Tag Archive | "woodlands paranormal"


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Posted on 31 October 2012 by Cathy

‘Woodlands Paranormal’ investigations are anything but normal

by J. Werner / WoodlandsOnline.com
Posted on October 31, 2012 at 9:02 AM

THE WOODLANDS, Texas—On All Hallow’s Eve everyone is just a little jittery about things that go bump in the night, but according to the Woodlands Paranormal, most apparitions and noises have a logical explanation. The mission of this group of rational human beings is to investigate and determine the root cause of perceived paranormal events using a normal thought process, but their investigations are anything but normal.

Formed in 2007, the organization is based in The Woodlands but its members are scattered throughout the Greater Houston area, and come from diverse backgrounds and occupations. According to the case manager, Cathy Nance, the eclectic group consists of skeptics, clergymen, public safety officials, and medical professionals, but not necessarily anyone with extrasensory perception skills.

“Our role is to investigate the phenomena using scientific methods and available technology, then make a rational determination,” said Nance.


Nance, a healthcare professional in the nursing field, will be speaking in Jefferson, Texas, on the topic of mental health. Her presentation is titled, “Negative Cases. Are the Voices Real?”

To read the rest of the story go to

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On Haunted Ground – Free

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On Haunted Ground – Free

Posted on 15 October 2012 by Cathy

The Kindle version of “On Haunted Ground” by Lisa Rogers is being offered for a limited time for FREE on amazon! Be sure and get your copy! Our paranormal team investigated this property and are featured in the book. I Would love to hear your feedback. I really enjoyed reading her story


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Stewart Mansion Galveston

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Stewart Mansion Galveston

Posted on 03 October 2012 by Cathy

Galveston is thought to be approximately 5000 years old. It was called the Isle of Doom in 1528 by shipwrecked sailors.The Spanish then called it the Isle of Snakes due to the abundance of reptiles. The control of the property that the Stewart Mansion sits on has gone through multiple hands over its life.

Jean Lafitte and his men took control from the cannibalistic Karanwawa Indians in a the first transfer of control. One of the first houses built on Galveston Island was built by J.A. Settle in 1846. An 1851 map showed the building just west of Lake Como and was labeled Settle’s Post. F.S. Hook was the next to purchase followed by Colonel Warren D.C. Hall. The building burnt down in 1925. The Sealy family bought the property from Mottexas Ranch, followed by the Stewart family, who then gave it to the University of Texas Medical Branch. In 1967, the property was sold it to oilman and developer George Mitchell. In the year 2000 Moore and Gould obtained the property. It has since then deteriorated and transferred a few more times.

The Galveston Historical foundation works to preserve architecturally and culturally important structures. The mansion was added to its annual heritage at-risk list in 2004 because it is historically significant to the island. The foundation removed it from that protected list in 2007 because new property owners Moore and Gould had acquired city approval to do an inn project. There has been no demolition of the mansion to make way for any project. Today there is no historical designation that protects it from demolition.

The mansion suffers from serious deterioration although many of the original features are still intact. There is a pull to go through the long abandoned property for some. It seems it has become a right of passage for many islanders probably from the years of urban legend and all of the interesting history.

The historic significance begins with the first transfer of control of the property and that begins with Jean Lafitte. This famous pirate was born in either France or the French colony of Saint Domingue in 1776. In 1805 he had a warehouse in New Orleans which held stolen goods from his older brother Pierre. They became so good at smuggling (which included slaves) they moved their base of operations and turned to piracy.

In 1814, the American authorities captured most of Lafitte’s fleet. In order to be granted a pardon, in 1815 Lafitte had to help General Andrew Jackson against the British. The Lafittes then became spies for the Spanish during the Mexican War of Independence. At that time they relocated to Galveston because as a part of Mexico it was outside the authority of the United States and was largely uninhabited. They developed a pirate colony where they tore down the existing structures and built 200 sturdier homes. The colony had anywhere between 100-200 men at the time and they named it Campeche.

