Archive for March, 2011


                                                                                        

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The Hotel Blanche

Spectral Gangsters, Wailing Women and a Shadowy Demon behind a Forbidden Door

 

 “Some places are strange, that’s no surprise, but this place has something really weird to it … Something just not right. You’ll know this when you walk by it late at night, and if you get the chance to go inside, you’ll know it for sure…I guarantee it.”

 

               This email response; which I received a few years ago from a former security guard at the Blanch Hotel, gives his overview and feelings about this strange location. He also offered a sampling of some of some chilling accounts in later communiqués that would have me researching this most interesting landmark from a personal standpoint. In the end, I had discovered a truly unique and hidden landmark that offered a worthy cache of Floridian folklore and inquiry from the psychical point-of-view. During my investigative process, I was able to utilize both scientific equipment, and the aid of a psychic to route out some fascinating information about this once stylish hotel of yesteryear.

               Though few locations I research take me across the oceans to Europe or the British Isles, I find that some of my best and most direct research opportunities take me across my own state of Florida to search out those elusive spirits of legend and oral tradition. Fortunately for me, I have had some of my best luck in both my paranormal inquiries and in the collection of urban legends while living here, and it was during one of my many investigations in North Florida that I came upon the most interesting, if not a bit frightening Blanche Hotel in Lake City.

                Although the majority of Lake City is fairly modern by most accounts, the Blanche Hotel, simply known as The Blanche by residents of this area, is one of north Florida’s silent reminders of a more cultured era. Located at 212 North Marion Street, this huge building once served as the cornerstone of Floridian hospitality for many years. Designed by architects Frank Milburn, and Henry W. Otis, this three-story hotel is of the masonry eclectic façade designs, so common of the 1880s, a structure that occupies a whole city block. In its heyday, this hotel served as Lake City’s primer hotel, catering as the primary social facility for much of the northern state. From 1902 to the 1950s, The Blanche was the seat of luxury in the small township, offering its refined amenities, and dining to local and traveler alike, as well as host to historic parties, and social functions for close to five decades. Because Marion Street transverses through many of Florida’s once busy roadways, The Blanche became a major stop-off point for weary travelers, especially during the first part of the century. As this roadway connects to major highways that lead from Chicago and New York, right on to routes westward to California and the mid-west, it’s easy to see why so many drivers would end their day’s long drive in a nice hotel for a respite. Indeed, those famous and infamous alike would make The Blanche their vacation home for many years.    

              Over the decades however, this once charming hotel, like many other great hotels, would experience many hardships and downfalls that would have they’re doors closing seemingly overnight. Tight budgets, the great depression, and two world wars took its toll on most of the United States, but Florida would be one of the worst hit, leaving the majority of its grand hotels abandoned and boarded up, with vacancies only for rodents and the down-and-out. As time marched on, and the state matured, small college towns like Gainesville only a few miles away, transformed into giant metropolises, and in the process, made the smaller, more country-like towns like Lake City, Live Oak and Micanopy more obscure to travelers. It was just a matter of time for the Blanche Hotel’s charm to wane in significance to that of the new and improved hotel giants throughout the Sunshine State.  

              Today, The Blanche is not in service as a resort, and although there have been rumors of its rebirth to a hotel once again; little fact to that rumor has been discovered. The hotel offers its space for commerce and trade, as well as for other domestic uses, such as for privet business, a restaurant and even specialty stores. There are various government-level offices occupying the hotel, such as for congressmen and lawyers, but the majority of the space here remains completely vacant. The Blanche and its active past is no more than a ghost today, just a faint image of its once jubilant presence.  As with any hotel, inn or lodging, there will be tragedies and sad occasions, and The Blanche is certainly no different in that respect. Though the history is spotted in some aspects, leaving exact times and dates a mystery to this researcher, a few such tragedies have been documented over the years. In fact, during the past 100 years of service of one kind or another, we know that there were several murders, deaths by natural causes, and at least one suicide. Because finding the exact details to these events are close to impossible, we will have to rely on Lake City’s local legends and oral traditions to assist in the supernatural lore that we have come to know over the past century. Even though there is a curious lack of hard evidence to support many of these tragedies, those renting space here, as well as the building’s staff and visitors have had their own up-close and personal evidence — proof that cannot be denied.   

 

A Haven for Ethereal Gangsters and Weird Phenomena

 

              The Blanche is one of Florida’s more obscure haunted places, and there are few who are fully aware of this landmark, let alone of its haunted reputation. For the most part, the old building appears to be nothing more than an abandoned building, but to the occupants however, many have had more than a few paranormal experiences. Since at least the 1960s, The Blanche has had a strange feel to it in one form or another. Most who have witnessed the paranormal events said to take place here, all seem to feel the building is housing more than one spirit, but others feel there are indeed many more.

               Of the ghostly events, the most common experiences are cold breezes passing through the hallways where there should be none, as well as many unaccounted-for noises heard throughout the main structure. Most of the paranormal events seem to take place on the 2nd and 3rd floors, where the occupants have experienced everything from clanking sounds; as if objects are falling from high places, to children running throughout the hallways and laughing, as well as disembodied footsteps echoing from nowhere. Many have witnessed doors opening and slamming shut by themselves, as well as lights turning on and off by unseen hands. Even more curious, there is said to be a small hole on the 2nd floor ceiling, which may be attributed to the natural event of the building decaying, needing more repair than an exorcism, but everything from coins to shreds of old newspapers are said to have fallen out of this hole periodically over the years, tempting many paranormal researchers to account the strange events as that of classic apport phenomena, where various materials may mysteriously transport from one location to another by unknown means. To date, no explanation has been assigned to this conundrum of science.   

              Computers are reported to act strangely on the 2nd floor, becoming fuzzy to look at, or which may cease to function all together. Although this is more annoying than scary, no one has yet found a plausible explanation for this technical oddity. Moreover, several of the building’s staff have heard the sounds of children running throughout to upstairs 3rd floor, as if playing, as well as detecting the sounds of muffled, child-like giggles echoing throughout the upper floors. When investigated, the hallways and rooms are always found empty. Indeed, although these sounds reflect the blissful nature of happy children playing, hearing such things from the vacant upper rooms at all hours of the night create the uncanny knack of frightening even the most ardent worker into vacating the area rather quickly.  In addition to these peculiarities, when staff and other workers walk on the 2nd floor, near or around the ladies room toward the east end of the building, many report smelling odd, misplaced scents, such as vinegar, heavy sulfur, and even sweet vanilla. Other more explainable scents like those of food cooking will be detected here as well, even though the restaurant downstairs had long been closed earlier that day. Indeed, although these events may seem odd rather than frightening, the sounds of disembodied voices and a sad woman sobbing in a torrent of tears have had some witnesses at The Blanche in total apprehension.

                 Of the strange voices heard echoing from the upper floors, there is mostly whispering, and intangible conversations, as if there were people walking around and having a chat. On occasion, however, some report hearing a woman shouting, and crying, as if in great pain, which is often accompanied by doors slamming, and hall lights flickering. Some have attributed these reverberations to the spirit of a woman who is said to have committed suicide many years ago. Though researchers have been unable to find exact information for this event, many feel a woman did take her life during the mid 1930s. The most tragic aspect to this story however, is that this saddened woman completed her suicidal deed while she was pregnant — A selfish act that some believe is the reason behind her ethereal manifestations. 

                Because there is so little history on this woman, nor any stories of her in Lake City’s archives, we must rely on speculation as to why this unnamed woman had taken her life at this once posh hotel. Although there can be any number of possible causes, reasons historians and psychical researchers may never know for sure, what is known, however, is that The Blanche has a very sad specter attached to it, and one who appears to have much to say. Though this tormented spirit has never been physically seen, only having been heard sobbing, her words are never completely understandable. While some have claimed to have heard her call out someone’s name during her violent outbursts, her muttering of muffled words made is simply impossible to discern. On several occasions, the screams had been so loud, that people walking on the adjacent streets who had heard her wailing, had gone inside the building demanding to help this tormented, yet unseen woman, only to find the structure vacant of any wrongdoing.

               Though there appears to be a rather large collection of spirits presiding within the Blanche Hotel, and ones that have a definite ability to frighten the living, the fact that something strange is going on here seems to be evident to everyone associated with it. And, though no one has claimed to have been injured by any of these spirits, there was one incident that had a fire marshal take notice to the paranormal. Evidently, when a city fire marshal was making an inspection of The Blanche several years ago, he came face-to-face with something unknown while ascending to the hotel’s 3rd floor to inspect the fire exits. According to the shaken fire marshal, as he was nearing the top step, having trouble seeing through the darkness, as few lights were working, he lost his footing and fell forward. And, although this sounds like a typical mishap, the fire marshal made a statement that changed the typical to the supernatural. Evidently, as he was just about to step off the last step, he felt the grip of an unseen hand on his arm, which pulled him down toward the floor. Though he wasn’t injured, the hapless fire marshal was, needless to say, a bit unnerved, and who is today a complete believer.

 

Eerie Surroundings and a Dark Entity behind a Closed-Off Door: An Investigation into the Unknown

 

                In addition to the many strange occurrences reported here over the past 30 years, a mystery about a dark entity that inhabits a closed-off and locked suite on the 3rd floor of this building has become a matter of local legend, which has lead both young and old alike to trespass in search of it. Though finding any facts about this room from management had been unsuccessful for this investigator, I can say the general opinion of its presence, and the direct order to cease my inquiry into this issue only made me want to search even further. Fortunately for me, I would have my chance to investigate nonetheless.

                In October of 2006 I was invited to speak at an event at the Blanche Hotel, which was hosted by the Lake City Public Library System. In what started out as an evening of active discussion and community participation, soon became a night of adventure and fun that would pique my interest and add to my compendium of the paranormal. It was during my lecture that I learned of the so-called demon that inhabited the 3rd floor, which was responsible for the majority of paranormal activity at The Blanche. Apparently, this creature is said to exist in one of the old 3rd floor suites, which could not be opened or entered for any reason. Sounding more like hokum than fact, I let it go at that, and continued with the lecture. After hearing several accounts from people who tried to get into this closed-off room with no success, and that the entire 3rd floor had recently been placed off-limits and boarded, up only fueled my interest to look a little further. Once I learned I had free range of the building that night, I decided to take a chance and see if the 3rd floor was indeed locked. And when my lecture was over, two of the remaining library staff members and I began an impromptu investigation into an otherwise forbidden section of the old hotel.

               By 11:45 P.M; after walking around the entire building, and throughout the hallways, and then again throughout the second floor, we found two stairwells that lead to the dreaded 3rd floor. Although the first door was locked and covered with a huge lumber board, the second door was un-nailed and ajar. Thinking this was fate, we entered the completely dark and dusty hallway. Having had a few pieces of equipment, including an Tri-Field Natural EM Meter, a 50/60 Hz Gaussmeter, digital cameras, a tape recorder and a good high-bean flashlight, we made our way through the dust and debris that looked as if had been there for years.  Throughout the hallway, we had to step over dust-covered litter that appeared to be quite old. Each of the rooms was left open, lit only by streetlights emitting through the moldy windows. Each room had an old wire bed frame with bare springs, and old decaying dressers that look as old as the hotel. The bathrooms have old rusty claw-foot tubs and pedestal sinks that have not seen running water for years. Dust and cobwebs draped over everything, and a think air of dust and soot made it hard to breath. As we approached the end of the hallway, stepping over the skeletal remains of rats and cats, and even what appeared to be a raccoon, we noticed an assortment of tools and similar equipment designed for construction purposes, so perhaps plans for renovations were true after all. When we doubled back to the main entrance, we followed a catwalk-like hallway that leads to the opposite end of the building. As we traveled this tight hallway, most likely used for the old hotel’s service people, we noticed a tiny dumbwaiter elevator that was rusted and stuck in position, with old newspapers strewn about the floor. The entire place resembled something from a Stephen King novel.

               Just beyond this is a stoop that leads to a porch-like landing; likely used as a gathering place for hotel guests. Just beyond this, rests the other wing of the building, which is similar in appearance as the first section we explored. The difference, of course, was the sinister-looking door that is closed and locked unlike the others. This door seemed different than the rest too, as its design was completely different, and has a metal plate around the doorknob, as well as strips of duct tape around the edges of the door, as if to keep out a gas or other smoky substance. Stranger still was the fact the doorknob was ice-cold, in spite of the warm and musty surroundings of the hallway. Moreover, the fact that expensive equipment like drills and tool boxes were seen all around the floor made us question the purpose of the locked room. The fact that this room, out of the entire hotel had a reputation of being evil in one way or another, which was known by many of the neighboring businesses and town’s people, made the mystery even more tantalizing.

               Our investigation proved positive that something was going on in the old building. Though electricity was active on the 3rd floor, we received irregular electromagnetic readings even when we were far apart form outlets and lamp extensions, and my high-density flashlight lost its power only within about 10 minutes, even though it had a full charge. My periodic audio typing of the investigation, while asking various questions proved interesting too, as I picked up buzzing sounds, as well as clicking, or tapping sounds. There were definite pulsations of cold air detected, and there were many unaccountable noises and what sounded like footfalls noticed throughout the 45 minutes spent on the 3rd floor. In the end, even though I felt a good amount of psychical evidence was discovered at The Blanche, I knew there had to be more.

