New Podcast Episode/The Haunting of Catherine Snow

A new episode of Haunt Heads is now available for download!

S3 Ep. 3: Just Pan Bein’ Pan, Yo!

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This week, Katie takes us to Athens, Greece and we explore the myths, hauntings, and legends surrounding Davelis Cave. Janine goes back to her roots and shares the tale of Catherine Mandeville Snow, the last woman to be hanged in Newfoundland, Canada.

This episode contains ghostly footprints leading nowhere, Pan the original bar creeper, a haunted courthouse, and a murder mystery.

Intro/outro provided by Fox and Branch (www.foxandbranch.com)

 

The Haunting of Catherine Snow

Neighbors said their relationship was strained and their marriage when they finally took that next step, was even worse, prone to terrible fights and noise, so they were puzzled when the racket finally ceased. Then, they wondered what had happened to Catherine’s husband, John Snow, and their minds instantly settled on murder.

Catherine Mandeville Snow was born in Harbour Grace around 1793 and married John Snow in 1828 and lived with him in Salmon Cove near Port de Grave. Snow was originally from Bareneed and was a planter and fisherman by trade. Catherine and John quickly grew their family from two to nine and lived together in a modest home in Salmon Cove. On the night of August 31, 1833, after another of their knockdown, drag-out brawls, Snow disappeared without a trace

Police investigated Snow’s disappearance, finding nothing but a patch of dried blood on Snow’s wharf (fishing stage.) The police, instantly convinced they were dealing with a murder, quickly arrested Tobias Manderville (first cousin of Catherine Snow) whom they believed Snow’s wife was carrying on an affair with, and Arthur Spring, a household servant. Catherine went into hiding, running into the woods to evade capture, but she eventually turned herself in to the authorities in Harbour Grace. She likely thought that the police would simply question her and let her go given they had no evidence with which to hold or convict her.

 

The Newfoundlander (http://ngb.chebucto.org/Newspaper-Obits/nflder-1831-34.shtml)

Thursday, September 12, 1833

A most atrocious and unnatural murder has lately been perpetrated at Port-de-Grave, in Conception Bay. Mr. JOHN SNOW, a respectable planter of that place, having suddenly and mysteriously disappeared inquiry was set on foot, and from certain suspicious circumstances, a servant of SNOW’S named ARTHUR SPRING, and another man of the name of (Tobias) MANDEVILLE, were arrested, but there not being sufficient evidence to criminate them, they were, we understand, released on bail. We learn, however, that on Saturday last, SPRING made a voluntary confession, in which he stated that his master had actually been murdered, at the instigation of his own wife, that he had been shot by MANDERVILLE in his (SPRING’S) presence; and that after the deed was accomplished, they had attached the body to a grapnel and thrown it into the sea. MANDEVILLE, we understand, on being arrested and examined, admitted part of SPRING’S evidence, but denied having been the actual perpetrator of the crime – alleging that SPRING was the principal. MANDEVILLE and SPRING were brought to this town and committed to Gaol on Sunday evening. The woman had previously quitted Port-de-Grave, but although an active search has been made for her, she had not, at the time of writing this article, been discovered. SNOW and his wife were the parents of a large family and had been married about 17 years. The two prisoners underwent a long examination yesterday – the particulars of which have not transpired; but we understand it to have been similar to the former examinations.

Shortly after his arrest, Arthur Spring told the sheriff that he, Tobias Manderville, and Mrs. Snow had shot and killed John snow and tossed his body into the Atlantic. The two men each tried to blame one another for the crime during interrogation, but Catherine maintained her innocence throughout hours of questioning. Both Manderville and Spring plead not guilty (despite their previous admission) to the murder and were brought to trial with Catherine Snow on January 10, 1834. After 12 hours of deliberation, it was decided that all three were guilty of murder (despite there being no evidence to support Catherine even being at the scene or having a hand in it.) The attorney general told the jury, I can’t prove which one fired the shot, both were present for the murder. As to Catherine Snow, there is no direct or positive evidence of her guilt. But I have a chain of circumstantial evidence to prove her guilty. Attorney James Simms told the jury that there was no “direct or positive evidence of her guilt,” but she was nonetheless found guilty of murder along with Mandeville and Spring by an all-male jury. The trio was sentenced to hang by the neck until dead. Within days of the conclusion of the trial, Mandeville and Spring would meet the hangman’s noose, but Catherine received a 6-month stay of execution. She was pregnant with her 8th child and public outcry demanded she be allowed to give birth and to nurse the child prior to execution. While his mother sat in prison, Catherine’s newborn son would be Christened at the Old Catholic Chapel on Henry Street. On July 21, 1834, a large crowd gathered in front of the courthouse on Duckworth Street to witness the public spectacle. Catherine’s last words were, “I was a wretched woman, but I am as innocent of any participation in the crime of murder as an unborn child.”

According to the Public Ledger, “The unhappy woman, after a few brief struggles, passed into another world.”

Following her execution, the Catholic Church rallied hard to have her sentence commuted, but all efforts to do so were fruitless. They were able to give her a Christian burial because they believed she was innocent of murder so she was laid to rest in the old Catholic cemetery in St. John’s.

But this isn’t the end to Catherine’s story. Within days of execution, her ghost was seen roaming the interior of the courthouse and was spotted outside where the hanging had taken place. Her apparition was also witnessed in the cemetery where she’d been buried and the local newspapers reported each sighting.

