love doesn’t float.


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Scan 2

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”          – Anais Nin

I’ve always been fascinated with this story.

Minnie Quay was the daughter of James and Mary Ann. They lived in Forester, Michigan in the 1850s. At the age of 15, Minnie fell in love with a sailor. When word of the romance reached her parents, they forbid her to ever see him again. Loud arguments were heard coming from the house- her mother went so far as to say she’d rather Minnie be dead than marry this guy.

In the spring of 1852, he headed out to sea and never came back. It was reported that the ship went down somewhere in Lake Huron. On May 26th, the despondent Minnie was left alone to watch her infant brother. While he was sleeping, Minnie walked out of her house and straight through the town. She passed the Tanner House Hotel where guests waved to her. She did not wave back. Minnie kept walking- right off Smith’s Pier into the great lake and died.

The stories surrounding these events claim that Minnie’s ghost tries to lure young women into the lake. Her ghost has also been seen walking through town and standing by the remains of the pier while her voice has been heard coming up from the lake.

Very sad. Very creepy.

You can listen to a lovely song about Minnie here:

You can watch the Dead Files episode (LOVE that show) on Minnie Quay here:

Vengeance will be mine.


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“I am dead. Only vengeance can restore me! Only victory can return my life to me!” – Terry Goodkind

This ghost/witch story has been altered/embellished/exaggerated over the years. My personal theory is that it is used as a tool for keeping young Amish girls in line when they begin to rebel, however, there are some interesting details that make me think there are shreds of truth woven through the story.

About a hundred or so years ago (again, vague details) there was a young Amish girl living in Chesterfield, Illinois with her family. With the story being passed down through the generations, her name has been forgotten. We’ll call her Kate. Kate is described as being outspoken, rebellious, disrespectful… you know, typical 15 year old stuff. Her small village branded her as a Witch after several incidents of Kate talking to herself and challenging authority. They had her banished from the village, even her own family was forced to turn their back and shun her.

A few days later, her body was found in a nearby field. Her parents begged the village elders to give her a proper burial, but they refused. It was also stipulated that the witch be buried at night and a large tree be planted to trap her soul in the ground so that she could not come back and seek vengeance.

There are many conflicting stories- some say she invoked a violent storm on the village, others report seeing her ghost standing by the grave. Needless to say, someone is buried under the tree in Chesterfield (which is not on any map- but still there) and a wrought iron fence surrounds the tree to keep the curious back. There is a very strong belief that if the tree should die or be removed, Kate’s wrath will be, well, epic.

tower of terror


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Lady Arbella Stuart (1575-1615) had quite the royal lineage. A direct descendant of Henry VII, she was the only child of Charles Stuart and Elizabeth Cavendish. Her life was chock full of ups and downs. At one point she was considered to be a successor to Queen Elizabeth I- but years later, while imprisoned in the Tower (for marrying William Seymour without the King’s permission), she refused to eat and eventually died. Well… sort of. Some seem to think she was murdered because her marriage to the nephew of Lady Jane Grey posed a political threat to King James I.

Her (very bitter) ghost now wanders throughout the “Queen’s House” on Tower Green. Residents have experienced physical assaults (pushing and strangling- eek!), heard voices, and claim to see apparitions. Although the Tower Grounds are considered the most haunted location in England, Arbella is definitely the most notable ghost.

Well, it’s no wonder she returned in the after-life. Her husband, that she went to great lengths to marry and later rescue from imprisonment, jilted her and fled the country. He asked King James for a pardon days after her death. William was granted the pardon and returned to England in 1615. He remarried 6 months later.

Her body is buried at Westminster Abbey in the tomb of her Aunt- Mary Queen of Scots, but it seems her spirit didn’t like the arrangement.

You can read the full story here:

that’s the spirit…


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Another spooky female ghost story for all of you…

The Copper Queen Hotel is located in in Bisbee, Arizona. Bisbee was founded in 1902 when large amounts of copper, lead and silver were discovered nearby. Miners came running in hopes of finding work and treasure. The hotel was built that same year by the Copper Queen Mining Company for important visitors and politicians.

In the 1920s, the third floor of the hotel became a “reputable” brothel (well, sort of- not officially a brothel, but mostly frequented by “ladies of the evening”) and Miss Julia Lowell was one of it’s “employees”. At the time, prostitution was somewhat tolerated. The stories around Julia say that, at the age of 30, she fell in love with one of her customers, but he, of course, did not feel the same way. She committed suicide in one of the rooms shortly after being rejected.

The ghost stories claim that she is a most flirtatious ghost and still roams the third floor, especially room 315. They also say she only appears to men, and whispers in their ear in the middle of the night. Some male visitors claim that while sleeping in room 315, she appears at the foot of the bed, smiling and doing a strip tease! (ahem… are they SURE this wasn’t a dream? really? no… really?) Her ghost is also seen in the halls and great staircase smoking and holding a bottle of booze (I kinda like her.)

