Friday, April 22, 2011

King's Island Kookiness?

Kings Island is located in Mason, Ohio, about 24 miles NE of Cincinnati.  Up until 1997, the park was a part of the Deerfield Township, which was annexed in that year into Mason.

The park broke ground on June 15, 1970, and officially opened to the public on April 29, 1972.  It was named for the Kings Powder Company, which created the town of Kings Mill for its employees.  The park sits on property formerly owned by the company.

Kings Island covers over 700 acres of land, and was built to replace the defunct Coney Island Amusement Park, located 10 miles east of Cincinnati.  Coney Island was shut down due to frequent flooding, and several of the rides and attractions were moved to the Kings Island location.

Deaths at the Park 
There are tons of rumors of deaths and accidents being covered up, but there are several verifiable deaths relating to accidents and natural causes at the park.

1. An employee of the Lion Country Safari Ride was killed in either 1975 or 1976.  Jack, or Johnny by some accounts, was a 20 year old employee who had asked the previous year to be transferred from grounds crew to ranger for the ride.  Rangers rode around the attraction in armored cars with tranquilizers.  Jack made the mistake of leaving his vehicle without his tranquilizer gun in order to use the restroom. 

Reports indicate that Jack was suffering from diarrhea, and was attacked with his pants down.  That rumor is false.  However, Jack did exit the vehicle to  make a pit stop, and was thus attacked.  The Safari ride operated from 1974 to 1993, and the location is now home to the Son of Beast coaster and a storage/junk yard.

2. A little girl allegedly drowned prior to the park's opening in a lake located on the property. The lake is now supposedly used as a reserve for the White Water Canyon attraction.

3. In May of 1983, the park hosted a Grad night for local high schools.  A boy by the name of Johnny, was apparently inebriated and climbing around restricted areas of the Eiffel Tower.  By  different reports, Johnny was either hit by the counterweight of one of the elevators, or was decapitated and mutilated by cable wires...or a combination of the two.

4. June 9, 1991 is a day known in park history as Black Sunday.  The day started off in good spirits, as the park hosted one of its last public Gay Pride events at the park.  However, things would not stay so carefree.  A man by the name of Tim Brenning was with friends in Oktoberfest, near the Viking attraction.  Since it was a hot day, he playfully dipped his hand into the pond to splash his friends.  Due to a short in the electrical and light component, Tim was shocked, and fell into the water.  His friend, William "Eddie" Haithcoat went in after him, but was also shocked.  A security guard nearby got reports that someone had been "shocked" in the area, but misheard it as someone being "shot."  Thus, he jumped in to pull the men out, and was also shocked.  Another guest, probably after someone had gotten the information to cut the electricity, reached in and pulled the men out and CPR was started.  Unfortunately, both the security guard and William died, and Tim suffered severe nerve damage in his arm.

The park was overrun with helicopters and emergency personnel, which seemed to have distracted a reportedly highly intoxicated woman who was riding the Flight Commander ride.  Candy Taylor had been belligerent  with ride operators, but was allowed to ride alone in the two-person pod anyway.  From eyewitness reports, it seems as if the woman, who was also quite small, was wriggling around in the harness, trying to wave at her friends below and point out the helicopters, when she managed to wriggle between the restraints and fell out.  Subsequently, the ride was shut down, and modifications were made so that it would be impossible to slide over into the other seat and out of one's harness.

5. A thirty-four year old woman suffered a heart attack while riding the Top Gun ride in 2003.  She died in the hospital the next day.

Ghosts at the Park
1. Not  many people are aware of the fact that there is a cemetery on Kings Island property.  The cemetery is located between the campground and the parking area, and has graves dating back to the 1840s. 

Allegedly, a little blond girl wearing a blue dress is said to be buried there, and who haunts the park.  She is under 4 feet tall, and is estimated to be about 5-8 years old.  She is most often seen along the tram route, and in the WaterWorks area.

2. Tower Johnny: Tower Johnny is the ghost of the teen who passed away on the Eiffel Tower on Grad Night  in 1983.  Tower Johnny is often seen at the tower, and is blamed for many of the electrical malfunctions for that attraction, and many others in the park.  In fact, tripped sensors with no apparent cause are dubbed "Johnnies."  Johnny isn't limited to just the tower, though.  He is seen throughout the park as a young, bloodied looking man.  He is rumored to be seen at the Beast, either on the tracks, in the tunnel, or in the woods.  A legend states that the bloody cables that were instrumental in Johnny's death were stored/hidden in the woods behind the Beast.  Actually, there were cables stored there, but the rusty cables actually were parts from the ride itself.

3.  Some people say that the Beast has its own ghost...and its not Johnny.  Glowing red eyes are routinely reported by riders during the part of the ride through the woods.  There is also supposedly a photo taken by a ride cam that shows the ghost, but no one can produce a copy, or has personally seen it.

4. Similar to Tower Johnny is Racer Boy.  Racer boy is supposedly a young boy, often seen wearing all white, who frequents the area around the Racer.  The Racer is a coaster that has two of its four trains originally coming from the Coney Island park's Shooting Star.  Many years ago, a young teen boy sitting in the back of that coaster was noticed as missing when the ride pulled in.  A search ended with his body being found in the bottom of a dip in the track.  Whether or not this is the same boy or not, we do know that Racer Boy is only seen during the dark, most often right as the park is closing.  Visitors report him along the sides of the tracks, and in the tunnels, and like Tower Johnny, there is supposedly a picture of him out there.  What is interesting is that while the Racer is one of the oldest rides in the park, Racer Boy reports didn't start coming in until the early 1990s.

