Like A Bad Penny

I have turned up again in a different guise with a matching attitude. It either is or it feels like a whole year since I have posted or even sat down and put pen to paper as it were. The Rip Van Winkle effect and don’t forget Rip Van Winkle is an “alien abduction” story complete with faster than light travel. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t written? Its not from a lack of adventures and the often bizarre things that join our merry outings. It wasn’t from the lack wanting to spin a jolly tale. Its not due to some artificial time crunch I was subject to. Then why, what , where, when and how have I  managed to put aside something I love to do,  my singular artistic outlet, for reasons I don’t know or maybe reasons I know all too  well.Me and Wildman (6)

I have tried to blame career and life changes (I retired from a huge company after 21 years) and even though I was unprepared mentally for this change I cannot in good faith use this event as a crutch to excuse myself. Was simply not being able to see the forest due to the trees in my face (not to be confused with if a tree fall is the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?)

Montage Opens 2017 at Ricks Marsha and me

If not for the kindness and love Ms. Marsha has shown me I have no doubt I’d be a blithering idiot by now. I have come to deal with it in my own way which more often than not has led to conflict, the kind of which leaves you and those around you drained. Thank you my love I’m still here just evolving and adapting. Even I find it strange that I didn’t use my writing as a means to calm the beast within. The point is I could analyze it until I was blue in the face and never discover the answer, an exercise in futility.

Me at Tricounty Mall (2)

It being 01/01/2018 I now have an artificial disembarkation point with which I can jump back into my art and quit with the Sigmund Freud self induced psychotherapy, time is new and writing is a passion. So New Years resolution, you artificial construct, I will use you to my advantage and throw down, get a bootstrap in each hand and pull.

DSCF7631

Time to dip my toes back into the pool! There has been no lack of events or paranormal encounters, in fact they as they have since my “battery” Ms. Marsha came into my life. The classic M.O. of the paranormal (start small and finish big) opened and belched out human spirits, who were soon followed into our reality by a myriad of (I don’t even know what to call them) creatures, monsters, angels, demons, elementals, shadow people, skin walkers (these labels mean nothing for several reasons the very least of which is that THEY ARE ALL THE SAME THING!! the same PHENOMENA presented to us individually and preying on our fears) By definition the alien mind is just that, alien, a thing we can never know or even conceive of much less conceive of  so in a fundamental way “ghost hunting” is a futile attempt to know the unknowable. A mere game designed not to educate but to entertain us.

The Grey Ghost

So as reasons can be excuses, excuses should never be reasons. Thanks to Ms. Marsha the love of my life and my wonderful daughter who is one of the bravest people I know, Ms. Michaela, I am coming to terms with retirement, taking baby steps back to a worthwhile and sometimes ground breaking endeavor, the recording for posterity of our adventures, in truly one of the most haunted parts of the world I have ever seen, Cincinnati, Ohio and its environs. It brings to mind trials for a new drug that are conducted outside the lab for the first time, you cannot know nor predict with a reasonable certainty, how this drug functions in a world of chaos theory and quantum physics, where the only prediction you can make is that in the real world things will behave differently.

First Cement Bridge in Ohio Lockland (12)

Idle these past days as far as the actual writing process goes, Ms. Marsha and me did not grow roots and play turnip, the exploration, the observation and the contemplation were in full swing. The activity escalating, the creatures morphing, the “high strangeness” in full blown overdrive keeping us on our toes and in a constant state of motion, a dance with the dead (although friends we all know this “my dead relative” thing is quite common and as we come to some realizations about the nature of the phenomena). Full blown apparitions, shadows that are intelligent, giants, gnomes, shape shifting beings, coincidences, demons, singing from unoccupied dwellings, nuns who seem to appear on our streets (walking a dog and then being absent for months, really) only to disappear and yes the classic human sprit. All of these playing their parts like a tight knit orchestra.

Chamberlin Park Strange noises in pipe (48)

I did not do any official posting during my troubles but I did keep a kind of paranormal diary. I like to keep my postings current as they are fresh in my mind and simply blogging my diary entries seems like a step backward to me. I may throw one or two into my future posts for continuities sake but keeping my eye on the prize I will do my best to move forward. Their value as evidence is noteworthy and the learnings we gathered jewels on our crowns.  I do see some limited value in chronicling them here as case studies, for instance I learned, that when I truly come into contact with the paranormal that I become sick at my stomach, literally falling to my knees and vomiting, and for 48 hours afterward, I am so drained getting out of bed is a chore. This goes for the good, the bad and the ugly experience (hence I hypothesize that all paranormal activity is at a basic level the same phenomena emanating from the same space/time hence the exact same biological reaction in me). I know its really happening or is about to happen due to my physical reactions. Cause and effect apply as a universal principle.

