Photos from the Haunted Laconia House

Here are three photos you’ve never seen from my Laconia investigation, and a larger copy of one you may have seen.

Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NH(This is a follow-up from my post about the book, Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NH.)

These pictures are from the haunted house near Laconia’s Parade Road. It’s a private residence, but in Colonial times, it had been a tavern.

Much later, according to stories told by the homeowners, someone was locked in the attic, possibly for years.

There’s plenty of physical evidence, including personal belongings from long ago. It’s difficult to tell which had been left there by previous homeowners, and which belong to the current residents.

But few attics have so many marks scraped into the walls and door.

The first photo shows the wall near the attic door, close to an old-school light switch. I’m not sure if the scratched-in date (near the top of the wall) says 1895 or 1896. I think it’s probably 1896.

Either way, it’s creepy.

Laconia haunted house - scratch marks 1895
Haunted attic in Laconia. Is that date 1895 or 1896?

Next, here are the marks on the inside of the attic door (by someone inside the attic). Some look like they may have been etched with chalk.

More hash marks and scratches inside haunted Laconia (NH) attic
Interior of the attic door, in that haunted Laconia house.

Next is a photo you may have seen before (in my article – Laconia, NH’s Ghostly Places) but this is a larger copy. It hasn’t been adjusted or changed in any way, aside from reducing it to fit on this webpage (and adding my name as photographer).

Haunted Laconia attic, with lots of scratch marks.
Even more hash marks and scratches. Some look almost frenzied.

The fourth (next) photo shows an area just to the left of the previous photo. I did adjust the contrast (and I added an arrow) so you can see the date scratched into the wall: 1892.

Haunted Laconia - 1892 scratches in attic
The date is clear: 1892. So, was someone up there for FOUR years…?

If the photo at the top of this article shows 1895 or 1896 scratched into the wood, it’s possible someone was locked in that attic for a very long time. Three or four years, at least. That’s sad, but also shocking.

You can read more of my Laconia story in Rue’s book.

For me, the most chilling part of this Laconia investigation was what people said, afterwards.

I talked about this house with several friends in Tilton. Every one of them had a story about a relative that had been locked in their family’s attic, years ago. Or, they knew a neighbor or nearby cousin with a relative locked in the attic.

I understand that in the 18th and 19th centuries, mental health facilities could be barbaric. It may have seemed more humane to keep the person at home.

But, in an attic…? And for years…?

That explains a lot about why Tilton and nearby towns are so very haunted.

Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NH

This isn’t my book, but it includes a few of my Tilton area stories, plus one of my ley line articles for ghost hunters, and many of my photos of local haunts.

Other ghost hunters, including Lesley Marden and Jim Fitzgerald, also contributed great ghost stories to Rue’s book.

During January 2018, it’s 99 cents in Kindle.

Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NH, by Rue Taylor Cote.

From the Amazon description:

Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NHIs Tilton the most haunted town in New Hampshire?

Tilton’s ghosts became famous in 2010 when the Ghost Hunters TV series featured Tilton’s haunted 1875 Inn.

After that, many ghost hunters came to Tilton and New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, looking for haunted places.

They found them… Lots of them.

Tilton may seem like a typical New Hampshire town.

After you learn about its ghosts, I think you’ll agree: Tilton is one of the Granite State’s strangest, most haunted towns.

Of course I’m biased, but I think the Tilton-Webster connections are fascinating. The Tilton area seems an odd place for two such eccentric, powerful – and haunted – families to settle, and to be among the area’s ghosts.

The Tilton link to the popular book & TV series, A Handmaid’s Tale, was a complete surprise. I’ll bet there’s more to Peter Tilton’s story, and if two of Oliver Cromwell’s supporters are buried near Tilton’s Connecticut house, in unmarked graves… well, I’d be very interested in investigating there.

Like author Rue Cote, I’m curious about Northfield, too. I’ve researched near the abandoned town center, without realizing anything important had been there. I never knew about the hidden cemetery, either. I’m always interested in haunted sites that have been concealed for at least 100 years.

