Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cats and ghosts, a strange mutual fear relationship?

Some people wonder if cats can see ghosts or sense spirits.  Well, it is a fact that animals have higher, more acute senses than human beings.  They can certainly hear things before we can.  Folks claim that when their cats are staring into space or seem to be chasing "invisible" bugs around the house, they are actually seeing ghosts.

There have been stories of cat's hair standing on end when they are frightened of something that does not seem to be there.  Some people have reported that their cats have gone out of their way to avoid rooms and areas where they seem to be aware of "invisible" things.

Ancient Egyptian sculpture honoring the cat

History tells us that cats were considered sacred by the Egyptians.  The penalty for killing a cat was death.  The ancient Egyptian legend has it that the dead spirits feared cats. Therefore, they were considered guardians of the after world.  Many mummified cats have been found in tombs throughout Egypt.

A mummified cat, believed to be guardians of the after world to the Egyptians

I would otherwise have gone with the gut feeling that all of this was just legend or sheer nonsense, however...

One evening after dark I was sitting on my couch in the living room.  I glanced over toward the window for some reason and saw a shape or light  moving up and to the left across the living room front window which is to the south. It was shaped like a Nike swoosh standing on end with the top cut off. I not only looked out the window, but checked out side to see if there was anything there and there was nothing.  No cars were outside or across the street in the parking lot that may have made the light.  I call it a light because there is really no other way to describe it.  It was a light grey , transparent "thing". I thought it may have been a reflection of one of my 3 cats jumping on to the couch, but no cats were there and the reflection was moving the wrong direction for that.  My daughter and her boyfriend were also in the room, but they were not looking in the direction of the window to see it at the time.  My daughter said I had been reading too many ghost stories given that Halloween was near, that may have been believably true, however...

Living room window to the south where unexplained light or shape was seen moving from the lower right corner to the upper left then stopped at the middle.

About four days after Halloween I was sitting alone in my living room on the same spot on the couch.  Two of my cats were chasing each other all around, then went zooming up the stairs.  I heard them zooming back down the stairs then one came to a screeching halt at the bottom landing.  I looked over and just as I did, I saw the SAME shape moving in the same direction and manner across the window on the east side of the room.  Then a second later, I saw it again moving up the wall next to the window at the stair landing.  My cat was sitting there staring up at that same spot on the wall and window, so he saw it too!  It is probably what made him stop on the landing.  I jumped up and looked out across the street and on the side street...  no cars, nothing. I have never seen this before and I have not seen it since. Talk about creepy! 

Window on the east living room wall where second occurrence of the unexplained phenomenon was seen moving from the lower right corner of the window to the upper left then again stopped at the middle. It then repeated on the wall near the corner of the window and moved up across the light switch and stopped just above it.  The cat was sitting where the object appears just above the arm of the chair staring at the wall.

Most of the time poltergeist activity or apparitions are usually associated with a death at the place where they occur.  Well, what makes it even creepier is that my neighbor told me that an old man that lived next door to me died on the front steps of my house while delivering a plate of cookies to the people that lived here.  Creepier still, the front steps are just outside my living room on the south side of the house.  His house can been seen through the window where I saw the shape the second time, out the east window of my living room.  It was almost as if a spirit were attemping to enter the house through the windows and may have possibly succeeded the second time.

Like I mentioned before, I don't really believe in ghosts, but...   you have to admit this was just a little weird!

Related Articles:
Another Paranormal Encounter Witnessed By a Cat

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Emma's Ghost - Chester, Pennsylvania

Back in 1892, in Chester, PA there was a murder that took place at what is known as the Schmidt residence.  A young German girl Emma Pfitzenmyer was staying at the home of her sister Caroline who was married to Frederick Schmidt.  She returned early from a night at a ball, bid goodnight to Frederick who was home with his son and retired to her room upstairs.  Caroline returned from the dance later and climbed the stairs to say good night to her sister.  She screamed in horror as she found her dead, stabbed to death.  The murderer was never discovered.

The Schmidt residence sat empty for many years due to rumors of hauntings.  That is until one stout family looking forward to living with a ghost, the Rumford family, moved into the home.

Their daughter Matty reported seeing strange things in the house and the reports went on without attention.  Until one evening, the girl saw something move from her closet and it had long waving hair.  As she put out her hand to confirm that it was really there, to her dismay she realized it was an apparition and as she went to run from the room, something grabbed her arm.  She was later found at the bottom of the stairs unconscious and bleeding from the mouth.  It was confirmed from the Mattie's description that the apparition resembled the dead Emma Pfitzenmeyer.

Some time later Mrs. Rumford reported seeing a ghostly image at the foot of her bed.  Again, the description resembled that of Emma.  Mr. Rumford was not a big believer in these stories.  However, on one occasion he was in the room with his wife as she spotted Emma's ghost.  As she called him to look at it, Emma's ghost had disappeared.  However, he saw a strange smokey mist where his wife had claimed she saw the apparition.  Upon investigating to find an explanation for how the smoke got there, he found none.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ghost Dinner Party at The Crier in the Country

 The original owner, Lydia Pennel haunts this inn/restaurant, The Crier in the Country located in Glenn Mills, PA.  The house was built in 1740 and Lydia was one of the original inhabitants.  It was her and her husband's home for many, many years.  She was forced to sell the bed and breakfast.  Some say she never wanted to leave and hasn't.  It became an inn/restaurant in the 1940's.  There are stories of moving chandeliers, singing and appearances of apparitions in the upstairs dining room named after Lydia as it was her former bedroom.  Ghosts over for dinner?  The sounds of a dinner party can be heard in the empty dining hall downstairs on occasion.