Everyone reported seeing Catherine’s ghost from blue collar workers to the upper crust of society. There was a buzz about the great injustice done and those who had seen her ghost believed that her spirit was unable to rest. It was apparent to that group of believers that Catherine snow, doomed to wander having been accused of a crime she didn’t commit, was innocent.

https://www.pressreader.com/

In 1846, the courthouse in which Catherine’s trial had been held, and in front of which she’d been murdered, burned to the ground. Her spirit was seen wandering after the fire and also during the building of the new courthouse. Once the new building opened to the public, sightings of her ghost began again. The new courthouse was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1892 (St. John’s apparently has shit luck when it comes to courthouses,) but when the building was restored once again and reopened in 1902, Catherine’s spirit was seen again.  Her presence is still felt and her apparition still seen in the building, climbing the stairs or in the hallways. The elevator moves from floor to floor without being called and ghostly footsteps can be heard, but no explanation can be found for these occurrences.

In 1893, the old Catholic Cemetery was sold and St. Andrews Presbyterian was built on the site, opening its doors in 1896. It’s said that the remains of Catherine Snow weren’t moved prior to St. Andrews being built and supposedly lay somewhere under the structure. Reports of a woman wandering the grounds began to surface.

But that’s not the end of Catherine’s story…

179 years later, a new trial and a different verdict (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/179-years-later-a-new-trial-and-a-different-verdict-1.1180508)

Catherine Snow, who protested her innocence, was the last woman hanged in Newfoundland

CBC News ·  April 1, 2012

A modern-day jury has acquitted a Newfoundland woman who was hanged after being convicted for the murder of her husband in 1833.

The case, which depended largely on circumstantial evidence, almost led to riots and has troubled jurists ever since.

About 400 people turned out in St. John’s this week as a panel of experts tried to set the record straight.

The basics were the same: a judge, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a jury  — the audience.

The only thing missing was a proxy for the accused, 41-year-old Catherine Snow.

Just before her hanging, Snow acknowledged that she was a “wretched woman” but said she was as innocent “as an unborn child” in relation to her husband’s death.

The long-ago trial saw a testimony about traces of blood, marital infidelities and a keen wish to have her husband dead.

The circumstantial evidence was enough to convict her.

“The evidence of the affair is so prejudicial, it’s impossible to extricate it from the statements … there’s no way she could have a fair trial,” modern-day defense attorney Rosellen Sullivan said.

Today’s jury voted to acquit Snow.

She was the last woman to be hanged in Newfoundland — and may also be one of the earliest recorded cases of wrongful conviction.

Have you ever visited the courthouse in St. John’s or wandered the grounds of St. Andrews and witnessed Catherine’s ghostly form? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Insta: @bloodmarmalade

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The Diamond Guide and the Unknown Woman

The Diamond Guide for the Stranger in Paris is 384 pages in length, but there is one entry that makes me wonder if there wasn’t anything to preoccupy people in Paris in the 1850s. The Paris Morgue (or Dead House) was a gristly attraction that brought in tourists and natives alike and, if the morgue had not shut down, it would likely still be a hub of activity for what we’ve come to know today as dark tourism.

The Paris Morgue was located behind Notre Dame Cathedral and facilitated a real need. Many bodies were being found in the river and could not be identified. The bodies were fished out and set upon slanted marble slabs so that the public might identify the remains. Often, the clothes of the deceased would be hung on pegs next to the body just in case it might make identification easier for onlookers. The spectacle was designed to bring an end to the many unknowns being fished out of the river daily, but unfortunately, the morgue quickly became an attraction. You see, visiting the morgue was free and many took advantage of this fact given that a lot of attractions in Paris were not. I often check out the free events happening in Milwaukee on the weekend and it’s likely that if I’d lived in Paris during the operation of the Death House, I would have made regular visits. So, the crowds would file into the Paris Morgue, a cold room containing bodies kept behind glass and kept cool with a constant, thin stream of water flowing from the ceiling. This was the only cooling system until 1882 when the morgue was refrigerated. The front of the building had 3 doors, the centermost door was always closed, and the two outer doors were opened to allow visitors to filter in, make the rounds, and filter out. Bodies would arrive both clothed and naked, with and without heads, with and without arms and legs, with and without feet. The practice of displaying bodies pulled from the river also extended to random unidentified persons found dead on the streets and in the alleys of gay old Paris. Nice to know the morgue didn’t discriminate.

In an issue of the Harvard Crimson, a Sophomore named Arthur Mark Cummings gave this apt description of morgue gawkers.

“Men are crowding and elbowing each other; old hags are pointing toward the glass, and croaking to one another; pretty women are gazing with white faces of pity, but with none the less thirsty greediness, upon some fascinating spectacle; little children are being held aloft in strong arms, that they too may see the dreadful thing, and they do see, and they toss their tiny, wavering arms aloft and crow right gleefully.”

Cummings goes on to write, “Brutal, gashed, and swollen faces; wide gaping mouths, which opened for the last time to utter the death-shriek, dead, sodden eyes, ghastly smiles, faces of men and faces of women, faces of the young and faces of the old; faces which Dante, groping among the damned, might have dragged from hideous, steaming depths of Lethean mud, and flung forth to front the unwilling eye of day– such is the sight which greets the visitor upon his entrance to the Paris Morgue. Some of the corpses had been in the water a day, some a week, some-nobody knew how long.”

In 1907, the Paris Morgue closed its doors for good, citing moral reasons as the cause. Newspapers at the time were quite disheartened to hear the news given that they could simply pop in and get a visual account of every grotesque happening for their columns.

