Archive 2002

This is an archive copy of the What's New section of the Ghosts and Critters website from 2001 to late in 2002.  I returned from Southwest Asia in late November 2002 and began updating the website in December.  I hope you enjoy reading these past events.               -Jeff Davis




UPDATE 12 April 2002

I have just added two new sections: a share your story page and a section called Other People's Ghosts.  Both of these sections are my attempt to include more reader stories on this site.  Just check out the new buttons on the bottom left of this page.

UPDATE March 2002

From June of 2001 to this update, a lot has happened in my life.  I began teaching history at Clark College, in Vancouver, WA.  I was scheduled to teach a three part course I called "Survey of World Civilizations." Over a period of three terms I was planning on teaching a general overview of the various peoples and countries of the world.  The first term began with the stone age and ended with the European Dark Ages, around 500 AD.  The second term was to begin with the Dark Ages and end with the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s.  I was unable to finish this series.  I had to leave teaching in the middle of the term.

One of my "other" jobs is that of being a soldier in the U.S. Army Reserves. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, many reservists have been called up, and it's my turn again.   Like most military assignments, the present one is different from the last one.   I am writing a military history of the current war on terrorism.  The entire project should take two years to write and publish.  The book will be written not for a military audience, but will be released to the general public.  

 I will be mobilizing to travel to the Persian Gulf from March to sometime in October or November. When my time there is done, I will return home and hopefully make a few appearances around Halloween.   I will not be able to schedule any signings when I get back.  I will only be home for a few weeks before I deploy again to the East Coast, where I will continue editing the work.   When it is finished, I will be able to return home to (hopefully) begin teaching again and writing about the Vikings and the Haunts of the Pacific Pacific Northwest.

Between now and then I hope that I can have the opportunity to post more updates on this site.  They will probably have more to do with Afghanistan than ghosts, but we'll see.


     To  see more information, click on the picture below.


Halloween 2001

The time leading up to Halloween was a busy one for me.  On Friday, the 26th of October I visited the Borders store in Corvallis and signed books and was interviewed by the University television station.  They promised me a copy of the interview.  They said that if they had the time, they would have a DVD copy made and sent to me. 

On Saturday the 27th I stayed in Lincoln city, where I had two book signings.  One of my favorite places is the Captain Cook Inn, which is next to the haunted fire station.  



One was at a local bookstore named "Bob's Beach" bookstore.   Strangely enough there are four or five bookstores in little Lincoln City.  Bob owns three of them.  After an afternoon at Bob's, I ate dinner and waited for darkness.  In the early evening I went to the Factory Outlet stores and watched the Oregon Ghost Explorer video produced earlier. I did this while sitting outside their charity haunted house.

 For more details about my participation in this, scroll down this page a few more frames and get some details.

On Sunday the 28th of October I drove quickly to the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove for another book signing.  At this time I gathered information for my Tuesday night, Wednesday morning visit with Nik, Gustav and Daria from KNRK, 94.7 FM.

The McMenamins Grand Lodge 

     The Ancient Free and Accepted Masonic Lodges of Oregon constructed McMenamins Grand Lodge Hotel in 1922.  It was originally built as a retirement home for elderly Masons and the Order of the Eastern Star, a male/female organization related to Freemasonry.  Keeping in mind the Masonic tradition of fellowship and architecture, the large Greek revival building had extensive gardens and grounds arranged in geometric designs.  Inside the building, the Masonic Symbols of the Square and Compass are displayed in many of the public library and meeting rooms. 

            The Oregon Mason’s had wanted to continue looking after their community, even in retirement.  A smaller building was constructed in 1926, next to the retirement home as an orphanage.  It was designed to house 32 children.  In 1927 the managers of the facility decided that the retirees and children could not co-exist “harmoniously” and gradually relocated the children with families.

            Over the next sixty-six years many Freemasons and women from the Order of the Eastern Star moved to the Grand Lodge and ended their days there.  Between 1988 and 1999 the Oregon Masons constructed two additional elderly care facilities nearby and gradually moved out of their older facilities.  In 2000 and 2001 the McMenamins purchased the buildings and turned the facility into a European style hotel and spa.

            Although the building was well cared for, the McMenamins artists and craftsmen spent several months converting the building into a 74-room hotel.  In some cases they had to reverse some of the remodels the Masons undertook.  In one case the workmen were stunned when they removed layers of linoleum and carpeting in the main entrance to expose a magnificent tile floor.  Masonic symbols were used to inspire much of the artwork found throughout the hotel.  Of course, the typical McMenamins touch has been included with the classical metaphors.




