Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Haunted Houses

Update: July 7, 2006- See reprint of article on ghost investigation of the Rush House at end, below:


Susie: Oh sure. It's the respectable 100 year old home of the Forrest City Chamber of Commerce today. Before that a quaint antigue shop; all dignified, classy-like. But it wasn't always so. The Becker House they call it -- used to be haunted. In the 50's, catty-cornered from this scary place, my grandparents lived in a proud 3-story, prairie-style manor house with a red barrel roof, and servant's quarters behind it -- where the city's first literary society met. (The Post Office parking lot now). The grandest house in the town was next door on the corner of Izard & Broadway: Baby Williams' (Margie's family and the Harrelson boys' family too): sparkling white, towering 3-story Ante-Bellum palace with huge greek columns. Across the street on Hill & Izard was the town's little phone office, (central receiving where operators connected outside calls to homes with phones) and it had a ringer you could hear around the neighborhood whenever a call came in. Rang all day long. I used to visit Baby Williams and her salt & pepper shaker collection & beautiful dolls to and fro from the soda shop at the Palace Drug Store after reading the latest Superman or Supergirl.

We had to walk to the picture show right by the haunted house. Not so bad going to the early show, but if you went to the late show in Summer dusk, you dreaded coming home after a movie in the dark. We huddled and ran past it on the other side of the street...or if we double dared, on the same side. No one lived in it the whole time I grew up. It just stood there dark, staring at you, watching you, menacing, with weeds all over, news paper trash blown on the porch and peeling paint, dirty windows. The worst time walking home was one night after the Saturday matinee, "Brides of Frankenstein." (We stayed to watch it twice, forgetting it would be dark outside if we stayed for the 2nd show). We thought we saw a shadow through a window and ran screaming home. All the other fine houses are dead, gone, forgotten, torn down. This once ugly, century-old crone has the last laugh.

Postnote: I saw the below picture on the Chamber Website but it did not identify the name or location of the house. Because it gave me a weird feeling and took me back to my childhood and made me think about the haunted house on Izard & Hill...I thought it was the Becker house, home of the Chamber. for a moment it looked a lot like the Becker house facing Izard Street, same color, both are on a corner...and there was the immediate thing in my mind about that scary, haunted feeling. Well, thanks for the friends who corrected me. Actually it is the Rush House, now a Museum which is across the highway and a few blocks away in another neighborhood. I was never familiar with the Rush house and do not recall it at all, so it would be great if someone could fill me in about its history. I've looked on the internet and find nothing about either houses and would to know their histories. If you read the comments below, you'll see a note where, ironically, the Rush house (in the picture here) is actually going to be investigated by Ghosthunters shortly -- which I did not know anything about when I saw the picture and mistakenly labelled it as the haunted house of my childhood!

Dora: I remember walking home from the movie and running past the ally and the house directly behind the movie [Becker House on Izard & Hill]. IT would give me chills and I thought it was haunted I dont remember anyone telling me it was haunted, I just knew! I thought the picture was of the house [Rush House-Museum now] where Mr. and Mrs. David Gates lived in later years. The house belonged to Mrs. Gates Dad. I went to visit them with my mom one time and she took me around the house and showed me all the rooms except one . She said they kept that door locked as it was their personal room and they never let anyone see it. It drove me crazy wanting to know what was in that room!

Lin: Mr David and Miss Ann lived in the locked room. That is where they slept , ate, watched tv and read. They even had a hot plate in this room. The rest of the house was kept in visitor ready condition, but when it was just the Gates, they never ventured out of the 'locked room.' Maybe the ghosts were present back then.