Class X Night on The Ice Cincinnati Gardens Cincinnati Thunder vs Peoria (69)

So come closer kiddies , don’t be afraid, there is nothing there in the dark that isn’t there in the light (to be continued)… “sound of penny rolling across the floor and wobbling to rest”

Beaver Run Ice

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Like A Bad Penny

The Good Ole Spells of Abandoned Hotels

We are a society of drivers, commuters and joy riders  rushing around in our second homes, our cars, so loved by us that they become a part of the family and christened with names like the sailing ships of old.. We were all steeped in a culture of mobility and the quest to explore new horizons. Indoctrinated by our parents, who transformed American culture by “hitting the road.” After the anxieties, restrictions and the national shortages of WWII, is it any wonder that a whole generation of Great Depression and war weary citizens were literally driven to the open roads by the fastest growing consumer economy the world had ever witnessed.Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (51)

The “road” has its own unique and fascinating history. The multitudes of hotels, motels, extended stays and rent by the hour No-Tells, sprung up all across the country to accommodate this new found past time. Car dealerships and “Inns” became the two most lucrative ventures in the country. They sprung up overnight, along every ribbon of asphalt in the country, and spanned the nation coast to coast. Sections of the country that had been isolated before the war now became flooded with “out of towners” and towns that maintained a distinct cultural identity became homogenized as the ideas and fads from across other parts of the country flooded in with rising tide of “vacationers.” For each one of these as with us the end of every day was punctuated with the ritual of finding a “nice place to stay.” As the sun dipped below the horizon those beckoning signals would invite the weary in to rest and relax. Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (120)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (52)

 

But I wax nostalgia….these bastions of childhood fun have a much darker side than we were ever exposed to. As Americans became nomadic and the freedom and anonymity of the road appealed not only to middle class America but also drew into its sphere criminals of all shapes and sizes from serial killers to tax cheats, husbands fleeing their wives and wives fleeing their husbands, desperate lonely and lost souls drifting in and out of  the thoughts they dare not act upon although many did.

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (42)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (78)

 

These places, these oasis of the road became refuges for lost, wicked and desperate souls and with no where to go it’s not a large stretch of the imagination to believe that they stayed checked in even after death. Now that these places have almost completely disappeared from sight, passed over by the eye hidden within a landscape of high rises and chains that offer the same room, the same food and the same service no matter what city you find yourself in.

 

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (122)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (84)

 

As we wiz down the super highways, whose construction sounded the death knoll a thousand quirky and kinky mom and pop motels, their construction designed to catch the eye, they have nevertheless become hidden by, accident or design? The typical commuter or tourist (HINT: keep an eye out for our brothers and sister on their steel horses) does not register their presence within the landscape and that once designed to attract turns on itself and shrinks from our reality and vision.

 

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (132)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (98)

 

These places gather about them an air of mystery and haunting s, urban legends and real life crime swirl into each other and take on a life of their own. (HINT: when exploring hotels/motels look for asbestos and the dreaded black mold which this particular Travelodge was coated in) When they finally allow you to see them ,the first thought that comes to everyone’s mind is prefaced by “I wonder..who/what/when/why and sometimes where?” This very thought energizes the air around you because most of the answers are vast, a legion of events, emotions and actions, perhaps recorded within the very walls and furniture, damned to replay night after night like a broken record. If you are very unlucky you might come across an intelligent trapped spirit or diabolical nonhuman entity (HINT: do not go messing with things that were never human, they are alien to us and their thought process so different from anything, we cannot even imagine what their motives are since they have no human equivalent). Let’s hope and pray you do not encounter any of these!

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (28)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (144)

Like a Stephen King novel do these places take on a life of their own? Somehow to us they have undergone an almost human life cycle.We have seen them born and nurtured, played with and visited during their youth and now we find ourselves presiding over their last days of old age,  some of them with dementia and madness about them, some going quietly into the sunset.

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (129)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (111)

We have come to the conclusion that like the people they mimic, those whose lives and deaths have passed through their rooms and lobbies that, they retain the essence of those with no where else to go giving each its own character and nature ranging from the benign to realms of high strangeness and hellish visions.

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (12)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (170)

Next time you are rockin down the highway look to your right below the raised super highway you are on and there you will see these vanishing hot spots , if they want you to 🙂 (HINT: be careful what you wish for). Be wise and listen to your parents, I’m sure you heard it more than once on those distant family road trips..”be careful and don’t talk to strangers” but of course in those days they meant anyone who wasn’t like you parents not ever person in a one mile radius of your location like today. We would offer the same advise to you about abandoned friends, “don’t talk to strangers” because these particular abodes are stranger than most!

