Monday, October 29, 2012

The Haunted Coffin Handle of Graceland Cemetery

In 1907, the Trib asked for readers to send in accounts of paranormal experiences. One anonymous guy sent in a second-hand story of an man in the Austin neighborhood, a "stalwart Norseman" who had experienced something that had "transformed a skeptic into an ardent believer in the occult."

The "norseman" was a widower with four children. One day, while visiting his wife's grave at Graceland, his oldest daughter found a gorgeous silver coffin handle lying around - one which had apparently broken off of a recently-exhumed coffin. It was said to feature "exquisite workmanship," and the daughter took it home with her.

That very night, as the man sat smoking in his library, he heard the vestibule door swing open and a mad flurry of feet charging in. But when he got up to investigate, there was no one there, and the door was still locked.

The incident happened again night after night, and the footsteps extended their reach from the front vestibule to all over the house. "The noises," the teller wrote the Trib, "increased until pandemonium reigned every night, and the family was panic stricken and nightly locked themselves in their rooms." Furniture began to moved around, and the piano opened and closed violently. The family, in the typical style of ghost hunting of the era, would charge downstairs with guns, but would find nothing.

They were just about to abandon their haunted house when the father, on a thorough search, found the coffin handle in a basket of curios in the fireplace. He took the handle and threw it as far into the alley as he could - and that was the end of the ghost.

This particular  sort of "took an object from a graveyard" story (a pretty standard folk motif) always leaves me with a lot of questions. In this case:

 - Why not return it to the cemetery?
 - So, was the ALLEY haunted now that the coffin handle was there?
 - Why make such an effort to throw it? You could get it further away if you just TOOK it someplace. I'd kind of expect it to crawl back, like the cat in "The Cat Came Back," if I didn't get it further from the alley.


At least it's not as bad as the "Golden Arm" story, in which a guy decides not to bury his wife with her golden arm and gets haunted by her. Who the hell gets a false arm made out of gold? Most of the variations on that story don't say how the woman died, but it was probably either of curvature of the spine or running out of money and starving to death because she blew all of the family money on a ridiculously impractical golden arm (and god knows what ELSE such a person was spending money on). I have no sympathy for anyone wanting to be buried with such an expensive item. Leave it up in the world where it can still do some good, why doncha? Also, gimme your organs.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Headless Horseman of 49th Street

Once again, I'm a sucker for a good headless ghost. Many "haunted Chicago" type books mention a headless horseman who has been seen riding down the railroad tracks on 49th Street near Loomis. If I were a headless horseman, this is exactly where I'd want to hang out. LOOK at it in the shot on the right!

According to legend, the ghost is the spectre of a cavalryman killed July 7, 1894 during the bloody riots that resulted when Pullman workers went on strike to protest their boss being, shall we say, a bit of an ass who lowered their pay, but not the rent in the company town. 

Things did indeed get rough on 49th Street that day. All over the stockyards area, railroad cars were overturned, and at 49th street rioters tried (unsuccessfully) to destroy passing trains. July 7 was probably the bloodiest day of the strike; a couple of men were killed, and many more were wounded, some of them fatally. The rioters did some damage of their own (Chief O'Neill thought it wasn't nearly as bad as reports indicated), and members of the Illinois National Guard fired guns into the crowd, which some reports say numbered eight to ten thousand people. 

above: the guards fire on the crowd at 49th, 1894.
However, though newspapers gave a detailed list of who had been killed or wounded and how, I haven't found any mention of anyone getting decapitated.  There was one officer killed by a train at the end of the month - he appears to have tried to jump off the moving train while patrolling it near Damen. He was badly mangled and soon died, but apparently with his head still attached, and not while riding a horse.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that the ghost isn't real - just that the backstory isn't quite right. There were many other injuries, and it's likely that some didn't make the papers; in particular, reporters were only able to speculate about injuries among the strikers and rioters, since those who were hurt were generally afraid to seek medical attention, and several news reports indicate that many dead or dying rioters were being carried off by their friends. Certainly one can see how a legend of a man being decapitated during the riots would grow and thrive in the neighborhood.

And what if this ISN'T just the way that memories of the Pullman strike continued to survive in the neighborhood? Who's to say that the ghost is necessarily from the strike, or that it has to have happened at Loomis? A headless horseman is, by nature, in motion, and could really be the ghost of any number of people. There was a terrible accident at 49th and Halstead a year before the strikes in which a train crashed into a street car; three people were killed, including an man (identified as a plumber named Finn) who was cut to bits. What his ghost would be doing on a horse is a whole 'nother question - I would say that the number of people decapitated while riding horses is going to be awfully low in cities with no history of people firing cannons at each other.

