The Haunted Places Report 11/26/03
Rev. Ron Beach
Nov 26, 2003 16:36 PST
THE HAUNTED PLACES REPORT
“Some things exist whether you believe in them or not!”
Founded by: Dennis William Hauck
Edited by: Rev. Ronald E. Beach
All information contained in this newsletter is copyrighted and may not
be used in any format without the express written permission of the
FROM THE EDITOR
Please visit our website at: Haunted-Places.com and let us know your
thoughts & comments. Anything you like to see added to the site? All
items should be emailed to us at: Webmafirstname.lastname@example.org
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
We invite your letters to the editor. Tell us how you feel about things
in the newsletter or in the ghost hunting community. All letters must be
accompanied by an email address so other readers can respond to you.
From Donna at: email@example.com"
I'd like to announce a new Web site detailing the Ghosts of Tennessee.
I've spent the last seven years or so researching the haunted places of
the Volunteer State, and I'm finally compiling them on the Internet for
all the world to see. We're small right now, with listings for only a
third of Tennessee's 95 counties, but I'm adding three or four new pages
daily, so we'll soon have the most comprehensive site on the Internet
devoted solely to haunting happenings in Tennessee. Be sure to visit the
Ghosts of Tennessee at "http://www.tnghost.org".
From William at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd like to invite everyone to visit and check out a web-site I've
created about haunted houses. Instead of listing real haunted houses,
the site will list and describe the haunted houses and sites depicted in
television and the movies as well as use real life "hauntings" to
further expand on the boundaries of these locales to make them more
Furthermore, the website is told from the perspective from a fictional
parapsychology group and by the fictional characters that run it. I
developed it this way to make the material more unique. The site will
also describe the locations as close within the boundaries of normal
parapsychology instead of how Hollywood writers see and think ghosts
act. All feedback would be appreciated. You can even hype your web-sites
on the message board. Location:
THE MENA, ARKANSAS POLTERGEIST
Was it Truth or Fiction?
By: Troy Taylor
History & Hauntings Book Co.
Whitechapel Press & The American Ghost Society
515 East Third Street
Alton, Illinois - 62002
For a short time in December 1961, it looked as though the country had
another authentic poltergeist case on its hands. It had all of the signs
of a true mystery until a local farm boy confessed that he had
engineered the "haunting" himself! But had he?
Many of his friends, neighbors and the local authorities didn't think
so. Yes, he could have created some of the activity - but could a 15
year-old boy really make books, cans and biscuits float through the air
in front of scores of startled witnesses?
The strange events were first reported on December 2, 1961 on the C.E.
(Ed) Shinn farm near Mena, Arkansas but they had actually begun almost a
year before. The Shinn's didn't report the strange activity for quite
some time because, as Ed Shinn stated it, they were "afraid that people
would think we were crazy."
At the time of the alleged outbreak, Shinn was a sturdy 72 year-old
farmer who still worked his own farm about three miles east of Mena on
Ransom Road. He and his wife, Birdie (70), and their grandson, Charles
Elbert Shaeffer, lived in a five-room farmhouse on the property. The
Shinn's had been living in the house for 15 years and had lived in the
area for more than four decades before that. The older couple was
well-known and will-liked by almost everyone in the community and for
this reason, the events that were later reported became even more
disturbing to the local folks. Alvin Dilbeck, the local butcher, told
reporters: "I guess I must have started it all. When Ed told me about
those things floating around, I got worried and sent a neighbor out to
check on them."
The result was that word began to spread throughout the community about
the strange things going on at the Shinn farm. People came from all over
the area and after a year of dealing with what they
believed was the paranormal, the Shinn's now had to deal with
curiosity-seekers and trespassers as well. Hundreds of people began
milling about on the farm, entering the outbuildings and the house
without invitation. "The other night, 10 people barged into our house
and went through it without saying a word," Mr. Shinn told newspapers in
December. "You can see why we would be upset."
