tales of sadistic slave owners from the dead. Read if you dare, the horrifying accounts of presidential slave abolitionists from the dead, and brace yourself for the shocking saga of the bankrupt comedian with an apparent foot fetish… from the dead.

5. The LaLaurie House, New Orleans, Louisiana

Facts can morph into fiction over the years, and while some now claim this narrative has developed into more exaggeration than actuality, one of the best-known ghost stories in the Big Easy is easily the sickening chronicle of Madame Delphine LaLaurie.  The madame grew up in the lap of luxury, and was twice widowed before she married physician Dr, Louis LaLaurie. The wealthy couple bought a three-story mansion in New Orleans’ famed French Quarter and were known to throw lavish parties, even by upper class standards.
To neighbors and friends, Delphine presented herself as a congenial and caring woman, but behind the closed well-crafted doors of her opulent manor there was a sinister side to this well-bred socialite. Ms. LaLaurie was a cruel and twisted woman who delighted in creating new tortures for her stable of slaves. Legend has it one of Ms. LaLaurie’s young slave girls either snagged a knot while brushing her owner’s hair, or accidentally burned it with a hot curling iron. Regardless of the innocent mistake, the malicious mistress began beating and whipping the frightened 13-year-old servant, until, panic stricken, she ran out of the room. In her desperate escape to avoid the corporal punishment of an insane slave owner, the poor child jumped out of a closed window, and splattered on the street below. The incident was purportedly hushed up, but rumors started to grow about a darker side of the happy hostess.
Colleagues would whisper to each other about how it seemed the LaLaurie’s slaves would suddenly go missing, only to be replaced with a new unpaid laborers, and accounts of Delphine chasing and beating slaves with her horsehide whip swept through the affluent community. A few months later, a fire broke out in the kitchen of LaLaurie Mansion. As firemen arrived on the scene they were startled to discover the blaze was purposely set by a pair of slaves who were shackled to the stove. The slaves admitted to starting the inferno in hopes of being discovered.
After the flames were put out, the firemen noticed a locked door to a hidden upstairs room. Inside the attic they found no less than a dozen naked slaves – both men and women, chained to the walls, locked in dog cages and strapped on medical tables. Body parts were strewn about. Eyes torn out from their sockets, mouths sown shut and genitals had been sliced off. One man had a hole drilled into his head to expose his brain. A stick was jammed inside his cranium as if it were some sort of gruesome medical experiment.
The LaLauries were not home at the time of the fire, but word reached them, and fearing their ghoulish secrets had been uncovered, they fled, never to be seen again. In the centuries since these horrific incidents, there have been numerous ghost sightings and unexplained incidents at the mansion. It is said the plaintive wailing of the mutilated slaves and even the unrelenting crack of Delphine LaLaurie’s whip can still be heard to this day.
 

 

4. The Former Home of Redd Foxx – Las Vegas, Nevada

By the late-‘80s, one of the original modern day blue humor comics, Redd Foxx had earned and subsequently spent tens of millions of dollars. Gambling, women, drugs, were a few of his vices. Alimony put a huge dent in his wallet, and to make financial matters worse, he failed to pay his taxes. In 1989, in front of news cameras, the I.R.S. busted into his home on 5460 S. Eastern Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada, seized all of his possessions while Redd stood in the street wearing little more than a pair of briefs around his waist, and a disgusted look on his face. Two years later Foxx died bankrupt and bitter. There are some however, who suggest ol’ Redd never moved out of his Las Vegas mansion.
Many paranormal experts conclude that it was Redd’s impoverished upbringing that won’t allow him to “let go” of his remaining worldly goods and travel away from this mortal plane. Some suggest that having had so little money to begin with, and making so much only to have it ripped from him during his final years, it is not hard to believe that Redd Foxx has decided to stick it to the afterlife’s version of “the man” and stay where he was most contented.
It was at this home that Redd was said to be at his happiest, and most comfortable. The building is now owned by Shannon Day Realty, Inc. and while the I.R.S. may have succeeded in apprehending his earthly treasures while he was among the living, Redd Foxx, cosmic prankster refuses to be evicted.
Former tenants of the building say they often heard unexplained noises, and light switches that were manually flipped in the down position when no one else was in the building, would inexplicably be turned to the on position hours later. Doors would open and close themselves, and window blinds would rustle without the benefit of wind. Karen Henderson, a real estate agent at the company, claims to frequently hear the front door chime, as if someone opened the door and walked through to the lobby. When she picks her head up from her computer monitor to welcome the visitor, there is often no one there to greet her. On other occasions, she swears her Word documents have changed font color from black to red on the monitor, and at other times the font will appear black on the screen, but print red on the page.
“Just about any time I wear sandals or open toed shoes, I get the sensation that the tops of my feet are being tickled. I just chalk that up as Redd being in a playful mood.” To honor the spirit of Redd Foxx, and to make sure this spectral stand-up remains on good terms with his corporeal housemates, Shannon Day has painted little red foxes all around the agency. “I have seen some things I can’t explain,” says the current owner of Redd’s former property, “I don’t necessarily believe, but if he is here I want him to feel welcome.”