               With this knowledge, and a continued thirst for more information, I gave my thanks and goodbyes to my hosts, and prepared for my drive back to central Florida. I knew I had to meet with a well known psychic there, and show her our photographs and recordings that forthcoming week. I know that she would be able to give some insight into this hauntingly strange, yet enticing hotel of the past. I knew that her past achievements as a psychic-medium were well-documented and that she had also worked with law enforcement in the past to give her opinions on cold-case files, and believed that she was one of the few who possessed the gift. The results were both telling and chilling. 

 

Psychic Impressions of the Blanche Hotel

by

Sheila Cavallo 

 

               I had the opportunity to meet a local Florida psychic named Sheila Cavallo. This self-styled psychic-medium has been known on the new age circuit for more than 30 years, especially throughout the central Florida region, where she had taken part in many séances and psychic cleansings, earning a name for herself in the process. In my interviews with Ms. Cavallo, I learned that she was able to hold objects or gaze at old photographs and detect portions of its unique history, no matter how vague. In what is known as psychometry, Ms. Cavallo could hold a weapon, for instance, and tell you if it had killed a person, or people, or if it was never fired. Or, she could look deeply at a photograph of a home, building or other landmark, and tell you a better-than-average history of that location within only a few minutes. Moreover, the fact that she never owned a computer and was in a wheelchair in her last few years, it would have been impossible for her to gain instant information like she did when she gazed at the photographs of my investigation within the Blanche Hotel. Moreover, when compared to my earlier research at that location, and Ms. Cavallo’s impressions, we can see the direct, if not uncanny similarities between the two.

The following psychic observation was taken from her own hand in June, 2007 after she spent several minutes looking over several photographs of the Blanche Hotel. She was unaided with any hints or information about the structure or its history, and had never been to Lake City Florida. Yet, she was able to relate some very interesting information about the otherwise hidden history of this most intriguing landmark.

 

“…After spending some time analyzing the photos of the Blanche Hotel, several very strong psychic impressions presented themselves to me. While gazing at this picture I got the distinct impression of very strong activity on the third floor of this most unique structure. Starting at the far right side of the picture, three spirits seem to be making their home in this area.  One such ghost/spirit is that of a young girl, probably in her early twenties, who seems to be rather confused – as if she cannot understand what has happened to her and why she is there.  She is not a strong spirit, and keeps fading in and out, as if trying to make up her mind whether to stay or leave. I feel that at one time she stayed in this Hotel, probably on more than one occasion, and her memories of the pleasant times she had are what keeps her coming back.  While trying to envision this spirit, I can only see her from the knees up. She is wearing some sort of gown or night shift in a soft material and her hair is light in color and below her shoulders. I do not get the impression that she died in the Hotel, but elsewhere at a young age.  She is confused because she keeps looking for the friends and family she knew while on Earth, who probably accompanied her when she stayed there… 

There is another spirit of a young man, seemingly in his late twenties or possibly in his early thirties who died in the Hotel. I see a card game in which this man was one of the participants, and feel that perhaps he was wrongly accused of cheating and was shot by one of the other players. He is wearing a light colored shirt and trousers and his hair is very thick and somewhat wavy. Although he was accused of cheating, he seems to be conveying the thought that he was wrongly accused and is still trying to prove his innocence. Because of this, he is unable to leave, and feels he needs to “set the record straight…

The third spirit on the left side of the third floor is rather unique in appearance. He is a midget, pudgy in appearance, and walks with his legs apart and knees slightly bent.  This was due to a birth deformity. When he walks, it looks like he is swaying from side to side. He seems to be friendly and helpful. The impression I am receiving is that he once was a type of “gopher” while on Earth. I see him connected with some type of outlaw/gangster “family” and he was used as an errand boy. He was treated well by these men, as they probably were the only real “family” he knew while on Earth. He seems to be sending a message that he was abandoned by his real family because he was an embarrassment to them and was adopted and raised by an older couple.  After the couple passed away, he took up with this particular group of men who probably, in some odd sense, felt sorry for him and invited him to join them, as a type of servant. I feel that he passed away in this Hotel and this is why he continues to stay, because it was the last place he lived and felt wanted…Going to the right side of the third floor (I am saving the middle section for last), I see two very strong spirits:

The first is of a man, probably in his late thirties, who was sort of a “hired gun.” He seems to have kept his identity well-hidden from most people and only a chosen few knew his real name.  He is tall, dark-haired and lean. He is wearing a suit, probably late 1800’s to early 1900’s, made out of a dark, rough material. His boots are dark brown and his pant legs are tucked into the tops of the boots. He is wearing a type of string tie and has a holster and gun which is kept hidden under his jacket. I feel he was a regular visitor to this Hotel, but don’t feel as if died there. He also wears a hat with a large brim, which he keeps pulled down over his eyes, as if he doesn’t want anyone to see his face. I cannot make contact with him because he doesn’t want to be acknowledged and refuses to give any information. I don’t really know why he is there except perhaps this is where he would go on occasion to sort of “hide out.” If anyone would go up to the third floor, I feel that he sort of backs off into the corner of one of the rooms and watches them without trying to make his presence known…

Last, but not least, is the spirit of a lady. She is a strong spirit and I feel she passed away in this Hotel. I am getting the message of “pneumonia.” She is dressed in a high-necked blouse with a bow at the collar and long sleeves. She is wearing a hobble skirt, reminiscent of the 1920’s, with shoes sporting a heel of perhaps 2” with button tops. Her hair is pulled back in some sort of French twist or bun and the front comes down with a wave over the left side of her face. She is rather nice looking, but a little on the stern side. I seem to be getting an “Annie” or “Annabelle” around her, possibly her name or the name of someone close to her, like a daughter or family member. She is very lonely and sort of “hangs around” the gentleman described in the above paragraph, mostly for companionship. I feel she wants to leave but is afraid because she is not sure what is on the “other side” and feels sort of safe where she is now…

As for the middle section, I saved this for last because the impressions I get from the three small windows overlooking what seems to be a balcony, are somewhat unique and mysterious.  There is a type of “entity” lurking there, as if guarding the third floor. This is not a friendly spirit, and I do not sincerely believe it was ever incarnated as a human person. This “entity” (for lack of a better word) has taken it upon itself to keep the spirits on either side of the third floor separated – for whatever reason.  It does not seem to have any particular shape and retains itself in a small size – like perhaps a ten pound cat – when no one is around.  It stays near the bottom of the wall and hides, but when it senses someone approaching, it can transform itself into a larger mass, if necessary. I would like to give a warning here that if anyone decides to cross this section, they must make sure that they place a very strong white light of protection around themselves and a shield with reflecting mirrors facing outward. This entity has a high-energy type of field and could do some serious psychological damage to a person who is weak – either in mind or body.  It is definitely from another dimension…

The only other impression I receive comes from the second floor on the far right side.  There is a male spirit dressed in a Civil War-type of uniform, who calls himself “Captain.” He seems to make this second floor his home and patrols it on a regular basis – usually at night.  He is not harmful and seems to thoroughly enjoy watching people come and go. I see him smoking a very thin cigar and feel that this cigar smoke can be seen and smelt by anyone who happens to be up walking around while he is patrolling his “house.” He does not go up to the third floor or down to the first floor, and seems to be fond of the last room on the right side of the Hotel.   Occasionally there are three or four spirits of very young children who seem to play around the front entrance of the Hotel, but they don’t stay very long.  They sort of get together occasionally for a play date and enjoy the area.  These are the impressions I received. I am not saying that they are correct and someone else may get entirely different impressions from mine. What I have written is what has come through to me, using my “third” or psychic eye. This is a very “proud” Hotel and has retained the memories of many eras. Treat it with respect and say a silent “thank you” upon leaving…” 

 

Postscript

 

                Although the Blanche Hotel seems to enjoy its anonymity from the ever probing ghost hunter and psychic, it’s only a matter of time until the clamorous specters within will call their attention. A definite history of The Blanche is just as elusive and mysterious as the wailing woman on the upper floors of this peculiar building. The sounds of playful children are just as enigmatic as the turbulent history of this abode, and indeed, the very opinion of this landmark seems to draw in both love and hate from the residents of Lake City.

                The mysterious hole on the 2nd floor, which is said to produce strange, misplaced objects from time to time, was not found however, though an integral part of this location’s folklore. Perhaps this alleged hole was boarded up years ago, or perhaps it was nothing more than a suggestion that grew into the legend we know it to be today. If it were true, however, such would indeed appear to be an apport; or portal-like anomaly from a quasi-dimension, or bi-location. Though speculative at best, such a phenomenon has been a part of the Blanche Hotel’s oral tradition for many decades.

                As for the many ghostly events taking place at the Blanche Hotel, I can certainly see the reason for its reputation of being haunted. Though the general atmosphere here is creepy, in the sense that it’s big, with vacant spaces and creaky floors, and of course the halo-effect created by the locked-off 3rd floor and the legends attached to it, we have to take into account that such may be creating an over-heightened sense of foreboding, or even paranoia for the witness. This being the case, we as explorers of the paranormal, should weigh our findings scientifically to that of simply taking the events as fact. Is the Blanche Hotel haunted? I will have to say yes, firstly because of the collected information from my research, the research from my colleagues, and from the findings by a reputable psychic. Beyond this, I too felt that there was something more here, than simply from an active imagination — And I think you will too.

 

*If planning to visit this historic landmark, keep in mind that this is a working office complex, and permission must be sought before investigating the property. If permission is properly obtained, the best time to possibly experience the aforementioned phenomena is usually within the early hours of the morning, or late at night when the majority of the occupants have gone home. Witnesses have also reported hearing strange; out-of-place noises while sitting outside late at night, so a quite vigil outside the building may also prove positive to your research. Moreover, the investigator should consider taking many photographs of the building itself, both inside and outside, and make audio recordings for the collection of possible EVP, as well as conduct the proper interviews with staff and office workers to help round-out a good investigation. In the end, the Blanche Hotel should prove to be a worthy study, and become a favorite topic for the scholarly researcher for years to come.

 

 

Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore Vol. One

South and Central Florida (2005)

 

 

 

 

Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore Vol. Two

North Florida and St. Augustine (2005)

 

 

Haunting ancient cemeteries and primitive landmarks as well as modern apartment complexes and highway sides, ghosts and restless spirits abound. This volume of Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore offers a delightful—and somewhat spooky—look into the darker side of the south and central areas of the Sunshine State.

Explore fortress ruins in New Smyrna Beach, and keep an eye out for mysterious shadows and dark figures in the nearby forest; visit the island of Islamorada, where the ghostly remains of Flagler’s railway rumble over tracks destroyed in the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane; and, if you’re especially brave, walk through the eerie corridors of the mausoleum in Myrtle Hill Cemetery near Tampa, where you are sure to hear whispers from the dead or the muffled echoes of a music box.

In volume 2, investigate the strange happenings and paranormal events throughout the northern part of the state. Learn of the ill-fated Sunland Hospital, with a history of tragic abuse and neglect that seems to echo its past miseries through dark shapes and faces in the blank windows. Travel to Lake City, where a spirited past replays itself throughout the Blanch Hotel, or visit the hulking remains of Jacksonville’s School #4, and watch for ghostly children running through empty hallways. Read of the state’s oldest city, St. Augustine and its many eccentric ghosts that still walk the cobblestone paths of this ancient city.  

 

 

Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore Vol. Three

The Gulf Coast and Pensacola (2006)

 

 

From ancient graveyards and monuments, to modern restaurants and hotels, this book offers a delightful collection of uncanny legends and eerie folklore about Florida’s beautiful west coast.

Walk through the picturesque city of Pensacola in Florida’s Panhandle, where the spirits of the dead are beckoned by an eerie lighthouse shining through the night, or stroll through Pensacola’s Seville Quarter, where you may spot the specter of a long-dead bartender. Visit the Island Hotel and Restaurant in Cedar Key, where thirteen spirits are said to roam the building.

Venture again into the unknown with Greg Jenkins, who will guide you through some of Florida’s most frightening haunted locations. Prepare yourself for the spine-chilling and uncanny tales of specters and ghosts that inhabit Haunted Florida. 

Delve into the unknown with Greg Jenkins as he examines the history, legend, and paranormal rationale behind strange occurrences in many of south and central Florida’s haunted locations. Get a fresh look at some of the state’s most famous ghost stories and learn never-before-heard tales of the strange and the supernatural as you take a trip through Haunted Florida.

 

 

Chronicles of the Strange and Uncanny in Florida (2010)

 

 

 

Chronicles of the Strange and Uncanny in Florida explores the unknown for those who wish to look beyond the confines of everyday life to discover the truly unusual. It explores Florida’s darker avenues for evidence of the extraordinary and the fantastic. Investigate sightings of flying saucers, extraterrestrials, and strange aerial phenomena. Meet skunk apes, chupacabras, and other creatures of the night. And in Florida’s lakes and seas, meet aquatic abnormalities like sea monsters, the Everglades water serpent, and the three-toed beast of Clearwater Beach.