Servers set a dining room for a party, the next day the place settings would all be stacked in piles and placed in the center of each table.

Once in the during the house's lifetime as a inn/restaurant, a young boy was staying on the 3rd floor.  He reported seeing a shadow like apparition.  His new pet dog was staying in the room with him and was viciously trying to defend him.  The dog jumped at the apparition near the window and smashed through it falling to his death.  It is thought that some of these "unknown" entities may be from British soldiers who where hanged nearby
during the Revolutionary War.  At one point, the house and it's grounds served as an encampment for British soldiers.

Artist's rendition of "Shadow figure" or "Shadow people"
The person who purchased the property from Lydia, Henry Saulnier, also haunts the place.  Workers at the inn believe his apparition has been seen in the kitchen by a young girl.  She stated she saw a man wearing "funny clothing".  Later identifying the man in a photo in the lobby which turned out to be Henry Saulnier who had long since passed away.

The Crier in the Country Inn and Restaurant

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ghost of General Anthony Wayne

During the Revolutionary War, General "Mad"Anthony Wayne commanded troops under the leadership of George Washington.  He commanded the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment at the battles Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown.  

 General "Mad" Anthony Wayne

 Former estate of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne in Paoli, Pa

He later led the Continental forces at the Battle of Monmouth.  Followed later in the war by the Battles of Stoney Point and Green Spring.  Stoney Point was his most successful campaign of the Revolutionary War.  After serving as a statesman, General Wayne was later called back into service to lead forces during the Indian Wars at Fort Recovery and the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

Statue honoring General Anthony Wayne at Valley Forge, PA

Wayne died in 1796 while returning to Pennsylvania from a western military post.  He was buried at Fort Presque Isle which later became Erie, Pennsylvania. There was a blockhouse named after him which is still standing today.  

Marker at the site of Fort Presque Isle which contained the Wayne Blockhouse

His family wished to have his remains moved to the family plot in in Radnor, Pennsylvania which is located near Philadelphia,  not far from Wayne's home in Paoli, PA.  His son, Colonel Issac Wayne traveled to Presque Isle to retrieve his father's remains.  However, Issac was traveling with a small horse drawn rickety two wheeled cart.  In order to make transport easier, they boiled the flesh from the bones and placed it back into the grave.  The bones were then loaded onto the cart for transport back to Philadelphia.  The box containing General Wayne's remains kept falling off of the cart.  It was discovered upon arrival in Radnor that many of the General's bones were missing.  Rather than backtracking and retrieving the missing bones along the trail back to Presque Isle which follows what is now mostly Route 322,  what was left of his bones was buried in the family plot at St. Davids Episcopal Church.

General Anthony Wayne's second grave site in Radnor, PA

It is said that every year on General Wayne's Birthday which also happens to be New Year's Day, he rises from his grave and can be seen riding across the state of Pennsylvania back to his original grave in search of his bones.  

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Ghosts of Providence Road

There are several hauntings along Providence Road in Delaware County, PA each of which can be attributed to a woman named Elizabeth Wilson.  Around the time of the Revolutionary War, Elizabeth reportedly had two illegitimate children to a British soldier whom she met while working in Philadelphia.  When it came time to have her children, she left the city to seek refuge at her father's home in the country.  

Giving birth to twins, Elizabeth arrived back in Philadelphia to seek out the children's father.  She was however childless upon her return.  Around the same time, the bodies of two infant boys were found in the woods along Providence road near the intersection of Edgemont.  It was assumed that these were the children of Elizabeth Wilson and she was promptly placed under arrest and scheduled to be hanged to death.

Elizabeth's brother William Wilson, hearing of his sister's troubles, came to her aid.  He managed to get Elizabeth to tell her story in front of a justice. She claimed that the children's father murdered them after wanting no claim to them and threatened Elizabeth with death if she spoke to anyone about it.  The judge, believing her story said they would stay her execution, but would need to get a reprieve from the council in Philadelphia before her execution time.  William raced as fast as he could through snow and muddy winter road conditions to get the document that would save his sister's life.  Upon getting the approval, he raced to get to Hangman's Hill where Elizabeth was scheduled to be executed.  He was however, 20 minutes too late.  His sister had been hanged to death.

Artist rendition of the Elizabeth Wilson hanging on Providence Road

Upon seeing his sister dead, William withdrew from society and fled to live in a cave near what is now Hummelstown, PA.  He lived off the land and the earnings he made by making and selling millstones.  He became known as "The Pennsylvania Hermit".  After his death in 1821, writings were found among his belongings in his cave.  These writings were later published as the book "The Sweets of Solitude".

William Wilson became "The Pennsylvania Hermit" writing memoirs entitled "The Sweets of Solitude"

To this day, the cries of babies can be heard near the intersection of Edgemont and Providence Road. Nearby in the area that used to be known as Hangman's Hill, the ghostly image of Elizabeth Wilson is said to be seen roaming.  Nearby businesses, including a nearby restaurant, have experienced a high level of poltergeist activity.  And along Providence Road, some say they have heard the hoof beats and have even seen the ghost of William Wilson on his horse in his eternal race to save his sister.