Friday, March 18, 2016

Satan's Pet Shop

It's Friday...ready for a funny? I am; this has been a stressful week! But, as stressed out as I feel, I can take comfort in the fact that I don't have to clean out the litter box belonging to THIS thing:

I've seen this posted on a couple of different Facebook pages this week and of course, curiosity got the better of me and I did a reverse image search to find out where this strange piece of art originated. Turns out, this is an image by artist Omar Rayyan entitled 'The Favorite,' (2010). The original oil painting has been sold, but if you'd like to have this hanging on YOUR wall, you can order a print from the artist's Etsy Store starting at $7!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Book Review: The Demon of Brownsville Road

Title: The Demon of Brownsville Road: A Pittsburgh Family's Battle with Evil in Their Home
Authors: Bob Cranmer and Erica Manfred
Published: 2014 by The Berkley Publishing Group, New York
Amazon Info

When Bob Cranmer and his family moved into an older home in 1988, they were thrilled...until weird stuff started happening. This quick and easy read tells the story of the Cranmer Family and their trials and tribulations from living in a home with a sinister past. Things escalate for 12-18 years before the family finally goes through a long and laborious exorcism process. Ryan Buell and the PRS team make a brief appearance, as they are called in to help document the potential demonic activity for use in securing a church-sanctioned exorcism.

This book wasn't a terrible read, but it just wasn't for me. And...that's pretty much all I'm going to say about it. After I wrote a very thought-out  and honest review, I started looking around the web to see what other people thought of this book and was horrified to see both Bob and his wife, Lesa, harassing those that had anything bad to say about it. I'm trying to eliminate negativity in my personal life and ain't nobody got time for all that. So, proceed with caution. If you're a fan of Ryan Buell and/or Paranormal State, you might find this book interesting as it is said that this was a pivotal case for the team.  If you can get past a lot of personal information that has no bearing on the story whatsoever and pretend this is a work of fiction, then it can be a pretty interesting story. And, if you're still on the fence as to whether or not this book is for you, I'd recommend checking out the reviews on Goodreads, where people aren't afraid to express opinions openly!

Spoiler Alert! Check out this article for more info on the haunted reputation of the Brownsville Rd. home:
Former Residents of Brentwood 'Demon' House Dispute Book's Claims, by Sean D. Hamill (26 October 2014)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

South Eugene High School

South Eugene High School, in Eugene, Oregon, was built in 1953. At the time, it was simply known as Eugene High School. It wouldn't be until 1957 that it would be renamed South Eugene High School in response to the new North Eugene High being completed across town. The following year, however, the school would experience a deep and lasting tragedy.

Robert Grankey
Robert 'Bob' Turnbull Grankey was a sophomore student working in the theater department. On March 11, 1958 he was either installing or changing some lights between the school auditorium's ceiling and the roof of the building. As Robert attempted to cross from one catwalk to another six feet away, 30 students in the auditorium watched in horror as Robert came crashing down through the ceiling, landing on a pair of unoccupied auditorium seats. Those seats, Row G Seats 10 and 11, are said to have remained dented from his fall until they were removed in 1994. It is believed he had slipped trying to get from one catwalk to another, located six feet away. The 50 foot fall killed Robert Grankey instantly, causing a broken neck and major head trauma. He was 16 years old. In his honor, a theater award was set up in his honor, which lasted until at least 1965. Something else lasted even longer....

To this day, one of the most prolific and well-known haunts in the Eugene area is that of South Eugene High School and Robert. The hauntings seemingly did not begin until the 1970s when lights started to mysteriously switch themselves on and off throughout the auditorium. Laughter and footsteps, as well as piano music, have been heard coming from the catwalk area. A brochure photo taken by several students is believed to actually SHOW the ghost of Robert and several other people have claimed to see a shadowy figure sitting in the theater's balcony.

