Winter Hiatus

Haunt Heads will return with a new podcast episode in January 2018 (either the 14th or the 15th.) New blog posts will be available on January 9.

We’ve got some great stuff coming in the new year. Stay tuned and STAY SPOOKY!

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

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S2 Ep. 4: Burrito Ghosts

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-f6c93-7d93b8

A new intro, but the same old dance from us!

S2 Ep. 4: Burrito Ghosts

Janine explores the practice of Spiritualism and tells the tale of the Stratford Knockings and the Fox Sisters. Mimi again takes us across the pond to the Thirsk Museum in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, UK, for a sit and a cuppa. Whatever you do, don’t sit in Busby’s Chair!

This episode contains turkey talk and traditions, a (potentially) dropped burrito, an entity named “Mr. Splitfoot,” and a little healthy raggin’ on Bagans.

Music/Intro
St. James Infirmary, is generously provided by Fox and Branch and is used with their permission. For more info about them and additional samples of their music, visit their website HERE. You can also purchase digital and physical copies of their CD’s, which is something we’re sure they’d love. =)

Knock, knock, knockin’…

Everyone loves a good ghost story. There’s something about the use of  narrative to relay a spooky tale that gets the blood pumping and the fine hairs on the back of ones neck standing at attention. Every story has its own twist, its own flavor, and the tale of the Fox Sisters and the Stratford Knockings have a flavor all their own.

The Fox Sisters

Around 1850, many individuals claimed to be able to communicate with the other side. There had been a rise in Spiritualism, a system of religious practice or belief that communication with the dead is possible through a medium. Supposed mediums began popping up everywhere, all claiming that they had a direct line to the afterlife. The cause of this rise (or rather, explosion) can be traced to three sisters, Leah, Kate, and Margaret, but they are more widely known as The Fox Sisters.

Kate (age 12) and Leah (age 15) lived with their parents in a modest house in Hydesville, New York. Although Hydesville no longer exists, it was located just outside Newark. In March of 1848, the girls began to report knocking sounds. At times, it sounded like furniture being moved around. The house was rumored to be haunted, but until this point there was no verification of this.

Kate would often ask the noisemaker, an entity the girls began to call Mr. Splitfoot, a nickname for the devil, to communicate. She would snap her fingers and ask for the entity to repeat the pattern. It would. When she requested it to knock as a response and she would get it. Eventually, the girls created a code in order to communicate with Mr. Splitfoot using a series of knocks that corresponded to the letters of the alphabet. Think along the lines Stranger Things when Joyce hangs Christmas lights and draws the alphabet on the wall to communicate with Will in the Upside Down, but with only knocks. I knew I’d manage to fit a Stranger Things reference in here somewhere. ;).

After some time, the entity identified itself as one Charles B. Rosna, a peddler. According to the spirit, his remains were buried in the cellar following his murder five years prior. No peddler by that name could ever be identified, but a skeleton was found buried in one of the cellar walls in 1904. A manhunt followed and a man named Bell was eventually accused of the crime, having been the previous owner of the house, but was never convicted of murder.  Bell would be ostracized from the community for the rest of his life as a suspected murderer.

During all of the excitement at home, Kate and Margaret resided in nearby Rochester. Kate with her sister Leah and Margaret with her brother David. The strange occurrences followed them. Long time friends of the Fox family (and radical Quakers), Amy and Isaac Post, invited the girls to visit them in their Rochester home and began to tell all of their radical Quaker friends about the girls and their supernatural abilities.

In the first ever public exhibition of Spiritualistic practice in 1850, the sisters, Margaret and Kate, performed seances for a large audience at Corinthian Hall in Rochester. The girls asked questions of the spirits they claimed were present and received definitive answers. Onlookers were enthralled by the spectacle and the sisters became quite popular. That is until the investigations began.

Scientists and doctors at the time believed that the sounds emanated from the girls themselves, saying that clicking joints were the cause of the “rapping.” E. P. Longworthy, a physician, noted that the noises always seemed to come from under the girl’s dresses and never from an outside source. He explained that cracking toe joints, hips, and knees could produce such a sound and, in fact, the sounds the girls created were so loud that they could be heard plainly throughout a large hall.

Many more in the scientific community came forward to cast doubt upon the public seances and, in time, the crowds at the Fox Sister’s events and their popularity dwindled. Margaret attempted to return to the practice later in her life due to financial need.  Although she had confessed to a major newspaper that the rappings were a farce, she tried to recant her statement but to no avail.  At the time of their death, the women were penniless and were interred in pauper’s graves in Brooklyn, NY.

Margaret had this to say about their ruse.