As word began to spread, the Shinn's began to explain what they had
been dealing with for so long. The unusual activities had started with a
rattling of the windows and knocking on the door and on the walls as if
someone wanted inside. Sometimes the rapping on the glass was so hard
that it seemed as of the glass would fall out of the frames. The
knocking was sometimes accompanied by another sound as well -like a man
working a hand saw. This noise usually came from between the walls,
above the head of the Shinn's bed.
Also according to their reports, furniture, kitchen utensils, books and
other objects floated about in the air; heating wood, dining room
chairs, marbles and kitchen utensils were thrown about; light bulbs were
shattered in their sockets; pillows were pulled out from under the heads
of the Shinn's while they slept and bedcovers were pulled from the beds
by force; the coffee table in the living room turned upside down;
stuffed chairs were overturned; venetian blinds were pulled off the
windows; lamps were broken; and dining table chairs scooted across the
floor and danced as though they were alive.
Following Mr. Shinn's report to the butcher and the subsequent visit by
a neighbor, Sheriff Bruce Scoggin of Polk County and two of his
deputies, a State trooper and four reporters spent the night in the
house. Nothing out of the ordinary took place, but it should be noted
that the Shinn's spent that night with relatives. Whether the case was
legitimate, or a clever hoax, this point is especially telling.
And while nothing occurred when the police officers and the reporters
were present, there were plenty of other outside witnesses to the weird
events. Mrs. W.E. Shinn, a daughter-in-law, said that she saw a coal
bucket and some ears of corn come sailing toward her one afternoon. Gene
Whittenberg, a brother of Mrs. Shinn, reported a can of dog food and a
pencil hovering in mid air.
And not all of the reports came from family members. A neighbor named
J.L. Ply was at the house on one occasion and saw a box of matches
literally float into the air and dart across the room. He claimed to
speak to a university professor about what he saw and the man suggested
that things like this might be caused by "uranium brought in through
The activity continued even after the outbreak was made public. The
Shinn's reported that biscuits in the kitchen left the table and went
hurtling into the living room and a figurine that flew from a shelf
smacked Mr. Shinn in the head. After a bag of marbles were found
scattered all over the floor, Mr. Shinn gathered them up and took them
out to the barn, where they were placed between two bales of hay. They
didn't bother them any longer after that.
Soon, the case took another, far stranger, turn. Not long after the
newspapers began to tell of the events on the farm (and the place was
deluged with unwanted visitors), grandson Charles Elber
Shaeffer confessed to creating the "haunting". He told authorities that
it had been he who had overturned the chairs, knocked over the lamps and
books and had made mysterious noises. "I didn't mean to hurt no one," he
sobbed to Sheriff Bruce Scoggin. "I'm sorry for all the trouble I
caused." According to the police, he started the noises a prank because
his grandfather was picking on him. "I didn't mean for it to get out of
hand," he added, "but I didn't know how to stop."
The boy apparently gave a detailed report of how he had manipulated the
pranks, by tapping on his bed frame with steel pliers and tossing things
from one room to the next in the dark. He also said that he pulled the
bed covers off his grandparents as night as well - although he somehow
managed to do all of this without being seen and completely outside the
detection of Mr. and Mrs. Shinn, friends, neighbors and dozens of
With his confession, the Mena Poltergeist case was solved - or was it?
It certainly should have been, but the fact remained that no one
believed Elbert's story! Neighbors and local residents stated that the
confession could not explain the daytime happenings or the reports from
friends and relatives. Even if Elbert had managed to do all of the
things that he said he did under the cover of darkness, how did he
manage to move objects about that were in plain sight?
Charles Albright, a columnist for the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock,
was just one of the journalists who was openly skeptical of Elbert's
confession. "Anyone who takes comfort in the 'confession' of the
grandson, that he was the one who whipped up all of the weird doings in
the farmhouse near Mena," he wrote, "either didn't read far enough or
can't face the facts...
Personally, we are having no part of the confession. Elbert can't make
biscuits float through the air any more than we can! "Our theory is that
he took the rap so that everybody could get some peace," Albright added.
