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Posted on Saturday, August 13 - 2005

The Brown Lady Ghost

The existence of ghosts is a difficult thing to prove. Tangible evidence is hard to come by. The greatest amount of data we have comes from eyewitness testimony. For millennia, people from every walk of life have reported seeing, hearing, feeling and even smelling entities we call ghosts.In recent years, the enigma of EVPs – electronic voice phenomena – in which a voice from an unknown source is captured by a recording device, has become one of the most fascinating and compelling areas of ghost research.So what makes the photos in these articles so good? There are a number of factors, including... clarityrecognitionhonesty andintentioncorroborating experiences.

We can apply these criteria to any ghost photo we come across.ClarityThe very best ghost photos capture what is clearly a human form – a body or face that is instantly recognizable as such. Although they may not always look as solid as a flesh-and-blood living person, the form is clearly discernable. The famous photo of The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England is a good example of this. Taken in 1936 by a photographer for Country Life magazine, the photo shows the distinct shape of what appears to be a female form descending the old staircase. The ghost had been seen on several other occasions going back decades.As you can see in the Best Ghost PhotosEver Taken series, some ghost photos show figures that are even clearer than this – some, much clearer. But they do show the spectrum of ghost encounters themselves, which range from misty or smoky shapes to fully formed apparitions that look as real and solid as you or me.This kind of clarity in a photograph is extremely rare. It’s so rare, in fact, that when this kind of clarity shows up in a photo today, it immediately becomes suspect as a hoax. And with today’s digital cameras and computers, fakes are easy to create. (In fact, since the invention of photography, spirit photos have been faked through double exposure and darkroom trickery.)In the absence of this kind of clarity, snapshot takers and ghost hunters alike search for ghostly evidence of other kinds in their photos. Nowadays, the predominance of ghost photos depict&ldqu......

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Posted on Saturday, May 05 - 2007

For years, locals have been sharing stories about Green Hand Bridge, on Old Lansford Road, where a ghostly green hand is said to appear in the water.

Copyright The Lancaster News

When it comes to ghost tales in Lancaster County, who can separate fact from fiction? The county has a rich and vibrant historical tapestry predating the American Revolution to the days when Scots-Irish settlers came to the Carolina backcountry.Woven throughout that history are legends of supernatural occurrences and sightings within the 675 square miles of Lancaster County that will make you stop and wonder.Other stories - based on fact and well documented - can make you shudder and send coldchills down your spine. Here's a brief glimpse at a few tales, just in time for Halloween.

But be warned - sometimes it's difficult to discern what's real and what's not.

The Legend of Green Hand Bridge The portion of Old Lansford Road between S.C. 9 business and Memorial Park Road is nothing more than an overgrown and under-used eyesore now. But 100 years ago, the deserted stretch was one of the county's busiest and most vibrant thoroughfares. Although it's now abandoned, the one-lane trestle that crosses Cane Creek has become affectionately known in local folklore as "Green Hand Bridge." Two Lancaster County men, who wished to remain anonymous, shared this version of "The Legend of Green HandBridge" with The Lancaster News in October 1988. Here's their story: "One night, me and some of my friends were coming across here (Old Landsford Road) and we saw him walking on the bank over there," the man said, as he motioned to an area on the left side of the creek. "Right there's where I saw it," the other man said, pointing to the water below the bridge. "It was green and coming out of the water. Nothing but the hand." Local storytellers say the creek that flows beneath the bridge was once the sight of a fierce American Revolution skirmish. During the course of the struggle, a British soldier's hand was ripped from his arm by a saber and fell into the murky waters below the bridge. And sometimes on nights of good visibility,his......

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Posted on Thursday, May 05 - 2005

The Bean-Sidhe (woman of the fairy) may be an ancestral spirit appointed to forewarn members of certain ancient Irish families of their time of death. According to tradition, the banshee can only cry for five major Irish families: the O'Neills, the O'Briens, the O'Connors, the O'Gradys and the Kavanaghs. However, there have been some others; intermarriage has since extended this select list. Whatever her origins, the banshee chiefly appears in one of three guises: a young woman, a stately matron or a raddled old hag. These represent the triple aspects of the Celtic goddess of war and death, namely Badhbh, Macha and Mor-Rioghain. She usually wears either a grey, hooded cloak or the winding sheet or grave robe of the unshriven dead. She may also appear as a washer-woman, and is seen apparently washing the blood stained clothes of those who are about to die. In this guise she is known as the Bean-Nighe (washing woman). Although not always seen, her mourning call is heard, usually at night when someone is about to die.

The Banshee
: In 1437, King James I of Scotland was approached by an Irish seeress or banshee who foretold his murder at the instigation of the Earl of Atholl. This is an example of the banshee in human form. There are records of several human banshees or prophetesses attending the great houses of Ireland and the courts of local Irish kings. In some parts of Leinster, she is referred to as the Bean-Chaointe (keening woman) whose wail can be so piercing that it shatters glass. In Kerry, the keen is experienced as a "low, pleasant singing"; in Tyrone as "the sound of two boards being struck together"; and on Rathlin Island as "a thin, screeching sound somewhere between the wail of a woman and the moan of an owl". The banshee may also appear in a variety of other forms, such as that of a hooded crow, stoat, hare and weasel - animals associated in Ireland with witchcraft. Ireland is a country filled with myths, legends and traditions. The Banshee is said to be an Irish death spirit, and when several wail together it foretells the death of someone who is very great or holy.

So what (or who) is the Banshee ? Well, Irish tradition describes the Banshee as having long streaming hair and a grey cloak over a green dress. Her eyes are firery red which continually weep. In the book 'The Memories of Lady Fanshawe', who lived from 1625-76, there is a first hand account of a Banshee, that appeared to her when she was staying with Lady Honor O'Brien (no relation I think !) She stayed there for three nights. This is her account......

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Posted on Thursday, October 25 - 2007


Copyright The Citizen, Auburn NY

Halloween and ghost folklore in October are a favorite among the local residents who live along the Erie Canal towns in our area and whose legends are handed down from past generations. In our “mist,” we have a well-known “ghost writer” who has written two books and is working on her third of more haunting legends for readers who enjoy the supernatural happenings in the area.“Spooky,” the famous ghost writer, grew up in this Erie Canal town, and when she writes a tale of a haunted house or specific places, she does not always reveal the names or the exact location of her stories in respect for the people'sprivacy. In Spooky's book, “Ghosts Along the Erie,” written in 1995, the story of “No Name Cemetery” became of great interest to me.

In doing “family ties” for families from Virginia and Florida, I found this cemetery had some of their distant relatives buried there. After searching, I located the cemetery listing off the Internet.
This is a rural cemetery that lies on the boundary lines of Mentz and Montezuma and is on private property. My ghost writer friend, Spooky, does investigate and study each story that she hears about, but it is up to the readers and their imaginations to believe or not to believe in the supernatural. I have been given permission to print the story of “No Name Cemetery” by the author. If anyone is interestedin learning more historical facts and other locations of “ghostly spirits,” please feel free to contact me or buy one of the two books that are available at my store on Main Street in Port Byron. Some of the ghostly locations have been printed along with a history of our famous ghost writer. Thank you, “Spooky,” for letting me print this story. I did some history of the people buried there and was so pleased to learn the history connection to the families I did research for. It is a thrill for a historian to be able to connect the “dots” for other people looking for their family ties in this area. Penny Helzer is historian for the village of Port Byron. She can be reached at 776-5300 or e-mail

Thetale ......

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