3. The Comedy Store – Hollywood, Ca.

 
Not a haunted house per say, but The Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, California has been an in-between residence for many up and coming comedians over the years.“They say there’s a couple of different spirits that haunt this place,” confirms an employee of The Comedy Store who does not wish to be identified. “The Belly Room gives me the heebie-jeebies. Waiters and wait staff say they had the room set up for the night, walked downstairs into the kitchen, came back and everything was put back the way it was.” Our insider adds, “This place is kind of like (the movie) The Shining… A lot of things have happened here… you don’t have a place like this that doesn’t leave some sort of trace.”
Whatever happened, most likely happened during the ‘40s and ‘50s when the establishment was known as Ciro’s; the most glamorous night club in Hollywood. For a time, Ciro’s was the social hotspot of Tinseltown’s rich and famous. Top-tier talent like Martin and Lewis and the Desi Arnaz Orchestra would perform to equally well-know audiences of Betty Davis, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. It wasn’t all laughter and music at Ciro’s however. While the club may have officially been owned by Hollywood Reporterpublisher Billy Wilkerson, it was a poorly kept secret L.A. crime boss, Mickey Cohen was running more than a few illicit activities out of Ciro’s back room. The anonymous tipster also mentions, “There’s a stairwell in the back, and people don’t realize it, but there’s a machine gun port there. People have been whacked walking up the stairs when they shouldn’t have been… that whole area is creepy.”
Modern day comics at The Comedy Store are concerned with tickling the funny bone, but Cohen’s boys were more likely to fracture a femur bone, bust a kneecap, or, if mob justice decreed, the offending party took a dirt nap. Much of this rough business was done in the basement and backroom. It is rumored there are still bodies buried under the floors. Perhaps the most famous ghost of The Comedy Store is Gus. Gus worked as a part-time doorman at Ciro’s and part time hit man for Cohen’s gang. Whether he crossed the wrong goodfella, or he was simply a shoddy doorman, Gus was brutally slain by his former employers. But just because he got himself killed, the ghost of this departed tough guy sees no reason to leave his favorite hangout. Gus is one of the friendly ghosts.
Other tales of playful poltergeists include candles relighting themselves seconds after being blown out, and chairs piling themselves in an aisle seconds after being neatly stacked. Comedian Blake Clark refused to believe in paranormal manifestations, until he started working at The Comedy Store. Blake recalls locking up alone after hours and watching in startled amazement as a chair glided from one end of the stage to the other. Clark also remembers fellow comedian Joey Gaynor taunting the apparitions once the club had closed for the night. After Gaynor goaded the ghosts to show themselves, an ashtray levitated off the table, and ostensibly hurled itself at the sardonic comic’s head. Gaynor ducked just in time and the projectile exploded against the wall behind him.
The Comedy Store’s lower level contains no affable apparitions. The banshees of the basement are just plain evil. The furious ghost of a woman who purportedly performed illegal abortions on many of Ciro’s dancing girls is said to be violent and frightening; and she’s the sweet one by comparison. Another ghoul is described in “Haunted Hollywood,” (a book by Laurie Jacobson and Marc Wanamaker) as a hulking, amorphous 7-foot figure of pure malevolence. Still another is capable of chilling the air enough you can see your own breath, while simultaneously heating your skin until it burns. The Comedy Store is owned by legendary surrogate mother of stand-up comics, Mitzi Shore, and her son, comedian/actor Pauly Shore. It is rumored the phantoms and the Shore’s live under an uneasy alliance. If the ghosts promise not to haunt Mitzi or Pauly, the Shore’s pledge never to show Pauly’s 1996 comedy, Bio-Dome, within 500 feet of the building.

