Saturday, October 1, 2016

Goliad: Presidio La Bahia

The Presidio
Two hours south of Houston, Texas on Highway 59 is Goliad, Texas. Just south of this town sits the most fought over spot in Texas history—nine different flags have flown over the Presidio La Bahia.

The presidio’s history is seeped in violence. This it is why so many people believe the area is haunted.

The most atrocious act that occurred at La Bahia happened during the Texas Revolution in March of 1836. During the Battle of Goleto, General Santa Anna’s troops were able to retake the fort from the Texas troops.

The nine different flags that flew above the fort.

342 Texas soldiers surrendered. Several days after this battle Santa Anna ordered the massacre of all these soldiers. They were marched out of the fort in three different groups and shot at point blank range. These men were buried in a mass grave at the presidio. Today a memorial stands at the site to honor them.

This is why a month later in April of 1836, Texas soldiers' rallying cry was “ Remember Goliad” * when they defeated the Mexicans and gained independence for Texas during the Battle of San Jacento.

     *  They of course also yelled, “Remember the Alamo.”

The presidio continued to be occupied by soldiers and then by priests. Today, the Catholic Diocese of Victoria owns the “Quarters” at the presidio. It is a National Historic Landmark.

In the 1960s La Bahia was rebuilt. A museum was opened that highlights the fort’s bloody history. The architecture at the presidio is considered one of the finest examples of the Spanish Colonial style in America.

Once opened, visitors began to report strange encounters at the presidio.

These reports back up the claims that restless spirits remain in the area.

Common encounters include the sounds of footsteps heard on the roof while visitors are in the Quarters area, and the sound of distance canon fire. There are also countless other reports of strange unexplained sounds around the fort--including footsteps in the wee hours.

Most chilling of all are the eyewitness reports of seeing spectral soldiers walking around the grounds.

Because of these encounters various paranormal groups have investigated La Bahia. Their evidence is presented in several videos on YouTube.

The Quarters
Today, tourists can stay overnight in one of the rooms in the Quarters area—the cost is $200.00.

In the spring—the presidio despite its otherworldly residents is quite peaceful. Wildflowers bloom on the gentle slopes that surround it. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Golden Eagle

In Stephen King’s book entitled Christine a car, a vintage Plymouth Fury, named Christine, possesses its teenage owner, Ernie. Ernie does not know this car had been responsible for the deaths of the previous owners’ wife and daughter.

This car eventually also is responsible for Ernie’s death. King’s book and the film based upon it are still popular.

King is a master at writing horror stories—this genre is effective entertainment—but what is interesting is there is a car that people point to as being a real-life Christine.

The Golden Eagle is a 1964 Dodge Limited Edition. Its history reflects eerie similarities to King’s fictional car. Some consider this car haunted. Others believe it is “the most evil car in America.”

This vehicle was originally used as a police car in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The three officers that drove the car all died in bizarre murder-suicides. Each of these officers killed their families and then themselves.

This Dodge after this was sold quickly for it now had a dark reputation. Wendy Allen’s parents bought the car. The Allen family used it on a regular basis for many years without incident. Except for one thing-- if they drove it on the highway random doors would fling open without cause.

The Golden Eagle
Wendy states her family was never harmed by the car but in the 1980s and 90s several local churches decided the car was demonic. Allen thinks this is because the car gained an unfair reputation for killing at least 14 people.

She feels people’s fears about the car are based in superstitions.

The most bizarre stories about these deaths involve children. One child in the 1960s and another in the 1980s were both hit by cars and flung across the street. Their bodies were both found under the Golden Eagle. Both died before paramedics arrived.

In 2008, another child was dared to just touch the Dodge, he then died along with the rest of his family, including their dog, two weeks later in a house fire.

After being vandalized.
In the 1980s members of local churches hearing about this strange car began to vandalize it. After this damage was done, two leaders from these vandal groups died in two separate horrific car crashes where they both were decapitated by 18-wheelers.

Yet another four members died after being hit by lightning. Today the old Dodge is in pieces. Members of yet another church stole the car, chopped it up and placed these parts in various junkyards.

Wendy Allen upset and not believing the rumors the car is demonic requested people help her locate and retrieve the car. The Dodge’s parts today are hidden so people can’t find them.

