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Ghost, Spiritual Or Historic Stories For Pubs And Restaurants

Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 42

The “Castle of the Rockies”, as the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is known, was built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway in Banff, Alberta. Since opening, the hotel (now World Heritage Site) as had a reputation for being one of the most haunted sites in Canada.

There are many spirits reported to be haunting the Hotel. A deceased bartender has continued his duty after death, encouraging patrons who have had a few too many to go back to their rooms. A headless man continues to wander the grounds, but has not let being headless stop him from playing the bagpipes.

hen there is the ghost of long-time hotel bellman Sam McCauley (also reported as “McAuley”) who promised to return to the hotel after his death – and according to witness reports, was good to his word. Witnesses have reported that Sam, still wearing his out-dated bellhop uniform, has taken guests bags to their rooms, opened locked doors and turned on the room lights only to disappear when guests have spoken to him.

The hotel is also host to a phantom bride. The bride was walking up the staircase to join her new husband in the bridal suite when the back of her Coco Chanel dress was set alight by one of the burning candles decorating the staircase. In her panic she fell headfirst, breaking her neck on the stairs. Witnesses have reported seeing her apparition both on the staircase and dancing alone in the Cascade Ballroom, with the back of her dress in flames.

Then there is the story of missing room 873. While there is a room numbered 73 on both the 7th and 9th floors, the doorway to room 873 has been covered with gypsum board and wallpapered over. Today visitors to the hotel can see the lines where gypsum board was fitted over the doorway, the light over the former doorway, and see the cuts in the baseboards where the doorway existed, but officially no room 873 exists at the hotel.

Local legend tells the sad tale. A small family (father, mother, one small daughter) were staying at the hotel and by all appearances were enjoying their holiday. However, the father brought the stay to abrupt halt by murdering his young daughter and his wife before killing himself in the room.

After the bodies were removed and the investigation completed, the room was closed and completely redecorated before being opened to the public. However, the first guests in the room reported being awoken by screams and crying. When they turned on the lights, there were bloody handprints on the room’s mirrors. Maids sent to the room cleaned the handprints from the mirrors only to have them reappear moments later. The room was pulled from the let register, then closed entirely in an attempt to quash rumours about hauntings at the hotel. However, people continue to report seeing the apparition of a young girl, crying in the hallway outside of room 873, as well as hear the cries of the girl and her mother coming from the closed room.


The Bhanghar Fort, India

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 31

The ruins of Bhanghar Fort, which lie between Alwar and Jaipur in Rajasthan, India, is among the most haunted locations in the world. This sprawling complex of buildings includes palaces, temples and residences - -all of which have been abandoned, though the site remains one of the most visited in India.

There is a legend which details both the Fort’s construction, as well as to why it was abandoned. Locals refer to the story of King Madho Singh. Guru Balu Nath (also reported as Guru Balnath) mediated at a retreat in the vicinity of the Fort. Rather than unduly disturb the aesthetic, King Singh sought Guru Balu Nath’s permission prior to constructing Bhanghar Fort. Balu Nath gave his consent with one condition: the shadow of the building must never fall over his retreat, lest the city be destroyed. Though King Singh honoured the request of Balu Nath, his descendants continued to build and expand upon the Fort until Balu Nath’s retreat overshadowed. As promised, the Fort was cursed and abandoned by its residents.

Then, there is the legend of the beautiful Princess Ratnavati, who began receiving marriage proposals from nobility on her eighteenth birthday. Though the match would never be approved, a local occult magician called Singhia desired her for himself and plotted to obtain the Princess’s affections. Using his skills as a dark magician, he cursed a bottle of oil the Princess’s maid had purchased for the Princess in the market. As the Princess used the oil, she would become desirous of the magician and surrender herself to him. However, Singhia’s curse was discovered by the Princess who poured the oil upon the ground. A boulder grew from the cursed earth. As it rolled toward Singhia he declared that all who dwelt within the palace would die the final death (without the possibility of reincarnation). Within the year, hostilities between Ajabgarh and Bhangarh Fort would result in a war in which most of the inhabitants of Bhangarh Fort, including the Princess, were killed. The few survivors fled.

People in the district believe the Princess has been reincarnated, but the Fort will stand as a ruin until she returns to her home to put an end to the curse. Many of those killed in the battle are believed to haunt the structure and local villagers report the roof collapses on any structure built on the site.

Villagers also claim no one who has dared stay the night within the ruined walls of the Fort has ever returned…And the Archaeological Survey of India has posted a sign at the sight which states entrance to the Fort is forbidden from sunset to sunrise, with the “legal action” to be taken against any violators.

But then again, how would they know?