One journalist complained, “The Morgue has been the first this year among theaters to announce its closing. As for the spectators, they have no right to say anything because they didn’t pay. There were no subscribers, only regulars because the show was always free. It was the first free theater for the people. And they tell us it’s being canceled. People, the hour of social justice has not yet arrived.”

l'inconnue_de_la_seine_(masque_mortuaire)

Many unknown faces came through the morgue, both young and old, but there was none more memorable than L’Inconnue de la Seine (The Unknown Woman of the Seine.) She was identified as a young woman of around 16 years of age suspected of committing suicide due to the lack of physical injury or violence to her corpse. As the story goes (and I would take this with a grain of salt) the pathologist who first inspected L’Inconnue de la Seine was so taken by her visage that he made a mask of her face, a death mask that would forever capture and preserve her beauty for eternity. The mask became so popular that by the 1900s, copies had made their way into the homes of many Parisians.

“In the following years, numerous copies were produced. The copies quickly became a fashionable morbid fixture in Parisian Bohemian society. Albert Camus…” (a French philosopher, author, and journalist. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism) “…and others compared her enigmatic smile to that of the Mona Lisa, inviting numerous speculations as to what clues the eerily happy expression in her face could offer about her life, her death, and her place in society.

The popularity of the figure is also of interest to the history of artistic media, relating to its widespread reproduction. The original cast had been photographed, and new casts were created from the film negatives. These new casts displayed details that are usually lost in bodies taken from the water, but the apparent preservation of these details in the visage of the cast seemed to only reinforce its authenticity.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Inconnue_de_la_Seine

 

So Parisians hung her likeness upon her walls as a sort of morbid curiosity, but the story of L’Inconnue de la Seine doesn’t end there. In fact, her legacy continues. To this day, people gaze into the face of L’Inconnue de la Seine. In fact, an average of 12 million people per year. You see, the death mask of L’Inconnue de la Seine lives on as the face of Resusci Anne, also known as Rescue Anne, Resusci Annie, or CPR Annie. If you’ve ever taken a CPR course, you’ve worked to “revive” Annie. Isn’t it poetic that a young woman, a woman who supposedly took her own life, is still very much a part of the world of the living and that training with Annie can teach others how to save a life? I think so. It is also profoundly sad when you consider how many CPR students have shaken the likeness and asked, “Annie, Annie, are you okay?” And before you ask, yes the lyrics of Micheal Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” stems from American CPR training.

Skeptics believe that the face of a woman pulled from a river would be bloated and scarred beyond recognition depending on the amount of time she spent in the water and instead think that the popular mask from the 1900s was actually created on a living model. Others believe that the mask is indeed a likeness of the drowned woman, but that the mask was molded into a more aesthetically pleasing visage after it had been cast. Or perhaps the drowned woman posed for a sculptor in life and then drowned in the Seine. As Chief Brigadier Pascal Jacquin of the Paris river police told the BBC in 2013: “She looks like she’s just asleep and waiting for Prince Charming.” What do you think?

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

Insta: Blood Marmalade

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New Episode Available!

S3 Ep. 2: Any Dead’ll Do!

Haunt Heads returns for another creepy episode! This week, Janine takes us on a tour of the Paris Morgue of the 1800s and makes a connection to the modern day that might make your head spin when she talks about the “most kissed face in the world.” Katie tackles an unsolved murder in Elk Lake, WI, and introduces us to the spirit of 25-year-old Mary Schlais whose body was discovered in a snowy ditch near the shores of the Lake.

This episode contains a dollop of true crime and a murder most foul, shadow people, and a death mask from the 1800s put to use in the modern day.

Thanks to Fox and Branch for the use of their song St. James Infirmary for our intro/outro. Find more of their hot jams at foxandbranch.com.

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The Fork Was Never Found

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Likely one of the strangest figures in history was a man known only as Tarrare. A glutton, his ravenous appetite could not be satiated and he never gained weight although his abdomen became distended with each large “meal,” he toured the French countryside performing for anyone who would stop and watch as he gorged himself. Tarrare would eat large amounts of food and literally anything else that anyone asked him to ingest. Items ranged from pocket watches to cutlery and everything in between.

Although we are aware that the competitive eaters of today go through strenuous exercises to expand/stretch their stomachs in order to take in more food, the story of Tarrare is still unnerving and, ultimately, very strange indeed. Tarrare was certainly a medical anomaly and performed as a freak to support himself.

Born in France near Lyon around 1772, (his DOB is unrecorded and there is debate as to whether Tarrare was his real name or a nickname) Tarrare lived with his parents until his early teens. At this point, he could eat his weight in meat and his family just couldn’t manage to feed him. They forced him to leave. After this, he toured the country with a group of sex workers and thieves with whom he begged for and stole food. He eventually came upon a traveling charlatan who welcomed him into his show as an attraction. Tarrare would eat everything he could including refuse and stones. He would even eat live animals including live eels that he would consume whole and swallow basketfuls of apples one after another.

Around 1778, his work as a street performer brought him to Paris. In general, he had a successful career and drew fairly large crowds who would gawk and cheer until one of his acts went awry and he had to be carried to the Hotel-Dieu hospital by members of the crowd in order to have an intestinal obstruction removed. Powerful laxatives worked their magic and Tarrare was back in business, but not before he offered to swallow a surgeon’s watch and chain. The surgeon, M. Giraud, said that if Tarrare swallowed his belongings he would cut him open and recover the items himself.

Terrare’s eating habits didn’t affect his outward appearance at all. In fact, he was rather gaunt and at the age of 17 weighed in at a mere 100 lbs. His mouth is described as abnormally large and his teeth were heavily stained, no doubt from consuming pure refuse and other inedible items for show, and if he didn’t eat his skin would droop. His cheeks would sag and the skin of his stomach would deflate like a burst balloon. He could then wrap the skin completely around his waist like a flabby belt. Tarrare was essentially a combination of The Human Skeleton and The Elastic Man sideshow acts from early circus sideshows. In addition to these anomalies, Tarrare is also described as having a terrible odor that could be experienced from a distance of 40 paces, was always sweating heavily, and he was prone to terrible bouts of diarrhea. He would belch loudly, he would constantly swallow, and his eyes would become bloodshot if he didn’t eat. According to Wikipedia, “Hyperthyroidism can induce an extreme appetite, rapid weight loss, profuse sweating, and heat intolerance. […] Bondeson (2006) speculates that Tarrare had a damaged amygdala; it is known that injuries to the amygdala in animals can induce polyphagia.”