Update from Anonymous:

Thursday, June 22, 2006
St Francis Co Museum's 'ghosts' to be investigated
Alan SmithT-H Staff Writer
There are many stories about "haunted houses" in almost every town or city no matter where you go. Probably the most famous of those places in Forrest City is the St. Francis County Museum. There have been tales for years that people have experienced eerie goings on at the historic J.O. Rush House and there may be some answers coming in mid-July.The Northwest Arkansas Ghost Connection will pay a visit to the museum on Thursday, July 13 and Friday, July 14. According to the organization's website, www.nwaghostconnection.net, the Northwest Arkansas Ghost Connection is a non-profit organization dedicated to the research of the paranormal through audio, video, film and digital photography. Those within their group are professionals with a common goal; to research the paranormal around us and to learn from their findings. They want to help those encountering unseen phenomena and to determine if it is caused by the paranormal. They do not charge for their services.Lori Arhangelsky, founder, case manager and director, spoke about the event and what the Ghost Connection does to find ghosts. She said that a lot of people hear "paranormal investigation" and think about the movie "Ghostbusters.""We don't have proton guns like they did in that movie," laughed Arhangelsky. "We do general research of the land and the buildings we investigate to determine if there is any reason for the haunting. We gather as many facts as we can to determine what type of haunting is occurring."We use equipment to record the events," stated Arhangelsky. "We audio record and ask questions to see if we get an answer from an disembodied spirit. We use equipment to record electro-magnetic fields. Spirits put off high electric signals. It takes a lot of energy for them to affect things here, so if there are spirits they will give off fields. We also use digital camcorders to video the events. We do not use regular VHS tapes because of the quality of the digital recordings."Arhangelsky said that while the Ghost Connection is still doing background on the museum case and that they have not yet conducted any recording at the site, she has some knowledge of the types of things that have occurred at the museum."I have heard quite a bit from Harvey Hanna, the museum manager, about what he has experienced. There have been small items displaced. There have been sightings of apparitions, particularly a women that has been seen by several different people. There have been instances were doorknobs rattle and doors open and close, and unexplained loud noises. These are typical things that will happen in a haunting."Many people feel that if they get an uneasy feeling in a place that it is haunted. Generally that is not the story. If they are malevolent spirits they try to create fear for them to feed on. They create noises, maybe voices, and try to build the fear. Once your fear is high, then comes the uneasy feelings. My guess is that there are maybe two different spirits at the museum. I would say that they are not malevolent because they are doing small, silly things. I think they are embedded spirits, they have a history there at that house. That is all speculation of course. My opinion may change after we get in there and do some recordings."According to Arhangelsky, becoming a paranormal investigator is a lot like becoming a criminologist."Just like anything else that you go to get a college degree for, you can get a degree from certain colleges to become a paranormal investigator," commented Arhangelsky. "It is similar to a criminology degree. You learn from hands-on experience at scenes by physically doing investigations. I got my degree from a college in California. We do not practice witchcraft, we investigate hauntings and try to explain why they are happening."Arhangelsky stated that while her group has only been together since August of last year, they have enjoyed some national media attention. "We just did a TV episode of Criss Angel, which airs on the A&E Network," commented Arhangelsky. "He was filming one of his shows at a site that we had just done an investigation at. It is scheduled to air July 5. We also have a television producer talking to us about our own show."On Thursday, July 13, we will speak to the public at between 4 and 6 p.m.," added Arhangelsky . "We will answer questions and talk to folks about what we do. We will spend that night in the museum and do recordings. The next day, Friday, July 14, from 4 to 6 p.m., we will talk about our findings and answer questions. We welcome the public out to speak with us and hopefully we will have some answers on that Friday."


Your turn: Comment (below), Blog (right) or email:

15 Comments:

Blogger fc newcomer said...

I am a newcomer in Forrest City (22 years) but I know that this is the old Rush House. It is the museum, but not the Chamber of Commerce. That is a block or so away. The Times Herald ( thnews.com ) ran a story last week that a professional ghost investigation team is coming to check out the ghost situation in this house.....stay tuned....

Tue Jun 27, 06:44:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW...that's pretty cool. I seem to think we always called it the Cook house...maybe not. I do recall an adult telling me when I was a kid to stay away, well away from it, that it was haunted. Something about something bad happened there. I'm behind on the times then...I think at one time it was the Chamber though, no? Thanks so much for sharing this...please let us exiles know what develops! Sula

Tue Jun 27, 07:17:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did mix up the Rush House (pictured) which is now the FC Musueum with the Becker House which is directly behind the Imperial and how houses the FC Chamber of Commerce. When I was a child, I would spend the night at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ned Mallory when their granddaughter, Em Chaffin, was in town. We would walk to the picture show in the daylight--no problem. The problem arose when the movie was over, and we had to walk home in the dark. Did we choose the route that went by the deserted Becker House (that looked like Boo Radley's house) or did we walk the other direction and have to go by the funeral home?? Regardless of the route we chose, there was no dawdling on the way home!

