Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I've had a few days off and I've wanted to finish a project that I have been thinking about doing for about eight years. Today I finally finished it and I'm very happy.
The project is an addition to one I had finished years ago. Both projects are my reanimation machines (or at least props that look like machines that are similar to ones that Dr. Frankenstein would use). The first one from years ago was an old radio I purchased from an antique store. I gutted the radio and set aside the tubes. I cut a large hole in the top and inserted a plasma ball to give it life and add some movement.
Then shortly after completing that machine I found an old glass jar with a wooden top I felt was perfect for the next project that would work in conjunction with the first. The machine I envisioned was something that wouldn't have lights or sounds with it; a prop set inside of it, like a heart, would provide the interest. The inspiration was from the movie Bride of Frankenstein, when Dr. Henry Frankenstein uses a machine to keep a heart beating.
After much recent scrounging around for various odds and ends to add to the second project from craft stores and items I've had laying around the house (like the tubes from the radio in the earlier project), I'm finally finished with the second creation. I feel they complete each other.
What do you think?
Monday, August 3, 2009
Watch Creeps.divx in Entertainment Videos | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com Buster Keaton in "The Haunted House" 1 of 2 Buster Keaton in "The Haunted House" 2 of 2 Bugs Bunny Transylvania 6-5000
Flip The Frog in Spooks (1932)
The Headless Horseman (1934)
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Sorry for the long lapse in posting, I’ve been incredibly busy with my job and with life in general. So much has happened since my last post I’m still trying to take it all in. So I will start with my most recent outing.
Anna and I recently enjoyed a photography exhibit at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau. The photographs were by photographer Arthur Drooker and from his book American Ruins. The photos where shot in infrared and taken across the US. It was a treat to see these prints up close instead of in a book.
The photos themselves had a bit of a sepia tint to them that added to the warmth they evoked. The infrared added a sense of mystery, but not in a macabre way that Simon Marsden portrays. I got to talk with Drooker about his work and working with IR and could have talked much longer if it were not for other interested visitors to the museum wanting to talk with him also. We talked f-stops, researching subjects and places to visit. The only thing I felt was missing for the evening was a good glass of wine. They served sparkling grape juice.
While researching how to photograph with IR and looking for inspiration I did come across his work and found his work wonderful but not exactly what I truly wanted to accomplish.
After talking with Drooker I felt I was heading in the right direction with my technical skills and vision for my own personal project. If anyone has the chance to see his work in person or purchase his book you will not be disappointed. Of course we had a photo postcard autographed by him to remember that wonderful evening.
Here are a few links to enjoy:
Since my last post we haven’t traveled often for my haunted project. I have taken a few pictures on other trips not relating to the haunted subjects themselves and have come away with some great images. More on those in the near future.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
The haunted road trip last week went extremely well. I had such a wonderful time traveling to all these haunted places and being creative with my photography. This has been a dream come true for me and after looking over some of the pictures I have captured I’m very pleased with the results.
Over the course of the week I shot about a place a day. Depending how near to other places I was, I shot two. The weather worked well to my advantage despite the two inches of snow that fell Monday morning. The weather was cold for the most part which added to feeling of autumn.
My girlfriend came down half way through and she was able to go to few places for the rest of the trip. We went to a cemetery in Chicago and a haunted house in Woodstock. We took back roads and along the way stopped at a few antique places and talked with local residents.
I shot a ton of images! I wanted to cover every angle and ideas that flowed through me. I wasn’t sure when I would have the chance to return so I needed to get what I could.
Depending on our schedule I want to take another haunted trip in the very near future, maybe in the fall, hopefully next year but we will have to see since a trip to Germany is planned for next year. I’m excited to see what we can get from there.
Monday, April 6, 2009
I had to leave Bloomington around 5 a.m. Saturday to be there
by 8 a.m. Of course I woke up an hour before I needed to so I had very little sleep.
Sunday was exactly what the weatherman said it would do. Lots of rain, hail, and snow so I spend all day Sunday watching hockey and planning the next days trip.
I’m currently in Decatur IL. Looking at my photos after spending a cold day shooting at Greenwood Cemetery and various mansions around the town. I’ll be staying overnight because if the weather turns better I hope to go back and see if the previous places are worth reshooting with sunnier light.
Here are a few images I have enjoyed so far. I hope they give a sense of melancholy and foreboding.