Ghost or Processing Error?
In one particularly strange incident, during the 1994 remodel when the dented seats were removed, a worker allegedly fell from the ceiling...and onto the exact same seats. He survived with only an injury to his foot. Did the ghost of Robert Grankey cause the accident...or did he play a part in saving the workman from suffering the exact same fate as he did, so many years before?

Ghost May Haunt South Eugene High School, by Kristen Sheley. Oregon Daily Emerald (28 October 1997)
Robert Turnbull Grankey Find-a-Grave Entry
The Victoria Advocate (March 12, 1958)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

FREE Kindle Books on Demonology

Demonology is a subject that many are interested in, and it continues to be as hot a topic today as it was 100 years ago. So, today's quickie blog is a list of three totally FREE ebooks on the subject of demonology. Have you read any of these?

1. Demonology and Devil-Lore, by Moncure Daniel Conway

According to the Cambridge Library Collection: "In this two-volume work, first published in 1879, Conway draws from examples across the world to discuss the origins and decline of beliefs in demons. In Volume 1, he classifies types of demon and argues that the various types are personifications of the main obstacles to 'primitive man'. In Volume 2, he discusses the role that the Devil plays in Christianity, and that similar figures play in other religions." Also available through Project Gutenberg

2. Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, by Sir Walter Scott

"The book takes the form of ten letters addressed to J.G. Lockhart, the epistolary mode permitting Scott to be both conversational in tone and discursive in method. In these, Scott surveys opinions respecting demonology and witchcraft from the Old Testament period to his own day. As a child of the Enlightenment, he adopts a rigorously rational approach to his subject. Supernatural visions are attributed to 'excited passion', to credulity, or to physical illness."--Source and More Info

3. The History of the Devil as Well Ancient as Modern in Two Parts, by Daniel DeFoe

This book is also known as The Political History of the Devil.  "The Political History of the Devil is a study of the devil by novelist, satirist and political journalist Daniel Defoe (1660?-1731). It was published in 1726 but this illustrated edition is from 1819. Defoe, a Protestant Dissenter, believed in the devil as a physical being at work in the world. The Political History of the Devil suggests that the devil appears on earth both in his own form and through inhabiting the bodies and minds of other beings. Defoe was strongly anti-Catholic and here he associates the devil with Catholicism, specifically with the Pope." Source and More Info

Monday, March 14, 2016

Warren City Hall--Ohio

Fire at former Warren City Hall,  1916
Warren, Ohio has had a history of beautiful, opulent city halls! Sometime after the building pictured to the left burned in 1916, the city hall moved to the former Perkins Mansion. Unfortunately, the 'empty' building wasn't exactly....unoccupied.

The large, Italianate structure that now houses the city offices was built around 1871 by  Henry Bishop Perkins, a wealthy businessman and politician native to Warren. Around the time the mansion was built for Perkins and his wife, Elizabeth, their son, Henry Bishop Perkins, Jr., was born. Unfortunately, his time here on earth would be cut short.

On October 19, 1900, the body of Henry, Jr. was found on the river bank west of the Kinsman property. A bullet wound to the head was the cause of death, and a suicide note reading, 'Look for me on the river bank back of Kinsmans' seemed to prove that the death was by his own hands.

An obituary for the young man states the suicide may have been the result of his being overworked and over-stressed from taking care of his father, who had been in Connecticut for health reasons. And obviously, folklore has tried to fill in the missing pieces. Popular tales note that the suicide was believed to have been brought about over the murder of a young woman that Henry, Jr. was in love with and that somehow, his Aunt Lizzy had a hand in either that murder or the suicide itself.

Perkins House, now Warren City Hall
The Kinsman property, complete with original homestead, was located on the same street as the Perkins' mansion, and the Kinsmans were kinsmen. Frederick Kinsman, who built that home in 1832, had a mother (Rebecca) whose maiden name was Perkins and he also married an Olive Perkins, whose father was a local judge and who had built the home for the young couple.