Tuesday the 30th of October began with a radio broadcast.  My friend Cindy is not a psychic, but her Tarot cards are frighteningly accurate.  I abused her friendship, and paid her back for past embarrassments by volunteering her to do readings on the air with Gustav and Daria.  She was a bit shy, so I arranged to meet her at the radio station and sit in the studio where she gave her readings.  












I don't know the questions Gustav or Daria asked, but Cindy's cards were apparently accurate enough.  Cindy left after a quick hug from Daria.  




Haunted Rooms at the Grand Lodge

      There is a Ghost Book at the front desk in the Lobby of the Grand Lodge.  They have a record of some of the strange things that have happened to guests and staff there.  I have also spoken with some of the employees and have short stories from them.


The Doctor’s Office/Game Room  One of the Hotel employees, Holly used to work in the Dr’s Office, which is now a kind of pub with a pool table.  She has felt a male presence there.  He can usually be detected by noxious smells (biological?)  He likes to taunt new employees.  In one incident, Holly felt her hair lifted and felt her neck stroked by invisible hands.  She remembered a couple who brought a rose into the bar and found it stuffed, petals downward into a glass. 

According to Tim Hills’ research, residents originally used this room exclusively as a game room.  They would have played pool or checker or cards.  Today, guests play pool on an English 6 x 12 foot snooker table.  This authentic pool table is sheathed with five heavy slate tablets.  There is also a standard sized pool table.  It became known as the Doctor’s office when a portion of the original game room was partitioned off and used as a dentist’s office.  Drinking to excess has always been frowned upon in Masonic Orders (Shriners excepted), the bar in this room dates to around 1860 and originally came from Germany. 

      Terminal patients may have been kept in the basement too.  This may account for the strange feeling some people have felt in the gift shop.

 Main Floor

McMenamins Pub      has a ghost at Table 18.  A couple were eating dinner and the husband used the mustard container.  He put the container back on the table and both of them watched it spin around 90 degrees, back to the “correct” position.  (3/21/01)

            The pub retains many of the original artistic elements included when it was built as the homes dining room.  This includes the scroll work on the Ionic columns.  The Masons remodeled the main floor and removed several cabinets and wall sconces.  Using historic photos, the McMenamins workers have recreated some of the original woodwork. 

Second Floor

Billy Scott Room            Employee Mary Jones was cleaning the room when a blast of cold air blew across her.  She tried to close the double doors to cut of the draft.  She had a hard time doing this, because she had to fight invisible, resistance (no date)

            The Billy Scott room was named after William Winfield Scott, a published poet who moved  into the home in the 1940s.  Scott was the grandson of Oregon pioneer and territorial legislator, Levi Scott.  Billy Scott was one of the first students at the University of Oregon in 1876.  His poetry and prose romanticized the work of the early pioneers of the Pacific Northwest.  He died in 1950 at the age of 94.  He continued composing poetry to the end of his days, unable to write, he dictated to the wife of the homes superintendent.

 Compass Room  May have been a place where terminal patients were kept, and can be a little scary at night after a function

            The Compass room was the official auditorium for the home.  Two principal features of this room are the crystal chandeliers with their Masonic symbols built in and the proscenium stage.  These features and the high ceiling and lofty windows add a touch of Greek elegance to the room.

 Room 216            Jeanne Ralston is an artist who was employed to lay tile throughout the premises.  She woke up one morning and found that the bed sheets were wrapped up tightly around her.  Too tight.  Earlier when she went down into the basement to go to work, all of her tiles had been arranged into two of pyramid like piles.  Several small rock chips had been arranged to spell out: “LEAVE”  (dated 12/14/00)  In our radio broadcast on Halloween morning she told us that the message was done by someone as a joke, but the rest was true.  I stayed a night there, without any ghostly tucker-inners.

 Room 224            A woman staying in the room had some very strange and vivid dreams.  She woke up in the middle of the night to see a ghostly figure floating above the floor.  She saw something run across the luggage and through the wall of her room.  (8/27/01)

Room 228            After dinner in the restaurant, Monique Martinsen brought some of her leftover dinner up to her room.   She let herself open up to a presence she felt, who she thought was named Ginny or Virginia.  She offered the food to the ghost.  She looked away for a minute, and when she looked at her dishes, the silver ware and napkins had been rearranged, as if someone was ready to sit down and eat.  (dated 10/15/00)

 We all arrived at the Grand Lodge on the evening of the 30th of October and enjoyed a good dinner, drinks and an even better lounge in their large soaking pool.  Sorry, no photos are available of this portion of our stay.

Starting at 6 AM  on Halloween morning Nik, Gustav and Daria began broadcasting live from the Grand Lodge.  For personal reasons Gustav did not stay over night.  But he did arrive in costume.

Don't worry about the pinkish white mark at the left hand corner of the photo.  It's only my finger, over the camera lens.    






