"Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Essex County Mental Hospital

WARNING: the Sheriff's Office of Essex County do NOT tolerate trespassers. They regularly conduct plainclothes surveillance operations at the hospital. If you trespass, you will get arrested and prosecuted. DON'T DO IT!!

It seems like yesterday season five of Ghost Hunters premiered. Now we have reached the mid-season finale. The chosen location is Essex County Mental Hospital.

Essex County Mental Hospital once went by the name of Overbrook. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the city of Newark, New Jersey purchased land and built many buildings to house mental patients and facilities. The hospital contained a power house, theater and laundromat. Unfortunately, in the winter of 1917, the hospital reported a boiler failure. Twenty people died, some from freezing to death. Thirty-two others suffered from frostbite.

Matters grew worse thanks to the Great Depression. Many institutions, including Overbrook, became overcrowded with the hungry, homeless, and destitute. World War II food rations led to dismal living conditions and near starvation. The end of WWII made the situation worse. Many veterans returned with shell shock or post traumatic stress disorder. Hospital staff could not cope with overpopulation and patient care suffered. There were escape attempts, violence among residents, starvation, neglect, abuse, and suicides. Many patients were subjected to barbaric treatments such as hydrotherapy, prefrontal lobotomy, and diathermy. It's estimated over ten thousand patients died at Essex County Mental Hospital.

Thanks to the inventions of new medicine, the patient population decreased during the 1960s and 1970s. In 2007, Essex County Mental Hospital closed for good. The grounds were turned in to a 90-acre county park. At the south end of the site, several buildings were demolished about a year later.

Overbrook Insane Asylum was used in the film Choke starring Anjelica Huston. Many crew members had ghostly experiences. One member experienced a satanic dark energy in building five and refuses to talk about it til this day. Extreme Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel, not to be confused with Ghost Adventures the series, also investigated the site. Now, it's TAPS turn. Will they see the ghost nurse? Or perhaps capture the sounds of bangs, screams and/or direct threats? We will find out tonight.

For more information on Essex County Mental Hospital check out the Weird NJ website:

GS Question of the Week

T or F: Scientists believe the Avebury Stone Circle was the site of fertility rituals.

Reminder Sunday

I currently have three submissions for Ghost Stories Carnival May edition. You still have 8 days to get yours in. Pick your best post between April 12th and May 3 and submit it. No registration required.

The Monster of Dead Man's Hole

This post was initially going to be about a ghost town, but my search led me to this juicy find. I was looking for information on a Dead Man's Hole in Oklahoma. I came to find there's one in about every state including California. We've all heard about Bigfoot, Yowie and Nessie, but there was a monster that pre-dated all of them.

Dead Man's Hole is located near Oak Grove, California and was a stop of the Butterfield stage line. When the line was established, it ran right by a sparkling water hole. The stage often stopped there to refresh men and horses before continuing their trip. It was on one of these stops in 1858 that a legend was born. The driver got out for a drink. He leaned over the water just to meet face to face with a dead man, the first known victim of the hole. Several reports circulated San Diego of the disappearance of men but were dismissed.

A French sheepherder was found dead at the hole in 1870. Six years later, a stage passenger claimed to have seen a naked "thing" with long black hair watch him from a nearby bush. A few years later, a man named William Blair was found strangled in the woods near the hole. A couple of his wealthy friends from San Francisco investigated the death but found no clues. A year later, an Indian girl was found 200 feet from where Blair's body was discovered.

In March of 1888, a couple of hunters named Edward Dean and Charles Cox explored the canyons behind Dead Man's Hole. They managed to hike a mile through the rough terrain. Upon taking a break, they heard a crash nearby. What they found was a creature with dark brown hair like a bear and six feet tall scurrying away. The hunters began to follow it but decided to stop it in its tracks by firing a shot in the air. The beast turned to reveal its human-like face. It started climbing the canyon wall to a cave opening. Cox fired again, killing the creature.

James Jaspar reported in a San Diego newspaper that the monster's body was being taken to San Diego to be put on exhibit the next day. However, there weren't any further reports after the 1888 article concerning the beast. Was the monster revealed to the world or did it disappear in transit? Why weren't there any more articles about the Monster of Dead Man's Hole? Perhaps the truth lies more in logic rather than conspiracy. It may have something to do with the date James Jaspar's article was published on: April 1, 1888.