Distraught over his son's death, Henry Bishop Perkins, Sr., would take his own life a little over a year later. On March 2, 1902, his body was found hanging by a railing in the attic of his office, a smaller structure located on the property which would later serve as office of the city law director, within the city hall campus.

Because of these two tragic suicides, less than two years apart, the city hall building has grown into its haunted reputation. Chairs move on their own, much to the chagrin of the cleaning staff. Babies are heard crying throughout the building (interesting side note: Olive Perkins Kinsman had three children before her early death at age 29. All three children died in infancy.). An apparition of a woman has been seen, which is believed to be the infamous, but mysterious Aunt Lizzy, who is also heard calling out to Henry, Jr. Police have been called to the building at night as passersby report someone standing in a window, looking out. And, an apparition of a man is seen walking up the stairs and disappearing.

It is believed that the man is Henry B. Perkins, Sr. In the 1990s, one city employee actually quit her job after getting an up-close and personal look at the apparition on the stairway. She described an older man with white hair and a beard, a perfect match to the elder Perkins.

Ghost Boasts, by JoAnne Viviano (October 30, 2003)
Warren City Hall Home of Haunts and Howls?, by Len Rome (October 31, 2014)
Millionaire Kills Himself. Los Angeles Herald (3 March 1902)
H.B. Perkins Bio from Ohio History Volumes 1-11, pg. 164
H.B. Perkins, Jr. Obituary. Warren Daily Chronicle, Issue: 20 Oct 1900
Frederick Kinsman Bio

Sunday, March 13, 2016

March Music Series

Once again I have waited until the middle of the month to share with you a little background about the monthly Facebook feature! Sorry about that.  Anyway...

March is Music Month over on my Facebook page, and it is the latest installment in a monthly series of posts designed to share FREE educational resources for paranormal investigators and researchers. In January, I posted videos of different lectures from a variety of paranormal topics and speakers. In February, I posted a series of documentaries, again about a variety of paranormal topics. This month, I'm again utilizing YouTube...but taking things in a slightly more fun direction.

For each day in March, I'll be posting a different song or music video that has something to do with the paranormal field. There are some awesome songs out there written especially about well-known ghosts and hauntings and there are some awesome songs out there written about paranormal topics in general. There are some songs that have been used as soundtracks to movies and television shows about ghosts and ghost hunting that have earned a spot on my list...and there are even a few songs that are kinda paranormal themselves for some reason!

I hope you enjoy this month's feature posts and if you have any favorite spooky songs or songs that you've added to your investigation playlist, please pop on over to Theresa's Haunted History Facebook and share them!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Forgotten Murder at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

If you follow me on Facebook, you might remember that I did an overnight public investigation at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (known for years as simply the Weston State Hospital) back in January. While I have yet to find any solid evidence produced as a result of our time there, my boyfriend and I had an excellent night of exploring the history-packed location and hearing plenty of interesting stories about its 150+ year existence.

Obviously, there were plenty of tales of violent deaths, mostly resulting in potential hauntings, throughout the building, and I was intrigued. I needed to do some of my own research on these tales to see just how much of what was being told was legend, and how much was support by historical documentation. And, while knee-deep in research for one of the more particularly well-known complete accident I came across ANOTHER murder that was not mentioned on our tour. As a researcher, I've experienced this before---as have many other researchers, both paranormal and historical. It almost seems like we're meant to come across certain information at certain times, almost as if someone is reaching out, guiding us, wanting their story told.

I've struggled with whether or not I SHOULD tell this story. There are no known hauntings that I know of associated with it, and since it happened in the 1960s, there are still plenty of family members alive and well. However, since weird little coincidences kept popping up (like finding an article about the murder I had printed out lying in the middle of the floor of my office when it hadn't been there when I left or getting a spam email from a woman with the same first name as the victim), I've decided to go ahead and let this story be known, remaining objective and stating only the facts as are available in public record. This post isn't meant to disrespect any party involved, but to bring awareness that mental illness is a serious issue. It can affect anyone at any time and when investigating places such as TALA, we need to remember the human element and make sure to remain respectful and dignified in our research. So here goes...The Murder of Muriel Creamer.