Tue Jun 27, 08:04:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhhh maybe I get it now. The house that's pictured...this is not the one on the corner of Hill & Izard Street, with the front door facing Izard?

Tue Jun 27, 09:11:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Sula said...

Mystery solved on what happened. If you go to the Chamber website and to the "tourism" section, it has the Rush house picture up without saying what it is. The Chamber house (the old Becker home) in some ways in my mind favored the picture, same color too with a porch. So I assumed it was a picture of the present day Chamber. So I had the wrong picture posted. They need to check out the ghosts in the Becker house too while they are there at the Rush house!

Wed Jun 28, 06:15:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Lin said...

Mr David and Miss Ann lived in the locked room. That is where they slept , ate, watched tv and read. They even had a hot plate in this room. The rest of the house was kept in visitor ready condition, but when it was just the Gates, they never ventured out of the 'locked room.' Maybe the ghosts were present back then.

Thu Jun 29, 05:45:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous B.J. said...

There was an even scarier house that I remember on Division street. It was a big white house way up at the top of the hill across and a little farther north from where Buddy and Annette live now. As kids we used to dare each other to run up and put our hands on the porch or the front door. Was it the old Bridgeforth house? Anyway, Mary Ann Guinn and I got up the nerve one day to go into the little housekeeper's house behind it. It looked like it had been abandoned for years. I remember we saw a little pair of bronzed baby shoes, and that seemed very spooky to be touching something so personal from the distant past that belonged to people who were probably ghosts and might be watching us. We ran screaming down the hill just from the goose bumps it gave us. They tore the house down, but I think there's still a vacant lot there.

Sat Jul 01, 08:35:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous B.J. said...

Sorry, I didn't mean Division Street, I meant Dillard Street.

Sat Jul 01, 08:36:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Lin said...

The old Bridgforth, with no e in it, house was next to the Neblett's on Forrest street. Paul Neblett and I would dare each other to go near it and would run like mad when the witch shouted at us. I don't think that anyone in FC was scarier Norma Bridgforth. Supposedly she was a nice old lady, but as far as the baby boomer were concerned there was great fear that she would cook and eat us.

Sat Jul 01, 12:01:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous B.J. said...

Thank you for the correct street name. I've obviously been away too long! I always thought no one lived there anymore when we were going up there, which probably would have been in the early '60s. If I had known someone was really living there, I wouldn't have gotten so close.

Sat Jul 01, 04:54:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SFC Museum's 'ghosts' to be investigated
Alan Smith

T-H Staff Writer

There are many stories about "haunted houses" in almost every town or city no matter where you go. Probably the most famous of those places in Forrest City is the St. Francis County Museum. There have been tales for years that people have experienced eerie goings on at the historic J.O. Rush House and there may be some answers coming in mid-July.

The Northwest Arkansas Ghost Connection will pay a visit to the museum on Thursday, July 13 and Friday, July 14. According to the organization's website, www.nwaghostconnection.net, the Northwest Arkansas Ghost Connection is a non-profit organization dedicated to the research of the paranormal through audio, video, film and digital photography. Those within their group are professionals with a common goal; to research the paranormal around us and to learn from their findings. They want to help those encountering unseen phenomena and to determine if it is caused by the paranormal. They do not charge for their services.

Lori Arhangelsky, founder, case manager and director, spoke about the event and what the Ghost Connection does to find ghosts. She said that a lot of people hear "paranormal investigation" and think about the movie "Ghostbusters."

"We don't have proton guns like they did in that movie," laughed Arhangelsky. "We do general research of the land and the buildings we investigate to determine if there is any reason for the haunting. We gather as many facts as we can to determine what type of haunting is occurring.

"We use equipment to record the events," stated Arhangelsky. "We audio record and ask questions to see if we get an answer from an disembodied spirit. We use equipment to record electro-magnetic fields. Spirits put off high electric signals. It takes a lot of energy for them to affect things here, so if there are spirits they will give off fields. We also use digital camcorders to video the events. We do not use regular VHS tapes because of the quality of the digital recordings."

