Haunted Places Report 05/15/05
Rev. Ron Beach
May 15, 2005 16:57 PDT
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: Webmaemail@example.com
WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!! We would like to get back on track and send the
Haunted-Places report out once again as a weekly report. However, in
order to do this we need your help. To send the Report out weekly we
need input from our readers. Please feel free to send us any ghost
related items to publish. Tell us about your latest investigation, send
us a listing of all your groups events or meetings. How about sending us
a story about your most unusual or scariest ghost hunt. Tell us about
the haunted sites in your area. We look forward to hearing from you!
I'm writing a book of ghost stories around the world (my sixth for
Edmonton publisher Lone Pine) and it's obviously a huge task. There is a
lot of historic research available on many of the well-known global
haunts, and what I am looking for is examples of recent experiences that
I can include to bring the stories to life. If you have experienced a
haunting outside North America and would be willing to share it
(anonymously if you wish), please send me an email to:
Thanks! Susan Smitten
Great news!! The ever popular Sprucevale Ghosthunt / Campout (near East
Liverpool, Ohio) has been set for Saturday, July 16th. We have found
some great new places to investigate this year. Something new we are
planning to try this year is to make the ghosthunt more self guided. We
are planning on giving everyone a map to the hunted sites. By doing this
everyone can than visit the sites they want in much smaller groups and
hopefully get even better results. Once again this year we are asking
everyone to bring some type of covered dish to share with the group. Hot
dogs & burgers will be provided. Everyone that attends must be a member
of MAJDA (Membership info at: www.MAJDA.net) and over the age of 13. We
will be asking for a small donation of a few dollars from everyone to
help cover expenses. For more info contact Ron at:
The ezine www.psychic-tymes.com has just released a new issue. Here
are some of the items available this time around.
The ghost page has Brandy B Stark taking a look at how ghosts are
represented within modern literature. We see the return of JL Yarbro
with a piece on Menglewood, Tennessee, a spooky site on his family
land, and Judy Farncombe writes an article on a very haunted house in
beautiful Surrey, in southern England.
Our mediumship development page has two interesting articles for you,
and it's spooky that both Janet Cyford and Andrew Garley have written
about mental equilibrium and how important it is within the discipline
of developing psychic ability.
We have a new writer joining our team: Sophie Childs is a pagan mother
of two young children. She often reads how other pagan mothers want to
imprint their belief system on to their children, and in her passionate
article she discusses the pros and cons of this. I hope you like her
writing style - I know I do, and I hope she will submit more articles
to the ezine in the future.
The letters page has two emails from our readers selected from the
flurry that winged their way to our offices. One talks about the knotty
problem of karma and spell-casting, and the other about ghosts in the
Tower of London.
Micheal Teal shares with us his thoughts on Cybershamanism, a new
concept in spreading the word of shamanism through the medium of the
Internet. He suggests a selection of interesting books and web sites to
Finally, the Wicca page has I have been waxing lyrical on candle
magic, and a few book reviews on Wiccan topics by Grey Cat and me.
So, I hope you like the selection of articles. The next issue will
probably appear towards the end of August 2005.
Excerpt from Pat Fitzhugh's Upcoming Book
Ghostly Cries From Dixie (Working Title)
Scheduled for release in October of 2005
From the ghosts of disasters past to scientific manifestations in the
Appalachian Mountains, author Pat Fitzhugh masterfully blends facts and
regional lore to bring you an authoritative yet chilling collection of
stories from the southeastern U.S. You'll learn about the Sultana
tragedy and Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, the phenomenal Brown Mountain
Lights of North Carolina, the Bell Witch of Tennessee, an abandoned TB
sanatorium in Kentucky, a haunted furnace in Alabama, a haunted slave
torture chamber in Louisiana, and much more! Fitzhugh not only tells the
chilling stories, but also discusses the crucial elements surrounding
them, giving the reader a fuller view and, in several cases, introducing
previously unknown elements that have never appeared in print before!
Mayhem on the Mississippi - The Sultana Tragedy
Copyright © 2005 by Pat Fitzhugh, all rights reserved.