"If not, what about all the eyewitnesses to the ghostly goings-on -
people who didn't even live in the house. Where does this leave them?"
And Albright's theory was certainly a compelling one. Could Mr. Shinn
have convinced his grandson to take the blame for the events so that the
reporters, gawkers and trespassers would leave them alone? Possibly -
for the "confession" did bring and end to both the local and the
national coverage of the case. Perhaps the old farmer figured that if he
gave the crowd something (even something as implausible as Elbert's
confession), they would go away.
On the other hand, perhaps the whole thing was a hoax? In all honestly,
this seems unlikely for a hoax would have had to involved not only the
grandson, but the grandparents, neighbors and other family members too.
There is no way that Elbert could have manipulated everything that was
reported to happen in the house and so this means that many of the
reports would have had to have been outright lies on the part of the
witnesses. But if this is the case, why would the Shinn's lie?
They obviously didn't want the attention and would have had to involved
people in their conspiracy who would have had no reason to want to go
along with it. This seems to leave only a paranormal solution to the
mystery. If it wasn't a hoax, then could ghosts have been involved?
Could the farm have been haunted? Perhaps, but again, this seems
unlikely in that the Shinn's had been living on the property for 15
years prior to the events. They did not begin until after Elbert came to
live them. He had moved to his grandparent's farm at age 11 and the
activity started a few years later. And this fact may be especially
important if we consider the idea that Elbert was the culprit in the
case after all - albeit an unknowing one!
It's possible that the strange events began at about the time that
Elbert entered puberty.
This is a common age for poltergeist events to occur around human
agents. In a number of similar cases, the young people at the center of
the case are experiencing turmoil and emotional upheaval, such as occurs
Newspaper writers described Elbert as a "superior student" but photos
from the time show an awkward, overweight young man with thick glasses
and a backward demeanor. It isn't hard to imagine that he might have
been shy and nervous around people and emotionally immature.
Would his awkwardness have been enough to create the aggressive
suppression of energy that is needed to cause events to erupt in a
poltergeist case though? After all of this time, that's impossible to
say but there seems to be no question that "something" took place on the
Shinn farm in 1962. Whether it was a real poltergeist outbreak or an
incredible hoax will never be known.
(C) Copyright 2002 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved. Used with
This section is devoted to helping those looking for paranormal groups
near their home or seeking information about various hauntings. If you
can provide answers or help to any of these requests please feel free to
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Questions or comments for this section can be emailed to:
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for the types or quality of answers and /or help you receive.
From: Christopher at: SpongeBofirstname.lastname@example.org
I am 16 years old and interested in becoming a paranormal psychologist
can you help me out in any way at all.
Does anyone know of a reputable psychic detective in the Dallas, TX.
area. We are trying to find out some information on a very serious
From Lulu at: email@example.com
I was wondering anyone could tell me if they know of any haunted places
From Sarah at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am looking to find haunted places of southern Washington state. I was
curious to know if anyone had any information that would be helpful.
From Debbie at: GOTTALUVemail@example.com
With my candles burning and the smell of Vanilla in the air I was
laying on my couch one night watching unsolved mysteries, a picture of
Shandra Levy was being flashed on the screen and a number on the TV for
anyone with information about her disappearance to please call. At the
same time, Out of nowhere a very pungent smell of rotten flesh filled
I sat up and instantly said out loud (where in the hell is that coming
from)? I looked back at my cat "Tuff" that was stretched out on the back
of the couch as he lifted his head and sniffed the air, I got up knowing
it wasn't just my imagination and that my cat could smell this rotten
stench as well.
I searched my very small one bedroom apartment and in every spot I went
the smell was there. Within 10 seconds of getting up and searching the
smell left as quickly as it appeared. I walked back into my living room
and looked at my cat and as I was walking all of a sudden it was like I
was trying to walk thru molasses. There was nothing there but air, but I
felt something and it was thick and slow and went thru my whole body and
I was trying to force myself to go forward but I couldn't, then all of a
sudden it was like someone letting go of the back of my belt loop and I
fell forward. OK, so I freaked out and called my sister and told her
what had just happened, of course she believed me cause she has weird
stuff happen to her too, I have in the past also but nothing like this
and nothing like what IM about to tell you.