The next few days I’ll be going towards Chicago. I’m excited to see what those places hold for me there.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
"The Ghost in man, the ghost that once was man But cannot wholly free itself from Man, Are calling to each other thro' a dawn Stranger than earth has ever seen; the veil Is rending, and the voices of the day Are heard across the Voices of the dark".ALFRED LORD TENNYSON (1809-1892)This post marks a bit of a change in the direction I’m taking this blog. My GFAnna suggested I should make this blog more personal. Sharing my experiences and feelings I have when visiting these places alongside the history would make for a more interesting blog. I felt she was right. I felt the postings where a bit stale. I decided from here on out I will add a bit more personal touch to my haunted blog. I’ve had a few experiences while at these haunted places and I would love to tell what has happened.
The whole idea of describing some of the things I’ve experienced and taking photographs at haunted places using the medium of black and white Infrared film was a project I’ve wanted to accomplish since 1995.
During my work as a newspaper photographer in Illinois I wanted to use my idea to do a yearly photo page around Halloween about haunted places in the area. Hearing nothing in the way of stories, I posted a small ad asking readers if they knew of any places that were haunted. I got no response. I tried to keep the page alive for about another year, then gave up. I eventually revived the page when I moved to another paper in the state when I heard about a local ghost hunter that was ready to publish a book. I contacted her and we went to a few places that she said were haunted. The page was not exactly what I originally envisioned but was an interesting story nevertheless.
Shooting with Infrared film back in those days was a very difficult process. The camera had to be completely light tight; only a manual controlled camera could be used. Since the new auto-focus cameras used IR itself as a mechanism to focus and keep track of the film moving inside, the camera would fog the infrared film. The ultra sensitive film had to be handled in a special way and the developing was equally as challenging. Thinking back, what really kept me from shooting with IR film was the price, which ran about $15 per roll for 36 exposures and had to be special ordered. Not very practical for a photographer on a mere reporters’ wage. Just to buy 4 rolls would have cost me about $60.
In 2007 I read an article in a photo magazine about shooting IR with a digital camera and how easy it was to accomplish using just a filter. While reading the article I also discovered photographers where sending their cameras in to a company to get switched over to infrared. The company removes the glass filter that covers the sensor and replaces it with dark filter that blocks all visible light except infrared. This makes shooting IR much easier and is necessary for serious IR work. This renewed my interest in that long abandoned idea. Coincidently I discovered the work of Simon Marsden, http://www.simonmarsden.co.uk/ a British photographer doing the very thing I wanted to do except he still uses IR film. I began searching Amazon for his books and I ended up buying about four books of his and studying each of them cover to cover.
Last year I decided I wanted to make this project a reality. To begin I first bought a Canon 30D, for the sole propose of getting it IR converted. I would later purchase another camera, the Canon 50D to be used as a normal picture-taking camera. Then I began the process of compiling information on places I would like to visit. The state where I live first, then surrounding states, and so on. Last year I purchased an IR filter to learn how that type of light works. I took the camera along with the filter to various spots and was mostly pleased with the results. But since the filter covers the front of the lens and blocks out all visible light I had to compose and focus with the filter off, then once I has everything set the way I wanted it I had to attach the filter and make the exposure. The exposures where very long consisting of about 30 seconds or more. So a tripod was needed for every shot. Having such a long set up time I had to think about every picture which made for a long process and often times frustrating. During that experience I gained more respect for the Civil War photographers that had to do the same sort of process every time.
I purchased a Canon 50D when I got my taxes back this year and sent the Canon 30D in to Life Pixel http://www.lifepixel.com/ for IR conversion. After a month long wait I finally got it back last Friday. I took a few photos of some Victorian homes in town.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
From a bluff overlooking the break waters of Lake Michigan, Lake Park in the city of Milwaukee was once home to a series of prehistoric conical mounds. Destroyed by development of the land, most of the mounds have disappeared except for one, the last known remaining within the city. Discovered in l905 by the Wisconsin Archeological Society, the mound lies north of North Point Lighthouse and Lion bridges. It remains a mystery who built the mound. Some believe the builders to have been the ancestors of Menominee Indians. Documents show that Menominee Indians had possession of the land at Lake Park until 1835, after which government surveyors began parceling off sections to settlers seeking timber lands.
