Michigan’s Stoned or Michigan’s “Stonehenge”

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I like to roam the internet for the weird and wonderful and this morning I came upon an article about a 9,000 year old stone structure, located only 40 feet below the surface and Stonehenge-like in composition, from 2015. Nestled snugly between an advertisement for Ink+Volt and a promo for a “free” Numerology reading was a remarkable tale regarding stone structures found at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

The stones are located near Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve. Mark Holley, a professor of underwater archaeology at Northwestern Michigan University College, found the site with his colleague Brian Abbot in 2007. The ship they were piloting was equipped with sonar equipment used to find shipwrecks on the bottom, but the two found much more.

The stones appeared to be lined up, some in octagonal formations, and included one stone on which was carved a mastodon, a prehistoric creature that lived over 10,000 years ago.  Researchers were shown photos of the carving and requested additional imaging of the ancient petroglyph.  Charles Cleland, former curator of Great Lakes archaeology and ethnology at Michigan State University says that, although petroglyphs are rarely seen in the Upper Midwest, he can see the value of investigating further and does not rule out the idea that this may be an authentic piece of ancient history.

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The structure at the bottom of Lake Michigan is not unique. Other stone structures have been located in other Great Lakes and ancient structures found underwater are not entirely unusual. In the Mediterranean alone, over 100 cities have been discovered as well as pyramids and other ancient structures. Geographical history of the location (coordinates have been kept secret to prevent visitors from disturbing the site) shows that the land would have been tundra 6000-9000 years ago, so the stones could have been used to mark some sort of ceremonial site. It has also been speculated that the stones could have been some sort of “drive line” and used as early hunting blinds. If you consider the fact that a meager 5% of the world’s oceans have been explored, who knows what else could be down there.

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What are your thoughts about the mastodon stone? Let us know in the comments!

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

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Don’t chew on the walls, kids! S1 Ep.1

Episode 1 of Haunt Heads is now available on Podbean.com!  https://hauntheads.podbean.com/e/dont-chew-on-the-walls-kids-haunt-heads-s1-ep1/

The audio quality in this episode leaves something to be desired, but headphones should help. Our next episode will be GREATLY improved in the audio department.

We appreciate your views, your follows, your likes, and your patience as we get the hang of pod casting/our equipment.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

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Chi Town’s Capone: A Haunted Man

He employed over 1,000 gunmen and half of the police in Chicago were on his payroll. Dozens of city officials were paid off and he controlled elections with threats and terror. That man was Alphonse “Al” Capone. He was perhaps the most powerful crime boss of his day and one of the most recognized men in American history. During prohibition, Capon basically owned the city of Chicago.

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Capone was born in 1899, in Brooklyn, NY. He moved to Chicago in 1920 with his uncle, a mob boss named Big Jim Collisimo and worked for him until he and a fellow mobster had Collisimo killed. By the time Capone was 26, he controlled a crime organization worth over $30 million and had a payroll of over $300,000.

Eventually arrested for tax evasion in 1934, Capone was sentenced to 11 years in Federal Prison in Atlanta, but was eventually transferred to Alcatraz, one of the toughest prisons of the time. Prisoners were severely beaten for the slightest infraction and spent long stretches in solitary confinement, also called The Hole. Capone was arrogant and had a difficult time believing that the rules of the prison applied to him, so he was sent to The Hole several times during his stay, once for bribing a guard and twice for speaking. Each time he emerged, fellow inmates reported that Capone appeared shaken and changed for the worse.

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In Alcatraz, Capone’s life was threatened regularly and he was often attacked by other inmates, receiving beatings and, in one instance, a stabbing. He was granted permission to spend rec time in his cell and, in an effort to give him something to occupy his mind, his wife Mae sent him a banjo. He often sat in his cell and played.

After five years, Capone had snapped. He refused to go to the mess hall to take his meals and was often seen crouched in a corner of his cell rocking and  babbling to himself. He made his bunk several times a day and was said to have entire conversations with something unseen. Capone left Alcatraz in 1939 and retired to his mansion in Miami, FL, reportedly flitting between lucidity and psychosis for the remainder of his life.

Some visitors to Alcatraz have reported hearing banjo music in Capone’s cell, but his ghost is not said to haunt the structure. Rather, Capone himself was a haunted man. Capone had ordered James Clark, the brother in law of Bugs Moran, killed, and asserted that Clark’s ghost haunted him daily. Capone’s body guards reported hearing him begging to be left in peace and, when they broke down the door to his bedroom fearing for his safety, they found Capone alone and shaking.  His employees would often hear him talking to himself and asking to be left alone. Capone had even employed a psychic, Alice Britt, to rid him of the spirit causing him unrest. All of these instances were before Capone was ever imprisoned.

