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

Banta Inn

In Banta east of Tracy, California, Banta Inn was originally built as a two-story saloon and inn in 1892 by Frank Gallegos, reputed former member of Joaquin Murrieta's band. Gallegos Saloon was also a sporting house where the "sporting" continued in the upstairs inn rooms used as the bordello.

The building was destroyed in 1937 by fire. It is unknown how the fire was started but two people, supposedly a mother and child, were reported to have died. The structure was rebuilt using some of the timber from the original building as a general store. It retained no bedrooms but kept the name of Banta Inn.

In the 1960s, Frank's youngest daughter Jenny and her third husband Tony decided to turn the store back in to a bar and restaurant. Her third husband Tony suffered a heart attack and died instantly behind the bar. The Inn remained in the Gallegos family until 1981 when, at the age of 92, Jenny sold the establishment. Today, it continues to operate as a bar and restaurant. You may walk in for the food and entertainment and leave with a ghost story.

There were already rumors the Banta Inn was haunted after the 1937 fire. However, it was after Tony's death that the business sealed its haunted reputation. While he was alive, he spent much of his time tending bar, playing one-man poker or stacking coins in the register when business was slow. It seems after death his odd habits continue. Employees have found the register drawer opened with coins stacked neatly even after they closed it.

Witnesses have reported seeing Tony playing poker by himself in a corner or working at the bar. Glasses flip over, plates and ashtrays move on their own, and even the jukebox starts playing on its own whether its plugged in or not. Doors open and close on their own. Shadows are seen.

According to the Banta Inn website, the ghosts have been rather quite as of late, but who knows when they might make a reappearance.

GS Question of the Week

How do you protect yourself from fraud within the paranormal community?

Reader Submission - I Saw the Mothman

The following report is from 12-year-old Binh:

On June 16th, 2011, I spotted a weird bird flying by a radio station. It was the size of a walnut where I was. I tried taking out a camera, but the so called,"Mothman" flew away. Later that night, I heard thunder and looked out the window, I saw two glowing red eyes right at the stroke of midnight.

When I woke up, I looked up some information that the Mothman lands mostly on bridges. Then my eyes grew large. When I went to Miami in 2008, on a Saturday, I saw a strange shape on the bridge to the north. At first, I thought it was a strange, messed up piece of metal, but then it spread out wings and flew.

I believe that the Mothman is a hybrid animal of some sort. A large bird, such as a big hawk, might have eaten a human. So when it laid it's eggs, the DNA from the human, might have crossed with the bird's DNA to form a half bird half human hybrid species and the red eyes can be explained to. You see, some animals can use light to see in the dark using their eyes as a mirror to redirect light to make, a sort of flash light. The Mothman's eyes might be red and the light would deflect, making glowing red eyes.

Emily's Bridge

John W. Smith designed and built a one-lane bridge to provide passage over Gold Brook (so named for flakes of gold that were found on its banks) for residents of nearby Stowe, Vermont in 1844. He dubbed it the Gold Brook Bridge but it is more commonly known as "Emily's Bridge" due to the legend and strange occurrences shrouding the structure.

According to the story, a beautiful young woman named Emily (sometimes called Emily Smith) grew up in the town of Stowe at some point in the nineteenth century. She didn't possess the inability to attract a suitor. Her abusive and overprotective family kept her from being courted by any of the young men in town. However, it didn't stop a young handsome man (sometimes known as Donald) from capturing her heart one day why doing chores.

Madly in love, Emily introduced him to her parents, but his poverty status dissuaded them from allowing her to be with him. Thus, had the young man dragged from their home while Emily watched in despair. He was determined to be with her and met Emily while she was away from the house doing chores. Their love deepened until he asked Emily to run away with him and elope. Her heart overflowed with joy. Not only would she be marrying the man of her dreams, but he would be taking her away from this oppressive life. They made plans to meet at The Gold Brook Bridge the following night.

Unfortunately, her plans didn't remain a secret for long. On the night the couple was to elope, her parents sent local thugs to find her beloved and beat him unconscious, preventing him from joining her at the rendezvous. Emily arrived at the bridge and waited. The night grew cold. Emily collapsed and began to sob upon realizing he was not coming to claim her. The thought of returning to her abusive parents filled her with rage. Emily began to pound the sides of the wooden bridge until her hands were bloodied. Unwilling to return to her living nightmare, Emily untied the rope wrapped around her belongings. Then, tied one end of the rope to a rafter. The other around her neck and hung herself in the cold night. The next morning, her lover arrived to find Emily dead. Brokenhearted, he cut her down and buried her near the bridge.

