Piscatawaytown Burial Ground and the witch of Edison

New Jersey is steeped in urban legends and stories of the supernatural. There everybody has heard of the Jersey Devil, a creature with the head of a goat, the body of a deer, giant horns and wings. It is said that he was the 13th child of Mother Leeds back in 1735 and was born a demon through a curse. There have been a number of sightings of the Devil since then, one of them even being reported by the brother of Napoleon, Joseph Bonaparte. But there is a legend…

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Hillandale Bridge: the abandoned bridge to nowhere that stands secluded in the woods of a Cleveland suburb

Many people have had conversations about the “abandoned Hillandale bridge to nowhere” and some even have reach it, either with or without spray paint in hand. This 1920s construction that has stood the test of time lies perched atop a hill on an old brick road in Euclid, Ohio, near a city park of the same name. And now exists, not by chance, literally as a bridge to nowhere. Money was poured into a bridge that was built to allow car traffic to a development that promised “high grade homes”…

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How to play a hot victorian Christmas game without get burned

In the 19th century, a regular Christmas was a little different. For holiday fun, revelers in the United States, Canada and England scared their friends with ghost stories, fortune-telling, and played boisterous party games. One of these, the so-called snapdragon, was a parlour game popular from about the 16th century and is rarely part of anyone’s Christmas these days. After all, it involves pulling sweets from a puddle of flames! The game itself is simple: take a wide, flat plate, and cover it with raisins. Carry the plate into a…

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Why one Australian Island celebrates thanksgiving

Norfolk Island is tiny, both in size and population. It is an Australian territory hundreds of miles from the mainland, that hosts fewer than 2,000 inhabitants. It has nice blue waters, unique flora, including famed Norfolk pine also displayed on their flag, and a curious story about its origin: the island was in fact populated by the descendants of mutineers from the British ship HMS Bounty. The British mutineers and several captive Tahitians had fled to nearby Pitcairn Island in 1790, and by 1856, their descendants moved there, to the…

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Marlborough pie: a luxurious 19th-Century Thanksgiving Pie

Apparently, four kinds of pie were traditional for Thanksgiving: mince, cranberry, pumpkin, and a kind called Marlborough, a glorification of everyday apple, is said. The single-crust pie of stewed apples in a custard fragrant with nutmeg, citrus, and sherry originated in England as a custard pudding and crossed the Atlantic with early English settlers. The practice of putting apples in a custard and baking in a pastry base is at least as old as 1660. The first iteration of Marlborough pudding published that year called for a whopping 24 egg…

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Bottle trees: a southern tradition with a spiritual past

For believers and ghost stories enthusiasts, the countryside of the American South is haunted and, given the history of the region, it is not hard to understand why. For istance, If you travel across the South from the Lowcountry of Charleston to the Mississippi Delta you will find many superstitions about the dead, and you will see firsthand some of the ways that locals protect their homes from the souls that apparently have not moved on from our world and have chosen instead to wander in the night and not…

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Saginaw River Lighthouse

Saginaw Bay lies between Michigan’s thumb and the rest of the state’s Lower Peninsula. As Michigan was preparing to become a state, it adopted a constitution in 1835 that encouraged internal improvements such as roads and canals. A project that was contemplated at this time was linking Saginaw River, which flowed into eponymous Bay, with Grand River, which flowed into Lake Michigan. The Saginaw River lighthouse stands about a mile from the mouth of the river. It worked in conjunction with a beacon closer to the mouth and, when sailors…

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Senate bean soup: since time immemorial on the menu in the U.S. Senate ~

Bean soup has been served in the Senate dining room since time immemorial. However, its origins are as murky as what’s in the bowl. Apparently, around 1904, a bean soup showed up, and it’s been on the Senate menu ever since that time. According to legend, in 1903, Idaho Democratic Senator Frank Dubois demanded that bean soup be available every day at the Senate dining room, where it’s stayed on the menu for more than a hundred years, but no one has ever located any evidence of that resolution. Another…

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Lt. George Dixon and his lucky gold coin

According to the legend, Lieutenant George Dixon of the 21st Alabama Infantry Regiment was quite a lucky man. At least, at first. Shot at the battle of Shiloh, the ball from a Union soldier’s musket that hit him in the thigh should have taken his life, or at best his entire leg. In fact, serious arm and leg wounds during the Civil War were often treated by amputating the affected limb, the practice of which required nothing more than an ether-soaked rag over the nose and an improvised surgeon’s saw.…

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Election Cake: an American almost forgotten tradition

In the first known cookbook written in the United States, Amelia Simmons’s 1796 American Cookery, you’ll find some recipes that seem familiar like the pumpkin pie or the roast turkey, but also the so-called Election Cake. American Cookery’s recipe speak about “thirty quarts of flour, 10 pound butter, 14 pound sugar, 12 pound raisins, 3 doz eggs, one pint wine, one quart brandy, 4 ounces cinnamon, 4 ounces fine colander seed, 3 ounces ground allspice; wet flour with milk to the consistence of bread over night, adding one quart yeast;…

