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From a reader: Many people have died all from car accidents in Wilmot Road. Its curvy and wide open with no stop signs or lights. People usually speed on this road. When there is a car accident people are usually ejected from their vehicles and die in homeowners’ front yards. Home there are usually on large lots, about 8+ acres each.
So, a guy died on my brothers’ front lawn a few weeks back. The other day he was in his basement working out and watching TV. Out of the corner of his eye he saw someone sitting on a stool nearby. Yesterday his wife went to basement and saw a person sitting in the same spot. The house has felt very heavy and depressed since this accident.
Another occasion from a few weeks ago, also stemming from an accident, his wife and son saw a man standing at their front door. His wife saged the house and they have not seen him at the front door since. They are going to sage the entire house today to see if that helps the ghost in the basement.
There are stories of peoples’ homes that have ghosts due to the amount of accidents on this road.
My Response: Wow – very interesting. A lot of cultures believe people hang around for 7-10 days after death. It’ll be interesting if just a little more time will do the trick too. Very sad, but interesting story.
Also, makes me think of the crash of Flight 191 where people in the area would hear frantic knocking on their front doors after the accident. Like disoriented spirits looking for help.
As an additional note, the town of Antioch is a very old town with a rich and occasionally tragic history. I had the privilege of learning about this town through the eyes of Dr. James Dorsey as he explored important locations relating to the Underground Railroad in Lake County and the abolitionist movement, which was alive and well in Antioch.
Additionally, the town was victimized by major fires in the 1800s that wiped out large portions of the town.
Also, the first ever paranormal investigation I was on was at the Liberty Tattoo Parlor. I wrote about the hauntings at Antioch High School in my book and I just recently brought a tour group up to the Lodge of Antioch with Ursula Bielski, Nicholas Sarlo and Chicago Hauntings. To say that Antioch is an active location is an understatement!
Sept 9-11: The Hollywood Show, Rosemont, Il (hollywoodshow.com)
Sept 10: Screening of “Cry Baby” and signing with star, Amy Locane, Woodridge, Il (hollywoodblvdcinema.com)
Sept 16: Investigation
Sept 17: Lake/McHenry Ghost Adventure, Long Grove, Il (facebook.com/events/508522306014679) 7-hour tour through some of the most haunted places in Lake and McHenry County with Ursula Bielski and Chicago Hauntings.
Sept 24: Private Event
Sept 28: Archeologist Dan Melone speaking on the topic of his work on Robinson Woods Indian Burial Grounds (one of my favorite sites). This will be held at the Norwood Park Historical Society. (norwoodparkhistoricalsociety.org/events/events16.html)
TBA: Appearance on “Pretty Late,” WGN AM-720
Oct. 1: Investigation
Oct. 6: Investigation
Oct 7-9: Chicago Ghost Conference / Dark Shores 2016, Willow Springs, Il (chicagoghosts.com/conference.html) A full weekend of great presenters and parties. I will be on hand to talk about some of the research I’ve been doing in Los Angeles including talking about Linda Vista Hospital, the haunted house near the site of the Tate/Manson murders, the Formosa Cafe hauntings along Hollywood Blvd and possibly Pasadena’s “famed” suicide bridge. Amazingly, this event will be held at one of Resurrection Mary’s favorite locations, the Willowbrook Ballroom.
Oct 10: Private Event
Oct 13: Special hosted screening of “Poltergeist” Details are TBD at this point.
Oct 15-16: Milwaukee ParaCon, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus (milwaukeeparacon.com). I will be on hand with Jay Bachochin, one of my partners in crime in creating the documentary “The Hidden Truth?” which chronicled the mysterious series of drownings in LaCrosse, WI, the possible paranormal connections and the investigation that followed. We will be meeting and greeting while sharing stories of ghosts and Jay’s ongoing search for Bigfoot.
Oct 20: Third Thursday, Los Angeles, Ca (link TBA) Free panel discussion with filmmakers followed by a mixer/cocktail party. Admission is free, but RSVP required. Sponsored by the International Screenwriters’ Association (networkisa.org)
Oct 21: Haunted Chronicles, online (paramaniaradio.com/SHOW.php?showid=66) Live radio show, I’ll be talking about haunted sites with Jennifer Runyon Corman & Jimmy Haunted.
Do you need a speaker for your event? I’ll be in the Midwest until Oct 17, then I’ll be in California starting Oct 21. Drop me a line and I’ll come tell stories at your Halloween party/company party, etc.!
By Scott Markus
There has been much concern for the fate of one of LA’s most unique landmarks and ties to strange history – Murphy’s Ranch. Plans for the demolition of the remaining buildings have long been known. Then, early in 2016, some dates became public knowledge. Specifically, late March was the bulldoze date. Scott and Connor made a trip to the site in early April to get a look at the changes. While a lot is gone, it could have been much worse.