2. The White House – Washington D.C

The official residence and home office of our nation’s leaders has certainly welcomed a good number of transparent figures over the years, but it’s also been reported, and by some fairly credible witnesses, that this place is crawling with spooks – and not just the CIA kind.Legend has it that when First Lady Edith Wilson planned to re-landscape the famous Rose Garden, another First Lady intervened – the late Dolley Madison to be specific. Dead Dolley designed the original Rose Garden while she was a living Doll, and reportedly, was so upset after hearing the news of the remodeling, she had a few choice words with the workmen on the grounds from beyond her gave. The gardeners reportedly left in quite a hurry, and since then there have been no attempts to give the well-known flower patch another makeover.
Over the years there have been multiple sighting of a deceased British soldier carrying a torch and roaming the halls at night. Little is known of this ghost, but he is rumored to be one of the men who burned down the White House in 1814. Another First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln supposedly heard the specter of Ol’ Hickory himself, Andrew Jackson on a number of occasions cursing a blue streak, which leads us to the most celebrated phantom of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – Abraham Lincoln. While on this mortal plane, Lincoln spoke publicly about an eerie dream he had. “In the dream, I was awakened by a faint moaning coming from somewhere nearby. I stood, and began hunting the noise, finally finding my way to the east room, where men and women were shrouded in funeral shawls. I saw a coffin on a dais, and soldiers at either end. A captain stood nearby, and I addressed him ‘Who is dead in the White House’ say I. ‘The President,’ is his answer, ‘he was killed by an assassin.’ In the coffin was a corpse in funeral vestments, but the face was obscured. A loud sob left the crowd, and I awoke.”
It is said that Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman believed the spirit of Lincoln would occasionally roam his former home, and both Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy would speak openly, often asking the 16th president for advice. During a visit to the White House, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was put up in the Lincoln Room on the second floor when she heard a knock on the door. When Her Majesty opened door she claims she saw the gangly ghost of Honest Abe and fainted on sight.According to Maureen Reagan, daughter of the late Ronald Reagan, even the Reagan’s dog, Rex refused to enter the Lincoln bedroom, but could often be found just at the doorway barking and snarling at no one in particular.

1. The Whaley House – San Diego, California

Constructed in 1856, on a former gallows site, the Whaley House is the oldest two-story structure in Southern California history. The home contains a ballroom, a theater, a parlor and even a courthouse. What gives the Whaley House its mark of distinction though, is the family of ghosts, who are believed to inhabit the premises. Whaley House is haunted, honestly and legally. The structure is one of only two haunted houses certified by the California government. (The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose being the other.)
There are reportedly as many as 13 different apparitions who linger in the home possibly believing sunny Old Town San Diego to be a more attractive option than the hereafter. Chairs move by themselves, windows and doors open and close without explanation. Chains, footsteps and strange mists are known to frighten the docents of the domicile today. Even the family dog, Dolly, runs down the halls, and brushes against legs of guest’s while pursuing an ethereal kitty cat.
Thomas Whaley, the original Lord of the manor, often materializes at the head of the stairs to the master bedroom. It is not uncommon for visitors to smell the smoke of his cigar or hear his baritone laughter echoing throughout the house. Anna Whaley (Thomas’s wife) is also known to make frequent appearances. Described as a beautiful and graceful woman dressed in gowns of gingham, her flowery perfume and lilting voice envelope the air followed by the eerie strains of a distant piano.For the most part the spirits of Whaley House are on the friendly side of the astral plane. Yankee Jim Robinson, on the other hand has an axe to grind. Robinson, according to legend, was a horse thief, a claim jumper and an alleged murderer. It was, however, the stealing of a rowboat with the aid of his unlawful associates, which eventually earned Yankee Jim the hangman’s noose.
While Yankee Jim’s henchmen only got a year in the pokey, Robinson was hanged for his crime. (It seems his reputation preceded him.) At a time when the average man in the county stood about 5 foot 5 inches, Yankee Jim stood well over 6 feet. The hulking Robinson was hung from a branch barely taller than him. Instead of snapping his neck instantly, the dastardly cur was left to twist and choke, nearly on his tippy toes, for up to 45 minutes before he was pronounced dead. Thomas Whaley, a witness to Robinson’s death often wrote in his journal that the ghost of Yankee Jim resided on the property. Visitors to the estate often experience feelings of strangulation as they walk through the archway located between the music room and the parlor. It was in this exact location, four years prior to the creation of the mansion, on a dark and moonless night, that the hangman’s noose seized the life from Yankee Jim’s ornery body, leaving just his restless spirit behind.
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About our writer: Joe Oesterle is an award-winning writer and illustrator, but what he often fails to mention is that many of those awards were won on a New Jersey boardwalk. Pick up his latest books “Weird California” and “Weird Las Vegas” in any Barnes and Noble near you, and look for his next book, “Weird Hollywood,” due out soon. www.JoeArtistWriter.com And be sure to check out his latest humorous animated video, entitled, “The Balloon Boy Song.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrYRquNyZxU
 

Does Michael Jackson’s Ghost Haunt the Family Home? La Toya Says Yes

For Real, You Guys: The First Time I Saw A Ghost (Yep, I Said The FIRST Time)

A first time experience!

