Searching For Past Travelers At Barstow's Harvey House
It’s been nearly four decades since the Harvey House welcomed and housed travelers, but some say many of its visitors haven’t left.
Stories have trickled into the ears of Jeri Justus, executive director of the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce, who works at the Harvey House: Rumors of orbs of light floating in mid-air, a little girl playing peek-a-boo in the foyer, an old man with a handlebar mustache standing at the top of the stairs.
Justus herself says that although she hasn’t seen anything, or anyone, she has felt their presence. She’s felt a sudden drop in temperature on a warm day, the movement of unseen bodies swaying to music.
“Definitely there are spirits there,” she said, adding that people have seen many apparitions during the Haunted Barstow tours the chamber holds in October. “I don’t believe or not believe, (but) I know these feelings that I get.”
One group — the High Desert Paranormal Society — won’t wait until October to unearth evidence that the Harvey House is a paranormal paradise. Founders Craig Case and Dave Meyer, a Barstow resident and an Apple Valley resident respectively, and their members will lock themselves up in the Harvey House starting at 8 p.m. Friday and will search the building until 2 a.m. Saturday.
Members of the High Desert Paranormal Society, a 10-year-old group with 40 participants, will have video cameras and motion sensors set up and a command station ready to catch anything out of the ordinary. Teams of two to three people will also sweep the area continuously with night-vision cameras, electromagnetic field detectors, digital voice recorders and thermometers, Case said.
“We’ve heard lots of reports coming out of the Harvey House, particularly in the basement and upstairs,” he said. “(People) seeing white apparitions and hearing strange noises. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Evidence of paranormal activity include a spot of really cold air in the middle of a room. This is a classic sign of paranormal activity and is obvious on a hot day, Chase said. People will be listening for voices, looking for orbs and watching for spikes in the electromagnetism in the room.
Between 30 and 35 reports have reached the group of strange phenomena at the Harvey House, Chase said. About five years ago, the paranormal society investigated the outside of the building, but this will be the first time they have entered the building. - desertdispatch
History of the Harvey House
The Harvey House Railroad Depot, known as the Casa del Desierto - its original name, is a former (Fred Harvey) Harvey House located in Barstow, in the Mojave Desert within San Bernardino County, California. Casa del Desierto now functions as an unstaffed Amtrak passenger station as well as housing Barstow city offices and two museums.
The Casa del Desierto station and hotel was built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and replaced an earlier one built in 1885 that burned in 1908. It was designed by renowned Fred Harvey Company architect Mary Colter in a synthesis of Spanish Renaissance and Classical Revival architecture styles.
Harvey Houses were legendary in the history of Western rail travel. Operated by Fred Harvey in conjunction with this Santa Fe Railway, the network of restaurant-hotels set a new standard in quality meal service. Barstow's Spanish-Moorish "Casa Del Desierto" opened in 1911 and closed in 1971. It was registered as one of the last and finest remaining examples of the West's famous Harvey Houses.
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Robbed by a Ghost?
A Sugar House man seems to have captured one on surveillance, burglarizing his house. On Sept. 11, the suspect broke into a home near 2600 S. 1500 East and made off with some electronics and other personal items, said Salt Lake City Police Detective Scott Mourtgos.
What he may not have been counting on was that the homeowner had a security camera. It caught a clear picture of a suspect who, possibly by some trick of the light or the way the camera captured the image, looks pale as a sheet in his all-white clothing (except for the black shoes).
Salt Lake City Detective Ron Willis presented attendees of the Sugarhouse Community Council meeting Wednesday night with pictures of the suspect in an effort to find him. If you have information on this case, call the department at 801-799-3100. Denver Post
The day it rained blood in Chatham County
On a cloudless day in 1884, a sharecropper named Bass Lasater noticed a bead of red liquid splash on the ground near her feet – the first drop in a blood-colored downpour.
She turned and watched red rain fall for almost a minute, spattering the field outside her cabin with splotches as big as a man’s finger. By the time the storm stopped, it had soaked a rectangle 50 feet wide and 70 feet across – nearly a tenth of an acre.
To Lasater, it seemed the sky had opened up and forecast her doom. Even in a superstitious age, it’s an uncommonly bad omen when the gods send a blood deluge to your front door. Word of the cataclysm reached her neighbors in rural Chatham County, NC, including a local doctor, who arrived to take take measurements and collect specimens. Enough of a hubbub built up that the Chatham Record made a detailed but skeptical note of the spectacle.
“We do not ask our readers to believe the following wonderful statement,” it read, “but merely publish it as it is told us.”
Had the story stopped there, the blood rain of 1884 might have vanished from local memory – the ravings of a poor farm girl. Or it might have taken its place alongside North Carolina’s most famous scary legends: the Devil’s Tramping Ground and other absurd inventions of old-time imagination.
But this 19th-century horror story stands out for the interest it aroused in academic circles, for the collision between the supernatural and the cold machinery of science. The story of Chatham County’s blood rain starts to get really interesting at the entrance of Professor Francis P. Venable, chemist. For his sake, we revisit that bloody field.
As far as I can tell, nobody knows more about this curious event than Tom Maxwell, the guitarist and songwriter most of you know from his days with the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Last year, he wrote a lengthy and detailed essay in the quarterly Southern Cultures tracing the history of blood showers back to “The Iliad,” noting that 24 of them got reported in the South by the late 19th century. He admits to something of an obsession with the topic, especially the unlikely meeting between sharecropper and professor.
“Even by 1884,” he wrote in Southern Cultures, “the only thing that would bring two such disparate people as Bass Lasater and Frank Venable together was blood, falling from a clear blue sky.”
