Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Paranormal’ Category

Old Stone Academy Opens Underground Railroad Exhibit

Freedom.

Its importance isn’t usually discovered until it is taken away.

Stone - Old Stone Academy

Stone Academy provided a place for Anti-Slavery meetings as well as the Underground Railroad.

Perhaps you have felt like running away from a bad situation. That’s how most of the slaves felt in their quest for freedom. The Underground Railroad helped them succeed in finding this special liberation.

   Even before the time of the Civil War, Anti-Slavery organizations were very active. A center of activity in Ohio was the Old Stone Academy in Putnam on the Muskingum River.

Stone - drive with timeline

The drive to the house has a timeline from the settling of John McIntyre in Zanesville until the end of the Civil War.

   While the Stone Academy served as a station on the Underground Railroad in the 1830s, that wasn’t the reason it was built back in 1809. The oldest building in Muskingum County was designed to be the new state capitol building. It was built by Dr. Increase Mathews, Levi Whipple and Ebenezer Buckingham.

   However, across the river in Zanesville, then a separate community, John McIntire and others constructed a building for that same purpose. Zanesville did serve as the capital of Ohio from 1810 to 1812.

Stone Anti-Slavery

“Coming to Blows” by Adam Chandler depicts the pro-slavery mob outside Stone Academy during an anti-slavery lecture.  Theodore Weld said, “Mob came, broke the windows and doors, tore off the gate and attacked me when I came out with clubs and stones…”

   The Stone Academy became a school and had public offices for several years. It was the center of abolitionist activity in Putnam with the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society holding state conventions there in 1835 and 1839. Both years, mobs of pro-slavery disrupted their meetings threatening to burn all of Putnam. The people of Putnam were very unpopular with their neighbors across the river in Zanesville.

Stone Notice to Slaves

This notice was posted as a warning to fugitive slaves.

   These abolitionists were mainly from New England and had a very strong religious background that made most of them desire to have equal rights for all. However, there was a section of this group that proposed sending the blacks back to Africa in the 1830s.

   The Stone Academy has been accepted by the National Park Service as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. There is a new Ohio historical marker at the Stone Academy.

Stone - Putnam Presbyterian Church

The Putnam Presbyterian Church served as a meeting place for Anti-Slavery meetings.

   Nearby the Putnam Presbyterian Church held many anti-slavery meetings. Their pastor was the brother of Harriette Beecher Stowe. One of their popular speakers was Frederick Douglass, an African American orator who spoke of slavery issues across the state.

   A story was published about Douglass in “The Anti-Slavery Bugle”, which told of his purchasing a ride from Columbus to Putnam to speak at the Presbyterian Church. Douglass paid $3 in order to ride inside the stagecoach that day, but when they saw he was an African American, he was not permitted to ride. He took the case to court and won an out of court settlement for $15.

Stone - Increase Mathews House

Increase Mathews House was another stop on the Underground Railroad in Putnam.

   The slaves who came through this direction were understandably not very trusting of the station masters. These brave souls took a lot of chances during their flight. They wanted above all else to be free.

   Nelson Gant was one of those freed blacks who settled in Muskingum County. He had to raise money to purchase his wife’s freedom as she was still a slave in Virginia. Gant became one of the wealthiest men in the county with a successful produce business, which originated that famous cantaloupe, the Dresden Melon. He worked hard and transported slaves in his wagons.

Stone - Jim Geyer director

Museum director, Jim Geyer, told many interesting stories of the early days of the Stone Academy.

   In speaking with Jim Geyer, museum director, he tells of interesting programs they are developing to attract more people to the museum and the area. There are several UGRR stops involved in the area, not just the Stone Academy.

   Jim and other volunteers are reaching out to the community with a power point presentation suitable for schools, civic groups or retirement communities. He serves as a step-on guide for bus groups that come to the area. They are taken to various places in the Putnam Historic District that have a part in the UGRR story. At present, they have six sites locally that were part of that UGRR. These were called “safe houses”.

Stone - Lett Settlement

Lett Settlement, located where the Wilds is today, was composed of “free people of color”.

   Soon they are planning to add another interesting spot to their tours – The Wilds! There the Lett Settlement consisted of a group of “free people of color” who later assisted the fleeing slaves.

