Exploring Haunted Places
If you're like most people you have at least a minor curiosity about places that are said to be haunted. You can travel anywhere in the world and find that stories abound of evil spirits possessing people and occupying houses, land and other objects. If you're looking for a few good stories and perhaps travel destinations that will feed your morbid curiosity, look no further. The following three places may make the perfect side trips on an upcoming vacation...if you dare!
The Bell Witch Cave
In the early 1800s in Robertson County, Tennessee, a most unusual haunting took shape at the homestead of John Bell and his family. The haunting started with the presence of an unusual animal that appeared to be a mutated cross between a rabbit and a dog. Shortly after the strange creature vanished onto the property, the Bell family began experiencing strange noises. The noises escalated into physical assaults on daughter, Betsy Bell that included hair pulling, slapping and pushing. Even more eerie was the faint sound of an invisible old woman singing hymns. Before long, the once invisible spirit transformed into a wispy apparition that sometimes took the form of deceased Bell ancestors or malformed animals. The screeching of fighting beasts would keep the family awake and on edge throughout the night. Despite the efforts, of friends, neighbors and clergy members to do away with the spirits, their disturbances persisted, driving the family nearly mad with fatigue, frustration and fear. At last, the spirit revealed what it most desired – the death of John Bell. As his health gradually deteriorated under the stress of living in a most haunted dwelling, the evil spirit viciously assaulted anyone who tried to help. Mr. Bell finally died in 1820 and it was said that his funeral was set to a chorus of “cheerful drinking songs,” sung by the merry and victorious ghost, the likes of which were never seen again. It is unclear why the poltergeist also assaulted Betsy, except perhaps to drive her father mad. Rumor had it that shortly after her father’s death, Betsy broke off her engagement to a suitor of whom the Bell Witch did not approve. She later married another man without any further interference. The Bell Cabin no longer exists, but the Bell Witch Cave nearby is said to contain the burial remains of many early pioneers and Native Americans, whose spirits may still occupy the area.
The White Witch of Rose Hall Plantation
Annie Palmer was a West Indian woman who lived on the island of Jamaica in the early 1800s. She married plantation owner, John Palmer in 1820 and took up residence in Rose Hall. Mr. Palmer soon died under mysterious circumstances and many blamed Annie Palmer, who had become known as the White Witch for her inclination toward voodoo. Annie married two more times and both of these husbands also met untimely and tragic ends. Following the death of her last husband, Annie took a series of lovers, most of whom were killed after being invited into her bed. In the 1830s there was a slave revolt in Jamaica and it was during this time that Annie was killed by one of her lovers, a slave named Takoo. Reports indicate that Annie had used a voodoo curse to kill Takoo’s granddaughter in order that she might claim the woman’s fiancée for herself. In an act of revenge Takoo murdered Annie but was himself killed by one of the plantation’s caretakers soon after. Rose Hall Plantation was sold after Annie’s death but some believe her spirit still haunted the property. One report includes a housekeeper falling to her death from the plantation balcony after being pushed by the ghost of the White Witch. In later years, the rumors of the White Witch of Rose Hall were debunked as purely fictionalized accounts based on a novel written in 1929. This doesn’t stop the locals from offering tours of the supposedly haunted plantation to the delight and amusement of tourists from across the world.
Alcatraz is one of the most notorious prisons in American history and was once home to some of the country’s most hardened and often mentally ill criminals. Treatment of prisoners was said to be brutal and many were confined to solitary for weeks, months or years at a time, often naked and with little food or water. Today, tours are offered throughout the prison and tales of hauntings abound. Many visitors offer their own accounts of supernatural activity on the island. For those that believe in ghosts and hauntings, it is not hard to imagine why Alcatraz would be haunted. Prisoners were reportedly routinely tortured. Those that tried to escape were killed by armed guards. Hauntings include reports of everything from clanging chains, to icy chills in the air, and the sound of Al Capone’s banjo playing from the shower room where he used to practice. Another macabre story involves a prisoner from Cell Block 14D who reportedly screamed throughout the night that he was being murdered by a creature with glowing eyes. In the morning, prison guards found him dead in his cell, yet others reported that the dead inmate had been in line during head count the next morning – but only temporarily.
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