The headquarters was known as Maison Rouge. It was a two-story building surrounded by a moat and was painted red. It faced the harbor were there were landings for The Pride, which was Lafittes ship. He conducted most of his business aboard for his safety. The slaves that were smuggled by them practiced black occult (voodoo and hoodoo) perhaps this is one reason why everything fell apart for the brothers. The downfall of Campeche began in 1818 when Lafitte’s men kidnapped a Karankawa woman and warriors from her tribe attacked the colony killing five men. In return, the corsairs aimed their artillery at the Karankawa which killed most of the men in the tribe. This became known as the battle of three trees. Then a hurricane flooded most of the island where four ships and most buildings were destroyed as well as several people killed. In fact only six houses survived out of 200 as habitable. They began to rebuild the settlement. In 1821 The USS Enterprise was sent to get Lafitte and his men out of the Gulf of Mexico. Angry, his men burned down Maison Rouge, the fortress and the whole settlement as they left the island. Lafitte continued attacking ships until he died in 1823.

The Sealy’s were the next major family to acquire the property that was formerly occupied by Jean Laffite from Mottexas Ranch . As one of the most dynamic families they were very powerful in business and politics. George Sealy Jr. commissioned San Antonio Architects Atlee B. and Robert M. Ayres to design the opulent 8,200 sq ft Spanish Colonial Revival summer retreat to be built in 1926. He was a famous industrialist and infamous union-buster. He called the mansion Isla Ranch and commissioned the murals to be painted sometime in the 1930’s.

The next owner of the property is Marco Stewart Sr. who was the founder of Stewart Title Co. He acquired the mansion on October 13, 1933 as a vacation resort home. He made his fortune in insurance, banking and war. Marco Stewart Jr. then inherited the more than 2,000 acres property in 1939. He remodeled and expanded the property as well as changed the name to Stewarts mansion. In 1944, Stewart’s widow, Louise Bisbey Stewart and her son Marco Stewart Jr. donated the residence to the University of Texas Medical Branch where it was used for a number of years as a convalescent home for crippled children.

It is hard to find through all the grass and brush on the property but the Marco Stewart family cemetery is located here. There are markers for Marco Stewart, Marco Stewart Jr. and one of his sons. Stewart died before his wife and children in 1950, when he suffered a heart attack while driving home from a social event. There is an urban legend that the family was killed and put into the walls of the mansion by Stewart himself before he committed suicide

The last time my group Woodlands Paranormal was in the location we were able to get numerous EVPs that included some of children. Perplexed as to why there would be children there some of our members thought it was from the story of Marco Stewart killing his children. Upon doing research we realized that the property was a convalescent home for crippled children for years and most likely had some deaths of the children here. Perhaps what haunts the location is residual energy trapped from the years of death and tragedy. Perhaps what is there is intelligent because we were also able to get EVP responding appropriately to our questions.

Many things are said to happen here. Some of the stories are that the pirate murals are said to supposedly change places and you can see ghostly apparitions. You can hear disembodied voices, footsteps, humming and the piano. According to urban legend there use to be an electric chair in one of the rooms. According to the caretaker “There are ghosts in this house. My wife and I hear doors banging and noises in the middle of the night.” Many people tell you not to go at night for whatever reason. Lafitte’s spirit is said to walk the property looking to show someone the treasure’s location.

The island is also said to be home to a pack of supernatural black dogs since before the great storm of 1900. One urban legend says that twelve black puppies were adopted by a downtown business owner when their mongrel mother was killed. For over a century now there are tales of these large black hellhounds with flaming eyes. The stories are not just scary but are also somewhat of an omen because seeing the dogs are a warning of an impending disaster.

Some tell the story with the twist that the twelve black dogs were part of a pack that were owned by the Pirate King Jean Laffite. Known as the Campeche devil dogs they were bred for hunting down thieves, travelers and interlopers. This pack from hell is said to have been born within the eye of a hurricane. It is rumored that Lafitte demanded that a voodoo queen give him an army of dogs to guard his place. This Voodoo Queen that did a ritual where it is said that she died as the last puppy was born. So her dark powers were poured into the original twelve as they were born.