Finn probably wasn't the only one to lose his head on the Grand Trunk tracks, though - the tracks at the time were still grade-level, and fatal collisions at grade-level crossings were really, really common. When the tracks were raised up to their current place in 1891, it was noted that in the previous month there had been 18 fatalities at such crossings, including one at 49th and Ashland, right near 49th and Loomis.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Murder Castle "Ghost Audio"

It was about four months ago now that I went into the basement of the post office on 63rd street - the one built over a portion of the site where the H.H. Holmes Murder Castle stood. Pictures and video are available here.

I was officially just there as a historian, but naturally I did a bit of ghost hunting while I was at it. I had an audio recorder running as I sat in the old tunnel, which runs right into the castle footprint. For lack of a better idea, I started whispering the names of the known victims who likely died there (there are only a few known ones, really, not dozens or hundreds).  I didn't hear anything at the time, but when I played the recording back, there was this voice - the sort of thing ghost hunters refer to as EVP ("electronic voice phenomenon")



I've no idea what that is - the only "logical" explanation is water running through the pipes, but it sounds awfully human for that. If it's a ghost, the most likely candidate would be Pearl Conner, who disappeared along with her mother, Julia, around Christmas, 1891. As near as I can transcribe it, she's saying "Sorry Beefalow," which sounds like the worst Chef Boyardee product ever. There's a recipe linked at the site above.

Others, however, have suggested that it's "buried deep below." Women, in particular, tend to hear "Why did she go," which would be presumably a reference to her mother, who had been carrying on an affair with Holmes (according to her ex-husband, to whom Holmes subtly bragged about it). Assuming it's a ghost, it could be any of these things; perhaps the lack of vocal chords makes it hard to form the sounds one intends to.

The three women whose names I'm whispering - Emeline Cigrand, Julia Conner, and Pearl Conner - are the three people I'm most confident Holmes killed in the castle. Anna Williams and Emily Van Tassel might have been killed on the north side, and the whole thing with Minnie Williams is just weird: alone among his wives and lovers, she seems to have had some idea of what was going on, and is the only woman he called his "wife" who vanished. That she killed Anna herself, as Holmes claimed, isn't exactly impossible, and the possibility that she ran away instead of being murdered isn't out of the question. Those are just about the only known Chicago victims. Most of the stories you hear about there being dozens or hundreds more come from 1940s pulps.

What DO you hear in the audio? "Why did she go?" A toilet flushing? I'm not normally one to get too interested in equipment readings; they usually require a of imagination to make you think they're ghosts, and most can be explained away without too much trouble. That's why I generally throw in a terrible recipe or something along with the "evidence" - as a researcher, this isn't the sort of thing I take too terribly seriously. But little imagination is required with this one.  Here's a recipe for Sorry Beefalow!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A New Hull House Ghost Shot

You know what I say, folks: there's no such thing as good ghost evidence, only cool ghost evidence. Well, here's a cool one for you. This was taken on one of my tours this past weekend, and shows what looks like a baby on the staircase at Hull House:


A close-up, with the contrast adjusted very slightly:




My first instinct when she showed it to me was to look for an ad at the bottom of the screen - usually, when someone shows me a picture that seems this clear, it turns out to be one of those "ghost capture" iphone apps that insert ghostly images into photos. It's always a bit of a dilemma for me, because you can't go around accusing your customers of fraud or anything, but the most logical explanation when you see one of those "too good to be true" ghost pictures is to assume that someone is trying to trick me.  However,  none of the "ghost apps" I have include a baby quite like this one, and I've no reason to think that the photographer, Jean Marie Andersen, was faking it. She seemed genuinely surprised by the shot; I think her friends noticed it before she did.  

And it's not TOTALLY clear - there's a big missing chunk where the mouth and chin ought to be, and that won't usually be the case with fakes. Beyond that missing bit, though, it seems very well proportioned; our brains are wired to see faces in random noise (one usually uses the words "matrixing" and "simulacra" here), but one's brain sure doesn't have to put in much effort to make one see a baby's face - and possibly arms and body - in this one. 

