Come join us! Celestial Entertainment Presents… a watch party with Mike Ricksecker at Montgomery’s Steak House in Spiceland, Indiana, to watch the March 25th Season 14 premiere episode in which I was a special guest of Ghost Adventures to discuss my paranormal experiences at the haunted Stone Lion Inn! Starting at 6:00 PM, there’s going to be a meet & greet, book signing, and we’ll watch the show! Come join us!
The Bellaire House is innocently nestled into the hills alongside the Ohio River across the water from Wheeling, West Virginia. A beautiful early 20th Century colonial home, it’s outside appearance is pleasant and inviting for a happy family. However, it’s owner, Kristen Lee, will not let the house fall into the hands of another unsuspecting family under her watch because she does not want them to suffer the same terrors as she.
I have now investigated this house three times for paranormal activity, including this past weekend the day after it was featured on Paranormal Lockdown, and I continue to find its history and the history of the town of Bellaire quite compelling. For someone simply looking to experience paranormal activity, this house will not disappoint. The moment I walked in the door this past time with my friend and colleague, “Copperhead” Greg Graham, we felt the heavy energy upon us immediately, heard noises coming up out of the basement, and heard footsteps overhead when no one else was in the house. But there is more to this house than just simply a supernatural thrill.
As with most places I investigate, there is a living story that accompanies it, living both in this life and the afterlife. From the original landowner, to those who worked the mines underneath it, to those who have lived in the house, each have a narrative to tell. Some are told through historic records while some told through other means from the world beyond.
Below you’ll find some pieces of our most recent investigation of this storied home when we sent Facebook Live throughout the night and The Edge of the Rabbit Hole preview that preceded it, but in the coming weeks Haunted Road Media will be releasing a full documentary on the Bellaire House. Stay tuned!
Facebook Live videos:
Investigation Introduction: https://www.facebook.com/mricksecker/videos/10210461174518279/
Master Bedroom investigation: https://www.facebook.com/mricksecker/videos/10210463227689607/
Altar Room Investigation: https://www.facebook.com/mricksecker/videos/10210464145472551/
Attic Investigation: https://www.facebook.com/mricksecker/videos/10210465148737632/
Haunted Road Media production schedule (full-length videos):
Return to the Goldenrod Showboat
Happy New Year! This past year, 2016, proved to be quite and adventurous and eye-opening year, and I’m almost sad to see it gone. However, that just means 2017 is shaping up to be bigger than ever, and we at Haunted Road Media and Society of the Haunted have a lot in store to share! But, first, let’s recap 2016…
It was a dynamic year, both professionally and personally, with a lot of traveling, investigating, and major life changes. I met my soulmate, moved back to the land of my birth, and discovered an even bigger realm of the paranormal and supernatural. Haunted Road Media has grown, especially on the YouTube channel, with the new Friday Night Ghost Frights and all of our investigation videos, Paranormal Roads, et al, featuring the revamped and resurrected Society of the Haunted, originally founded in 2011. For a full recap, watch here:
The biggest spotlight of the whole year has been the Goldenrod Showboat. That fantastically haunted piece of history is what finally brought Shana Wankel and I together, and I’ve never felt more complete in my entire life. She’s my twin flame, my partner in crime, the one true companion of my life, and I can’t wait for the new adventures that await us. The showboat itself has some wonderful haunts and history associated with it, and even some additional supernatural activity that we have yet to detail in full, and we featured this former National Historic Landmark in the latest Encounters With the Paranormal: Volume 2, of which a portion of the proceeds with go toward the restoration and preservation of the Goldenrod.
In other ventures we brought The Edge Of The Rabbit Hole radio show, the paranormal talk show I co-host with Vanessa Hogle, to an actual video Livestream on YouTube, which has received a very positive reaction from fans. Vanessa and I are looking at possibly going to a weekly show in 2017 rather than every other week. We also launched Enigma Underground Radio this past year, which is a streaming hard rock radio station with a paranormal theme that specializes in spotlighting independent bands while also mixing in some mainstream favorites. Shana does a fantastic job as our “Procurer of Music” in reaching out to the bands for our weekly lineup on Thursday, including the fan favorite show Chicks Who Wail, and our media mogul, Paula, keeps up on our Facebook page and creates some great show banners.