Croxteth Hall

Duke William of Normandy sent William Molyneux to take charge of Sefton. In 1575, the original house was built in Liverpool, England. Croxteth Hall gradually extended over the years in three different styles until it was finally completed in 1902. The Earls of Sefton remained in the home for over 400 yrs. With the surrounding farmland, they hunted for sport. Gambled away much of the fortune, forcing them to sell parts of the property.

Eustache Ude, chef to King Louis XVII, fled the French Revolution and found employment at the hall. In 1952, another Molyneux family chef Raymond Lempereurs saved the hall and most of its invaluable contents from a destructive fire. His heroic actions led to him being featured in a documentary about Liverpool's French connection entitled "Croxteth Hall - the French Connection". The last Earl died in 1972. With no heir, he bequeathed Croxteth hall to the Liverpool City Council.

Several spirits are believed to be haunting the area. However, it is the above alleged ghost footage that has recently circulated for thoughts and opinions. Could it be a ghost or maybe just a bug?

GS Question of the Week

What are some old school ghost hunting techniques?

Jumpin Jimmy's Bar

Evidence collected by Bi State Paranormal at Jumpin Jimmy's Bar in Bella Villa (Lemay), Missouri. May have gone a little overboard on the intro, but any thoughts?

Wookey Hole Caves

In its 50,000 year history, Wookey Hole Caves has seen it share of inhabitants such as the Neanderthal man and Romans. At a constant temperature of 11 °C or 52 °F, the caves are a prime location for maturing Cheddar cheese. In 1935, Chamber 7 was the location of the first successful cave diving expedition in Britain performed by Graham Balcombe, Penelope Powell, and their cave diving group. However, Wookey Hole Caves is most known for a certain witch.

Stories surrounding this legend vary. A woman wronged by life in some way decides to take her frustration out on the females of the village. In one version, the villagers banded together and requested the services of a monk from Glastonbury. In another, the witch curses the romance of a couple. When it fails, the man becomes a monk and seeks revenge on the witch. Either way, the monk enters the cave. He blesses the water and begins splashing it among parts of the cave. Supposedly, some of the holy water was splashed on the witch, turning her to stone. She remains in the cave 'til this day.

The Witch of Wookey Hole is actually a stalagmite in the first chamber of the caves. Over the years, the rock took on a human form and thus, a legend is born. But is it really just a tale? The story was first written down in 1748 though circulated among generations for years before. In 1912, cave explorer H. B. Balch found evidence that may substantiate some of the story. He discovered a milking pot, a ball made from a stalagmite, tools and even human remains which may or may not belong to the "witch".

If that weren't enough, the caves are also said to be haunted. The ghost of a potholer who drowned is said to roam the chambers. The spirit of a child who died on the site has also been seen. Of course, the witch herself is believed to demostrate her powers on occasion. For more on Wookey Hole, check out their website, take the virtual tour and watch the live webcam.

The Seven Sisters Inn

I'm sure some of you are wondering what has become of the beloved Seven Sisters Inn. Did a buyer step up and save it or did it go to auction? Drum roll Unfortunately, all the candlelight vigils and petitions weren't enough to save the beloved inn from its fate. On April 7th, Seven Sisters Inn was sold to the highest bidder.

The inn's new owner is Fernandina Beach-based First Coast Community Bank who bought the landmark for $100,000. They vowed to place Seven Sisters Inn back on the market and expressed interest in seeking owners that would keep one or both of the properties an inn. The battle isn't over yet. There's still hope.

UPDATE 2013 - The Seven Sisters Inn was saved is currently still open for guests.

GS Question of the Week

Should owners of alleged haunted locations receive restitution or portion of the profits for any book/movie made about their property?

