Lochinvar Mansion Haunted By Uncle Eb

Built in the late 1830's, the mansion was home to the Gordon family for many years and watched over by an old caretaker. The Gordon family is long gone now, though it's said the old caretaker still watches over the place.

Lochinvar was built by Robert Gordon, a Scottish adventurer, in the late 1830's as a gift for his wife. At the time, Gordon owned a strip of land which stretched all of the way from Pontotoc to Aberdeen, sixty miles away. Aberdeen was Gordon's own town. He had founded a trading post there in the early 1830's and named the place Dundee in honor of a town in Scotland. He later changed to the name to Aberdeen. It was near Pontotoc where Gordon found the land where he wanted to build his home. The location that he chose had been the land of the Choctaw Indian chief, Chinubi and once the Indians were gone from the area, he began building the new house.

After moving into the grand mansion, the Gordons would have one child, a son named James. His earliest memories of Lochinvar included magnificent parties and his personal servant, named Ebenezer. He could not remember a time when Ebenezer had not been a part of his life. He taught James to hunt and fish, told him stories, supervised his manners and when he was old enough, packed his trunks and watched him leave for the University of Mississippi at Oxford in 1851.

As the years passed, the beloved slave grew older and became known by the respectful name of "Uncle Eb". He remained particularly close to James Gordon and their relationship went far beyond master and servant.

In February of 1856, James married Virginia Wiley and in December of that year, their daughter Annie was born. From that time that she could walk, Annie was attached to Uncle Eb. She followed him everywhere and begged him to push her on the swings and to tell her stories.

Delighted, Uncle Eb took under his wing a new generation of Gordons.

Then came the Civil War. Robert Gordon, now too old to be involved, gave his support and advice to James and they raised a company of Confederate cavalry, the first from northern Mississippi. Before James Gordon left for service, he called Uncle Eb to see him. "Take care of my family and the plantation," he told his mentor, "My father needs your help and I need to know that you are here with my family. Don't let anything happen to them and I'll be back home soon." He embraced the older man and told him goodbye.

This began Uncle Eb's role as the caretaker and guardian of Lochinvar. Every afternoon, he would begin his rounds of the property, making sure the gates were closed, the doors to the house were locked and that there were no strangers lurking around the plantation. He moved his bed to the hallway outside of Annie's door, where he slept from that night on. He took to roaming the grounds at various times throughout the night, carrying an oil lantern and making sure that everything was secure.

As time passed, he learned other skills and began making repairs on the house and the farming equipment. He learned to cook and prepare the meals and even to dark socks and make repairs on clothing.

Night after night, the light from Uncle Eb's lantern circled the house, the barn, the garden, the pasture and the orchards, reassuring himself that nothing was amiss and that the people he loved were safe.

One night, while Uncle Eb was on his rounds, a rider approached. It was Captain James Gordon, home for a brief stay at Lochinvar. A few days after he left, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, returning to combat with the 2nd Mississippi Cavalry Regiment, Armstrong's Brigade.

Colonel Gordon and Uncle Eb would never meet again.

One rainy night, Uncle Eb was roused from his sleep by a strange sound. He took his lantern outside and crossed the grounds in the storm. He was soaked to the skin before he was sure that everything was secure. A day or so later, what seemed to be a cold developed into pneumonia. In less than a week, old Uncle Eb was dead.

It was a long time before Colonel Gordon received word of his friend's death. He was in England at the time on a mission for President Davis. On his way home, he landed in North Carolina and was captured and imprisoned. He soon escaped and made his way to Canada. There, he met and befriended an actor named John Wilkes Booth. This casual friendship with Booth later pointed suspicion to Gordon when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Luckily, Gordon was able to prove his innocence.

After the war, Gordon finally learned that Uncle Eb had passed away while carrying out his duties to the plantation.

Many believe that since Uncle Eb died before the war ended and before his guardianship of the Gordon home came to an end....he has not rested in peace in the years since the Civil War. As the years have passed, hisoil lantern is still seen roaming the grounds of the Lochinvar estate. It has been seen for decades and locals believe that the light belongs to the spirit of Uncle Eb, watching over his beloved family throughout eternity.

Jim Morrison haunts washroom?

July 3 marks 39 years since Jim Morrison, the deep-voiced front man for the band The Doors, was found dead in an apartment bathtub in Paris, France.