“Mrs. Underhill, my eldest sister, took Katie and me to Rochester. There it was that we discovered a new way to make the raps. My sister Katie was the first to observe that by swishing her fingers she could produce certain noises with her knuckles and joints, and that the same effect could be made with the toes. Finding that we could make raps with our feet – first with one foot and then with both – we practiced until we could do this easily when the room was dark. Like most perplexing things when made clear, it is astonishing how easily it is done. The rapping are simply the result of a perfect control of the muscles of the leg below the knee, which govern the tendons of the foot and allow action of the toe and ankle bones that is not commonly known. Such perfect control is only possible when the child is taken at an early age and carefully and continually taught to practice the muscles, which grow stiffer in later years. … This, then, is the simple explanation of the whole method of the knocks and raps.”

She also wrote:

“A great many people when they hear the rapping imagine at once that the spirits are touching them. It is a very common delusion. Some very wealthy people came to see me some years ago when I lived in Forty-second Street and I did some rappings for them. I made the spirit rap on the chair and one of the ladies cried out: “I feel the spirit tapping me on the shoulder.” Of course that was pure imagination.”

Harry Houdini was devoted to debunking Spiritualist activities and had this to say about the practice of Spiritualism.

“As to the delusion of sound. Sound waves are deflected just as light waves are reflected by the intervention of a proper medium and under certain conditions it is a difficult thing to locate their source. Stuart Cumberland (an English mentalist-added) told me that an interesting test to prove the inability of a blindfolded person to trace sound to its source. It is exceedingly simple; merely clicking two coins over the head of the blindfolded person.”

Stratford Knockings

Eliakim Phelps was a Congregational minister in Stratford, Connecticut in the 1850’s. He and his wife, a much younger woman who had been widowed as he had, and their blended family, lived in a beautiful home. It had been built by Matthias Nicoll for his daughter Elizah and her husband Captain George Dowdall in 1826. Dowdall worked in the China trade and the top floor of the home had been modeled to look like the deck of a ship, but when Dowdall died in China several years following the house being built, it was put up for sale. Phelps saw the property as the perfect place for his family and purchased it, using it seasonally and living the rest of the time in Philadelphia. It is at this point that things begin to get a little strange.

One day, the family, Phelps, his wife, the children (from their previous marriages), and the 3 year old daughter they shared, returned from church to find the house in a shambles. Their belongings were strewn about, clothing and trinkets lay everywhere, and the mirrors in the home had been draped in black funeral crepe. Naturally, the family was taken aback. Who would have done this? Phelps told his family to wait as he explored the house to ensure nobody was hiding inside. Upon inspection, he found no one and realized that nothing had been taken. Assuming it was the work of vandals, he gave the rest of the family the all clear and they proceeded about the task of cleaning up. When Phelps entered the master bedroom, he found a dress laid out on the bed. The arms were crossed over the chest in funeral pose. The dress had belonged to his previous wife, now deceased.

The scene made Phelps uneasy, but he simply brushed it off as a prank. In the weeks and months that followed, there were more strange occurrences.  Books, tools for the fireplace, and a potato would appear in random locations in the house. Items thought to have been under lock and key appeared in plain sight. Items would fall from their places and windows would be smashed. At one point, Phelps send the remainder of the family on to Philadelphia to see if the activity would continue. Something tells me he believed it was the work of one of the children. The activity was less frequent, but continued.

When the whole family was back in the house, they found that the spirit(s) most often communicated with 11 year old Henry. He would ask questions and the spirit(s) would rap out answers. Sound familiar? Friendly spirits would help the family locate lost or misplaced items while “evil” spirits would set fires and break windows.

Newspapers had a field day with the Phelps story. There was much speculation as to the validity of the claims the family made and many wondered if they were simply telling tall tales. A few news outlets stated that they believed the rapping and lost objects were the doing of Phelps’ wife and children. Others claimed he was in on the ruse. The events would start and stop according to the time Henry spent in the house, so the sounds and damage were largely blamed on him.

Phelps eventually sold the home to the publisher of the New York Sun and the family moved away in 1852. There were no further reports of ghostly happenings on the property. The house has long since been demolished, but the story lives on in spooky Connecticut history.

What do you think of Spiritualism? Drop us an email and tell us about your tarot/star readings or experiences with psychics. We’d love to read them. =)

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

Facebook: Haunt Heads Podcast

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S2 Ep. 3: Halloween Episode (Sort Of)

S2 Ep. 3: Halloween Episode (Sort Of)

NEW EPISODE AVAILABLE 11/13/2017!

This week, Mimi returns with the tale of Poveglia Island in Venice, Italy, and Janine mesmerizes us with the story of Franz Freidrich Anton Mesmer, the father of Mesmerism.