Because My House is Haunted…

A Little Tour in Yellow

Spooky NightI’m convinced my place is haunted.  No real big deal there and I don’t mean to sound all cavalier and cool about it but no big deal there.  Most places where I have taken up residence for more than a few months comes around to being haunted.  Usually it is just bump in the night kind of stuff, but I’m sure it is only a matter of time until I finally catch one of the little buggers in the other room nibbling on a doughnut.

Oh, how badly I miss my cat.  Klick Klack Kitty Cat feared nothing, except lightning and loud noises.  In fact, Klick Klack would get ornery an hour before a storm, giving that glaring “if you don’t do something I am not going to be happy” look I knew only too well.  But it took only one nearby lightning strike and an explosion of thunder and…

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The Ghost That Lives With Us

Fabulous!

karlielove14

(Encounter # 1) I posted about a ghost that has been haunting the house a while back. Let me go over and refresh a couple of things about this ghost. At first it was haunting outside the house. When we first moved in we didn’t have any furniture and we only had one neighbor on the whole block. We only had an air mattress to sleep on. My husband didn’t feel comfortable sleeping with all the lights off since it was our first day sleeping in the house. I on the other hand did not mind. So I left the lights on for him. Around 3am we started to hear footsteps and leaves crunch right outside our window. At first we thought it was our neighbors so I texted her and she said it wasn’t them. I fell back asleep and ten minutes later we heard it again. I woke…

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Ghost Adventures

Sadly, I must admit that I, too, am Addicted to Ghost Adventures…

Scarlett's Sanity

zakbagansbanner

 

So i’m addicted to a show called ‘Ghost Adventures’ which is an American ghost hunting program which is just so fascinating to me for some reason. Basically, all that happens is; Zak Bagans (Above) travels to paranormal locations and gets locked down from dusk until dawn. He is joined by his fellow investigators Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin, who both make the show so worth while. Zak Bagans is the macho man of the group, he’s a muscly, confident man who wears tight tops and saves dogs – what more can you want? Nick is great, however he’s my least favorite but he does have some good qualities. Aaron is my second favorite, being the immense joker of the group. He seems to be the most down to earth member of the Ghost Adventures Crew being more active on twitter and instagram with his fans than Zak or Nick…

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Is New Renaissance Bookstore Haunted?

Portland, Oregon!

Stories of Not Being Afraid of Ghosts

 

New Renaissance  is a wonderful New Age bookstore and gift shop in NW Portland. You can find all kinds of great things there – from sage bundles for smudging to Christian literature to Tarot decks to clothing. It’s one of our favorite places to go when we are on that side of town. It also happens to be about a block away from a most excellent sushi restaurant.

We’ve visited several times now and every time I walk into the place I am sure of one thing – New Renaissance is haunted.

Now one would think that a place like this – which gets a lot of traffic from mediums, tarot readers, witches and other folk who are more aware of the spiritual realm than most – would have some kind of reputation by now. But I haven’t found any mention of spirits residing there. Yet every time we…

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The face looking back at me at Howard Street Cemetery

Some neat musings about cemetaries in Salem!

History of Seattle (part 1)

From the materials for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacifi...

From the materials for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909, held in Seattle. A drawing of the Battle of Seattle. Despite the “1866” written on the drawing, this should be 1856. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The skyline of Seattle, Washington at dusk. In...

The skyline of Seattle, Washington at dusk. Interstate 5 is the freeway that cuts through downtown and Puget Sound is visible to the left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattl...

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington Deutsch: Turmkorb und Spitze der Space Needle, in Seattle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seattle Downtown Skyline

Seattle Downtown Skyline (Photo credit: Canadian Pacific)

Seattle lies on a narrow strip of land between the salt waters of Puget Sound and the fresh waters of Lake Washington. Beyond the waters lie two rugged mountain ranges, the Olympics to the west and the Cascades to the east. It is a city built on hills and around water, in a mild marine climate that encourages prolific vegetation and abundant natural resources.