 

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (119)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (82)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (118)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (91)

Abandoned Travelodge Sharonville Ohio (89)

The Good Ole Spells of Abandoned Hotels

The Partridges, The Bradys, and The Fall of Kings

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (9)
Kings Island Resort Gutted But Still Standing 2016

En route to another secret location me, the beautiful Marsha and my fearless daughter  Kayla decided to take a slight detour and visit a Northern Cincinnati landmark. Part of a new (at the time) amusement park/resort/tourist attraction/all amenities within walking or shuttle distance enterprise. This part, the Kings Island Resort, was designed with a Swiss Chalet motif, an international theme, just as its companion the Kings Island Amusement Park was promoting itself as global in an attempt to rival Disney’s EPCOT  Center’s “stay home and see the world” attraction.

Quick left [Hint: always look before you leap], into a busy Sundays Outback parking lot and thar she blows!!! Opening in the back to a lakeside view. Free range chickens would love it, no FENCES.

 

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (3)
The Eiffel Tower Looms Over Even From Across the Street 2016

Geared up we hoofed it over, an easy walk with no man-made barriers at all. I remember this resort being built but from day one I thought they were out of place and unappealing but in the early 70’s they fit in well with some Americans sense of new and exciting global oneness and harmony. Apparently the television networks agreed [HINT: at the time there were on three TV networks who with newspapers dominated public opinion] and soon the Partridge Family’s “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati” episode was the first television show to spotlight the brand new attraction and its ambiance.  Johnny Bench, the of the “BIG RED MACHINE”  made a cameo appearance. [HINT: Maybe they weren’t R&R exactly but  somehow they rocked a little for us at the time]

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (8)
Overgrown Sign Warning of the Dangers Still Lurking 2016

Next up, The Brady Bunch filmed their episode “The Cincinnati Kids” to counter their hipper adversaries the Partridges.

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (12)
Welcome Mat Impression in the Concrete Back Door Entry 2016

Kings Island Amusement Park went through up and downs over the ensuing years and the Resort followed suit, changing hands, experiencing its own cycles of booms and busts. Without being updated design-wise to reflect the changing times, it became a dated site (sight).

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (28)
Dated Inner Courtyard 2016

So the inevitable prevails. With less and less guests and less and less money to update and upkeep the resort, it like all things that are not taken care of began a rapid descent into irrelevance and bad jokes and eventually into a malaise non-interest.

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (13)
Rear Entrance Glass Doors 2016

Marsha and Kay trekked the whole length inside and out. It was mostly gutted but there are still some interesting items hanging out and awaiting their doom. [HINT: nothing is inevitable and you don’t always have to meet your doom]. No bad vibes around here really and no bodies except of course the ones of your intrepid explorers and a windswept field, standing alone my senses reel [HINT: Pink Floyd Reference cited]

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (22)
Just In Case 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (20)
Kay In The Grand Ballroom 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (56)
Sweet Gum In the Air 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (18)
The Lizzie Borden Suite…Kidding 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (21)
Vintage Wallpaper and Fixtures Still There a Little Orb Action but It Was Dusty 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (25)
Above They Lurk 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (27)
They Found the Fountain of Youth 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (31)
Upward and Onward 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (29)
Cyclopian Hanging Eye 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (26)
Up The Stairs? Only Kay Knows 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (32)
Someone Still Working? 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (55)
The Broken Picture Windows Imploded Perfectly 2106
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (33)
And Now Out to the Pool

The courtyard is surrounded by these Swiss Chalet facade rooms, whose vacant eyes watch ghost vacationers swim and play as ghost parents watch and drink copious amounts of adult libations. I found resort more forlorn and sad than spooky or foreboding. It seemed to miss its heyday and was  waiting hopelessly for the crowds of vacationers to return.

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (35)
What Is This Strange Court? Putt-Putt, Corn Hole? 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (36)
Marsha Finds A Cryptic Clue 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (37)
The Rules Still Apply 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (38)
Come On In The Waters Warm 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (46)
Don’t Go Out And Wander In The Dark 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (47)
Where the Parents Sat and Watched 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (42)
Our Glorious Leader Addresses the Masses 2016

And then…”jeepers boyz it da cops”….

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (44)
Warning Whistle Lets Go 2016

[HINT: Always develop a System of Non-Vocal Communication; whistles and hand signals. Special Forces know how to rock this but remember this isn’t a movie]

So we collect our insider, Kay, and skirt around the end of the resort and around the far side of the pond. The good constable’s car idles close to ours in the Outback parking lot.

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (48)
Swinging Around the Opposite End 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (49)
Hopefully We Can Get One Last Look Before Its All Gone 2016

We see our friend slowly move away as Marsha finds a hidden bridge leading up to the lot.

[Hint: Use the topography of the land, the color of your cloths, the foliage and other buildings to screen yourself, the best method being simply not moving. Stealthy Is Healthy]

Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (51)
Hidden Wooden Bridge On Far Side of the Lake 2016
Kings Island Conference Center Swiss Chalets Abandoned (52)
Hard To Blend In But Standing Still Does the Trick 2016

I’m glad we went by again and were equipped for the crawl this time. It was a little trip back in time, a retro tour of past glories and sensibilities. Let’s hope we get one more shot so we can get up on that 2nd floor (Kay says the ceilings all pulled down that tunnel rat).

