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.

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The Winstead Wildman – Connecticut

For this week’s haunted story, we are going to venture up to Connecticut. This isn’t a haunted place or ghost sighting. Instead, we’re going to learn about the Bigfoot of Connecticut.

Connecticut has its very own Bigfoot known as the Winstead Wildman who has terrorized the citizens are two different occasions, which took place 80 years apart. Everything started back in August 1895 with a report from the “Winstead Herald.” Somebody had reported seeing “a large man, stark naked, and covered with hair all over his body, ran out of a clump of bushes.”

Riley Smith, the town selectman, witnesses this. He and his dog were out in the woods while he picked berries when this creature came out of nowhere. Both he and his dog was badly frightened. He said the man was six feet tall and that he was covered in thick black hair. During the following two weeks, the creature was seen by two others. Their descriptions matched up with Smith’s.

The “Winstead Herald” stated that the creature could have been that of an escaped mental patient from Litchfield Sanitarium, known as Arthur Beckwith. But, as quickly as they started, the sightings stopped and the Winstead Wildman disappeared back into the woods, at least for a while.

In late July 1972, nearly eight decades later, two young men saw a strange creature near Crystal Lake Reservoir. They said the creature was nearly eight feet tall and covered in hair. People suggested it could have been a bear, but they assured them that it most definitely wasn’t. The Wildman was seen again two years later. This time he was seen around Rugg Brook Reservoir. The couple who spotted him said he was six feet tall and around 300 pounds, covered in dark hair. After this report, he has not been spotted again.

Whether or not people actually saw this hairy creature, or it was a figment of their imagination, remains to be seen. The only way we will know if the Winstead Wildman really exists is if he comes out of the woods to share his side of the story. 

Let’s Get Honest – Writing Your Truth

Welcome back, it’s been a while since I have written about writing your truth. Today, instead of giving you tips on writing your truth or how to be vulnerable, I’m going to share something from my life.

My life inspires my writing, and I think it’s safe to say that’s true for most writers. I mean, what else are we going to write about if not our life. Even if you write fiction, fantasy, horror, little things in life will inspire things in stories. I’m going to preface what I’m getting ready to tell you by letting you know that I’m not sharing names, but I will let you know that I am talking about my Dad.

Alright, Dad has inspired me recently to start writing children’s story. Using the word inspired makes it sound like a good thing that he has done, but it’s really the negativity that he has added to my life that has inspired me.

First off, I’ll cover the good he has done. I know he is a good person, I can trust him to be there if I need him, and he did the basic things that parents are supposed to do to take care for their kids. He makes me laugh, and we have had good times together, and I still like being around him, but he has also hurt me in many ways. He wasn’t and still isn’t, big on practicing what he preaches. He often told me things that I should and should not do, but I constantly saw him breaking those rules.

He was somebody I was supposed to be able to trust, but, as I got older, I started questioning that trust. He also expected and wanted me to respect him, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. As I got older, I started questioning this blind respect I was supposed to have for him, and he didn’t like it. We’ve had our fair share of arguments, most of which revolve around this concept of trust.

Now, I know respecting your parents and elders can be a touchy subject for people. I know there are quite a few people like my dad that believes you’re just supposed to respect people older than you simply because they are older. I’m not one of those. Hear me out, I do think you should respect older people at first. Just like parents deserve respect from their kids from the get-go just because they are their parents. That said, if the older people and parents show you, on numerous occasions, that they have little to no respect for you and your boundaries, then you have every right not to respect them as much. Simple as that.

But that’s where my Dad and I bump heads all the time. We’ve had numerous arguments and it all comes back to the same thing. And it doesn’t matter how much I try to explain how I feel to him, he doesn’t listen, which, ironically, is something he tells me I don’t do. He doesn’t have the respect for me that he expects me to have for him. Growing up, I did respect him, but it wasn’t until I hit probably 12 or so that I started to really realize the injustice.

I live very close to some cousins, and when I was younger, we would ride bikes together and play, but my Dad hated it when I played with them. I never got an explanation as to why, but if my Mom wasn’t home, he wouldn’t let me go see them. Now, I did do bratty things growing up, but what kids don’t? I snuck out of the house once to go play with them because they had a swingset. I got caught, of course, but I didn’t do that again.

If it wasn’t for my Mom, there are a lot of things I wouldn’t have gotten to do. It seemed as if my Dad didn’t want me to be a child. I could be a kid, at times, when I was with my parents, like when they took me on vacation and such, but at home, I was supposed to be seen and not heard.

The fun part about growing up is I was pretty much grounded my entire childhood. I know I did things that pissed my Dad off, which is why I got grounded, but for the most part, I had no clue as to what exactly I did. The one thing I can remember is I spent the night with a friend once, and my parents asked me to call before I went to bed. I forgot to call. My friend and I were having fun and then we crashed. There was no between time where my mind went, “Hey, Felicia, we need to call home.” I apologized for forgetting, but that wasn’t good enough. My Dad told me I would never get to spend the night at a friend’s house again.