   Since the Stone Academy has been filled with so much activity over the years, it is no surprise that paranormal activity is frequently observed in the house and in the area. They have one special program called “History, Mystery, and Unsettled Spirits” that speaks of this phenomenon as well as some folklore. Ghost tours are conducted and paranormal investigations continue.

   Henry Howell managed the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society and gave fiery speeches. The residents across the river were not happy with his speeches and came to burn his house down. Howell escaped but his dog was left behind. They found the dog later hung in the back yard. Claims are made that the spirit of the dog can still be heard barking today.

Stone UGRR safe homes

A wall display tells of the ‘safe homes’ for the Underground Railroad.

   One problem they have at the Stone Academy is limited floor space and they have been discouraged from attaching pictures and displays to the walls. There are few artifacts here but much information in the form of charts and pictures. Due to the limited space, exhibits in the hallways are frequently changed.

Stone dolls

These dolls were made by an anti-slavery advocate with a duplicate set being given to Queen Victoria.

   The best part of the tour are the stories told by volunteers, who are very knowledgeable about its history.

Stone closet hideaway

This closet held a trap door that led to the basement where a slave could hide.

   The building served as a station for the Underground Railroad. A popular feature is a hidden trap door under the staircase that led to the crawl space under the building where the runaway slaves hid.

Stone - found under stairs

These articles were found under the stairs of the trap door.

  In the 1870s, Stone Academy became the private residence of Elizabeth Robbins, well-known actress, activist and writer. Today it is home to the display of the UGRR directed by Muskingum County History and located in the Putnam Historic District.

   Freedom remains an important element of our lives today. May we remain a nation where our freedom of choice is never extinguished.

The Old Stone Academy is located in Zanesville, Ohio. From I-70, take Exit 155 to Underwood Street.  Best to use your GPS to 115 Jefferson Street, which is across the Muskingum River using the 6th Street Bridge. There is an easy access parking lot beside the Stone Academy.

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Evidence of Bigfoot in Southeastern Ohio

Bigfoot Newcomerstown

This large Bigfoot outside The Feed Barn keeps an eye on customers.

Bigfoot captures the attention and following of many residents of Southeastern Ohio. Frequent meetings are held all year with devotees telling of their latest sightings and experiences with the illusive Bigfoot.

Recently an employee of Salt Fork State Park saw something large stand up along the road as she was driving past Hosak’s Cave in the park. This Bigfoot ran into the woods, but left behind a large footprint, which the Bigfoot investigators made into a plaster cast.

Bigfoot Crossing

It’s no surprise that in the Salt Fork Lake area you might find a Bigfoot Crossing.

Each spring, Salt Fork State Park holds Ohio Bigfoot Conference, which draws hundreds to listen to the latest information about Sasquatch, another name for Bigfoot. This year those dates are May 19 and 20. Cliff Barackman from Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Bigfoot Orrs

Vicky Veselenak shares a passion for Bigfoot with her dad, Marvin Orr.  You can have lunch with Bigfoot at Orr’s Drive-in.

Several area businesses use Bigfoot as a drawing card. In Byesville, Marvin Orr at Orr’s Drive-In placed a statue of Bigfoot beside their picnic tables. Marvin and his daughters frequently attend Bigfoot meetings and conferences. After hearing all the stories told by ordinary people, it makes them believe there’s ‘something’ out there.

Daughter Vicky used the Bigfoot theme in her classroom in Rolling Hills for years. Her bulletin boards were alive with his image, wooden Bigfoots made great hall passes and she designed her own six foot tall Bigfoot with a jigsaw. Stop by Orr’s and have lunch with Bigfoot.

BF The Feed Barn

Three Bigfoot statues draw attention to The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown. Doyle Donathan, manager, enjoys sharing stories about this mysterious creature.

The Feed Barn in Newcomerstown displays and sells Bigfoot statues and tee shirts because of all the sightings in the area. Recently, a young boy was crossing the railroad tracks down by the Tuscarawas River and checked both ways to make sure no train was coming. No train in sight, but he did see a Bigfoot step across the track easily with one long stride.

Bigfoot Caldwell

Denny Crock keeps customers watching as he frequently dresses Bigfoot as a snowboarder, fisherman, or even ready for Jamboree in the Hills. It’s difficult to find his shirt size – 7X.