On a final note, turning for one last look standing behind the car “de-gearing”, we gazed across the pond and sure enough our good friend and guardian angel was pulling into the front parking lot through the chain link gates riddled with NO Trespassing signs..lmao….we are out but not too far!

Peters Cartridge Company (2)
Happy Face Vortex Waits For The Unsuspecting 2016

 

The Partridges, The Bradys, and The Fall of Kings

The Fall: A Cautionary Tale

On one of our little excursions into the unknown we decided to take a right turn instead of a left [HINT: always try new ways you will be surprised what lies in your path] and came across, like most things in life, by accident, the run down, dilapidated, overgrown homes of a once thriving community along the banks Little Miami River near Maineville, Ohio.

Once upon time, not too long ago, during the heady boom days of the 1990’s and the early 2000’s , a small kingdom of old isolated homes was invaded by the “nouveau riche” and their screaming hordes of children and grandchildren. Running amok and laying claim to lands that had once been sections of second growth forest which had for generations served as natural barriers between the homes and farms of the old residents.

KMR Little Miami 1
Entrance Kings Mills Rd 2007

In and among the small farms of long forgotten days these invaders carved out small fiefdoms on which they built their grand manor houses, close to the banks of the smooth flowing river. Some erected docks and decks that lead right down to the rivers stately brown waters. Here they boarded their moored pleasure craft and guided by a lust of all things entertaining, plied back and forth along the river’s banks, admiring there new property and congratulating themselves on their new found prosperity.

LMH before 2
Manor House 2007

LMR before 9
Boat Docks 2007

 

Three generations lived together on the land and for the most part they lived in harmony with each other, their neighbors, and their community but like any string of nervous city states they did come into conflict from time to time. Eventually, due to the stresses that these “incidents” brought to bare on their leisurely lives, any disputes would be resolved quickly, whether by mutual agreement or sudden and swift violence, the means always justified the ends.

LMR before 5
Generational Living 2007
LMR before 12
Older Residents Home 2007

As time went on, living in their ignorant bliss, their bellies full and their eyes always drooping as if they were always just minutes from sleep, they fell into the trap of many armies before them, the occupiers find that the spoils will often spoil you. They became lax and developed an “entitlement” mentally. Anything they wanted or desired was supposed to be theirs to possess, it was owed to them, a cosmic debt to be paid with interest. And then………………………………………….

 

LMR before 6
Private Rest Stop by the River 2007
LMR before 3
Swing Set Before the Fall 2007

……………………the precarious BUBBLE burst and so with it the reign of these pretenders. Nature as it always will began it’s reclamation of the land.

LMR before 18a
The End of the Road Covered Bridge and Private Property 2007

 

Me and Marsha found this little bit of forgotten Ohio by just going out trekking on a summer’s day and found the ruins of what was once a thriving river community in a stage of decay. [HINT: take the time to scout areas or just go trekking you will find so many wonders it will be addicting]

Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (5)
Me and my lady Ms Marsha Trekking 2015
Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (4)
Abandoned Manor House 2015
Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (6)
Abandoned Along the River 2015

After the bottom fell out of the market in late 2007/2008 and the homeowners here found that their cherished property was worth considerably less than their mortgage payoff (this after paying every month for over 10 years)…up-side-down. The solution of 2 out of 3 families was just to walk away and never look back, this being a much better prospect than scratching and scraping for a year, perhaps two, only to have the bank foreclose, losing two years of your life, your sweat, your pain, you family, your self-respect and then the shirt on your back ( a Kenny Rogers song comes to mind).

Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (10)
Porch of Abandoned Manor House 2015
Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (6)
Water Pump From Older Times 2015
Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (8)
Side View Field Stone Wall No Broken Glass 2015

So they fled sometimes with their families, sometimes by themselves, leaving untended houses with untended yards and in a lot of cases their untended furniture, paintings, toys, antiques, pictures, cloths, collectibles and memorabilia. Lives abandoned and lost in a world of gone upside down. The safe and certain life on Kings Mills Drive upon the Little Miami River was gone. Nature again takes over and the conquerors turned into the exiled become but a distant memory to the old residents who looked on the days of excess and servitude with a surprising fondness.

Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (15)
Collapsed Pole Barn with  Possessions 2015
Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (14)
Love Shack 2015
Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (12)
Vines Take Over

What Marsha and I found was a little frightening. The vibe of the place was sad and forlorn but I also found it slightly hostile, like the land was mad that it had been abandoned after being loved for so long. The houses full of rot and peoples lives (we found divorce papers and unopened mail in a small pole barn next one house that had been unoccupied for some time but was still full of the family possessions). It is not a pleasant place if it really ever was? I had the feeling this little slice of heaven has always been bad medicine.