So, COULD it be fake, or COULD it just be a light or smear on the window that happens to look a lot like a baby? Well, sure! That's ghost hunting for you; there's a MILLION possible explanations. That's why I always refer to things like this as "weird shit," not "paranormal activity." But in several years of taking people to Hull House, I've never seen another light or smear look so baby-like. Since this one was taken I've tried to figure out a place where you could stand that would get  a street light to reflect on this spot, but I can't reproduce anything like this yet.

Now, there was at least one baby who died at Hull House - Jane Addams wrote about how upset the neighbors were when they found that they planned to have a newborn abandoned baby who died in the nursery buried by the state, not with a proper religious funeral, a case in which they misjudged the culture of the neighborhood and lost some trust with the neighbors for a while. That would have been about 1898. However, it was in the building next door (where the garden is now), and I think that baby was younger than the one in the picture above appears to be. If a baby died inside the house, it would be news to me (though not a surprise).

What do YOU think? Just a trick of the light? A real ghost? I often mention the baby story here, and of course this time of year there are 2-3 busloads of people hearing about the "devil baby of hull house" rumor from 99 years ago nightly. Have our brainwaves MADE a ghost on the spot?

For much more on the devil baby and Hull House:


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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Headless Ghost of Winnetka

I normally don't get into stories from the suburbs around here, but you'll have to excuse me - I'm a SUCKER for headless ghosts. Over on another blog I've reviewed several variations of Legend of Sleepy Hollow. 

Sheridan Road used to be known as a real hotspot for ghosts - occasionally local papers would run features on all the murder sites and haunted spots you would see driving along it; it even put you in spitting distance of H.H. Holmes' place in Wilmette, and one story told a lurid tale of a woman finding a skeleton buried near there after having a dream about someone being buried in the woods (more on this later - I'll check into it).

But chief among these was stretch of Hubbard's Woods near the ravines that was haunted by a headless man. As of 1902, the latest of the articles, residents still remembered the "headless horror" of 1881, when a headless corpse was found in the woods. Local legend had it that every night, on the anniversary of the murder, the headless ghost would wander through the woods, searching for its head.

In may, 1881, a twelve-year-old boy was going hunting for birds' nests in the woods when he came upon a headless corpse about fifty feet north of Green Bay Road. It was leaning as though the head "must have rested upon the swelling base of the tree as upon a pillow," and would have been face up, except, well, there was no face. The head was nowhere to be seen. The pockets had been turned inside out, suggesting a robbery. THe head-chopping was so cleanly done that some thought that a machine must have been used, like a guillotine. A bearded human head had been found upon the lake shore about six weeks prior, in a direct line from where the corpse had been found.

Clues came in fairly quickly. Cards from a hotel in BRemen, Germany were in the pockets. A new search of the area where the head had been seen yielded a high-crowned black derby hat with some human hair and blood in it.   The clothing had bit slit lengthwise, as though the killer had intended to strip it all off, but then got nervous and left it. There were signs of a terrific struggle.

The city had the body buried in a shallow grave near the tree where it was found (to the consternation of residents), then hastily dug up to see if it could be matched to a body-less head that was exhumed from Dunning (I couldn't tell if this was the same head that had been found on the beach, which some reports say had washed away). When dug up, the body was no more than three feet down, and in a pool of stagnant water. The smell was about as one would expect, and the corpse, though only just buried, was barely recognizable as anything that had ever been human. The head, too, was in bad shape, but was found to be a reasonably good match - close enough, anyway. The two articles were put into one box and taken out to Dunning.

For a time the body was said to be that of Bernhard Polzig, but checking on the origin of the clothes yielded a theory that it was a missing Bohemian man named Ignaz Hopf, who had recently fled Bremen and was probably murdered in March, only weeks after arriving in the United States. Who killed him, and exactly why, were never exactly determined.

In the 1890s and early 1900s, the Trib occasionaly made mention of the belief among the locals that the headless ghost walked around the ravine, at least on the anniversary of the murder, looking for its head. Whether they actually believed this, and if anyone actually claimed to see it, were not mentioned. By the time these stories came out, the way the story was being retold differed a bit from the way it actually happened; in the retellings people usually said that a  bunch of boys found the head after the body was found.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vampirism in Chicago

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the vampire scare of 1888. While that was a pretty orderly vampire scare (as these things go), there does seem to have been at least ONE case of vampirism in the city.