In Noble County at the Caldwell Food Center Emporium, you will be greeted by Bigfoot at the entrance to the parking lot. Denny Crock, owner, knew people talked about Bigfoot frequently so wanted a concrete statue at his store. This 6’2”, 2400 pound creature attracts much attention.

Bigfoot Salt Fork

This carved, restrained, wooden statue hangs out in Wildlife Lounge at Salt Fork Lodge.

Out at Salt Fork Lodge, Ohio Bigfoot Conference donated a carved wooden statue since their meeting provides Salt Fork Lodge its largest conference of the year. Rooms and cabins are filled to capacity this weekend and the Lodge Gift Shop has record sales with their wide range of memorabilia.

Bigfoot Gift Shop

The hottest items at the Salt Fork Lodge Gift Shop are tee shirts. But they also have              “Bigfoot I Believe” wine,  action figures, games and much, much more.

Nothing But Chocolate will give you a sweet taste of Bigfoot as she has his footprints for sale – in chocolate of course. Amanda makes these delicious footprints for the Bigfoot Conference and for State Park Conventions held at Salt Fork.

Local investigations began with Don Keating in 1980. He wrote an article about a sighting in the Newcomerstown area. Since then Don had organized the Ohio Bigfoot Conferences at Salt Fork State Park until he recently stepped back to devote more time to another interest – meteorology.

Bigfoot Doug

Doug Waller, local Bigfoot investigator and enthusiast, has written two books about the group’s experiences.

Doug Waller speaks frequently around the area about the legendary Bigfoot. The founder of Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation, Doug and his team tell about the activities and sightings of this mysterious creature.

Ideas range from an ape-like animal to an extraterrestrial being. The Native Americans saw Bigfoot as a spiritual being, including it on their totem poles.  The Delaware Indians cautioned residents here long ago to put out food offerings for “the wild ones in the woods”.

Bigfoot sign

This clever sign always brings a smile to the face of Bigfoot fans.

Each person is free to explore the ideas he finds probable. But when you hear a scratch on the wall, smell something terrible outside your door, or see an eight-foot tall creature lumber off into the woods, you just might become a believer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio’s Historic Lafayette Hotel – A Haunting Experience

Ohio River at MariettaMay the ghosts be with you while you spend the day or night at the Lafayette Hotel in historic downtown Marietta, Ohio.  Visitors and employees anxiously report stories of paranormal activity in this grand hotel on the banks of the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

Back in 1882, river traffic was heavier than it is today. The Ohio River provided the freight and passenger routes for much of the eastern part of the United States. Of course, these riverboat travelers needed a place to get meals as well as a place to spend the night. Here at the meeting place of two major rivers, the Bellevue Hotel was built. This quite modern hotel, for the late 1800’s, had a fast running elevator taking guests to 55 rooms, five of which had baths. Rates at the Bellevue were $2.00 a night

lafayette hotel 013After a fire destroyed the Bellevue Hotel, another hotel was constructed on the original foundation. In 1918 the present triangular shaped Lafayette Hotel opened for business. The name was chosen to honor Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, who was believed to be the first tourist to visit Marietta in 1825. There is even a plaque, near the hotel at the edge of the Ohio River, marking the spot where he came ashore.

A popular meeting room bears the name of Rufus Putnam, who many list as the founder of Ohio.  His leadership established Marietta as the first permanent United States settlement in the Northwest Territory.   In a letter sent to his former home, Rufus Putnam described the land along the Ohio River to his friend as: “a country of most pleasant climate and of the rarest beauty and enduring charm”.

Riverview LoungeThe Riverview Lounge is where the “Lady in White”  often appears hovering over the carpet, while she smoothly moves through the room. The bar happens to occupy the same area where the ladies’ dressing room was located  in the original hotel.

When selecting a room in Marietta’s only downtown hotel, you will probably be given a choice of view – either the Muskingum River or the Ohio River. Here the ghost of Mr. Durward Hoag, former owner of the hotel, watches over guests and staff from both directions. Sometimes guests feel an icy cold draft pass through their well heated room. Evidence of his presence appears in flashing light bulbs, rearranged papers, hidden objects,  and often merely a wisp of light. Maybe Mr. Hoag’s spirit is bored!

