Friday, June 17, 2011

Glore Psychiatric Museum (Missouri)

The year 1872 was a year of growth for westward expansion.  Due to a boost in both population increase, as well as traffic from points east coming West, the need for an additional psychiatric facility became a concern for the state legislature of Missouri.  The location for the hospital was chosen as St. Joseph, and a sum of $200,000 was approved to begin construction.

The new hospital, the State Lunatic Asylum No. 2, opened its doors in 1874 to 25 patients, bed space available for an additional 250 patients.  George C. Cattlett was the first superintendent of the facility, and oversaw the burial of the first two deaths on December 12, 1874.  Because the ground was frozen, one hole was dug for both patients in what would later become the severely neglected asylum cemetery.  In the 1960s, it was more cost efficient to simply push over the tombstones and mow on top of them, as opposed to mowing around.  Out of over 2000 estimated burials, only a few hundred stones remain, many of those marked with nothing more than a number, as it was a common practice for travelers west to simply drop off unwanted family members, never to return for them.

In any event, in 1879, the facility burned to the ground, but was quickly rebuilt.  In 1903, it was given the more politically correct name of State Hospital No. 2, and in 1952, the name was once again changed to St. Joseph Hospital.

It was around this time when a young professional came to work in the state's psychiatric program, and who would later become a director of the hospital.  The man was George Glore.  By 1967, Glore had opened his collection of historical artifacts pertaining to the study of mental health to other professionals and the public.  The small museum, known as the Glore Psychiatric Musuem, was housed directly in the asylum.

During this time, the hospital began gaining a reputation for being haunted...basic run of the mill type activity.  Staff would see images in their periphery, mainly in the museum area, and feelings of being watched/not alone were prevalent.  One patient in particular was known for her interaction with the spirits...she would often write poems and songs, and create artwork based on her impressions of the paranormal activity she witnessed in the building.

By 1994, the state legislature again approved funding for a new, downsized and modern building for the psychiatric facility, located across the street.  Ground was broken that year, and formally opened in 1997 under the name of Northwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center.  The former building, which housed the museum and the hospital, was taken over by the Missouri Department of Corrections and turned into the Western Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center.  Today, it holds slightly under 600 criminal offenders who are in treatment for substance abuse.

The Glore Psychiatric Museum was moved into another building on site.  Its current home was built in the 1960s and served as both an admitting building and health clinic for hospital patients.  It was also where the hospital morgue and autopsy rooms were housed.  For whatever reason, it appears as if the paranormal activity associated with the original hospital followed the museum to its new location.  The Missouri Department of Corrections reports no activity in their occupied space, but the museum, as well as the rest of the building is ripe with paranormal phenomenon.

Almost naturally, the morgue area is claimed to be the most haunted.  The apparition of a man is seen often near the elevators running and screaming "Get Out!"  A woman is heard whispering, and people have heard their names called when no one else is around.  Moaning and whimpering sounds are common, as are the feelings of not being alone.

George Glore, who remained curator of the museum until his retirement in 1996 has also claimed to have witnessed much of this activity, and can only offer possible explanations for the many reports that have come to his attention.  

The museum is still open today, and operates under the St. Joseph Musuem, Inc. network.  It is listed as one of the Top 50 Most Unique Museums.  In addition to ghosts, it offers a variety of medical treatment devices from over the years, collections of objects pulled from a patient's stomach, and much much more!

Michigan's Halstead House

The Halstead House today is a cheery yellow, Italianate home with central cupola and white trim.  It was built sometime in the 1870s by Lorenzo D. Halstead, of New York.  Halstead came to the Coldwater area in 1836 with nothing more than a thimble and one dollar to his name.  Over time, he managed to amass a fortune, first by trading and buying furs from the Native American tribes, and then by starting his own sewing business.

In April of 1843, he married Laura Lake, and not long after, began a home building business in town.  The town of Coldwater, which had been founded in 1837, gained city status in the early 1860s after the railroads came through the area.  The presence of the railroad led to a population boom, and thus, Halstead's home building business served the new wealthy citizens of this area of Michigan.

When Halstead passed away in April of 1906, he was credited not only with being the area's oldest living pioneer, but also one of the wealthiest citizens in town, owning more homes and properties than any other.
However, the Halstead House, as it has come to be called, is perhaps the most haunted.  Visitors tell tales of seeing the apparitions of two children.  The children are seen only on the top of the maid's staircase, sitting quietly.  In the 1980s, two antique dealers purchased the home, and spent 8 months, plus $8,000 restoring the cupola, and giving the home a shiny new coat of yellow paint....they were careful, however, not to disturb the ghostly children who made their home there.

Old Town Tatu

The Old Town Tatu Shop on Chicago's North Side opened in 2003 as Odin Tatu.  Named after owner Ritchie "Tapeworm" Herrera's son, the tattoo shop was built in what was once the Klemundt funeral home, the oldest operating funeral home in the city, opened in the 1800s.  It also now has the distinction of being certifiably haunted, and possibly, the most haunted tattoo shop in America.

