CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

GHOSTLY AMERICAN LEGENDS

 

 

 

This October 31st, as they do every year, millions of costumed kids — and a good number of grown-ups — will be fanning out across neighborhoods and going to parties in cities and towns all over the world. The creatures and characters on display will range from the topical (Ted Cruz, anyone?) to the classic (ghouls, pirates, witches, superheroes). But no single emblem captures the spirit of the holiday quite as neatly as that old stand-by: a ghost.

Way back in 1957, in an article titled “American Ghostly Legends,” LIFE magazine paid spooky tribute to some of the country’s most celebrated ghosts — and ghost stories. The magazine’s editors introduced the elaborate, multi-page feature thus:

The native ghosts of the U.S. are less famous than their Old World, other-world counterparts. But there are a surprising number of them and they make up a colorful and diverse group.

Most American ghosts were born in the simpler past of colonial or frontier days. Even in today’s scientific age their stories, like the ghosts themselves, die hard. From the annals of unearthly Americana, nine of the most fascinating stories were selected [for this feature]. At their sites photographer Nina Leen caught the haunting and haunted atmosphere which might make any man, having heard the creaks and seen the eerie moving lights and shadows, believe that ghosts still walk.


 

 

Westover, a mansion on the James River in Virginia, said to be haunted by a young woman who died of a broken heart in the 18th century.

 

"The Baldwin Lights" are said to appear near railroad tracks in North Carolina, not far from where a train conductor was decapitated in 1867.

 

 

The ghost of Harriet Douglas Cruger is said to haunt her former home in Herkimer County, New York.

Mrs. Theodore Douglas Robinson, Harriet Cruger's great-grandniece, plays a piano in the reportedly haunted house.

The stairwell in the Octagon House in Washington, down which a lovelorn girl is said to have plunged to her death sometime in the 19th century.

A white horse was said to appear each time someone died at Cliff House, near Hendersonville, North Carolina.

The Bell Witch of Tennessee had only one aim in the afterlife: to haunt and harass a prosperous farmer named John Bell and his daughter Betsy.

The Bell Witch of Tennessee was said to have appeared to Betsy Bell near a tree like this one, warning Betsy not to marry the man she loved.

 

A garden at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., is said to be the site of a 17th-century murder of a young man by a father who forbade his daughter to see the lad. The father and daughter, caught by townspeople while they were trying to flee the scene of the crime, were both burned to death.

When the moon is full, the ghost of a young woman burned to death centuries before is said to haunt a garden at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., "and in the air can be sensed a pungent, lingering smell of smoke."

Not published in LIFE. Photo made for the article, "Ghostly American Legends," LIFE, Oct. 28, 1957.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   


A house in Henniker, N.H., said to be haunted by a red-haired woman named Mary who died in 1814.

 

A house in Hadley, Mass., said to be haunted by Elizabeth Porter, dead for more than 200 years. This four-poster bed reportedly often "shows the impress of her frail body."

 

 

A house in Henniker, N.H., said to be haunted by a red-haired woman named Mary who died in 1814.

Nina Leen—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

In a house in Hadley, Mass., the whirring of long-dead Elizabeth Porter's spinning wheel is often heard toward dawn.

 

   










photo

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial is located in Fort Bonifacio.

Although La Loma  was not a haunted Cemetery,  to my belief, there was a time I got stranded after an afternoon play with a classmate. It became a different setting when darkness fell, I felt so alone and just walked fast to get away from the surrounding concrete fence of La Loma.

I have been there in 1953 to 1957 and many stories of the ghost of recent burials and internments were circulating around. The image of a young Japanese artillery officer with a close beard  haunted the outside graves. Walking  in short pants with his samurai sword slung at his side wearing his soldier’s tunic, or seen sitting alone smoking. The description is aptly backed, by the presence of canons, field pieces in the cemetery. He just walks up to visitors and usually asks for a light. Many startled mourners say he will attend a funeral and walk up at the end of services tap you on the shoulder ask for a light. Simply it has been said that, you turn and he's not there.

 

Camp O'Donnel (Capas Tarlac). the American sector of the war memorial.

The Cement Cross

In wishing to honor our comrades who died so far away from home the battling bastards of Bataan Death Marchcommissioned the construction of this Replica of the “Cement Cross” in the hope that all those who may pass by to view this memorial will remember the many young Americans who gave their lives in defense of their country and of the Philippines.

In June of 1942 the Japanese authorities at the American side of the Prisoner of war enclosure at Camp O” Donnell, two kilometers north of this site presented the prisoners with some Cement. The American Prisoners decided to build a Cement Cross to honor the memory of their dead comrades. Completed later that month. The cross remained hidden amidst tall grass until was discovered by returning American Forces in 1945. Left where it originally stood unknown to most and battered by the elements. The cross was again forgotten. Rediscovered by Bataan Veterans visiting the area in 1961. The cross became the historical symbol of the American Prisoner of war enclosure and its dead. When American military presence ended in the Philippines in 1992. The cross was brought to the National Historic Site Andersonville, Georgia, USA. Where it is now kept and displayed. This Replica stand as a reminder of America’s unprepared ness before the outbreak of World War II.

     




   

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