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Paranormal articles by our fellow paranormal investigators

The Dark Shadows of Carey Mansion, Ghost and Hauntings - by Ashley Hall - January 16, 2013


For fans of the 1960's television series 'Dark Shadows', you will no doubt recognise the photo of the mansion you see here. The Collinwood Mansion, which played host to the Collins family in the series, was none other than the Carey Mansion which can be found in Newport, Rhode Island.

The mansion was perfect as the stand in Collinwood Mansion, an American Gothic styled home that, in the series, would play host to many strange goings on, and of course the hugely popular (with the fans of the show and more than few of the shows characters) Barnabas Collins.

Used for all of the external shots of the new Collins mansion, Carey Mansion has a history unto itself, and a number of its own resident ghosts.

Originally called 'Seaview Terrace', the Carey Mansion was one of many mansions built on Rhode Island. It was considered high fashion to build large homes in a number of styles, if you had the means and money to do so.

In 1907, Edson Bradley definitely had the money to do just this. He was a whiskey millionaire, and built his home in Washington D.C. The building took up well more than half a city block, and included a chapel, ballroom, theatre and some incredibly elaborate stained glass windows.

It was locally known as Aladdin’s Palace.

In the 1920's, Bradley relocated himself and his family to Rhode Island. Being that he was quite attached to his magnificent home, he had it dismantled into pieces and shipped across with him. However, the house was to grow somewhat, as the reassembled pieces were built around a house already on his new block of land (known as Seaview, and hence the new name for Bradleys Mansion 'Seaview Terrace')

Julia Bradley, Edson Bradleys wife, died in 1929, with her funeral being held in the chapel located within the mansion. Edson Bradley died five years later, while he was away in London.

Their daughter Julia inherited the house, but soon lost it when she was penalised for not paying her taxes. In 1949, the house worth well over $2million, was sold for just $8000.

Soon afterwards, the mansion started to fall into a dilapidated state. Although it was being used as a school for girls, the mansion condition was allowed to lapse somewhat. It was between 1966 and 1971 that the producers for the series 'Dark Shadows' thought the mansion was perfect for their show, and it was pressed into service for the external shots.

During its time as a girl’s school, the ghost stories began. Edson Bradley was not the only member of his family that absolutely loved the building. His wife Julia also felt a great attachment to the place, so much so that many believe she has refused to move on in death.

She owned an Estey Organ, a fantastic piece of musical hardware, but unfortunately after she passed, and the house changed owners, the organ was allowed to enter a state of disrepair. The console was missing, making the organ no longer operational. This does not stop the ghost of Julia, who has been known to pipe up a tune or two on the organ - which can not be played.

In 1974, the mansion was sold to Martin Carey. Carey must have entered the deal without knowing what the full financial burden would be, and after costs for the buildings upkeep got a little too much, he leased it to the Salve Regina University who renamed it 'Carey Mansion', the stables 'Seaview' and the music hall 'Cecilia Hall'.

More stories of the ghosts of Carey Mansion once again popped up. Heavy footsteps have been heard in a room where a nun apparently hanged themselves, as well as, funnily enough, Dark Shadows haunting the corridors and staircases.


Ashley Hall 2013. All reference material can be made available on request.

The Walking Corpses of Toraja, Post Mortem Practices - by Ashley Hall - February 2, 2013


For the Toraja people of the mountainous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia the concept of raising the dead is quite literal.

Once a year in August, the ritual of Ma'Nene takes place. During this period many families (in this case villages, where each village makes up a family unit) climb the cliffs and enter the caves of the nearby countryside, in order to collect the corpse of their dead relatives, to bathe, groom and redress.

The mummified corpse is then paraded through the village, standing upright, and taken back to its place of rest.

Interesting, if not a little macabre maybe, but this process only echoes a older ritual that took place before the Toraja lost their isolation to Dutch colonisation.

By and large the Toraja were a very isolated people. Their villages were built around a family unit, essentially making each village a family. Although the Toraja would travel from village to village and family to family (essential to prevent intermarriage, which was only really practiced by the upper classes) they would not wander too far outside of these realms.

The reason for this caution was because the Toraja believed that when they died the spirit would linger around the body before it could be guided to 'Puya', the land of souls.

In order for this to take place, the body needed to be with the family for the process to occur. If a person was far outside of the territory when they died, they may not be found and their spirit would forever linger with the body.

Luckily the Toraja had a means to deal with lost bodies, though it was expensive and not open to everybody.

The services of an 'expert' (I believe the name for their practitioners of 'magic' is lost) who could call out to the lost body and soul, and make it walk back to the village. The corpse, having heard the call, would then rise and begin its stiff, expressionless walk back to its home.

Once a walking corpse was located, people would run ahead to warn other people that it was heading in their direction. This was not out of fear, but rather another aspect of the ritual, to ensure it would make its way home as soon as possible. If anyone made direct communication with the corpse, it would collapse to the ground, once again lifeless. The runners would tell all those in its path that this was indeed a walking corpse, and not to make contact.

Once the corpse had finished its journey, it was wrapped in many layers of material, and placed in a safe location, usually in a room under its home. For the upper classes, the corpse would be lain between the stilts of their Tongkonan, elevated ancestral houses. Here the body will wait for the funerary feast – which could be in days or sometimes months.

The feast could be quite expensive, and the higher up in class the family, the more expensive the feast. The feast would be attended by thousands of the Toraja, and could last for days, and include cock-fights, the slaughter of buffalo (the more buffalo the richer the family) and chickens.

At the end of the feasting the body would be washed, groomed and dressed, to be finally taken to its resting place. According to legend, in the old days, the corpse would walk itself to its resting place. Generally the body will be placed in a coffin and from there, placed in a cave, up on a cliff or in a carved out stone created for the purpose. If the deceased was a child the coffin will be suspended from the side of a cliff via ropes and vines, to eventually fall to the ground.

The Toraja firmly believe that the body and spirit should be placed between the heavens and earth, hence the burial at height. Wooden effigies are carved of the dead, and these can be seen decorating the cliffs and the mouth of caves.

From here once a year the bodies go through the process of washing, grooming and dressing to once again walk through the villages. These days the bodies are supported and walked.

However, according to some observers, not all the magic of the ceremony has left the Toraja. Sometimes, and if the deceased is quite prominent, the magic is still used and the corpse can be seen breathing before its initial burial, and the decapitated bodies of the buffalo, slaughtered in offerings, have been brought back to life to parade headless about the ceremonies.



Ashley Hall 2013. All reference material can be made available on request.