Arhangelsky said that while the Ghost Connection is still doing background on the museum case and that they have not yet conducted any recording at the site, she has some knowledge of the types of things that have occurred at the museum.

"I have heard quite a bit from Harvey Hanna, the museum manager, about what he has experienced. There have been small items displaced. There have been sightings of apparitions, particularly a women that has been seen by several different people. There have been instances were doorknobs rattle and doors open and close, and unexplained loud noises. These are typical things that will happen in a haunting.

"Many people feel that if they get an uneasy feeling in a place that it is haunted. Generally that is not the story. If they are malevolent spirits they try to create fear for them to feed on. They create noises, maybe voices, and try to build the fear. Once your fear is high, then comes the uneasy feelings. My guess is that there are maybe two different spirits at the museum. I would say that they are not malevolent because they are doing small, silly things. I think they are embedded spirits, they have a history there at that house. That is all speculation of course. My opinion may change after we get in there and do some recordings."

According to Arhangelsky, becoming a paranormal investigator is a lot like becoming a criminologist.

"Just like anything else that you go to get a college degree for, you can get a degree from certain colleges to become a paranormal investigator," commented Arhangelsky. "It is similar to a criminology degree. You learn from hands-on experience at scenes by physically doing investigations. I got my degree from a college in California. We do not practice witchcraft, we investigate hauntings and try to explain why they are happening."

Arhangelsky stated that while her group has only been together since August of last year, they have enjoyed some national media attention. "We just did a TV episode of Criss Angel, which airs on the A&E Network," commented Arhangelsky. "He was filming one of his shows at a site that we had just done an investigation at. It is scheduled to air July 5. We also have a television producer talking to us about our own show.

"On Thursday, July 13, we will speak to the public at between 4 and 6 p.m.," added Arhangelsky . "We will answer questions and talk to folks about what we do. We will spend that night in the museum and do recordings. The next day, Friday, July 14, from 4 to 6 p.m., we will talk about our findings and answer questions. We welcome the public out to speak with us and hopefully we will have some answers on that Friday."

Fri Jul 07, 01:02:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Administrator said...

Oh Paleeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzz!!
Get a grip! I'll bet every old house in FC has had deaths and weird people in them at one time or another! Even the house I lived in for 7 years--the old Bogart home had 3 people to die in it--every bedroom in the home should have been taken by a ghost! My granddad, Dr. J.A. Bogart died in the front room in 1941, my uncle, Dr. Nall Bogart died in the center bedroom in 1950 and my grandmother Nellie Bogart died in the back bedroom in 1956--if anyone should be scared to live in a house, it should be me!! I lived there from 1956 to 1962 when I went to college--I never called it "home" again. The house was located on the NE corner of Fussell and Washington, was built by J.A. Bogart in 1915 and was torn down after the family sold the house in 1965. I remember sounds from every creak in the floor and objects seem to take on their own personalities (changing positions during the night)--but I'll never admit to a ghost!
TeeHee!
Bogie

Wed Jul 12, 10:05:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Administrator said...

There was another death in the Bogart home! My dad's first wife, Lucille Stockton Bogart died at the age of 23 in 1926. She was young but not strong enough to fight off what we now call the flu. She is the first known burial in Forrest Lawn Cemetary south of town. Sometime before her death a little girl about 6 years of age was buried at the SE corner of the Bogart plot but no one knew who she was or who her family was. They didn't put a marker there because they didn't own the lot.
Bogie

Thu Jul 13, 08:42:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NWA Ghost Connection releases official report
Alan Smith

T-H Staff Writer

The Northwest Arkansas Ghost Connection, the non-profit organization that spent two nights in mid-July at the St. Francis County Museum, has released its official report on the ghostly activity at the facility.

Lori Arhangelsky, the case manager, director and founder of the Northwest Arkansas Ghost Connection, recently discussed the time they spent in an earlier story, but wanted to wait until several hours of both audio and video tapes were analyzed before filing a final report.