I keep saying that the latest “big” Haunted Road Media videos will be the Ferry Plantation, the return to the Goldenrod, and the haunted Guthrie, Oklahoma, tour — so be on the lookout for those in the near future. Of course, we’ll be bringing you more Friday Night Ghost Frights, Paranormal Roads, Ghosts and Legends, Edge of the Rabbit Hole Livestreams, the new Time Channeler Chronicles episodic supernatural adventure with featured illustrator Adam Tillery, and more, so keep check backing on all of our social media outlets for the latest and greatest to come.
Finally, I want to thank everyone that has been tuning in and watching all that we do and also supporting our Haunted Road Media authors. While we would continue to do what we do because it’s our passion, we are so greatly appreciative of all of you for being there throughout our adventures. It’s really humbling that you have taken an interest in us, but we also consider you a part of the team, that extra set of eyes and ears as we investigate. We’re looking forward to you continuing the ride with us in 2017!
Elizabeth Bathory, most noted in history for her brutality toward young women, was a Hungarian noble woman born in Transylvania on August 7, 1560. As had been the case with Vlad The Impaler, her people were in constant war with the Ottoman Turks, a very violent time in history in that part of the world.
She was born into extreme wealth and privilege, her family’s control over the surrounding area complete. In fact, her husband appended her name to his own when they were wed. However, her family was also known for its brutality, a collection of Hungarian and Transylvanian princes that would kill their opponents and peasants who fell out of line in the most brutal manner. The torture of servants was part of everyday life.
While her husband was away at war, Elizabeth was left to rule the empire on her own, and by all accounts did so quite well. But when Ferenc died in battle when she was aged 44, Elizabeth spiraled out of control. Her obsession became sexuality, youth, and power.
With the help of a few favorite servants, including a deformed male dwarf she called Fizgo, Elizabeth is said to have murdered over 600 people. She took to beating, biting, and burning her victims, but she also had an array of mechanical devices that she would use, including cages that would shoot out spring-loaded blades and cages with spikes that would slowly spear the victim while Fizgo yelled out sexual obscenities at them. There were times Elizabeth would fly into a rage and kill her victim instantaneously, but she also enjoyed killing her victims slowly through an assortment of means, including stripping girls naked in the dead of winter, throwing them outside, and pouring water over them to watch them literally freeze to the ground.
Of course, there are the infamous legends that gave Elizabeth Bathory her moniker – The Blood Countess – stories that she bathed in the blood of virgins, believing this would help her retain a youthful visage. Some of these legends claim that she was a vampire. The story goes that a servant girl who was brushing her hair pulled a little too hard with one particular stroke, and Elizabeth smacked the girl so hard that she bled. Some of this blood dripped onto Elizabeth’s hand and she noticed it had a rejuvenating quality to her skin. Thus, she took to bathing in blood… as the legends goes. But there is little evidence to support that she actually did bathe in blood, even with all the atrocities she committed. However, she did take to biting victims during her torture sessions, even to the point of drawing blood.
Elizabeth’s downfall could either be contributed to carelessness or her own ego after having gotten away with murder for decades. Bodies were carelessly discarded around the land, near rivers, or simply thrown over the castle wall, but she also upped the ante when she started running out of local servant girls to prey upon. She began luring the young daughters of nobility to Cachtice Castle to learn etiquette, and when they started disappearing, the noble families wanted answers.
When an investigation was launched by King Matthias of Hungary, the investigation’s lead, George Turzo, wrote that immediately upon entering Cachtice Castle the murdered body of servant girl was discovered. In all, nine girls were discovered in some state of mutilation.
Elizabeth was arrested and testimony was collected against her, but she was never put on trial. Doing so would have put her in line for an execution. Such was not the case for her loyal servants who assisted her, three being executed and the other serving life imprisonment.
Although some called for her torture and execution, Elizabeth Bathory was still a noblewoman, after all, so instead she was locked away in a room in her castle and fed through a slot in the wall. She eventually died there four years later in 1614.
There’s a lot we don’t know about Elizabeth Bathory. Many documents that were compiled at the time were destroyed in an effort to hide the atrocities that happened, to cover up the blemish of this Hungarian society. There is also no known image of Elizabeth, the paintings that are used to depict her are actually of other women who have been said to resemble her appearance. And then there are the legends and stories that have cropped up over the centuries, eventually making it into Hollywood to further murky the facts of her life.