On May 18, 1963, Mrs. Muriel C. Creamer, an African-American housewife from Charles Town, West Virginia, was admitted to the state hospital in Weston. She would never come home. On May 25, she was found deceased in her room on Ward C. It was about 9 pm when psychiatric aide, Wanda Jacqueline Reed, was doing  a routine bed check and found the body of Mrs. Creamer in her bed. Earlier in the day, Mrs. Creamer had been strapped to the bed by hospital attendants, bound at the waist and the feet to prevent her from leaving the bed. She had a piece of muslin cloth about her neck. Her death certificate listed her cause of death as homicide by strangulation, noting that she had been strangled with a bed sheet. She was buried several days later at the Johnsontown Cemetery in Kearneysville.  But who had strangled Muriel?

Some reports say that Muriel's roommate, Wanda Maxine Janes, was either found standing over her body, or at the other side of the room. In any event, when questioned, Ms. Janes freely admitted that she had strangled Muriel Creamer. She claimed that Creamer had "made improper advances" toward her.

Wanda herself had just been admitted to the hospital that day. The 34 year old woman was sent to Weston by the Mental Hygiene Commission of Marion County. Although the doctors who referred her to the state hospital for treatment claimed she was friendly, they also noted that she was irrational, considered herself mistreated by everybody, and suffering from a depression complex and ideas of persecution. Upon arriving at Weston, she was interviewed by Dr. H.S. Chu, where it was noted that she was hostile and argumentative. Her behavior became rather wild and she strongly refused to go to the admission ward. Dr. Chu diagnosed Ms. Janes as a paranoid schizophrenic, and she was sent to a seclusion room on Ward C---a ward where the most violent and uncontrollable women were housed.

Ms. Janes was admitted around 10 am that morning, and spent the better part of the day in the seclusion space. However, the 'seclusion' space wasn't exactly private. Due to overcrowding, two other women shared the space with Janes, so around 8:30 pm she was moved to an adjoining room that she would share with Mrs. Creamer. This room was 20 feet away from the aide's desk, and no signs or sounds of violence or a struggle were ever heard.

An article in the Beckley Post-Herald from June 3rd stated that Wanda Maxine Janes had been charged with murder by the Lewis County prosecutor, William L. Fury. However, I could not find any follow-up as to whether she was actually found guilty and if she was, what the punishment entailed. What IS known, is that after the incident, John Creamer, the executor of Muriel's estate, sued Weston State Hospital for wrongful death. The case was heard by the WV Supreme Court in 1969 and it was found that the hospital was not at fault, as they could not have possibly known that Mrs. Janes was violent and/or homicidal.  At some point, Wanda Maxine Janes was released from treatment. She passed away in 1999. She had served with the US Air Force during the Korean Conflict, and thus, was buried with military honors at the WV National Cemetery in Grafton.

*Haunt Note*
Although there are no ghost stories or hauntings that I know of associated with this particular incident, Ward C on the third floor is still considered a pretty active location! As stated earlier, this was where some of the more uncontrollable female patients were housed and it is said that staff often had to walk down the hall back to back to prevent a patient from coming up behind them and either attacking or trying to sneak off with their keys. Male visitors are encouraged to hang their keys off their belt loop when walking down the hall---many have felt the tug of someone trying to pull the keys off the loop. Others have heard screams, cries and women's voices throughout the ward.

Sources:  Beckley Post-Herald (Wednesday May 29, 1963, pg. 1)
              Beckley Post-Herald (Monday June 3, 1963, pg. 11)
              State of WV Report of the Court of Claims 1969-1971 Volume 8