Christopher Marlow, Doctor Faustus, and the Greatest Elizabethan Actor

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 26

Hauntings are the recurring appearance of a spirit to the living, and the question of what a spirit wants is always foremost in our minds. Are they here for good or evil? Do they need to take care of some unfinished business or right a wrong? Are they trying to tell the living something that will lead to resolving an injustice or simply advance the well-being of a loved one?

Though modern sightings, if properly recorded, can be analysed, what about the myriad tales of occurrences that have taken place in centuries past? Only you can decide if this tale of a ghostly inhabitance is true.

The mysterious and untimely death of playwright Christopher Marlowe, 29 years of age, has been baffling historians for centuries, though it was reported to be the result of an argument over money.

Allegedly, Marlowe worked secretly with Sir Francis Walsingham’s intelligence service under the direction of Her Royal Majesty Elizabeth I, and it was because of this service that the Privy Council intervened on his behalf when the authorities at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge refused to award him his Master of Arts degree based on rumors that he intended to become a Roman Catholic priest.

Six years later, in 1593, he was to appear before that same council for the crime of blasphemy, likely associated with one of his works, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, his dramatised version of the Faust legend which involves a scholar’s pact with the devil. There is no record of his having appeared before that council, however, and several days later, he was stabbed to death by one Ingram Frizer.

Marlowe clearly depicted his own persona into the character of Faustus.

• The church held a large influence over Marlowe’s thinking, and the ideas of God, Heaven and Hell plagued Faustus throughout the play.

• Both Marlowe and Faustus were greedy and lacked common sense.

• Both men were educated scholars.

• Ironically, the death of Doctor Faustus was violent like the death of Marlowe, who could not have known how he himself would die.

Upon the first performance of Doctor Faustus in 1594 (the first performance after Marlowe’s death) by the Lord Admiral's Men's Repertoire at the Rose, it is reported that the lead man, Edward Alleyn, “was disoriented and vague with his lines”. He seemed to the audience to be ill-rehearsed and coarse.

In the first act, the character Faustus has decided to become a magician, for in doing so, he believes, he’ll “gain the spirits as his slaves and accumulate unimaginable wealth”.

Witnesses in the audience say that Alleyn was almost lethargic in delivering his lines, but upon declaring his desire to have the “spirits as slaves”, a shudder took over his body and a vague light could be seen to surround him, at which point he “arose like a great titan in stature and with a preponderance of grace and eloquence”.

Some believe it was the spirit of Christopher Marlowe who took over Alleyn’s body and caused him to become the greatest Elizabethan actor to ever live. Alleyn performed other plays written by varying playwrights but none were so masterfully performed as those written by Marlowe, and he was always exhausted when a performance ended. Word of the apparition spread among the towns and caused great numbers of attendees to be in awe of Alleyn’s performances, but not for the reasons he supposed.

Perhaps Christopher Marlowe had stayed to prove to the Privy Council that his play would be popular among the people. Or maybe he was compelled to bring his own quality to the character on the stage. One thing is clear, however. Those who witnessed the “possession” of Alleyn all say the same thing. It was the voice of Christopher Marlowe who delivered the words of Doctor Faustus.

Manila Film Center, Pasay City, Philippines

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 21

Built under the rule of the infamous Imelda Marcos in 1981, the Manila Film Center stands at the epicentre of a collision between tragic fact and local folklore.

Under a tight deadline to complete the building before the inaugural Manila Film Festival, crews were working around the clock pouring concrete for the building’s 900 + cement pilings. On 17 November 1981, the scaffolding supporting the 169 workers at the site collapsed into wet cement. Reports conflict as to the reason, from dangerous conditions to the Marcos regime needing to draft a press statement before allowing rescuers access, but most agree it was nine hours before rescue crews were allowed into the site.

Local rumours immediately began to swirl about people believed to be forever trapped in the cement, but continuing work to complete the building before the deadline. Some workers were believed to have been rescued or to have escaped on their own, most were believed to have been killed and entombed within the structure, then buried under additional concrete as construction continued.

Witness Lina Nabor stated in an interview with MB Research that: “It was raining when it collapsed. I just heard from the other vendors who were positioned close to the construction site that the bodies of those who were buried alive there were not retrieved. There were many of them. They got only those on top of the pile.” Mrs. Nabor also indicted she had heard the sounds of crying and singing coming from the building well after the film festival had ended and that several blessings and masses had been offered at the site, which seemed to appease the restless spirits who have since quieted.

After an earthquake in 1990, the building was abandoned and stood empty for ten years before a theatre company took over the lease. Since that time the theatre company’s manager has reported that people “feel things,” such as an unseen hand touching them or odd feelings of not being alone in an empty room. He has also indicated that the basement of the building, where the infamous accident took place, is a “creepy place.”