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Was Capone haunted by the ghost of James Clark? Capone ordered the murder of many people during his time as a crime kingpin. Why would only one ghost attach itself to him?

Do you think Capone was actually being haunted by Clarke’s ghost? Have you visited Alcatraz and heard Capone’s banjo music? Let us know in the comments.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

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House of the Seven Gables, Salem, MA: Haunting & Hawthorne

A visit to Salem is pretty high up on my bucket list. It falls just above taking the Jack the Ripper tour in England and just below visiting the Mutter Museum in Pennsylvania. The history of old Salem is definitely a draw for me, but I’m also fascinated by the touristy side of new Salem. Some compare it to a witchy sort of theme park, filled with out-of-towners and people swathed in robes and pointy hats. Some might find the commercialization of Salem quite sad, but truthfully it makes me want to visit even more. It seems to me as if this side of Salem has become a way of life for those who reside there, embracing the past and creating a new future. But there are some structures that retain their history and their ghosts.

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Built in 1667, the House of the Seven Gables is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. The house is now a museum, but has undergone renovations by the Turner and Ingersoll families that resided within it. For this reason, it is often referred to as the Turner-Ingersoll mansion. Susan Ingersoll, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s cousin, resided in the house until she died at the age of 72 and he visited her quite often. The house was the inspiration for his novel of the same name.

Visitors to the mansion report the house to be quite active, particularly on the attic staircase. Some claim to feel dizzy or lightheaded as they ascend the stairs while others feel an oppressive force pushing down on them. It has also been reported that there is a sensation of being pushed backwards, as if something is forcing them out of the attic. Susan Ingersoll’s ghost has also been spotted in the windows of the house and people have seen her specter wandering the halls. An apparition of a little boy has been seen playing in the attic. Other experiences include:

  • Cold spots.
  • Being touched by unseen hands.
  • Hearing screams.
  • Hearing deep growling sounds.
  • Malfunctioning water taps and electricity (turning off and on by themselves.)
  • While outside, some have said they heard someone tapping on the windows as if trying to get their attention.

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Tours of the location last roughly 30-40 minutes and, it seems to me, that given the activity at the location there’s practically a guarantee you’ll experience something during your visit.

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Have you visited the House of the Seven Gables? Did you have an experience there that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

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Sleep Tight: The Hag of Newfoundland Folklore (Newfoundland, Canada)

I learned of The Hag in grade school, sometime around 1994.  It was close to Halloween and my teacher had added a little bit of folklore into her lesson plan. It was a story I hadn’t heard before and I was instantly intrigued.

Most people call it what it is: sleep paralysis. That feeling of being unable to move in the moments just before your fall into REM sleep. If you have issues falling into or out of REM sleep, and your experience involves hallucinations or you’re unable to move or speak as you begin the waking process, you might be experiencing sleep paralysis. Where I come from, it means you’ve been “Hagged.”

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The Hag is a demon called down upon an unsuspecting individual by another person. There are many reasons why The Hag might be summoned, but the tale my teacher wove involved a vengeful wife. As the story goes, the woman made a pact with the devil and offered her husband’s soul in exchange. He had many women interested in him, but one woman in particular had set her sights on him and the two were often seen in each other’s company. This angered the man’s wife, so she called The Hag down upon him.

One night, the man awoke from a deep slumber to a pressure on his chest. His eyes slowly came to focus on a dark form perched there, its eyes glowing and its teeth glinting in the moonlight. Although the man tried to scream, no sound could he make. Although he tried to move and push the figure away, he could not make his arms or legs react. The growling form pried his mouth open with long, sharp talons and placed its mouth upon his, draining the life from his body. The Hag swallowed his soul and forever imprisoned it in hell. The man’s wife lived a long and happy life without the burden of her cheating husband.

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There is no definitive cause for sleep paralysis, though some doctors suggest that getting more sleep, as sleep deprivation is often reported by sufferers, could be a cure-all. Perhaps getting better and longer sleep will help, but the stories in cultural folklore still persist.

As long as there are unexplained phenomena in this world, there will be folklore tales to craft a response. Although this response may sound illogical, the folklore tale of The Hag was rooted deeply in the lives of early settlers on the island. These tales were handed down from generation to generation and allowed sufferers to give a real face to something they could not explain.

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Side Note: I’m pretty sure my teacher was disciplined for sharing such a story with a grade school class, even if it was just for laughs.

Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? Do you have a Hag story to share? Please comment below. Sweet dreams.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

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Enjoy Your Stay: The Carlton County Gaol (Ottawa Jail Hostel), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dark Past

Said to be one of Canada’s most haunted buildings and featured on many top ten lists of haunted places is The Ottawa Jail Hostel. Originally, the structure was used as a maximum security prison, connected to the courthouse next door via a tunnel, and housed every kind of offender from murderers to the mentally ill. The structure, opened in 1862, had no glass over barred windows, allowing the Ottawa winters to chill the inhabitants to the bone in their tiny 9’x3′ cells. Each cell barely had enough room for a mattress on the floor. Prisoners endured harsh conditions, including torture from the guards, and were only fed once per day, leading to an undocumented number of deaths. Up to 150 prisoners had to share 60 small cells and 30 larger cells. Six cells were reserved for solitary confinement.

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The prison was Ottawa’s main detention center and was a model prison when it opened. Other institutions were modeled after its example and it remained the main jail for over 100 years.

Darker Present

Once the prison closed in 1972, a company bought the location and turned it into a hostel, converting the cells into small dorms with bunk beds where patrons could sleep. The staff run regular tours of the building, telling visitors of the horrible conditions and the innumerable deaths on the property. The hostel now offers a money back guarantee to those brave enough to stay the night. The location is apparently very active because they’ve never had to refund a guest.

Unexplained Occurrences

A guest who had complained about not seeing any ghosts approached the manager about a refund about halfway through her stay. The manager, following their policy, retrieved the woman’s money and laid it on the counter. Before she could grab her change, a coin rose from the counter top and hovered in the air for at least a minute before dropping again. The woman threw her money down and ran from the lobby.

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Guests have reported hearing women and children crying in the basement area of the old jail as well as disembodied footsteps in the hallways. Cell doors will often slam shut on their own and, on the top floor where Death Row was located, guests have reported hearing the trap door release and the tightening sound of the noose around a neck. They also hear kicking noises as if someone is flailing after being hanged.

Have you ever spent the night at the Ottawa Jail Hostel? Do you have experiences to share? Please let us know in the comments.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

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Black River Falls, WI: Hauntings, Murder, & Suicide

There  is little explanation for the events that took place in the small, isolated town of Black River Falls at the end of the 19th century. Between 1890 and 1900 the town, filled with primarily German and Norwegian immigrants, fell victim to a rash of occurrences that very nearly brought the town and all who lived there into complete downfall. Charles Von Schaik, a local photographer, cataloged the events in photo form capturing some 30,000 images. What he captured on film was evidence of vagrancy run rampant, murder-suicide pacts, madness, and the unexplained.

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In the 1890’s, Black River Falls was enduring the worst financial crash and commercial depression the country had ever known. Many immigrants had come in hopes of growing or starting a family in the area and the land was very cheap, but upon arrival had realized that the land was worthless, not even worth what they paid. Railroads offered free fare to those eager to move elsewhere. Shortly thereafter, residents began acting strangely. Stories of ghosts and witchcraft swirled and reports of random violence, shootings, and suicides rose. Residents took their lives and were found hanging in barns and from trees on their property. Some accounts of strange behavior include:

  • A farmer blew off his own head by placing it over a hole full of dynamite and lighting the fuse.
  • A woman, concerned about the rash on her back, went outside and doused herself in gasoline then lit a match and self-immolated.
  • A young mother takes her children for a day at the beach and drowns them one by one while the others watch.
  • A fifteen-year-old girl burns her employers barn and house because she “wanted some excitement.” She had burned several buildings of previous employers.
  • A recently divorced man shoots his wife and family dead in the town square.
  • A young man attempts suicide by laying on the train tracks. He had only been living in Black River Falls for about a month. It takes four men to remove him from harm. After this incident, he is never seen or heard from again.
  • A farmer decapitates all of his chickens, convinced that the devil has overtaken his farm.
  • A family offers lodging and food to a drifter who, after the family goes to sleep, shoots them all before shooting himself.
  • A former school teacher, now addicted to cocaine and travelling the country by train, is admitted to the insane asylum for her propensity to break windows. She had been arrested and institutionalized scores of times for the same activity.
  • A ten-year-old boy and his brother run away from home and kill the owner of a remote farm by shooting him in the head. They live on the property for some time before being discovered by the farmer’s brother. The younger boy is caught while the older flees the scene. Authorities capture the older boy, but not before he shoots one of the men. The boy is sentenced to life in the penitentiary.

Today, Black River Falls is a tourist destination and is home to roughly 3,600 souls. People come to the community for camping and shopping and downtown is filled with small shops and restaurants that resemble little of the town depicted in Von Schaik’s photographs. There are no explanations for the behaviors of the residents in the 1880-90’s and answers will likely never be found. Despite that fact, there will always be speculation surrounding the small town and its former inhabitants.

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Have you ever visited Black River Falls? Do you have any theories as to why these strange occurrences took place? Do you have a story you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

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