So did these deaths actually happen? Wendy Allen says they did but that the connections to her family car are all just coincidence.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Scary History of Ouija Boards

In 1890 a group of businessmen came together to form the Kennard Novelty Company.

They had noted an instant interest in talking boards. These boards had been developed by spiritualists in order to communicate with spirits in a more efficient way than tapping on tables.

These businessmen decided to mass market this new phenomenon in America and cash in on its success. Their first hurtle was what to call this board. One of the men’s sister-in-laws was a medium.

Helen Peters and the group decided to ask the board what was its name? Peters led the session and told the group the boards’ response was “Ouija.” She then asked the board what this word meant—its response was “Good Luck.”

Most people who have gotten real responses from Ouija boards have not experienced what they consider good luck.

The group patented the board in 1891. This newly named Ouija board became an instant success and has continued in popularity for all the decades since.

William Fuld factory.
By 1893 one of the stockholders, William Fuld took over ownership of the company—he guided the company through its boom years. He fell off the roof of one of his factories and was killed—he ironically was up there following the advice of a Ouija board. Fuld’s company was sold to Parker Brothers in 1966.

In the 1960s the board gained more notoriety with a rising interest in the occult. By this time the sale of boards brought in millions of dollars.

In 1973, with the release of the film The Exorcist the boards gained a reputation with the general public as being evil—a portal to hell. In this film the main character, a girl named Regan, used a Ouija Board and connected with a spirit named Captain Howdy who was actually the demon who possessed her.

This fictional film brought to light something that many already knew. People felt the Ouija should not be used as a parlor game for they knew how dangerous playing with one could be.

In John Harkin’s book, Ouija Board Nightmares he gives many examples that support the fact these boards are not toys.

Early on in his book he shares several stories of how Ouija boards have caused mental distress and even insanity in people who played with them.

Throughout the 1920s and 30s there are several documented cases of people who committed murders—they claimed their Ouija boards told them to do it.

One vivid example Harkin shares happened in 1930 in Buffalo, New York. Two Native American women were put on trial for murdering the wife of the famous sculptor Henri Marchand.

They beat Clothide Marchand to death with a hammer. One of them told the authorities that they had communicated with her husband while using a Ouija board. He told her that Marchand was a witch who had killed him.

Another example Harkin shares involves an entire town.

In the 1920s, over a course of a few short weeks the police in El Cerrito, California arrested seven people. All were driven insane after playing with boards. A national headline at the time read, Whole Town Ouija Mad.

A 15-year-old girl was found naked and acting crazy after communicating with the spirits. In the following days this madness spread. It even affected a local police officer that ran naked into a bank screaming.

As a result the town officials banned Ouija boards within the city limits.

John Harkin goes on to share numerous modern day stories of how Ouija’s have scared and caused danger to those who have used them.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Stolen Ghost

Ye Olde Man and Scythe
I wrote about the Ye Olde Man and Scythe pub in England being haunted in a previous post, here. Along with this story I share a compelling video of a ghost that the pub captured on video.

Last month, an article published in a local Bolton newspaper, Bolton News, caught my attention.

To be honest I am not sure whether to laugh or cry at this news . . .

A Chinese artist, Lu Pingyuan traveled all the way from Shanghai to Manchester in order to steal the decapitated ghost that haunts this Bolton pub.

It is believed this ghost is that of James Stanley—he was the Seventh Earl of Derby. Stanley was a Royalist whose family originally owned the pub—the Scythe is the 4th oldest pub in Britain.
Video is on my original post.
The Earl is thought to have spent his last few hours in the inn before he was taken out and executed—he was beheaded in 1651 near the end of the Civil War.

The chair where the Earl sat before his death is still in the pub.

Pingyuan upon seeing a video of the Earl’s ghost in 2014 decided he must capture it. He followed the ghost into the Scythe’s restroom and then performed “an incantation” to trap it in a bottle.

Recently, Pingyuan has had this ghost on display in a traveling exhibition. When Richard Greenwood, the pub’s owner found out this exhibition was on display at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester he wrote Pingyuan a letter.

Greewood expressed he wished he had known about Pingyuan’s intention before he removed the ghost. He feels this removal has unbalanced the natural order of things and he misses this spirit.

Greenwood also states he would have allowed the ghost of Stanley to be exhibited—for the world to see—but that he would have insisted the ghost be returned to its home at the pub after this.

This article did not mention if Greenwood has received a response.