When war broke out in 1792, Tarrare enlisted in the French Revolutionary Army. The FRA was known for its revolutionary fervor, poor equipment, and large numbers and Tarrare threw himself into a life of military service. Unfortunately, food rations would not satisfy Tarrare’s seemingly endless hunger and, although other soldiers would offer Tarrare part of their ration in exchange for services, it just didn’t fill him up. He took to eating refuse and scavenged through dung heaps for scraps. Eventually, Tarrare was admitted to a military hospital because he was suffering extreme exhaustion.   He was granted quadruple rations by hospital staff but still remained hungry and foraged in garbage cans and gutters, even leaving his bed at night to steal away into the apothecary cabinet and eat the poultices. Tarrare was ordered to stay in the military hospital and undergo psychological and physical evaluations devised by Dr. Courville (surgeon to the 9th Hussar Regiment)  and George Didier, Baron Percy, surgeon-in-chief of the hospital. Courville and Percy would watch as Tarrare consumed every item placed in front of him. In one instance, a meal was prepared to consist of two large meat pies, plates of grease and salt, and four gallons of milk, though the impressiveness of this particular consumed item depends on the definition of a gallon for the time period. From savoringthepast.net (https://savoringthepast.net/2012/07/02/interpreting-measures/), “In other recipes, the word “gallon” was used as a measurement. Now, this is a good example of how nomenclature has changed through the years. If you live in the United States, you expect a gallon to hold 128 ounces of liquid. It’s a measure that was officially adopted in the early 19th century from the old “wine” or “Queen Anne” gallon. It’s volume capacity precisely holds 231 cubic inches. But the term “gallon” in the 18th century was likely the “ale gallon,” which had a capacity of approximately 277-1/4 cubic inches — approximately 20% larger than the wine gallon. The ale gallon held precisely 10-pounds of water at 62 degrees (F). This measure later morphed into the “Imperial Gallon” that is still used in Great Britain and Canada. In addition to the wine and ale gallon, there is the corn gallon. This measure is still occasionally used today to measure grain. In the 18th century, it was also used to measure flour and bread. Its capacity is 268.8 cubic inches, or 16% greater than the wine gallon.”

Regardless of how large the gallon might have been, that’s still a fuck of a lot of dairy. Just sayin’.

Tarrare was also given a variety of other items to consume including snakes, lizards, and puppies. It is said that Tarrare also ate a cat alive, stripping the flesh from its bones and eating it whole. He later vomited up the fur and skin. When given an eel, he ate it whole after crushing the creature’s head between his teeth. Percy wrote of this scene, “ The dogs and cats fled in terror at his aspect as if they had anticipated the kind of fate he was preparing for them.”

It wasn’t long before the military began asking for Tarrare to be released and put back on active duty. Percy had no choice but to allow his patient to leave as he could see no medical reason for the man to stay under his care. Dr. Courville, however, approached General Alexandre de Beauharnais and suggested that Tarrare might be an asset to the war effort. Courville placed a note inside a wooden box and instructed Tarrare to eat it. Two days later, the box emerged in Tarrare’s excrement and the document was still legible. Courville told de Beauharnais that Tarrare would make an excellent courier of sensitive documents as enemy forces would find nothing if they searched him and he could pass undetected through their checkpoints. And so, Tarrare became a spy. A spy that could only speak French, but a spy nonetheless. Let’s just say he was no James Bond. I think I would have had reservations about swallowing a box containing sensitive military information, but I’m not a professional glutton. Also, Tarrare was paid handsomely with a wheelbarrow full of 30 lbs of bull lungs, liver, and testicles as a reward so it’s not like he didn’t get anything out of the deal. Something tells me he did get diarrhea, but that’s neither here nor there.

So Tarrare was employed officially as a spy for the Army of the Rhine and was immediately sent on a covert operation. “Tarrare was ordered as his first assignment to carry a message to a French colonel imprisoned by the Prussians near Neustadt; he was told that the documents were of great military significance, but in reality de Beauharnais had merely written a note asking the colonel to confirm that the message had been received successfully and if so to return a reply of any potentially useful information about Prussian troop movements. (Wikipedia) Tarrare made his way through Prussian lines in order to deliver the return message and dressed as a German peasant in order to blend into his surroundings. Remember how I said he wasn’t James Bond? Well, Tarrare couldn’t speak a lick of German so of course, he began to arouse suspicion with the locals who alerted Prussian authorities. He was almost immediately arrested, but even after hours of whipping, he refused to disclose his mission. It wasn’t until a full 24 hours later that he finally relented. “He was chained to a latrine, and eventually, 30 hours after being swallowed,[17] the wooden box emerged. Zoegli was furious when the documents, which Tarrare had said contained vital intelligence, transpired only to be de Beauharnais’s dummy message, and Tarrare was taken to a gallows and the noose placed around his neck.” Some believe that Tarrare actually passed the box with the message, but retrieved it from his stool and ate it again. Yep.

