Haunted Fort Delaware – Delaware

This week we are traveling to the North into Delaware, one of the first states to be settled. We’ve talked about strange monsters that lurk in the woods, creepy hotels, and haunted prisons, but today, we travel to a military base.

Fort Delaware has been inactive for a while now, but that only means it doesn’t serve as a harbor defense facility. It is definitely active with lots of paranormal activity. The military has own Peas Patch Island since the 1810s. They seized the land from a person named Doctor Gale, who had been using the space as his own personal hunting grounds.

The French would then build the fort in order to protect the state from the Confederates and other types of enemies. Captain Samuel Babcock, in 1812, oversaw the work to make the fort stronger. They strategically placed seawalls and dikes, and they started building the star fort in 1817.

However, because of damage and other delays, the construction took a lot longer to finish than what was originally expected. Captain Delafield created the second version of the fort, which is the pentagonal one that remains there today, between 1848 and 1859 even though they didn’t declare it as finished until 1868.

Today, it is believed that Fort Delaware is one of the most haunted areas in the state, and its dungeons are probably the most active area. Prisoners were kept there without any water or beds. They were forced to sleep on the floor along with the filth and vermin, so it’s safe to say that disease and death were very common.

During the Civil War, the Fort went from protector to prison, and the prison became home to Confederate prisons, along with convicted federal soldiers, and local political prisoners. The first prisoners were held in empty powder magazines, sealed off casements, and two small rooms in the sally port. You can still see the names of Confederate soldiers carved in the walls of those rooms. Brigadier General Johnston Pettigrew was the first Confederate general to be housed there. Throughout the war, around a dozen generals were held captive there.

They eventually built barracks and a hospital on the grounds. One set of barracks was for the Confederate POWs and the other was for Union soldiers who stood guard over the POWs. Most of the Confederates who were captured during the battle of Gettysburg were held here.

By the end of the war, the fort had held around 33,000 prisoners. Of those, about 2,500 died. A smallpox outbreak in 1863 killed 272 of the prisoners. Lung inflammation killed 243. Various types of diahrrea killed 315. Around 215 prisoners died from malaria and/or typhoid. Other causes of death included erysipelas (47), pneumonia (61), and scurvy (70). Five of the prisoners drowned and seven others were shot to death. Also, 109 Union soldiers died on the grounds, as well as 40 civilians.

A lot of people have said that they have noticed shadow figures and full-body apparitions in the dungeons and it is very common to hear voices echoing throughout the halls. Some people have even heard chains rattling.

A team of ghost hunters has even gathered quite a bit of spooky evidence from the space. It was featured on their show, “Ghost Hunters.” They caught a thermal image of a person peeking around a corner at them. One of the investigators can be seen being pulled back in some of their video clips, which you can find online. He said that something was pulling on his jacket when this happened. You can also hear the sound of chains echoing throughout the dungeon as well. Shadowy figures can also be seen darting around the space.

If you’re brave enough, you can take a tour of Fort Delaware. It’s three hours long and happens rain or shine. The only way it will be canceled is if the weather makes it dangerous for boat travel.

The Fox Theater – Arizona

This week we are going to take a trip down to Tucson, Arizona to the Fox Theater. This Theater has a very haunted past.

Tucson, Arizona has quite a few ghost stories, but the Fox Theater is the one that people talk about the most. The Fox Theater opened in the 1930s as a Vaudeville and movie house that entertained the town of Tucson. It closed in 1974 as the downtown area began to decline.

The Fox Tucson Theater Foundation started to restore the building in 2000 and then they reopened in 2006.

There are quite a few spirits that are believed to haunt the halls of the theatre. One of them is a man roams around the lobby and entrance of the theater asking for spare change.

 People have said that a man has asked them for change, and for those who went to give him some, would see it simple drop to the floor. 

There is also a young girl who giggles and plays in the upper and lower lobby. There are also some people who have claimed to have seen a shadowy figure lurking around the projection room. Some of the people who have worked in the booth have seen strange movements and experienced unexplained lights and noises.

Unfortunately, this has caused quite a few people to quit their job.

There is one spooky story that has been around slightly longer than the theater. The tale states that a man died in 1929 during the construction of the theater. There is an arrowed stone decor that faces the wrong direction around the stage that symbolizes this accident.

If you are interested in learning more about this haunted theater, or other haunted areas in Tucson, they have regular ghost hunts that you can be a part of the next time you are in town.

The Golden North Hotel – Alaska

This week we are traveling all the way to Alaska, Skagway, Alaska.

In 1896, gold was discovered in the Yukon and this set of the Klondike Gold Rush. Around 100,000 prospectors ran to this territory with the hopes of striking it rich. A lot of these people traveled to the Skagway area of what would become Alaska. This area provided them with a more direct route to the gold.