The Civil War brought the southeast many ghost stories, the thought of
which conjures images of soldiers still lurking the battlefields and
bugles sounding in old Confederate graveyards late at night. One of the
war's most tragic events, however, took place not on a battlefield, but
a river the Mississippi and evoked what many believe is strong
paranormal presence that exists even today.
The Mississippi was crucial to both the Union and the Confederacy in
terms of military strategy, supply lines, and soldier transportation.
Gunboats could quickly attack such ports as Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez,
and New Orleans without significant detection. Ammunition and supplies
could be easily transported to soldiers in the battlefields close by,
and many Union soldiers used steamboats for transportation to and from
After the war, the government announced that it would pay steamboat
companies $5 for each Union soldier they transported home. This led to
the assignment of larger vessels to fulfill the mission. One such vessel
was the 280-foot steamer, "Sultana," built in 1863. The trips northward
seemed long and grueling because the weary soldiers were forced to crowd
inside the 376-passenger vessel as it made its way up the Mississippi
and Ohio rivers, a trip that took several days.
The Sultana's routine was straightforward; it would fill to capacity,
sail northward, and then return to pick up more weary soldiers. The
vessel soon became known as a "workhorse" steamboat, never stopping for
long and always sailing on time. Its dependability was noted by Union
commanders who, when faced with the possibility of making a "kickback,"
loaded as many soldiers as possible onto the vessel each trip; the more
men who were transported, the larger the kickback.
On April 24, 1865, a contingent of 1,900 homeward-bound soldiers
waited at Vicksburg, Mississippi for the Sultana to arrive from New
Orleans, where it had left three days earlier, carrying 185 passengers
and a cargo of sugar and cattle. The vessel made good time until it
encountered boiler problems a few miles south of Vicksburg, which
delayed its arrival by several hours. In port, commanders discussed how
many soldiers would be allowed to board; there were far more soldiers
than the vessel could accommodate. Safety concerns soon gave way to the
importance of getting underway quickly when the boiler repairs were
made. Soldiers were allowed to board as repairs were being made, and
they would be accounted for when the vessel was underway. The Sultana
steamed away from Vicksburg at 10:00 PM, carrying upwards of 2,000
The Sultana picked up more troops along the Mississippi as it made its
way northward, finally arriving in Memphis, Tennessee on the evening of
April 26th. It had been an uneventful trip from Vicksburg to Memphis,
but a routine boiler inspection revealed a major leak and the vessel was
ordered to stay until repairs could be made. More passengers, mostly
women and children, boarded the vessel while most soldiers disembarked
and visited nearby taverns to kill time while the repairs were being
The whistle sounded just after midnight, and most soldiers returned in
time to sail. Captain J. C. Mason guided the Sultana across the river to
Hopefield, Arkansas, where it took on coal before heading northward.
Flooding in the North had caused the river to flow swiftly and out of
its banks, and the wind and dense fog combined to make for an even
slower and more treacherous voyage to the next port, Cairo, Illinois,
several days to the North. The Sultana slowly steamed off into the
darkness as the lights of Memphis slowly faded from sight.
On board, passengers began settling in for the evening. Some were
fortunate enough to sleep in cabins and others had to settle for the
outside decks; space was very limited. Mothers found sleeping space for
their children near the warm boiler room; the repetitious straining and
chugging sounds made their little ones fall asleep in no time.
For the weary soldiers, this was the final leg of a four-year journey
plagued by death, disease, and exhaustion; it was almost over. They
would soon reunite with their families, in some cases for the first time
since the war began. Between such emotion and being packed like
sardines, sleeping was very difficult for the weary soldiers.
Laboring against the wind and swift current, the Sultana neared a
small cluster of islands called "the Chicken and Hens," just after 2 AM,
averaging only six knots per hour. The previous port, Memphis, was still
only twelve miles away. The fog's increased density seemed to absorb all
sound even the chugging of the engine and an eerie silence fell over
the vessel as it slowly chugged up the Mississippi.