But that doesn't mean "The Lizard King" isn't still making the rounds in one of his former West Hollywood haunts.

As devout fans gather at his Parisian grave this weekend, looking for signs of the brooding singer and poet's spirit, they might be better served if they visited a Mexican restaurant at 8512 Santa Monica Blvd.

"You feel it here almost every day, throughout the entire place, but especially near this spot," says Christina Arena, general manager of Mexico, a colorfully festive restaurant that's been open about a year.

And just what spot does Arena refer to?

The unisex restroom.

You see, the building Mexico occupies was formerly "The Doors Workshop," an office space/crash pad/recording studio used by the band in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

And the restroom? It was the actual vocal booth where Jim Morrison recorded the classic "L.A. Woman" in 1970.

Today, a framed plaque featuring the album cover, gold record and hand-scrawled lyrics hangs outside the famous john. Fans come from all over the world to pay homage to Morrison at this sacred site, and they may get more than they bargained for.

"His presence hangs very heavy here," Arena says. "It gets eerie sometimes."

"Jim Morrison is definitely still here," office manager Christine Chilcote agrees. "Funky things happen all the time we can't explain. Lights popping on and off at weird times. But when that bathroom door handle jiggles by itself, that's the weirdest sign. It's totally inexplicable."

Well-known chef and restaurateur Larry Nicola, who opened Mexico last year, has created an authentic, south-of-the-border atmosphere using bright fiesta colors and fun outdoor decorations that make it seem as if a giant pinata exploded nearby.

He's also a huge Doors fan, so he understands that some customers may initially arrive to feast on memories of Morrison before ordering up some of Mexico's mouth-watering Mexican specialties (or one of their famous margaritas, like a "Cadillac Eldorado With Pink Fins" or a "Screamer").

"One of my favorite bands," Nicola says. "We knew what had happened here before we came in, and it's important for us to preserve the memories. It's incredible to think about what took place here."

Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger was even in recently to reminisce about the hazy, crazy "L.A. Woman" days spent at this very site.

"His spirit is here for sure," Nicola said without a hint of doubt.

"The building moans and breathes and makes sounds I can't explain," Nicola says. "We had someone come in before we opened up, to do a 'spiritual cleaning' to try and put everything at peace, but in the end they told us, 'Sorry, whatever is here is not leaving.'

"So we said, 'Cool. It's Jim's place, too. We're fine with that.' I hear it from guests all the time, especially the serious Doors fans. They know he's still here."

Nicola's daughter, Michaela, also works in Mexico. While giving a recent tour of the restaurant to AOL News, she said she understood from day one that they have a special guest who never leaves.

"I felt it from the beginning, and even though it can get a little weird sometimes, we love it. It's a special, unique history this building holds, and we honor it."

Sitting upstairs in Mexico's cozy open-air lounge, she adds, "I think if he was still alive today in body, this would be the place that would serveJim Morrison's favorite margaritas. But we have Jim Morrison in spirit, and so we just have to be happy with that."

Hauntings and Ghostly Activity on The Canadian Prairie

The wide-open prairie can be a spooky place late at night. I discovered this last weekend, while driving across the lonely stretch of land between Spruce Woods Provincial Park and Brandon. The pale light of the full moon made every cluster of trees seem haunted and gave the mist that hung over the land an unearthly glow.

Why was I travelling across the prairie at one o’clock in the morning, instead of being sound asleep in my tent at Spruce Woods' Kiche Manitou campground? My travel partner and I were heading towards the weirdest provincial park in Manitoba – the Criddle/Vane Homestead Provincial Heritage Park.

The Criddle/Vane Homestead sits at the end of a farm road, off Provincial Road 340, 40 kilometres southeast of Brandon. Percy Criddle brought his family over from England in 1882, hoping to make his fortune by growing wheat on the Canadian Prairies.

This sounds like the story of most immigrants to Western Canada during this period, but with the Criddles there was a twist. The Criddle family wasn’t like most families. Percy not only brought his wife and children to Manitoba, but he also brought his mistress and the children he shared with her along with them. For 24 years, this very unconventional (even by today's standards) family lived in a tiny loghouse on the homestead.

In 1906, Percy built a sprawling farmhouse for his large extended family, along with tennis courts and a golf course. Percy’s descendents excelled at both the arts and sciences, establishing a weather station and Manitoba’s first entomology lab on the property.