During the broadcast we had a visit from a ghostly resident.



Or was it a not quite Headless Nik?

We did have a few strange happenings, such as loosing our signal to the station, even though we still had an active phone hook-up.  Nothing terrifically scary though.  I'm sure that future visits will turn up something!  Just a note, at this time there are very few visitors to the Grand Lodge during the week.  This makes it the perfect time to gather a group of ghost hunters and reserve a block of rooms in one corner of the place, to concentrate your ghost hunting efforts.

Gustav and Daria sample some of the Grand Lodge's cuisine while a nervous chef stands by...    

About Masonry

     I am a Freemason, and I have written a little shivery speculative history about the roots of Freemasonry.  All fun and games aside, Freemasonry is a very moral society.  I have never participated in any decadent or obscene rites, and I dispute any envious or fearful idiots who claim to have proof that people such as Harry Truman, Albert Schweitzer or George Washington (all Masons) would have either.

The Speculative Origins of Freemasonry 

There are several theories about the beginning of the fraternal organization known as the Freemasons.  A handout at the McMenamins Grand Lodge Hotel, suggests that Freemasonry is descended from the stonemasons guilds of Medieval Europe.  In the 1600s a group of intellectuals came to use construction metaphors to look at human enlightenment and spirituality.   There are other theories that suggest an older and more mystical origin. 

            Some people believe that Freemasonry began in 1118 AD in Jerusalem, when Hugues de Payen established the order of the Poor Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.  Otherwise known as the Knights Templar.  Originally sworn to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, in a few decades the Templars rose to become the richest and most feared soldiers in Europe.  They owned land, castles and untold riches. 

            Between 1307 and 1310, Pope, Clement V dissolved the order of the Templars.  He and most European kings confiscated their property and had them imprisoned or killed.  The order was not carried out in immediately in England and Scotland.  Many Templars retreated to Scotland, where they may have gone underground, reformed their order and finally reemerged as the Freemasons.

            One of the aims of the original Templars in the 12th Century was allegedly to find the Ark of the Covenant.  They are supposed to have dug extensive tunnels on the ruins of the old Temple Mount at Jerusalem.  Some people believe that they had found the Ark, and when the Templars were dissolved in the 1300s, they took it to Scotland and later hid it at Rosslyn Chapel, outside of Edinburgh. 

            Construction on Rosslyn began in 1446.  It is one of the most ornate church buildings in Scotland.  Its founder, Prince, Sir William St. Clair made special endowments to the stonemasons who carved the many designs that the Templars had used in their own buildings.  The current church officials deny that the Ark is buried under the high altar or in the catacombs underneath the Chapel.  And they won’t let anyone look either.

No matter what the origins of Freemasonry, it’s past members have included presidents, scientists, intellectuals and spiritualists.  Some Freemasons include George Washington, Mozart, Albert Schweitzer and strangely enough magician Harry Houdini and Franz Messmer, the man who “invented’ hypnosis.


 Ghosts of the Coast

Lincoln City and Depoe Bay Oregon, July 2001

Posted 5 August 2001

     In late July of 2001 I took a break from writing and traveled to Lincoln City, on the Oregon coast to take part in a video on ghosts in the area.  The film was commissioned by the local tourist bureau, as part of their winter at the coast promotion.  It took a little negotiating to get everyone together for this.  The Tourist Bureau people wanted to have both scientific ghost hunters as well as as a traditional psychic approach.  I arranged to have my 'psychic friend's network,' come down and the people at the coast had Portland's Phantom Seekers (Jennifer and Jake) to bring their technical expertise.  

     I arrived in Lincoln City on the evening of the 27th of July.  My psychic friend Martina was waiting for me, with Jim, the director, cameraman and writer for this project.  I have to say that Sandy, who was our main contact with the Tourist Bureau  and the people  Lincoln City and Depoe Bay were very nice to us.  The most wonderful thing was the fact that they arranged housing for us.  We usually have to pay for our gas, food, lodging and incidental expenses like film developing.  This time they sponsored us and arranged housing at  the Captain Cook Inn.  This is a remodeled 1950s era motel.  

     In the past, this kind of thing has been very low key and people in the smaller communities have a tendency to shun us.  Not this time.   The management of the motel were very friendly to us and shared some stories.  They go on ghost hunting trips on their own quite a bit.  They rewarded us with some very nice fresh doughnuts our first morning there.  The local newspaper printed a story about the project, highlighting the Phantom Seekers, asking local people to come forward with their stories. Martina had arrived in the early afternoon and heard people talking about us coming in an excited manner. 

