Happy Halloween!! Local frights in the night

UPDATED  Nov. 1, 2013, 8:00pm

Greetings, guys, girls and ghouls – it’s All Hallows Eve 2013!  Are you all dolled up tonight?  Or just sitting at home on a dark and stormy night, handing our goodies to the kiddies who dare to knock after seeing your terrifying outside display?  Whatever your poison tonight, relax and take a load off.  It’s time to take a peek at some haunted houses across the country.  Tonight’s haunted delights are brought to you by Michael, with some pix at the end from Marie of spooky displays in her neck of the woods.  Take it away, Michael!

In one of our earliest posts, we talked about spooky ambience, the kind you can’t manufacture but just is.  Recently Yahoo posted some photos of real alleged haunted houses, and we’ve written about them before.  This is something Yahoo does every so often.  This time, we’ve done some vetting for you, and these are the ones we think will grab you (look out, now!).


The Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana:  There are many legends regarding The Myrtles, but only one death has historical documentation:  the murder of one William Winter.  Still, this antebellum plantation house has a scary history.  Like most plantations, it was once home to the unspeakable crime and cruelty of slavery.  Now, it’s a bed a breakfast, so this is one haunted house you can check out (and into) yourself.  They offer historical tours daily and a Mystery Tour on Friday and Saturday nights that sounds spooky to me.  Great photos of the haunted house and grounds on their website.  Okay; you’ve been warned.

The Arnold Estate, Harrisville, Rhode Island:  The story behind this house is the basis of the 2013 movie The Conjuring (great poster, by the way).  The Arnold Estate was built in 1736, so it has a long history of people living (and dying) there.  Ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the house in an attempt to help the family of Roger and Carolyn Perron and their five young daughters, but the Warrens did more harm than good:  a séance that Carolyn conducted went horribly wrong and brought out a malevolent spirit named Bathsheba Sherman, who had supposedly been a practicing Satanist when she lived and now targeted Carolyn Perron in particular.  Eight generations of Arnolds lived in the house before the Perrons came.  Many different spirits made themselves known to the Perron family during the 10 years while they lived in the house, but eventually the Perrons felt driven out and left.  Daughter Andrea Perron has penned the family’s own story in a two-volume book, House of Darkness, House of Light, that can be found here and here.  This site has a lengthy, if somewhat credulous, page about the house and its occupants, both alive and deceased.  However, for a point by point comparison between the real story and the movie, you might want to check out this very thorough page on the website HistoryVsHollywood.com.

Ashmore Estates, North Ashmore, Illinois:  The Ashmore house’s back story is as an almshouse called Coles County Poor Farm that operated at this location from about 1870 onward; a new building was built on the same site in 1916 and operated until 1959, after which it was sold and became a psychiatric facility until 1987.  During that time, an addition was built that took from 1977 until 1980 to complete.  State government bureaucratic foot dragging for nearly a year over the issuance of proper licenses and certificates cost the operators a considerable amount of money, however.  By 1986, Ashmore Estates’ financial losses exceeded $1.5 million, and by April of that year, the patients had been transferred elsewhere and the facility was closed.  In 1998, Arthur Colclasure purchased the Ashmore property for a mere $12,500, intending to renovate it into his residence, but constant vandalism prevented this and he gave up.   Ashmore Estates opened as a haunted attraction in 2006, owner Scott Kelley having bought the property from Colclasure.  However, in January 2013 the property was hit by a terrible storm that had fierce winds reaching 80 to 100 mph, and the building was damaged beyond repair.  Kelley sold the building at auction in April 2013 to new owners who said they would repair the roof and add a concession stand, lobby, and bathrooms.  The new website says the venue is open for business for ‘flashlight tours’ and claims that “Dozens of paranormal investigations have uncovered evidence that this … building is actually haunted.”  Yeah, maybe.  Sounds more like it’s just a cursed bad-luck house that won’t let its owners break even.  Still, that’s good enough for us to bring it to your attention.

Happy Halloween?  Sure, if you’re a kid.  If you’re an adult, we wish a Really Scary Halloween.  Bye for now!

Until next time,
Michael and Marie


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