 

 

Haunted Inns, Pubs and Eateries of St. Augustine (2012)

 

 

Once sought after by French Huguenots, Spanish invaders, English privateers and indigenous tribes, St. Augustine is a melting pot of cultural conquests. Anyone who traces its cobblestone streets, sails its vast shoreline or explores its unique architecture senses those who came before. Paranormal researcher and author Dr. Greg Jenkins examines ghostly happenings in the city’s charming inns, pubs and eateries that keep guests looking over their shoulders. There’s the lady with the lantern perched atop the Casablanca Inn who still searches for seafaring bootleggers and the spirit “Catalina” who peers through the window at hungry diners in Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille. Enjoy these stories and more, with personal interviews and documented visitor logs from the featured establishments.

 

 

 Pineapple Press, Sarasota, Florida

 

Pineapple Press was founded in 1982 by June and David Cussen, and publishes quality books that educate and entertain while they make the real Florida accessible to readers nationwide. Most of the titles are nonfiction books about Florida art, folklore, gardening, history, nature, travel, and more. Pineapple Press also publishes a few literary novels and children’s books about Florida, as well as some general nonfiction about lighthouses, nonprofit organizations, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

 

For more information about the Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore series and Chronicles of the Strange and Uncanny in Florida, or other fine books, visit the website at:

http://www.pineapplepress.com/folklore.html

 

 

The History Press

 

The History Press brings a new way of thinking to history publishing—preserving and enriching community by empowering history enthusiasts to write local stories for local audiences. Our books are useful resources for research and preservation, but it is their value as touchstones for community identity that drives us to publish works that national houses and university presses too often have ignored. Infused with local color, our books are highly readable, often brief and aimed at a general readership.

 

For more information about Haunted Inns, Pubs & Eateries of St. Augustine, and other fine books, visit the website at:

 

http://historypress.net/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunland Hospital in Memoriam: The Last Days of Florida’s Hospital of Horrors

 

  “Sunland is not a place that takes kindly to strangers…When it became a mental hospital; it was one of the first to use electro-shock therapy in the area…They used a metal tub, water and electricity on the patients, where they received jolts to curb their fits of rage…Then, they were placed in a place called the pit, where they were herded and left screaming and laughing for days…And children and babies were left in metal cages all alone throughout the day and night…It was medieval.”

 

– Ex-employee, 1996

 

An auspicious beginning – An unfortunate end           

 

            If there is one location in the state of Florida to have resonated an equal amount of dread and excitement, with just the right amount of psychic impressions of regret and destitution, and finally to culminate in a nefarious notoriety, it will most likely be the late, Sunland Hospital in Tallahassee, Florida. Although originally a noble and active hospital within a chain of caring, state-of-the-art hospitals, it would decline to a place of great disappointment and impiety, and in the end, harbor a reputation of pure evil.  

             Sunland Hospital; also referred to as “Sunnyland” by many Floridian ghost hunters and psychical researchers, has been one of the most mysterious, and downright formidable locations for anyone interested in ghost lore and the supernatural. As it was one of the now defunct hospitals to hold the elusive name of Sunland, its final demolition in 2006 marks the end of a time-honored tradition of ghostly legends and haunted folklore that had inspired Florida researchers for decades. Since its closing and abandonment in 1983, the hospital’s massive decaying hulk, which for more than 20 years sat almost virtually forgotten and shunned, began to take on an almost unhealthy feel to it, as if it just did not want to die.   

           The Sunland hospital system had a long and rather illustrious history. One of the first hospitals to eventually merge, and become part of the Sunland Hospital Training Centers was constructed in Gainesville, Florida around 1921, formally known as the Florida Farm Colony for the Epileptic and Feeble-Minded. Though much of that structure still exists today, now known as the Tacachale Training Center, operated by the Department of Children and Families, the primary hospitals were to be situated in Tallahassee, Orlando, Tampa, Lantana and Miami Florida. They would become the beacons of a soon to-be medical empire that would go down in history. 

 

         

          The Tallahassee hospital was constructed in 1954 to serve as a testing and convalescent home for TB patients, as well as those with polio and developmental deformities. The massive building was christened the W.T. Edwards Tuberculosis Hospital, and cost close to 4 million dollars to complete. The hospital held over 400 beds, had a large surgical and recovery room center, and was complete with public and private suites, day rooms for activities and family visits, and was situated on a man-made hill in order to get constant sun and wind-flow, which was essential for this patient population.

            This structure catered to hundreds of north Florida residents, as well as those from around the state with a better than average history, but with the advancement in treatment and therapy for TB patients, and finally inoculations for the dreaded polio, the W.T. Edwards Tuberculosis Hospital had to consider other patient options in order to continue. So, in March 1967, the Sunland facility in Orlando, another facility that had originally operated as a TB center, devised a plan to save her sister hospital to the north. Though the Orlando Sunland had operated for close to 35 years, it too had make changes like many hospitals across the land in order to survive. In addition to this, it wanted to expand its empire, so after careful review and debate, the Tallahassee hospital was to receive 18 current patients from Orlando in order to make the change of command official.  

             The newly christened Sunland Hospital in Tallahassee underwent many internal changes, received a much-needed facelift, and formally adopted its new patient population. From that day onward, Sunland would cater to the state’s child welfare system, helping thousands of physically and mentally disabled children and adolescents for years to come, thus making for itself a lot of money and an honorable reputation at the same time. Sunland soon became an excellent example of how a hospital should be run, and was recognized and honored by state governors and senators, fostering respect for all who came to know of it. Why then, would such a large and powerful state hospital close its doors seemingly overnight is indeed a mystery – a mystery that had lasted for years.

 

Reports of heinous crimes and hideous sins too ghastly to hide 

 

 

This was the common method for hygiene hour. The children were supervised by a nurse or orderly if they were at least partially ambulatory. Here’s a fun factoid: The tables these children are brushing their teeth in were originally used in coroner’s morgues and funeral homes as a drainage slab for removing blood and body fluids from cadavers. These tables are made of porcelain, so it’s easy to clean and practical due to the situation of the patients. Yet, one can’t help seeing the horror in it all.  

 

 

               Though there were many rumors as to why all the Sunland Hospitals would close after an excellent work history; the most common beliefs ranged from a lack of money and state funding, to the possibility that the resident staff and patients were contracting “mesothelioma,” a form of lung cancer due to the asbestos insulation. Other possibilities pointed to fire hazards that existed throughout the building, as well as aged construction that would make working there dangerous. And, though all these theories seemed logical by most respects, the last theory is the most disturbing – the gross mistreatment, medical neglect and unnecessary death of the patients by the doctors and staff.  Sadly, it would turn out to be a culmination of each and every one of these theories, as state and national inspections identified every one of these quandaries individually. After state and county records listed the reasons for closing all the Sunland Hospitals throughout Florida as a result of these accusations, primarily from the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC), the hospitals were to be immediately closed, locked and abandoned until further notice. They never re-opened.

            Having worked in the medical and mental health fields since the 1980s, and having seen my share of sad and terrible things, I can personally acknowledge the fact that incidents like neglect and mistreatment do indeed take place. However, when I researched the allegations and state’s findings of Sunland’s indiscretions, I was utterly horrified. As I dug deeper into otherwise closed files and patient histories; which detailed such gross neglect and causes of death too graphic to list here, I found myself completely sickened to find that such mistreatment and inhumane experimentation did take place. Moreover, after finding records detailing the death of over 100 child patients in the 1970s only lead me to believe that the abuse was going on all along. If this wasn’t wounding enough, the fact that the majority of these children were buried in the nearby woodlands behind the massive hospital only added to my dismay about the whole terrible affair. Apparently, the psychic memories of these horrible events had left something behind, long after the death of the patient and the abandonment of the once bustling hospital – something truly haunting. 

 

Tales of ghostly children, spook lights and dreadful screams in the dead of night 

 

             From that fateful day in 1983 until the day of its destruction in 2006, Sunland Hospital held an almost surreal quality about it. The tall, barbwire fence draped around the rotting building certainly created a foreboding air, as did the un-kept grass, and the broken shards of glass that were scattered about, leaving only blank window openings that would loom down fitfully on the bystander. Without a doubt, the whole place just felt wrong, as if the living were just not welcome there.  Although finding a precise history on Sunland is close to impossible, the legends and folklore appear to follow a common course, which seem to have become typical over the years. Of those people I had interviewed, people from all former occupations there, and from other local eye-witnesses, almost everyone claimed to have had various uncanny experiences that seemed to coincide with each other. The primary feelings sensed at Sunland, upon seeing the huge structure was one of excitement and exhilaration. Once an intrepid explorer went inside however, those feelings soon turned to dread, as if they were being watched. Some actually told me that they heard voices telling them to “Get Out!” or to “Go Away!” And, for those who were actually foolish enough to go beyond the barbwire fence, thus challenging the authorities, and risking exposure to asbestos, many would come back claiming to have experienced countless strange and unexplainable things while exploring within the darkened rooms and corridors – things that had some people running for safety.

            From the outside, if someone stood in the adjacent parking lots, they might have heard sounds of moaning and whimpering, or even an audible scream from a distant part of the hospital. As the witness surveyed the premises, he would eventually find the remains of an old rusted hospital bed. When the old bed was discovered, many would claim that it shivered and shook as soon as they approached it, almost as if some unseen patient was still in it, responding in fear, like some unfortunate patient might have done so many years ago.  In addition to this, there had been many reports of cold spots throughout the area, and in all seasons. This of course is believed to be evidence of a classic haunting, where a spirit entity has crossed from its dimension to ours, the cold spot can appear virtually anywhere, and acts as if a door opens or closes. This paranormal singularity apparently occurred throughout the corridors of the old building, as one of my informants had confessed. Also, when walking on the second and third floors, past the old, totally enclosed steel cages that lined the walls, there seemed to be coldness all its own emitting form them, as if someone had opened a freezer door. As these cages were used to keep unruly babies and children confined, and oftentimes left all alone for hours at a time, it would seem logical that such tormenting would leave something behind.

              In addition to the many reports of cold spots, the occasional phantom scream being heard from otherwise inexplicable places would surely frighten and unnerve the hapless explorer. In addition to screams heard from both the inside and outside of the structure, the sounds of muffled crying were also reported. From the darkened shambles of once-occupied office spaces, bathrooms or emitting from the broken windows, these screams have been heard from countless ghost hunters, and some even being recorded on audio and video equipment. Additionally, what was conveyed as sounds of an unseen dog whimpering, and its tags or chains jingling together as if running down the deserted corridors, was also a popular incident experienced by ghost hunters. This would seem to make sense too as historical documents have shown that the hospital once used dogs and other animals in “pet therapy” sessions with the children. As the animals would have created a very special bond with them, such might explain many of the creepy sounds reported over the years.  Adjunct to the odd sounds and other strange noises heard around Sunland, ghost lights were sometimes seen streaking through the corridors late at night. Naturally, passer-byes might have thought these lights were nothing more than vagrants, teenagers or transients running through the empty hallways, but when the police would investigate, they would find nothing — Just the dead and decaying hulk of a once vigorous hospital.

             Orbs, orbs, and more orbs! This unusual phenomenon has in recent years become one of the quintessential foundations of modern ghost hunting, as well as becoming the staple of related research into the alleged photographic evidence of ghosts and apparitions. Though this is a highly speculative concept for most serious researchers, these small, translucent balls of what is believed to be a form of ectoplasm energy, has been observed and reported in reputedly haunted locations since the formal use of photography. Though researchers have only recently noticed orbs on much older photographs, the debate as to the authenticity of this phenomena being paranormal remains steadfast in psychical academia. Whether or not this phenomenon is in fact related to paranormal activity is indeed the question.

             As people drove by Sunland in the early morning hours, or as dusk would set, faces of people would sometimes be seen staring out the broken windows, complete with sad demeanors and sullen expressions. What many considered “shadow people” as they have come to be known, were sometimes reported flirting through the hallways and open doors, evaporating before the witness could get a well-focused look. Historically, though the witness might observe such an entity, they might simply think they are watching a genuine living person creeping through the corridors, or walking by the windows. They would soon learn otherwise, however, when the deceptive shadows would vanish right before their eyes. Indeed, with all the many oral traditions, as well as the growing folklore about Sunland and its ghostly reputation, I felt it necessary to give the haunted hospital my full attention. Although Sunland retained the added reputation of being a dangerous place, and far off the beaten path, I decided to take the challenge — in the end, the Sunland expedition was quite educational from a paranormal point of view, and well worth the effort. 

 

The 2004 Sunland Hospital Investigation   

  

 

            After much forethought and planning, two of my associates with the Florida Psychical Research Group and I arrived at the gates of the old Sunland Hospital on an early October morning in 2004. It was a bright morning with a gentle breeze in the air. The birds were singing and all appeared peaceful, even though the building; that immense decaying structure that had been abandoned 22 years earlier, just sat there like something that should not be there at all. The feeling was of shear amazement, though we all knew the dangers there were very real. The chance of experiencing hostile vandals or transients was certainly on our minds, but also the state of the building itself was of great concern. As the hospital was locked up and abandoned for such a long time, we understood it had a lot of time to decompose and wither away, so precaution would have to be paramount in order to evade injury. 

