The Butterworth building was one of the original mortuaries in Seattle. Built in 1903, thousands of bodies made their way through this building in the early twentieth century. On the ground level sits Kells Irish Pub. For years employees have reported ghostly happenings throughout the building. Jeff goes legend tripping on the fourth floor in search of what might be lurking.
A recent legend tripping expedition to an abandoned crematorium deep in the woods of Westborough, Massachusetts. The crematorium was once used by Westborough State Hospital for the Insane.
According to a WBTV report, on August 27th around 2:30 AM, a group of about a dozen people went legend tripping on a train trestle near Buffalo Shoals Road in Statesville, North Carolina. The group were looking for a ghost train that is said to pass through every August 27th. The legend is based on a real event: On August 27, 1891 around 2:00 AM, a train accident left twenty people dead after the train derailed off the bridge and fell to the creek below. For years people have reported that the train accident replays itself on the anniversary. Each year legend trippers make a pilgrimage to the site in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the ghost train, this year one legend tripper paid with his life.
According to the WBTV report, 29 year-old Christopher Kaiser was killed when he was struck by a real train that passed through around 2:30 AM. The dozen witnesses were on the trestle when they heard the train. All but Kaiser were able to get out of the way in time. According to the local Sherriff, the group believed the train they heard coming to be the ghost train and not a real one.
This is a tragic event, of course. We would hope that anyone would bring their common sense to any legend tripping outing. Precautions like checking train schedules or staying clear of the tracks would have saved a life on August 27, 2010. But the most interesting aspect of this story is that the death will not diminish this legend, nor deter future legend trippers from coming to this site. In fact, if anything this death will expand this legend and make it more popular.
WBTV called me for a comment on this legend the afternoon after the accident. In any legend tripping outing the legend tripper becomes part of the story. Just by being in the location we write ourselves into the narrative. But Christopher Kaiser has now become a permanent part of the legend. Passenger train No. 9 from 1891 has just claimed another victim more than a century after the accident. Next year I would anticipate legend trippers will be showing up in greater numbers to try and catch a glimpse of the ghost train, and perhaps the ghost of its latest victim.
Decades from now through the natural folklore process, perhaps the legend will evolve further. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day people claim a man was actually killed by the ghost train on the anniversary of the accident and not the Norfolk-Southern Railroad freighter that actually did take Kaiser’s life. Legends grow and evolve, but at their root is always a nugget of truth.
The element of danger, the supernatural connection, and the thrill of the trip will keep us hooked on legend tripping. This event is tragic, our condolences go out to Kaiser’s friends and families. He died legend tripping. And the Ghost Train of Statesville will keep rolling on.
Jeff Belanger cruises Route 59 in Easton, Connecticut, in search of the “White Lady of Easton,” who has been spotted in and around Union Cemetery.
On a ghostly legend trip in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, author and ghost researcher Mark Nesbitt of Ghosts of Gettysburg, recounts the strangest paranormal experience he’s ever encountered at a home that was a field hospital during the battle. The blood stains are still on the floor almost a century and a half later.
Here in Wichita Falls Texas you will find a place on California street that almost everyone in the area has heard of. It’s official name is the White Sanitarium, but most call it the Old Insane Asylum. The White Sanitarium opened in 1926 under the direction of Frank S. White, a man who had been superintendent at the state asylum in Austin before the turn of the century. He first advocated providing a non-institutionalized lifestyle for his patients to diminish the effects of the asylum itself on their sanity. It was abandoned sometime in the 50’s after being severely damaged by a flood and sat empty for over 50 years. Many a young folk, as well as old folk have either been there to visit it or have heard of it, as it is supposedly haunted by spirits that possibly died there. There were radical medical procedures that took place there long ago, and some people were said to have died from those procedures, and now roam the place. People have reported seeing lights on at night time when there was no electricity to the place. There have been stories about seeing a woman in white walking the grounds, and also looking out the windows. One of the most noted are people claiming they see a group of men sitting around table at night time playing cards. There was a recreation room at one time and they did play cards there long ago. It has been said that voices of children have been heard there.
After seeking permission, myself along with my legend tripping team mates as well as a TV reporter went in search of finding out about the claims ourselves. It was quite an experience. The place had been purchased and had been remodeled, but still had the main structurere as it was. It was empty. We were excited and had some equipment to record what we found. First thing that happened was the TV reporters camera lost all power and two other cameras and voice recorders lost power just minutes after we got started, so we did not have the tv camera to record anything because he had not brought a backup battery. It is theorized that when spirits are present, that sometimes they look for any energy they can find and many times it will be from cameras, flashlights and other devices. We spent several hours there trying to capture pictures and do evp and just absorb the experience. There were several members who felt cold air rush by them, and while we were doing some evp, we all actually heard a small child talking upstairs. The TV reporter who was a total skeptic heard it as well and several went to check it out. No children. After several hours of taking pictures and doing evp and having several unexplained feelings like being watched, chills to the bone, distinct heaviness at times, we decided to call it a night. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Next day after listening to the recordings we did, we did pick up several children’s voices as well as several adults voices talking and something that sounded like a bicycle horn like those red bulb ones you use to see on bicycles many many years ago. What an adventure it was.
Wichita Falls, Texas