Abandonded House Covered Bridge along Little Miami River Kings Mills Rd (9)
Roman Aqueduct LOL 2015
Abandonded House Covered Bridge along Little Miami River Kings Mills Rd (6)
The Hands 2015
Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (2)
Pumping Station (it’s bigger here) 2015
Abandoned Houses Kings Mills Rd along Little Miami (7)
Overgrown Swing Set Creepy 2015

At the end of the drag, the dead end, the last house on the left, the house on haunted hill, the house at the end of the street, the house of wax, the house of bones, the house of a 1,000 corpses [HINT: never think about your surroundings in horror movie titles or terms] stands a testament and guardian of the old ways. A covered bridge that does not BRIDGE anything except to maybe span a temporal or dimensional rift  (portal). Why is it there? Don’t drive down the lane any farther it’s Private Property….[HINT: enter at the risk of getting busted, if you can’t accept that fact you should not be there because it WILL happen sooner or later]

Abandonded House Covered Bridge along Little Miami River Kings Mills Rd (1)
Bridge To Nowhere 2015

 

 

 

 

 

The Fall: A Cautionary Tale

Screaming Bridge The Rebuild Is Done But The Legend Lives On

I grew up around Maud Hughes Rd and with the legend of a particular haunted bridge known locally as Screaming Bridge. Said to be haunted with ghostly apparitions and blood curdling screams, with Satan worshipers using the lost souls that wander there to do their bidding. We were warned not as kids, by older classmates and parents parents to stay away from that area as strange things had always gone on there.

Urban legends tell us of a more sinister origin to the name. It’s said that the ‘scream’ that is heard is that of someone who has died here. One of the earliest tragedies linked to the bridge goes back to a railroad accident in which two men were scalded to death when the locomotive they were on exploded between West Chester and Gano. However, that accident was in West Chester Township (formerly Union Township). The Maud Hughes bridge is in Liberty Township, yet somehow, the accident became attributed to this area.

The tales tell us though that the ‘Screaming Bridge’ name came from one of several possible other events. Stories such as an arguing couple crossing the bridge, when a woman was pushed, or fell, to her death. Or of another couple breaking down at the bridge, and the boyfriend left his girlfriend behind to go get help. When he later returned, she was found hanging by her neck from the bridge. Yet another tells of a distraught mother throwing her newborn baby from the bridge, so the screams you hear are of her misery and horror of what she did.

While these are all stories told of any number of bridges around the world, there’s more. Reports of phantom trains or engineers on the tracks below. Orbs seen floating along beneath the bridge, along with supposed Satanic rituals taking place below as well. Still other variations of the tales say that if you stop on the bridge, and flash your headlights 3 times, some form of ghostly activity will occur. I wouldn’t recomend trying though, the bridge turns sharply at either end, making it impossible for oncoming traffic to see you until they are right on you!

A 1909 accident killed two engineers and injured 3 others aboard a train on October 24th. One of the engineers killed was off duty, hitching a ride back home to Middletown when the steam locomotive exploded. It had been fully loaded with water when it left Ivorydale in Cincinnati, but after about 11 miles out, a leak had drained most of it, causing the explosion. That accident wasn’t the only tragedy along that stretch of track. On June 7th. 1976, at the Princeton Road overpass in Liberty Township, a Penn Central employee was killed when two rails protruding from a southbound work train penetrated the cab of the Northbound locomotive he was on.

So while I can’t say no one had died here, in fact, i’m sure someone has at some point in time, but all these tales surrounding the bridge seem to be just urban legend, or error. But who’s to say, after all, those phantom trains and engineers have to come from somewhere, maybe they are just passing by here on their way to the other side!

Well Marsha and I decided to go have a look and see what nasty little things we could find to support or debunk the legends. As we headed out I was looking forward to seeing the years of graffiti, satanic alters and paraphernalia that literally crowded the place when we had gone there as teenagers in high school.

As we neared we saw the road was closed, we passed the sign, (HINT: Always read the signs you might avoid an embarrassing and costly situation.), got close and  I could see the heavy earth moving equipment where the road and bridge should be. My heart sunk..road closed + industrial equipment=renovation/destruction of yet another historic place in local folklore.

Screaming Bridge Rennovatio and closure  (2)

I had not been there since my party days in high school 35 years ago, to find this construction was a sad thing to see. The only thing that gave me heart was that I know from experience this overpass/underpass will return to its former status as a haunt because these places draw it back and back again no matter how modern or scenic you make it look. In 20 years or so the next generation will tell the same tales to their children and classmates giving birth to a renewed curiosity that most people can’t resist.. (HINT: renovations often leads to an increase in paranormal activity as the homes and other familiar places entities are possessive of or attached to,exert their pull on those that cannot or refuse to pass into the next life. My gut feeling on this phenomena is that change whether you are dead or alive is stressful and many people will fight it tooth and nail as to not to have to endure it. Especially if they don’t realize they are dead and are confused and angry at strangers daring to tear up their homes still under the impression that their home is being invaded by total strangers.