In l889 the city developed a Parks Commission, after realizing many years earlier that the poor could not afford manicured gardens in which to seek refuge from oppressive city life. Intense work in the park followed the Commission’s formation. The park's famous "Lion Bridges" spanning the lighthouse ravines were completed in l896-7. Oscar Sanne designed the bridges with lion sculptures carved by Paul Kupper. By 1964, the bridges were narrowed and closed to vehicles.
During this same time period the lighthouse in the northern section of Lake Park was in its conception. In l854, the U.S. Lighthouse Service acquired 2 acres on which to build North Point Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters on the grounds. Erected in l855, by l888 these structures had to be reassembled 100 feet to the west to avoid creeping bluff erosion
The lighthouse guided ships on Lake Michigan for 139 years until its decommissioning in l994 by the U. S. Coast Guard. Both the lighthouse and park are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The faint sounds of laughter along with the overall feeling of malaise are induced with icy cold spots felt on hot summer days. Several witnesses have seen children standing by the lions, behaving almost as sentinels or guards. Activity at the lighthouse is closely associated with these bridges and the surrounding portions of Lake Park. The occurrences cannot be attributed to any known stories or legends associated with these locations. It remains a mystery as to why the ghostly sights and sounds of children have been heard and seen near the lions and lighthouse.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Standing gracefully on its corner serving visitors to Milwaukee as a Bed and Breakfast the Brumder Mansion is on what is now known as West Wisconsin Avenue. This stately, 4 story brick Victorian, English Arts and Crafts style mansion, has survived years of indifference and neglect.
Far more imposing than the exterior is the opulent renovated interior. The first floor dining room features a stunning, handcrafted stained glass tile fireplace, designed by Neideken, a Frank Lloyd Wright protégé. The oak Gothic style main staircase leads to the second floor that features 3 bedrooms, and to another staircase. This secondary staircase leads to the third floor to an additional 3 rooms used as servant’s quarters and innkeeper's apartment. Mr. Brumder placed the requisite ballroom in the large basement instead of on the customary third floor.
The suites have beautifully wood-carved fireplaces, marble in the bathrooms, intricate woodwork and antiques. One such room, The Gold Suite on the second floor, is named for its gold and yellow decor. The suite has a Victorian parlor set of furniture, an antique Queen-sized bed, elegant draperies and an oak ornamental fireplace with fluted columns.
Built in 1910 by the prominent businessman George Brumder for his eldest son George Jr., this regal home served a wealthy Milwaukee publishing family as a residence for nearly 10 years. The family’s fortune grew from a number of German language newspapers, bibles, and sheet music, and then later shifted to banking and manufacturing. The mansion was sold in the early 1920's, to Sam Picks, providing refuge from his work in Chicago gangster organizations.
With upkeep on the mansion being excessive, the house served as a boarding house in the late 30's; then in the 1960's the neighboring Lutheran Church bought the Brumder. By 1997, the upkeep and repair work needed for the house presented a major challenge for the church. Carol Hirschi, willing to move into the now derelict neighborhood, bought the Brumder, along with its physical and otherworldly, challenges.With the mansion in a state of disrepair and institutional in appearance, Carol began the painstaking task of transforming the Brumder Mansion into what is seen today. Hirschi generated income for the renovations by converting the building into a Bed and Breakfast in 1998.
Carol Hirschi believed multiple ghosts are haunting the house with most of the activity centered on the Gold Suite. A visiting psychic confirmed Carol's impressions when she reported seeing the ghost of a woman and a child. Several experiences made Hirschi more familiar with these two entities.
The first night Carol spent in the Gold Suite with her dogs in the bed, she felt a presence and heard a stern voice in her head demanding her to remove the dogs immediately. In another instance she dreamt of a face of a woman staring down at her from one of the home's ornate ceiling medallions.
The most frightening of the bizarre experiences in the Gold Suite happened when Carol entered the room several days after someone checked out, to find several drops of fresh blood in the bathtub. Thinking blood was leaking through the ceiling and someone had died in an upstairs room, she went to investigate but found nothing.
Guests staying in The Gold Suite sometimes have intense dreams. If they have a dog in the room, they often dream of a woman sternly lecturing them to remove their pets or harm will come to them. Upon waking, patrons are filled with a strong desire to remove the animals. Guests have been locked out of the room even though the deadbolt of the door locks from the inside of the room. A German marriage certificate in a large frame with a sturdy wire on the back was hung on the wall; it mysteriously lifted itself off the wall and crashed face down onto the floor, cracking the glass. Upon closer inspection nothing was found to be wrong with the wire or the nails it was hung upon.