“At the last minute, Zoegli relented, and Tarrare was taken down from the scaffold, given a severe beating, and released near the French lines.” (Wikipedia)

At this point, Tarrare was desperate to be free of military service and returned to Percy at the hospital. He begged Percy to find a cure for his relentless eating and Percy conceded. The doctor would feed Tarrare large amounts of soft boiled eggs, but this failed to suppress his appetite. If Tarrare smelled bad before, it was all downhill from here. Tarrare would leave the hospital and rummage through the garbage outside butcher shops and fight stray dogs for scraps in the gutters and rubbish heaps. Percy would catch Tarrare drinking the blood of patients who were undergoing bloodletting. Tarrare would also creep into the mortuary at night and consume body parts of deceased patients. Percy’s colleagues insisted that Tarrare was mentally ill and should be immediately committed to an asylum, but he refused to believe that he could not somehow help the man. It wasn’t until a 14-month-old boy went missing that Percy had had enough and demanded Tarrare leave the hospital and never return.

Four years later, in 1798, Percy would receive a call from M. Tessier of Versailles Hospital claiming that he had a patient in his care that was very ill. The patient had asked that Percy be called. The patient was Tarrare. Percy visited with Tarrare who was sure he was suffering what he believed was an intestinal blockage. He’d eaten a gold fork during one of his performances and, to the best of his knowledge, had not passed the item. One look at Tarrare was all Percy needed. Clearly, the man was in the advanced stages of tuberculosis and was not long for the world.

Tarrare passed away a month later. His corpse rotted so quickly and gave off such a stench that the doctors at the hospital refused to be anywhere near it. Tessler, however, dissected the remains because he still had a fork to find. Upon close examination, he found that he could open Tarrare’s mouth and see all the way down into his stomach. Additionally,  his body was filled with pus and his liver and gallbladder were enlarged. His stomach was enormous and covered in ulcers, but Tessler could not find the fork inside Tarrare.

The story of Tarrare the glutton seems too fantastical to be believed, but there is evidence of another such individual capable of such grand consumption. A man named Charles Domery

“Charles Domery was a man born in Poland in 1778. Domery joined the Prussian army when he was young, but was very dissatisfied with the rations. He even went over to the French army just for the food. Once he went through all of the French’s food, he turned to cats. Reportedly, Domery ate 174 cats in a single year. Other unimaginable feats of his include eating 5 lbs (2.3 kg) of grass per day, and attempting to eat the severed leg of a fellow soldier. Domery’s incredible eating abilities is due to a medical condition called polyphagia, which involves excessive appetite. One time, the British army gave him the following items just to see if he could eat them: 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of meat, multiple bottles of wine, a raw cow’s udder, 2 lbs (0.9 kg) of candles. He did.” (Curiosity.com)

Were Tarrare and Domery one and the same? We will likely never know.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

Facebook: Haunt Heads Podcast

Coming Soon: Instagram

Sources

http://www.biusante.parisdescartes.fr/histoire/medica/resultats/index.php?p=99&cote=90146x1805x09&do=page

https://curiosity.com/topics/the-insatiable-appetite-of-charles-domery-curiosity/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarrare

 

S3 Ep. 1: Forked Up & Haunted

 

Welcome back for another creepy season of Haunt Heads!

This week, Katie’s hitting the thrift shops and bargain basements and talking about the objects we find at second hand stores and the energies they hold. Janine visits 17thcentury France and tells the (often disturbing) tale of Tarrare the glutton.

This episode contains some awesome podcast recommendations, a disappearing fork, transference of spiritual energy, and a massive gastrointestinal upset.

WARNING: This episode might be a little much for some of our listeners. Janine’s piece begins at roughly 59 minutes in. If you can’t handle the insanely creepy and grotesque (including cannibalism and a brief mention of infanticide) , we understand. You’ve been warned.

Our theme song is St. James Infirmary by Fox and Branch. Find more of their music at foxandbranch.com.

 

Raisin the Dead: The haunting story of Jan Bryant Bartell and the spooky happenings in her Manhattan home.

Shadowy figures in the corner, strange noises in the night, and a little dog that senses an unseen and unearthly presence. This, dear reader, is only a glimpse into the life that was the haunted reality of Jannis “Jan” Bryant Bartel. Bartel was a poet, lecturer and off-Broadway actress. She appeared in such plays as “Bell, Book, and Candle,” and “Night Must Fall.” Her poetry was published in several magazines. Bartel’s experiences prompted her to write a detailed account of her time at 14 West 10th Street in New York titled Spindrift: Spray from a Psychic Sea. I’ve found a copy of the book at a reasonable price (copies range anywhere from $40-150) and look forward to reading it, though it hasn’t gotten terribly good reviews. I’m wondering if Bartel’s accounts are so far-fetched that they simply can’t be believed or if the language is a turn-off. Apparently, it’s wordy and wandering. I thought adding her story to the ever-growing Haunt Heads collection of creepy fare would be entirely appropriate given that the Halloween season is upon us and so, without further delay, it’s time to cuddle into a corner of the sofa, snuggle down into a blanket, and chew off all of your fingernails.

It’s 1957 and Jan Bryant Bartell has just moved into the top floor apartment of 14 West 10th Street in Manhattan. Her husband, Fred G. Bartell, was a restaurateur who was seldom home, his work often causing him to work late and spend weekends away. Most notably, Fred ran the Riverboat restaurant once located in the Empire State Building. Jan found Fred to be a difficult companion at times. He was a WWII veteran who suffered from PTSD and was prone to outbursts, but by all accounts, Jan herself was rather difficult. She was spoiled and neurotic and suffered from clinical depression. I suppose they were well suited in their brokenness. There was little to be done for depression in the 1950’s-60’s and the condition absolutely colored Jan’s writing. It’s believed that she attempted suicide on more than one occasion, though this is pure speculation.