White settlers came to the Seattle area in 1851, establishing a townsite they first called New York, and then, adding a word from the Chinook jargon meaning “by-and-by,” New York-Alki. They soon moved a short distance across Elliott Bay to what is now the historic Pioneer Square district, where a protected deep-water harbor was available. This village was soon named Seattle, honoring a Duwamish Indian leader named Sealth who had befriended the settlers.

The new town’s principal economic support was Henry Yesler’s lumber mill at the foot of Mill Street (now Yesler Way), built in 1853. Much of the mill’s production went to the booming city of San Francisco, but the mill also supplied the fledgling towns throughout the Puget Sound region. A brief Indian “war” in the winter of 1856 interrupted the town’s development, but when the Territorial legislature incorporated Seattle in 1869, there were more than 2,000 residents.

The 1870s were fairly quiet, despite the discovery of coal near Lake Washington, and the consequent growth of another extractive industry whose product also found its way to San Francisco. In the early 1870s the Northern Pacific Railway Company announced that its transcontinental railroad western terminus would be at Tacoma, some forty miles south of Seattle. Despite local leaders’ disappointment, Seattle managed to force a connection with Northern Pacific shortly after its completion in 1883, and the town’s population soared in the late 1880s. Lumber and coal were the primary industries, but the growth of fishing, wholesale trade, shipbuilding, and shipping also contributed to the town’s economic expansion and population growth. One estimate is that in the first half of 1889, Seattle was gaining 1,000 new residents per month; in March alone, there were 500 buildings under construction, most of them built of wood. The explosive growth was slowed but not stopped by a devastating fire on June 6, 1889, which leveled the buildings on 116 acres in the heart of the city’s business district. No one died in the fire, but the property damage ran into millions of dollars.

Enthusiasm for Seattle was little dampened by the fire. In fact, it provided the opportunity for extensive municipal improvements, including widened and regraded streets, a professional fire department, reconstructed wharves, and municipal water works. New construction in the burned district was required to be of brick or steel, and it was by choice on a grander and more imposing scale.

The 1890s were not so prosperous, despite the arrival of another transcontinental railroad, the Great Northern, in 1893. A nationwide business depression did not spare Seattle, but the 1897 discovery of gold along and near the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory and in Alaska once again made Seattle an instant boom town. The city exploited its nearness to the Klondike and its already established shipping lines to become the premier outfitting point for prospectors. The link became so strong that Alaska was long considered to be the personal property of Seattle and Seattleites.

During the early 1900s, Seattle, now having discovered the rewards of advertising, continued to experience strong growth. Two more transcontinental railroads, the Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road systems, reached Seattle and reinforced the city’s position as a trade and shipping center, particularly with Asia and the North Pacific.

The city’s population became increasingly diversified. Scandinavians came to work in fishing and lumbering, African Americans to work as railroad porters and waiters, and Japanese to operate truck gardens and hotels. There were significant communities of Italians, Chinese, Jews, and Filipinos. The International District, home to several Asian ethnic groups, was largely developed during this period.

With its population now approaching 240,000, Seattle announced its achievements by sponsoring an international fair in 1909. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition celebrated the economic and cultural links Seattle had forged along what is now known as the North Pacific Rim. The forty-two story L.C. Smith building was completed in 1914. For more than four decades it was the tallest building in the American west and a symbol of Seattle’s booster spirit and metropolitan aspirations.

World War I transformed the city’s shipbuilding industry, which turned out 20 percent of the nation’s wartime ship tonnage. The war also brought Seattle national attention when, early in 1919, workers struck the shipyards to maintain their high wartime wages. This event soon led to the Seattle general strike of February 6-10, the longest such strike in American history. The strike lacked a cogent objective, but its success fueled postwar American fears about radicals and socialists. Along with the city’s early ventures into municipal transit service and public electrical power, the general strike helped establish Seattle’s reputation as a hotbed of political radicalism.

Seattle also had a reputation for a boom-and-bust economy, and the twenties brought depressed conditions in shipbuilding and the lumber trade. The Depression of the 1930s hit Seattle particularly hard, and a “Hooverville” of shacks and lean-tos housing nearly 1,000 unemployed men grew up at an abandoned shipbuilding yard south of Pioneer Square. World War II sparked an economic rebound as shipyards flourished again. The Boeing Company, a modestly successful airplane manufacturer founded in 1916, increased its workforce more than 1,200 percent and its sales from $10 million to $600 million annually during the war years. The war’s end, however, brought an economic slump to the area that persisted until the middle 1950s.