Some say the dogs are shape shifters and will shift into unseen shadows. People are sometimes aware of the smell of a wet dog they cannot see, hear low growls as they are walking or will feel breathing on the back of their necks.

While in the location I was sitting on the stairs and went to stand up to take a picture of one of the murals. I felt something on my neck and thought it was a mosquito so I went to smack it. As soon as my hand touched my neck it stung where I asked someone to look and see what it was. It turned out to be a scratch about 4-5 inches long. They took a picture of the scratch. When we went home I reviewed my audio and caught a child making a noise at the time I was scratched. So it seems perhaps a child was trying to get my attention. This is one interesting place I cannot wait to go back to!

Go check out our group website at http://www.woodlandsparanormal.com

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The Ashton Villa History

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The Ashton Villa History

Posted on 26 September 2012 by Cathy

In preparation for an investigation Woodlands Paranormal is doing with the public in October we went down to Galveston last weekend to do some preliminary work. We are excited to be able to get into this historic property for a few nights! I wanted to share our the research we have on the property. I will also put the information on our group website and facebook incuding our photos. We were able to get some very interesting pictures.

The Ashton Villa is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark. It is located on the corner of 23rd and Broadway in Galveston, Texas. The mansion was built by James Moreau Brown in 1859 before the Civil War by one of Texas’ wealthiest businessmen.

The story of this family begins with Mr. Brown. He was born on September 22, 1821 in Orange County, New York as the youngest in a large family of 16 children. Between the ages of 12-16 he was the apprentice of a brick mason. He left New York around 1838 and arrived in Galveston in the mid 1840s. He then opened a hardware business which was the largest store west of the Mississippi. In 1846, Brown married Rebecca Ashton Stoddart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1855 he purchased a slave named Alek who was also a brick mason. On January 7, 1859 Mr Brown purchased four lots on Broadway in for $4,000. The house building then soon began.

He closed the hardware business in 1859 as well and became president of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad. He kept this position through the Civil War and also served as a purchasing agent in Mexico. He resigned as president of the railroad and re-entered the hardware business after the war. The 1870 census placed his financial worth as $175,000 in real estate and $100,000 in personal assets, making him one of the richest men in the state.

Mr Brown chose to build a 16,500 square feet Italianate villa, with wide overhanging eaves and ornate cornice brackets. The house found in a architectural pattern book that was published in 1851 by Samuel Sloan who was a architect in Philadelphia . Brown did change some of the elements of Sloan’s design. He kept the basic square shape and added the dramatic wrought iron veranda. It is said the veranda probably came from the firm of Perot and Wood of Philadelphia who also supplied the fence and gate. The 3 story structure is constructed of brick and cast iron and was one of the first brick structures in Texas. The walls were made thirteen inches thick, to help protect against humidity and to add strength to the structure. The family then occupied the house by 1861.

James Brown and his wife Rebecca Ashton Stoddart Brown raised 5 children. They were John Stoddart (1848), Moreau Roberts (1853), Rebecca Ashton, known as Bettie (1855), Charles Rhodes (1862) and Mathilda Ella (1865). Bettie and Mathilda were the most dominate personalities of the house.

Bettie was a rather independent woman for her generation. She was a tall beautiful blonde who almost always wore her hair up. She was intelligent, artistic, and fun-loving. In many ways she was even somewhat eccentric. People were often surprised by her smoking in public. Enjoying her lavish life with her family she decided to never marry although she found no shortage of suitors. She seldom if ever was without an admiring escort at the many gala events of the island city. Much of the artwork and impressive paintings throughout the house were done by Miss Bettie herself. She was a rather accomplished artist during a time when women were only allowed to dabble in painting china. It is sad but at that time women were not to actually paint seriously. She studied art in Paris. She loved to travel and often journeyed alone to the far reaches of the world, including Morocco, Jerusalem, Egypt, China, Japan, and India.

