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Posted on Thursday, February 19 - 2009

Ghastly screams, unidentified footsteps along empty corridors, unexplained dark shapes moving across rooms, doors opening on their own, and the appearance of a ghostly woman. All seem the perfect recipe for a haunted house horror B-movie. But these have all been reported by staff working at Caesars nightclub – and have led many, including owner Fred Batt, to believe the former theatre is haunted. Spooks who allegedly call it home are said to include Ruth Ellis – the last woman to be hung in Britain who used to work in the club in 1948 – and gangsters the Kray twins who once frequented the club. Sightings of their ghostly forms were enough to bring paranormal investigators from TV show Most Haunted to film a programme at the venue in 2003. Following in their footsteps on Friday night were teams of ghostbusters from throughout the UK, invited by Mr Batt to finally lay the ghost to rest as to whether the place is haunted before its demolition. Forever the sceptic, I could not turn down the chance to go with them. On my arrival I find groups of people who have paid to explore the club with the spirit hunters already excitedly hanging around outside. Some are already convinced they will see something, others who have never been ghosthunting before, simply hopeful. “I’m not sure what to believe, but part of me really wants to see something,” says David Patching, from Paddington. One man who has certainly already seen something is our psychic medium for the evening, Dr Marty Cia. He tells me he has a natural affinity with the spirit world – so much so that after five minutes he says he has already had contact with a ghost named Ruth – who he has now been told could be Ruth Ellis. I ask him if his hunch is because he has already done some research on the place. He assures me this is not the case. Dr Cia works full time as a medium, carrying out tours of haunted sites and helping people communicate with spirits. He has known about his “ability” since he was a child. “I used to play with children in my garden. I never knew where they came from until I found out our house was built on the site of a children’s hospital that was bombed.

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Posted on Thursday, May 26 - 2005

When Brooklyn-born actress Mae West [1893-1980] wasn't occupied with a play or a film, some of her favorite activities were organizing a séance, consulting a psychic at Lily Dale Assembly, or penning a book about ESP. Mae was also gathering material for a biography of Reverend Jack Kelly, who died in 1966 and who had been her favorite Medium from Lily Dale, when the actress died in Los Angeles, California twenty-five years ago. In case you're unfamiliar with Lily Dale, this is a community dedicated to the religion of Spiritualism. Nestled right next to the lake near Cassadaga, and located in the heart of Chautauqua County, this bucolic Dale was founded by the Laona Free Thinkers Association in1879, when spiritualism was an obsession of America’s elite.Mae West, whose photos at Lily Dale are displayed in their museum, was not the only celebrity who made the journey up north.

Among the well-known names who visited Lily Dale were Harry Houdini, Mahatma Gandhi, Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Susan B. Anthony, Russian Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, and many others.Even from the noisy belch of The Big Apple, Mae West tried to tune into the unquiet dead up and down Broadway. According to Whitney Bolton, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, a week after the Italian-born actor Rudolph Valentino died [1895-1926], Mae West and her friend Texas Guinan arranged for a séance in a Manhattan loft. Suspicious that the 31-year-old heartthrob was secretly poisoned by a rival, Maesummoned an Italian Medium to officiate. At the table sitting opposite Mae were Texas, her brother Tommy Guinan, and the gangster Owney Madden who owned The Cotton Club, a man remembered more for violence than his spiritual side. The one outside interest that Mae devoted herself to was the occult and spiritualism, according to Thyra Samter Winslow, whose interview with the author of "Diamond Lil" resulted in a lengthy New Yorker profile in 1928. And the rendezvous with Rudolph in 1926 must have been memorable because two years later Mae was holding séances in the smoking room of the Royale Theatre to communicate again with him. Visiting New York to see "Diamond Lil" on Broadway, the actor Jean Hersholt was invited backstage and pulled into a darkened room where a Medium was channelingCaruso and ...

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Posted on Tuesday, April 01 - 2008

Haunted House

Copyright © Telegraph

After enduring howls in the night and creaking staircases for the past three years, an Italian family is preparing to sue the previous owners of their house for not telling them it was haunted. Gaetano Bastianelli, 57, and his wife Stefania paid €120,000 (£94,000) for the modern home in the Umbrian town of Spoleto in 2005 - encouraged by the fact that all the furniture and fittings were left by the owners, right down to the coffee cups. "We considered it the deal of the century," said Mr Bastianelli.The couple claim they were unaware that the house in Santo Chiodo road had been built close to the disused Pozzi Ginoricemetery, or that strange goings-on at the address during the 1970s had necessitated an exorcism - and prompted a visit from Perugia University's paranormal research team."The ghosts started their haunting on the first night," said Mr Bastianelli, a former long-distance lorry driver.

"I woke suddenly at around one or two in the morning. There was water seeping from under the bathroom door.
"The hot water tap was pouring out boiling water and the room was full of steam. My wife was stunned, because she had turned off everything before going to bed." He claimed that by next morning, malevolent spirits had left "luminous green mould all over the walls". After that things got worse. He said the sound of chains rattling had alarmed his 10-year-old daughter,and claimed that the lawnmower and his wife's car had spontaneously combusted. Now Mr Bastianelli has engaged a lawyer, Antonio Francesconi, to sue the previous owners for failing to inform him that the house was haunted. "We have a good case," said Mr Francesconi. "Under article 1490 of Italian law, you have to tell buyers if there is anything wrong. I think that the previous owners will settle out of court." A local historian, Sergio Grifoni, confirmed that an exorcism had been performed on a girl in the house in 1977. "The local papers at the time said a girl had been possessed by the devil and had been taken to the bishop. Nothing helped, until Pope John Paul II prayed for her." The episode was confirmed by Fr Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican's seniorexorcist, w......

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Posted on Tuesday, February 03 - 2009

Paranormal investigators Michael Krause and Cindy Kabel have spent the past few months investigating the Cheney Homestead — and they say there are spirits present. Timothy Cheney, a farmer, miller, and one of America’s famous clock makers, built the homestead around 1785. Krause said he and Kabel “go into a place and try to disprove all accounts.” Their work is based on scientific evidence, he said, and they do not charge for investigations. Krause founded Eastern Connecticut Paranormal 11 years ago. He says he has been investigating for long enough that he can tell if someone is just hearing a banging pipe or floorboards shifting due to temperature changes. That was far from what the two found at the homestead, they say. Their video camera picked up moving lights in the parlor above the bed the Cheneys used to hold wakes for their family members, Kabel said. When the investigators asked if there was anything there, the lights would start moving in all directions, she added. In several still photos taken in the same room, beams of lights that resemble a laser pointer are seen. Though the lights are visible on camera, Krause and Kabel say they didn’t see them.That’s because the camera is 400 times quicker than the human eye, Krause said.In the former bedroom of Electra Woodbridge Cheney, Timothy Cheney’s daughter-in-law and mother of the Cheney brothers who founded the family’s silk mills, Krause asked if anyone was there and a voice recorder picked up what sounds like a male voice saying something like, “I am the older one.”The voice sounds muffled and distant. Krause said he didn’t hear the voice during the investigation — only on the recording. This is known as an electronic voice phenomenon, or an EVP.When Krause and Kabel investigate a site, there is more to it than showing up at night with a video camera. The two did about 1½ months research on the Cheney family first.With the help of the Manchester Historical Society and Jamie Olcott, a descendent of the Cheneys who is the homestead’s caretaker, the two were able to investigate the site twice. Having been raised in Manchester, it was a “treat”.

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