But this may be a case of local urban myth becoming better known than fact. A 2005 documentary crew for the television show i-Witness for the GMA Network did extensive research into the accident at the Manila Film Center. They reported having traced all 169 victims of the accident in which a dozen were killed (rather than the believed 169). They also found that all of the bodies were retrieved and properly buried.


Beechworth Asylum

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 20

Beechworth Lunatic Asylum in Victoria, Australia, was open from 1867 through 1995. In its heyday the asylum housed 1,200 patients at any one time. Over the 128 years of the asylum’s operation, approximately 9,000 patients died within its walls. (That is the equivalent of 1 person dying every 5 days for 128 years.)

Covering 106 hectares of land, the hospital was largely self-sufficient growing most of its own food and providing entertainment facilities for patients and carers all – a few of who enjoyed the stay so much, they have decided to never leave. Among those who have decided to stay on indefinitely is Matron Sharpe (Or Mrs. Elizabeth Sharp, according to a report from the Inspector of Lunatic Asylums dated 31 December 1880). One of tour operators at Beechworth related his experience: “A few weeks after I started working on the tour, I saw Matron Sharp. She walked through the doorway in front of me and walked away through a bricked up window.”

His is not the only experience with Matron Sharp. La Trobe University currently uses the former dormitory as their computer rooms, where students have witnessed the Matron descending the granite staircase and wandering through the classrooms. Other visitors to the asylum have seen the Matron in the Grevillia wing, where the electro-shock treatments were carried out. Former nurses who worked Beechworth, have reported they would see the Matron sitting with patients who were due to receive treatment. Also seen in this wing of the asylum is a doctor who wanders the corridors at night. To date, no one has identified the doctor….or what he might be doing on those late night walks.

In the last ten years, the shade of the woman thrown from an upper story window by another patient has been seen standing at the spot where her body fell and lay in front of the hospital for two days before being removed. The victim had been arguing with another patient over a few cigarettes.

The ghost of a male patient who died during a possible escape has been seen wandering the grounds at the entrance to the asylum. Though efforts were made by the staff to locate the patient after he disappeared from his ward, no trace of him was found and the search was abandoned. A few months later the asylum’s dog, Max, was found at the gate house chewing on a human leg. Another search of the grounds near the gate house was commenced and the patient’s body was found wedged in the branches of a tree. The leg had fallen from where the patient was perched as the body had decomposed.

Children were also housed at Beechworth and continue to play and laugh as they did during their time at the asylum. Adults have reported hearing their small voices and giggles as they walk through the corridors of the building. A mum on the tour noticed her ten year old son, who was standing alone away from the group, appeared to be having a very animated conversation. When she asked him who he was talking to, he turned to her and said, “A boy called James. He lives here.”


Royal Derby Hospital

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 19

Opened in 2009, the newly built Royal Derby Hospital was immediately beset with reports of shadowy figures prowling the halls and wards. Inquiries found these figures were not half conscious junior doctors or exhausted staff found to be skulking in the halls, but ghosts.

Staff members reported a figure, wearing a long, dark cloak and black clothing walking through the corridors and wards, most often near the morgue. At times, the figure was seen to move in an agitated manner as it walked through the right hand side wall of the corridor, crossed the hallway, and then vanished through the wall on the left.

An interoffice memo leaked to the press confirmed not only had staff the witnessed a ghost about the building, but reports of the ghost had become so commonplace hospital administrators felt the need to reassure staff they were aware of the problem. The administrators’ solution: Contact the Trust’s chaplain.

The Chaplain’s solution: Contact Derby Cathedral to request an exorcism.

While in later media reports Royal Derby Hospital’s spokespeople would deny an official exorcism was scheduled to take place, the Bishop of Derby’s spokeswoman confirmed Royal Derby’s chaplain had, in fact, made contact with the diocese’s Paranormal Advisor (or “exorcist”, to the rest of us). The result of these discussions? The Paranormal Advisor would investigate the haunting and take any appropriate action.

Exorcism or no, there was a decidedly mixed reaction amongst the staff of the hospital. Several staff members stated they were “aware of” and “a bit nervous” about the dozens of reported ghost sightings since the hospital’s opening; however, would not give an official statement. A domestic on staff at the hospital who asked not to be identified stated: “Why be put off? Could be interesting to see a ghost. He might be a good worker. I could do with an extra pair of hands when we’re short staffed.”

But by 2011, new reports were made by patients who witnessed seeing two nurses in “period” nursing costumes standing at the foot of their beds, ghosts which have since been seen by other witnesses. Sightings of original dark figure near the morgue, believed by some to be a Roman soldier, continue to this day.


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