            The first order of business was to walk around the perimeter of the complex, and scope out the grounds and layout of the building. Then, we began taking photographs of every angle with digital and 35 millimeters cameras, as well as video taping the entire process. The purpose here was to create a control and experimental database of photos and video, meaning that we test the differences between what we find on both types of film used, and what we had physically experienced. We recorded our actions, as well as made a voice tape of what each investigator was doing any that particular time.

            The odd sounds began almost immediately. The sounds of things falling, such as thuds and glass breaking was apparent to everyone and from time to time, a door would slam, echoing throughout the hollow corridors. After a while of this, we decided that the wind may have been responsible, and continued our survey. As we walked completely around the complex, we found a series of intricate sidewalks, half buried under years of dirt and overgrown grass and weeds. These labyrinths of sidewalks lead out to the wooded area, deep within the forgotten thickets. Here, we stumbled upon the remains of the old therapeutic wading pool, used for the physically disabled. This pool was completely filled with dirt and covered with a heavy moss, minus the gnarled handhold bars, jutting out of the earth. We also found the remains of a playground, which resembled something right out of a ghost town, twisted and rusted, with the swings eerily swaying back and forth. As we continued, we came upon a slightly raised patch of land, overgrown with tall weeds and vines. As we looked closer, we discovered small metal plates with small numbers and letters embossed on them, all of them darkened with years of weathering. It didn’t take long to figure out that these were the graves of Sunland’s dead – forgotten and lost under nature’s growth.      

             As we found our way out of the thickets, we came upon the rear entrance of the building, apparently used for disembarking patients to ambulances and visa versa. The true threat of the old hospital became clear when we found gapping manholes, half filled with trash and rancid water collected over the many years. Some of these manholes were clearly 15 to 20 feet deep, which might have proven deadly if someone would have fallen into it.  As we continued, I found the two side entrances open. One was the doorway to a boiler room, the other an old fire escape. As we looked in, only darkness peered out, except for the occasional flash of daylight emitting from one of the many broken windows. Once inside the main corridor, it was apparent that traveling through the entire building was out of the question, as the ceiling panels were now nothing more than hanging tatters, with broken pipes and electrical wires everywhere. In the corridors, the remains of desks, chairs and ripped out doors lay all around, as if a tornado went through. Moreover, with the occasional sound of a door slamming, or a pane of glass falling to the ground in the distance, it was easy to see why so many before us left in apprehension.

           As we approached the elevators, we decided to start taking photographs. The empty rooms and debris all over the floor only added to our excitement, but when we heard a loud thud coming from down the darkened hallway, the excitement quickly turned to fear. Cautiously, we started to head back down the next section, which appeared to have once been a cafeteria, complete with tin food trays spewed all about, and a thick mold growing over the counter tops and tables, as if the people who once occupied this place just got up and left. The entire area had an eerie glow to it, due to the sunlight beaming through the moldy, half broken skylights. The smell of musty, decaying plaster and stagnant water filled the air, adding to the already surreal atmosphere of the place.

             The hallways seemed to sprawl in all directions, leading to abandoned offices and darkened receptionist areas, where old files and decomposing medical records were found all about the floor as if a hurricane had blown through. With the constant dripping of water, which had been rippling down the now slimy walls from the pooled water atop the building for at least the last 22 years, the whole scene was incredible. To say the least, our hopes for finding a potentially haunted location came to be with what followed.  As we continued to walk throughout the first floor, taking in all the sights, we started to hear what seemed to be a low muttering coming from the back section of the lower half of the building. Armed only with our flash lights and video recorders, we started toward the back section, only to stop dead in our tracks when we heard the sound of movement coming from behind a large half-way opened metal door. Our flashlights were strong enough to penetrate some of the darkness, which lead down a smooth, tiled path, so we slowly walked in. Not knowing what to find, we were naturally on alert, and ready to run out of there in a moments notice if we saw anything even remotely dangerous. Thankfully however, there was no one in there, just bare tile walls and stainless steal racks affixed to the walls, leading to the ceiling, and a few black vinyl-looking bags staked haphazardly to one end. It did not take me long to realize that I was standing in the hospital’s morgue. And, with this revelation, we turned to walk out. As I did so, however, with the lighted room now turning back to darkness, we once again started to hear what sounded like muffled mumbling coming from no where else than the room we had just left. After a moment, we heard what sounded like a man’s low, guttural moan, as if in horrible pain slowly uttering from the now thoroughly blackened morgue – finding the exit was the first thing on our minds.

            Although we all knew there was no one in that room, and the rest of that section of the building, which was completely barren, finding a logical explanation was just not possible. Needless to say, we all decided to end our most successful investigation that day and return home to review our tapes and photographs. I can honestly say that that incident had the hairs standing up on my neck, as well as enticing me to look over my shoulder the entire time we were walking up the ramp and out to the main corridor.

           As our mission came to a close, and we departed the hospital’s wreckage, we took time to stand in the deserted parking lot and reflect on our experiences. We had seen the remains of a once active and honored hospital that unfortunately took a slow and despairing avenue of deceit and ambivalence. Nonetheless, even with Sunland’s eventual fall from grace, it was an important institution to have served in the state of Florida.  When we returned home, we took the time to research the state’s newspaper and historical archives, specifically the Florida Memory State Archives of Florida. This excellent resource supplied a photo collection of Sunland’s past, which will be eternally saved for historical prosperity. These photos showed us just how important this hospital once was, exposing its history in black and white for all to see. Some photos displayed nurses helping patients brush their teeth, or reading to children in an activity room. Others showed tuberculosis patients getting their hair done in the hospital’s salon and even of Woodsy the Owl paying a visit to the children on a summer’s day. Some photos joyfully exhibited Sunland’s children being sworn in as Boy Scouts and even an adult patient getting married to her husband-to-be on hospital property – there were indeed some good times recorded at Sunland Hospital.

            Sadly however, some of these photos also showed what might have been the beginning stages of psychological and emotional neglect, as we found several images displaying lone babies sitting in cage-covered cribs in massive, empty rooms, or of distraught demeanors on children while undergoing therapy. Although such things are the very nature of my profession; where I have personally experienced many sad and soulfully dejected patients in my practice over the years, I also have seen hope for those who had a chance. With Sunland Hospital however, the majority went there to die, rejected by their families and expunged from society. So, experiencing a sad face would have been commonplace.

             In the end, our exploration of the once powerful Sunland Hospital proved rewarding on several levels. Firstly, the experience of several odd or otherwise unexplainable things, such as the shuffling footsteps and moaning, the jiggling sounds like that from a dog’s collar heard in the hallways, and the electromagnetic frequency readings found in places where no electricity or microwaves were established, all constituted a possible paranormal relationship. Secondly, the historic value of the place itself, which details a lot of pain and suffering may also be related to psychic soundings of the past, as such things tend to store in a structure in the form of psychic residue. If this is indeed true, it would stand to reason that Sunland Hospital would harbor quite a bit of such a residue, due largely to the many negative experiences recorded there. Finally, after reviewing the many documented reports and eye-witnesses accounts collected by the Florida Psychical Research Group and other research societies over the last 22 years, we have found that something was indeed going on there. Although there are countless stories to have been born out of Sunland’s reputation alone, we have at the very least, created a scholarly foundation and collection of evidence for other interested parties and paranormal investigators for years to come. In the end, Sunland Hospital had proven to be an intriguing and quite educational landmark that will forever go down in Florida’s history, and remain in the annals of famous haunted places world-wide.  

  

Post Mortem: The Sunland enigma in review  

 

            In retrospect, Sunland Hospital certainly had an interesting past, and one far more secretive than we could ever have known. The fact that there had been so many strange occurrences only made us ask why?  For the number of infant, and child patients who have lived here, some for the duration of their lives, or died in the fever of their madness, there was only a life of sadness and in some cases torment, never to find peace. Without a doubt, the lives that dwelled there were full of strong emotions, which may have psychically etched themselves to the old building and its surroundings. The building may have become a canvas of sorts, painted with the emotions of rage and sorrow, and then to culminate in a horrific reminder of what should never have happened. 

            Was Sunland Hospital haunted? Most believe it was. Even though the entire building, along with the old therapeutic pool and all the abandoned sidewalks were finally torn down in November of 2006, and the land was churned and new grass put down for possible buyers, the whole place just looks unnatural. If you’re in the Tallahassee area, pay your respects to the site of Florida’s hospital of horrors, where unbelievable things had taken place both during and after its closing more than 2 decades ago. Though you may not recognize the landscape, where once the massive building loomed over the old Phillips and Miccosukee Roads, you’ll now find a huge vacant field lined by a newly constructed highway – The Sunland legacy has ended.

            It would be impossible to say whether or not the land itself will be haunted now that the building is gone, but one must keep in mind that the unbelievable hardships that had occurred there and the lost tormented souls said to reside in the Sunland’s once decaying walls and water-filled innards, may run much deeper than we might imagine. Try to remember all the lost dreams and shattered hopes that once lived there, and died there. Remember also that within the nearby woods and thorny thickets exists a rather large pauper’s graveyard filled with the bodies of forgotten men, women and children, forever to remain in obscurity. This is all that remains of Sunland Hospital today. Therefore, remember the exploits of this once famous and infamous hospital of yesteryear, and reflect on what may become of the new structures that are built over its old foundation and forgotten cemetery – For without a doubt, they just might remember us.

 

Rest in Peace

 

Source:

 

Examiner.com (2010) Sunland Hospital. http://www.examiner.com/haunted-places-in-

         orlando/sunland-hospital-picture?slide=32286611

 

Florida Memory Project: Division of Library & Information Services

           http://www.floridamemory.com/

 

Jenkins, Greg (2005) Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore Vol. 2. Pineapple Press

            ISBN-13: 978-1561643288

 

 

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School No. 4: Jacksonville’s Most Haunted

  Ghosts, Specters and Things that go bump in the Night

  

            Having investigated ghost stories and spooky legends, haunted houses and “hainted” cemeteries for the past 20 years, I have seen my share of strange and even frightening things. I have also seen things that might be believed to be haunted or enchanted, but was actually explainable by science or nature. Yes, I am a psychical researcher, but I am also a psychologist, and a professional counselor, so fact is always my first objective. To that end, it is important to understand that my search into the unknown, however controversial, is done with a scientific method in mind, and not one of fantasy. No, not every cold spot in an abandoned house is a portal to another dimension, nor is every photograph of strange orbs and ghostly images proof of visitors from the other side. Sometimes the cold spots are nothing more than a draft of wind, and the glowing orbs in many photographs are nothing more than the mist from moisture or that of simple dust particles. Sometimes, as Sigmund Freud would often quote: A Cigar is Just a Cigar — simply meaning that we shouldn’t read into things so literarily. Yet, some things cannot be as readily explained as we would like, and it is this simple fact that often creates a really good mystery, or time-honored legend.  

            In 2005 I published two books with Pineapple Press titled: Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore. Each book covers a good selection of my state’s alleged haunted locations and spirited anecdotes. From Key West to Tallahassee, and from Tampa Bay to St. Augustine, I explored the rather spooky and darker sides of Florida’s unique history. In the process of my ghostly endeavors, I often searched for the elusive specters that hid behind creaking doors and within shadowed attics, often leaving with more fiction than fact. On occasion, however, I would be treated to a truly strange event — something downright uncanny.

            During one such investigation into the unknown, I discovered the very creepy and very dangerous School No. 4 in Jacksonville, Florida, a school with as much fiction as there is fact in its history, and as much mystery as there is reality. Regardless of the fact or the fiction, this exceptionally weird location has proven that some places are indeed as legend and history had speculated that some places should just be left alone altogether.   

A Virtuous Ambition — A Mysterious Past

Toward the downtown section of Jacksonville, Florida, just off Interstate-95, located on the corner of Peninsular Place, near busy streets, small shopping centers and cafes rests the remains of Jacksonville’s historical past, albeit a somewhat ominous one. This enormous decayed building known only as School No. 4, echoes a sense of doom and pure evil, and as such, has been a part of Florida’s oral tradition and haunted legend for at least the past 50 years. Indeed, School No. 4 has been called “the most haunted place in Jacksonville” ever since, and for very good reasons.

            School No. 4’s original foundation was built in 1891 on Jacksonville’s common ash dump. In the beginning, the structure was a simple wood and brick frame schoolhouse, but by 1917, that structure was bought up by the Rutledge Development Company, which had the building and the grounds significantly improved upon. Massive brick and cement wings were added to create huge, lofty classrooms and libraries for new generations of students to be, as well as a beautiful auditorium and cafeteria to offer the best quality for Jacksonville’s students. As a result, this new style instituted an improved method for schools and similar building construction that would last for many decades to come. Although costing a whooping $250.000, School No. 4 would become the mainstay of Jacksonville’s river skyline and go down in history as an architectural masterpiece. The school was officially christened The Riverside Park Public School No. 4, and would hold that title until the 1950s, when it was renamed the “Annie Lytle Public School” after its former principal.