So since we made the trip, and no work was going on at the time and I have to admit we were overly curious, we decided to brave the thick mud (it had rained for days prior to this) and take a peak at “progress.”

Screaming Bridge Rennovatio and closure  (4)

It looked so new and sterile, devoid of any character’ that it seemed as if the gods of technology had crushed the ghost stories with their mighty machines..I went out a little too far and slipped down the muddy embankment so I decided to at least take a peak since I was covered from head to toe in clay mud. The bridge, an all to frequently see cheap government prefab, seemed lifeless and I could feel no menace. I did however manage to walk the train track north a ways (HINT: This is an active track so be aware, use your eyes and ears and don’t play games with a train…they win every time.)

Screaming Bridge Rennovatio and closure  (1)

Between the trash covered embankments and the tangled second growth trees as I got further down the air did get heavier and I could feel eyes on me but could not tell from just where. (Hint :always have a secondary site in mind in case plan A is a bust) So up and out and to the house after a very disappointing scout.

Well construction at that point looked about 2-3 months away so waiting patiently, as you learn to do when in an urban jungle environment, we gave it the summer and drove out to see what we could see. Now there is NO PARKING on the road near or on the bridge but there is a small maintenance access road to the left as you cross over which leads right to the tracks almost underneath the “new” screaming bridge. We followed it and parked the car out of the sight of looky-loos and went to take a look.

Sreaming Bridge (5)

 

Being the Urban Explorers we are, collectors of antique bottles, ceramics, metal, jewelry, technology and any industrial cool gadgets we can find. Our eyes immediatly looked for telegraph pole lines, that always ran the train tracks because it had been cut and graded for them by the railroads. Sure as heck two turn of the century poles were still standing right across the tracks. The value of these are the glass (later ceramic) insulators, that the telegraph lines ran through. These range in color from clear, to cobalt, to a deep amber and are beautiful works of glass blowing technology of the late 19 to early 20th centuries. They weigh about 10 pounds each but are highly valued because most we either destroyed with the pole or the were shot at and cracked for target practice, which I did participate in growing up. The point is they are awesome works of art and people pay top dollar for them. These poles were however denuded of their glass insulators but by following the grade you can always find ones that have fallen off rotting crossbeams. (HINT: always look at the base of these telegraph poles from the center working our way outward. If the land has a slope follow it at the bottom is your treasure).

Sreaming Bridge (1)

Sreaming Bridge (2)

 

After a little side trip into the woods, the deer were flourishing here, they were all around snorting and crashing through the brush, we decided to take a look at the “new” Screaming Bridge..and take in the feel of the location.

Sreaming Bridge (8)

Sreaming Bridge (3)

Not a long walk, nice day, sunny and none of the heaviness I had felt here in the past when we came as kids. There was an uneasiness and stillness to the place that could be felt just below the surface. The walk was short and the underpass in a pristine virgin-like condition, not yet tagged with satanic signs or the telephone numbers of desperate and perverted people.

Sreaming Bridge (9)

Sreaming Bridge (13)

No graffiti, no devil worshipers nor dead animals, the place was a blank slate, a pallet ready to be decorated and desecrated. Of course the local authorities deny that any satanic activity takes place there, after all an extensive investigation by the FBI twenty years ago determined there are no organized satanic groups in America abducting children and adults to become sacrificial offerings. Their conclusion is not only frighteningly naive but may indicate that these practices take place and that these linked groups are attended and supported by influential people such as politicians, bankers and industrialist. Over 50,000 people vanish without a trace every year in America, some no doubt on purpose, but a majority are just gone. Those numbers are incredible if you think about it, that’s the population of a good size town every year gone, vanished……….where do they go? So cults, child and adult slavery rings, and selling people for sex on the black market do exist and I believe them to have varying degrees of contact and affiliation with each other. I have no doubt there is a large cult of satanic beliefs that do talk, plan and sometimes act in concert with one another.

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So the “new ” Screaming Bridge is done and open for business but as of October it seems untouched.

Looking south down the tracks, where many of the apparitions and orbs are seen to come from its different, not so pristine or so new. Garbage litters the tracks on both sides, and exploring here I did happen to come across a dead cat about 300 yards from the bridge. Coincidence…you decide.

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So that’s the story,the legend and some say reality of Screaming Bridge are very real and will continue to plague this slightly “off” stretch of track.We neither saw nor confronted anything paranormal or supernatural yet we both had feelings and intuitions about certain places along and beside the track and rail bed itself but for now the bridge seems quite and content in it’s new form. I imagine however it won’t be too long before we hear a story of new happenings associated with the new bridge. A good scary legend never dies and is passed down through generations as not only entertainment but as a warning not to stray.

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We plan on a visit this summer 2016 so the restless beings here have chance to reassert themselves and to see if any satanic activity takes place again under Cincinnati’s Screaming Bridge. Stay tuned for updates…my bet it reverts to its previous bad vibe in quick order. So stay tuned we will be back with and update.