Other versions of this legend has Emily jumping off the bridge, being trampled to death by a horse-drawn carriage or even accidentally driving her own carriage over the side after misjudging the corner. No matter the variation there are no historical documentation any of these stories ever happened. Supposedly, this bridge's haunted status became known after a high school student wrote a paper about doing a Ouija board session on it and an entity named "Emily" presented itself in 1968. About year later, residents of Stowe passed a resolution to forever maintain the Gold Brook Bridge.

Many people have experienced paranormal phenomenon on Emily's Bridge. Reports include being scratched and finding scratch marks on their cars, and dragging sounds across the roof of their vehicle as they drive across. Others have reported seeing a white apparition or a young female spirit inside and around the area mostly at night, heard sounds of Emily sobbing or a voice crying for help and noises such as footsteps, ropes tightening and a girl screaming. Some believe the bridge is actually haunted by three entities: Emily, a child who was lynched on the bridge and a third unknown spirit. Reports state the height of activity takes place between midnight and 2 a.m. and the spirit(s) has a tendency to gravitate towards women sometimes not in a good way.


Emily's Bridge Official Website

GS Question of the Week

What is an erlking?

The Ada Witch

Ada, Michigan has the legend of the Ada Witch. In the 1800s, a woman would often meet her lover in the wooded area surrounding the cemetery on 2 Mile Road. Her husband somehow learned of her infidelity. One night, enraged with jealousy, he followed her to their rendezvous. Witnessing the lovers embrace, he boiled over with rage and murdered his wife on the spot. Then, diverted his attentions toward her lover. Unfortunately, the two were evenly matched. They fought, significantly injuring one another until they both succumbed to death.

A story like this is fairly common, but has raised several questions. Who was this woman? Where is she buried? Is the story even true? Did she really exist? Many who know of the story have taken it upon themselves to try and convert the legend in to fact. There is a grave in Findlay Cemetery visitors and ghost hunters alike thought it belonged to the Ada Witch as she is most often seen there. The headstone, partially broken, is being held in place by two posts. After a little research by determined fact seekers, it was discovered the grave belonged to a woman named Sarah A. McMillan who was not murdered but died of typhoid in 1870. There is another Sarah buried in the cemetery but there's no evidence the lady of this story was even named Sarah. What about the name: Ada Witch? The legend includes no details of the woman being involved in witchcraft, no association with those who were. And yet, she was given the name Ada Witch.

Along with mounting questions are mounting paranormal experiences. The Ada Witch is believed to haunt several areas: Findlay Cemetery (where she is supposedly buried), Honey Creek Road (where her body was supposedly found), and Seidman Park (where she was supposedly murdered). She is sometimes described as being a beautiful dark haired woman in a white dress or a ghastly looking woman that bore the injuries of her murder. Other activity includes seeing bluish-green mists, orbs, footsteps, a woman weeping, bone chilling shrieks (male and female), being touched and sounds of a struggle.

Does the Ada Witch exist? People are witnessing something in Ada, Michigan. But if you're thinking about visiting the areas where she is seen, I warn you not to trespass.

GS Question of the Week

True or False: Dr. Adolf Gutsmuth demostrated his safety coffin design by having himself buried alive for several hours and eating a meal of soup, beer and sausages through the coffin's feeding tube in 1822?

The Bloop

In the 1960s, the U.S. Navy set up several hydrophones around the globe to track Soviet submarines. The network was known as the Sound Surveillance System. They lie thousands of feet below the ocean surface, at a depth where sound waves become trapped in a layer of water known as the "deep sound channel". Years after the Cold War ended, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave them a new purpose as part of the Acoustic Monitoring Project.

They couldn't imagine some of the strange sounds they would record deep underwater. One was recorded in 1997 and is still a mystery to this date. They dubbed it "The Bloop". This sound existed for about a minute, picked up by multiple sensors over an area of 3,000 miles in the south Pacific Ocean west of the southern tip of South America and appeared several times.

There have been theories concerning its origins. Some have been ruled out like the possibility of it being man-made, a volcano or earthquake. Scientists have determined it possesses the similar frequency hallmark of a marine animal. Although, the audio profile of "The Bloop" is several times louder than the loudest known animal, the blue whale. There is a theory it may be a giant squid as they are rather elusive creatures. However, Phil Lobel, a marine biologist at Boston University, Massachusetts is not quite so convinced, "Cephalopods have no gas-filled sac, so they have no way to make that type of noise. Though you can never rule anything out completely, I doubt it."

