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Posted on Wednesday, March 15 - 2006

Belinda Swindell is hoping for a bone-chilling mist. Or a milky orb dangling above a headstone. Or a funky, earthy, inexplicable odor, or even just a prickly feeling running down her neck. Any sign that ghosts are afoot in Grace Episcopal Church graveyard this fine fall evening. Swindell calls herself a ghost hunter. The sleepy streets of Yorktown are packed with her preferred prey. She had her best sighting just a few miles away, at Yorktown National Cemetery. "I was attracted to two trees," Swindell says, swinging a flashlight in a slow arc as she talks. "As soon as I turned and walked toward them, I saw, out of thecorner of my eye, a man.

He was there from the waist up … " A hideous shriek rips through the night air, coming from the historic battlefield. Swindell and her haunt-hunting partner, Trina Kelley, barely flinch. They've been hearing that sort of thing since sunset -– it's Homecoming Dance night for York County's high school students, and teenagers, awkward in slinky dresses and rented tuxes, have been hobbling down the Colonial streets all evening. "Quite a night in Yorktown," Swindell says. The flashlight swings toward another grave. Swindell is 35, a Portsmouth mom and cashier. She heads the Hampton Roads Paranormal Research Group. Membership peaks this time of year, then falls off when it becomestoo cold to huddle in a graveyard with a cheap tape recorder. The ghost hunters head out for Saturday night frights, seeking spots that are historic, haunted and not unfriendly. "We've been chased out of a lot of cemeteries," Swindell says. Yorktown is a favorite. Grace Episcopal Church, built in 1697, is prime – a spectral funeral has been sighted there since the 1700s, according to Williamsburg author L.B. Taylor Jr., who includes the tale in his ninth volume of "Ghosts of Virginia." Swindell does not lead quaint ghost tours for tourists, although she and Kelley will cross paths on Yorktown's dim streets with costumed guides telling tales of hidden panels and mysteriously crashing chandeliers. Swindell and....

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Posted on Friday, December 30 - 2005

Ghost Train

Ghosts still haunt these three crumpled coaches sitting by the railway tracks. For Sri Lankans, rusting train cars 8317, 15059 and 15940 are their sad ground zero, the twisted metal compartments a macabre monument to the 1,700 souls who died here when the tsunami roared ashore.Jayanthi Anthony can still hear their screams. Bound for Matara from the capital city of Colombo, the train was called Samudradevi, which means Queen of the Sea -- its eight carriages pulled by the "Manitoba," Canadian-built General Motors engine No. 591.Carrying holiday goers to the beaches and commuters to their homes, the ill-fated trainwas running on time that Dec.

26 morning, an unusual punctuality that would deliver so many to their deaths.
At 9:26 a.m. the Queen of the Sea came to a sudden halt just outside this seaside village, 95 km south of Colombo, and waited for a green signal that never came. Anthony saw the train as her salvation. The tsunami's first unexpected swell of water had swept the 16-year-old from the home she shared with her parents and sisters, and now she was holding on to a palm tree for dear life. Passengers on the train heard her shouts for help, threw her a rope and managed to pull her in to safety. She thought she was saved. Meanwhile, the engineer was urging frightened villagers to climb in as well, that the train would be their island in this sudden storm.With their babies in tow, more than 500 clambered aboard. When the compartments were full, they scrambled on to the roof. No one expected the giant wall of water that came next. "It was so ferocious," Anthony says through a translator. "I thought I was going to die. I was so terribly frightened that I couldn't even think what to do." She is a tall, lanky girl with hunched shoulders and haunted eyes. She stands by the tracks as a train bound for Colombo rattles by and reluctantly casts her thoughts back to that terrifying day. What she remembers most are the terrible cries of panic and desperation as the tsunami's second wave - a tower of water two-storeys high - suddenly stormed toward them. "People were screaming, 'Don't close thew......