5. The White Water Canyon rafting ride also has its own ghost.  Countless employees have encountered the sounds of a child's giggle and the pelting of rocks against their observational towers after the last visitors have exited the ride.  The poltergeist is dubbed "Woody" and is most often experienced at Observational Tower 2, which is deep in the woods, and is only accessible by a small footpath.  Occasionally Tower Johnny is blamed for the activity, but other times activity is blamed on the little girl who drowned in the nearby lake.

King's Island History Pages, from King's Island Central

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Curt Strutz of Paranormal Generation

Curt Strutz isn't a paranormal investigator, or even a ghost hunter.  He's a Paranormal Explorer!  I met Curt at a presentation Monday evening at the Kanawha County library, and it was quite an enjoyable experience!  Curt, star of the TV show Paranormal Generation (which oddly enough, has more investigation than exploring?), has traveled the country, amassing quite the collection of humorous, and sometimes spooky, anecdotes.

Showing slides from various haunted locales and fielding an array of questions and opinions from a diverse audience, Curt was hilarious to listen to, yet also very informative.  While theories were skimmed over, the history and the folklore of various haunted places, from the more famous such as the Villisca Axe Murder House, to the lesser known, such as the Story Inn, were abundant, and always entertaining.

Although Paranormal Generation only shows in 10 states right now, the tri-state area NOT being included, I'd highly recommend checking them out online.  I watched a few episodes Monday night after the presentation, and wasn't disappointed.  The format was a little, um, wasn't super original...but I'll leave it at that.  It was fun, and I'll let you all decide for yourselves.  Also, apparently, if you're in need of a giant fox suit or a kid's fishing comedian, Curt can hook you up with that, too!

Anyway, check out Paranormal Generation HERE!
(Photo of Curt from the Paranormal Generation website...since I forgot my camera)

The Anchorage (Putnam House)

This entry on the previous site actually got me linked up and quoted on Wiki!  Woot!

The Anchorage is located just outside of Marietta.  It was built in 1859 by a local businessman, Douglas Putnam, for his second wife, Eliza.  This beautiful Tuscan inspired mansion was modeled after a similar home in New Jersey that Eliza fell in love with after visiting friends there.  The 22 room home cost approximately $60,000, and boasts a tower with a widow's walk.

The home was known as the Putnam House, and was a hub of social activity in the region.  Unfortunately, Eliza didn't get to enjoy her beloved home for very long--she died in 1862 of heart disease.  Allegedly, David Putnam, brother to Douglas, at one time either lived in the home, or was a constant figure there.  David was a staunch abolitionist, and rumors abound that the home contains secret tunnels that were used in the Underground Railroad.  No tunnels have thus been found, and the family vehemently denies their existence.

In 1896, the house left the Putnam family, and was purchased by the Knox family.  The Knox's were involved in boat manufacture and transportation, and thus the home was named "The Anchorage."

In 1960, the home was converted into a nursing home, and remained open until 1986.  Today it is located on the old Arbors Nursing home property, and is owned by the Washington County Historical Society.

The first reports of this home being haunted began to surface during its time as a nursing home.  Patients, visitors and staff all have reported a young African American boy, around the age of nine, roaming through the building. His presence may  have helped spur the legends of an Underground Railroad.

 However, the most prominent spirit is definitely that of Eliza Putnam, who continues to frequent the home she so adored.  She has been seen on the stairs wearing a long dress and looking melancholy.  She is also often reported looking out the front bedroom window.  She seems to be seen most on the anniversary of her death, which was on September 9th.

I had the opportunity to attend a ghost hunt at the home a few years back, but unfortunately, there were so many people, we really couldn't obtain any good evidence.  However, there have been several groups that have gotten pretty decent EVPs from the home, and some unexplainable photographs.

Information and photos from the Washington County Historical Society

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Milton UFO Sighting

I've never been that interested in UFOs or aliens--I prefer to concentrate on the ghostly side of paranormal research. However, its not like I didn't believe they existed...I just paid them no mind.

That changed about eight years ago.  I'm not sure of the exact date, but it was in February of '03. I was heading east towards Charleston from Huntington on I-64. Somewhere before I got to the Milton exit, I could see a weird shape hovering to the right side of the highway. It was about 1:30 am I believe, so traffic wasn't heavy. I pulled over to get a better look at this thing.

It appeared to be almost in the shape of a firework exploding in the night sky. However, it remained in one spot, but seemed to be pulsating. Its tentacles would draw upwards and it would turn a sparkly pink. It would splay them back out and turn a sparkly green. I sat and watched it for about three minutes, then decided I should be on my way.

I have no clue what this could have been. I've never seen a UFO described like this before.  I couldn't describe it as a craft per looked almost organic instead.  I've passed that immediate area almost on a nightly basis and have never found anything it could be...not even the spotlights from the strip club.  Of further interest, there have been several similar sightings in the Milton area, some of which were described on the WVGhosts message board.  MUFON had some sightings listed for that area as well.