When Boeing successfully introduced the 707 commercial jet airliner in the late 1950s, it heralded another burst of municipal optimism. In 1962 Seattle sponsored a full-fledged world’s fair, the futuristic Century 21 Exposition. The fair left the city a permanent legacy in the Seattle Center and its complex of performance, sports, and entertainment halls, as well as the Pacific Science Center, the Monorail, and the Space Needle.

Since Century 21, the city population has remained fairly stable around the half-million mark, while suburban areas have grown explosively. The Boeing Company suffered a slump in the early 1970s that severely depressed the local economy. The region’s economy has subsequently been steadied and diversified. Weyerhaeuser and Boeing have been a part of that development, along with such high-technology firms as Microsoft. The political strength of Washington Senators Warren G. Magnuson and Henry Jackson in the postwar decades greatly contributed to growth at such research institutions as the University of Washington, and in defense related activities. Seattle has also enjoyed an expanded air and sea trade with Asia, Alaska, and the North Pacific.

Seattle has always exhibited a spirit of optimism, enterprise, and self-promotion. At one time this was institutionalized as “the Seattle Spirit,” a movement that enabled the city literally to move mountains by washing down high hills to improve building sites, to connect Lake Washington and Puget Sound with locks and a canal, and to build the world’s largest man-made island at the mouth of the Duwamish River. More recently, this spirit can be credited with accomplishments like the Forward Thrust program of the 1970s, which built the Kingdome arena and numerous parks throughout the city, including Freeway Park that spans the I-5 freeway with waterfalls and hanging gardens.

Seattle is proud of its arts and cultural institutions, the many live theaters, and the downtown art museum. It is proud of its parks, of its professional and collegiate sports, of Pioneer Square and the Pike Place Market, and, above all, of the beauty of its surroundings. Seattle is also a city of parades, not always respectful of its own brief heritage, not as radical as its legend would have it; a city of homes that has many who are homeless, a city that wants great growth but demands that somehow the setting remain untouched.

 

http://www.seattle.gov/cityarchives/Facts/history.htm

http://www.historylink.org/

http://www.seattlechannel.org/

Real Places Behind Famously Frightening Stories (an article from Smithsonian Magaine)

English: Cloth Covered, Hard Bound Book, the L...

English: Cloth Covered, Hard Bound Book, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving. Published by Thomas Crowl and Company, New York, circa 1907, with gold foil lettering and silky flower pattern cloth. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Real Places Behind Famously Frightening Stories

Light your pumpkin and read about the real places behind some of the world’s classic spo

  • By Robin T. Reid

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The Exorcist stairs in Washington DCSleepy Hollow CemeteryBronte Wuthering HeightsCape of Good HopeThe Stanley HotelThe Mikhailovsky Castle
The Exorcist stairs in Washington DC

(LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH / Alamy )

When Blatty was a student at Georgetown University in 1949, he read newspaper accounts of an exorcism performed on a boy in the D.C. suburbs. He never forgot them; by 1973, they had laid the groundwork for his bestselling book and Oscar-winning movie.

Blatty set his exorcism in Georgetown and made his victim a young girl. In the film, she lived–and levitated and spewed vomit–with her mother in an imposing brick house at 3600 Prospect Street, NW (Blatty had lived on that street during college). Just a short walk away is the famous outdoor stairway that Father Damien Karras tumbled down to his death. The house is private, but the steps are very public, linking Prospect to the busy thoroughfare of M Street, NW.

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Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

(Kevin Fleming / Corbis)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” The Sketch Book, Washington Irving
Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

New York’s Hudson River Valley was the backdrop for “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” one of the earliest examples of ghost stories in American literature. Irving, a native New Yorker, relied on local landmarks and the lore about them handed down from Dutch settlers who arrived some 200 years before the story was published in 1820.

The real action in “Legend” begins in what is now called Patriots Park; a monument marks the site where in 1780 three men captured British spy Major John Andre beneath a tulip tree. The bad vibes from the event lingered, according to Irving, and it was not far from the “fearful tree” that the hapless Ichabod Crane first saw “something huge, misshapen, black, and towering.” That something of course was the infamous headless Hessian who chased Crane to the Old Dutch Church.

The church still stands, amidst the small graveyard where Irving’s ghostly Hessian soldier, would tether his black steed to the headstones. The writer himself is buried in the adjacent Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, which offers tours of the real sites behind the legend.