     Shortly after I arrived, Jim, Martina, Sandy and I went to visit a private residence in Lincoln City.  One of the indicators of whether a haunt is genuine or not is how much publicity the owners want.  Sometimes people like the fame of owning a haunted house.  In this case, the owners allowed us to interview them, but want the exact location kept quiet because they do not want people nosing around.  This particular house has a great view of the ocean and a rather long history of tragedy.

     It was built in the 1920s by a prominent businessman.  He was married and divorced three times.  This was of course quite rare in the United States at the time.  There had to be some very wrong things happening to each marriage for a couple to break up.  Some of the facts are fuzzy about whether it was the original builder or his son, but one of them committed suicide after finding out he had inoperable brain cancer.  The original owner also had a daughter who suffered from a disfiguring disease similar to elephantitius.

      It is the spirit of the girl who may haunt  the house.  In it's final stages, the unfortunate girl's hair fell out and her skin became rough and scaly and eventually began to shed.  Her stepmother had tried to have the girl sent to a private sanitarium in Portland for treatment and to eventually die, out of sight.  Instead, her father brought her home, where the girl lived for a few more years until she died in her early 20s. This of course led to a lot of strain between the owner and his third wife, the girl's step mother.   A few local people remembered the girl  from high school.  She had always had a positive attitude, and wanted to become a lawyer.  

      When we arrived, Martina, who is psychic tried not to listen to much of the background information I heard from the owners and Sandy, of the Tourist Bureau.  She wandered around the house, looking for places where the spirits were strongest.  While she did that, I got out a standardized ghost hunting questionnaire and tried to develop a profile of the haunting.  The current owners have witnessed a variety of phenomenon.  Most of it happened when they were remodeling parts of the house.  It included, moving objects, lights going on and off, people being touched, ghost smells, a visual apparition and an apport.  

       The most common happening has been experienced by the wife of the couple who  live there now.  When she cleans, she has noticed that several pictures of her granddaughter (there are a lot) are turned around, and face away from view.     She has been cleaning, on two occasions she was gently grabbed by invisible hands from under her bed.  She will also put something down and have it disappear a few minutes later.  She will usually find in hidden away somewhere else a few hours later.  Lights would also be turned on minutes after the woman turned them off.  Martina felt that the ghost of the girl had control problems with her step mother, and identified the current female owner with her step mother.  It was her way of showing the owner  who was boss.  The paintings may have been turned away by the ghost of  a disfigured girl, jealous of the pictures of pretty ones on display.

    The male owner jokingly accused his wife of being crazy.  He is an engineer by training, and could explain away  most the phenomenon his wife reported.  The same was not true with some of the things the two of them witnessed or he saw himself.  When the two of them go to bed at night, the two of them will frequently smell someone cooking breakfast in the nearby kitchen.  He described it as a heavy, greasy traditional breakfast.  The two of them could smell bacon, sausages and other foods cooking in grease.  The smell will fill the house.  On two occasions he has seen a ghost, or part of one at least.  

    He was sitting at the kitchen table a few years ago and something made him turn around.  He was the lower half of a young woman or teenage girl.  He saw black shoes, white socks and a long, light colored dress.  The figure stopped at or near waist level.  It stood there, facing him for a few seconds.  He turned away, and faced it again.  It had vanished.  He saw it again a few weeks later, under identical circumstances.  Was this an example of a ghost which did not have enough energy to manifest itself completely, or was she shy, unwilling to have her disfigured features seen by her "father?"

     Martina explained that the kitchen was a focus of paranormal activity because they girl  had spent many happy hours there, with her father.  She used to cook him breakfast, sometimes late at night when he came home from a late night at his business.  She was just returning, hoping to please her father.  The male owner may have been singled out because he was a skeptic or perhaps because the ghost identified him with her father.  I asked him if he ever got out of bed to investigate the smell of cooking.  He looked at me as if I was crazy before replying a negative.  He never investigated.  I wonder what he might have seen.

     The other interesting facet of this haunting was the apport.  An apport is an object the materializes in a prominent place.  This is different than a moved object, because an apport is an object that does not belong to the house owners.  It is totally new and foreign  to them, or has been lost or thrown away for many years.  In this case, the wife found a small, gray metal  key on the bookshelf one day.  She brought it out and I commented, "my father used to have an old gun case, and this looks like the key he used."  It could have been that or a key for an old fashioned desk.  Neither of which the current owners have.

     The male home owner told us that the original owner had a large gun collection.  It was with one of these guns that he killed himself many years before.  I still wonder.

     We left the house and went to dinner, waiting for Janet, my other psychic friend to arrive.  We had dinner at the Blacked Fish, across the street from our motel.  It had been an old auto body garage for many years and has recently been converted into a great seafood restaurant.  The owner asked Martina  to look around the back of the restaurant.  He had a poltergeist which periodically moved stuff in the back.  It only took her a few minutes to confirm that there was a poltergeist in the back.

