Another year is coming to a close and with it, time to reflect on the year that was. I have been unbelievably fortunate to be able to visit some astounding places. I thought it would be impossible to surpass my 2016 “Instagram Top 9” that included getting a rare look at the séance room at the Stickney House, the Yuma Territorial Prison, finally visiting the Roosevelt Hotel pool in Hollywood and The Alamo while getting one final look at the Willowbrook Ballroom just weeks before it burned to the ground. I even had a little cryptid fun, looking for The Beast of Bray Road in Elkhorn, WI.
Somehow 2017 was even bigger! So, here is the Top 10 Haunted Locations we’ve visited this year (location titles with links take you to articles we’ve previously posted on the topic):
10) Old Whitley Jail, Columbia City, IN
The Old Whitley Jail is a sight to behold. Built in 1875, the red brick portion was the sheriff’s house and courthouse, while the white portion was the prison. Currently, the site is used as a Halloween attraction.We hope this historic and haunted building is being preserved well, but that seems unlikely. It is home to at least three ghosts: Sheriff Frank Allwein, an unknown female and Charles Butler, a murdered who shot his wife in the back in 1883 before (temporarily) escaping the jail.
9) Jane Hotel / New York City
The Jane is still haunted by victims and survivors of the Titanic! Passengers and crew alike who were pulled from the icy waters were sequestered here after the famous sinking and had to stay here throughout the subsequent court proceedings. Apparently the 4th floor is the most active area where phantom crying is heard and full apparitions are seen. The hauntings at the building serve as a great reminder that it’s often the actions and the emotions of the living that lead to residual hauntings as it’s the grieving survivors that current day visitors witness. (additional photo on Instagram link)
8) El Rancho / Gallup, NM
The El Rancho Hotel is considered one of the most haunted locations along Route 66. Gallup itself was a moviemaking hot spot during the glory days of westerns and the El Rancho was the top destination for crews and stars alike. It’s in the upper lobby where people have heard phantom conversations, singular voices, footsteps and laughter. The bridal suite may claim the most activity, but neighboring rooms also report objects moving on their own, doors opening by unseen hands and the unwelcome wake up call of the curtains flying open on their own at the crack of dawn. A glance around different travel or review sites also recounts tales of unexplainable phenomena in the John Wayne room and the Susan Hayward room.
7) Queen Mary / Long Beach, CA
This was not my first trip to the Queen Mary, but it’s so incredibly haunted that it still earns a place on the list. That, and because there was an invisible visitor in the room with us who played with the sliding chain lock in our room. Easily something that perked me up from the edge of sleep! Also commissioned by the White Star Line, The Queen Mary is actually 136 feet longer than the Titanic and weighed nearly twice as much. And it seems that nearly every floor, deck and room is in play when it comes to having a paranormal experience.
6) Chelsea Hotel / New York City
In a strange coincidence, less than a day after I shot an interview with John Lydon (“Johnny Rotten” of Sex Pistols fame), I found myself at the Hotel Chelsea. It’s a spot where so much art was created, but it will forever be thought of as the place where his band mates, killed each other. Yes, this is the place where Sid Killed Nancy. Talking with the man at the front desk about the paranormal, his response was, “oh yeah, we’ve got it all… ghost stories, murders, suicides, murder-suicides….” An elderly tenant then walked in from the street, saw my camera gear and asked, “have you come to talk to the ghosts?” Of course, I asked him a follow-up question, which lead to him saying, “Not a lot of people here will talk about the stories, but if you’re sensitive, you’ll hear a lot.” It was a foreboding warning straight out of a movie.
5) Gore Orphanage & “Cry Baby Bridge” / Amherst, OH
The phenomenon known as a cry baby bridge (hearing phantom children crying from a bridge) is not uncommon and dates back to the La Llorona folk legend. However, this one in Ohio, over the Vermillion River, seems to be particularly active according to a park ranger who patrols the area. The road leads to “Gore Orphanage,” the ruins of which make for one of Ohio’s most haunted forests. Video and pictures from our paranormal investigation will certainly be the focus of a future newsletter. The ranger told us about a recent report where a bank of fog was hovering over the bridge. As the driver went through it, a handprint appeared on the windshield and then smeared up the windshield and carried on along the entire side of the car. The forest itself claims a number of different childlike paranormal phenomena despite not actually being the site of an orphanage.
4) Farnsworth House Inn / Gettysburg, PA
It’s been a while since I’ve been to Gettysburg and while I didn’t have a mind-blowing paranormal experience like the last time I was here, I did get to have the fun
experience of taking part in the monthly “See You on the Other Side” podcast hangout from this historic location. The top floor served as a perfect sniper’s perch. Beneath the sniper’s window, the brick wall is scarred with 135 bullet strikes. Upwards of a dozen different apparitions are seen here, including an 8-year-old boy and a nurse (the building served as a makeshift hospital) who tucks people into bed.
3) Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Café / Pacific Palisades, CA
It was fantastic news when we found out the endangered building that housed Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk cafe was getting a full, historically accurate renovation! It might still be difficult to do a paranormal investigation here in the future, but at least the building won’t be demolished as previously rumored. Best case scenario: some future EVPs will shed light on the last mysterious night of the troubled actress’s life. Murder or accident? The jury is still out on the 1935 death of the beautiful blonde comedic actress. Amazingly, we got a room-to-room walk-through of the entire property, learning what each room was in the past and what the future plans involve. In addition to investigating this site, the nearby garage where her body was discovered should be investigated regularly.
2) Stull Cemetery / Stull, KS
Visiting this cemetery has been a goal of mine since I started getting into the paranormal in 1999. The location is a maze of urban legends involving visits by Satan, witchcraft and stairways to the underworld. The very rural site is difficult to research and the
paranormal claims are just about impossible to verify or test as the cemetery is guarded at night. We were able to verify a recent (true) phenomena – the grounds apparently spontaneously combust! While we were there on a rainy day, there were no flames, but we did find random scorch marks throughout the cemetery grounds. (a short video will follow on this one too)
1) Silver Bridge & the TNT area / Point Pleasant, WV
It was a paranormal dream come true to visit the site of the famous 1966-67 Mothman sightings along the Ohio River. Of course, these sightings weren’t isolated. They were accompanied by scores of UFO sightings and something of an invasion by Men in Black who interviewed townspeople and seemed constantly out of place, even being fascinated by ordinary objects like ballpoint pens. The varied phenomena stopped when the Silver Bridge, which spansthe river, collapsed, killing 46 holiday commuters. Upon returning home, Wendy Lynn Staats of the “See You on the Other Side” podcast and the band Sunspot and I filmed a video discussing the differences between the film and the true story – truth was creepier than fiction in this case!
Honorable Mentions (all links go to Instagram):
The Hidden Brand Family Cemetery in Glendale, CA, locating urban legendy-ruins near St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Wadsworth, IL, Presidential Haunted Honeymoon spot, the Mission Inn, Riverside, CA () observing sacred sites and petrographs outside of Tucson, AZ, Molly’s Souper in Upland, CA, Château Marmont, Hollywood & Forgotten Montrose Cemetery, Chicago.