Immediately apparent is the large fence and wall have been totally removed, making trail access even easier than it already was. Perhaps if the gates weren’t locked in the first place, people wouldn’t have felt the need to create their own hole in the wall in the first place.
The huge water tank was the first victim of the “clean-up,” having been eliminated in early 2016. It was fairly recently that someone got themselves stuck inside of it, requiring help from the authorities to get free (I think it’s okay to call them an idiot). The silver lining here is that there’s still evidence of where the tank was. The cement walls were sliced at an angle, creating a sort of curb for the downward sloping trail. Of course, we’d love for the tank to still be standing, but this is a nice accent that lightly hints at the former site.
Seen to the right, Connor (and co-adventurer, Brownie the chocolate lab) is standing in what was once the center of the large water tank. The now removed wall gives you a unique perspective and vantage point to how enormous this thing was.
Along the way we passed the remains of a small house (pictured below). Though largely untouched for the moment, most of the debris in the structure was swept out towards the road. Our guess is that the junk will be cleared, but we hope the foundations remain.
To our (and Brownie’s) delight, the most iconic building is still standing, fully in tact. Not only is it untouched, but for the first time that I’ve seen, the cyclone fencing around it has been removed, making this a strangely inviting location.
The large metal building, which had turned into a mountain of twisted metal was removed (before and after pictures below), along with the remains of a 1960’s VW Mini Bus. The loss of this bus is a negative to me because it was a wonderful example of how this location went from a center of hate and domination in the ’40s to a home to artistic endeavor and free thought/love in the ’60s. Poetry in history. The remnants of the van were brought up to the main road, likely for easier collection.
I didn’t really want this to be a “review” of the changes, as I am quite the naturalist/preservationist. I would’ve loved to see what was left standing of the large structure secured in a safe way, but I understand clearing out the debris. Though I hate the loss of the water tank, people getting stuck inside of it (again, like idiots) makes this an easy decision for the powers that be to simply remove it. Removing the wall & fence at the trail head seemed unnecessary. Simply opening the gates and welding them to a secure, open position would’ve been effective and a much easier task then removing everything in full. Still, as far as everything else is concerned, I’ve found my peace with what we’ve lost and I just hope nothing else goes. This is such a wonderfully unique piece of Los Angeles history, it would be a shame to lose anything else.
I plan to do a more complete live video discussion on this topic in the near future on Periscope. That video will later end up on YouTube and right here with video footage of some hard to find locations and a lot more ‘off the beaten path’ structures in this area you may not know about. Stay tuned!
Scott and I decided to start the new year off right and pick a new creepy spot to visit for the start of 2016!
We often get asked about Manson family locations, and though we do touch on the subject of the murders, and are somewhat well versed, it is not a piece of history we focus on much.
That being said, when we were talking about the first place to go for the new year, both Scott’s and my first thought was to head up to the remains of Spahn Ranch and hike out to the famous “Manson Family Cave.”
The ranch has been around since 1862 when J.R. Williams received 160 acres after the Homestead Act was passed by the US Government. The land itself is part of the Santa Susana Pass, the main transport road between LA and Santa Barbra during the mission days. The land was used in early silent films and even owned by William S Hart for a time, before finally ending up in the hands of George Spahn.
By the time the Manson Family arrived in 1968, the ranch was only being used occasionally for TV shows and locals for renting horses to ride around the property for an afternoon. I won’t write much about Manson’s time on the ranch, which is often shrouded in contradictory urban legends. Plenty of other people have done so before me, and in a much better way than I could. You can read LA Curbed’s Post on the ranch HERE
The property burned down in 1970, so there wasn’t much for Scott and I to explore while we were there. We hope to find a map containing the old building locations so we can explore with a bit more direction on our next visit. If you have such a map, please share!
Actually, to call this excursion a hike is more than a little exaggeration. It’s really not a hike at all! After reading a few blogs and our with our previous experiences hiking to other creepy spots, we expected a lot worse. We were warned about Poison Ivy and Rattle Snakes, and though we didn’t see any, I’m sure it is still a danger!
The path is narrow, but fairly direct, it’s also littered with morbid little reminders of where we were. (To the left is an example: a displayed modern picture of Manson; green little skeletons dot the area)
We found the cave quickly and took our obligatory selfie (up at the top). We were surprised to see that there were quite a few other people there. We talked a bit and then went back to poking around the property.
People often report paranormal goings on at Spahn Ranch, which seem to be mostly residual in nature. Scott and I did not do an investigation on the property on this visit, so we don’t have anything to add on to the subject.
We didn’t spend much longer at Spahn Ranch, before heading back to our car, but we took pictures of a few items. There are plenty of pieces of building material, plates, car parts and more that require more examination to properly attach to dates. That said, we felt satisfied with our first adventure of the year!