Tilton is a sleepy little New Hampshire town off I-93, in the Lakes Region. If you’re going to be in that area, I recommend getting this book while it’s 99 cents. Then read it to plan some unique ghost hunting adventures when the weather improves.

(Also, if you have any Tilton-related ghost stories to share, leave them in comments. I’m very interested in that part of New Hampshire, especially since it seems such an unlikely place to have so many ghosts.)

Some Ghosts of New Orleans

Ghost Hunting podcast - Hollow HillThis is another one of my earliest podcasts. I recorded it in October 2006, shortly after Hurricane Katrina. The following topics are part of this 20-minute recording.

NOLA - Pirates Alley, on a foggy, rainy night
Pirates Alley in New Orleans.

Hotel Monteleone appears to be a portal of some kind. (That’s true of many French Quarter locations.) This hotel is unusual because people not only encounter the hotel’s ghosts, they seem to connect with their own loved ones, as well.

Jackson Square‘s vivid military history is just one reason why it’s among New Orleans’ most haunted areas.

Pirates’ Alley is named after the ghost of pirate Jean Lafitte. He and his brothers – and perhaps other pirates – appear in that alley by the cathedral, especially on foggy nights.

Brennan’s Restaurant is a popular, internationally famous restaurant. It’s also the home of four ghosts. Two appear upstairs. Two appear downstairs.

New Orleans is still among America’s best places to encounter ghosts. Some areas of New Orleans are still in recovery, even in 2017 as I’m updating this.

But, the French Quarter was barely touched by the hurricane and the flooding that followed. So, it’s still a wonderful old city with a great, ghostly history.

Related links:
The haunted portrait of Comte LeFleur : Three photos of his changing portrait.
Hotel Monteleone – One of New Orleans’ most elegant hotels is also one of its most haunted… in a good way.
New Orleans online – Learn more about one of America’s best vacation spots.
Brennan’s Restaurant – Visit for world-class dining… and a few encounters with real ghosts.

Listen now

New Orleans book: In this podcast, I mentioned a book that, late in 2006, I’d nearly completed. However, my publisher and I weren’t able to agree on several important issues. So, I’m sorry to say that book wasn’t published and I don’t expect to resume work on it.

Glitches: The sound quality isn’t very good, but – in 2006 – after two weeks of truly weird things happening to the recording, I decided to post it anyway.

Then, in 2009, when we changed Hollow Hill’s format and had to re-import all the files, this one file kept giving us problems. I’m not sure why, but it makes me wonder just what I said in the podcast that results in these weird glitches.

If the sound isn’t red-hot now (after Nov 2017), maybe the ghosts are playing pranks? Sometimes, their humor eludes me, but I try to smile anyway.

Music by: Devin Anderson (I think he’s now Devin Anderson Wiley)

Ghosts in the News: Nov 2017 [2]

newspaperHalloween may be over, but these fresh news reports might interest ghost hunters.

Some suggest places we can investigate. Others are only worthy of a raised eyebrow.

Pluckley (England) is a good example of why ghost hunters need to look for fresh investigation sites.

Oh, Pluckley sounds like it’s very haunted. That’s not the issue.

One article, Is Pluckley still England’s most haunted village?, suggests that – at Halloween – the entire village might be off-limits to ghost hunters. It was, a few years ago.

Despite that, Pluckley is practically a cornucopia of delightful ghost stories. A 2015 article from The Sun described them nicely in Britain’s most haunted village.

YouTube offers several videos about Pluckley’s ghosts. Some are more sensational than others. I like this old-school 1995 video:

I’d eagerly visit Pluckley to see if it’s truly haunted. But, I’d be very discreet about my research, relying on observation more than obvious ghost hunting equipment.

Pluckley’s tales have far more credibility than a 2017 story from St. Osyth in Essex (England).  It’s describe in an article in The Sun, Britain’s most haunted house on the site of witch prison goes on sale… Ordinarily, I’d guess that “witch prison” story was a parody, but it’s presented as actual news.

Well, maybe…

Any site that claims to have a “satanic goat” (not sure what makes it “satanic”), recurring blood spatters, and three apparitions – and then boasts of a prison door and “Coffin Alley” just outside… that stretches credulity past the breaking point.