According to the hotel record books- Julia is just one of sixteen ghosts who reside at the Copper Queen!

There isn’t a lot of information available on Julia- but you can book a stay in room 315 here:

And you can join the Copper Queen Ghost Hunt here:


The Greenbrier Ghost


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Elva Zona Heaster grew up in Greenbriar County West Virginia. There is not a whole lot of information on her early life, but we do know that she married a drifter named Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue (WTH kind of name is that anyway?). Lucky for him, he went by Edward. The two were married shortly after they met in 1896.

Her mother, Mary Jane, did NOT approve of the marriage.

On January 23, 1897, Zona was found dead at the foot of the stairs by an errand boy. Her body was in a very peculiar position. The boy said she had been stretched out with toes pointed and a hand across her stomach. Before the coroner arrived, “Edward” had carried the body upstairs, put a new dress on her, and placed a veil over her face. Because “Edward” had been so grief-stricken, the coroner only did a brief exam and ruled the cause of death as “everlasting faint.” WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? The doctor also noted that he had been treating her for “female troubles” two weeks prior. Again… WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?!?! ugh. misogyny at its finest.

At the wake, Captain Creepy was seen TYING A SCARF AROUND HER NECK. I am typing in caps because I cannot believe no one found this suspicious. What a horror show of incompetence.

So here’s where it gets even creepier…

Four weeks after she was buried, Zona appeared to her mother in a dream. She told her mother that Edward had been abusive and attacked her when she did not cook meat for dinner (um.. yeah. Although, I can sort of relate- I get a bit homicidal listening to my husband eat cereal.) In his rage, he strangled Zona and broke her neck. In the dream, Mary Jane said that Zona’s ghost had twisted her head completely backwards .

Mary Jane went to the police with the information. Her body was exhumed and they did, in fact, discover that Zona had been murdered. There were FINGERPRINTS on her throat for God’s sake!

During his trial, he boasted of his mission to marry seven women and told reporters that he would never be convicted with such little evidence. Au contraire Erasmus! He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He died in prison in 1900.

This is the only known case in which the testimony of a ghost aided in the conviction of a murderer. Bravo Zona.

Welcome to the Hotel California




Another ghost story (there are so many, I could do this for months!.)

Kate (Farmer) Morgan (1865-1892) was born in Iowa and married Thomas Edwin Morgan in 1885. It was said that Thomas and Kate made a living as con artists. When Kate discovered she was pregnant, Thomas did not want to settle down and the couple argued. He got off the train bound for San Diego in Los Angeles while Kate kept going. She checked into the Hotel del Coronado under a false name “Lottie Bernard” and waited for her husband.

She was found dead, by gunshot wound, on the steps leading to the beach.

In 1990, Alan May published a book “The Legend of Kate Morgan: The Search for the Ghost of the Hotel del Coronado”. The book claims that she was, in fact, murdered by her husband. May goes on to claim that although she did buy a gun in San Diego, the bullet recovered from her head did not match the bullets in the purchased firearm. Also strange, a maid disappeared the day after Kate’s death. Some say Kate’s husband killed her too and the evidence was destroyed by hotel staff in order to avoid bad press and a mass exodus of guests.

There are dozens of theories and speculations as to the true identity of Kate Morgan and if there was any foul play. Some say she ran off with another man while others say Kate Morgan moved to San Francisco and the dead woman on the steps of the hotel was actually Lottie Berard! So confusing.

Whatever happened, there seems to be some unexplained paranormal activity surrounding the death on the stairs. Kate had checked into room 302, which is now room 3312 or 3327 (there are conflicting accounts). There are numerous reports of Kate’s ghost walking through the hallways, moving furniture in the room, and whispering to guests at night.

The haunted rooms at the Hotel (there are several) are booked for months in advance- usually around Halloween. So if you’re in the mood for a little ghost hunting- you might want to call now.

Books on the Kate Morgan Story (there are several) can be found here:

You can book your stay at the Hotel del here:

btw- it’s MAGNIFICENT!!!!



the seventeenth step.










This profile has a motive. I’m hoping my friend, Edward Branley (aka the NOLA History Guy, will write up a more elaborate story on this property, it’s current and previous residents, and the slave girl known as Chloe! I’ve also been begging him to do an investigation on what really happened to Delphine LeLaurie too- so let’s all get on his FB Page and encourage him to do both!

I’ve painted Sara Matilda Woodruff in front of The Myrtles Plantation. It is located in St. Francisville, Louisiana. It was built in 1796 by General David Bradford. He lived there with his wife, Elizabeth and their five children. He passed away in 1808 and eventually the plantation was run by his daughter, Sara Mathilda and her husband Clark Woodruff. They had three children: Cornelia, James and Mary.