This episode contains memories from Halloween past, talk of witches and The Craft, being recognized, and shitty people.
*Note: If you’re not a fan of chit chat, we’d suggest you begin listening at about 20 minutes in.

COMING SOON!

New episodes of Haunt Heads will be available at hauntheads.podbean.com (or wherever you listen to podcasts) on Oct. 12. The blog and podcast will offer new content on a biweekly schedule beginning at that time. Stay tuned! We’ve got a lot of new, interesting stuff coming down the pike. =)

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

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S1 Ep. 18 Grace and Doppelgangers

Mimi’s on vacay this week, but Janine’s got some creepy stuff to share. First, explore the (now demolished) Grace General Hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, where ghostly apparitions roam the nurse’s residence, searching for release. Then, enjoy a tale of double walkers, more familiarly known as doppelgangers, and the strange case of Emilee Sagee. This episode contains nostalgia, gardening and astral projection, a creepy little boy in a hospital gown, and footprints leading to nowhere.

Find this weeks episode at hauntheads.podbean.com or wherever you listen to podcasts!

If you listen to us on iTunes, please take a moment to leave us a review. We’d really appreciate it. =)

Wabana Iron Ore Mines, Bell Island, NFLD, Canada

I remember when Bell Island was a hub of activity. In the summer months, my family and I would take day trips over on the car ferry and spend the day there, topping off our trip with a tour of the ore mines. It was truly the highlight of our trip, next to a stop at the gift shop. Our last trip there was sometime in the summer of 1998 and sadly, by that time, the island tourism had appeared to slow. Although a few stragglers wandered in and out that year, it seemed as if the foot traffic had hit a low, but the stories of the Wabana Iron Ore Mines, of strange noises, lights, and apparitions, persisted.

Life on the Island

Bell Island is located on the Northern part of the Avalon Peninsula, a small block of land sticking out of the ocean that is roughly 9  km long and 3 km wide. Year round, the island can be accessed via a car ferry on The Tickle, the section of the Atlantic that lies between the island and Portugal Cove. Farming is a primary means of income for many and is second only to fishing, though not many can make a living from the sea any longer. The topsoil on the island is unusually rich and makes for a good yield. Throughout the 19th century, the seal hunt drew large crowds of men from both Bell Island and Conception Bay.

Mining History

In 1578, a merchant from Bristol, England, reported that there were very rich iron ore deposits on the island and, by 1678, soil samples were sent by Sir John Guy’s colony in Cupids to England for analysis.

By 1890, the deposits began to draw attention from outside mining interests including New Glasgow Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company (later called Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Co.). The NSSC began developing the site in 1892 at the urging of the Butler’s from Topsail. Thomas Cantley, Secretary of the NSSC, called the site Wabana. It is believed that Wabana is an Abenaki Indian word meaning “the place where daylight first appears.” Mining officially began in the Summer of 1895. The deposits at the Wabana mines fed giant steel mills in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and ore was also shipped as far as the United States and Germany.

For the most part, mining operations ran steadily, at times at an expanding pace, but WW1 (Germany being one of Bell Island’s largest purchasers of ore) and the Great Depression greatly affected the demand for ore and its price. Although many believed that modernization would help the mines, it was actually more of a hindrance. Many lost their jobs because new machinery could get the ore out of the ground and to the surface far faster than men with picks and shovels and mining carts. Though the mine experienced an upswing between 1936-59, one mine was shut down. By April of 1966, the final shaft, #3 mine, was shut down permanently. At the time of closure, Wabana was Canada’s longest operating mine project. Almost 80 million tons of ore was pulled from the earth and shipped to other parts of Canada, Germany, the United States, Belgium, and Holland.

Since the mine’s closure, many have left the island. In 2011, the total population was 2,346. Tourism is the primary industry at present, but those who live on Bell Island also farm and fish (to the best of their ability since the government crackdown.) #2 mine has been reopened for tours and many come to the island in the summer months to see what live below the ground was actually like.

To date, no outside company has made a bid to reopen the mines.

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Haunting

If you think about it, working in a mine was likely very dangerous. Heavy machinery could crush you, the ceiling could cave in, low lighting conditions might cause to to catch a pick to the head… None of the above sounds particularly pleasant or pretty, which is likely why many have experienced paranormal phenomena in #2 mine.

Visitors to the mine have reported:

Shadow figures- A visitor to the mine in 2016 reported seeing the shadow of a man standing in a lower portion of the tunnel that she was in with her tour group. She said the figure just stood and watched for a time, then vanished.