     Janet arrived later in the evening and we told her about our afternoon.  The next day, which was the 28th,  we went to the Lincoln City Fire Station to do on-camera interviews before visiting other haunts.  As a joke, Jim asked Martina and Janet to look at the two 1940s era fire engines parked in the garage.  Both of them detected a spirit attached to the fire engines and house.  They feel that one of the firefighters has returned after death and still goes on calls with his friends as a guardian spirit.

     The Phantom Seekers, Jennifer and Jake arrived later that afternoon.  With them we visited the Wildflower Grill in Lincoln City, and the  Spouting Horn restaurant in Depoe Bay.  Jennifer and Jake were heavily involved in the investigations there and I will refer you to their website for their write up.  It is worth it, because their tape recorder capture what may be a ghost voice mocking them and Jake was touched by the ghost in the upstairs of the Spouting Horn.  Their website is here: The Phantom Seekers

I hope to add some more pictures to this posting soon.  I also plan on more articles about my other ghost get-togethers over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!


Ghost Hunting in England

Story dated 13 June 2001

     I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to study in England.  In 1995  I  lived in for a year Sheffield, working on my MA in Archaeology and Prehistory.   Every year or so my wife and I return to England to visit our school "chums" and to see more of our home away from home.  This year we decided to go on a ghost hunting tour as well as to try and re-apply to the University of Sheffield for my PHD program.  I didn't get back into college, but I did have some success in ghost hunting.

     I would like to share some advice and travel tips for other ghost hunters and European travelers.  Firstly, I am giving out some phone numbers in this article.  I am including local area codes, but not the international calling codes.  It is my understanding that different long distance companies have different international prefixes, so dial accordingly.  Next, plan your trip with care.  Try and plan your flight out so that you leave early in the morning.  This will land you in London on the following morning.  We always fly into Heathrow airport, even though tickets are a little more expensive.  If you fly into Gatwick, you have to travel into London on a special train.  This takes longer, and costs more than the Heathrow subway (or underground.)  

     Finally, within London, the underground is the way to travel.  You can buy an all day tube pass at any underground station.  Unfortunately, these tourist passes aren't sold until after 9:30 AM.  You can by one way passes earlier, but they are spendy.

     Before we left for London my wife Janine and I spent time going over books and websites to choose places to visit.  I am currently researching how to set up my own ghost tours here in the Pacific Northwest.  I wanted to research how they do it in England.  A couple of good references at the bookstore are: Walking Haunted London, by Richard Jones (ISBN 1-85368-992-0) and Ghosts of London, by J.A. Brooks (ISBN 0-7117-0557-7).  Some good general ghostly websites in England are: Anthony Fallon's home page http://www.afallon.com and John and Anne Spencer's website http://www.paranormalworldwide.com.  There are other websites to check out further down.

     This holiday did not start out well.  Our flight was cancelled and we arrived late in the afternoon instead of morning; and our luggage was lost.  It caught up with us two days later at the Hampstead Heath Youth Hostel.  The British affiliate of Youth Hostelling International, the YHA, has taken over and maintains many historic buildings throughout the United Kingdom. Not surprisingly some of them are haunted.  If you are interested in trying our idea, be warned, youth hostels can vary in quality and are a little too rustic for most people.  

     Oftentimes there are no private rooms, and bathrooms are always down the hall.  They are however a financial bargain.  Most serve a full breakfast for a few English Pounds, have a small gift shop and  many now have internet terminals.  You can make reservations over the internet at the main website at www.yha.org.uk  You can register for a membership card before you get there, or purchase a membership for around $20 when you arrive at your first hostel.  There are two haunted hostels in the London area, the Hampstead Heath Youth Hostel and the Holland House Youth Hostel.


      This Hostel was built in the early 20th Century as a nurse's school.  We were fortunate.  Because this building  housed students in the past, it has several two and four person rooms.  The bad thing is, because it is so large, school groups frequently stay there on holiday.  The place is clean and the staff were very friendly.  They are located about a quarter mile from the Golder's Green tube station at, 4 Welbarth Rd, Golders Green, London NW11 7HR.  Their phone number is 0208-458-9054 and the cost was around $30 per person per night.  Trust me, this is CHEAP for London!

     The English can be funny when asked about hauntings.  Most of the time you have to catch them alone, so that no one can laugh at them, if the listener is a non believer.  I was fortunate, the manager was friendly and believed that the building was haunted.  There were only muddled reports, but she thinks that the front desk area is haunted.  There were several incidents where she was alone in the office and set papers down for a moment.  When she returned, the paper was moved somewhere else in the office, or into a different office.