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Screaming Bridge The Rebuild Is Done But The Legend Lives On

Haunting Saint John’s German Catholic Cemetery

Well fans of the bizzare, the unusual and the natural unatural, it’s been awhile since we have been able to make a post. The long beautiful summer days found us out and tired when we got home. The time and the need to get back to writing as the new year approcahes is calling me back to mine and Marsha’s blog. The New Year I fear will  be a very interesting one, so stay awake, be watchful and, act if you can. Live in that moment of complete awareness and endless possibilities.(….so WE’ER BAAAAACK!)

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (21)

Driving down/up/ over/on  I75 North as you round the large newly refubished bend near Mitchell Ave. glance up the hillside exposed on the right and behold a sprawling city of the dead  becons you the weary traveller 😉 [HINT: melodrama works…sometimes]. In a state of tunnel vision, travelling this route for 40 years, I have seen it, wondered about it but never took the time to see what it was all about. [Hint: always take the time to check out anything that interests you. You never know what sites and adventures await] I always think of that classic line…”they moved the headstones but they didn’t move the bodies” when I see it.

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (16)

So Marsha and I decided to take a look. What we found was a well cared for cemetery, simply beautiful, peaceful and pastoral, sitting with a small city on one side and a super highway on the other. Among the multitude of gravesites were headstones and monuments that ran gauntlet from the plain to the extravagant. Headstones have always interested me ,not just as markers but as works of art, that people poured their hard earned money into to commemorate the life of a loved one.

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (13)

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (37)

Not too familiar with it’s history [Hint: always do your research] We found the grave markers and the single crypt to be unusual. There was a definite “nautical” theme running throughout the headstones, as well as quite a few of the rare”tree” monuments popular to the well off back in the days of funerary oppulance.

This Roman Catholic cemetery was founded in 1849, during a raging cholera epidemic. Many of Cincinnati’s other cemeteries were already full of the victims. Many of Cincinnati’s oldest German families are buried in this cemetery and the old stones are written in German.

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (10)

Burials also include 25 Franciscan Friars, who were founding members of the St. John the Baptist Providence. They first came to Cincinnati in July 1844, to serve the evergrowing German population. Some of these young men were as young as 17, 20 and 21, who had left their homelands to the German-speaking Catholics.Other burials include Clement Barnharm (1857–1935), a Cincinnati sculptor and his parents also John C. Roth a Cincinnati meat packer.

What we found most intriguing was the detail on some of these headstones from a lone frog seeming placed at random between two headstones….

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (57)

to the headless man guarding over his charge.

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (55)

This cemetery contained one cryptic gave stone that I have never seen the likes of in all the places we have been. This particular marker was sculpted in the shape of a “tree”, which is rare enough, but throughout all its nooks and crannies we discovered hidden animals, plants, insects, and undecipherable epitaphs blended and hidden into the sculpture . There are squirrels, lizards, dragonflys, single leaves, human hands and climbing plants that made this particular monument the most intriguing grave stone I have ever come across. We spent an hour just trying to find the secrets hidden within the cement tree.

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (45)

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (52)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (42)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (50)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (47)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (49)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (51)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (46)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (48)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (43)

 

This tribute to several generations of the same family was an absolute puzzle and the eye could not be drawn away from all its intricasies.

Being a bright sunny day [HINT: ghosts DO come out during the day and are not relagated to the night] the cemetery had a naturally conent and peaceful feel to it,well most of it, we decided to take a look at its only mausoleum. The mausoleum had a decidedly different feel to it even in the sunshine. Not one of menace but more akin to emptiness and a sad longing.We were able to get our cameras inside to take a look.

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (60)

The feeling of loss and confusion were apparent, as if someone or something had been abandoned and ripped from its final resting place.The building was in a state of disrepair which was out of sync with the other parts of the cemetery. Doors barred,even a hint of a window boarded up and locked down. We did however manage to open the heavy doors just wide enough, by stretching the chain to its limit. [HINT: be careful sticking your arm into a building that is locked and barred not only can you lose your camera but your arm as well]

To our astonishment the inside of the crypt was barren. Benches along the wall where once rested the coffins of its occupants were torn out and the inside was cold, forboding, and stripped of any momento. This doesn’t mean that it was an empty shell, for as you see the energies and the spirits of those once entomed here lingered in the space giving it at the same time a lonliness and an inhabited space.

