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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
McMenamins Grand Lodge
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.
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
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.
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
Terminal patients may have been kept in the basement too.
This may account for the strange feeling some people have felt in the
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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...
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
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
Ghosts of the Coast
Lincoln City and Depoe Bay Oregon, July 2001
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
& 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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
OTHER HAUNTS AROUND LONDON
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.
GHOSTLY NIGHT LIFE
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 &
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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