I'm sure the sea monster theory will likely persist until they discover its actual origins partly because of H. P. Lovecraft. What does H. P. Lovecraft have in common with "The Bloop"? The triangulated origin of the sound is roughly 950 nautical miles from the more precise location of R'lyeh, a sunken extra-dimensional city in Lovecraft's famous short story The Call of Cthulhu and the location where the creature Cthulhu awakens. Despite the distance, the two have been frequently linked.

For now, "The Bloop" has never been heard again and remains a mystery.

Haunted Collector Sneak Peek/Destination Truth News

In this week’s Haunted Collector sneak peek clip, the team tries to record a voice stemming from a music box. When they ask “What year is it?” there is a peculiar response that is whispered into the recorder. You’ll have to watch the clip and tune in on Wednesday at 9/8c on Syfy to see if the team can pick apart the meaning.

By now, I'm sure you've learned Destination Truth has been picked up for a fifth season. What will we expect to see from Josh and the DT crew in 2012? They will be traveling into a remote Transylvanian village hunting for vampires, exploring the reportedly haunted Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala, and searching for phantoms in one of the world's biggest caves in the jungles of Vietnam as well as doing their first investigation in Kazakhstan. But that's not all. Remember their investigation of the Hoia-Baciu Forest in Romania? Apparently, fans really responded to it and managed to talk the team in to going back for a second round. Will be interesting to see what happens?

GS Question of the Week

Do you think EVPs are on the rise? Why?

Infamous Dandy House For Sale

In 2009, I wrote about an exorcism that took place in the Dandy residence in 1974 to "de-haunt" the house. The Dandys allegedly experienced abnormal activity including mysterious burns on their bodies, bricks from a crawl space chimney dismantled and placed in the middle of the room, strange chants heard in the nearby woods, and sightings of orbs which led them to call in Rev. Alphonsus Trabold to perform the exorcism on the house. A year after this event, the Dandy family of six moved out.

Ownership of this Western New York home has exchanged hands several times since it was built in the mid-1800s. It is back on the market once again. This 100 + year old farm house is mostly original complete with a kitchen, bath, living room, three bedrooms, two enclosed porches, eight acres of land and a large spring fed pond. Now, if you're considering purchasing the house keep in mind it needs a complete restoration. Of course, restoring the property may stir up the numerous ghosts believed to reside there as well.

There are supposedly twelve or more spirits haunting in and around the property and every owner since the early 1850s has had at least one paranormal experience. Witness reports include a male spirit in blue jeans and a plaid shirt with a rifle seen standing at the end of the bed, seeing and hearing a phantom car and smell of cigar smoke not to mention the above incidents the Dandys experienced.

The price tag on this jewel is $289,000. Check out the real estate listing on Paranormal Utopia for more information on this property:

EDIT: The house has been sold and is in the process of being restored. It is open for ghost tours and meetups. For more information:

Haunted Collector Review

John Zaffis is well known among paranormal circles. His museum is well known among paranormal circles. Can his Syfy show Haunted Collector stack up against heavy hitters such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures? I say any new show has the potential with the right ingredients to be a success. Does this one have staying power? I think its a bit too early to tell.

I directed my attention to Twitter to see how others were reacting to the premiere. There seem to be two consistencies. One, many were not thrilled with Zaffis' pronunciation of the word "library". And two, some appalled his method of "stealing" a person's belongings. Call it haunted and they'll gladly hand it over. Personally, I wasn't all too bothered by it.

I was, however, under the impression this program was going to be about a team going in to investigate cases where spirits attached to known objects were the cause of paranormal activity or somewhere in that ballpark. It seems to me Zaffis has a bit of tunnel vision. "Energy can attach to objects," he repeated. That's all well and good but doesn't mean it's the cause of a haunting. This kind of bias can get a little old fast. I wish the investigators had...well...personalities. This is a TV show after all. There has to be some kind of entertainment or no one will want to watch it.

There were a couple of things I did like. There was some problem solving going on. Ghost Hunters was big on that until they stopped giving a damn. I also liked the daytime investigation of the residence. I know there wasn't much to it, but paranormal activity takes place during the day as much as it does at night. I'd like to see others come up with some kind of routine investigation that caters to the daytime.

Another thing, the rope tool. I know all the high-tech equipment really helps but old investigating tools can still provide assistance. I know Ghost Hunters pulled out the old flour(?) trick to track footsteps. I don't recall it being a success but at least they attempted to utilize it. Lastly, the follow-up. There was a brief update about the library after their visit. I'd like to see more of that on paranormal TV especially if it's about a residence. They say they follow-up, but we don't always know if the investigation helped or hindered the family's paranormal predicament.

Is Haunted Collector a winner for Syfy? I say if all the kinks aren't worked out then it'll end up in the recycling bin with all the other para-TV failures.
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