When speaking with recent visitors, footsteps were reported outside their door, but no one was in evidence. The elevator, carrying no passengers, left the floor a couple times during the evening and headed to the rooftop. Later that night when they were in bed, another couple felt someone jump in the center of the bed where they were resting. All guaranteed they had not visited the Riverview Lounge.

Gun RoomThe Gun Room is a popular place for lunch. The walls are adorned with photos of great majestic sternwheelers that traveled the Ohio River.  A display of antique long rifles contains one made by J.J. Henry that accompanied the Benedict Arnold expedition to Canada in 1775. Waitresses tell of coming in early to work and seeing a figure leaving the front section of the restaurant. Often the swinging doors to the kitchen open for no reason at all. Some feel that Mr. Hoag is checking on his staff.  On the plus side, these spirits are never harmful.

Enjoy the ambience of this richly historical Lafayette Hotel on the river sometime soon. They have been expecting you for nearly a hundred years!

The Lafayette Hotel is located  at 101 Front Street in Marietta, Ohio. Exit I-77 at Exit 1 and follow Route 7 South, which is also Pine Street.  At the third light, Pine Street continues straight and becomes Green Street. Continue on Green Street until you come to the hotel on the corner of Green Street and Front Street. Parking is available between the hotel and the Ohio River as well as on the other side of the hotel.

Hopewell Mound Group’s Mysterious Crop Circle

Extraterrestrial, Paranormal, or Prank? Recently the Hopewell Mound Group near Chillicothe, Ohio  became a hot spot for crop circle investigation. An unusual sight of an intricately designed crop circle was noticed from an airplane flying over the area.  Therefore, this gypsy decided it was a great time to take a road trip to learn more about the mounds, as well as the crop circle.

Hopewell Mounds Visitors' CenterHopewell Culture National Historic Park’s Visitors’ Center provides an excellent short film giving possible history and reasons for the mounds being constructed in this area.  Located in the  beautiful Scioto River Valley, easily accessible water for daily use, as well as transportation, was of great importance to that early culture.

Hopewell MoundsThese historic mounds were the ceremonial center of the Hopewell culture from 200 BC – 500 AD. A stretch of land along the North Fork of Paint Creek contains the most striking total set of Hopewell culture remains in Ohio. This enormous legacy of geometric landmarks was created by unknown inhabitants prior to the time of the American Indians living on this land. Their name actually comes from Confederate General Mordecai Hopewell, who owned the land when the mounds were first discovered back in 1840. No one actually knows what name those original builders called themselves.

Interesting similarities, shared by the five mound groups in the Hopewell Culture, make them part of a larger picture.  Each field usually has a small circle, a larger circle and a square. Each square is 27 acres and the larger circle would fit perfectly within the square. The large circles all have the same diameter and encompass 20 acres. Many of these appear to have been laid out for their astrological significance.

Hopewell Mound 25The main section is often called the “Great Enclosure”, a six foot high, rough, rectangular, earthen enclosure measuring approximately 2800′ X 1800′. Mound 25 is located within this area and was the site of early excavations in the 1800’s. This treasure trove contained shells from the Gulf Coast, copper from Lake Superior region, and obsidian from Wyoming.  It appears that when the ceremonial life of a site was finished, they built a mound much like we would put up a headstone or monument.

Hopewell Crop CirclesThe recently sighted Crop Circle seems to be located very near this enclosure, but on the other side of the treeline, in the old channel of the North Fork of Paint Creek riverbed.  Since it is on adjoining property and under study, access is not permitted at this time. Circles were first seen from an airplane on September 20, 2012 as the pilot was headed toward the Serpent Mounds. This forty-three circle pattern in standing corn is not visible from any nearby road.   Some thought this pattern resembled a “reversible electric motor” and felt it appropriate to have been drawn near high tension power lines, which are located about 330 yards away. Was there a message intended?

Hopewell Mound Group MapThis map of the Hopewell Culture Group shows its boundaries as well as the location near the upper right hand side of Mound 25. From all information received, the crop circle appeared to the right of the Mound 25 circle and across the tree line. When explored by the Independent Crop Circle Researchers’ Association,  it was determined that the cornstalks were smoothly bent in many swirled and intricate patterns at heights from 2 inches to 4 feet. No footprints were found or any evidence of stepping on plants.