            As history progressed, and students came and went, the atmosphere of legend would befall this quaint school, like any other school in America, though some more frightening than others. Tales of monsters lurking under the massive building, or of disgruntled teachers and janitorial staff going on killing sprees or even of cannibal principals eating fifth graders was the common fodder of a young mind who attended classes at School No. 4. Sadly, by the 1960s, as other improvements were being made around the now bustling city of Jacksonville, and as the march of progress advanced, the fate of this time-honored place of learning would become clear — it had to close in order to make room for newer and more productive buildings with better locations.

            School No. 4 would rest on the banks of Riverside Park as a quaint reminder of a simpler time in American history. Yet, regardless of its noble rank among educational institutions, or of the scores of students who graduated here, it would be a sinister reputation that would linger on far longer than that of its gift of knowledge and scholarly intent — an appalling reputation indeed. 

Terrible Rumors and Horrible Realities 

            While conducting research for my books, I had the opportunity to interview several longtime residents of the Jacksonville area over the course of two years. Some of my resources have actually been inside the school’s very eerie innards, and most delighted to admit that they were frightened by not only what they had seen, but by what they had not seen. Apparently, there is a vigorous spectral activity within the rotting corridors and abandoned classrooms of old School No. 4 that most of us would rather not experience. And why not when there has been so much unrest over the many years following the school’s closing?  For indeed, School No. 4 seems to attract more than the illicit drug users, those running from the law, and homeless transients — It also attracts devil worshipers!

In the late 1960s the school’s old deserted remains soon became a haven for many of society’s drop-outs and out-casts. The hippie generation once used the building as a rent-free commune and artist retreat, and by the late 1970s, a large transient population moved in, having the police involved on an almost daily basis. By the 1980s however, after years of disrepair and being a victim of wear and tear, the building began to take on a more sinister feeling, as one of my earlier informants had expressed. Several bodies of homeless men had been found inside the massive building. Some died by natural causes, others from drug overdoses, some were left to be institutionalized and still others would be carted off to the county morgue, the result of misadventure. If this weren’t enough, many of Jacksonville’s youth began to take part in other nefarious activities, such as animal sacrifice and gang initiations, all behavioral acts which may have enhanced the buildings already questionable atmosphere.

            With the evidence of Satan worship having occurred within the old building for at least twenty years; events that have been proven by police officials, it may be possible that such activities have somehow stimulated, or enticed many of the paranormal incidents that have been reported here since. After all, darkness has a nasty habit of attracting darkness, and School No. 4 certainly has its share of darkness and things that go bump in the night. Many of the people who have been through the building; most doing so as a rite of passage from their peers as a form of a dare, or because they too were on an impromptu hunt for ghosts, have expressed an uncanny fear of the place, as if the building itself were somehow alive. One of my informants, a life-long resident of Jacksonville, told me of his many adventures as a youthful investigator of the unknown. He describes the building as having many areas that were unnaturally chilly and that there were always sounds of movement in places where there should be no sounds; like within the furnace room or around the archways and rafters of the main hallway. Even stranger, there is a beam of opaque light, which appears to emit down from the ceiling to one particular area in an old classroom that is always cold.  

            There is also evidence of orb activity both inside and outside of the school, activity that has been found on both standard 35 mm photographs, and through digital imaging. In fact, almost every photo I have seen of School No. 4 has a plethora of orbs and other photographic anomalies coexisting with the subject matter. Perhaps this is explainable by the dust content in the building itself or perhaps of the natural mist as a result of Florida’s oftentimes intense humidity. Regardless of the cause, however, this odd phenomenon is almost always present.      

            According to many psychics and paranormal researchers, orbs are a form of energy, ranging from natural vibrations emitting from the site itself, known as earth energies or “earth lights,” or as active manifestations of disembodied spirits moving from one place to another in an energy-saving mode of travel. Although a popular body of theory with the novice ghost hunter, more serious psychical researchers like Dr. Andrew Nichols, a Florida-based paranormal researcher, and Dr. William Roll, of The Foundation for the Study of Paranormal Phenomena tend to scientifically rationalize such events, holding less visceral views to such causes and effects. Though many scholars tend to disregard the concept of intelligence amid spirit entities, most endeavor to retain an open mind during their investigations regardless of personal theories.

            Of the many photographic anomalies that have been recorded within and around the building proves mostly as a mist or haze on the film. Many of the photographs will turn out relatively clear, yet may have a misty streak or smoky tornado-like fog on them for no logical reason. This is known as a “vortex” to many researchers. Some photos will come out almost completely black, some completely foggy, and some will come out completely clear and unaltered by seemingly spectral interaction. According to many paranormal researchers, such visual anomalies appear to be commonplace when taking photographs at reputedly haunted locations, and areas rife with electromagnetic activity. Because there are no power stations even remotely near this location, nor has there been any form of electricity active inside School No. 4 for at least 50 years, the scientific reasoning for such strange events are quite intriguing.  

            In addition to photographic and video oddities, strange sounds and similar bizarre auditory events have taken place within and around the decaying building. People have reported sensing an unearthly presence both in and outside the rotting structure. In addition to this, strange sounds of running and child-like giggling have been described by practically everyone who goes inside the building, as well as getting distinct feeling that someone or something is watching from a distance. If trespassers walk through the corridors, the sounds of footsteps might be heard directly behind them, usually having that brave, but not so wise soul sprinting for the nearest open window.

            Many have reported the sounds of scurrying feet underneath the massive staircase, as well as the muffled sounds of whispers emitting from the corners of the huge inner sections of the room and from behind the auditorium stage, but the most common feeling is always one of pure, unadulterated dread. Without a doubt, School No. 4 is exceptionally old, and the dark and creepy atmosphere would certainly add to the natural fear factor of being in such a place. Yet, there is something more going on in old School No. 4 — something supernatural.

            If you walk toward the back of the school, you will see two overgrown courtyards. Here, there are old bricks covered with slime, ivy and mold. The iron fences and railings are rusted and pitted away, and the once great doorways are now boarded up with decaying lumber. And, if you walk in these courtyards at night, it is said that you may hear the faint echoes of a school teacher dictating to her students, along with the occasional giggles of children behaving as children do, ever so innocent, ever so softly. It is also said that if you hear these innocuous sounds of long ago, you may feel something brush up against you accompanied by a cool gust of wind, as if the ghostly children were just let out for recess.

            The school’s haunted history also tells us that before the windows were boarded up, and the blank, broken glass panes stared silently out onto the streets, an occasional person or two would witness the tiny faces of small children gazing out of the darkness within. On occasion, these youthful spirits might be seen running and playing in the classrooms, then simply fading away into the dark recesses of some old classroom. On other occasions a flash of light is said to appear floating through the hallways, bobbing up and down in a playful manner, oftentimes alerting the police that vandals are inside. When the police inspect the grounds, they find no illegal trespasser, and when their police dogs return, they are likely to exit with their tails between their legs.

               Although the history of School No. 4 seems relatively quaint, and for the most part harmless, with no definite history of foul play involving any child here, something does indeed seem to be taking place here. For within the massive circumference of this centennial landmark, the common belief remains that there is definitely something unnatural, and unpleasant residing here, where the echoes of long ago seem to re-trace themselves in a cyclic fashion, without physical cause or provocation. One popular belief among many parapsychologists and ghost hunters regarding the haunted phenomena at School No. 4 is that over the many years the repeated fear and even anger from one person to the next may have caused an emotional residue effect. Like fine groves in a record album, which holds within the etched vibrations of music, the memory of both joyous and traumatic events are played over and over again until it’s finally disrupted. When someone enters this location, they might be attracting similar fears and other negative feelings, thus enticing spectral memories to be played over and over. This theory known as a residual haunting, or more appropriately “Cell Memory Replay,” might explain why such events happen on various occasions in cyclic fashion, though some suspect a definite intelligence existing within the darkened recesses of this fascinating structure of so long ago.  

            In retrospect to the haunted oddity that looms quietly over the ever-bustling city of Jacksonville, I can honestly say that I was a little spooked when I investigated this sad wreckage from a more civilized time. I had to realize that it has been a home for so much negativity over the years that perhaps a paranormal darkness had fallen over the old remains. As it served as a pathetic refuge for lost and sometimes evil people, such as those practicing Satan worship and animal sacrifice, perhaps such behaviors have created the menacing atmosphere it now retains. Perhaps old School No. 4 had attracted evil itself.

            Today, though School No. 4 still stands as a decaying pentacle of the historic district, her days are indeed numbered, as the march of progress continues. This unique historical landmark is scheduled to become a condominium in the near future, with most of the original structure to remain, like the hand-carved portals and massive doors to serve as a grand entrance to the new settlement.

            Out of respect for Jacksonville’s renowned educational history and to the accomplishments of the schools former principal; Annie Lytle, the future site will appropriately be called the Lytle Place Condominiums. And, even though such progress is ultimately necessary, I can’t help but wonder how the ghosts here will respond with such changes. I can’t help recalling the ancient nursery rhyme that was crudely painted on the decayed auditorium wall: “With every breath the air grows stale…Deathly cold winds howl and wale…Raging thunder pounds like drums…When something wicked this way comes.”  Only time will tell if such a quote is a prediction of the future — but that will be another story.

  

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”I opened the doors slowly. Immediately a wind of rancid, decaying air hit all of us in the face. Standing there, we both turned to each other with looks of utter disgust as the air within was like that of an open tomb.  As we looked inward, we spotted shadows flirting around on the walls, and heard what we thought to be whispers and low talking, and, after a moment, we both heard two distinct voices, that of a man, and that of a young girl. Needless to say, we both hurried out of there in considerable haste…”

 

First Investigation — October, 1999 

 

 

             Myrtle Hill Cemetery and the Garden of Peace; located in Hillsborough County’s Ybor City, was originally the resting place for a 19th century Cuban settlement, and one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the United States. Today, Ybor City still resonates the feeling of history, but is known mostly for its fine dining and nightlife. It’s a city where many unique bars and nightclubs rage through the warm, Florida nights. When the sun goes down on Ybor, the roads are rerouted by police, and the once sleepy streets and cozy storefronts of the day, become packed with partygoers, bar-hoppers and those in search of nocturnal enjoyment. Though this town is well known for its festive nature, just northwest of the bustling streets, outside of the laughter and mayhem, rests a place where a sober peace was designed to exist for those who have departed this plane of reality — a place known as Myrtle Hill Cemetery.

             Myrtle Hill is without a doubt one of the most spiritually active locations I have ever investigated. I should say ‘haunted’ because all who have encountered this massive burial ground during their investigations have all come away with many strange and downright frightening experiences that seem to have no logical explanation. In the fall of 1999, while traveling through the Tampa area with a colleague, I happened upon this impressive edifice of the dead merely by accident as we were en route to a hotel for the evening. Just like a surreal scene from a Hollywood horror film, it was raining hard outside, the sky filled with bursts of lightning with the sound of rolling thunder echoing all around us. The feeling was truly atmospheric, yet at the same time, quite inviting.

             As we passed the cemetery for the first time, we saw the lightning reflect upon the headstones, and the massive walls of a mausoleum, a sight which sent shivers of excitement down our spines. We never found the hotel we were originally looking for, but stopped at a quaint motel far off the beaten path. Once we secured our room for the evening, we decided to backtrack to this delightful cemetery — That’s when the fun began. 

 

Investigation I 

 

              From the very start of this initial investigation, we both felt there was something more to this particular cemetery that met the eye. Myrtle Hill is so big we got lost driving around the many lanes and cul-de-sacs, which wind and turn in all directions. Huge monuments, obelisks, sepulchers, and Victorian-age tombs adorn every angle, and with the flashing of the lightning upon these structures, our curiosity, as well as our confusion doubled. When we arrived in front of the mausoleum, we just sat in the car, trying to get a good look into the dark, giant glass doorway of this huge structure. After a while, we gathered our nerves, and decided to go on in. As we reached the front doors, an instant feeling of dread came over us. I couldn’t explain this feeling, and trying hard to ignore it, I slowly opened the doors. Immediately a wind of rancid, decaying air hit us in the face. Standing there, we both turned to each other with looks of disgust, as the air within was like that of an open tomb. As we looked inward, we spotted shadows flirting around on the walls, and heard what we thought to be whispers and low talking. After a moment, we both heard two distinct voices, that of a man, and that of a young girl. Needless to say, we both hurried out of there with considerable haste, not so much in fear of ghosts, but that of violent transients, or homeless people lodging within the mausoleum for the night.

                As we got back in the car, we waited to see if anyone would rush out the doors or at least make some movement within, but nothing moved.  After about 20 minutes we decided to drive throughout the grounds when we came along another structure in the middle of the cemetery, with a large illuminated steeple at its center. As we got closer, I realized it was housing for niches, used for the cremated. This structure has burial slots on the inner circumference, as well as the outside, and is adorned with a steeple on the roof, which ominously reaches upward into the night sky. The inner section is used for religious gatherings, and like the mausoleum, it too was left wide open. Unlike the mausoleum however, the single chandelier had only a few, dull yellow lights eerily lit. We walked around the inside of this unique housing, taking the time to read the names of the departed, and scrutinizing the many photos hanging from the faces of the niches, with the air still, and filled with the scent of decaying flowers. As we talked about our last experience at the doors of the mausoleum, we both heard two muffled thuds sounding from the back wall. Unsurprisingly, the cold rain and the uncertainty of our surroundings prompted us both to leave for the motel and call it a night — but we would return.

