[Written By: Liam James]
We finally made it to October which means that Spooky Season has now officially begun! We have plenty for you to sink your teeth into here at SuperfreakMedia, from short films to podcasts but we all know you’re here just to read some of my incredible writing right? Well, lucky you! You get FOUR entries from me this month and I promise to satisfy all your spooky needs. We kick things off this month by taking a look at some of the most haunted places across the pond.
Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield, Ohio:
With its stunning gothic facade and chilling history, Ohio State Reformatory is considered one of the state’s most notoriously haunted places. First opening its doors to accept inmates in 1896, the facility used religion and education to try to reform those whose misdeeds were too “minor” for the main prison system. However, by the 1960’s the conditions in the facility started to rapidly decline leading to a loss of funding and soon it became a maximum security unit. The inhumane conditions were so horrific that prisoners managed to successfully sue the state of Ohio for what they had to suffer through. After the deaths of two hundred inmates and two guards, the facility finally closed in 1990 due to horrendous conditions there.
It now operates as a popular tourist destination, largely due to the landmark serving as the filming location for the legendary film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. The site also offers a large number of ghost hunts where the halls are often visited by the spirits of former inmates and a guard who is reported to frequently jab visitors with his nightstick (oi oi)!
Emily’s Bridge, Stowe, Vermont:
Looking at this bridge, you wouldn’t think it any different to the numerous other charming covered bridges that New England is famous for. However Gold Brook Bridge has a bloody past and has been the bane of people and cars alike for well over a hundred years. Legend has it that some time during the mid 1800’s, a young woman named Emily and her unnamed lover chose this spot to meet in the dead of night and planned to elope. But when her paramour didn’t show, heartbroken Emily hanged herself from the rafters of the bridge and swore eternal vengeance on any that would tread across it. Stories soon started to circulate of sightings of a melancholic apparition that would wander up and down the bridge, wailing. Not content with merely scaring people, there were soon reports of vehicles leaving the bridge with deep scratch marks in the bodywork and even pedestrians were leaving the bridge with scratch marks across their necks and arms. The bridge is a popular tourist destination to this day, with ghost-hunters flocking from all over in hopes of catching a glimpse of poor Emily.
The Jimani, New Orleans, Louisiana:
For over 40 years, The Jimani bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans has been a popular spot for sports fans but the tragic history of the building also brings floods of paranormal enthusiasts, historians and LGBT+ people each year. Previously called the UpStairs Lounge, the second-floor bar was a well-known gay bar that provided a safe space for the queer community. It was also a place of worship. The Metropolitan Community Church was the first church in the United States to cater to LGBT+ congregations and the local congregation had held services in the UpStairs Lounge’s theatre for a while. Suffice to say the UpStairs Lounge was a place of real importance to a group of people who have historically been silenced and ignored by society and on a fateful night in 1973, 32 of those beautiful souls were lost in one of the biggest LGBT+ tragedies in recorded history.
It was a Sunday evening and the bar was filled with people enjoying the last few hours of ‘Pride Weekend’ and as the evening was drawing to a close, the doorbell rang continuously. When the door was eventually opened, a large fireball erupted into the room and the inferno quickly spread. Roughly twenty people were led out of the unmarked exit door by one of the bartenders, while many others attempted to squeeze through the burglar bars on the windows. Pastor Bill Larson of the Metropolitan Community Church tried to escape this way but became trapped when the window fell on his torso. Stuck half in and half out the window, he burned to death, in full view of onlookers outside. Twenty nine people died in the inferno, and three more succumbed to their injuries later. The tragedy did not end that night. Following the blaze, the victims were largely ignored by a very heteronormative society and local churches refused to conduct funerals for the dead. Some bodies remained unclaimed and were later buried in unmarked graves. Police, government officials, and even the press just let the story fade away after a very brief investigation. Local radio hosts even made light of the tragedy by making cruel and callous jokes about those who had died.
Years later, the silenced voices of that night have been reported to ensure that they are never forgotten from the afterlife. Patrons of the Jimani bar often tell of whispers from nobody, inexplicable icy chills, and faint smells of burning hair and charred flesh. There are also reports of a full-bodied apparition on the second floor and mysterious moving furniture. Whether supernatural or not, the spirits of those tragic souls will be with us forever. We should never forget them.
The Abandoned Village of Bara-Hack, Pomfret, Conneticut:
We head back to New England for our next haunt. Nestled in the Ragged Hills of Pomfret, Connecticut lies the ruins of Bara-Hack. Abandoned shortly after the Civil War due to economic decline, the settlement is named after the Welsh term to break bread but is now eerily known as ‘The Village of Voices’ due to those visiting the area claiming to have heard strange voices and noises. Explorers would describe the sounds of disembodied voices talking, laughing, crying and screaming as well as the sound of the old mill creaking and the sound of livestock in the area. One group of students visiting the area reported sightings of shadowy apparitions and the ghost of a bearded man and a baby that would stalk them through the trees. One member of the group reported that they were seized by unseen forces and were restrained from moving in any direction other than that which headed towards the cemetery that lay dormant there. What is most chilling is that when the village was populated, there were similar reports from the slaves who would claim they could hear voices and reported sights of an old, bearded man and strange orbs and waves of light in the area but these claims were dismissed.
All that remains of Bara-Hack are the foundations of the buildings, the ruins of a bridge and the village cemetery. The area is closed to the public due to excessive paranormal explorers visiting the area, with various ‘no trespassing’ signs dotting the area. However, there are rare occasions where pre-arranged visits are permitted for those who want to experience the Village of Voices for themselves.
Honolulu International Airport, Oahu, Hawaii:
Yes you read that correctly. If flight delays, large crowds and overpriced food isn’t enough to scare you then perhaps the resident ghost of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (also known as Honolulu International Airport) is! Dubbed ‘The Lady in Waiting’, the apparition is that of a blonde white woman in a white dress that likes to appear unexpectedly across the whole airport, spooking staff and customers alike. Legend has it that in life, the lady in waiting fell in love with a man who promised to marry her but then left her waiting as he hopped on to an international flight, never to return to Hawaii. After she died, her spirit remained at the airport waiting for the day that her lover would return. She makes sudden appearances randomly across the airport and is said to disappear when she has been spotted, with tears streaming down her face. Not content with just spooking people, she has also been known to cause terror in the public bathrooms. There have been numerous reports of toilets flushing by themselves, taps turning themselves on and toilet paper suddenly unravelling. As far as experiences go in a public toilet, I’m sure we have all encountered far worse and at least you’re not too far from a toilet if she does turn up to scare the crap out of you…literally.
And there we have it folks; five of the most haunted destinations in the U.S.A. and what a journey we have had!
I think we learned today not to go visiting haunted abandoned villages, always to pay our respect to our fallen brethren and most importantly that all men are trash. I mean come on – two ghosts that have been jilted by men who can’t live up to their promise! Anyway, this isn’t the last you have heard from me this month so be sure to join me soon as I invite you all to a seance.
So until next time, keep it creepy!