     Hampstead Heath is a little way out in the suburbs of London, and you have to buy a multi-zone tube pass to get there from the city.  But the neighborhood has had some colorful historical characters and other haunted locales within walking distance.  

     Hampstead Heath was a favorite walking place for many famous authors and artists.  Bram Stoker was cremated at a funeral home in Golders Green and is supposedly buried in nearby Highgate Cemetery.  He and others may have stopped for a pint of beer or glass of wine at Old Bull and Bush Tavern after walking the Heath.

      The oldest part of the Old Bull & Bush dates back to the reign of Charles I.  The inn became famous in the early 1700s when medicinal springs in Hampstead Heath became popular among the English gentry.  In addition to the waters, the view inspired several artists such as Charles Gainsborough.  In addition to artists,  authors like Charles Dickens debated public policy with their friends over drinks at the Bull & Bush.  

     According to one story, the basement was haunted by a ghost that occasionally spooked people with knocks and bumps and such.  The reason was not discovered until a few decades ago, when a bricked up cubby in the basement was opened and disclosed a skeleton and several old and bloody surgical knives.   After a pint of good English hard cider and a dinner of sausages and chips, I was able to talk to the landlady when she was alone at the bar.

     It turned out that the she and her husband were relative newcomers to London, having been transferred down from Scotland by the company that owned the pub.  She was not aware of any of the stories surrounding the place, but did have her own story to tell.    A few nights before I arrived, she was alone in the pub, in her quarters on the second floor.  She had taken a candle to bed.  Because she was alone she made sure her bedroom door was locked.  She fell asleep while reading by candle light and awoke an hour or so later.  Her candle had been snuffed out.

     To be honest I don't know what was more alarming, the fact the she was alone when someone or something put out the candle, or that there was no electricity on the second floor!  Or the fire risk of reading by candle light.  Her husband approached at that point and sneered at the thought of ghosts.  Knowing the look of an unbeliever I decided it was time to go.  

     The Bull & Bush is located about a half mile south of the Golders Green Tube station along North End Road.  If you keep walking another half mile or so south of the Bull &  Bush you will come to an intersection with Spaniards Road.  Take a left and head north another third of a mile and you will come to the Spaniards Inn, which is also haunted.

     The Spaniards Inn is older than the Old Bull and Bush.  It was built in the 1500s by two Spanish brothers.  Shortly after they opened the inn, they had an argument over a woman and killed each other in a duel.  Strangely enough, they do not haunt the place.  A later historical figure, highwayman Dick Turpin still frequents the bar and area around the large open fireplace.  He apparently used the inn as a hiding place and base of operations, protected by the owner, his father in law.

     Turpin has been seen inside the pub, as a shadowed and cloaked figure.  He walks down the hallway by the bar and through a solid wall.  In the winter, people sitting around the fireplace have felt hands tugging at their clothing.  Outside, they have heard the sound of hooves clattering across the empty parking lot..   There is a path through the hedges just to the southeast of the Spaniards Inn.  In the past there were dozens of hold ups along the path.  Some of them ended in murder.  People walking along the path have been accosted by a man on a horse, who gallops silently toward pedestrians, only to disappear before riding them down.  



     The Holland House Youth Hostel  is located in Kensington Park and can be reached by either the Holland Park or High Street  Kensington tube stations.  It has 201 beds, mostly in large 12-20 person, segregated  rooms.  It is very popular with school field trips and international travelers.  I didn't get much sleep the night we stayed there.  Between the school kids chasing each other around the building and drunken Norwegian soldiers, the building didn't quiet down until around 2 AM.  I must say the location makes it worth staying at.

Holland house address is: YHA Holland Walk, Kensington, London W8 7QU.  The phone number is: 0 207 937-0748. It cost around $30 per person per night to stay there.  The breakfast was good, just watch out for the brown toast.  It's not whole wheat, it is deep fried white bread.   

    Visitors staying at Holland Park see only the remains of a fairy tale style estate built in 1606 by Sir Walter Cope.  The house once had two wings, one of which was destroyed in World War II.  Fortunately for ghost hunters, the remaining wing is the haunted portion.

     When Sir Walter died, he left the house to his wife, under the condition that she never remarry.  When she married again in 1624, the house passed to their daughter and her husband, Lord and Lady Rich.  He was later created Earl Holland during the reign of Charles I, whom he favored in the English Civil War.  Holland ended up being beheaded at the end of the Civil War and continues haunting the remaining wing.

     According to legend, he appears after three drops of blood appear outside a hidden door.  Later that night, when the clock strikes midnight, he emerges from the hidden door, carrying his head under his arm.  Of course, I would think that after this happens once, the door would no longer be hidden.  I spoke with one of the hostel managers, who told me about a more mundane haunting on the third floor, near her room.

