Friday, January 31, 2014

For Sale: Slightly Haunted Victorian Mansion.

My aunt sent me this creepy Zillow listing because she knew that this would be my dream house.  I wish I was house hunting in Dumore, Pennsylvania because I would definitely put in an offer on this Victorian beauty that Zillow describes as "slightly haunted."  The listing describes this house as: 

"Built in 1901, this Victorian home in the Hollywood section of Dunmore features 1850 sf of living space with an additional 1350 sf of partially finished space. Original hardwood floors throughout entire home. 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms. Off-street parking. Freshly painted. New moulding throughout entire first floor. Slightly haunted. Nothing serious, though. e.g. The sounds of phantom footsteps. A strange knocking sound followed by a very quiet (hardly noticeable, even) scream at 3:13am, maybe once a week. Twice a week, tops. And the occasional ghastly visage lurking behind you in the bathroom mirror. Even still, this occurs very rarely and only in the second floor bathroom.
First floor features:
Large living room with an open staircase, stainglass window and a large picture window.
Large dining room with bay windows.
A study/library with another stainglass window and a secret door behind a moving bookcase which leads into a small office.
Kitchen features gas stove top, built-in oven and built-in dishwasher, tile counter top. Stairs leading to basement and a rear staircase leading upstairs. Also has enclosed porch/mudroom.
Full 1st floor bath, very nice tile work and fixtures.
9 foot ceilings throughout 1st floor.
Second floor features:
4 bedrooms. The 2 front bedrooms are separated by double louvered doors. Perfect for a Master Bedroom/Nursery set-up. 3 tall windows in each of the 4 bedrooms.
Huge 2nd Floor full bath with large Victorian bathtub and very large closet.
Large unfinished crawl space behind concealed door hidden in bedroom closet. Very strange area, but perfect for storage.
Rear stairs leading down to kitchen.
Stairs leading up to huge attic.
Huge walk-up attic is partially finished. Spray-foam insulation, wired and three quarters of the way drywalled. Can easily be completed for an additional 400sf of living space. Very tall vaulted ceiling, dormers, 4 windows and rounded turret section (one of the coolest features in the whole house.)
Basement features very large wet bar. Has sink and built-in tap system. Very large space and high ceilings. Basement has nice layout and can also be converted into living space. Also features a half bath.
All around a beautiful home with lots of updates and tons of charm. "

So if you are house hunting in Dunmore and you don't mind the random, phantom scream at 3:13am this is probably the house for you!  You can get all of this for the price of  $144,000.00.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Hazel Green Black Widow

I have taken a little break from blogging this month, but an interesting news story inspired me today.  The news story can be found at and discusses one of North Alabama's most interesting and notorious local ghost stories.  The ghost story is the tale of the mysterious black widow.   The black widow was a Hazel Green resident named Elizabeth Routt who managed to go through six  husbands in her lifetime.  According to local legend, none of her husbands met a natural death.  They all died at the hands of the beautiful Elizabeth Routt.  Elizabeth was originally named Elizabeth Dale and if the tales are true her home was built on an old Indian Burial Mound.  Her home was haunted by more than the ghosts of her husbands and those who whisper of the black widow haunting say that the ghosts that wander this area are many.  

Those who talk of the grim remains of Routt's house and the grave sites where her ill fated husbands rest in peace speak of the area being wrapped in a shroud of darkness that chills you to the bones even on the warmest of days.  There isn't too much left to see of Routt's house and the grave sites aren't in the best of states, but I've heard that you know you've arrived at the graves because you can feel the presences of something dark in the air.   One local blogger described her son's experiences at the grave sites eloquently.  Katherine Boone describes the encounter on her blog  

"Time has ravaged the once pristine antebellum mansion. Locals believe the area to be haunted. My own son and his friend visited the site one night and came back shaken to the core. When asked what they’d seen, they replied their flashlight revealed glowing eyes 5 ft. off the ground and a dark mass which threatened to approach through the trees if they ventured closer. Imagine a 17 year old literally shaking all over as he told this horrifying tale. Something scared him, there was no mistaking that."

Elizabeth's true story remains a point of controversy as some still claim she was just unlucky in love, however, those who have experienced the ghosts of the black widow won't ever believe she was unlucky.  They claim she was a black widow who killed her all of her husbands. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Lonely Ghosts of the Detroit Art Institute

The Detroit Institute of Arts(DIA) is one of my favorite places.  I was an art major at Wayne State University and several of our projects involved going to the museum and studying the art there.  My favorite painting was by Jean Leon Gerome and it was called Solitude.  It depicted a lonely lion laying in the middle of a deserted beach.  The lion appeared to be at at peace.  It's tan main shone in the sunlight against the brilliant azure sky.  Something about that painting, and that place spoke to me.   The DIA echoed the atmosphere in that painting.  It was a quiet museum.  It was not crowded with throngs of people and during the day, when I visited,  I felt like I was the only one there.  I went there in between classes and wandered the lonely halls.  The DIA like the rest of Detroit,  was often abadoned.

Entering the museum, the first thing you see is a room painted with massive murals by Diego Rivera.  Rivera did these paintings when the museum was founded in 1927.   The museum was built as cultural center for the then beautiful city and the art within the museum reflects the time and effort that was put into the collections.   The Rivera paintings alone are worth a visit.   However, like many places in Detroit,  the DIA is haunted.

Security gaurds who have worked at the DIA at night report seeing all kinds of strange activity in this museum at night.   Loud thuds echo throught the halls of the empty museum and there are sounds that seem like people are dragging the paintings from room to room.  When the noises are investigated,  all the paintings are where they are supposed to be and the rooms are empty.   Much of the haunting activity seems to surround a statue in the African art gallary called the Nail Figure.  It is the statue of a man impaled with spikes and many gaurds report seeing this statue moving or even dancing alone in the dark.