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Bronte Wuthering Heights

(Patrick Ward / Corbis)

Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
Ponden Hall and Top Withens, England

Brontë probably had two places in mind when she imagined Wuthering Heights, the haunted house in Yorkshire at the center of her only novel. The Heights’ remote, windswept location could have been that of Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse that overlooks the moors south of her hometown of Haworth. The structure itself could have been based on Ponden Hall, a 19th-century manor house also near Haworth; the single-paned window on the second floor may well have been the one that Catherine Linton’s ghost tried to climb through one wild, snowy night. (Ponden’s owners, Stephen Brown and Julie Akhurst, do offer tours to small groups.)

Cape of Good Hope

(iStockphoto)

“The Flying Dutchman”
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

The story of a ship called the Flying Dutchman doomed to sail the seas for eternity is a trusty old chestnut much loved in the arts. Richard Wagner turned it into an opera, Washington Irving wrote about it, American artist Albert Pinkham Ryder created a moody portrait of it, and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” introduced modern audiences to the legend.

Many believe the original vessel was sailing between Holland and the Dutch East Indies in the 17th century. As it approached the Cape of Good Hope near the tip of Africa, a fierce storm arose. The captain, perhaps eager to get the trip over with, vowed to round the treacherous coastline even if it took him until doomsday.

Those who want to see the results of his folly can stand watch from the Cape, now part of South Africa’s breathtakingly gorgeous Table Rock National Park.

The Stanley Hotel

(Stock Connection Distribution / Alamy)

The Shining, Stephen King
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colo.

One fall night in 1974, King and his wife stayed in Room 217 of this rambling clapboard hotel in the Rockies. En route to the room, King said later, he saw ghostly children in the halls.

That encounter became a pivotal scene in his novel about a hotel caretaker who becomes possessed by the lodge’s evil spirits and in the 1980 film, starring Jack Nicholson. The Stanley didn’t make it into the movie, however; director Stanley Kubrick used Oregon’s Timberline Lodge, a spooky looking manse of stone and wood.

The Stanley embraces its notoriety just the same. Built in 1909 by automaker F.O. Stanley, the 138-room lodge offers ghost tours that include stops in the Kings’ room and the eerie long corridors. Guides also mention the ghosts King didn’t meet, such as a long-dead housekeeper who folks clothes still and a spirit who does not like anyone touching the hotel’s antique Steinway piano.

Not scary enough? Turn on any TV then and watch “The Shining,” which plays continuously on the in-house channel.

Poenari Castle

(Imagestate Media Partners Limited – Impact Photos / Alamy )


Dracula, Bram Stoker
Poenari Castle, Romania

 

The crumbling fortress perched on a cliff above the Arges River was one of several used by Vlad Dracula, ruler of southern Romania in the 15th century and the man behind Bram Stoker’s immortal (pardon the pun) vampire tale. The castle was in ruins when Dracula came to power. To restore it, the legend goes, he forced several hundred prisoners to ferry bricks and stones up the cliff along a human assembly line.

Poenari (poh-yeh-NAR) is open to anyone able to ascend the more than 1,400 steps that lead to the summit. Once there, spectacular views of the Carpathian Mountains unfold from the battlements–the same ones that Dracula’s wife jumped from in 1462 as she chose death over being captured by the Turkish army encamped below.

The castle Stoker described in his breakout 1897 novel was probably a composite of three. Of those, Poenari was the only one the real Dracula inhabited. He was imprisoned briefly in the second one, Bran Castle, also in Romania. And the third one is Slain’s Castle in Scotland; Stoker stayed near Slain’s for several years and reportedly was inspired by the grim Gothic building on the rocky east coast. It is in ruins now, while Bran is a museum.

Holy Trinity Church

(Lee Pengelly / Alamy)

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Holy Trinity Church, Buckfastleigh, England

 

Richard Cabell was not a popular guy. Some said he was such a hellion that when he died in 1677, his neighbors built a sepulcher around his tomb in Holy Trinity’s cemetery to make sure he couldn’t get out; they even covered the actual grave with a heavy stone slab for good measure.

Such precautions, however, did not prevent Cabell’s hounds from surrounding the mausoleum at night, howling for their master to rise up and hunt with them across the moors of southern England. This legend grabbed the keen imagination of Conan Doyle when he visited Devon in the early 20th century, and he based one of his best-loved Sherlock Homes mysteries on those spectral hunters. In his story, giant paw prints found next to the savagely mutilated body of Sir Charles Baskerville led Holmes on a ghost-hunt.

Much of the 13th-century church burned in 1992. But Cabell’s vault is intact; peek through the barred windows if you dare.