 

My list of questions for all field investigators researching this location: 

 

1.)  What are the first impressions of this location? Is there a psychic response without provocation or is the atmosphere of the location inherent of such impressions and/or feelings?

2.)  Describe any evidence collected during your investigation; such as photographic/video anomalies, noticeable EVP, EMF variations and temperature differentials.

3.)  Separately, please include testimony from psychic/trans-mediums involved in the investigation.   

 

A Return to Myrtle Hill — Investigation II  

 

               The aforementioned impromptu investigation constituted our admission to Myrtle Hill Cemetery, and its spectral disposition. Because of our experiences that first night, we have added this location as an active and ongoing investigation site, where we would continue to scrutinize this location, both electronically and philosophically, subjecting it to various scientific research methods, including  electromagnetic-field analysis, electronic voice-recording analysis, infrared video surveillance and thermo-variation readings every few months. As our first experience with Myrtle Hill was unique on many levels, we had to put our feelings and beliefs in some sort of perspective, as the basic elements of that first evening could surly have altered our imaginations. After all, it was raining outside, the wind was howling, and there was a huge darkened cemetery, recurrently lit by flashing lightning in the middle of nowhere. What ghost hunter or paranormal investigator wouldn’t get at least a little excited at such a scene?  With this honest amount of skepticism, we decided to make another investigation, this time with two other team members, and an assortment of detection equipment.

                 We arrived on a Friday evening around 1:30 a.m. The cemetery grounds were quite, and armed only with our equipment, we entered the huge mausoleum once again. Like before, the smell of decay was all around us, and within only a few moments we began to hear strange sounds. Some of these sounds resembled whispers, and some, certainly could have been the sounds made by a settling building, but nonetheless, strange sounds we could not immediately identify. We began by walking around with the lights off; shining my small mag-light on some of the photos and names of those interred. I asked my partner Kim, and the two new members, sisters Jennifer and Kelly Schneider what they were feeling. I asked them if they heard anything out of the ordinary, if they smelt anything different or even if they had any feelings at all about being here. Understanding that certain places and events may alter one’s perception and mood, all the women expressed feelings of dread, as if they were being watched.

                As we continued our tour, one of the women stopped completely still and asked if we could hear the sound of church bells, as if from a far-off distance. Standing completely still, I did indeed hear what sounded like church bells ringing, but it was now 2:20 a.m. What church would be ringing their bells so early in the morning?  As we continued, we huddled together and stood totally still, saying nothing. Within a minute or so, I began to hear an almost silent minuet, as if from a music box behind a door, or wall. Not wanting to plant any ideas, I said nothing. Sure enough, each of the others exclaimed that they were hearing a music box as well, ever so slightly, but nonetheless perceptible. It was about this time that the atmosphere began to change. The air, although still rancid, seemed to be getting colder, with an occasional breeze. This was certainly strange, as all the doors were closed, and there were no open windows in the mausoleum. Within a few moments, the large metal mobile staircase, used for putting flowers and cards on the crypt faces began to shimmer and shake, with footfalls ever-so ethereally echoing from on top. Stunned, we stood still, quite astonished at the uncanny scene, waiting for what would happen next.

              Because there was almost no light within the mausoleum, and with my handy mag-light only being slightly helpful, I decided to go out to the car and get my larger high-beam floodlight. Although this only took a few moments, and truly didn’t expect anything else to occur during such a short amount of time, when I returned, however, I found all three women standing together, not overly excited, but certainly unnerved. When I asked what had happened, each of them told me that they heard the sound of a baby crying from the southern hallway. The crying lasted less than a minute, but was clear enough for each of the women to hear it. Whether or not this was a maternal response is anyone’s guess, but the women knew something very strange was taking place; and it scared them. Incidentally, weeks later, when Kim and I were making another visit during the day, we found a crypt in that corridor that proved that a mother and child were indeed interred together, as both apparently died in child birth — Coincidence?  

               As we neared the end of our investigation, we decided to inspect our surroundings a bit further, but first, we would have to sit and clear our minds, and ask ourselves who and what might be haunting this location, and more importantly, why would a discarnate spirit remain at such a sad location. We also had to consider the weight of the ‘Stone Tape Theory’ as applied to this location, specifically in the retaining of strong emotions tied to this location, where perhaps a mixture of grief recorded here, as well as the confusion of those dead that have not come to terms to their current state, might be creating the aforementioned events. We asked ourselves if these were emotions that were simply lingering on like a timeless tape recording, or were these paranormal experiences the result of something sentient, somehow coexisting here?

               After we settled our minds, I asked each of the women to stand up, and survey the inner-circumference of the mausoleum, and walk to the first place where the feelings were the strongest. Interestingly enough, each of the women walked over to the eastern section of the great crypt wall and stood in front of a burial plate bearing a young girl named Stephanie, who died at the tender age of 16. She died the very year we were making the investigation, and each of us had strong and sad feelings when we discovered her crypt. Stephanie’s photo, which adorns the nameplate, shows a pretty, dark-haired girl with a kind smile and gentle eyes. There were fresh flowers and a small, embossed-metal plaque in the shape of a cheerleader. Needless to say, we all felt she should not have died so young, and each of us surmised that she did indeed pass on suddenly. More importantly, we all felt that she was one of the restless spirits residing at Myrtle Hill Cemetery, in spite of not having any knowledge of this young girl’s death. At the time of course, we understood that these feelings could have been our imaginations reacting to the understandable regret that someone so young had died, but sometimes we must look inward to our reflections, as sometimes the most heartfelt feelings are often the right ones. Regardless, we offered our respects and continued with our experiments. After which we would call it a night.   

 

Results and Theoretical Considerations: 

 

                The results of our investigations were completely successful, as we were now sure that these strange events were not the results of over-heated imaginations. The second visit, which was a standard scientific-method assessment, complete with photographic comparisons, video, E.M.F and E.V.P. testing, as well as comparing temperature differentials of both the burial structures and overall cemetery, proved interesting to say the least. Of our findings, the primary occurrences followed as noted: 

1.)  Magnetometer-Tri-Field meters with a magnetic setting calibrated for 60 Hz-sine waves and Analog Electro-Static Voltmeter (AEV). The Tri-Field Meters determined various magnetic strengths at this location, both inside and outside where no electric sources could be found. AEV, which is used primarily for checking surface and ambient electrostatic charges, proved inconclusive.

2.)   Non-Contact Infrared Radiometer-Thermometer and Digital Hygro-Thermometer. The basic temperature reading detected massive temperature differentials at the site, where some levels differed to 32 degrees hotter in a space of one hour. Hygro-related temperatures found barometric pressure and relative humidity to change by at least 18 degrees inside the mausoleum, and close to 22 degrees outside.

3.)  Infrared 35-mm camera with 50 mm (171.8 lens) with a Kodak No. 25-Filter, High Speed Infrared Film (HIE 135-36) 36 X 3 exposures proved possible evidence of shadow-like images, as well as photographic curvatures that could not be explained.

4.)  Digital Cameras/Video Recorders (various brands) provided evidence of Orb and Vortex activity, regardless of personal theory attached. Though possible explanations for the majority of orbs photographed may be due to duct, mist and other water-related causes, the anomalies within the inner-circumference of the mausoleum remains unfounded.  

5.)  Ion Survey Meter (ISM) used for the detection of radiation found no conclusive ion-related radiation at, or around the location.

6.)  VOX-Tape Recorder, the portable, voice-activated tape recorder detected several audio anomalies that may be considered as ‘voices’ by some listeners. Although most of the voice-like sounds were heard more abundantly and clearly without the aid of the recording device, the taped versions proved accurate in a comprehensive manner, making it easier to determine the nature of the words, though in most cases jumbled and low in pitch. Evidence of ‘bumps’ and ‘thuds’ were also found while no one was present inside the mausoleum.

7.)  Library/background research provided us with a good history of the location, which turned up mostly uneventful, outside of the fact that there was once a flowing river very close to the mausoleum’s foundation, which was filled-in many years ago. The possibility remains that there may yet be an underground river, or aspect of the Florida aquifer running beneath it, which, according to past studies, can attribute to various spectral-like behaviorisms, and/or (frontal lobe activity). Further research defined at least one historical background on an interred person who died violently. This person, who now lies within the mausoleum, might also point to a possible ‘haunting,’ as is common to popular belief.     

                All in all, the results of this investigation were substantial and important, in that every test showed some variation to that of control sites other than the cemetery and mausoleum. Moreover, the fact that the others had similar experiences without being prompted or instructed beforehand indicates a particular sincerity, which lends to the overall experience. In addition to the scientific methods used on-site, I also took advantage of the local newspapers and the main library. My efforts paid off, as I found useful information on the girl named Stephanie. According to local sources, both newspaper obituaries and through law enforcement, the girl in question was well-loved and very popular in Hillsborough County. She was a cheerleader with her high school, and her classmates all adored her. She had many aspirations for her life and future, so it was a very sad occasion when her car slid off the road one late, rainy night, and slammed into a tree, killing her almost immediately. Her death prompted great remorse from her family and classmates, even culminating in having a local community center named after her. She was, and remains greatly missed.

               With such information about the girl in the mausoleum, coupled with the fact that each of us were drawn to her crypt that late night may suggest an ethereal connection of sorts, whereby her once active spirit was simply not ready to depart our plane of existence. This query alone lends us to speculate, but in the realms of psychical research, the speculation is logical and warranted, as such reports of restless spirits throughout history seem to propagate the theory that she may indeed be active in this place for the dead. Therefore, we must enter this aspect of our investigation as at least a possibility for some of the events that have taken place at Myrtle Hill.        

 

More Strangeness in the Mausoleum   

 

              Several weeks later, Kim and I returned to make our final investigation of the year. The night was still and the weather fair. The mausoleum was again rancid smelling, and this time, the huge chandelier was eerily lit with a soft, yellowish glow. We were ready to take our time and conduct a well thought-out survey. I decided to sit on the metal chairs and listen. For a few moments we heard nothing out of the ordinary, but as time went on, what seemed to be low whispers began in both corridors of the mausoleum. We both just looked at each other in amazement, and then looked back toward the direction of the voices. Darkened by the lack of good light, the hallways took on a more frightening feel, as these whispers seemed to be more or less a conversation between two people, like two elderly ladies at both ends of each corridor, having a chat.

              After about 20 minutes of this, we both got up to slowly investigate the surroundings, only to find two cold, empty corridors. Nobody else was present in the mausoleum that night. So we decided to take a few photographs and try our hand with our equipment for a possible explanation. As we walked around the massive inner- circumference, we took readings of every section, taking photographs and using the EMF reader to see if there were any spikes or other abnormalities. On occasion, the meter would jump and peek, then return to a steady reading. We tried to see if there were temperature differences in the building, setting up a highly sensitive temperature recorder for this purpose. Next, we set up the voice-activated tape recorder, which would begin recording with any detectable noises. We then prepared the video cameras to film the main section of the chapel, which would capture the two corridors on either end.

              With the equipment now set, we walked outside and began taking similar readings throughout the long winding corridors and through the many niches lining the walls of the center complex. Taking photographs and checking the electromagnetic field situation outside, we left no stone unturned. After about 30 minutes, we decided to check our equipment on the inside of the mausoleum for its recordings. Success on both accounts! The temperature recorder picked up several different readings throughout the time we were gone. Although only two temperature gauges were used at that time, and were placed in stationary locations, each one picked up cooling temperatures of almost 15 degrees in that time alone, and on three separate occasions. This incident is odd because there are no open widows in the mausoleum, nor is the air conditioning controls set on cool in the evenings, just a setting to circulate. A drop in temperature in the realm of parapsychology is usually evident of something, such as a spirit-entity entering a location, sometimes called a portal haunting. At Myrtle Hill, this appears to be a common occurrence.

              The voice-activated tape recorder results were also quite intriguing, as when we played the tapes back, we heard several sounds of thuds and bumps, where we were unable to attribute them to any logical source, and the startling sounds of creaking from the mobile staircase were also evident. These sounds were very similar to that of someone gently walking up or down the stairs, and almost identical to the sounds we all heard on our investigation weeks earlier. Moreover, when we checked the video cameras, which both had fresh batteries placed in them only moments before we left, we found that the batteries in each camera and recorder were completely drained, and the video itself, which began filming normally, quickly became filled with static, then black within 12 minuets after turning it on.

               After we gathered up and put away the equipment, we sat and discussed our findings and finished our notes for the evening. As we started to walk out the doors, the distinct sound of someone sighing, like the sound of someone going “Hummm” came from the furthest corridor of the mausoleum. This sound was quite clear, and had within it the hint of sadness, yet we were strangely at ease with it. Instead, we felt as if we were old acquaintances with the fleeting souls at Myrtle Hill’s most haunted mausoleum, so we said our good byes for the evening, but only for the evening however, as we would definitely be visiting the uncanny Myrtle Hill Cemetery and the Gardens of Peace again.      