The owner claims she didn’t know the site’s history when she bought it. That may be true. But, I’d think the old sign in the wall, describing the site as The Cage – Mediaeval Prison, might have been a hint.

In general, this seems as over-hyped as last October’s Deerpark school videos. They show a preposterous collection of “poltergeist” incidents.

In the most recent video, I can’t see the fishing line clearly. (Other viewers said they saw it.) It’s probably off-screen, close to the camera. I’m fairly sure it’s attached to two legs of the chair. Then, they ran the line around the pipes at the lower right corner of the screen. Off-camera, a tug on the line would drag the chair across the room, just as in this video.

Neither October 2017 Deerpark video is credible. But hey, if that Irish school raises money from YouTube advertising revenues, I’m okay with that. Just don’t take the videos seriously.

If you’re ghost hunting in Ireland, the Irish Mirror suggests Co. Offaly, instead. That article describes a haunted triangle formed by castles at Kinnitty, Leap, and Charleville.

(Irish Central adds a fourth point: Clonony Castle. The videos in that article may raise eyebrows, but the historical notes are interesting.)

Kinnitty castle seems worth investigating. Someone left a long, negative review of it at TripAdvisor, including a reference to a ghost in her room:

We went to bed and when the lights went out, the room was black dark… then we heard breathing coming from the corner of the room. I never slept a wink all night. My boyfriend then told me he saw a shadow in the room at 3am!

Though that could be a fake review, she’s so critical of everything, I’d take it seriously. (It’s the kind of thing I look for, when I’m searching for haunted hotels and B&Bs to visit. A rant about the site’s ghosts is more credible than half a dozen raves about them.)

Americans interested in Irish haunts may appreciate the following video. (The special effects and unfortunate pronunciations are distracting, and I started to hate the word “creepy” after the first few minutes. Despite that, the overview of each location is pretty good.)

In the near future, I’ll post more information about haunted places in the U.K.

(Meanwhile, my friend Jen recommends Pendle Hill, Bolsover Castle, and Jamaica Inn in Cornwall. The latter surprised me, as I’d expected that to be pure hype. But, I trust Jen’s advice. I’m pretty sure she’s investigated more of England – and more recently – than I have.)

Closer to home (currently the U.S.), I’m interested in ghost reports around Niagara County in upstate New York.

I believe that part of the U.S. may have many undiscovered haunts… more than most other parts of the country.

Here’s one recent article: Niagara County is home to many ghosts, part II.

In that story, I’m most intrigued by Cold Springs Cemetery in Lockport, NY. I don’t see much about it, online, and – as of late November 2017 – no YouTube videos about its ghosts.

To me, that suggests a site that hasn’t been over-investigated… yet.

But, it seems to be a private cemetery, open to people who own cemetery plots, and only between 8 AM and 8 PM. (See site info: Cold Springs Cemetery.)

That might dampen my enthusiasm, but the Lockport area offers some great investigation sites. For example, Lockport Caves was featured in an episode of Ghost Hunters, and on Off Limits.

The following video shows some of the area’s highlights. (Info starts around the 1:03 mark, and Lockport is more prominently mentioned around 4:55.)

Mix abandoned buildings, a labyrinth of tunnels, a tragedy or two, plus lots of water… that’s exactly what I look for, as a ghost hunter.

I’m not sure how often the caves (and nearby building sites) are open for ghost tours, except at Halloween. If I were in the area, I’d organize a group of interested ghost hunters, and ask the tour company about specialty tours for investigators.

Those are a few recent ghost hunting news articles that interested me. Several feature locations I didn’t know about, and I’d like to explore.

If you’ve visited any of these places and have insights, I hope you’ll share your comments at Hollow Hill.

The Orbs Issue in One 1910 Photo

Orbs are a hotly contested topic. Are they ghost orbs… or something less interesting?

ghostly orbs at gilson road cemetery
One of my own orb photos

My message today is: In ghost hunting, the most reliable person is yourself.

When anyone (including me) assures you that something is true, verify it.

