July 30, 2009

Book Surprise

got a nice surprise in the mail this week. An advance copy of this book.

I first heard of Author Beth Brown a little over a year ago when I was browsing in my local book store. Her book Haunted Battlefields: Virginia's Civil War Ghost, caught my eye.
Along with being an author Beth is the founder of a group called "Virginia Society of Paranormal Education and Research (VASPER)".

Now you all know how much I love my ghost, so I of course I contacted Beth to let her know how much I enjoyed the Battlefield book.. She wrote me back and mentioned that her group had just done an investigation at Berkley Plantation in Charles City VA. a few weeks prior. I was very excited at hearing this because it turns out that the weekend after her group had been there my husband and I had been for a visit.

While there that day I had asked the tour guide to tell me about the ghost stories I had already head about the plantation. The guide then mentioned that a group out of Richmond had just come down for an investigation. I started putting two and two together and realized that was the same group that Beth was in. What a small world!

Since then I have been following Beth via her web page A few months ago I found out that she has a new book coming out called "Haunted Plantations Of Virginia"

Several weeks ago Beth had a contest asking her fans to write a review on Amazon.com about the Haunted Battlefields book. In turn she would enter your name into a contest for a chance to win An advanced autographed copy prior to the public release of her new book Haunted Plantations. I was really excited when I found out I had won!!

The book came in the mail yesterday and here is what I found out from Beth..
I am the first person (besides her editor, publisher, and herself) that's seen the book. They just arrived at the publisher's warehouse today.

I am so honored to have the first copy. I have been reading on and off all day (I had to work), and I am almost finished. I can't put it down! Of course the first thing I did was turn to the chapter on Berkley Plantation. I won't spoil the book by reveling to you exactly what happened there but I will tell you that the place is haunted!

I am not sure how many book stores across the U.S. will carry the book, but you can order a copy via Amazon.com.
I highly recommend the book for anyone who loves these type of stories and especially if you plan on being in or live in Virginia.

The book has already inspired me to take a couple of road trips. I have to check out some of the homes she has listed and of course you know what that means..I will share my adventures with all of you! Until then

Happy Haunting....

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July 2, 2009

Whaley House Tour

A friend of mine recently visited the Whaley House, Located in San Diego California

The Whaley House has been called the most haunted d house in the United states by the travel channel. The Whaley house was haunted even before the house was built and the family moved in. The first ghost to be reported was the ghost of James “Yankee Jim” Robinson who was hanged in 1852. He was hanged on the property that was used as a gallows before Thomas Whaley purchased the property and built the house. According to the San Diego Union, after the Whaley family moved in, they heard the sound of heavy footsteps moving around the house and concluded that these footsteps were made by “Yankee Jim”. Years later, many visitors to the house said that they saw the ghost of Thomas Whaley
Four family members of the Whaleys died in the house including Anna Whaley. The ghost of Anna Whaley has been seen by visitors in the garden or in the rooms located downstairs. Furthermore, some visitors claimed that they have seen an apparition of a woman in the courtroom.
A spirit of a dog was captured; it is said that the dog was a spotted fox terrier; the apparition of the dog was caught running into the dining room in the house. The Whaley family used to own a terrier named Dolly Varden when they were still alive. The dog died of natural causes and is said to lick the bare legs of women and is mostly seen by children....

While my friend was in the home, she said that the batteries in her camera died, only to have full charge again once she left the house. Also she said that she turned her cell phone to silence while in the home, yet when she entered the chidlrens bedroom, it rang..TWICE and no one was there.
Here is her tour exactly as she gave it to me....

First lets see the courtroom. Originally built as a granary this room was expected to be rat proof because of its brick construction but it wasn't. This room was also used as a school house, a billard hall, a ballroom and a church. From 1869-1871 Mrs Whaley rented this space to the county of San Diego for use as the courthouse.

Next is the general store, Whaley was foremost a business man, and the original design of the house had this in mind. In the earliest found documents he sold buckwheat, macaroni, leaf lard, clear pork, codfish, preserved fruits, oysters, lobsters, pickles, and tomato catchup. His merchandise also included household wares such as wooden wares, tin wares, hardware, and stationary. As well as all manners of clothing such as boots and shoes. Later in the years he also dabbled in liqueur sales such as champagne, ale, porter, hock wine, and schnapps.

As we round the corner we enter the dining room. The chairs are circa 1860 walnut and covered with actual horse hair. The original kitchen was outside and the floor cloth was made of oilcloth and painted with many layers of varnish

Rounding the corner we have two ways to go. Across from us in the rear downstairs bedroom or the guest chamber. General Sedgewick stayed here durning his campaign to attract a transcontinental railroad to locate its pacific coast terminus at San Diego.
Stories passed down from the family say that Lillian Whaley used this room as she got older and her health declined.

Now we move upstairs

From here there are three ways to go. Striaght ahead lies the theater, to the left the master bedroom and on the right the childrens rooms. Lets start at the theater.

Feel free to have a seat, the theater, was leased to Mr Thomas Tanner from Oct 1868 thru Januay 1869. His group was called the Tanner Troupe, and they boasted a diverse repertoire from dramas to comedy. Mr Tanner died shortly after the theater was opened and the troupe was disbanned, so in 1869 this room was rented to the county for meetings of the board of supervisors and the storage of county records

Now lets move onto the Whaley's master bedroom. The orignal bedroom suite is walnut and the hand woven coverlet is circa 1850.

Now lets go to the most haunted room in the whaley house. The children's room is considered cottage style. It is said the dolls will be moved in the dark hours of the night and that the puzzle will be scattered across the floor when employees return for work the next morning.

As we leave the upstairs the last room we visit is the rear bedroom. The furniture in this room is not original to the Whaley family but is from that time period. It is also unkown who would have used this room, employees spectulate that it would have been used for up to four children or visiting family members

As we head back downstairs be aware that there have been stories of Mrs Whaley standing at the head of these stairs in a frock coat and pantaloons.

From here we will visit the Study, and the palor which are attached to each other.
Thomas Whaley was also a city clerk, notary of the public, realtor and real estate investor as well as the railroad secretary. His did much of his paperwork and correpsondce in the study.

This chair rocks by itself

Now to the parlor, it is furnished with items that originally belonged to the Whaley's. The pump organ was Anna's and still works today. She was a musical woman who passed this love onto her children. In fact her son George played professionally at Horton Hall in San Diego's new town.

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