Dr. Charles V. Dyer. It's always an 
odd feeling to be able to see the
face of the guy who had the details
you want, but probably took
them to his grave.
"Vampirism" here refers to the practice, not exactly common but certainly not unknown, of digging up the body of a consumption victim and destroying it (usually burning the heart and liver) due to belief that the dead bodies "fed" off living ones, causing consumption (tuberculosis) in the living. There are several documented cases when bodies were exhumed for this purpose throughout the 19th century, primarily in New England. Those involved don't ever seem to have used the term "vampire," though newspapers reporting on it often did. Mercy Brown of Rhode Island, who was disinterred in 1891, is probably the most famous instance, and probably the last in the United States, though an 1893 article in the Trib implies that it was still happening in Pennsylvania at the time.

While reading Michael E. Bell's excellent book on the subject, Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires,  I was struck by an excerpt from a 19th century book in which one Dr. Dyer, a Chicago physician, told the author in 1875 that he knew of such as case happening within the city of Chicago. In Moncure Conway's 1879 book Demonology and Devil Lore, he wrote:

Dr. Dyer, an eminent physician in Chicago, Illinois, told me (1875) that a case occurred in that city within his personal knowledge, where the body of a woman who had died of consumption was taken out of the grave and the lungs burned, under a belief that she was drawing after her into the grave some surviving relatives.

Beyond that snippet, details are scarce, if not non-existent. Dr. Charles Volney Dyer was a prominent physician and abolitionist in the city, though he dealings in real estate allowed him to retire from active medical practice in 1854. Had the exhumation been conducted under his watch, it probably would have taken place in City Cemetery (which is now Lincoln Park).

However, it seems unlikely to me that Dyer would have authorized or participated in the practice himself. But in addition to his capacity as a physician, he was also one of the founding fathers of Rose Hill cemetery, and probably heard stories about anything unusual happening there. And, of course, as a 19th century physician, exhuming corpses was probably not a practice unknown to him to start with, and old-time doctors seem to have enjoyed swapping tales of grave-robbing.  So there are plenty of ways he could have heard about the instance, even if he didn't participate personally. And, heck, he MAY have been there firsthand - at least a few doctors of the era had stories about presiding at exhumations for the purpose of burning the heart to cure consumption in the living in that era, though most noted that they thought the whole spectacle ridiculous.

So, all that we know of the instance in Chicago is that it apparently happened some time in (or more likely before) 1875.  I've found several references to "vampirism" in Chicago and Illinois papers, but most refer to it as something that happened in New England, with no references to a Chicago case.  What we have a a lead on a no-doubt fascinating story, but one with so little information as to become a frustrating brick wall very quickly.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Suburban Library Talks!

I'll be giving "Ghosts of Chicago" talks at two suburban libraries this year - I'd do more, but my tour schedule is keeping me awfully busy!

I'll be at the Glenside Library tonight (10/17) at 7pm, and at the Forest Park library on Tuesday, Oct 23.  These are free and open to the public.

If you're coming on a tour and want to be on my bus specifically, you need to tell them this when you book. And, as hectic as things get (for weekends, especially, we get about 6x as many people as can fit on one bus), you might want to remind the office of that as tour time approaches. Call 888-GHOST91.

Meanwhile I'm putting some finishing touches on the new ghost book I wrote for Llewellyn; it'll be out next fall. I'm mostly just adding photos now, but this time of year I tend to hear a lot of new first hand stories to add in as well.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Medusa Challenger

In the 1970s, the largest ship on the great lakes was the Medusa Challenger, a vessel more than five hundred feet long that was used to transport cement. Pre-dating the Titanic by about three years, the ancient ship was known as a "jinx" ship - during the 1960s and 70s, the Tribune reported at least 20 instances when it drawbridges failed when the Medusa went by.  Stories also go around that its low-lying hull occasionally churned up a body or two. The "curse" ended when it started entering from the south side instead of going through the loop.

The ship is still in operation in the lakes today, and currently known as the SS St. Mary's Challenger. Though the "jinx" stories seem to have died down now, there was a death reported onboard fairly recently. I'm a bit stunned to hear that a boat older that Titanic (built in 1906) is still in operation!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Slender Man

All autumn, I've had kids asking me about "Slender Man," a supernatural creature in which they seem to half-believe. It's the new generation's Bloody Mary (though they certainly still seem to know about her).