Today, the ruins of Cachtice Castle, abandoned in the 1700s, still exist as a haunting visage and may be visited, and a local winery uses the basement of a Bathory manor house where many of the tortures were committed to store barrels of wine. They do sell an Elizabeth Bathory-themed wine, which is, of course, blood red.
Kampsville Grade School Raw Footage #1 (June): This was actually the second time I had investigated this mysterious grade school with Shana, but it’s the first “raw footage” video of the series. Phantom footsteps are heard overhead…
Paranormal Roads: The Exchange Hotel (June): A wonderfully preserved historic location in Virginia that has once been used as a Civil War hospital
Paranormal Point of Interest: The Great Valley House (July): A little known historic location in Pennsylvania that contains the only known type of stone sink of its kind in the United States. Walkthrough plus an EVP session with Shana at a crypt embedded in a stone wall near the house.
It’s so much more than ghosts. To gaze upon a relic is to infuse yourself with everything that relic has come to represent: the people, the era, the ambience. History in today’s society has been relegated to the monotonous memorization of names and dates of people to which we believe we have no connection. We have forgotten the world as it once was, lost in the grind of our breakneck society while traversing what had once been countryside through concrete monstrosities and lifeless asphalt. And so, when one of those relics is greeted with the demise of a scrap pile death, such as the historic Goldenrod Showboat, most don’t even bat a manicured eye at its imminent destruction.
It was a jewel on the Mississippi River, the largest and most luxurious showboat ever constructed. Red Skelton got his start there and other famous talents performed on its stage, such as Bob Hope. Do those names even resonate with people anymore? For nearly 100 years the Goldenrod provided laughter and life for thousands along the old waterway, providing a means of escapism from life along the river, but now it rests on shore, a rusting hulk replete of its previous grandeur. Must we allow ourselves to forget all that has come before us?
Stand still for a moment and listen to the lap of the water against the shore and the breeze gently caress the leaves of nearby trees. Open your eyes and stare not at your cell phone but at the gentle ripple of a wave or the delicate veins of a leaf. For just a moment lead not with your persuasive techniques or heavy hand in the corporate boardroom, but lead with your senses. Where does it take you? Does anyone look at the stars anymore or have they become so blotted out by the false light of our street lamps that no one even bother to look?
From the deck of the Goldenrod I finally understood why the ancients so revered the celestial heavens. That night, the darkest sky I have ever experienced produced the brightest stars in the highest abundance I have ever seen. For the first time I saw the constellation Orion in its full glory flanked by so many other brilliant twinkling skylights that I almost couldn’t discern it. One word describes the moment and even it doesn’t do that moment justice: amazing. The night sky greeted me with a sensuous kiss that I have longed to return.
Make no mistake that I enjoy having my car to travel from place to place and my computer is currently making this article possible, but having modern conveniences doesn’t mean we should forget the past and the world around us. Locations like the Goldenrod Showboat are a time capsule, a vessel to take us to a place we’ve left behind. The encompassing energy when one steps inside its main doors instantly whisks you away to that forgotten era of ragtime and authentic melodrama, making you drunk on escapism within escapism if you allow it. It’s a pure looking glass into that time of American history without the overzealous pandering of modern commercialism.
Soon the Goldenrod will be gone. Whatever doesn’t get salvaged for scrap will be burned, adding further insult to injury as longtime owner, Captain Bill Menke, pieced a significant portion of the boat back together by hand after a fire in 1962 when he was more than 80 years old. To this day his spirit still roams his life’s passion, literally going down with the ship.
In the end the Goldenrod Showboat will be a footnote in history, relegated to a few paragraphs on a dusty webpage with a few museum items kept on-hand by those who truly cared for it. Hopefully, it will be remembered for a bit more than just a few names and dates — for the best history teachers are storytellers. And its ghost stories that they tell.
Society of the Supernatural recently conducted a paranormal investigation tour, hitting four locations in four days in the Midwest, primarily Indiana. The tour began with a kickoff interview on Norene Balovich’s ParanormalZoneTV on Friday, March 11, followed by a public investigation at the Bellaire House in Bellaire, Ohio, the following night. But things really picked up on the 13th when we investigated the Randolph County Infirmary in Winchester, Indiana.
