Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ghost Ships: The Carroll A. Deering

The Carroll A. Deering was a five masted schooner built in 1919.  In midwinter 1921, she was found aground on Diamond Shoals off the North Carolina coast near the Hatteras light.  There was no storm and no distress calls were received.  When rescuers made it aboard the ship, there was no one to be found except for a gray cat.  The bunks were all made and the food was left on the plates and stove as if everyone was coming right back.  The Captain's Log and sextant were missing.
The ship had been sighted by the Cape Lookout Lightship in North Carolina, when the vessel hailed the lightship. The lightship's keeper reported that a thin man with reddish hair and a foreign accent told him the vessel had lost its anchors. The keeper took note of this, but his radio was out, so he was unable to report it. He noticed that the crew seemed to be "milling around" on the fore deck of the ship, an area where they were usually not allowed.  The next time the Carroll A. Deering was seen, she was abandoned on the shoals.
An investigation was launched into what happened to the Deering after she was spotted at the Cape Lookout Light.  A message in a bottle was found at Buxton Beach, NC and read:  
The mystery was never solved, though there are many theories: piracy, Russian/Communist Piracy, Rum Runners or Mutiny. And there are those who believe that the Carroll A. Deering could even be a victim of the Bermuda Triangle. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Bermuda Triangle Today

While the vast majority of Bermuda Triangle mysteries occurred in the beginning half of the 1900's, there have been some in the late 1900's and early 21st century.

In 1991, the pilot of a Grumman Cougar jet made a radio request to increase altitude.  As the aircraft flew higher, it gradually faded from radar and then vanished altogether.

In 1995, Cary Gordon Trantham was flying her Piper warrior home after a visit with her daughter.  While flying over open water, she felt as if a dark blanket of fog had been thrown over her plane.  The horizon disappeared and she couldn't see lights of any kind.  Her compass went erratic and the panel lights were fluctuating from dim to bright.  The altitude indicator began to roll and there was a buzzing in her headset.  Unlike many of the Triangle stories, Ms. Trantham was able to land safely.  You can read more about her story on her site Bermuda Triangle Survivor.

Eight years later in 1999, a distress call was received by a vessel sailing near a freighter called the Genesis reported the ship was having issues with their bilge pump.  After this call, the crew and ship were never seen or heard from again despite intensive searches.

There have also been a few disappearances in this century.  In June of 2005, a Piper plane disappeared between the Bahamas and Florida with 3 people on board.   In 2007  a plane and its pilot disappeared near the Berry Islands and in 2008 a Britten Norman Islander vanished with 11 people on board near the Windward Islands. 

So why the lull in strange disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle?  One thought is that the advancement of navigational technology (like GPS) is responsible for the lack of Triangle mysteries.  It's also possible that the anomalous area has moved. The Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field, and this magnetic field changes location over time.  In fact, there is an area off the coast of Venezuela that is being called the new Bermuda Triangle. In any case, I'll be packing a compass or two and my trusty digital recorder for my cruise through the Bermuda Triangle to see if anything happens.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Great Isaac Lighthouse

The Great Isaac Lighthouse is located on Great Isaac Cay- a small island only accessible by boat about 20 miles NNE of Bimini.  The light house was built as an exhibit for the Great London Exposition of 1852 and was originally known as Victoria Light in honor of the then reigning Queen of England.  A few years later, it was shipped in pieces and constructed at its current home in 1859.

The Great Isaac Lighthouse had its share of negative history.  Rumor claimed that the lighthouse was originally bound for Sri Lanka but the trip ended in failure though no one knows exactly what went wrong.  The bad luck continued during its construction on Great Isaac Cay and is the basis for one of the known ghosts on the island.  While the light was being built, a British supply ship wrecked while delivering parts.  Everyone on the ship survived except one person- the ship's boy- who was eaten by sharks.  People have claimed to have seen his spirit wandering the island. 

And in the late 19th Century, local lore tells of a ship wreck on the island that claimed all the lives on board except one- an infant boy.  Now on nights when the moon is full, people have seen the mother of the infant wandering the island and wailing, looking for her infant son.  The locals refer to her as the Grey Lady.