From what I can see, Slender Man, descirbed as a tall guy in a black outfit with no facial features, started out as a sort of internet joke on one of those forums that generate all the memes. Strangely enough, we had a picture of a thing like that about a year ago:


I thought at the time (and still think) that it's most likely just a blurry pic of a guy who was standing there (though the photographer and a witness both say no one was there). I always try to assume that people didn't photoshop ghosts in. Certainly they COULD, and there are a million phone apps, but unless I specifically recognize the image all I can do is be good-natured about it (people on tours are my customers, and I can't go around accusing customers of trying to pull a hoax on me).  

In any case, well done, internets: your creation has touched a generation.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New E-Singles from Llewellyn!

INSIDE THE MURDER CASTLE Popularized in the bestselling book The Devil in the White City, H. H. Holmes has gone down in history as America’s first—and possibly most prolific—serial killer. A master swindler who changed names about as often as most people change coats, Holmes built a three-story building down the street from the World’s Fair site in Chicago in the early 1890s. Join Chicago paranormal authority Adam Selzer as he separates the truth behind the myth. Did H. H. Holmes really kill 200 people? How did he do it? And why? How did he keep his three wives from finding out about each other? And how did he kill people in such a crowded building without anyone noticing?  (see bonus photos and video, and hear the mysterious audio file here!)

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THE RESURRECTION MARY FILES

Vanishing hitchhiker stories are everywhere—there are variations in books, in country songs, and even in movies. No one knows for sure how old such stories are, but by the middle of the 20th century, the vanishing hitchhiker was a part of American folklore nationwide.
Chicago’s Resurrection Mary is one of the oldest and most enduring of the vanishing hitchhiker stories. Join paranormal authority Adam Selzer as he shares dozens of Resurrection Mary stories and sifts through his personal database of facts surrounding Archer Avenue’s most famous apparition. 

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DEVIL BABIES
Devil baby stories have been told for years—stories of infants born with horns, hooves, and claws . . . and a habit of using profane language with ministers. Join paranormal authority Adam Selzer as he investigates the legendary Devil Baby of Chicago’s Hull House, the famous Jersey Devil, and the satanic baby reported by the 
Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1888. You’ll never look at babies the same way again!
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ANTHOLOGY EDITION: THREE TERRIFYING TALES FROM CHICAGO
Or get all three at a special price:  &nbspJoin Chicago paranormal authority Adam Selzer as he lifts the veil of myth around three of Chicago’s most terrifying ghost stories. Jane Addams’s Hull House became the center of a rumored Devil Baby—an infant born with horns, hooves, and claws . . . and a habit of using profane language to ministers. H. H. Holmes has gone down in history as America’s first—and possibly most prolific—serial killer. Popularized in bestselling book The Devil in the White City, Holmes built a three-story building down the street from the World’s Fair site in Chicago in the early 1890s to use as his killing castle. But how many people did he kill? Chicago’s Resurrection Mary is one of the oldest and most enduring vanishing hitchhiker stories. An expert on the Resurrection Mary stories, Selzer shares dozens of stories and anecdotes he’s collected and sifts through his personal database of facts surrounding Archer Avenue’s most famous apparition.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Brief Update


There's been a bit of a delay with getting the e-singles out; they should be available any time now. Naturally, I'll have links to all of them right here!

Meanwhile, I'm gearing up for a busy october! At 2pm CST today, I'll be talking with Dane Ladwig on his internet radio show.  

On Sunday afternoon, I'll be co-hosting a Devil in the White City-based tour with Jeff Mudgett. Over the course of the month, I'll probably be doing 10+ tours per week with Chicago Hauntings. Ask for Adam when making reservations!

I've also just turned in the full draft of my "Ghosts of Chicago" book to Llewellyn - it's due out next fall!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Vampire Hunt in Lincoln Park, 1888

The Vampire Scare of 1888 was an orderly one, as these things go.

In September of that year, people in Lakeview gathered in a little place on Clybourne, just above Fullerton, at which Justice of the Peace Albert Thalstrom told them all about some real cases of vampirism - cases when (consumption) tuburculosis was running rampant and locals had blamed it on vampires. Consumption victims sure looked like vampire victims - they would gradually waste away as though the life was being sucked out of them. Even in the 1880s, there were still instances in rural areas, particularly in New England, when conspumption was blamed on vampires, and bodies of the suspected ghouls would be dug up and mutilated. Sometimes the heart was burned in a public spectacle before the whole town, and the ashes would be fed to the local consumption sufferers.  (update: it had apparently happened in Chicago once).