Mathilda was the youngest child suffered through an abusive marriage. She came back to Ashton Villa in 1896 after she divorced her husband Thomas Sweeney. She returned to live in the house with her three children. I will save her story to share at a later time. Just know Mathilda is a sad story that contributes to the history of the Aston Villa itself.

Mr. Brown lived in the house until his death at the age of 74. He died on Christmas Day in 1895. Mrs. Brown died in 1907. The house then went to Bettie, who lived here until her death in 1920. Mathilda inherited the house and left it to her daughter Alice in 1926. The house was then sold to the Shriners and was used as offices. In 1970 the house was taken over by the Galveston Historical Foundation and opened it to the public in 1974.

One of the historical fact about the home is that it became the headquarters for the Confederate Army. It served in that capacity for the entire war, except for a brief period in the fall of 1862. Galveston was surrendered to the Union Army who chose to make Ashton Villa their headquarters. It was re-taken by the Confederates during the Battle of Galveston in January 1863. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. Surrender took place in the Gold Room. While standing on the balcony of Ashton Villa, Granger read the contents of “General Order No. 3”:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere

This house has gone through and survived numerous storms including the Great Storm of 1900. That storm killed well over 6,000 people which left the island virtually abandoned and was described as “the worst recorded natural disaster ever to strike the North American continent.” During the 1900 Hurricane, Mrs. Brown is said to have acted to save the home and her family’s lives by opening up the doors and windows on the lower floor and allowed the flood waters to flow all the way through the home exiting out the back door so that the home would not be pushed by the waters and possibly damaged. The negative impact from the 15.7-foot storm-surge over the island was the basement filled with sand and also partially buried the six-foot cast iron fence. There is a story that one of the youngest daughters of the Browns sat on the main staircase that faces the front door and the water was as high as the 10th step up flowing through the home like a river. The daughter just sat there and watched the flowing water apparently with much fascination! The basement of the house was permanently filled in with sand when the entire town of Galveston was lifted by as much as seventeen feet with sand pumped from the Gulf floor to protect from future storms. That process also buried much of the fence which appears quaintly short. Even with the grade raise Hurricane Ike brought 30 inches of damaging water and mud back into the first floor.

Today lovely antiques, family heirlooms and original art fill this stately mansion. It is also filled with artifacts gathered during Betties world travels. Perhaps all the artifacts and history has led to strange activity in the mansion. The Ashton Villa is often called the “most haunted building in America.” There are many ghostly stories about this place. It is reported that the ghost of Bettie Brown has not left and is seen from time to time dressed in a beautiful turquoise (her favorite color) dress. She is seen standing in the Gold Room and at the top of the staircase which leads to the dayroom. This was the only room where Bettie could go without wearing her “stays” and she apparently spent a lot of her time there even to this day. She is sometimes heard playing the piano at one of her famous music recitals. She is known to abruptly stop a certain song from playing in the mansion.

Not all of the strange activity is from Bettie. During the civil war the Ashton Villa was also used as a hospital for Confederate soldiers. There are rumors of marching soldiers moving through the house and on the grounds. People have reported feeling a presence joining them on the tour.

Other activity surrounds a chest of drawers purchased in the Middle East and stands in Bettie Brown’s dayroom. It reportedly locks and unlocks spontaneously even though the key has been missing for years. Ceiling fans have been known to turn themselves on. One bed refuses to stay made. No matter how many times a day the sheets are straightened they get messed up would end up on the floor by something unseen. Furniture moves and inexplicably clocks are stopped. Others have experienced an exotic smell of jasmine and roses throughout the air which is said to be Betties favorite scent.