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Posted on Friday, November 03 - 2006

Vladimir Lenin

Copyright © Pravda.Ru

“The ghost of Vladimir Lenin was first seen at the Kremlin in the small hours of October 19, 1923. The incident took place about three months before the Bolshevist leader passed away. In fact, Lenin was gravely ill at the time, he stayed within the confines of Gorki, his residence outside Moscow,” says Alexander Gorbovski, a historian and writer.“A former courier of the Kremlin dispatch department told me the story. By accident he eavesdropped on a telephone conversation. That night he dropped by the guards’ office for a cup of tea. He heard a duty officer asking somebody on the phone:‘Can you tell me why Lenin has arrived in the Kremlin on his own? I’ve just checked the situation.There are no guards whatsoever.

Okay then. I’ll call Security in the Gorki residence.’ Then the courier heard the officer making another call: ‘Security at Gorki just confirmed Lenin hadn’t left the residence today. They say he’s in Gorki. Yes, they’re pretty certain’,” adds Gorbovski. The strange incident greatly puzzled members of Lenin’s entourage. According to the doctrines of Marxism-Leninism, there is no such thing as ghosts. However, there were many eyewitnesses of the appearance of Lenin’s “double” at Red Square. Those numerous eyewitnesses had no idea that Lenin had been actually in Gorki at the time. So the authorities had to make up an official report about Lenin’s last visit to Moscow in October 1923.

Strangevisit “I’ve no doubts that people in the Kremlin really saw the ghost of Vladimir Lenin on that night,” says Gorbovski. “There are too many discrepancies in the memoirs by Nadezhda Krupskaya (Lenin’s wife – ed. note) and those penned by Alexander Balmas, Lenin’s personal bodyguard. The above persons allegedly escorted Lenin during his visit to Moscow. Krupskaya claims that Lenin spent a night in the Kremlin and got back to Gorki on early morning of October 19th. According to Balmas, Lenin spent the entire October 19th riding about the town. Balmas says Lenin also visited the Agricultural Exhibition on that day. As regards Krupskaya’s account, I have a question.Why did Lenin make a trip to Moscow in the first place? Did he really arrive in the Kremlin for walking about its long corridors and taking a nap in his apartment?Balmas’ ......

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Posted on Friday, July 09 - 2004

Thirty-four years after the crash of an Air Canada jet, a Brampton field is giving up ghosts of Flight 621. Human bones and chunks of fuselage have been pushed to the surface of a sprawling soybean field and collected over the past two years by a small number of people. They say they've tried unsuccessfully to get authorities to clear the field of jet debris and the remains of those who perished on a sun-splashed summer morning in 1970. All 109 people aboard the stretch DC-8 died when the aircraft slammed into a farm field south of the village of Castlemore on July 5 that year. The flight had left Montreal bound for Los Angeles, with astopover in Toronto.

But the co-pilot prematurely deployed wind-deflecting spoilers on approach, forcing the plane to bounce on to the runway too soon and tearing away one of its four big engines. The captain valiantly tried to recover and guide the wounded jet around for another landing attempt, but the plane lost another engine and part of a wing and nosed into the field northeast of the airport about three minutes later. "Human remains should be treated with dignity and respect, no matter how long ago this happened," said Paul Cardin, who has picked up dozens of skull, leg and arm bone fragments, and artefacts that have been pushed to the surface of the field by frost and rain and farm machinery. While some might questionwhether macabre motives led him to search for crash remains, Cardin says it's simply a matter of giving the dead their due. "These were people and many of them were Air Canada employees," he said.Cardin, a job coach who trains people with disabilities, and Vancouver author Joe Verna are writing a book about the crash they hope to publish in time for the 35th anniversary next year.Cardin was just a kid when the crash occurred but vividly remembers the pictures in the Star and Toronto Telegram. "They were the most horrific pictures I saw as a child," he recalled. "I was mesmerized by the fact that something like that could happen."He located the crash site two years ago. "I strolled out into thefield and. ...

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