Daphne du Maurier country

(Gary Eastwood Photography / Alamy)

 

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
Menabilly, England

 

“Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderly again.” And so begins Daphne du Maurier’s Gothic romance about a young bride trying to live in a home possessed by the spirit of her husband’s first wife.

Manderly was largely based on Menabilly, an Elizabethan-era manor the English writer first saw in the 1920s when she trespassed on its grounds near the Cornish coast. Two decades later, du Maurier–flush with the proceeds from the bestselling novel–was able to rent Menabilly. She lived there with her family until 1969.

The manor house is not open to the public. However, the owners rent out two cottages on the grounds as holiday rentals. The beach around Polridmouth Bay–where Rebecca deWinter’s wrecked sailboat washed up–is accessible via a short hike from the village of Fowey.

Fans of the 1940 movie version of “Rebecca” shouldn’t even try to find the baronial estate that features so prominently in the Oscar-winning film. Director Alfred Hitchcock used a model for the exterior shots. He shot the movie in California since England was in the throes of World War II at the time.

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Comments (12)

I would like to tell u that I don’t believe in the sleepy hollows because its just a legend maybe it is real that would be great because I love the sleepy hollows that’s what I would like to tell u thank you very much

Posted by Brooke on February 19,2013 | 01:37 PM

Hi, I’m Romanian and wanted to tell you that the ruler that inspired Bram Stoker’s novel wasn’t named Vlad Dracula, but Vlad Ţepeş. Dracul (without the “a”) was a nickname he got for being a severe, merciless ruler. It literally means devil or demon. Dracula is just the name that Stoker gave his character, probably after mishearing Vlad’s real nickname( Romanian is a very odd and difficult language for foreigners). Vlad used extreme measures against his enemies (like impaling them in huge stakes and leaving their bodies there to rot, as a chilling reminder that he is not to be messed with) and in at least one known instance he called all the court’s trusted men and their families to a feast and he slaughtered them,because he got word they were plotting against him. Plus, the pronunciation of Poenari you wrote in brackets, is incorrect.

Posted by Diana on January 30,2013 | 09:17 PM

Doesn’t sound as if the person who wrote this piece ever read “Rebecca”. Manderly was not possessed. Nice photo of Menabilly though.

Posted by Jamie Curtis on January 27,2013 | 10:34 PM

While everyone was reading “The Exorcist”, I was not. I was living on Prospect Street in Georgetown, and the thought of reading that scary book about something that took place just a couple of blocks from my house (even though that was not the real location), was too much. I did eventually read the book, and saw the film crew around Georgetown when the movie was being filmed. It is still the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, and I have seen it multiple times! The man who was thrown out the window in the book was a friend, not a boyfriend, as I recall. I think the house in the movie was for sale a couple of years ago. Who could actually live in it – although it probably has fantastic views? Such a creepy story!!

Posted by Suzy on December 9,2009 | 12:16 PM

Sprague Mansion in Cranston, R.I., should also be of interest. There have been many sightings there by folks who no nothing about this old estate. There have been sightings of children playing and many other things seen too! Murders have been linked to the people who lived there in the past!

Posted by Melvyn G. Tavares on November 19,2009 | 08:59 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. Like most people when I heard these stories I would imagine what the places looked like. It was really neat to see some of the places look exactly what I had imagined.

Posted by Tracey on November 12,2009 | 11:51 AM

Although the final exorcisims took place in St. Louis, the boy was posessed and first had signs at his home in the Mt. Ranier neighborhood of Northwest D.C. a few miles north of Georgetown.

Posted by Aysha on November 5,2009 | 01:00 PM

Visitors to Cape Point in South Africa will have to enter the Table Mountain National Park (not the Table Rock NP as stated in your article).It is a fantastic place to visit – and the windswept heights and barren mountains lend an espceially romantic atmosphere to the whole Flying Dutchman story too.

Posted by Caroline Voget on October 30,2009 | 03:15 AM

And the exorcisms actually took place in St. Louis, in a hospital that has since been torn down.

Posted by Miles on October 29,2009 | 06:44 AM

The boyfriend took the first tumble, but Karras throws himself down the stairs, too.

Posted by Sara on October 27,2009 | 11:46 AM

Actually it wasn’t father Damien in the film that took the tumble down the steps. It was the boyfriend of the mother. Just thought you should know.

Posted by Nathan Branstetter on October 26,2009 | 12:56 PM

At some point or another every historian becomes interested in the real Dracula, Vlad Tepes. It is interesting here to learn that it is open to visitors. Great article.

Posted by Stacy on October 22,2009 | 02:02 PM

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