Contact with the other side…

Interestingly enough, Jan possessed psychic abilities, but the presence of these abilities only amplified her anxiety once the activity in her home began to escalate. Her attempts to understand what exactly was happening were fruitless and she even called in self-appointed psychic expert and ghost hunter Hans Holzer to find some sort of peace or resolution. If Holzer’s name rings a bell, it absolutely should. Holzer investigated the Amityville Horror House with Ethel Johnson-Meyers in 1977 and has written over 140 books on the paranormal and unexplained. Holzer wrote a nonfiction book about the house, “Murder in Amityville” (1979), which formed the basis for the 1982 film “Amityville II: The Possession”; he also wrote two novels, “The Amityville Curse” (1981) and “The Secret of Amityville” (1985). In the end, Holzer was unable to silence or dispel the spirits in the house and all of Jan’s attempts to find peace ended in failure and only added to her distress.

From the nypost.com:

“The strange occurrences started out small: a sound of footsteps following her up the stairs, a brush against the back of her neck even when her hair was tied up, a strange rotting smell that would seemingly come and go like wispy smoke.

Things got darker. Shadows that no light would touch, a mysterious chair their dog would snarl and growl at as if it contained some invisible enemy. Then a phantom, shriveled grape that appeared in the dead center of a clean dinner plate, even though the couple hadn’t bought grapes in months. She found furniture inexplicably moved from its usual place. The sound of crashing glass chased her around the building.

Most unsettling was the odors that appeared out of nowhere: one fragrant, like ancient perfume, the other a “rotting miasma” that was offensive. Then one day, a vision of a man appeared. Bartell reached out to touch it.

“What was it I touched?” she wrote. “A substance without substance. Chilly, damp. Diaphanous as marsh mist or a cloud of ether. I could feel my fingers freeze at the tips. They were numb, and yet they tingled. In the split second between contact and recoil, the scent came. Fragile and languorous. And sweet; unbearably, cloyingly sweet.”

I find myself flashing back to Edgar Allen Poe’s The Telltale Heart and wonder if there isn’t a festering organ hidden somewhere beneath the floorboards.

In 1973, social and economic changes began to affect their neighborhood and Jan and Fred finally settled into a home in New Rochelle, NY. Some reports say that Jan committed suicide in the bathroom on June 18, 1973, prior to the publication of her book. Others say that Jan died of a heart attack. She was 51. Fred went on to manage other restaurants in New York and passed away on September 8, 1980, in New Rochelle, NY. (Through additional research, I did find a Frank Bartel that passed away on April 1, 1978.)

Other Residents

As we well know, one haunting does not a haunted hot-spot make! For your consideration, some other haunted and unnerving occurrences at 14 W 10th St.

A man known only as Dennis said he lived in the house for several years and also experienced paranormal activity such as lights going on and off and “little clips and visions of women in long gowns going from room to room.” Dennis was a photographer and musician and would often invite women to his apartment to photograph them. He said on more than one occasion that women would run out upon seeing a woman in a long flowing black dress followed by a cat. Is anyone else having a hard time believing that women were running from a ghost and not from Dennis himself? He’s a “photographer?” Anyway… Activity has been reported at the location as recently as a few years ago.

Joel Steinberg, a disbarred New York criminal defense attorney, attracted international media attention when he was convicted of manslaughter after he beat his adopted daughter to death at 14 West 10th Street in November of 1987. Hedda Nussbaum, an author of children’s books who was employed by Random House, watched as Steinberg beat 6-year-old Lisa Steinberg to the ground while under the influence of crack cocaine. Nussbaum was not charged in the killing. The couple had illegally adopted Lisa after Steinberg had been asked to find a suitable home for the child. He instead took her home and raised her with Nussbaum. As of 2006, Steinberg maintained his innocence.

From the NYT article on the case from March 1989:

Joel B. Steinberg was sentenced to 8Y to 25 years in state prison yesterday in the death of 6-year-old Lisa Steinberg, the girl he helped raise. The penalty was the maximum he could have received, and the judge said he would recommend strongly against parole.

Mr. Steinberg received the sentence without any sign of emotion, except for slumping slightly in resignation at what he knew was coming.

Before the sentence was imposed, Mr. Steinberg – sounding like the lawyer he was until his disbarment – addressed the bench, at first dispassionately, almost clinically, going over bits of evidence presented in the trial, and then moving into a rambling monologue about Lisa’s death and his role in her life. By the end, his voice was breaking, although he said that he felt no remorse because he had not caused her death.

”I feel that pain every day,” he told the judge. ”It’s my loss. I’m a victim, as was everyone else who knew Lisa.”

When police first entered the home, they found Lisa beaten into unconsciousness. She died of a brain hemorrhage in the hospital 4 days later. Police also found another of Steinberg and Nussbaum’s children “tethered to a playpen by a length of rope.” The clothing of the child and the mattress on which he was sitting were covered in urine.

Leanna Renee Hieber, author of Eterna and Omega, writes, “Tucked within a famed high-end real-estate area where most of the gorgeous townhouses have stately stoops climbing to glorious first floors, 14 descends down below the sidewalk before you—as does the energy of the building, dropping off sharply. Just walking by it gave me a sinking, troubled, pressed, and fraught sense; the sense that the building is, in and of itself, a distinctly negative presence and that something is deeply wrong there.” She goes on to call it “A Manhattan version of Amityville.”

Truly, there is a darkness cast over the location. As many as 44 murders are said to have occurred there and it seems as if the paranormal tales won’t let up anytime soon. The house has been cut up into 10 separate apartments, but apparently, a spooky vibe still lingers.

Would you spend the night?

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

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Tweet us @hauntheadscast

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NOTE: Haunt Heads will return the middle of January 2019 with new blog posts and podcasts to binge. Stay tuned and, most importantly, STAY SPOOKY!