One significant difference came in comparison testing of the length of growth nodes in the crop circle vs those in the untouched field. Those in the circle were elongated, an unhoaxable effect, producing accelerated growth. These effects are often brought about by high levels of radiation.

Hopewell Hiking TrailTook a relaxing walk around the entire Hopewell Mound Group using their hiking trail, which was rather muddy and slippery in spots, and ending on the Bike Trail. Felt accompanied on that walk by someone from that long ago time. Believe I passed close to the spot where the Crop Circle was located from all the clues given, but could see nothing from the ground view.

When asked about the Crop Circle at the Visitors’  Center, the answer was  “there is no tangible evidence”, but they reminded visitors that Hopewell Culture is a very spiritual place.  Guess everyone will have to reach their own conclusion. The mysteries persist! Any ideas?

Actually, this is not an easy spot to find as it’s located in the middle of south-central Ohio without any nearby interstate access.  The Hopewell Mound City Group Visitors’ Center is located at 16062  SR 104, about 1.5 miles north of US 35 just outside Chillicothe, Ohio.  The Visitors’ Center is the best place to start your tour and they have maps available for each mound group. Rangers on hand are very helpful in giving driving directions. If anyone knows the location of Crop Circle University, please respond.

Glimpse Out of This World at MUFON Conference

In the mountain of Pennsylvania, MUFON enthusiasts gathered at Westmoreland Community College in Youngwood for their annual conference recently. MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) is an organization investigating all reports of Unidentified Flying Objects throughout the world. Lectures were presented throughout the day, authors signed books, and visitors shared experiences.

UFOs vs Paranormal was the first lecture of the day given by Karyn Dolan. The public perception varies on these two topics as ghosts are an acceptable belief, while UFOs usually require a cover-up.  No one really likes to admit they believe in UFOs, but most people do…they just don’t want people to think they do.

If you do believe in UFOs, you have to change the way you see the whole world. The earth is no longer the only important heavenly body. People, who had been abducted, increased their psychic abilities and through meditation began to receive contact with other beings. While contact with alien life seems to change emotional levels, we all know people who are psychic vampires and drain away our energy!

The lobby was an interesting collection of author signings, literature, Bigfoot information as well as UFO memorabilia. Bigfoot enthusiasts were also at this gathering and the history of Bigfoot legends was explained. As far back as the Native Americans, their legends discussed similar creatures in the woods. Newspaper archives were a frequent point of reference as far back as 1837 when  the first documented story in Bridgewater Bangor Daily Whig & Courier reported a hairy creature was heard whistling in the woods. Today there are many names for this hairy creature around the world:  Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman, Almasty, and Bigfoot. Researchers feel they have lots of proof…just no physical specimen! That’s a big missing link.

An interesting afternoon presentation showed slides of art throughout history that included strange objects in the sky…many of them shaped similar to those people classify as UFOs today. These included cave drawings, petroglyphs, Renaissance Art, and the Myans.  The oldest documentation was from The Vedic’s of India nearly 8,000 years ago.  Speaker, John Ventre, summarized, “No matter how far back in art history you go, unidentified flying objects show up.”

Ufology in 21st Century was the topic discussed by Richard Dolan, one of the world’s most prominent researcher and historian of UFOs.  His most recent book, A.D. (After Disclosure) When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth About Alien Contact, discusses the deep impact that would be brought about by the end of UFO secrecy. Many feel that governments maintain secrecy to prevent people from panicking from fear of the unknown. Perhaps aliens exist in our world today so keep an eye on some of those strange people you encounter that seem to be a bit psychic or telepathic. Contact appears to be on an intuitive level making it spiritual vs scientific. But don’t analyze too much!

Over 1100 volunteers take accounts and investigate all reported sightings. There are 3000 MUFON members world-wide in 39 countries and that is constantly expanding. In 2011 there were close to 700 sightings a month.  That number is up slightly in 2012.

While talking with Karyn later in the day, we were exchanging ghost stories. I casually remarked that perhaps my story might make her think I was a little odd. She laughingly remarked, “You’re at a UFO conference; everyone here is strange”…but all very interesting creatures!

MUFON is always looking for new members interested in the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity. There is a study guide to be completed, exam, background check and then field time with an experienced investigator. Maybe you would like to join those curious minds.

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