Then suddenly, the eerie silence turned into all-out mayhem. A strong
blast jolted the vessel, throwing passengers off the outer decks and
into the frigid depths of the Mississippi. Some were killed instantly by
the impact, and others suffered only broken limbs. Their attempts to
stay afloat were futile; their cries for help turned into gurgling and
choking as the strong undertow pulled them down into the cold, muddy
depths. They would not be heard from again. At about the same time, a
series of gut-wrenching screams came from the boiler room, which had
become an inferno of burning wood and melting steel. The screams, mostly
of women and small children, were very intense but lasted only a few
seconds. They were not heard again.
Seconds later, another blast was felt. Red-hot chunks of coal were
strewn throughout the vessel; the chunks that flew overboard made a
loud, hissing sound when they hit the water. This second blast flung
more bodies, mostly burning, overboard much like the hot coal, but
only with a shorter hiss when they hit the water. Passengers who
survived the blasts tried frantically to reach the main deck as more
things caught fire and smoke began filling the vessel; a few made it,
but most were in shock or too injured to move.
Within minutes, the Sultana all 280 feet of it had become a
floating inferno of wood, steel, and human carnage in the middle of a
deep, swift river with no other sign of light anywhere. Passengers
searched desperately for anything that might keep them afloat so they
could swim to safety, but very little could be found; most everything
was on fire. One of the giant smokestacks finally collapsed, landing on
a handful of passengers and burning them to death. The main cabin deck
collapsed at one end, dumping passengers into a "pit" of sorts, which
was situated at the bottom of the vessel where the fire seemed the
hottest. Suddenly, the wind shifted and swept the fire, along with the
aroma of burning wood and human carnage, to the outer decks.
The few remaining passengers stood at the outer railing, pondering
whether to jump or be burned alive. Most said a short prayer and jumped;
their cries for help faded as the current pulled them under. A lucky few
happened upon driftwood and managed to stay afloat, but eventually
succumbed to hypothermia and their bodies were found frozen to the
driftwood several miles downstream the following morning. Those who
reluctant to jump held onto the railing until the intense heat gave them
no choice; they jumped and suffered the same fate as most of their
Reduced to a floating bed of coals, the Sultana's remnants drifted
aimlessly for several hours before washing up on a small island.
The towering blazes were seen back in Memphis, where search parties
set out the following morning. A few survivors were found along the
riverbanks and taken to a Memphis hospital, but most died from burn
complications in the days that followed. It took some time to gather all
the bodies from the river, and identifying them was difficult because
puffiness and discoloration had set in; and to make matters worse, many
had been severely disfigured by the blasts. Still other bodies had
become tangled in submerged brush and trees as the current swept them
downstream. They were found, first by wild animals, in the spring when
the floodwaters subsided from the thickets along the riverbank; their
identification was impossible.
The Sultana tragedy claimed more than 1,750 lives yes, even more
than the Titanic -- but made headlines for only a short time. Why this
horrific tragedy received so little attention is anyone's guess, but the
author feels that the news of Lee's surrender to Grant (April 9th),
Abraham Lincoln's assassination (April 14th), and the killing of John
Wilkes Booth (April 26th), simply "overshadowed" the Sultana disaster.
The Mississippi River, always changing its course, now flows about
three miles from the disaster site. All that remains of the Sultana lies
some twenty feet beneath a soybean field near the Tennessee-Arkansas
border. Only a few relics have been recovered, and it is not likely that
an excavation will take place anytime soon the cost is simply too
high. Many are okay with this, however, because the field is a lasting
memorial to those who lost their lives in the disaster. However, its
present-day sense of peace and isolation is negated by a lingering
presence that has terrified many people.
For years, tugboat captains on the Mississippi have reported seeing an
orange "glow" lingering above the field late at night. They say it
resembles the glow of a fire burning, and lasts for some time before
slowly fading away. This description coincides with what nearby
residents have reported as well, including the notion that the field
feels warmer than the land that surrounds it. Most feel the apparition
is a residual haunting, where a "ghost ship" repeatedly lives out its
final hours; but others feel the phenomenon encompasses a much broader
Hunters have reported screams, choking and other ghastly sounds in the
area. Some blame the elements, but most readily admit there is no
natural explanation. Others have reported seeing human-like apparitions,
mostly disfigured and scantily clad in old clothing, moving about the
field and sifting through the dirt just after daybreak. The figures are
seen only a short time before disappearing, usually into the dense fog
that the Mississippi River bottomland is known for. Many believe the
figures are Sultana disaster victims searching for their belongings,
which are now buried under twenty feet of silt and clay.