S2 Ep. 18: Raisin the Dead

 

NEW EPISODE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD!

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This week, Katie has some Halloween history and spooky lore about Stingy Jack and Janine presents a snippet of the life of Jan “Jannis” Bryant Bartel, her haunted house, and the novel she wrote prior to her untimely death. Many spooks abound! The happiest of Halloweens to all of our listeners and we will see you in the New Year! (Likely sometime in mid-January)

This episode contains divinations, shadowy corners, witchy workings, and All Hallows lore, and a mysteriously appearing raisin (of all things.)

TRIGGER WARNING: 1hr:3mins, discussion of Joel Steinberg/murder of Lisa Steinberg. Those who do not want to hear about violence toward children, please be aware.

Intro/Outro: Fox & Branch

foxandbranch.com

Sources:

nytimes.com

circlesanctuary.org

newgrange.com

nypost.com

https://www.leannareneehieber.com/

Jan Bryant Bartell’s novel Spindrift: Spray from A Psychic Sea

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

S2 Ep 17: World Peace and Sippy Cups

S2 Ep. 17: World Peace and Sippy Cups

This week, Janine unravels the dark and twisting truth behind spirit photography, ectoplasm, and mediumship and welcomes guest podcaster Katie McAuly to the pod. Katie tells the tale of Mary Nohl and the Witch House in Fox Point, WI and talks a little bit about her personal experiences with the location.

This episode contains a rousing game of hide the cheesecloth, a man named Mummler, chicken bone art, and a spooky sculpture of squished children.

Please take a moment to leave us a 5* review on iTunes and tell your friends about our podcast. We’d sure appreciate it. Find us on Twitter @hauntheadscast and on Facebook at Haunt Heads Podcast. If you’d like to regale us with tales of your experiences with the paranormal or if you just want us to cover a particular topic on our show, please drop us a line at hauntheadscast@gmail.com.

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Stay Spooky, Y’all!

https://www.podbean.com/media/player/29qkg-9cf917?from=yiiadmin&download=1&version=1&vjs=1&skin=1&auto=0&share=1&fonts=Helvetica&download=1&rtl=0

Sources:

Makenzie Boettcher – Who was ‘The Witch of Fox Point’? (6/13/16)

Carrie Trousil – The Unusual Sculpture Garden of Milwaukee Artist Mary Nohl (5/31/18)

Allison Meier – Saving the Art and Home of Mary Nohl, Whose Neighbors Called Her a Witch (8/16/17)

Matthew Reddin – A House Divided (7/7/14)

Lori Kennedy – Silent Sunday (2/19/17)

Brian Noggle – The Milwaukee Witch’s House (10/28/06)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_photography)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ectoplasm_(paranormal)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stainton_Moses

https://blog.scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk/photography-a-z-ghosts-spirit-photography/

http://www.thoughtco.com

Spirited Discussion: An Exploration of Spirit Photography

I don’t have many photographs. I’ve always found that to be rather odd. There are photos of various incarnations of me, but not of those around me. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but I think it might be because photos are a little creepy. Think about it. You snap a photo of your friend, have it printed, and frame it for your wall so that your friend can stare at you dead-eyed while you perform daily tasks. See? Creepy. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I think that’s why I’ve come to enjoy creating photo albums on social media. Facebook allows me to choose when my friends stare at me. Choice makes it less creepy, I think.

When my great grandmother passed, we got several items from her estate including a bunch of photos of her in small gilded frames. The photos are black and white. One from a church function (she was a member of the Salvation Army and is wearing her uniform) where she’s drinking wine with a few other people and a bunch of others depicting important events in her life. The one that always jumped out at me and simultaneously gave me the heebie-jeebies was a photo of her smiling face, her eyes staring out from the photo seemingly without purpose. It hung in the hallway in a frame given to her as a wedding gift and I always felt as if it was watching me. The eyes seemed to follow as I passed and I frequently ducked under it or sped past it in avoidance. It didn’t help that the nail the photo hung on was bent, causing it to fall off the wall randomly. At least that’s what I reasoned.

A few years after she passed, my uncle got married, an event that calls for much photo taking. I spent at least an hour standing amongst my relatives while the photographer took shot after shot. It wasn’t until we went to pick up the photos and began flipping through them that we noticed something odd. At the top of all of the group photos, hovering toward the right edge of the shot, was a white fog. It looked as if someone had been smoking and the cloud was lingering, but nobody was smoking around us that day. The photographer told us that the film he used was high quality as was the paper the photos were printed on. There was no explanation. In frustration, my grandmother asked the photographer to come by the house and made everyone get dressed up so the photos could be taken again. We spent a couple of hours in various parts of the yard and in the parlor recreating some of the shots. The photographer left and set about the task of developing only to find that the same thing had happened. My grandmother was furious. I listened as she complained to the photographer over the phone, standing in front of the photo of my great grandmother. Suddenly, there was a crash and I looked down to see that her photo was on the floor but it didn’t look like it had fallen from a nail. Rather, it appeared as if it had jumped from the wall, landing at least a foot and a half away. Perhaps my great-grandmother was upset that someone was trying to crop her out of the family photos? Perhaps someone was smoking around the time the photos were taken or there was some strange trick of the light? Perhaps I’ll never know, but something tells me the photographer didn’t intentionally add the fog to the photos he shot. And even if he had, it wouldn’t have been something he randomly thought up. Spirit photography, the “capture” of deceased individuals in photos, was quite popular in the 19th century and in some cases, the faces that appeared on the finished product weren’t even dead.