The family sold the homestead in 1960 and in 2004 it was preserved as a provincial heritage park. Local legend has it that the farmhouse is haunted by the spirits of the Criddle family. I’m not the type of person who believes in ghosts, but the opportunity to explore a "haunted" house was too great to pass up.

As my travel partner and I drove down the isolated farm road, the farmhouse came into view from behind a small copse of trees. In the moonlight, it looked like it could easily stand in as a setting for a zombie movie. If you’ve seen Night of the Living Dead, you’ll know what I mean.

We had been at the homestead earlier in the day and the house was spooky looking - even in the daylight. At night, the house looked downright terrifying. The light of the full moon and the mist rising off the ground didn't help.

We entered the house, flashlights in hand, and began our exploration. In the main hallway of the first floor, an ominous epitaph, "Get Out!" was carved deeply into the wall, but we attributed that more to local vandals and less to angry spirits. The house was empty, just a few tables and chairs.

We climbed upstairs and wandered through the six or seven bedrooms that housed the Criddle clan. There were a lot of creaks and squeaks emanating from the floor boards, but nothing that sounded supernatural.

Back on the main level, we discovered the stairs leading down to the basement. After a couple minutes of discussion -- mostly "You go first," "No, you go first" -- we decided that it would be better if we stayed out of the basement. We had both seen too many bad horror movies and a vision of the ending of The Blair Witch Project was flashing in both our heads.

Then we heard the howls of coyotes, not far from the farmhouse. Already a little spooked, we took this as a sign to head back to our campsite. In the end, we didn’t see or hear any ghosts, but the house on its own was scary enough. It’s an interesting site to visit during the daytime, but at night it’s down right spooky.

Arriving back at Kiche Manitou, we were pulled over by a conservation officer, who wondered why we were pulling into the campground that late at night. I think my answer, "We were exploring a haunted house," threw her off because she gave me a strange look and hesitantly said, "That sounds interesting…" I can imagine that was one explanation she had not heard before.

Kiche Manitou is the main campground for Spruce Woods Provincial Park. The campground sits on the banks of the Assiniboine River, just off Highway 5, 185 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg. To the north of the campground is one of the most interesting natural sites in Manitoba, the Spirit Sands.

Often labelled a desert, the Spirit Sands actually receives roughly twice the amount of precipitation that a true desert receives. This additional precipitation means that a lot of the sand dunes are covered in vegetation, however there are still many exposed dunes.

These dunes are relics of Lake Agassiz. Over 15,000 years ago, a much larger and more powerful Assiniboine River flowed into Lake Agassiz in this area. The river deposited 6,500 square kilometres of sand at its massive delta. As plants and wildlife colonized this area, only four square kilometres of sand dunes were left uncovered.

At the west end of the dunes is the Devils Punch Bowl. This pond is in a depression between sand dunes and is fed by underground springs, which give it an unnatural lime-green colour.

The hike through the sand dunes and to the Devil’s Punch Bowl is roughly 10 kilometres, and includes a few steep climbs through loose sand. The hike through the dunes is spectacular. The Devil’s Punch Bowl isn’t worth the trek.

Leaving Spruce Woods, we stopped next at Portage Spillway Provincial Park and Yellow Quill Provincial Park, two parks literally across the Trans Canada Highway from each other just outside of Portage La Prairie. Both parks are essentially highway rest stops, so not much needs to be said about them.

For the upcoming Canada Day weekend, I'm heading to the two most northerly road-accessible provincial parks in Manitoba, Zed Lake and Burge Lake, near Lynn Lake. It should be quite the adventure.

The Sahuarita Ghost Hunt of 1943

In the Fall of 1943, residents of Sahuarita lived in terror.

Paranormal activity plagued the area 20 miles south of Tucson, with most of the activity focused on the home of a 70-year-old woman. Bricks were tossed down her chimney. Rocks frequently pelted her roof in the dead of night. She would routinely find sand mixed in with her coffee.

Not long after the rumors of the haunted house began to circulate throughout the community, a man was robbed. The man could not see his assailants in the pitch black darkness of the night. Two other men were beaten on different nights. Residents started to carry guns, fearful that the ghosts appeared to be multiplying. The residents acknowledged that their bullets were useless against the ghosts, but they didn’t know what else to do.