With so many years having passed, it is hard, if not impossible, to
comprehend the pain and anguish felt by those who perished in this great
tragedy. It is doubtful that the Sultana will ever be recovered, and the
tragedy will most likely remain a long-forgotten footnote in the annals
of American history; but for some people, the ghastly apparitions and
noises at the disaster site are the only reminder necessary.
Postscript: The author spent several days in Memphis researching the
Sultana disaster back in 1999. Unable to find a contact number for
permission to visit the disaster site, he drove along nearby public
roads to get a good feel for the area. On his way back, when crossing
the Mississippi only a few miles south of the disaster site, he noticed
a large sign at the Pyramid Exhibition Center, which read, "Exhibit:
Titanic - The World's Greatest Maritime Disaster." "Oh boy, how ironic
is THAT!" he thought, shaking his head slowly and saying aloud, "yeah,
right, whatever you say -- do some research next time!"
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
email the senders.
Questions or comments for this section can be emailed to:
Edifirstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include your email address
so our readers can respond to your request. Due to the vast number of
subscribers, we at The Haunted Places Report can not be held responsible
for the types or quality of answers and /or help you receive.
We are forming a new ghost hunting group in Columbiana County, Ohio.
If interested in joining please contact me at:
The team at the Haunted-Places Report is trying to assemble a research
library. We are looking for donations of ghost related books, videos,
equipment, etc... If you would like to make a donation please contact
Ron at "Ediemail@example.com"
From: Amanda at: Amanda-@RTMC.net
I was wondering if you had any additional info that was not listed in
the book (National Directory of Haunted Places) about Bostonian Bridge
in Statesville North Carolina. Anything you have would be most helpful;
my boyfriend and some colleagues of ours are planning an expedition
there this summer.
From: Gail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you know of any haunted Inns in Ashville SC, Charleston, or any
others on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
From Sylvia at: email@example.com
I've just launched my travel website and am looking for information on
weird and offbeat places and destinations.
Where would be the best place for people to go to see ghosts or be
involved in a ghost hunt? I realize some places are supposed to be
haunted, but there are others that have frequent ghost activity.
My online magazine starts here:
From Rebecca at: firstname.lastname@example.org
When my daughter was born she was my mother-in-law's favorite
grandchild. She died when my daughter was only 11 months old. After her
death we started have strange things happening.
Here are a few. We didn't allow smoking around our daughter so my
husband and I went out to have a smoke. We put our daughter in her
playpen. When we came back in she had her favorite blanket with her, and
it was in her crib in her room. When we put her to bed we didn't allow
stuffed animals in the crib with her. On some mornings when I would go
to get her she would have stuffed animals in her crib with her. There
were sometime she would laugh at nothing that was there. Sometimes when
we would put her down to sleep she would chat with no one.
Not all the times was for my daughter though. My father-in-law works
over the road. One night we were at his house playing video games,
because we were watching the house for him when all of the sudden mom's
favorite unicorn that played music, but hadn't played in years started
playing. About 5 minutes after it stopped dad called and said he was on
his way home that 5 minutes earlier he had gotten into a fist fight
with his boss.
One time on my husband's birthday he was feeling very low because no
one had called to wish him a happy birthday and at about 10 pm that
night a clown that hung on the wall started playing music. It played one
complete song and then stopped. It hadn't been wound on years, and the
dust on the dial was not disturbed. We figure it was her way of saying
About a year ago we had to move though and we haven't had anything
happen since we moved to our new house.
For a complete listing of this years upcoming events please visit our
website at: www.Haunted-Places.com
Extended Ghost Hunter's Tour edition of the History & Hauntings Ghost
Tour of Haunted Alton
History & Hauntings Book Co.
515 East Third Street - Alton, Illinois - 62002
(618) 465-1086 / 1-888-446-7859
$30 Per Person
An additional hour of the tour, plus even more of the city's most famous
haunted sites, based on the best-selling book by Troy Taylor.