Archive | June, 2011


Tags: , , , ,

Finding Darby

Posted on 20 June 2011 by Cathy

Have you ever been to a national cemetery? When you drive past the gates and into one you notice how well manicured the lawn and landscaping are. The next thing you notice is all the headstones. This experience can be overwhelming no matter how big or small the cemetery is. It is sad and awe inspiring to know that all these men and women gave their lives for our freedoms today. While on a recent trip to Fort Chaffee we decided to go hunt down the grave of Brigadier General William O Darby to pay our respects. Darby is buried in Fort Smith National Cemetery which is located in Sebastian County in section 9 site 3991. This cemetery began it’s existence sometime after Christmas day 1817 when men began constructing a stockade fort sufficient for one company. In 1841 a newspaper article suggests that there was a “dilapidated burying ground outside of the stockade containing three graves marked by marble slabs.” Once it was small and shoddy however today this beautiful cemetery totals 22.3 acres. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 1999

After a period of time searching the cemetery we finally found what we were looking for.  It had taken longer than I thought It would. We noticed many of the stones were marked unknown. These graves were from the civil war time and represented both sides of the war. When we found Darby’s stone I stood there for a while contemplating what he had done with his life. I am happy that sometimes God gives us people like him for awhile. He was an amazing man and I was happy to be there for the moment. Some people may think of this it is morbid to go into a cemetery to pay respects to someone you do not know personally. I was standing there thanking him for his service, celebrating the memory of his life and there was nothing morbid about this. I only hope that my mark on the world would be good enough to one day have someone I do not know come to pay respect to me because of the way I lived my life.

Why did we come to pay respect? Our team is not just a paranormal focused group but also a group dedicated historians with a healthy respect for life and death. Do you recognize the name Brigadier General William O Darby? Darby was born February 8, 1911 in Fort Smith Arkansas and became a West Point graduate. He was also an officer in the US Army during World War II . Darby led the famous Darby’s Rangers which over time evolved into the US Army Rangers which is an elite commando division of the Army. After handpicking 500 men who underwent preliminary elimination tests, the first Battalion was activated June 19, 1942. Darby died in Italy’s Poe Valley on April 30, 1945 which was also the same day Hitler shot himself. He died when an 88 mm shell burst in the middle of the assembled officers and NCO’s. This event killed Darby as well as a Sergeant and wounded several others. He was only 34 years old at the time of his death. Gen. George Patton once said, “He was the bravest man I knew.” There was a movie made by Warner Brothers in 1958 starring James Garner called “Darby’s Rangers. ”

Just what does it mean to be a Ranger? The First Ranger Battalion was formed as an elite unit modeled after the British Commandos led by Darby. Strictly on a volunteer basis they were trained to surprise attack in the dead of night from the least likely route. Sometimes these attacks would take them 30 miles deep behind enemy lines on foot. Training included cliff climbing, speed marching and amphibious landings. During World War II there were more than 15 million people who served in the armed forces however only 3000 were Rangers! William Darby was the beginning of these men who are known legends and heroes

Comments (7)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Storms and the Paranormal

Posted on 14 June 2011 by Cathy

One dark stormy night while on an investigation I heard a noise. I turned to see what caused the noise and saw a shadow standing in the doorway. It darted away before I could take a picture. I hoped that the storms stirred things up. Most long time investigators have had some experience with storms generating activity. Everyone knows it is typical to begin a scary story by saying “one dark stormy night”. Why? Is it because we are afraid of storms or is it because there may be something else going on here? One theory is that electricity is needed for spirits to manifest. On active nights I have seen for myself that batteries drain, lights flicker and electronics malfunction. The atmosphere is charged from all the lightning

Let me give you some data on thunderstorms. In a typical thunderstorm approximately 5×10 8 kg of water vapor is lifted and the amount of energy released when this condenses is 1015 joules. This is the same magnitude of energy released within a tropical cyclone. It is also more energy than was released during the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan 1945. Lightning can travel at speeds of 140,000 mph and can reach temperatures approaching 54,000 °F. Lightning can occur with both positive and negative polarity. An average bolt of negative lightning carries an electric current of 30,000 amps. An average bolt of positive lightning carries about ten times that of negative lightning. The average peak power output of a single lightning stroke is about one trillion watts. During a positive lightning strike huge quantities of ELF and VLF radio waves are also generated. All of this energy usually makes for an interesting investigation!

We just had the luck to be at Fort Chaffee during a storm. The clouds were even rotating and diping. Logan called Marc to see if we were under a tornado watch. It turned out to just be severe storms. I was excited to see what would happen now that the environment was charged. The buildings also cooled down which was a blessing. We all noticed more activity after the storm passed then before. We had clear audible voices heard by all, bangs, knocks and cold spots. I have hours and hours of audio to review to see if we caught any evidence. I will soon post an article to my blog on my experiences here. For now I just wanted to share the information about storms

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuberculosis Sanatoriums

Posted on 14 June 2011 by Cathy

By the late 1800’s tuberculosis was taking over the population of the United States. The disease is highly contagious and was poorly understood at the time.It was almost impossible to cure with the mortality rate being at 80.2 %. Health professionals believed that clean, cold mountain air was the best treatment for lung diseases. Sunlight was also believed to be an effective treatment. Sanatoriums were built with large windows, patios and terraced areas with fresh air and sunlight in mind. Sometimes the roof of the buildings were
used as for patients.