Thalstrom related all of these stories to a crowd in his book store, then turned over the floor to one Samuel Patton, who claimed that he himself had been plagued for years by a vampire after evil spirits had killed his children. The vampire couldn't be seen with the naked eye, but he had invented a varnish for glasses that would allow people to see it. A neighbor of Thalstrom, he was giving out samples that came with cards reading "Patton's Clairvoyic Varnish for Glass," which he sold for a dime.  He assured people that the vampire was flying up and down Paulina Street right then (it would have been getting awfully close to the site where the Liar's Club now stands).

A few buyers insisted that they saw it, though the reporter who covered the whole thing for the Tribune seemed awfully skeptical.

Things were quite for a month after, until one Clause Larson went missing and his wife blamed the vampire just after Halloween, 1888. The neighborhood came into some excitement, and a group of kids formed a team that they called "The Vampire Hunters" and went on a hunt through Lincoln Park to find the demon (Lincoln Park had been a cemetery in recent memory, and it was well known that bodies were still buried there). I almost have to imagine that Samuel Patton organized the group himself, ready to sell the parents some accessories ("and as sure as the lord made little green apples, that band of vampire hunters is gonna be in uniform...")

It's hard to tell just how serious a scare this was - the Trib indicated that the Lake View area was in a state of excitement, but they might have just been making fun of the slack-jawed yokels who were taken in by a flashy pitch at a medicine show (it missed no opportunity to point out that most of them were Swedish). Surely if the parents thought a real vampire was on the loose they wouldn't have let their kids go running around looking for it, would they?  In any case, the excitement died out when Mr. Larson returned, sheepishly admitting that he'd just been off on a bender.

Not a lot can be found about Samuel Patton, the maker of the "clairvoyic varnish."  In his talk at Thalstrom's place, he spoke of seeing a mysterious light that rose into the sky when he was a boy in Virginia. He described it as a "premonition," and spoke of having precognitive dreams during his service in the Civil War. He had fathered five children, all of which died, including 8 year old Willie, who, he said, came out of his grave a week after he was buried. Willie had now taken to writing his name and other messages on his father's forehead. In the mean time, besides vampires, he was tortured by spirites made from "cones and bubbles." When the spirits tired of him, they set the vampire on him. Meanwhile, inspired by spirit photography, he had invented the "clairvoyic" varnish to help people see vampires and spirits without the aid of cameras. This would have seemed fairly logical to people who believed in spirit photography - if cameras could make a ghost appear, shouldn't some accessory make them visible without the camera, as well?

Pension records indicate that Patton really was a Civil War vet (he spent much of the talk on vampires saying he had psychic visions during the war), and that he died in 1912 in Washington D.C. He was a blacksmith by trade. The November 1888 paper mentions that he wrote a book called Spirit Life As It Is which is so obscure as to be un-googleable today. Little else has been learned about him - he doesn't seem to have made much of a splash as a huckster except for his success in starting a vampire craze in Lake View.

As for "Judge"  Thalstrom... though he was referred to as a judge and an expert in all things supernatural, Albert Thalstrom was really just a justice of the peace who seems to have operated a book store in his place on Clybourn, just above Fullerton. Not much can be learned of him beyond what I found on his death certificate, but that tells me that he was only about 30 at the time of the vampire scare. And he was only thirty three when he died in 1891.        Of consumption.

New podcast today: Inside the Murder Castle

It's a big day here at Chicago Unbelievable - our three new "e-singles" from Llewellyn Press are scheduled to hit Amazon today!  I'll have links to each of them. In the mean time, today I can release all of the "murder castle" stuff! Look to your right and there's a link to the "murder castle audio and video" that I took when I got into the basement of the post office built on the site in June, 2012.

And in the mean time, there's a new Murder Castle Podcast - it can downloaded for free from archive.org  or from iTunes right now!  It includes some audio feed from the portion of the basement that would have overlapped with the footprint, including the now-famous "singing girl" sound. I'm not normally one to get too excited about weird voices on recordings - you usually have to use too much imagination. But the voice here is louder and clearer than my own. I never say anything I picked up is truly a ghost - there's no such thing as "good" ghost evidence, only "cool" ghost evidence.

This is a cool one, though. I've been playing it for people on tours. I've NEVER had a recording so clear and loud that I could play it off my phone into the bus mic and expect everyone to be able to hear it.

One of the new e-singles, Inside the Murder Castle, will tell the whole story of the place. Look for it later today!

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