The practice originated as a farce in the 1850’s, stereo cards that depicted specters hovering over the heads of unsuspecting individuals. They were simply for fun, amusement until a man named Mumler figured out he could turn it into a money-making endeavor.

“Spirit photography was first used by William H. Mumler in the 1860s. Mumler discovered the technique by accident after he saw a second person in a photograph he took of himself, which he found was actually a double exposure.” There’s actually a very famous photo by Mumler of Mary Todd Lincoln with her husband’s ghostly form standing behind her. “Seeing there was a market for it, Mumler started working as a medium, taking people’s pictures and doctoring the negatives to add lost loved ones into them (mostly using other photographs as a basis). Mumler’s fraud was discovered after he put identifiable living Boston residents in the photos as spirits.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_photography)

Another spirit photographer, William Hope (1863-1933), was quite famous for his work and many people visited Hope in order to capture their deceased loved ones on film. The psychical researcher Harry Price tried to defraud Hope by marking his photographic plates with the logo of the Imperial Dry Plate Co. Ltd. Price knew that the logo would be transferred to any image Hope produced using these plates, but Price must have switched them out for another set because none of his images contained the logo or any identifying marks that Price had placed on them.

William Stainton Moses, a cleric, and spiritualist claimed that the process of spirit photography was directly related to a substance called ectoplasm which allowed spirits to come into physical existence. The substance is said to form when a medium is in a trance-like state and expresses through the mouth, ears, and/or nose. It’s gauze-like and flowing and, to be perfectly honest, really fucking creepy. It’s said that ectoplasm begins clear or invisible and gradually darkens or becomes visible, draping itself over the entity with which the medium wishes to communicate. Some mediums stated that ectoplasm had a very strong odor and could not exist in certain light conditions as it would simply deteriorate. Darkened rooms and candlelight were the weapons of choice for these individuals and, given that participants could barely see what was happening, the excuse that ectoplasm was light sensitive was quite convenient.

The psychical researcher Gustav Geley defined ectoplasm as being “very variable in appearance, being sometimes vaporous, sometimes a plastic paste, sometimes a bundle of fine threads, or a membrane with swellings or fringes, or a fine fabric-like tissue”. Arthur Conan Doyle described ectoplasm as “a viscous, gelatinous substance which appeared to differ from every known form of matter in that it could solidify and be used for material purposes”.

Science doesn’t recognize the existence of ectoplasm and researchers have duplicated the effect using items like muslin and gauze, but it sure is interesting that mediums at this time thought to create such a fantastic lie. For someone in the 19th century who had just lost a loved one and wished to communicate with the other side, the appearance of ectoplasm likely blew their minds.

“The Society for Psychical Research investigations into mediumship exposed many fraudulent mediums which contributed to the decline of interest in physical mediumship. In 1907, Hereward Carrington exposed the tricks of fraudulent mediums such as those used in slate-writing, table-turning, trumpet mediumship, materializations, sealed-letter reading and spirit photography. In the early 20th century the psychical researcher Albert von Schrenck-Notzing investigated the medium Eva Carrière and claimed her ectoplasm “materializations” were not from spirits but the result of “ideoplasty” in which the medium could form images onto ectoplasm from her mind. Schrenck-Notzing published the book Phenomena of Materialisation (1923) which included photographs of the ectoplasm. Critics pointed out the photographs of the ectoplasm revealed marks of magazine cut-outs, pins and a piece of string. Schrenck-Notzing admitted that on several occasions Carrière deceptively smuggled pins into the séance room. The magician Carlos María de Heredia replicated the ectoplasm of Carrière using a comb, gauze and a handkerchief.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ectoplasm_(paranormal))

Carrière wasn’t the only one duping onlookers with homemade ectoplasm. Other mediums of the time would use potato starch smoothed over textiles, egg whites, soap, gelatin, and even cut-outs from the newspaper. Some would swallow and regurgitate cheesecloth in order to wow their attendees and one was even found to have hidden cheesecloth in his rectum, pulling it out when the time was right. Sadly, many fell for these tricks of the trade and paid large amounts of money to mediums, desperately seeking one more message from their deceased family members and friends. I’m still not sure how you could mistake a scarf and a rubber glove for ectoplasm, but I suppose if the lights were low enough you wouldn’t know what you were seeing. It’s no surprise that the exposing of this aspect of many Victorian-era seances led to a rapid decline in physical mediumship.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that mediums are still very much a thing and I’m well aware that there are people in this world who will defend the practice to the bitter end. I’m not saying that every medium is fraudulent, nor am I saying that going to visit a medium is a waste of time. I’m simply saying that if you go to a medium who insists on operating in near darkness and buys stock in cheesecloth and rubber gloves that person might be a charlatan.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Thanks for your continued support of my spooky work. I greatly enjoy posting articles to my blog and getting feedback from all of you. It is truly the highlight of my day when I pop onto WordPress to find your posts and comments. Right now, Haunt Heads is going through a bit of a change. Mimi has decided to take a step back from the podcast in order to focus on other things. I’m excited for her to have more time for her art and to create beautiful things, but she will be sorely missed. I’ll be taking on the responsibility to create new podcasts on my own and will continue to bring you creative, creepy content.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

Stay Spooky, Y’all!

 

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hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

 

 

 

 

 

S2 Ep 16 (Minisode): That’s a fine BOO ya got there!

It’s our first mini-episode featuring stories from our pals on Reddit! We’re excited to share these tales with you, ranging from ghostly sounds and moving objects, to shadow people and spirits who count raisins (just trust us), and hope you enjoy. Haunt Heads will return on the 22nd with a new episode to accommodate some life “stuff.”

Stay Spooky, y’all!

Intro/Outro: Fox and Branch foxandbranch.com

Please take a moment to leave us a 5* review!!

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