Most orb debates would resolve quickly if people routinely tested their own cameras to see what dust, pollen, rain, fog, reflections, breath, and insects look like in those photos.

Do this yourself. Test every camera you use for ghost hunting. Deliberately stage “false orb” conditions.

Then, analyze those photos. Could you confuse them with truly anomalous orbs?

When I stumbled onto this discovery, I was embarrassed by how simple it was. For nearly 10 years, I’d kept insisting that most orbs were caused by dust, pollen, insects, reflections, and so on.

Then, after a heated argument with a long-time friend who insisted that all orbs are ghosts, I was irked. I set out to prove my theory. I really wanted to show him that he was wrong.

But then…

I discovered that it’s more difficult to create convincing, fake orbs — with dust, pollen, smoke, insects, etc. — than I’d realized.

The key word is “convincing.” Until you know what you’re looking for, most orbs can look alike.

I’ll explain more about this in the future.

For now, I’ve stumbled onto a great, old photo that shows some easily identified issues, as well as orbs that might be ghostly.

The following is a photo of the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery. The picture was taken in 1910, when photography was very different from now. But, the issues remain the same.

Sunrise at Custer Battlefield Cemetery - orbs

I’ve enlarged some of the orbs to show what might be an anomaly — also called a “ghost orb” — and what’s probably a glitch in the photo.

Processing Mistakes

First, an obvious glitch. In the photo above, the following area is in the lower right part of the picture, to the left of the white writing.

chemical spatters

That photo was processed in a lab. Chemical splashes and spatters could happen. That’s the most likely explanation for those irregular, somewhat circular areas.

Even in the 1990s, when I was taking film photos at haunted sites, I still had to examine the negatives for splashes and lab errors.

False Orbs – Dust and Insects

The next enlargement shows what could be pollen and insects, as well as some possible anomalies. In the original photo, this area is in the lower half of the picture, and just left of the center.

Orb #1 includes a clear dot. In a color photo, it might be yellow or orange. When it is, the orb is almost always caused by pollen.

But, I see other similar, small dots nearby. So, the orb might be real and the dots might be a glitch from the developing or printing process, or damage to the print during storage.

Solution: When you’re taking photos, ask a friend to stand to one side and in front of you. He or she can tell you if anything in the air looked highlighted by your flash.

Orb #2 is an odd shape, and part of it is more solid looking. That’s often a flying insect.

Solution: When you’re ghost hunting outdoors, regularly look up at streetlights, or have a friend leave a flashlight on for several minutes. Many insects are attracted to light.

If you see bugs flying in front of a light, keep them in mind when you’re analyzing your photos, later.

Miscellaneous Items

The next enlargement is from the sky area in the Custer photo. It’s near the top and to the right of the middle.

Irregular shape #1 is probably damage to the print or something that spilled on the negative.

Shape #2 could be almost anything, including an insect or two, or a printing glitch.

Possible Ghost Orbs

After ruling out things that look like false anomalies, I still see several orbs I can’t explain. Not entirely, anyway. (I am mindful that sunlight may have been streaming directly towards the camera.)

I’ve indicated a few possible orbs from the sky area of the photo. But, a closer examination of the original photo may reveal more.

ghost orbs at custer battlefield cemetery

Of course, they could be processing errors from the darkroom. They could be insects or pollen, or something else that’s perfectly normal.

I have no idea and, frankly, no one can be sure whether anything I’ve said is accurate about this photo.

We’d need to test the camera the photographer used.

That’s my point.

For the past several years, I routinely test every new camera. I want to see how dust, pollen, moisture, breath, smoke, and other issues may affect my photos.

It’s a semi-scientific approach to ghost photography. More importantly, testing each camera is the only way we can tell whether our photos include possible anomalies… or probable dust, insects, and so on.

This is important, as well: Even after those tests, we’ll have unanswered questions.

Never to assume that the logical, normal explanation is the only explanation. Something that “looks like dust” could still be an anomaly.

And, even if it is dust, you may have another mystery: What causes dust in that area, but nowhere else at that location or nearby?

In other words, the orb may not be the anomaly. Maybe the weird dust is.