 

Personal Observations and Assumptions 

 

               In the years I have devoted to my research of folklore and the study of the paranormal, I have visited many reputedly haunted locations that have had connections to many of the oral traditions regarding ghost lore in Florida and abroad. And, although I can only claim a handful of these locations as feeling truly ‘haunted,’ Myrtle Hill Cemetery is certainly one of them. In the short time I have been investigating this cemetery and mausoleum; I can honestly say that there is something there, something slightly out of the ordinary that has never failed to put my senses on full alert. Myrtle Hill is one of those cemeteries that will stay in your mind, primarily because of the duel expression of itself. By day, the feeling of peacefulness and calm seem to resonate from every aspect here. When you walk through the cemetery lawns, you will notice the artistic expressions of love and family honor as you view the many loving epitaphs, and the happy photographs of the departed, which are affixed to the tombstones. A long history is displayed here, and of many faiths and cultural backgrounds, all culminated into a wonderful place of remembrance.

                In contrast to the garish light of day at Myrtle Hill Cemetery, the night proves it to be an entirely different place indeed. By the falling of dusk, this charming cemetery seems to experience a mutation of sorts. The trees seem to sway just a bit differently at night, even the air appears to change here, and practically everyone who has experienced Myrtle Hill in the wee hours will admit that the overall feeling of doom and fear is defiantly noticeable on all accounts. Of the people I have spoke to about Myrtle Hill, all of them generally refuse to go there after the sun sets — Even the police don’t like making rounds there at night, and when they do, they never go alone.  Of the scientific evidence we have collected in the relatively short amount of time while researching Myrtle Hill, there has been a substantial amount of data that certainly makes one take note. Evidence of electronic voice phenomena proved that there was something going on that could not readily be explained, and the electromagnetic field and temperature testing proved out of the ordinary in its responses as well. And, of the countless photographs we have taken, both inside and outside of the buildings and around the cemetery grounds, there have been large amounts of orb activity and other anomalies that cannot go unnoticed. As for the video and audio recorder batteries oddly draining so quickly, this too seems to be a common occurrence during many investigations, as many researchers believe that some unseen energy-like force is draining the batteries for unknown reasons.

             Of the many legends of haunted locations and the countless ghost stories that go hand-in-hand with them, it is likely that many of these stories are fabricated out of the original tale, which has grown over the years. Although many of us would like to believe these legends to be the truth, many of them are simply stories. Yet, in this case, it is important to remember that the owners and staff at Myrtle Hill Cemetery have absolutely nothing to gain from having a haunted legend. In fact, it is safe to say the proprietors would rather not hear of such things. Nonetheless, almost everyone who has come to know this location on a personal basis has found a new respect for the word ‘haunted,’ even for those who claim not to believe in ghosts.

            Even though there are many theories surrounding Myrtle Hill Cemetery, I offer you this little challenge: When in the Tampa area, experience this cemetery and its mausoleum for yourself. Take a walk around the beautiful tombs and monuments and visit the many ornate graves. Take your time to introduce yourself to the plethora of souls that once were as living and as vital as you and I are today. Then, wait until night falls and take that same journey again through this immense land of stone and marble, this land of the dead, and see if your heart doesn’t race a bit more than usual. Take a stroll throughout the mausoleum. You might notice a change in atmosphere, or smell the sour air of decay, and perhaps you too will hear the disembodied whispers echoing from the empty corridors, or detect the sounds of phantom footsteps on the staircase — I’m willing to wager that you too will become a believer in the ghosts of Myrtle Hill. 

 

            Myrtle Hill Cemetery and the Gardens of Peace is located just past the Ybor City 

 

*Simply exit Westbound on Martin Luther King Boulevard from Interstate-4 and continue going west for about 8 miles. The cemetery and mausoleum can be seen from this road, but please use caution when investigating at night. There is a chance you may be visited by the local police, so always remember to show respect and obey the rules. If you venture inside the mausoleum, be sure to pay homage to the spirits there, especially to ‘Stephanie,’ the child spirit who had captured our hearts.    

 Greg Jenkins, Ph.D., Th.D., M.Sc., CEAT

             Greg has over 20 years working in the mental health and medical fields and is currently a mental health counselor and case manager with several psychiatric facilities. Greg is an avid folklorist and collector of urban legends. He is an associate member with the Society for Psychical Researchand the Parapsychological Association  and  is the author of Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore, volumes I, II, and III and Chronicles of the Strange and Uncanny in Florida.

 

The Lakeside Inn

Mount Dora, Florida

“Spirits of an old Florida Inn”

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             The Lakeside Inn is one of central Florida’s best kept secrets. This modest Inn with its bed and breakfast charm, surrounded by huge canopy trees and resting on sparkling Lake Dora, is a true remnant of a more civilized time and culture from Florida’s past. Originally built in 1883 as a simple 10-room inn, later to include Great Gatsby-like bungalows situated near the lake, today boasts a grand lobby and reception area, the elegant Beauclaire dining room and Tremain’s Lounge, round out a fabulous, yet restful stay for anyone desiring a brief escape from our fast and weary world. Although this lovely town offers many restaurants, antique and variety shops throughout, it’s the Lakeside Inn that serves as the brightest beacon to those venturing to Mount Dora…And apparently, it serves as a beacon for ghosts and other sundry spirits too.   

             The Lakeside Inn boasts of at least four resident ghosts, and many reports of haunted experiences and accounts from staff and guest alike. Of the spirits and activities described in and around the Lakeside Inn, there are two young girls dressed from various time periods. The first apparition is of a girl around the age of nine. She is believed to ‘Amy’ a child who disappeared from the hotel around 1890. She wears a red dress and is seen standing near the lobby fireplace. Another spirit is of a girl around the age of twelve, and is seen sporting a blue dress, that is often seen at a dining room table and smiling. She has been credited for moving chairs and chandeliers around the property. Another spirit is that of a small man wearing a top hat, who has been witnessed walking through the lounge, and into the restroom, only to disappear. Finally, there is the specter of a gangster who stares out a gable window. This dapper-dressed gentleman is believed to be the spirit of one of the many gangsters that stayed at the Lakeside Inn during the 1920s. Though he’s not dangerous, he is a bit intimidating to the witnesses.

 

            The Lakeside Inn and its spirited cast of characters, as well as the many reports of haunted activity will be shared here throughout the coming days. Please feel free to interact or share your experience.                

              

LAKESIDE INN: 100 North Alexander Street ~ Mount Dora, FL 32757 USA
Toll Free 800.556.5016 or Local 352.383.4101
Email: info@lakeside-inn.com

zz1z 

Quaerere,  Perceptum et Docere

The I.C.P.R.P.I. is a not-for-profit research consortium and educational resource centre. The purpose of the consortium is to firstly; gain a better understanding about the enigmatic nature of psi-phenomena as related to the human condition. Secondly, to act as a depository for related research into the investigation of psi-phenomena, which is to be made available for all interested persons world-wide, and finally, to uphold and positively augment the reasoning and purpose of psychical and parapsychological research in order to better the discipline as an accepted, and respected aspect of science and philosophical inquiry. 

The I.C.P.R.P.I. is invested to research and scholarly contribution, yet not limited to of the following areas of such thought: Hauntings, Apparitions and Poltergeist phenomena, Extra Sensory Perception (ESP), Post-Mortem Survival (PMS), Psychokinesis (PK), Metaphysical Studies, Dream-State Research and Astral Projection, Out‑of‑Body Experiences (OBE) and Near-Death Experiences (NDE), Mediumship and Spirit Channeling, The Occult and Magical Arts as related to the paranormal, Altered States of Consciousness, Ecto-Connectivity (EC), Religious Experiences and Beliefs (Sympathetic/Contagious Magic), Psychic Healing and Alternative Medicine, Astrology and Divination, Demon Possession and Demonology. In addition to this, The I.C.P.R.P.I. is also interested in regional and international aspects of Folklore and Urban Legends, Cryptozoology, as well as UFO incidents, Alien and Abduction phenomena.

We welcome all to participate in our investigations, and welcome your individual input in order to better the understanding of these and other controversial subjects.

“…Scientia potentia est, sed parva; quia scientia egregia rara est, nec proinde apparens nisi paucissimis, et in paucis rebus. Scientiae enim ea natura est, ut esse intelligi non possit, nisi ab illis qui sunt scientia praediti…”

Thomas Hobbes, De Homine, 1658.

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The following listing of organizations, agencies and private groups and societies constitutes a primary listing of affiliates, and which represents the professional end of the field of psychical research and related paranormal investigations. These organizations have been chosen by the I.C.P.R.P.I. as the main source for investigating this field from a professional and exact standpoint, and are of such advised for serious scholars to take part in. Having said that; it is important to realize that other groups and organizations that refer to themselves as professional and/or as ‘parapsychologists,’ though not having a scientific background, or at least having an actual working knowledge of the profession, should instead, begin taking part in serious research in order to better acquaint themselves to this profession as a whole…Its not only about ghosts and poltergeists. Although I can certainly respect the interesting nature of the popular ‘ghost hunting/reality “in-your-face” television shows,’ it would be a good choice to ‘investigate’ from another perspective. Furthermore, though this blog page is a retrospective of popular notions and concepts; almost entirely from a ‘folkloric’ perspective, we do indeed value the importance of the purely scientific quest to get the truth by scientific means. I hope you will too.

Training and Research

        If you’re looking for down-to-earth training in parapsychology, consciousness studies or transpersonal psychology, there are several organizations that can offer this, either from a scholastic, hard science foundation (listed later on in this report), or from a more hands-on foundation, taught by real-time professionals in the field. My first recommendation is Loyd Auerbach, a well-known expert on ghosts and psychic experience, holding a Master’s degree in Parapsychology; is director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, as well as a professor at JFK University. He is the creator and instructor of the Certificate Program in Parapsychological Studies at HCH Institute, and hosts many lecture series both from a distance perspective and in California. Professor Auerbach is known to be open to questions and for offering sound advice for those who are serious about the profession.

For more information, please visit: http://www.atlanticuniv.edu/index.html and http://www.ghostvillage.com/ghostvillageu/parapsychologycourses.shtml For professor Auerbach’s Blog page, visit: http://mindreader.com/

 My second recommendation is Dr. Andrew Nichols, Ph.D., a well known figure in the psychical research community, having been seen in dozens of documentaries, is author of Ghost Detective: Adventures of a Parapsychologist and who is director of the American Institute of Parapsychology (AIP), a non-profit research and educational organization based in Gainesville, Florida. AIP’s purpose is to foster to its students a greater understanding about the anomalous aspects of the human experience, which of course includes the subjects of ghosts and hauntings. AIP conducts various courses in parapsychology, aimed at the general public, and maintains a library specializing in parapsychology, abnormal psychology and occult/mystical studies (a collection that includes hundreds of books, audio-visual materials and issues of the main parapsychology journals for students). Dr. Nichols and his staff offers top-notch instruction, but don’t expect silliness or reality show drama — This is the real thing, and will offer its students a chance to explore this topic from a direct point-of-view.

            For more information, please visit: http://parapsychologylab.com/  

           

 Top Organizations in Parapsychology and Psychical Research 

 

        The following organizations are among my favorites, and are ones I am involved with directly, or indirectly. I hope you, the reader, will take a moment to look at these groups and institutions and see how the ‘Real Ghost Hunters’ operate within the profession of psychical research. This listing should be regarded as the best of the professional organizations affiliated with the methodology utilized by the ICPRPI, and is recommended for the serious researcher to take part in, and/or join. No doubt, there are other groups and organizations befitting this listing, so if I missed anyone, my apologies. Please send your details for review, and we’ll be happy list you here. Otherwise, enjoy the grand opportunity you have to take part in the actual study of parapsychology from the top listing below. 

 

  • Rhine Research Center (USA)

 http://www.rhine.org/

Based in Durham, USA, the Center continues and expands the work of J.B. and Louisa Rhine, the Rhine Research Center is an integrative center for the study of consciousness. It serves as the hub for ground-breaking research and educational activities on the nature of human consciousness, which includes all aspects of paranormal and psychical research. This organization offers a scholarly listing of lecture and conference series, as well as resources that will aid the researcher in all areas of the field.

2741 Campus Walk Ave # 500
Durham, NC 27705-8878 — (919) 309-4600

 

  • Society for Psychical Research (UK)

http://www.spr.ac.uk/main/

The SPR was first overseen by Henry Sidgwick, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge University, and the society’s first president. The SPR is the ‘first learned society’ of its kind, founded in London in 1882 for the purpose of “investigating that large body of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and spiritualistic, and to do so in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems.” Among the early members of the SPR were such prominent figures as the physicist William Barrett; the experimental physicist Lord Rayleigh; Arthur Balfour, philosopher and Prime Minister Gerald Balfour, a classical scholar and philosopher As this is the first such organization to openly research and ponder such things; other than another of England’s premier psychical organization; ‘The Ghost Club,’ the SPR continues to be the pentacle of such societies, offering students, researchers and the public a plethora of resources regarding this area of scientific inquiry, though lecture and conference series, library inter-loan privileges and much more.