But one of the most interesting and intriguing stories about the Great Issac Lighthouse is the many attribute to the Bermuda triangle.  In the 1960's there were two lighthouse keepers on the island: Ivan Major and B. Mollings.  On August 4, 1969, the lighthouse station was discovered abandoned.  There was no sign of the keepers.  No distress calls had been made, there were no sightings and an investigation shed no light on the mystery.  To this day, no one knows what happened to the men.  Many believe it's another disappearance courtesy of the Bermuda Triangle.

Great Isaac Lighthouse now an automated light flashing every 15 seconds

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Devil's Triangle

     A little more than a month from now, I'll be making my way to through the Bermuda Triangle. (I'm sure my future husband is thrilled that I've turned our honeymoon into a paranormal excursion, but he might as well get used to it sooner rather than later.)

     I've always had a fascination with the Devil's Triangle.Who doesn't like a good mystery?  And the Triangle has a few.  One of the first reported Bermuda Triangle mysteries was reported by Christopher Columbus.
Replicas of Columbus' ships
     It's said that he reported a great flame of fire that crashed into the sea one night.  A few weeks later, a strange light appeared in the distance.  He also reported erratic compass readings. And some scholars claim that Shakespeare's The Tempest was based on a Bermuda shipwreck.
The Spray
     The unexplained disappearances and occurrences in the Triangle didn't get attention until the 1900's.  In 1909, Joshua Slocum, known as the best sailor of his time,disappeared on a voyage from the East Coast bound for Grand Cayman.  Slocum was an experienced sailor and was the first man to sail solo around the world in 1895.  There was never any sign of Slocum or his ship the Spray.  Joshua Slocum was declared dead in 1924.
USS Cyclops
     In March of 1918 a 542 foot Navy cargo ship named the USS Cyclops disappeared on a voyage from Brazil to Baltimore.  All 306 crewmen and passengers were lost and is still considered to be the single largest loss of life in Naval history not directly involving combat.  The Cyclops was carrying 11,000 tons of manganese ore used in the production of munitions.  It left Brazil bound for Baltimore with no scheduled stops.  The captain stopped in Barbados on March 3rd and set sale again on March 4th.  No wreckage was ever found.  There were several theories including that she sank in a storm because the ship was overloaded but a Naval investigation stated "Many theories have been advanced, but none that satisfactorily accounts for her disappearance."
Avengers- same plane as those from Flight 19
     December 5, 1945 5 bombers known as Flight 19 disappeared during a training flight.  It was "as if they had flown to Mars".  A transmission was heard from the officer in Charge Taylor saying "I don't know where we are we must have got lost after that last turn."  When asked what the problem was Taylor  responded, "Both of my compasses are out and I am trying to find Ft Lauderdale, FL. I am over land but it's broken.  I am sure I'm in the keys but I don't know how far down and I don't know how to get to Ft. Lauderdale."  Taylor was asked to change his broadcast.  When the order was not acknowledged, he was asked to switch frequencies.  Taylor replied, "I cannot switch frequencies. I must keep my planes intact."
The last transmission received was, "All planes close up tight...we'll have to ditch unless landfall...
when the first plane drops below 10gallons, we all go down together."  It was thought that Flight 19 was actually over the NE Bahamas and not the Keys.  Rescue missions commenced but no sign of the planes were ever found and one rescue plane exploded during the mission.  In 1986, wreckage of an Avenger was found off the coast of Florida.  The wreck was raised in 1990 but no positive ID could be made.  
In 1991 wreckage of 5 Avengers were found off the coast but serial numbers revealed they weren't Flight 19.  Various discovered aircraft including the group of 5 were deemed unfit for repair and were disposed of at sea.
Plane similar to the Star Ariel
     In January of 1949, the Star Ariel left Bermuda with a crew of 7 and 13 passengers en route to Jamaica.  The Captain reported the flight was going smoothly then a cryptic message reported he was changing frequency. Nothing more was heard from the plane.  No wreckage or debris was ever found.
a Piper Navajo
     November 1978- A Piper Navajo left St. Croix, Virgin Islands piloted by an experienced pilot with Eastern Caribbean Airways headed to pick up passengers in St Thomas.  Visibility was good and as he was nearing the airport and cleared for landing, the controller was able to see the plane's lights as he made his approach.  When the controller looked back after talking to another aircraft, he realized he could no longer see the lights and the plane had disappeared from radar.  Nothing was ever found of the plane even though it disappeared only 1 mile from landing.
A Cessna
     March 1984- Flight 201 a Cessna, left Ft Lauderdale for Bimini Island in the Bahamas.  Everyone on the plane including the passengers were Cessna employees.  Despite their experience, not quite midway through the flight, the plane's airspeed slowed significantly.  There were no radio signals received.  Then the plane suddenlt dropped from the air into the water.  A woman reported seeing off Bimini but no wreckage was ever found.
     The mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle aren't just about disappearing planes and ships.  Stay Tuned.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hoarders: Haunting Edition