There are many different reports and several different entities that are said to reside in the building.  An EVP session by Weird Chicago came up with the name Walter, who was the original owner of the parlor and who died in the building of a heart attack, but there are also at least three other entities, including a little girl, and perhaps even Ritchie "Tapeworm" himself.

Before Ritchie passed away in 2006, he had several incidents of where something tried, and eventually succeeded, in pushing him down the stairs.  After being pushed down the stairs, Ritchie loudly proclaimed that if he ever died in the shop, he was going to come back and kick the ghost's ass.  Sadly, Ritchie DID pass away in the shop.  He died of an apparent heart attack in the upstairs apartment, three weeks after the stair incident, on July 6, 2006.

Today, the shop is owned by friends of Ritchie, who out of respect, changed the name to Old Town Tatu, and plan on turning ownership over to Ritchie's son, Odin, as soon as Odin finishes college.  Activity is still present, and it is believed that Tapeworm may even still be there.  New employees who use his former tattoo station report electrical problems.  When someone who knew Tapeworm uses the station, everything works perfectly. 

The shop is also plagued with poltergeist activity.  A mask on the wall has flown off several times, and keys have flown off a counter.  Before Ritchie's passing, he and Nick, a current owner, were staying in the upstairs apartment with their dog, Rocky.  Nick was sleeping while Ritchie was away from the apartment.  Nick was awakened by the door opening and closing, and figured it was either Ritchie returning, or the dog.  It stopped for awhile, then started up again, so he investigated.  Ritchie was not there, and the dog was locked out on the back porch.

An Obituary

This is the first installment of Friday Night Funnies that we've had for awhile!  I thought this obituary was cute and funny...but most of all, quite applicable to both my life right now AND the field of paranormal research as a whole.  Please enjoy, The Death of Common Sense.

Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend,Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. 

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral,  since so few realized he was gone.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

HPIR Investigates Colonial Lanes!

(Photo taken by, and property of Melissa Stanley-HPIR President/Founder)

In late April of this year, HPIR finally made it around to investigating one of Huntington's iconic haunts...the Colonial Lanes bowling alley, located on the west end of town.  As Historical Research Manager and lead interviewer for the team, I had the pleasure of interviewing the onsite staff to find out just what had been going on there recently in the realm of the paranormal.  (HPIR Investigation of Colonial Lanes)

Since the staff interviewed only worked nights, we only got a small sampling of possible paranormal activity that goes on during the bowling alley's off-hours, but what was fascinating was that the activity being reported today closely matches activity that has been reported for over 10 years by various persons with various ties to the establishment.  Here are a few of those stories:

For starters, the stairway leading from the snack kitchen to upstairs storage and office space is said to be QUITE creepy, creepy enough that some kitchen staff refuse to walk up the stairs at closing to turn in their nightly deposits.  One member distinctly heard footsteps clomping up the stairs one night.  When HPIR investigated this area, we did find extremely high levels of EMF coming from a fuse box at the top of the stairs.  This high level of EMF may be attributed to the feelings of being watched while at the sink, or the feelings of disorientation...but not necessarily account for the actual footsteps being heard.

Other stories also center on different parts of the second story.  One section is set aside as a nursery-type room, with an access stairway located near the men's locker room.  Employees have heard noises coming from this upstairs room, mainly the sound of children running and playing after hours. 

The Rebels and Redcoats side of the bowling alley seems to be another hot spot.  While sitting on the stairs to the nursery (located on the opposite end of the bowling alley) one employee distinctly saw a bowling ball, previously resting securely on a rack, lift itself up about three feet in the air, and then be gently placed back into place.  The same employee was vacuuming one night with the radio up loud when it appeared as if someone had come out of the tavern, and yelled, "It's like a dance floor out here!"

A further hot spot includes the area behind the pin set-up.  Pins seemingly fall on their own...or at least SOUND as if they fall on their own.  One maintenance person was fixing the machine in Lane One and as he was working, he kept hearing someone yell "Hey, Adam!" every few minutes.  He was alone in the establishment.

Random electrical disturbances are also commonplace.  The TVs often turn themselves on and off, and in one instance, all the lights in the building went a row.

Although no one is certain who haunts the bowling alley, there have been a few deaths associated with it that some feel contribute to the haunted atmosphere.  One death includes an elderly lady bowler.  While waiting her turn at the lane, it was assumed that she fell asleep, but when they went to check on her, it was discovered she had passed away.  Another popular candidate for the paranormal activity is a former employee who died on the grounds nearly 20 years ago.  He was taking trash out one evening out back and was shot to death right outside the door.  Rumors abound as to WHY he was shot, but the motive remains a mystery.  The bowling alley still has his time card stored upstairs.

During the actual investigation, HPIR members did have some interesting experiences.  At 1:13am, the Ovilus spurted out the word "bowl," minutes after being turned on for the first time that evening.  At 1:14, movement was noticed at the end of Lane 7...the lane directly in front of where the Ovilus was set up.   Please see our investigation page for more information!

Colonial Lanes Original Write-Up on Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State