"On the 13th and 14th of July, the Northwest Arkansas Ghost Connection was invited to conduct an investigation of the paranormal activity at the St. Francis County Museum," Arhangelsky wrote in the report. "Prior to our investigation, we conducted extensive research on the history of the museum using materials provided by Harvey Hanna, the museum's manager, information provided by the Internet, local newspaper articles and personal experiences of locals."

The report explains what the research found before entering the museum. "Reported hauntings include, but are not limited to, relocation of objects, strange unexplained noises and sightings of both a woman in a blue dress and a man wearing overalls. The woman in the blue dress has often been witnessed standing in the south bedroom window, while the man in overalls has occasionally been seen standing on the front porch, There is a trophy case in the main hallway of the museum where trophies reportedly move around inside the showcase by themselves."

In the report, Arhangelsky thanks the local community for information provided to them. "It greatly aided our research and investigation," she said.

The report then outlines the group's observations during their two nights at the museum.

"During the first night of the investigation, we had many encounters with the spirits that dwell within the walls of the museum. One of our team members heard a woman talking to her while she was in the upstairs hallway. Another witnessed a visage of a woman in a white dress manifest before

him in the same hallway. Downstairs, two members walked around the corner and came to an immediate halt as a six-foot tall man with a mustache and wearing a dark suit stood before them in the artifact room.

"The team's EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) captured the distinct voices of two different females as well as two different males. One member saw a shadow walk across the floor before her and was lucky enough to capture that very apparition on video," continues the report. It also mentions that several different light anomalies were witnessed throughout the night by several different team members.

According to the report, on the second night of the investigation, the spirits became more "physical" with some of the team.

"Two members followed a shadow into the parlor only to be pushed through with such force that one member received a bruise on her arm while another had his glasses knocked crooked on his face. We don't feel that the spirit intended any harm, it just reacted like an animal would if it was cornered and scared. Spirits can be dangerous if they feel threatened.

"Later that night, one of our members was 'attacked' in the artifact room. She was feeling pin pricks on her cheek and when another member told the spirit to leave her alone, she was clawed across the face, resulting in scratch marks on her cheek."

In previous stories, Arhangelsky stated that she felt that the spirits were not malevolent, but would not know for sure until after the investigation. She said that she holds to her initial feelings, despite what happened.

"I believe the spirit reacted that way because it was cornered," said Arhangelsky in an interview this morning. "The scratches actually happened to me. I think that they got more physical on the second night because we were there doing the same things. This is not a residual haunting where the spirits don't know where they are and are doing the same things over and over. This is an intelligent haunting, they are there because they want to be there. I think they saw us with our equipment and the first night just wanted to check us out, but the second night, they felt threatened."

But should people be afraid to go to the museum because they might be attacked? Arhangelsky says no.

"They felt threatened by us because we were trying to call them out," explained Arhangelsky. "I do not believe that on any given day or week anyone will be attacked. Visiting the museum is not going to threaten them. People shouldn't be scared to go to the museum."

She also commented on those wanting to go to the museum to see "ghosts."

" Ghosts do not perform for people," stated Arhangelsky. "If you want to know about the history of St. Francis County, go to the museum. If you want to see ghosts, it probably will not happen, but that does not mean that they are not there, they just do not perform."

According to Arhangelsky, the group has plans to visit the museum again, possibly as early as this December.

The report states that the St. Francis County Museum is "Rich with history and legend," and thanks both Hanna and his wife Caroline, a man named Charles, for whom Arhangelsky did not know his last name but provided help with the location's history, and the citizens of Forrest City for inviting them in and making them feel welcome.

For more information about the Northwest Arkansas Ghost Connection, visit their website at www.nwaghostconnection.net.

Fri Aug 04, 01:34:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Susie Gibbs said...

To Dora....About that room in the Rush house. I was visiting Miss Ann years after graduation and she actually took me in what she called the "Holy of Holies". This was a large bedroom, the wall paper was really old and dingy, water stains, peeling paper. There was no closet in the room. There was wire or string hung from corner to corner on one wall, with their clothing hangin from it. I was also amazed that the room was lit by a light bulb on the end of about a 3 ft. exposed cord dangling from the ceiling. It was truly 'spooky' even then.

Sun Aug 27, 08:52:00 AM 2006  

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