Haunted Happenings at Work: Largo, Florida

My sister Reenie is a mammogram and x-ray technician in a facility in the Largo area of Florida.  Reenie has had her own personal experiences with the paranormal, so while she isn’t a gullible sort, she does keep an open mind.

One of her co-workers, Maddie, started complaining during the down time in their work day that she thought her adult son, from whom she is estranged, was breaking into her home and moving her things around to mess with her. My sister and the other technicians pooh-poohed this idea and told Maddie that she was probably moving the things herself and just not remembering where she put them.  Maddie was adamant, however.  She lived alone, without even any pets, and she was a  bit OCD about putting things back in their assigned places throughout her house.  For instance, her remote control went on a small end table that was between her sofa and her recliner. Her keys were kept on a hook in her kitchen. Maddie explained that her son, a former Special Forces member, knew how meticulous she was, and that she would notice the small changes that occurred whenever she left the house. Early in their estrangement, he had broken into her previous home just to prove to her that he could. It had been some time since those days, but apparently he was back to his old tricks, she said. Sometimes, she was only gone a half an hour to run to the store, but when she returned, something was typically out of place. Reenie just told her  it sounded like she had a ghost. Maddie was not amused. She vowed to catch her son in the act. Continue reading


The Trunk Murderess

In the summer of 2011, I was watching an episode of Investigation Discovery’s show Deadly Women (Season 3, Episode 6: “Hearts of Darkness”) on the television. I was surprised (and I admit a little excited) to discover that a horrible and macabre incident had occurred practically under my nose. Shortly after watching this episode, I started to poke around gathering information– it was a task all too easy for a murder over 80 years old. After years of getting side-tracked, I’m finally putting this story to paper for The Witching Hour’s 2013 “Murderous May”.

Be forewarned, this story is of a gruesome nature and contains one photograph which may be disturbing to some readers.

The Trunks

The trunks in which the bodies of the two murder victims were stuffed. (Photo from Arizona Memory Library Archive)


Two heavy black and silver trunks lay in baggage claim at Los Angeles Union Station. The first trunk, a large packer trunk (40″x24″x38″), and its contents had weighed an exceptional 235 pounds. The second trunk, a steam trunk (15″x18″x36″) weighed under 200 pounds. The unusual heaviness of the trunks was what first aroused suspicions of baggage agent George Brooker as he checked baggage from the Golden State Limited from Phoenix, Arizona. It was October 19, 1931 and, at the height of prohibition, the railroads had been instructed to keep an eye out for contraband such as Thompson submachine guns and bootleg liquor. But baggage agent Brooker knew something was different about these particular suitcases because they had the nauseating smell of putrefaction and were leaking a dark liquid that a baggage handler in Phoenix had mistaken as medicine.

Brooker told his boss, baggage agent Jim Anderson, about the suspicious baggage. When the owner of the luggage arrived just before noon that day and made latent claim to the seeping trunks, the claim agents refused to release the trunks unless the owner opened them. When Winnie Ruth Judd declined to open the suitcases and quickly left the scene and her baggage behind, Anderson rang up the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Lieutenant Frank Ryan responded to the call and, upon arrival, he picked the lock on the larger of the two trunks.

The smell of rot washed over Ryan as he opened the lid of the trunk. Probing deeper, lifting a layer of rags and clothing, he was soon staring into the vacant eyes of a dead woman.
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Zombie Proofing & Ghost Busting Your Home!

I love ThisOldHouse.com during October.  They have the best articles!  The following articles I am linking to are favorites of mine:

Ghost Busting your home: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20539548,00.html

Zombie Proofing your home: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20487392,00.html

13 Murder Houses: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20151524,00.html

Award Winning Pumpkin Carving: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20314743,00.html


Weird Florida: Skunk Ape – Bigfoot of the Tropics


Skunk Ape in the Tourism Capital of America

Apparently, Floridians aren’t content to adopt the name that has been popular  around the rest of the country to describe our elusive hominid.  Instead of Bigfoot or Sasquatch, the creatures down here have even more colorful names:  the local Native American tribes have called them Shaawanoki long before Florida was inhabited by white settlers, but they are widely known nowadays as Skunk Apes, Swamp Monkeys, “Old Harry”, Wild Man, “Fairvilla Gorilla” or the “Bardin Booger”.  (Obviously, some of those names are localized. ) The basic descriptions, however, are fairly consistent: apelike, bipedal creatures ranging anywhere from six feet to eight feet tall and emitting a noxious stench likened to decomposing meat, rotten eggs, or the musk of a skunk (understandable for a fur covered animal in such hot, humid conditions!). The color of the animals vary from red, reddish brown, to black or gray and even, rarely, white.

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“Dear Boss”–The Whitechapel Murderer


The East End of London in the late 19th century was often portrayed in the media as being overrun with poverty and slums. This was not something exclusive to this particular area of London, as there were other sections for the less fortunate. It became synonymous with poverty and wretched conditions largely because it was home to the rough, crime-filled Whitechapel district. It was here that one of the most well-known serial killers of all time had his short-lived reign of terror.

He doesn’t have the body count that many serial killers after him accumulated, but few can claim the notoriety–even more than 120 years after the last unfortunate girl was murdered. This is Continue reading