In 1897, the population of Skagway was 700. In 1898, it boomed to around 10,000. This made the town Alaska’s largest city, but this was short lived and it was back down to 1800 in two years. The influx of people created problems like lawlessness, disease, chaos, and death. This created the perfect time for ghost stories.

In 1898, the Golden North Hotel was built. This was during the height of the gold rush and served as a place for 1000s of prospectors to stop for refreshments and rest each week. It was these people that would end up creating this ghost story. Our tale begins with the prospector lovingly known as Klondike Ike who traveled to this lovely little town with his fiance Mary. Mary stayed in room 23 of this hotel while Ike took the 500-mile journey to find gold.

There are a few variations of this story from this point on. The first says Mary fell ill with pneumonia. Another said she became distraught with worry when Ike didn’t return when he was supposed to and locked herself away in her room. The third says that she hid away because she ended up getting involved with some ruffians. Whichever is true, nobody really knows. No matter how the story really went, Mary died while she was waiting for Ike to return from his adventures. There are some versions that said the hotel staff broke down the door to her room, finding her dead in the dress she was going to wear to her wedding.

Believe she continues to haunt this hotel. The stories from those who say they have seen “Scary Mary” vary widely. There are some who say they have seen a spectral woman roaming around the hotel, or sitting in her room waiting for fiances return. Others say they have heard strange noises or felt sudden breezes of cold air. Some people who stayed in room 23 said they woke up in the middle of the night feeling like they were choking.

There is yet another ghostly event that is said to have happened at the Golden North in room 14. The staff and guests have said they’ve seen mysterious lights that look like sparkles or twinkles, and others call them orbs. Where these lights come from is not known, but they aren’t threatening.

The hotel itself closed in 2002, but the building and sign still remain. Unfortunately, curious ghost hunters can no longer visit the rooms to try and experience their history. The floor plan says that room 23 was on the third floor in the northwest corner. As of today, the building is being used by Frontier Excursions & Adventures.

 

The Haunting of Drish House – Alabama

Last week I asked my readers if they would like to see some real-life ghost stories on the blog. According to my twitter and facebook polls, it seems you all wanted to see ghost stories. I’ll post the stories every Friday with my regular posts being on Wednesdays. I thought I would go through each state in the US and share a story. I’ll go alphabetically to make things easier on myself. This week we have Alabama. Let me introduce you to the Drish House.

In Tuscaloosa Alabama on 17th Street there sits a home that is said to be the most haunted place in Alabama. This house is known as the Drish House. The home was built on 450 acres of land for John Drish. His slaves did most of the building. The home was inspired by the Italian Renaissance. However, this home, no matter how pretty it may be, is marred by a haunted past.

John Drish’s story was already a sad one at the time the house was built. John was a doctor and married a women name, Catherine. They had a daughter named Katherine. While their daughter was young, his wife passed away. He sent his daughter to live in Virginia with other family members because he didn’t feel living with a widower was a good idea.

Being an, allegedly, charming man, John quickly found another wife. This woman, a rich widow, was named Sarah Owen. They married in 1825. After his marriage, he brought his daughter back home to live with them, but their relationship was strained. Stories of cruelty surround their relationship. Allegedly, Sarah fell in love with a man John didn’t approve of. To punish her, he locked her in her room and gave her very little food and water. She relented and went on to marry a different man. Eventually, she and her husband divorced and she brought her sons to live in the Drish House. Some people believed that Katherine suffered from a mental illness.

John Drish may have been charming, but it was a bit of an alcoholic and had a horrible temper. This would be his ultimate demise. There are three different tales when it comes to his death. The first is he threw himself over the second-floor balcony. The second says that he was drunk and tumbled down the stairs. The last version claims that he was trying to stop drinking and had the shakes from withdrawals, which caused him to fall down the stairs. Regardless of how he actually died, he passed away in 1867. His wife, Sarah, was left to take care of his funeral.

Sarah became obsessed with his funeral. She ended up planning an elaborate, over the top, funeral. After the funeral ended, she took the candles that were used and hid them away. She planned on them being used for her own funeral. When she died in 1884, the candles were nowhere to be found so they couldn’t fulfill her wishes.

These are not the only sad tails to surround the Drish House and family. 

The niece of Dr. Drish was murdered by her husband. It is also believed that a runaway slave found refuge in one of the towers, but when he left to seek food, he was found and returned to his owner who burned him alive. People have reported seeing a male ghost that is believed to be this slave.

The house has been used for many different things since Sarah’s death. It has been a school, a church, an auto parts store, and a salvage garage. It may have even been used as a prison during the Civil War. Other than the male ghost, other people have reported ghost lights coming from near the top of the house. There have also been reports of what looks like fire shooting out of the third-floor tower. The firemen did not find an actual fire when they arrived. People will blame this occurrence on either the slave that was murdered or by Sarah Drish because it is believed she is angry due to the fact her wishes were never met.

The house fell into disrepair for a while, but it has since been restored and is an event space for people who want to rent it.