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12 Ways Halloween is celebrated around the globe

In America, people associate Halloween with pumpkins, costumes, candy, and spooky stories or ghosts but, around the world, it could be a little different. The holiday might look slightly different this year since we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, but we can reminisce on years past. If most places in the U.S. celebrate Halloween in much the same way, one city that stands apart is New Orleans. This town loves both to party and voodoo, so one can find things here they couldn’t anywhere else, from…

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The haunted fields of Andersonville~

When it comes to haunted places in the Deep South of United States, two cities often come to mind: Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. If you’ve ever been to either of these two cities you’ll understand why. And if not, just considering their history, how could they not be, given the bloodshed of the Civil War as well as the horrible Slave Trade? Despite it is easy to understand why these two cities carry a reputation for harboring the souls of the dead, there is another haunted place in…

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The season before winter is “Autumn” or “Fall”? :)

The trees are turning, the weather’s getting cooler, laughing pumpkins are back—it’s fall! No, that one English friend tells you: it’s autumn. So how did two completely unalike words come to refer to the same season? Yes. That’s true. There is a little bit indecision about the season that comes before winter. Despite the plants die, or seem to, at the same time are at their most magnificent: they produce more fruit and, above all, turn vibrant colors. Some are relieved at the end of a hot summer, and other…

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The mystery of Brown Mountain Lights

Near the town of Morganton, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies the so-called Brown Mountain. Interestingly, as far back as the early 1900’s, people have observed a ghostly phenomenon in the skies around the mountain that has become known, not coincidentally, as “the Brown Mountain Lights”. However, some of the earliest reports of these ghost lights came from Cherokee and Catawba Indians, but also settlers and Civil War soldiers, and thousands have witnessed the spectacle, which is ongoing to this day. Ghost hunting is a…

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Buried Alive: the creepy true legend of Julia Legare

When the golden beams of the sun’s light shine through the Spanish moss draped trees at the Edisto Island Presbyterian Church, South Carolina, it’s easy to think that a slow-moving shadow is just that:– a shadow. But maybe, it is something else. In fact, the locals tell a strange ghost story down on the island and, probably, It is one of the most horrifying and heartbreaking tales you will ever hear. The Legare family owned a plantation here, in the time before the Civil War and their family mausoleum is…

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The bedside ghost of Edenton’s Cupola House~

Ghost stories are one of the most fascinating ways to uncover an area’s history, past residents, culture and stories. Nestled on the banks of the Albemarle Sound, in a remote part of eastern North Carolina, lies the small town of Edenton. Incorporated in 1722, it was the first capital of colonial North Carolina and as such has a rich history dating back to its early days as a maritime seaport of pre-Revolutionary War America. Given the age of some of the historical homes and buildings in Edenton, not to mention…

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The ghosts of Laurel Grove Cemetery, Savannah

Savannah is the home to some of the richest history in America. It is the oldest city in Georgia and it’s past is full of tangled and tragic events: bearing witness to both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the Southern city has seen in fact its fair share of death and catastrophe. The city of Savannah itself is a stunning place to take in, with cobblestone streets and antebellum architecture that are like no other location in America. The cemeteries across this coastal city have an abundance of reported spiritual…

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The ghosts of Cold Harbor battlefield – Mechanicsville, Virginia

For believers and ghost enthusiasts, Most Civil War battlefields are haunted by the restless souls of fallen soldiers. And of all the battles of the war, Cold Harbor located in Mechanicsburg (about a fifty minute drive northwest of Williamsburg), Virginia, was “one of American history’s bloodiest, most lopsided battles“. In less than thirty minutes, Grant, the most acclaimed Union general during the American Civil War and twice elected President, lost over 7000 troops at the hands of Lee’s Army of Virginia, a loss that would haunt him for the rest…

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The (real?) story of the Surrency ghosts – Georgia

One of the most famous ghost story in the history of the South dates back to the early 1870’s in the town of Surrency, a small hamlet located about sixty miles southwest of Savannah, Georgia…. “That place was possessed by something evil.” That was the opinion of such a Herschel Tillman when he recalled his many visits to the home of Allen Powel Surrency when he was a boy in the early 1870s. And, interestingly, he was just one of the thousands of witnesses to the strange and sometimes violent…

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Buford, Wyoming: Population 1 (and now zero)

Despite its tiny size, the little town of Bufort, Wyoming, has become somewhat of a roadside attraction. It has two claims to fame: the iconic road sign reading “Population 1” and a marker commemorating its 8,000-feet (about 2438 meters) elevation as the highest point on Interstate 80. Buford was established in the late 1860s, as the railroad moved west from Cheyenne to Laramie. It was named for John Buford, an Union Officer in the Civil War who commanded a cavalry brigade during the second battle of Bull Run. Although he…