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (26)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (27)

Orbs flowed and danced within the empty sapce…no air flow the day was still and settled…

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (28)St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (29)

It seemd two people, who look to be a man and a woman, have left a impression upon its walls. Above is the only unsecured window slit facing the west. You be the judge…

The other odd [HINT: things are more common than they seem sometimes] thing about this area was that it fronted a (sevearl acres) large open field which was bound on the far side by residential homes. Most people would assume this expanse was reserved for future guests but we have found that it is more commonly either a potters field or a lost part of the cemetery where the gravestones have fallen, sunk into the earth or have been vandalized, but people were still buried there, identities unknown. This was the case here as well behind the crypt. We were fooled at first [HINT: when the sign at the entrance says “space avaiable”don’t take it to heart] until we decided to walk down into that particular area. The uneven depressions in the earth, as well as a scattering of still standing and sunken stones clearly marked this space as ocuppied. These areas are the forgotten, oldest part of the cemetery. Common practice was to bury bodies on top of one another or in mass graves in times of disease (we had a cholera epidemic occur in this area of Cincinnati). We hope they are not planning on putting their new customers there, “condos” of the dead.

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (31)

A great day to roam and observe, in the hot summer heat, the wonders of the past that most rarely take the time visit. [HINT: take the time]

I am learning to make time for the people and things about our life I love. The urge to explore and write has come back to me and I think its important to record what we observe, think and feel..as a good friend of mine loves to say “here We Go!”

St John's German Catholic Cemetery St Bernard OH (14)

 

 

Haunting Saint John’s German Catholic Cemetery

Sterns & Foster Factory Part IV: End of an Era…

As I was riding down (up?) I-75N coming home from my own industrial grind, I instinctively turn my head and look to my left for Sterns and Foster Factory, knowing that only the smokestack is left, no more “Dead Pet” to welcome me home, saddens the heart, but at least something remains, I know.

With only the smokestack left the ride home has but one marker of my progress left.
With only the smokestack left the ride home has but one marker of my progress left.

I knew the time was fast approaching, this majestic urban landmark would meet its fate very soon and become only a memory, a photograph, or a blog post but I also hoped in my heart that maybe, just maybe the city of Lockland would leave the smokestack, the last remnant, standing as a memorial to the city’s golden years. I vowed to take Marsha out the very next day for perhaps our last look. When I got home I decided to see if I could find any news either way of it’s fate…would it remain or would it too, like the rest of the factory, come tumbling down? I was hoping for the former and not the latter, but as fate would have it, something that happens to all of us in our busy lives I got caught up in the things we all get caught up in and forgot. In the back of my mind always thinking I had time. (HINT: Carpe Diem..don’t put things off time marches on my friends) Coming home again the next day I again look to my left drawn to the site I was sure to see. My jaw dropped and my mind balked as I looked over to see…emptiness,  the land was barren and the smokestack, true to its name, was smoke….nothing was left, it was all gone.

My heart breaking as I view the deserted wasteland of the Sterns and Foster Factory.
My heart breaking as I view the deserted wasteland of the Sterns and Foster Factory.

I had forgotten to find out its fate and now I had missed our chance for a final farewell. I wanted to find out what had happened so Marsha and I went into Lockland and Reading, Ohio not only to look for the wedding dress she had seen in a bridal shop window, that she loved, but also to ask the locals what had happened to the last beacon of the Sterns and Foster Factory. What we found out surprised us both, just the day before, the day I forgot to do my research, they had toppled the smokestack. I had always assumed (HINT: you know what they say about assuming…it’s so true) they would implode the smokestack as they usually do to tall structures, mostly due to safety factors because a good demolition team can drop a structure right down upon itself impacting any adjacent areas minimally and keeping people out of harms way. Also, usually with implosions warnings are put out to the local community that explosions were to occur at a certain day and time. This also gives the media and the public a chance to see a really cool and awesome event. As we came to find out, to my utter shock and amazement they had actually toppled the smokestack by ramming it with a bulldozer…WOW…that seemed so unsafe it was ridiculous. Its like chopping a large tree down, unless you absolutely prepare for it by weakening it “directionally” or it’s libel to fall any which way and most likely on your head (or someone else). You have to put at least one person, the driver, in harms way, and just the “uncertainty principle” alone will greatly increase the likelihood of some kind of tragedy happening. Amazing, stupid but probably a lot cheaper! So one final shot to commemorate the end of an era and maybe the beginning of a new one? The city of Lockland, Ohio has sold the property to a developer who plans to build a sports complex on the site. Remember the site once housed an old factory during a time of no EPA and no government regulation on pollutants and toxin disposal or usage and all the rubble was not removed but instead dirt was brought in to cover it over and then it was graded to make it level. Who knows what ghosts and toxic chemicals are waiting to emerge from this rather large grave? Only time will tell….. I’ll miss the factory, which some probably considered an eyesore, but what I considered not only a reminder of American industrial power at it’s height but a beacon that would light my way home from work to Marsha and family at the end of a long day.

All has vanished, covered over, graded and barren. Goodbye Dead Pet and to the iconic Sterns and Foster Factory.
All has vanished, covered over, graded and barren. Goodbye Dead Pet and to the iconic Sterns and Foster Factory.I-75
Sterns & Foster Factory Part IV: End of an Era…