     "Patty" lives on the third floor, in second room from the far left side of the building in the picture above.  She frequently hears the sound of someone pacing the floor of the room located on the far left side of the building, next to her own.  At first she used to get the keys and open the room, to discover who was walking around a supposedly empty room.  After finding the room empty several times, she just ignores the strange sounds she sometimes hears.


     One place I  wanted to visit for some time is a pub called the Plough.  The Plough is located not too far from the British Museum.  It is mildly famous in some circles because in his later years, Aleister Crowley spent many hours sitting in the public room.  Crowley is famous as "The Great Beast," who wrote several books on magic and witchcraft.  One of my friends wanted me to go and have a drink at his old table in  his memory.

     The Plough is located about two blocks away from the main entrance of the British Museum.  When you leave the museum turn right at Great  Russell Street, turn left down Museum Street and the Plough is two blocks ahead.  

     It is a pretty typical pub, and reasonably priced, considering how close it is to the British Museum. We arrived just before they stopped serving lunch.  The bar was empty, so I walked up to the bartender and asked which table Aleister Crowley used.  He turned to me and replied, "Aleister who?"

So much for the Great Beast, who shall be remembered forever... Even so, we sat at a table near the front entrance and hoped it was his.  My wife Janine is getting ready to enjoy her fish and chips at the Plough. 


  By the way there are several haunted artifacts housed in the British Museum.  They include a cursed mummy, a suit of golden armor taken from a "fairy" mound and an African voodoo mask.  These items are not on display at this time.


     There are numerous large and small tours around London.  One of the largest is The London Walks.  They have historic walks around London day and night.  They also have ghost walks.  There are five of them: Ghosts of the Old City, Haunted London, Ghosts of the West End, Apparitions  Alleyways &  Ale and finally, Ghosts, Gaslight & Guinness.  

     My wife and I took the West End Tour.  It started at the Embankment tube station at 7 PM and cost around $8 each.  The tour was conducted by a retired banker, who took us around the more intellectual, artsy portions of London.  Like Hyde Park, where Henry VIII saw the spirit of Herne the Hunter, the hanging oak and the various haunted theaters.  We stopped for a brief time at Number 12, Buckingham Street.  

     This is the former house of Samuel Pepys (pronounced Peeps.)  In 1660, he began keeping a detailed diary of his and British Society's doings.  It is excellent anthropological reading.  For instance, although he mentions having indigestion  and toothaches, in the nine years or so, and 1,250,000 words he wrote, Pepys does not ever mention taking a bath.  

     This may be the reason that Samuel Pepys haunts his old residence in London.  Several times he has been seen standing on the second floor stairs or the first floor landing looking up the stairs.  He is described as as a solid looking, gray figure who smiles softly at the people who see him.  At the time when Pepys' house was built, people used to put gargoyle like figures over their windows to scare away evil spirits.  I was taking a picture of these figures when I got the interesting print, below.

     I took this photograph around 7:30 PM in late May.  It had been a sunny day and clear night.  The street lights had just turned on, but could not account for the light you see in the center of this photograph.  The street lights in the West End are old fashioned gas lights and do not produce enough light to cause any strong reflection on a window.  You can also see strong shadows in nearby window sills indicating the light source is above and behind the building.  So what are these globes of light and vaporous streams of light?  Please let me know: email me

     In addition to historic tours, pub walks and ghost walks, the Original London Walks have a Jack the Ripper Tour.  In fairness to the competition, there are four or five different companies taking nightly tours of  Jack the Ripper's old stomping or rather slashing grounds.  It can make for interesting tour guiding.  There were only five murders, and four or five tours cover the same ground.  You can find yourselves stopping in an alleyway for several minutes, waiting for one tour group to finish their tour on a nearby corner.  Oftentimes the polite English competitors will take their tours to a pub for a half hour or hour to have a drink while waiting for the murder scenes to become isolated again.

     My favorite tour is run by Ripping Yarns LTD.  They don't have a website so you have to email them or wait until you go to London.  The tour begins at 7:45 PM at the Tower underground station.  It is interesting because it is run by the Yeoman Warders (or Beefeaters) at the Tower of  London.  Many of these men are retired Military Police.  Each of whom has his own theory about who Jack the Ripper was.  The other thing I like about this tour is that it ends in the same place where it begins, at the underground station.  Some of the tours end in the middle of the White Chapel neighborhood, which is still scary at night.  Like most of the London tours, this one costs around $8 per person.