Noises- Strange noises are likely common in a mine shaft, particularly one as old as #2. Clanging and banging is often heard along with voices and a strange hissing sound.

Lights- Lights are often seen down in the mine shafts at night. At night, #2 shaft is not lit nor are any of the others (as they are not in use and sealed.) Some visitors have reported that the lights seen appear to be those similar to the older lights worn on mining helmets.

Visitors have also reported being touched on the shoulder or back and feeling cold spots throughout the mine.

Have you ever visited the Wabana mine and gone down into shaft #2? Did you have a strange experience? Please drop us a line via email or leave a *comment below.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

Facebook: Haunt Heads Podcast

Find episodes of our podcast at hauntheads.podbean.com or wherever you listen to podcasts!

*UPDATE: Thanks to Melissa McCall for sending photos of her Wabana Mine experience! Without Melissa telling me what she was seeing, we found out we were both seeing the same thing! What do you see?

___

Melissa wrote: ‪My family and I took a tour in the Bell Island Mines back in 2015, the tour guide brought us to one area of the mine where two cardboard cutouts of miners were placed. She told us how women in the mines were known to be bad luck and weren’t allowed in the mines. I was in the very back of the group and, as we left this area, I stayed behind to take a picture. I said “girls aren’t allowed in this area” and laughed. When I looked through my photos that evening, the photo that I took has an image of a man looking in my direction behind that cardboard cutout. Thought I would share and get your thoughts on this. ‬

___

S1 Ep. 17: On Location: Grant Park, Milwaukee, WI

NEW #podcast EPISODE AVAILABLE! S1 Ep. 17 On Location: Grant Park hauntheads.podbean.com #paranormal #fact or #fiction #creepy #milwaukee💀
 
Also check out hauntheads.wordpress.com for photos to accompany your listening experience. 😉
This week, Mimi and Janine (along with Mimi’s shrinky dink hubby Bill) take you into off the beaten path and into the forest. Seven Bridges has been considered a haunted location for a long time and, on this episode, the ladies will try to prove or disprove the stories told around the campfire. This episode contains SPIDERS, many screaming teens, and some nice busts.

S1 Ep. 17 Seven Bridges of Grant Park (Photos)

Thanks for taking a moment to peruse the photos we took at Grant Park on 8/5. I’ve left notes under each to kind of explain what (I think) is present. Some photos contained strange mists and halos. In one, you can almost see some sort of face peering out from the darkness. It could just be a teenager running around in the woods or might be something more. I’ll let you decide. =)

Don’t forget to take a listen to the on location episode of Haunt Heads. The pictures should pair nicely and give you a feel for the park. If you see something I didn’t, please let me know in the comments or shoot us an email at the address below!

 

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

Facebook: Haunt Heads Podcast

Find us at hauntheads.podbean.com or wherever you listen to podcasts!

Twin Strangers: The curious existence of doppelgangers.

It’s happened to me several times in the past. I’m walking around a shopping center or a grocery store and someone will tap me on the shoulder. When I turn around, I see a complete stranger staring at me quizzically. “Oh! I’m sorry! I thought you were “insert name here.”” It’s definitely weird. I’m always curious who it is I look like to them. They explain that my nose is similar and the set of my eyes. They might say I walk the same way or look like whomever they’re looking for from the side. Some people have told me I’m the spitting image of their aunt, cousin, niece, neighbor… Sometimes people tell me that they met me in France or England, two places I’ve never been. I am originally from Newfoundland and might look similarly to someone from England or Ireland. I also have French ancestors. I think we’ve all had a similar experience, being mistaken for someone else, but when two people appear in the same place at the same time, it can be very confusing and quite creepy.

The term Doppelganger is German for “double-walker” and the double of a person is considered to be a paranormal duplicate of a real person. On occasion, one can see his or her own double but, for the most part, the individual is unaware of the presence of a doppelganger. A double-walker may appear in the same place as the individual or could appear in a completely different city, town, or country.

“True” Story

In the 19th century, Emilee Sagee, 32, worked as a school teacher at several girl’s institutions in Dijon, France. By all accounts, she was an amazing and engaging teacher and her students loved her. However, despite her popularity with the young ones,  Sagee was dismissed from roughly 18 schools and could hardly hold a job for any length of time due to the strange occurrences that followed her wherever she went. In 16 years, she had changed positions 19 times and, in 1845, 13 students actually witnessed Sagee’s doppelganger mysteriously appear next to her. She stood at the front of the room, her students sitting before her in rapt attention, and all of a sudden, a form appeared beside her. It appeared to mimic her movements and, although the figure was in close proximity to Sagee, she never acknowledged its presence. This was likely a good thing because old folklore tales warn of the dangers of seeing ones own copy or “double walker.” The copy appeared several times, each appearance seemingly making Sagee herself groggy and disoriented, including once while she ate. The copy ate too, presenting the same movements and mannerisms. On one occasion, Sagee was in the garden outside the classroom while her doppelganger sat in a chair at the front of the classroom. Although Sagee reported worrying the students wouldn’t do their work without her supervision, she never looked in on them. Instead, it seems as if she projected an image of herself into the space.

