Todd’s Return

The following is a story one of my new coworkers has shared with me. I’ve been given a written copy to share, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Enjoy!



I met Todd Apel upon my return to Phoenix from Louisiana in April of 1964. We met in 4th Grade and were fast friends until his very early and untimely death on Christmas Eve in 1969. His father was driving and rear-ended a big truck. Todd and his sister Debbie were both killed instantly.

The years passed and I was working the swing shift at Arizona MVD. I returned home at 1 am on Wednesday morning. I made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk. I sat down on the living room couch to eat and relax, when I saw a dim light down the hallway. I thought one of my parents had awoken and went to the bathroom, but I heard no sound. The light slowly grew brighter and moved towards me as it did so. I began to get concerned as to what this was all about– maybe a bad guy was sneaking back out after doing something he should not have done. The light got brighter but still no sound at all.

Then it happened– I saw what was causing the light– it was a pair of feet and lower legs that were glowing with a bright white light. I saw the feet and legs first because I was looking at the floor when they first appeared in the hallway. The legs were very slowly approaching me in a manner which indicated a reluctance to be seen. Then I saw the hips and the torso come into view. The “image” was stopping and then slowly advancing again. He was very reluctant to come into full view.
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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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The Ambulance Ghost

Waving Nurse Ghost

Jadewik's interpretation of the ghost of a waving nurse as described in the story.

During the month of January 2011 a few of my friends came to town to visit me. While they visited, we chatted about a topic that’s fairly common as far as it concerns me– ghosts. It turns out that my friends weren’t without their own stories.

My friend B. worked, at one time, as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for an ambulance service for a Phoenix-Metro Area hospital. (I’m leaving out the hospital’s name because this isn’t a commonly known story and I’m not sure if the hospital would like this story to be directly associated with their facility.)

B. said he had a co-worker at the time who claimed to have the ability to see ghosts. The co-worker was fairly trustworthy, but B. remains a skeptic so he didn’t really think anything about it at the time. The co-worker would occasionally share stories with him about some of her experiences. One of the stories was about the ghost of a friendly nurse who stood by the entrance to the hospital and waved at people who entered and exited the hospital. Though the co-worker attempted to point out the ghostly nurse to B., he never did see her ghostly visage. Though, one particular story she told B. did have an impact on him.
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Haunted Lodgings: Hotel San Carlos


Hotel San Carlos

Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, Arizona at 202 North Central Avenue, is where you’ll find Hotel San Carlos, Phoenix’s original boutique hotel. Designed by architect George Witecross Ritchie in an Italian Renaissance Revival Style, the Hotel San Carlos brings a touch of nostalgia to the Copper Square District of today’s more modern downtown Phoenix. The building was constructed in 1927 and held its grand opening on March 20, 1928. When it was built, it was the first hotel in Phoenix to offer chilled air, and it also had the first elevator in Phoenix. The seven story building, then the tallest building in Phoenix, dominated the downtown skyline. Not two months after opening day, the building’s height would make the new Hotel San Carlos the location of a tragic event.
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