     Another interesting organization which operates out of London is the Ghost Club.  The Ghost Club is one of the oldest paranormal investigation societies in the world.  You can join the Ghost Club and receive their newsletter and investigation reports or you can check their schedule and attend some of their educational  seminars.  They meet at the Victory Service Club, near the Marble Arch tube station.  Marble Arch is near Tyburn, which is where the public gallows were erected in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Many ghosts are supposed to haunt this neighborhood.  

     One popular pub near Marble Arch is the Grenadier, on Wilton Row.  I have visited this pub, which is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a military officer who was caught cheating at cards in the early 1800s.   His victims beat him and threw him in the basement where he died.  The place is small, but charming.   None of the patrons seem to mind the occasional clanging and moaning coming from the basement.


A Trip to Sheffield

     Another reason to stay in Hampstead Heath is the Golders Green bus depot, which shares the tube station.  There are two places where the out of town buses stop in London, at the Victoria Coach Station and Golders Green.  The buses begin at Victoria, and it takes them an hour or more to  reach Golders Green.  It is nicer to have an hour or more to yourself, rather than riding around London on the bus.

     Although the rail network in England is great, and the trains run several times a day, the buses cost about 50% less than the trains.  This year my wife and I  took a late morning bus to Sheffield, which is about 100 miles away, in Yorkshire.  I visited my old alma mater at the University of Sheffield.  I was unsuccessful in enrolling in their PHD program in Archaeology, but I did visit a great haunted site.

    Sheffield has a rich history.  There are Bronze Age sites, the remains of a Roman fortress as well as a castle where Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner in the 1500s.  Unfortunately, if you saw The Full Monty,  Sheffield is famous for it's factories and steel works dating to the Industrial Revolution.  Even so, there are some historic buildings remaining open to the public, and their ghosts.

     Arguably the most haunted pub in Sheffield is Carbrook Hall.  The earliest building on the site of Carbrook Hall dates to the 12th century.  It was destroyed and rebuilt many times.  The oldest surviving portion of the Hall was built in the early 1600s.  It is a stark contrast to the very modern Meadowhall shopping mall, located a few parking lots away.

     Carbrook was built by the Bright family.  One ghost who is supposed to haunt Carbrook Hall is Colonel John Bright.  At the age of 23, he joined Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War.  When the Civil War battles raged in Yorkshire, Cromwell used Carbrook Hall as his headquarters.  The magnificent  great room is intact and decorated with a Parliamentarian banner and suit of armor.  

     Another portion of the old hall is located in the back of the house, behind the barroom, which is a later addition.  I spoke with the owner, who told me that he both sensed and saw the gray figure of a man walking up the back stairs, as he was walking down.  The owner moved out of the way and let the climbing ghost past him.  When the owner turned around, the ghost had vanished.  

     Even though the barroom is a recent addition to the hall, it was constructed from the remains of old building stones.   It  is haunted too.  On several occasions, beer bottles have flown from behind the bar.  Instead of falling down on the ground behind the bar, they fly up over the head of the bartender,  landing several feet on the other side of the bar.  A former landlady claims to have seen the ghost of a roundhead soldier standing at the end of the bar.  Other people have seen a man dressed in Puritan clothing.  This may be Colonel Bright, who died in 1688.

    The current owner is actively promoting the historic and ghostly history of his establishment.  He has published several small booklets on real and imaginary ghosts at Carbrook Hall.  He also has a Halloween ghost night open to the public.

     A close runner up to Carbrook Hall is the older, Old Queens Head, located on Pond Street.  The Old Queens Head dates to the 1400s and is older than Carbrook Hall.  It is located right next to the Sheffield Coach station.  The phone number is 0114 279 8383.  I went into the pub a few times in the past, when I was a student.  This was before I found out the place was haunted.

     The ghost in this case seems to be a former landlord.  There are reports of a man seen standing by the old fireplace, holding mugs of  beer or ale in both hands.  When people look at him, he slowly fades away.  In the past, workmen in the basement uncovered a well that had been covered over.  When they did this, footsteps were heard echoing in the basement.  Lights turn on and off of their own accord.

      The Mosborough Hall Hotel in Sheffield is haunted by the ghost of a maid.  There may be more ghosts located in the vast cellars underneath the hotel.  When I called to ask for room rate, I was quoted around $110 per night.  Much higher than it should have been for Sheffield.  One of my friends suggested  my thick American accent caused a rate increase.  Their address is: High Street, Mosborough, Sheffield S20 5EA.  Their phone number is 114 248-4353.  Please let me know if you get the same rates quoted to you.  Email me  

Most Frightening?

     So what was the most frightening thing I saw in England?  I saw it at the local McDonalds.  

     And they say that fast food restaurants are the same the world round.  How do you like your lamb burger?




Copyright © 1996-2001 by Jeff Davis | Maintained by J. Goodman