Patients who were only suspected of having tuberculosis were admitted to prevent the spread of the disease. Patients who did not have the virus were now be exposed to the virus and would then become infected. My husbands grandfather was one of these patients. As a child he lost a tooth that showed up eventually on an xray in his lung. Long before that xray he was believed to have TB and was admitted into a facility. Now exposed to TB he would always show positive on testing.

The discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin in 1943 became the first cure for tuberculosis. In 1944 Merck and Company began major production of the drug. The first randomized trial of streptomycin against pulmonary tuberculosis was carried out in 1946-1947 by the MRC Tuberculosis Research Unit. TB was now shown to be controlled by antibiotics rather than extended rest. By the 1950s tuberculosis was no longer a major public health and the sanatoria began to close. Most sanatoria have now been demolished. Several were converted into hospitals for other uses including aids. Those hospitals remaining are abandoned.

Paranormal teams investigate places like this to see if they can capture any evidence of residual energy of the past. There have been reports of an active haunting at some locations. The rate of mortality being at 80.2 %. puts these places at an advantage for the possibility of capturing evidence. One of the locations we are investigating is nestled in the hills in it’s own complex. It was a self sustaining city of its own. It had a municipal like water/sewer system, fire department, and a farm with dairy and swine operation. Built in 1910 covering 973 acres of land. It was closed in 1973. Some of the complex has been converted for other use.

Driving through the gates of the facility knowing the mortality rates of the people that passed here was very sad. The gate was imposing because of what it represented and not because of the architecture. As we drove up the hill and turned the corner seeing all of the buildings of the compound you could see how it was separated from the rest of the world. The main hospital still stands as an imposing gothic type structure. There have been many reports of activity in this building. We are hoping to be able to validate the activity ourselves.

Go see the photo gallery for this amazing place

Comments (2)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Haunted Lake Ronkonkoma

Posted on 01 June 2011 by Cathy

One of the places I lived as a child was on Long Island in a place called Ronkonkoma, New York. I have wonderful memories of the town. I remember enjoying the things to do in the area and spending time with great friends. One activity we had was to go to the lake. This lake had many stories attached to it which I was fascinated by. The lake was haunted by the ghost of an Indian princess. When I was in the water I never went too far out because I wondered how I would react to her touching me. One day I spent the day ice skating on the lake and wondering if she would break the ice. I was not so worried about her hurting me because the stories all really involved her needing a man or a young couple. I remember laying on my stomach on the cold ice trying to hear her or see if I could see her. It was too cold to stay like that for long. While driving along the lake I have seen a fog hanging over the lake that looked eerie. I saw lights and could not figure out if they were boats or what they were. One day while riding along Lake Shore Road from out of nowhere a dog came running into a car next to us. I was very upset until the dog got up and ran away. When I went home and told some friends about it they all said it was the lady who did it. Everyone who lives there knows the stories. Let me give you some history of the lake.

Lake Ronkonkoma is known as a kettle hole lake that was carved out by a retreating glacier 20,000 years ago. It is the largest lake on Long Island..The lake was considered the most sacred lake by the Indians and it was the meeting point between different tribes. It was settled by Europeans in the 1600s. In the 1900s there was a population explosion due to the waters of the lake being known at that time as having healing qualities. The lake was considered a resort and a place for summer homes. Today you can see evidence of the early 1900s in remnants of old resorts which can still be seen around the lake’s shore.

The lake has of a number of urban legends. There is a mysterious rise and fall of the lake that doesn’t have a relationship to local rainfall totals. There is fresh water coming in from an unknown source. With this in mind it is said that there is a tunnel that leads to Connecticut and another one that leads to Sayville New York. One tunnel is said to lead to hell. The lake been rumored to be bottomless, however it is really approximately 100 ft deep at the southeastern side. The bottom is hard to find because of the loose particles at the bottom. Piranha are said to inhabit the lake. There have been stories of people being attacked by piranha most likely from people dumping live fish into the lake that they could no longer care for. Some say the bites have to come from pike which are well known to be moderately aggressive.

The most prevalent stories concerning the lake come from the legend of “The Lady of the Lake”. In one story every year the lady calls a young man between 18 and 28 years old out to be her lover. She lures them to the middle of the lake and drowns them. The most popular story is that every year two lovers are killed by the vengeful spirit. They usually die in an automobile accident. Who is this
“Lady of the Lake”?

The lady is a Native American princess who herself drowned in the lake. Her death story varies from it being an accident to a suicide. The Native American Princess Ronkonkoma fell in love with a European settler named Hugh Birdsall. She was forbidden to pursue the relationship and was forced into an arranged marriage. The forbidden relationship however persisted. One evening she tried to swim all the way across the lake to meet her lover. On the way she suffered fatigue and drowned. One variation is that she rowed to the middle of the lake in a canoe to await her lover and when he did not come she committed suicide by drowning herself. Another variation is that he was coming to join her and drowned so she decided to join him in death because she was too overwhelmed by grief. There are several other variations to the story.

The fact is that locals and historians will claim that almost every year for 200 years someone has drowned in the lake and it is usually a male. From 1877 to 1977 there were at least 147 drownings. Another fact is 32 deaths by drowning in the lake have taken place since1963 and are all men.One lifeguard said that in 32 years of being at the lake there have been at least 30 drownings that he was aware of.

Sometimes I think about Lake Ronkonkoma. I would love to be able to go back and run the equipment that I have now to see what is there. I do believe legends are born from some truth. I know some of the facts about the lake help perpetuate the urban legend. Whether the legend is true or not the stories are fantastic to toss around a campfire! Would you go swimming in the lake now?

Comments (1)

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here
Follow Me on Pinterest
The Haunted Chef Houston restaurants