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Why we owe food regulation to a 19th-Century chemist who poisoned his colleagues

Try to imagine twelve fine young men sat around a fine dinner table with a fine white tablecloth and fine silver settings, with their bow ties rested at their chins as they delicately brought forkfuls of more or less delicious foods to their mouths. Well, although each morsel laced with formaldehyde and benzoate, while borax tablets that polished off the meal. These heroes were the so-called “Poison Squad”: for five years, beginning in 1902, their nightly meals came from a government-run kitchen, where they ingested common (and previously untested) food…

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The colonial era ghosts that still haunt the streets of Yorktown, the landmark village of the American Revolution

It is said that the town of Yorktown is haunted. From Cornwallis’ Cave on the banks of the York River, to Crawford Road, the town is a magnet for urban legends and ghost stories.Strange enough, Cornwallis’ Cave, despite its name, not proven to be linked to the General Cornwallis, leader of the ill-fated British Troops at Yorktown during the American Revolution. Some say British troops did shelter in the cave from the incessant bombardment of Colonial and French artillery, while others claim that it was the citizens of Yorktown themselves…

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July 4: It’s Independence Day for the U.S.

One of the most significant dates in the calendar of the United States, on this day, July 4 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king. The declaration, drafted by, among others, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, proclaimed that the (then) thirteen American colonies were no longer subject or subordinate to the monarch of Britain, King George III, and were now united, free, and independent states. Since then, July…

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Everything you need to know about New Orleans’ Cities of the Dead~

There is no shortage of spooky graveyards in America, especially in the South and, it seems, when it comes to burying the dead no city does it better, and with more extravagance, than New Orleans. With row after row of above-ground tombs, New Orleans cemeteries are often referred to as “Cities of the Dead.” Burying the dead in a city that is below sea level and prone to flooding is no easy task. The dead prefer to stay dry and if not kept that way will make their displeasure known…

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Captain William Robinson: the keeper who won’t leave his lighthouse in Whitehall – Michigan

White River is nearly twenty-four miles (about 38 km) in length and passes through White Lake before emptying into Lake Michigan. When in 1675, Father Pere Marquette stopped in the area, he learned that the Native Americans called the stream “Wabish-Sippe,” meaning the river with white clay in the water, which probably originated the names of White River and White Lake. The cities of Whitehall and Montague are located on opposite sides of the river at the head of White Lake and were first settled by Europeans just before the…

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The strange stories of Mouth Cemetery – Michigan

Mouth Cemetery in White River Township, Michigan was established in 1851, even though it is believed that an unknown number of men and women were buried in unmarked graves throughout the area beginning in 1830. History apart, the cemetery and surrounding area are known for having a history of strange occurrences. Not far from the shores of Lake Michigan, popular for its countless shipwrecks and clear waters in spring, the cemetery is surrounded by dense trees in a somewhat remote area. At a little over 165 years old, however, it…

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Block Island Southeast Light and Mad Maggie, the ghost who hates men

Block Island Southeast Light is a lighthouse located on Mohegan Bluffs at the southeastern corner of Block Island, Rhode Island. Block Island is surrounded by submerged rocks and sandy shoals and many ships have met their end here, on what was often called the “stumbling block” of the New England coast. However, the six-mile-long island didn’t get its name from being a stumbling block, but rather by the Dutch explorer Adrian Block, who charted the area in 1614. Block Island Southeast Lighthouse is one of the most visually striking lighthouses…

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The bloody history of Staten Island’s Kreischer Mansion

Sitting just off the Staten Island’s poetically named Arthur Kill Road is Kreischer Mansion, a lovely Victorian home that is said to be one of the most haunted places in all of New York, which may actually be true if one is referring to being haunted by memories of murder and death. It was one of two mansions built by German immigrant Balthasar Kreischer for two of his three sons. The surviving house belonged to son Edward Kreischer, the other to his brother Charles. When the brickmaker Balthasar Kreischer came…

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Mount Moor Cemetery: a historic African-American graveyard hidden in the parking lot of one of America’s largest malls~

The huge Palisades Mall is among the largest “mega malls” in the United States. The vast concrete complex was opened in 1998, and even though it was described by the New York Times as a, “series of interlocking coffins…lacking any discernible architectural theme,” the mall become so popular and appreciated that it put the old Nanuet Mall out of business: it was recently bulldozed. Before its construction, there was an old bowling alley, an auto dealership, a Burger King and a diner that were displaced by the mall. The area…

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Execution Rocks Lighthouse – New York

The solitary Execution Rocks Lighthouse in the Long Island Sound guards the way to mansions which inspired The Great Gatsby, but also hides a macabre history of murder. In the middle of Long Island Sound, equidistant from New Rochelle and Port Washington, stands the lighthouse built in the 1850s, when America was a British colony with a growing revolutionary spirit. Prior to 1850, there had been lights on this reef, but none were official or reliable. The tiny rocky island on which it was constructed was known as the Execution…

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