Ghost Stories Carnival

The deadline has been set for the very first edition of the Ghost Stories Carnival. A blog carnival is compiled list of links much like this month's Ghostly Thirteen. Here are the rules:
  • Your submissions must be paranormal related. There may be themed editions in the future but as of now anything paranormal goes.
  • Each edition will be published the first Tuesday of the month. Deadlines are set for 11:00 pm Central time the night before. You must submit your URL before the deadline. If it is submitted after, it will not be included. Check the left sidebar for information on upcoming editions.
  • Keep it clean and respectful. You can express yourself without tons of swear words. There's also no need for attacking personal opinions. We are talking about the paranormal. Everyone may not agree with you on the subject and that's okay. Play nice.
  • Categories are: article, essay, fiction, picture, review, video clip, poem. If the posted photos aren't yours, give credit to their owners. Fiction and poetry are accepted but no graphic violence/language, sex and so on. You can submit your review of a book, TV show, documentary, etc.
  • One submission per edition.
  • Your submission must be something posted within the month period. Meaning during the time between the previous carnival and the next one.
  • I reserve the right not to publish your submission without giving a reason. If you have a problem with this, don't submit.
Have a question? Leave a comment or e-mail me at paranormal_stories2004 at yahoo dot com.

TAPS Loses Lawsuit

Season 5 of Ghost Hunters is off to a good start. However, TAPS has suffered a loss. No one died but they did lose the right to the domain name They currently operate under It's no surprise they were looking for something shorter and better. Unfortunately, someone beat them to it.

A resident of France registered the name without the ghostly organization in mind and an arbitration panel agreed. I guess the Ghost Hunters will have to stick with the same ole web address. For more information, check out the Domain Name Wire article.

In other legal news, owners of a supposedly "haunted" mill filed a lawsuit against the writers of "Weird Ohio" and the website for the nightmare their family has been put through. They claim both contained false tales of mass murder and hauntings. Thanks to ghost hunters and the curious they have had to hire off-duty deputies and an estate dog. The judge ruled in March that neither did not place the family in a false light, and there was no intent of emotional distress; and those sued had never trespassed or ever caused anyone else to trespass on the property.

Intended or not, I feel that if you publish a book or make a movie about a real haunted place people will want to see the actual location. Some may drive by. Others will trespass or do worse. It's pretty much a given these days. Just because you read or see a movie/TV show about a haunted location, doesn't give you the right to trespass or harass the owners. Show some respect.

Shroud of Turin Mystery Solved?

Has the image on the famous shroud been identified? Unfortunately, that has yet to be explained. However, a piece of its missing history has been recovered. The Shroud disappeared in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade. It didn't resurface until about a hundred years later. What happened to the Shroud during those missing years?

Dr. Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican Secret Archives, studied a trial document of a Knights Templar member Arnaut Sabbatier. This young Frenchman entered the secret society in 1287. He testified as part of his initiation he was taken to a secret place known only to the brothers of the Temple. There he was shown a long linen cloth with the impression of a man. Then was instructed to kiss its feet three times to show his devotion. The Knights Templar were accused of worshipping idols, specifically that of a "bearded figure". The "bearded figure" is now believed to be that of the Shroud. They rescued it to ensure its safety from heretical groups such as the Cathars.

Despite this discovery, controversy over the The Shroud's authenticity continues. However, it does provide further conformation of the Knight's true belief's and practices. For more information, read the Times Online article.

GS Question of the Week

Do you think animals can be psychic?

Reminder Sunday

In the upcoming weeks, I will be accepting submissions for Ghost Stories very first blog carnival. This will be a once a month event in which I'll be hosting. All articles, essays, fiction, and poetry must fall in the paranormal/horror category. This means you don't have to have a paranormal themed blog but your submission must fit the theme of mine. There is no payment involved other than exposure. I will be posting more information on this next week.

What is a Blog Carnival?

A Blog Carnival is a particular kind of blog community. There are many kinds of blogs, and they contain articles on many kinds of topics. Blog Carnivals typically collect together links pointing to blog articles on a particular topic. -- Blog Carnival website

Ghostly Thirteen - halloween text

Ghostly Thirteen was inspired by the Thursday Thirteen meme. You list thirteen paranormal-related things for example your top 13 posts (if you have a paranormal blog), mythical creatures, gods, haunted houses, etc...

My Theme - Ghost Stories articles displayed on the Herald News site/Chicago Sun-Times via BlogBurst.

1. McPike Mansion
2. Stonehenge Mystery Continues
3. Seven Sisters Inn
4. The Flintstones Long Lost Home
5. Zombie Road
6. Curse of the Hope Diamond
7. Oak Alley Plantation
8. Rest In Peace
9. Shadow People
10. A Haunting in Connecticut
11. Ghost on the Set
12. Thripz By: Robert Farley
13. Trapper Nelson
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