Although the final 50 years of the facility were of a positive nature and known for quality care, it’s origins were dark and ominous. The building is the third on the same location, built in 1899, the first constructed in the early-1800s burned down and its successor torn down due to poor conditions and to make way for the current building. As with many asylums and poorhouses of the time, patients were treated cruelly, over-medicated, and experimented upon. Death was common place, including murder, and numerous bodies were buried in unmarked graves around the property.
Rainy weather bogged down our travels and we arrived after dark, so we unfortunately captured no daytime photography. Such are the perils of a road trip of our nature. However, we arrived at just the right time to start capturing some compelling paranormal activity.
Just as we were setting up to go live near the main stairwell, we all heard a disembodied voice emanate from the second floor. This was accompanied by the sound of something large being moved, perhaps a cart. I took a quick look upstairs and called out to make sure nobody else was with us, but Dave Spinks, David Weatherly, and I were the only three in the building. We had to start the Livestream, so I came back down and we rolled into our intro, addressing what we had just witnessed.
Within minutes we were receiving intelligent responses on the ghostbox. I ended up exploring upstairs because I had seen a light in one of the corridors, but when I got up the stairs shadow movement was picked up on the night vision camera and the Geophone motion sensor on the EDI device sitting on the stairs started flashing.
After my foray upstairs I ventured back down and David start coughing profusely. He ended up having to step out of the building for a moment and when he did Dave and I distinctly heard a growl rise up out of one of the halls. This all made for a pretty hair-raising first 30 minutes of our investigation, just a precursor of things to come.
For more information about this investigation at the Randolph County Infirmary visit David Weatherly’s blog at twocrowsparanormal.blogspot.com and watch the investigation footage through the Society of the Supernatural video below:
David Weatherly presents a complete overview of the BEK phenomenon with his intriguing book Black Eyed Children from Leprechaun Press. Weatherly’s thorough research includes scores of first-hand accounts, linking the similarities and attributes between each sighting, dissecting various theories, and studying the black eyed children’s possible relation to other mysterious encounters, folklore, and legends.
Anything and everything you wanted to know about these strange, monotone children with the completely black eyes that want to invite themselves into your home or car is included in this book. “Don’t invite them in,” everyone says. Find out what happens when you do invite one in.
The book isn’t meant to scare you, it’s supposed to be an informative piece of literature about the phenomenon of black eyed children, but it may just have you jumping out of your seat the next time you hear someone rapping at the door.
This is the essential must-read book on the subject. Check out David Weatherly’s Black Eyed Children here: http://www.leprechaunpress.com/
Silent Retreat is a fine little horror romp from Starko Entertainment. The company retreat that goes awry at a secluded lodge with a dark history — that’s the premise of Silent Retreat.
This movie is a bit of a slow burn with a lot of character development up front and just a few hints of something more sinister going on before we get to some of the big reveals and the action picks up. This provides us some time, to get to know our characters, with leads played by Donny Boaz as Zach and Rebecca Summers as Meigan, and while the characters here are your general archetypes, there is a lot of great humor included. This development may run a bit long, but once the super-religious girl, Rita, goes missing and everyone splits up to go find her, the pace of the film begins to move.
The first death is rather surprising and caught me off-guard, and it wasn’t a run-of-the-mill jump scare, so I give the film makers props for the unexpected.
I also really liked the creepy ambient music played during the flashback reveals of the lodge’s dark past. It was a good selection that really drew me into the moment. There were other flashback sequences, however, that needed a better transition since it was confusing at first that we had just flashed back.
The acting was adequate — I thought Rebecca Summers was the best of the lot — with humor sequences being the most natural flowing between the characters. Tedi, played by Eli Bildner, was out perpetual comic relief.
The location was fantastic! You can’t beat a beautiful lakeside lodge for the isolated retreat-type horror flick.
Silent Retreat is a fun horror romp with surprising twists that keep you engaged. While it has a few plotholes that will leave you scratching your head, they’re not detrimental to the film and your curiosity of what happens to the characters next will draw you back in. This was enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to the next offering from Ace Jordan and Starko Entertainment.
David Weatherly’s STRANGE INTRUDERS is both an engaging and informative book that introduces the readers to a wide array of paranormal and supernatural entities. Black eyed children, shadow people, djinn, pukwudgies, and more are examined through detailed descriptions and personal accounts both by the author and witnesses he has interviewed. Weatherly even tackles the Slenderman, its Internet origins, the legends that have sprung forth, and whether or not the collective conscience of many people may have conjured up their own real boogeyman.