Three days pass with nothing else happening until that 3rd day, I get
home from work and I go into my bedroom I sit down to check my email and
as IM sitting there the whole house instantly starts to stink like
someone just took a lid off a diaper pale and all its saturated diapers.
I jump up and think what the #^(#^@ is going on, I search the house it
is filled with this urine odor, then again as quickly as it came it
disappeared. Now IM starting to freak out again, so I go into the middle
of my living room and out loud say "LISTEN UP GHOST OR WHATEVER YOU ARE
...I DON'T MIND YOU HANGING AROUND BUT QUIT STINKING UP THE PLACE I LIKE
MY VANILLA CANDLES"
A few days pass its finally Friday ( woohoo ) the work day is over and
IM heading home. I get home and as IM walking down the covered hall to
my apartment I hear my cat majorly meowing IM 3 apartments away. I think
that this is odd because he never is like this he's always asleep. I
unlock the door and open it and Tuff fly's out the door meow meow ...I
say what's wrong tuff and he wont stop meowing and he's focused on the
hall closet right at the front entrance. He is so persistent and freaked
that I start getting a little nervous thinking someone has broken into
my place. So I tell Tuff I will get him some food and I go into the
kitchen grab the biggest Butcher Knife I can find and search every nook
and cranny ...I cant find anything. After 45 minutes my cat finally
calmed down and came inside.
Saturday, Next morning....5:30 am Tuff wants out he's batting at the
plastic blinds that cover the sliding glass door, I lay there for a few
minutes listening to his persistent plea of LET ME OUT NOW...I get up
and let him out the slider door, I know he will want back in to eat then
want to go back out within a 10 minutes (his routine) so I lay on my bed
and wait for his scratch at the glass. 5 minutes goes by, scratch
scratch .... there he is, I get up let him in and lay back down for a
few more minutes, I can hear him crunching his food, he stops then meows
and I know he wants out again. I Get up and go to the slider door but
he's not there, I hear a meow and a scratch I turn around and he is
waiting at the front door ....I think this is different he never goes
out that way in the morning. So I go to the main door to let him out, as
I open the door I can see the beige carpet ... suddenly something
catches my eye by the bottom hinge of the door. It is about the size of
a basketball as thin as a pancake and a blob shape its black with 5 to 7
white lights inside of it, it swiftly moves over my feet and under the
lip of the door as I open it and I watched this thing whatever it is go
to the left out in the hallway as my cat goes to the right in the hall.
I jumped back and once again said WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? I was freaked
...I thought maybe its just my imagination ... so I open the door 3 more
times again thinking it has to be a shadow but nothing appeared.
I got on the phone and told my sister I think I just saw an entity or
ghost of some sort. 2 weeks went by and nothing happened, I told
everyone at work what had happened and of course they looked at me as
though I had lost my mind.
I came home from work about 3 weeks later and started chit chatting
with an old guy that lived in the complex he was telling me about how he
used to live in the complex back in the 70's when it was first built and
how they had outrageous party's it was for singles only...ect. Then he
looks at me and said did you know that since 1975 until now there has
been 12 people who have died here at these apartments? I just looked at
him as he kept talking, he said 11 of the people committed suicide and
one woman a dancer was murdered by a neighbor cause she refused to go
out with him. He beat her to death with a baseball bat then threw it up
on the roof.
I hadn't mentioned what had been happening in my apartment nor did I.
At first when this stuff was happening I thought that maybe it was my
cat Abbey that I had to have put to sleep at another apartment on the
premises a year earlier coming to visit, but with the new information I
had just gotten from the old man makes me wonder if it could have been
one of the ghost that died at the apartment building or maybe Shandra
Levy? Anyway I moved and whatever it is decided not to be left behind
and has followed me... I have a lot more true stories and witnesses that
are roommates that have also encountered this or these spirit ghost.
No listings for this month.