Now, I will say this, my Dad didn’t hold strong to those declarations, but whenever I managed to upset him, he drudged up every little infraction I had made growing up and he would punish me for them all over again. Like I said, I don’t remember much of the “bad” things I did as a kid. Trust me, I’m sitting here trying to remember things from my childhood, but I’ve realized I’ve repressed most of those negative moments. I can remember the fun I’ve had, but I don’t remember much of the yelling I got from my Dad.

When I got older, I began to realize a lot of my Dad’s problems stemmed from his childhood, but he doesn’t see these things and this causes us to be unable to move past these problems.

But my Dad loved yelling and still does. He sucks at sharing his feelings in any other way. If a friend asked me to spend the night, I never knew how to broach the subject because I didn’t know how he would respond. His favorite answer was “No.” He’d turn me down on everything.

High school was my roughest time and the roughest time for my parents. I went to an Early College where I got more freedom than a regular high school and I went stupid. I skipped classes from time to time, and I got found out and punished for it. Luckily, I was still able to graduate on time with my diploma and associates degree. (That was just a side note)

My Dad had a heart attack when I was in high school. It was scary for me, and I know it was for him. But here’s the kicker, when he was better, he blamed me for his heart problems. He had smoked cigarettes since he was 15 and had biscuits and gravy every Sunday, but I was the cause of his heart attack. That was something I had heard from him my entire life. Starting at around age 8 or 9, he would tell me on a regular basis how I was the cause of all of his problems. He hardly ever gave specifics, but most of the specifics were things that all kids do because it is part of the learning and growing process.

He doesn’t understand why I don’t respect him, which is his skewed viewpoint because I do respect him to an extent. He’s a man that doesn’t listen when I ask him to stop bothering me. He’d poke and pick at me, try to distract me from what I was doing, or just all-around bug me, and when I would say, “Dad, would you please stop,” he would say something along the lines of, “Don’t get an attitude with me.”

All humans have their faults, but I feel we should learn from those shortcomings and try to improve. My Dad, unfortunately, isn’t at a point to learn from his. He doesn’t want to face the darkness within, and until he does, he will always be the short-tempered, yelling man that I have always known. But, even though he hasn’t been the best Dad, I’ve always known that he does love me, and I will continue to love him.

So, how does all of this inspire me to write kid’s stories? I don’t have kids, yet, but I feel I can teach children something. Maybe, it might also help parents. I want to, in a cute way, share these struggles and teach them about respect, trust, and more.

Through my kid’s stories, I hope to shed light on this darkness that children and adults alike can learn from. Don’t worry, though, I’ll still be writing my other novels as well.

To sum things up, I decided to share this because I have preached about being vulnerable in your writing, yet I haven’t shown you vulnerability. I could get more vulnerable than this story, but I figured this was a good place to start. Plus, it felt good to share. I know I may get some backlash on this because people may see me as some ungracious brat, and if you feel that way, so be it. I’ve said these exact words to my Dad before, but “Only I know what I feel and think inside, just like only you know how you feel and think inside. It’s up to you to believe whether I’m share my true feelings or not.” I can tell you a million times I’m being truthful, but it’s ultimately up to you to believe me or not.

Hopefully, there is something in my story you can resonate with, and I hope that nobody views me as a brat. But, as long as you read this and it stirs up some type of emotion, that’s all that matters.

“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” – Noel Coward

FYI:

Make sure you grab your copy of Loved by Death here. I am going to make it available, soon, on other sites as well.

The Stanley Hotel – Colorado

In true Friday the 13th fashion, we have a haunted hotel story. This hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining, and you can still stay there today.

The Stanley Hotel has a long history. It saw the likes of Harry Houdini and many other greats of the time. Freelan Oscar Stanley has the house built, unveiling the 100-room East Coast Colonial-style house in 1909. He and his wife had fallen in love with Estes Park after the moved there on the advice of Freelan’s doctor. It helped Freelan’s tuberculosis, and he lived longer than had been expected.

Eventually, the house changed hands in the 1930s when Freelan sold it to a corporation who transformed it into a hotel. It didn’t fair well because the nearby national park was still growing. John Cullen bought the hotel, and thanks to Stephen King, was able to turn it into a success. King had visited the hotel in 1974, and it became the backdrop for his book “The Shining.” The pet cemetery that was onsite also inspired King. King wanted to invest in a cinematic do-over using the Stanley Hotel. Cullen agreed to this, and trucks were brought in loaded with the McGregor ballroom stage, furniture, and wallpaper that is still there to this day. So that brings us to the question, is the Stanley Hotel really haunted?

The guests of the hotel think so. In 1911, there was an explosion in room 217 that sent Elizabeth Wilson, a chambermaid, through the floor and broke both of her ankles. She somehow survived, but people believe she haunts the hotel.

Stephen King even believes he experienced something otherworldly at the hotel. He said:

“I dreamt of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in the chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”

The staff won’t explicitly state if they believe the hotel is haunted, instead, they leave it up to guests to draw their own conclusion. They don’t try to hide from their reputation either. They have daily “ghost tours” and offer special bookings for rooms 401, 407, 428, and 217. They even have a resident psychic.