Rumor has it (but there is no evidence) that Sara Mathilda and 2 of her children were poisoned by a slave girl named Chloe. Supposedly, Sara cut off the Chloe’s ear for eavesdropping and in retaliation, the slave- who was working in the kitchen, laced a cake with oleander. They most likely died of Yellow fever, but the rumors remain.

Elizabeth (the general’s widow) died on the property, and eventually Woodruff and his surviving child, Mary, moved to New Orleans. The property was left to a caretaker and then sold to Ruffin Gray Stirling. Ruffin and his wife, Mary Catherine remodeled everything- doubling the size of the house. It was after the remodel that it was called “The Myrtles”.

The Stirlings too lost a child while living in the house and In 1871, the Stirling’s property manager, William Winter, was shot on the porch! He died while climbing up the steps (the seventeenth step to be exact.)

The Myrtles is considered one of the most haunted homes in the country and supposedly has at least a dozen ghosts. Rumors that Sara Matilda Woodruff was an evil and abusive slave owner seem to fuel the reports that 10 murders occurred at the plantation. There are some creepy stories of supernatural events around one of the mirrors, a window, and… the seventeenth step.

You can book a stay or a tour at the Myrtles Plantation here:

The White Witch of Rose Hall


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So… kicking off a two-month focus on Witches, Ghosts, and Creepy Ladies in History in celebration of my favorite holiday- HALLOWEEN.

In 1746, Henry Fanning purchased the 290 acres of land in Jamaica for him and his new bride, Rosa Palmer, but Henry died just a few months after they were married.  Rosa married George Ash in 1750, and it was George who built the incredible Rose Hall- but he also died just a short time after the property was completed.

Surprise, surprise, Rosa was widowed once again after her 3rd marriage to Norwood Witter in 1767. Fourth time was the charm when she married John Palmer. When she died in 1790, the property was left to John then left it to his sons from a previous marriage. Blah blah blah… long story short… John’s nephew, James, took over the place. He moved to Jamaica and then married Annie Patterson.

There are gruesome, but unproven, stories about Annie’s activities on the plantation with regard to the mistreatment of slaves, killing her husband(s), etc. But there are some inconsistencies in the so-called facts. Many of the White Witch rumors come from a book by H.G. de Lisser “The White Witch of Rose Hall.”

Regardless of what you believe about the tale, Rose Hall is considered one of the most haunted locations in the world.

I’ve included the lyrics of “The Ballad of Annie Palmer” on this painting. The song, by Johnny Cash, can be heard here:

You can also book a tour of the Hall here:

And… you can watch the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventure episode of the location here:

war? what war?




I’ve read some pretty amazing stories of survival, but this one takes the cake. Please visit the link below to read about what an extraordinary life this woman has led.

“Five million square miles of nothingness” is a pretty optimistic description of The area of Siberia that Agafia Lykov has lived for the past 70+ years.

In 1978 a group of geologists happen to stumble upon (by helicopter) a family living in the most remote area of Russia- at least 150 miles from any sign of life and about 6000 feet up the side of a mountain.

In 1936, Karp Lykov, fled with his wife and two children into the wilderness to avoid religious persecution. While in isolation, 2 more children were born, including Agafia.

Agafia and her brother had never seen another human being in their lifetime. When the geologists approached, she was seen praying- believing that the outsiders visit was a sign of God’s punishment for transgressions. They did not know about WWII, or that a man had walked on the moon.

Most of the family passed away (kidney failure, pneumonia), but Agafia still lives in the isolated forest and won’t leave. The full story can be found here:



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Here we have Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, also known as Madame de Pompadour!  (1721-1764). She was the chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 until she died at the age of 42.

Her education was well-rounded in the arts. She was taught her to sing, act, recite plays, and play instruments by private tutors. At the age of 19 she was married to her legal guardian’s nephew- Charles-Guillaume le Normant d’Etoilles. They had two children.

She quickly became a popular socialite known for her fashion sense and artsy-ish gatherings of philosophers, including Voltaire.

Here’s a quick timeline of what happened next:

February 1745: She attends a royal masked ball at the Palace of Versailles

March 1745: She is the King’s mistress

May 1745: She is officially separated from her husband.

June 1745: The king gives her en estate, Marquista of Pompadour and her own coat of arms as well as the official title of Marquise de Pompadour.

September 1745: She is formally introduced at court.

DAMN she works quickly.

Her road was not an easy one. She was not very popular, but her accomplishments to the arts in France is legendary. She was responsible for factories that produced fine porcelain- and sought out new techniques, she planned large scale building projects, supported artists, sculptors and painters, and patronized the most trend-forward shops to encourage their creativity.

She died from tuberculosis in 1764. The King was devastated by the loss.




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