For further information: The SPR
49 Marloes Road, Kensington, London.

W8 6LA — Tel:  0207 9378984        

 

·         The Parapsychological Association, Inc. (USA)

http://www.parapsych.org/

The Parapsychological Association, Inc. (PA) is the international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of ‘psi’ (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. It is also engaged in the more traditional aspects of the research, such as ghosts, haunting and related paranormal events.

 

·         The Parapsychology Foundation (USA)

http://www.parapsychology.org/

The Parapsychology Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation which provides a worldwide forum supporting the scientific investigation of psychic phenomena. The Foundation gives grants, publishes pamphlets, monographs, conference proceedings and the International Journal of Parapsychology, hosts the Perspectives Lecture Series, and even conducts an Outreach Program. In addition to this, it also operates The Psychic Explorers Club, operated by world-renowned psychic, Eileen J. Garrett. Visit  www.psychicexplorers.org/ for more information.

 

·         The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research P.E.A.R. program (USA)

http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/

The (PEAR) program, an organization that has existed  for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has completed its experimental agenda of studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality. It continues to research various aspects of anomalous phenomena.  This unique organization also housed the International Consciousness Research Laboratory http://www.icrl.org/home/an international, interdisciplinary consortium. Its goal is to foster a broader range of inquiry; to encourage a new generation of deeply creative investigators to expand the boundaries of scientific understanding; and to strengthen the foundations of science by reclaiming its spiritual heritage. 

 

  • Society for Scientific Exploration (USA)

http://www.scientificexploration.org/

The SSE is a multidisciplinary professional organization; the SSE is committed to the study of phenomena that cross traditional scientific boundaries. Designed as a professional organization for scientists and scholars who study unusual and unexplained phenomena, the SSE intermingles the foundations of mainstream science and technology with such concepts as consciousness, UFO research, and alternative medicine, yet often offers profound implications for human knowledge and technology. The SSE provides a professional forum for presentations, criticism, and debate concerning topics which are for various reasons ignored or studied inadequately within mainstream science. Their secondary goal is to promote an improved understanding of those factors that unnecessarily limit the scope of scientific inquiry, such as sociological constraints, restrictive world views, hidden theoretical assumptions, and the temptation to convert prevailing theory into prevailing dogma.

 

  • Institute for Scientific Exploration 

http://instituteforscientificexploration.org/

            The ISE conducts groundbreaking research in the biomedical, natural sciences, and social sciences fields, as well as investigates alternative practices, such as alternative medicine therapies, and alternative scientific theories and hypotheses, in order to help explain the many unanswered scientific questions, as well as, the many scientific anomalies and other unexplained phenomena of all kinds that have been observed in these fields. Secondly, based on research findings, ISE’s mission is to develop novel services and technologies that will benefit people, and help solve the major problems faced by corporations, government agencies, and other organizations and institutions that serve society, worldwide. This organization should be considered among the more scientific, though not entirely from the psychical perspective. This is an excellent organization for those who hold degrees in a scientific discipline, who wish to get active in a present field, and/or to publish though their network.

 

  • The Ghost Club (UK)

http://www.ghostclub.org.uk/

Noted as the original ghost-lore and paranormal organization in history (founded in 1862) the Ghost Club has had an illustrious membership. From Charles Dickens, Siegfried Sassoon, Harry Price, Peter Cushing, Peter Underwood, Maurice Grosse and many others, today the Ghost Club is a non-profit, social club run by an elected Council of volunteers. Its purpose remains true to its roots; the Ghost Club offers open-minded, curious individuals the opportunity to debate, explore and investigate unexplained phenomena with like-minded people and record the results for posterity.   The Ghost Club offers overnight and on-site investigations (Throughout the United Kingdom), as well as club meetings and a newsletter for its members.

 

  • Cognitive Sciences Laboratory (USA)

http://www.lfr.org/LFR/csl/

The Laboratory conducts Parapsychological research, and is part of The Laboratories for Fundamental Research based at Palo Alto, USA.

 

·         The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (USA)

http://www.csicop.org/

The purpose of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is to promote serious investigation and critical thinking in the areas of the claims of the paranormal and similar concepts of a controversial nature. Though at first this organization appears to be the international naysayer of the paranormal investigator, it is vital for said researcher to view the opposite spectrum of the paranormal debate, and learn from their studies and contributions in order to better our own scholarly database. To that end, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry serves as a staging point from the skeptic’s point of view, and then to consider their findings in spite of the oftentimes demeaning approach in doing so.  

 

  • Department of Psychology, University of Goeteborg (Germany)

http://parapsykologi.se/artiklar/ganzfeld.html  

The Ganzfeld project at the University of Göteborg (Gothenburg) is aimed at bringing so-called subjective psi-experiences into a laboratory setting which will the exact nature of the experiences and the conditions influencing their occurrence to be studied. It incorporates the essential features relating to the occurrences of the spontaneous phenomena. The focus of research interest is the nature of consciousness and its relation to brain processes and human potential.

 

  • Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia (USA)

http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/psychiatry/sections/cspp/dops/home-page

Founded by the late Professor Ian Stevenson, the main purpose of the unit is the scientific investigation of phenomena that suggest that currently accepted scientific assumptions and theories about the nature of mind or consciousness, and its relationship to matter, may be incomplete. Examples of such phenomena include various types of extrasensory perception, apparitions and deathbed visions, poltergeists, near-death experiences (NDEs), out-of-body experiences (OBEs), and claimed memories of previous lives.

 

  • Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (USA)

http://www.igpp.de/english/welcome.htm

The Institute, based at Freiburg in Germany, engages in research concerning insufficiently understood phenomena and anomalies at the frontiers of current scientific knowledge.

 

  • Institute of Noetic Sciences (USA)

http://noetic.org/

The Institute is based in California and conducts research into consciousness-related matters. Founded by astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, now serving as a board member for the institute, he continues to be active at institute events, including lectures and conferences. The institute is an excellent way to find scholarly information and related referrals within the psi related communities, as well as offering a way to contribute and gain knowledge in this arena.

 

·         Berkeley Psychic Institute (USA)

http://www.berkeleypsychic.com/

Also known as the “psychic kindergarten,” founded in 1973, the institute is designed to further education in various aspects of psychic research, and teaches how to recognize and develop psychic abilities through classes in clairvoyance, meditation, healing and energy. This is an excellent resource for those living on the west coast of the United States.

 

·         The Boundary Institute (USA)

http://www.boundaryinstitute.org/bi/index.html

Boundary Institute is a nonprofit scientific research organization dedicated to the advancement of 21st-Century science. We are currently pursuing two major research themes, one concerning the foundations of physics, the other the foundations of mathematics and computer science.

 

  • Centre for Fundamental and Anomalies Research C-FAR(USA)

http://www.c-far.org/

The Centre for Fundamental & Anomalies Research aims to encourage, sponsor and conduct research into controversial or open issues in science and philosophy, and to use findings to promote positive social change.

 

·         The Koestler Parapsychology Unit KPU (UK)

http://www.koestler-parapsychology.psy.ed.ac.uk/

·         The Koestler Parapsychology Unit is a research group based in the Psychology Department at the University of Edinburgh. This scholarly organization consists of academic staff and postgraduate students who teach and research various aspects of parapsychology and psychical-based research, including: the possible existence of psychic ability, the belief in the paranormal the psychology of anomalous experiences, pseudo-psychic deception and other aspects of the field.

 

·         Pacific Neuropsychiatric Institute PNI (USA)

http://www.pni.org/esp/

PNI researches, among other topics, the anomalous experiences (those of a person’s having a paranormal, psychic or otherwise bizarre experience) that it cannot easily be explained using our conventional laws of science. Subjective paranormal experiences in temporal lobe dysfunction Déjà Vu, Out of body Experience and Vortex Pluralism to name a few.

 

·         The Paranormal Network/The Office of Paranormal Investigation (USA)

http://www.mindreader.com/

The OPI draws on the investigative and research traditions of parapsychology, psychical research and other fields of science to provide information and consulting services for the general public, Media, Business, the Legal Community, Law Enforcement, Realtors, and other specialized audiences. It is interested in potential applications of psi experiences in those arenas.

 

  • ASSAP (USA)

http://www.assap.org/

The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena is a scientifically-oriented educational charity and amateur research organization dedicated to a better understanding of anomalous phenomena.

 

  • Austrian Society for Parapsychology (Austria)

 http://www.parapsychologie.at/index.htm

Based at Vienna University, the society organizes public lectures and maintains a library, and serves as an excellent resource for our German/Austrian scholars and Germanic speaking students of the paranormal who are looking for related information and lecture series in their home countries. It also offers good resources for contacts and links, as well as having an excellent archival section of past and ongoing investigations and symposiums on the many aspects of psychical research.

 

  • Exceptional Human Experience (USA)

http://ehe.org/display/splash.html

Here’s another excellent web community that focuses on fascinating topics regarding   everything within the realm of parapsychology, but also the concepts of psychology, anthropology, sociology and all things akin to the human condition. Although the founder and primary contributor, Rhea White, passed away in 2007, the contents of this scholarly community continue, with their exceptional web journal ‘Psiline.’ For more information, on the subject of psychical experiences, contact http://www.parapsychology.org directly.  

 

  • The European Paranormal Society Germany (German)

http://www.teps-germany.de/english.html

Teps-Germany is located in Essen, Ruhr, and investigates throughout Europe. Because the founders have typical occupations, their meeting times are by appointment arrangement to be determined. This is a new organization which is dedicated to serious research and for the collection and preservation of all findings.   

 

  • The International Institute of Metaphysics IMI (France)

http://www.metapsychique.org/

The L’Institut Metapsychique International (IMI) or ‘The International Institute of Metaphysics’ is another excellent resource and scholarly organization/society for French-speaking students of the paranormal. Located in Paris, and established in 1919, the IMI supports the scientific study of phenomena related to paranormal, psychical and occult research. It houses an excellent library at its headquarters, and hosts lectures and related symposiums throughout Paris. 

 

  • Psychic Science (UK)

http://www.psychicscience.org/daniels.aspx

Dr. Michael Daniels BSc (Hons, 1st Class), PhD, AFBPsS, CPsychol. Is the administrator of the Psychic Science web page. He is Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Program Leader for the M.Sc in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom. He is the author of several books and many academic articles and chapters in the areas of transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, psychical research and Jungian psychology. This site offers an introduction to parapsychology and a number of psi tests online. It is an excellent resource for those interested in the other aspects of Parapsychological research, which has been neglected in recent years. It retains a professional and courteous way in teaching this area of psychical research.

 

  • Paranormal Database (UK)

http://www.paranormaldatabase.com/

The Paranormal Database is a serious ongoing project to quantitatively document as many locations with paranormal/cryptozoological interest as possible, region by region throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Ninety-four areas are currently covered, now totaling over 9600 entries, with frequent additions and current stories continuously updated. This is website will offer the serious investigator a chance to explore the United Kingdom from an insider’s point of view. For our world travelers, this association will prove invaluable.   

 

  • The Princeton University School of Engineering Anomalies (USA)

http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program is a scholarly aspect of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Its primary goal was to experiment the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, such as systems and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality. Though this organization is comprised of scientists and engineers who take their craft very seriously, they are open to ideas about the paranormal from a purely scientific stance, and have a plethora of scholarly contributions to the field. Their theoretical models and detail to proposed implications will serve the technical student of psychical research with favor. 

 

  • Scottish Society for Psychical Research (UK)

http://www.sspr.co.uk/

The SSPR was founded by Professor Archie Roy in 1987, and aims to investigate all types of phenomena known as Paranormal or Parapsychological, and collect, classify and study reports of such phenomena. There are monthly lectures in Glasgow, (Sept. through April) which usually take place in the Boyd Orr Building of the University of Glasgow. These lectures cover everything from medium-ship and psychic detection to ghost and haunting research. The SSPR also has the PSI Report Magazine, which covers its meeting minutes and offers information of upcoming lecture series and referrals. 

 

  • The Harry Price Website (UK)

http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/index.html 

This web page is dedicated to the life and work of England’s most famous ghost hunter and controversial psychical researcher, Harry Price (1881-1948). Harry Price had offered a great deal to the exploits of the historical psychical researcher, as well as for modern-day researcher. Though the constant victim from naysayers and critics of his day, he had investigated the concept of parapsychology with a certain zeal that continues to be used to this day. Best remembered for his research into Borley Rectory ‘The Most Haunted House in England,’ Price was one of the first researchers to use animals, primarily dogs, to accompany him on overnight vigils, as he believed that such animals had a keener sense of the unseen world around us. This concept, which is hardly refuted today, was an topic of humor in his day. This website will offer researcher a good look into the paranormal investigation of the past.  

* Please note: All stories, conjectures and resources have been written by the author, Greg Jenkins. All photos used are either those of the author, or are from a non-licensed source, such as from a public domain.  As the stories are in part from the author’s books, and owned by Pineapple Press, Inc., permission must be secured before any story, in part or in whole is reproduced, outside of being used as a cited quotation.       

Source:

http://new.pineapplepress.com/booksummary.asp

 

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