When the news of the robbery and assaults reached the 70-year-old woman and she made the decision to abandon her home.

Deputy Sheriff Ben Mariscal also had enough of the paranormal activity in Sahuarita. Mariscal wasn’t afraid of no ghosts and was determined to put an end to it.

Over the course of his (paranormal) investigation, he suspected that several area youths were up to no good in the neighborhood. He targeted two boys, in particular, as the “ghost chiefs” of the bunch. One of the boys, a 15-year-old, was the grandson of the 70-year-old woman who abandoned her home.

Mariscal arranged a “ghost hunt” with the two boys at the abandoned home. He told the boys that he wanted to witness the ghostly activity for himself. The boys agreed to participate . On the night of the paranormal investigation, Mariscal arrived at the home with an innocent 15-year-old boy. The boy would be used as a decoy, according to his plan to nab the “ghosts” that evening. The deputy told all three boys to sit on a bench, with the decoy seated between the two suspected ghost boys. Mariscal turned off the lights. They all waited for the midnight hour, which was just moments away.

Through the darkness came the sound of a blood curdling scream. Mariscal turned on the lights to find the decoy with blood pouring out of his busted nose. Mariscal demanded to know which of the boys was the ghost. The two suspected ghosts immediately turned around and accused the decoy of attacking them with a metal instrument. The decoy protested, saying that he felt one of the boys’ arms move just before he was hit in the face. When Mariscal revealed that the bloody-nosed boy was a “plant”, the ghost boys ended their charade.

The boys were put in front of Judge William G. Hall in juvenile court. The “chief ghost” was given a year probation with the guarantee of being shipped off to reform school at Fort Grant, if even the slightest “ghosting” occurred again. The second boy received a slap on the hand.

Judge Hall said about his ruling: “If they had stayed with their pranks and let it go at that, I would have been inclined to show leniency, but when they began knocking down people and robbing one, it was going too far. This one boy is without doubt the leader of the little gang and supplied most of the ideas, I believe, and for that reason the terms of his probation are rather severe. The other lad was not involved to the same extent and I thought if we took care of the chief ghost the difficulty would be solved.”

The 70-year-old grandmother of the heavily reprimanded chief ghost returned to her home. From that point forward, no rocks showered her roof. No bricks dropped down her chimney. No coffee was tainted with sand.

It is assumed that the decoy’s nose healed nicely, though there is no record of what happened to him after the ghost hunt. It is due to him, and Deputy Sheriff Mariscal, that the streets of Sahuarita became safe, once again.

Tucson Arizona Bank Ghost

The Bank of America at 902 North Stone Avenue in Tucson is closed today due to the 4th of July holiday.

That doesn’t mean that there is no activity at the bank. Ghosts don’t work bankers’ hours and they don’t take holidays. The branch is bustling with paranormal activity.

The strange goings on at this location have been reported for several years.

This particular location was established in 1948 as The Bank of Douglas. By 1960, the bank operated under the name Arizona Bank. In the 1990’s, bank mergers and acquisitions brought the names of banking giants like Bank of America and Wells Fargo to town. Banking customers at First Interstate and Arizona Bank underwent the painful process of bank account conversions. Perhaps that is what stirred up the ghost at 902 North Stone Avenue. The ghostly activity at the bank was rumored to have accelerated around that time.

Employees saw apparitions. Doors swung open. Doors slammed shut.

One dreaded door, the door to the furnace room, was avoided as much as possible. Employees considered that room to be the source of activity and simply steered clear of it. In 1997, Alan D. Fischer of the Arizona Daily Star paid a visit to investigate the rumored haunting. He witnessed the furnace door swing open for no apparent reason. He investigated the area and found no prankster around. He examined the door, which was too heavy to simply swing open by itself. He concluded: “I don’t have an answer, but I do have a strong belief that there is something going on there.”

One has to wonder whether there is something going on there today. The next thing to ponder would be whose spirit feels compelled to haunt the bank and why they would haunt it. No one knows the answers yet. It could be someone associated with the bank, or someone associated with the property prior to 1948.

While future dreaded mergers and acquisitions could change the name of the place, the activity of a nameless ghost may remain unchanged.

About This Blog

Out of the Dark: The Ghost Hunting Chronicles is a blog providing detailed investigations of the Out of the Dark team, paranormal news and editorial.

It will also feature the past investigations of paranormal investigator and author John Savoie.