The woman is thought to be Susan, a maiden aunt, who came to live with the Brumder family when they moved into this mansion. As a young woman, her betrothed stood her up at the altar; something she never quite recovered from. Susan, also known as Aunt Pussy, spent a number of happy years living in the mansion on the second floor, now known as The Gold Suite. She loved simple furnishings, and followed an uncomplicated way of life. The visiting psychic conveyed a message to Hirschi that Aunt Pussy expressed her displeasure about the fancy furnishings in the renovation, and that she had trouble adjusting to the commotion associated with the Bed and Breakfast.
The second phantom sensed by the psychic, the young girl, may perhaps be the victim of disease or accidental death. She is believed to occasionally haunt the third floor and Emma's Room. Hirschi believed the more mischievous activity can be attributed to the ghost of the child. Carol once purchased a mirror and hung it over the sink of Gold Suite's bathroom. One day the mirror lifted itself off its nail, floated over to the bathtub and was shattered into shards.
Other areas in the homes also experience disturbances. In George's Room a staff member felt a cool breeze brush past her face and hair, billow the curtain, as it drafted through the room with no logical explanation. Guests will often hear objects moving in the bathroom. Silverware laid out on the dining room table the night before would be found turned around on the table the next morning. Guests and patrons of the little theater in the basement began seeing the entity of a woman, dressed in early 20th century clothing drifting through. A friend of Carol's saw a woman in a formal black dress float down the main staircase. In The Blue Room lights turn on and off by themselves. Doors have been heard to slam throughout the night, along with phantom footsteps, and breakable objects that fall from walls, but remain unharmed. In Marion's Room some think an entity of the young girl haunts this space. One ongoing occurrence involves a programmable doorbell which refused to operate when Carol set the tune. It only seemed to work when she left it alone, then it will play tunes randomly. "Happy Birthday" is one of the favorites.
During the winter of 2008 Carol resigned her ownership of the mansion to Tom and Julie Carr. As the years continue to pass hopefully the home will remain a fixture to the Milwaukee area and the Carrs keep the Brumder Mansion as a place where visitors can stay and feel a part of history. But if you decide to stay in the Gold Suite just make sure you leave your pets at home.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Established in 1850, a church committee situated the cemetery of the original 72 acres on a known former Indian village and sacred effigy and burial mound site. The first burial, a gentleman of the name Orville Cadwell, occurred on August 5 in the same year of the cemetery’s founding. Cadwell found company shortly thereafter, as a cholera outbreak traced to a riverman from New Orleans via Chicago claimed lives in the newly-chartered city.
Post Civil War saw a boom in industry and with it, a boom in population. The dangers of industrial city life lurked here as in any other city of the time. In 1883 Newhall House Hotel went up in flames as Milwaukee firefighters battled a smaller fire elsewhere in the city. Calls went out for reinforcements from Chicago and Racine with little to no response. Documents of the time report a range of 73-90 deaths from the tragedy. All accounts agree that more than half of those who perished and brought to several area morgues were beyond identification. A mass grave for 64 victims commemorates the unknown with a memorial erected at the one-year anniversary of the fire.
In 1886 another notable tragedy occurred, as 14,000 laborers organized in Bay View to demonstrate discontent with labor conditions. The governor of the time issued a shoot-to-kill order, resulting in a 7 person massacre, including a young 13-year-old boy. The mayor of this time, Emil Wallber, is one of the cemetery’s distinguished guests.
Beer and wheat barons built themselves ornate Flemish-style mansions, theaters, office buildings, hotels, and high-society ballrooms in the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s throughout the downtown Milwaukee area. Political figures emerged from the populace and made themselves known nationally as leaders of the socialist movement. The evocative monuments and family crypts these individuals and families chose for themselves in death reflect their indelible mark on the city’s cultural and political landscape in life. Oppressive, deliberate, imposing, they are testimony of self-importance and a symbol of the competition among the elite.
Construction of the Gothic style Landmark Chapel, using Lake Superior Sandstone, a dark red sandstone found near the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, started in 1890 and took two years to complete. The cemetery’s area grew to 200 acres by the turn of the century to accommodate the growing demand for bigger and better plots.