Perhaps the haunting could be from the numerous deaths which include Both Mr. and Mrs. Brown and Bettie who all died in the house

The Haunted Areas
1. Stairway – Bettie’s presence is felt most intensely on the central stairway and in the hallway on the second floor landing by sensitives
2. Second floor landing – Full apparition was seen by a guide on the second floor landing. She was wearing a turquoise evening gown and holding one of her fans (an ornate Victorian one)
3. The Gold Room and surrounding area where her fans and favorite possessions are on display is another strong area for her prescience. Perhaps it is all of her things on display calling her there? There is a story I will share that I cannot confirm at the moment. One day a caretaker we will call Mr T was awakened by the wild barking of the his dog thought that someone was trying to break into the Villa. He said he heard a man and a woman arguing in The Golden Room. When he entered he saw woman, sitting on the piano stool dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. She was looking at an man who was standing up looking at her and appeared angry. He said the man had dark curly hair and a beard and that both were dressed in costumes from the 1800s. It sounded like they were taking through a radio and he heard “It is foolish for any man to talk to you about marriage. You couldn’t really love anyone, for you are too absorbed in your own pleasures, your collections of meaningless objects, and most of all, your looks.” She answered him: “Harrison, do you really believe this? I won’t listen to such hateful words.” She started to play the piano then heard a creaking sound behind him in the hall so he turned to look. When he looked back the man was gone and the lady was crying while laying her head on her arms on the piano. He said she walked over to her fan collection near to where he was hiding and picks up a fan. Then walked to a wall mirror, she said, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all.” She drops the fan, and slowly dissolves into thin air.
4. whole house – The furniture moves by itself and the clocks stop working for no mechanical reason
5. Windows – Bettie has been photographed staring out of the second floor window through the curtains
6. Outside – Soldiers are seen marching from time to time

Go check out Woodlands Pararnormal

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Time for Change

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Time for Change

Posted on 25 August 2012 by Cathy

Change is inevitable and is the one thing you can always count on!

After a move by own of our team members to Maryland our group decided several weeks ago to go in separate directions. As you know by now, I moved to Houston a few years ago and started my own team at the time. I have been the case manager for both areas and commuting back and forth to Oklahoma to investigate as well as going out with my team in Texas. Right now it just makes better sense for us to have separate teams. It is hard logistically to be all over the country trying to control what one team does in another area. We have different methodologies and beliefs but all got along very well. We are all good friends and will remain so. I am looking forward to a new era of investigations.

So without much ado, I would like to introduce our new name Woodlands Paranormal. I started working on the website about a week ago and had so much on my plate with a conference and a trip to Indiana that I was not able to get much done on the new site. Be patient as I add information. Don’t forget to check from time to time to see what we are up to. We are the same team with a new name

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Marshall News Messenger

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Marshall News Messenger

Posted on 25 August 2012 by Cathy

A lot of activity
Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2012 4:00 am by Hannah DeClerk

When Kevin Weddle decided to walk through the Marshall Hotel late Friday night, he was taken aback when the elevator doors on the sixth floor opened in front of him — and nobody was there.

“I was not that surprised,” Weddle said. “There is a lot of activity in this town, which tends to be the case in a lot of historically older towns.”

About 18 vendors were set up at the convention, including the Woodlands Paranormal team who have made numerous guest appearances on the hit paranormal show My Ghost Story on the Biography Channel and The Haunted on the Animal Planet.

The team conducts investigations mainly in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Kansas.

“We wanted to come out and represent and show what we do,” Team Member Cathy Nance said. “And we know everyone here pretty well, so it is fun to get together.”

To read the full article click this link

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Longview News Journal

Posted on 25 August 2012 by Cathy

Marshall ghost talks come to end
By Hannah DeClerk

When Kevin Weddle walked through the Marshall Hotel late Friday night, he was taken aback when the sixth floor elevator doors opened in front of him — and nobody was there.

“There is a lot of activity in this town, which tends to be the case in a lot of historically older towns,” Weddle said.

Weddle and his team of paranormal investigators spent the weekend in Marshall during the first East Texas Ghost Conference in Marshall.

The two-day conference featured guest speakers, tours and late-night investigations in downtown buildings


About 18 vendors were set up at the convention, including the Woodlands Paranormal team, who have made numerous appearances on “My Ghost Story” on the Biography Channel and “The Haunted” on the Animal Planet.

The team conducts investigations in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Kansas.

“We wanted to come out and represent, and show what we do,” said Cathy Nance, team member. “And we know everyone here pretty well, so it is fun to get together.”

To read the full article click here

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