This photo from the common domain and not from any actual investigation footage
 I recently conducted an investigation at a home that was experiencing several different phenomena: Feelings of being watched, hearing footsteps, doors closing on their own, dogs barking and growling at things no one can see, photo of a dark shadow and scratches appearing on body parts.  The house was built in the 1930's and owned by the same family until about 4 years ago.  The house changed hands when the original owner's son passed away suddenly and the house was auctioned.  Further research showed that the man who passed away was a hoarder and a recluse who died of an apparent heart attack and was actually dead for a few days prior to being discovered.

During our investigation, there was an overwhelming heavy oppressive feeling throughout the main level of the home.  In the upstairs area that had recently been renovated, the atmosphere was much lighter and more comfortable.  While we do not readily accept orbs as strong evidence of a haunting, we did see several orb-like anomalies on the IR cameras that only occurred in the rooms with high levels of activity.  We were able to get several EVP's that lead us to believe that the former owner was the spirit haunting the home.  This included one EVP that said its name was that of the former homeowner. Additionally, we felt that this man did not realize that he had died (based on a couple of EVP responses) and he was upset with the fact that his things had been disposed of and his house undergoing some renovations.

Because a house that is hoarded can trap energy, the home was holding onto a large amount of negativity which was creating the oppressive feelings.  The current homeowner was looking to clear the house of the negative energy.  The best way to do this in this type of situation is by regular house cleansings with sage.   In a situation where a former owner was a hoarder, doing a "spring cleaning" prior to the sage ceremony is beneficial.  Cleaning out any clutter in the home, opening the windows and burning sage in each room while firmly telling the spirit that the home was no longer theirs was the recommended way to deal with this situation.  Repeating the cleansing on a regular basis was strongly recommended. 

After our investigation, the homeowner did say things seemed to have quieted down.  Perhaps learning that he had passed away and that the new homeowners had nothing but respect for his house helped settle down the spirit. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sailing the High Seas

Things have been extremely busy lately.  
It's irritating how things like work get in the way of hobbies.  
So does the stress of planning a wedding- something I'm in the process of doing. 
My fiancee and I are planning on taking a cruise for our honeymoon, 
and we originally picked one that had a tour of Mayan ruins.
  This, of course, peaked my paranormal interests.  
Surely I'd have some chances to attempt some EVP recording amongst the ruins.  
However, we ended up going with a different cruise- a nice cruise, but no ancient EVP-producing ruins.  While I was still excited about the trip, the paranormal side of me was a little disappointed.  

Until I realized the cruise ship sailed through the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. 

 In fact, most of the trip will take place 
in the Bermuda Triangle
My fiancee tried to say it didn't- 
he just hasn't learned how vast the amount of information regarding paranormal things is in my head.
(My 7 year old assured him we were basically experts thanks to Scooby Doo)

Not an expert on the Bermuda Triangle?
Don't worry, I'll be sharing some information about it in the coming weeks 
so stay tuned.
And in a few months, 
maybe I'll have some interesting stories of my own.
(maybe I'll find something about ghost pirates too)