If you are interested in experiencing this hotel for yourself, make sure you book well in advance, especially if you want one of the rooms listed above.

Marked – My Thoughts

I haven’t done a “book review” in a while. I put that in quotes because I don’t consider it a review. I don’t really go through the good and the bad of books that much. I simply share some thoughts about books. I don’t consider myself a book reviewer, but if you are an author and have self-published some books, reach out to me because I am willing to help other Indie authors. I know how hard it can be to get reviews.

Alright, Marked is the first book in the Hous of Night series by PC and Kristin Cast. I started reading these in high school when a friend of mine let me borrow her copy. She was also the one that told me I should read it considering my other literary interests (Twilight).

Unfortunately, I only get to the third or fourth book when I couldn’t go any further. See, my friend had lent the books to another student as well, but that student had one of the books and then moved to Las Vegas taking the book with her. So, 10+ years later, I mentioned these books to my mom and she started giving them to me for Christmas. (I love my mom, for she enables my book addiction.)

*SPOILERS ARE BELOW*

The House of Night series gives a new take on the world of vampires. A young woman, Zoey Redbird, is marked with a crescent moon on her forehead, which immediately causes her to become an outcast amongst her family and friends. She has to get to the school, otherwise, she will die, but her step-father and mother want to pray the vampire away.

She escapes and goes to her grandmothers, and long story short winds up at the House of Nigh school with a gash in her head and her mark already colored in. This makes her stand out amongst her new classmates.

This entire book takes place over just a few days, the days leading up to Samhain. She easily makes friends with what would probably be considered the outcast group, but she also, sort of, forced into joining the dark daughters.

Of course, any good book has to have an antagonist, and that would be the leader of the dark daughters, Aphrodite, or as Zoey’s group of friends so lovingly call her, “Hag from Hell.”

The Zoey is determined to fix the problems within the school because Nyx has chosen her. She also wants to knock Aphrodite down a peg, which does accomplish, to an extent, by the end of the book. There are plenty of other problems that she will have to face, I’m sure, but she is off to a great start.

I’ve read a few reviews on this book, it has a four-star rating on Goodreads, but some of the most negative ones talk about the way the book is written. People seem to have a problem that the style of the book is very informal. There are “asides,” colloquialisms, and slang throughout the book. I suppose, for some, that might be a problem, but that’s part of the reason why I love the book so much.

I can’t speak for other authors, but I like writing because I can break the rules. I like to take liberties that some people may find as wrong, but there is nobody saying that you can’t. That’s what draws me into the writing of the Cast’s. It is very easy to get lost in their book, at least for me. The books are meant to be young adult, and I think that writing plays very well into that genre.

Anywho, I think you should give it a read. I will be doing one of these for each of the books. But FYI, the book I am currently reading is Psycho, so that will be the next “My Thoughts” post.

“You know how it is with cats: They don’t really have owners, they have staff.”
― P.C. Cast, Chosen

FYI:

Make sure you grab your copy of Loved by Death here. I am going to make it available, soon, on other sites as well.

Boggy Creek Monster – Arkansas

This week we are going to take a trip to Arkansas. This ghost story doesn’t have to do with spirits or ghosts. Instead, it’s a creature.

The residence in Fouke, Arkansas have long been fascinated with the Boggy Creek Monster. Fouke is a small town about 150 miles from Little Rock. It is believed that the creature was first spotted in Fouke. According to different stories, the Boggy Creek Monster stands around seven to eight feet tall, walks on two legs, and weighs about 300 pounds. His body is covered in long, thick hair.

The first sighting was reported back in 1834. People started to report seeing a large, hairy man roaming around. The sightings if Fouke became more frequent in the 1900s. Residents saw it over 40 times during 1997. Most people believe the creature to be nocturnal, but one hunter said he saw it in daylight in the Sulfur River.

The Boggy Creek Monster has even been the subject of four films, at least. The first was The Legend of Boggy Creek in 1973. The movie focused on Bobby Ford’s encounter with the creature. This introduced millions to the creature.

The encounter that the film is based on originally occurred in 1971. Bobby and Elizabeth Ford said that the creature attacked their home on the night of May 1. Elizabeth said that the monster reached through their window, but Bobby and his brother, Dan, chased it away. The monster would return shortly after midnight and knocked Bobby to the ground. They took Bobby into Texarkana to St. Michael Hospital to be treated for large gashes over his back. He was in shock when he first arrived. While they could find blood a the Ford home, there were three-toed footprints close to the house, scratches on the porch, and the window and siding were damaged.

There are a lot of people who believe that all sightings of the Boggy Creek Monster are misidentified black bear sightings. While black bears aren’t bipedal, they do somethings rear up on their hind feet. Some can weight 400 pounds and stand around six feet tall.

If you plan on visiting Arkansas any time soon, make sure you keep an eye out for the Boggy Creek Monster. You don’t want to end up like Bobby Ford.

 

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.