Modern improvements within Forest Home Cemetery include two large mausoleums. The Halls of History is an indoor temperature controlled mausoleum and community center. Along with the columbarium and crypts it houses, the center contains a number of permanent and changing exhibits that educate visitors about the history of Milwaukee and over 100 of its people. Adjacent to this is a large terraced outdoor mausoleum called Chapel Gardens. It contains above ground burials in porticos set by ornate colonnades, statues, and rose gardens. The Chapel and cemetery are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Forest Home Cemetery is home to over 110,000 burials, including 28 Milwaukee mayors, seven Wisconsin governors, and many noted industrialists.
Byron Kilbourn, Surveyor, railroad executive and co-founder of the City of Milwaukee
George Walker, early settler and co-founder of the City of Milwaukee
Frank Zeidler, three term socialist mayor of Milwaukee
Emil Wallber, Mayor during the Bay View Tragedy
Victor Berger, newspaper editor and founding member of the Socialist Party of America
George Peck, newspaper publisher, mayor of Milwaukee and governor of Wisconsin
Hans Crocker, editor of Milwaukee's first newspaper and politician
Sherman Booth, newspaper editor and abolitionist
Jacob Best, founder of what became the Pabst Brewing Company
Frederick Pabst, brewing magnate of Pabst Brewing Company fame
Joseph Schlitz, brewing magnate of Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company
August Krug, founder of what became the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company
Valentin Blatz, founder of the Valentin Blatz Brewing Company
William Davidson, co-founder of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company
Lynde Bradley, co-founder of the Allen-Bradley corporation
Christopher Sholes, inventor of the first typewriter with QWERTY key layout
Increase Lapham, author, scientist, and early American naturalist, documented the cemetery site as a burial ground before all traces of the past were destroyed.
Alfred Lunt & Lynn Fontanne, famous award winning husband and wife Broadway acting team
Alexander Mitchell, wealthy banking magnate and Mitchell family patriarch
Billy Mitchell, U.S. Army General who is regarded as the father of the U.S. Air Force
Lysander Cutler, politician and Union Army general during the American Civil War
Ole Petersen, founder of Methodism in Norway
Although identified by many resources as one of the most haunted cemeteries in Wisconsin, accounts of paranormal events are elusive.
The hill adjacent to the tranquil, shadowy reflecting pond on the north side of the cemetery downhill from the main offices and mausoleums, has been said to cause strange reactions in some people who walk on it, making them feel sick and fearful.
One visitor reported visions of splintered coffins and shredded corpses, followed by the onset of headaches and bloodshot eyes.
One could suppose that undocumented bitter rivalries many yet extend into the afterlife, especially among the beer barons. One such rivalry might have existed between Valentin Blatz and Johann Braun, both interred in the cemetery. Blatz opened a brewery next to Braun’s in 1850, incorporated Braun’s facilities into his own after Braun’s death in 1852, and finished the deal by marrying Braun’s widowed bride.
A modern brewing club, the Beer Barons, provides an opportunity in October to come out to the grounds to seek the paranormal. The club provides Ghost Tours for interested parties.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Built in 1900 to 1901 in the Classical Revival style designed by the Milwaukee architects Henry Van Ryn and Gerrit de Gelleke, the Yawkey Mansion of Wausau, WI, features large columns and a pedimented portico, 16 rooms and 7 fireplaces. Stained glass windows illuminate the staircase. Eight years after the house was built owners Cyrus and his wife AliceYawkey hired George W. Maher to remodel the first floor and add a two- story addition with a sun porch to the east side of the house.
Originally from Michigan, the Yawkeys moved to northern Wisconsin in 1889 when Cyrus joined with his uncle and a business partner from the Yawkey and Lee Lumber Company. A town was founded by the venture and Alice Yawkey named it Hazelhurst due to the abundance of hazelnut trees in the area. Ten years later, in 1899, the Yawkeys moved to Wausau where Cyrus was the uncontested leader of the Wausau Group. The Wausau Group was composed of wealthy lumbermen who pooled their resources in hopes of improving Wausau's economy as the logging industry was dying in the area. After Cyrus’s death in 1943, Alice continued living in the house until her own death in 1953. Their only child, Leigh Yawkey Woodson, and her daughters presented the house to the Marathon County Historical Society in 1954.