The account reads as follows:

witnessed by nearly 50 persons, the students were intently working in their sewing class while another teacher sat at the front of the room reading a book. Outside the window, the students could see Emilee working in the garden. The supervising teacher stood up and left the room. Seconds later, Emilee walked in and sat down in the empty chair. Students thought nothing of it until one gasped and pointed out the window where Emilee was still working diligently in the garden. Two of the students stood and approached the doppelganger and being quite brave, reached out and touched it. They said it looked just like Emilee Sagee in all aspects except when they ran their hands through the entity, they said it felt empty, like the stuff cobwebs are made of. Later Emilee Sagee had told school officials that she indeed had been outside picking flowers in the garden. She had not seen the doppelganger (in fact, Emilee never once saw her twin) but had in fact, wished to herself that she was in the classroom supervising the sewing class. School officials noted in their documentation that each time the doppelganger appeared to them, the real Emilee appeared lethargic and listless.

A few people attempted to approach and touch the copy, but they found that, although the figure was textural like heavy fabric, they were unable to place their hands upon it. Instead their hands slipped right through the copy, making it more of an apparition. Day after day, the copy would appear and more and more children would be removed from school by their parents. One would imagine it’s quite stressful to have a ghost-like figure drifting about while in the confines of a classroom. Eventually, Sagee was dismissed from the position.

However, this tale is not unique in and of itself. Many others have had similar experiences. Some of them were even famous.

Not the Only One

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia in the 18th century, retired to bed one evening when servants explained to her that they had already seen her enter the throne room. When Catherine went to investigate, she came upon an exact copy of herself sitting on her throne. She ordered her sentries to fire at the apparition, but to no effect. Catherine herself died shortly thereafter.

Shortly before Percy Bysshe Shelley, a very adept poet, drowned in a sailing accident in 1812 he told his wife Mary (you might know of her, she wrote a little novel called Frankenstein) that he had seen his doppelganger several times. At one point, he had even met his copy on a terrace. The apparition had asked him, “How long do you mean to be content?” before disappearing. Percy’s doppelganger was also witnessed by his friend Jane Williams who stated that she would often see Percy walking past her window toward a dead end. He would only walk toward the dead end and never returned back the way he’d come. The real Percy was no where near at the time of these incidents.

Queen Elizabeth I of England (reigned from 1558-1603) was known by those close to her to be a very savvy and level-headed individual and she was certainly not the type to be concerned with the paranormal, that is until she saw her doppelganger lying motionless on her bed. The spectral Elizabeth appeared to be laid out as if for funerary presentation. Such appearances are often precursors to the death of that individual and, in Elizabeth’s case, this was no exception to that rule.

One day, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, famous writer and politician, (1749-1832) was riding along a footpath toward home, having just left the residence of a love interest named Frederika. Goethe claimed that he saw a rider in the distance riding toward him. As the figure came closer, he realized that the rider was himself, though wearing different clothing. When the figure was close enough to touch, it disappeared. About eight years later, Goethe was again riding the same path in the opposite direction when he realized that he was wearing the same clothes that the figure had been wearing eight years prior.

In another instance, Goethe saw his friend Freidrich walking down the street wearing Goethe’s own dressing gown. Goethe went home and, when he arrived, found that Freidrich had changed into one of his dressing gowns while drying his wet clothes. Freidrich claimed to have been inside and never wandered in the street.

Fact or Fiction?

While mystics believe that double-walkers are supernatural in nature, those with a more scientific lean are inclined to believe that seeing yourself in this way can more reasonably be attributed to schizophrenia or a glitch in the brain.

At present, there are websites where you can find your doppelganger. One such site, http://www.twinstrangers.net, a company based in Ireland, claims that two head shots and a quick search on their site will hook you up with a carbon copy of yourself. Just for fun, I signed up. I have yet to get a confirmation in order to access the site, but it will be very interesting if I happen to stumble upon another me on the other side of the world somewhere.

So what do we make of this phenomena? Have you ever met your double? I suppose not. For, if you did, you’d likely be dead.

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

Facebook: Haunt Heads Podcast

Listen to our podcast at hauntheads.podbean.com or wherever you listen to podcasts!