Three weeks had passed by the time Venable got involved, and the blood had more than dried around poor Lasater. At first, he and his colleagues at UNC-Chapel Hill had joked about the bloody downpour out in the sticks. But for reasons that aren’t entirely clear – Venable simply wrote “There seemed to be sufficient interest attaching to it to warrant paying a visit” – he saddled up his horse and rode south.
Lasater and her husband, Cite, worked on Silas Beckwith’s farm, which by modern reckoning, stood near the community of Bells, underneath what is now Jordan Lake. This was rural farm country, where hardly a professor ever poked his nose, let alone conversed with sharecropper’s wives.
“She was a good deal frightened and affected,” Venable wrote in a scientific journal of the day, “taking it as a portent of death or evil of some kind.”
Venable took two samples of stained sand collected after the event, lamenting that enough time had passed that he couldn’t take his own. He subjected these samples to microscope and spectroscope, tinkering in the laboratory and making careful notes, concluding that the substance on the sand had to be partially decomposed blood.
But he couldn’t explain it. Had someone once slaughtered pigs on the same ground? Maybe a bird of prey passed over carrying a dead animal, he suggested, but that would have required a lot of bleeding to cover 70 feet. Maybe somebody had pulled some kind of hoax. But why? Venable asked. To what end?
Science rode out into the country and came back guessing.
“As to theories accounting for so singular a material falling from a cloudless sky, I have no plausible ones to offer,” Venable wrote. “I have deemed this strange matter worthy of being placed on record.”
Venable went on to be president of UNC until 1914. A professorship still exists in his name. His accomplishments are lauded everywhere, but you don’t see mention of his Bass Lasater experience listed among them.
The feeling I get, and I think Tom Maxwell agrees with me, is that people wanted this story to go away. It’s one thing to suspect the skies rained blood on Chatham County, and it’s another when a lauded chemist can’t explain the facts away. Cover it over with a lake, and hope the rains don’t come again. - Charlotte Observer
Mysteries of Sky & Space UFO Conference
The Annual Mysteries of Space and Sky UFO Conference is set to take place in Annapolis, MD on October 26th, 2013. This is the longest running UFO conference in the Washington, DC area. Antonio Paris, per request, will attend the conference and is expected to talk about his new book, Aerial Phenomena: Reviving Ufology for the 21st Century For more information and tickets, visit Mysteries of Sky and Space now!
Agenda is Confirmed:
•8:30: Antonio Paris: Antonio is becoming a real “mover and shaker” in UFOLOGY, as he attempts to restore scientific respectability to the field! As Director/Founder of Aerial Phenomena Investigations, he recently organized the highly successful & innovative UFOCON ’13, and has personally investigated some of the more enigmatic UFO cases extant. Antonio will share his dream of resurrecting UFOLOGY to a new and exciting, yet more respectful level. He will discuss “Where are all the Aliens? Tough Questions for Believers”.
•9:30: Norman Gagnon: MUFON STAR Team Investigator and researcher into some of the most “high strangeness” cases in UFO history. Norman has appeared on the Discovery Channel, and will update us on the fascinating Chris Bledsoe UFO/alien encounter which was featured on national television.
•10:45: Susan Swiatek: Currently serving as the Virginia State Director for MUFON, Susan has been an invited speaker on anomalous phenomena in a host of venues, including on the nationally broadcast “Coast-to-Coast AM” radio program. She has played a major role in the success of past “Mysteries” conferences, and organized the highly acclaimed 1999 International MUFON Convention.
•1 p.m: Bob Swiatek: Rob is without question one of the most respected and knowledgeable UFO experts in the community! His assessment of the July, 1952 Washington. D.C. “saucers over Washington” flap is possibly the most thorough and accurate record of this milestone event ever presented! Rob has appeared on many national radio and TV shows, including Larry King Live, where he received many accolades for his “defense” of Ufology.
•2 p.m: John Ventre: John was recently thrust in the national spotlight after his appearance on the Anderson Cooper TV special on UFOs, and was subsequently featured on other UFO documentaries. He has published several books, including “UFOs Over Pennsylvania” and is the MUFON State Director of Pa., and an extremely popular speaker.
•3:15 p.m: Col. Thomas McCabe (Retired: USAF Reserve): Tom, a “former believer in flying saucers turned sympathetic skeptic”, is a relative newcomer to UFO conferences. He is a career military aerospace analyst for U.S. Dept. of Defense, and his writings have appeared in a variety of publications, including “Air and Space Power Journal,” “Orbis,’ “Space News” and “Strategic Review.” His monograph, “China’s Air and Space Revolutions” was recently been published by the Mitchell Institute of the Air Force Association. In the spirit of being “fair and balanced,” Col McCabe will offer a critical evaluation of the saucer phenomena, and has agreed to participate in a debate on UFOs (to begin immediately after his presentation).
•5 p.m: Dr. David Jacobs: Many do not realize that Dr. Jacobs, widely known for his views on ”alien abduction,” also wrote a seminal work on UFOs: “The UFO Controversy in America.” in fact, David has graciously agreed to debate the aforementioned Col. McCabe on UFOs at this conference! However, he will also share his reflections on his best selling book, “The Threat,” fifteen years after its publication.
Click here for Tickets! Mysteries of Sky and Space
Bowie Elks Lodge (Near Annapolis Mall)
1506 Defense Highway
The Threat: The Secret Agenda What the Aliens Really Want and How They Plan to Get It
Secret Life: Firsthand, Documented Accounts of Ufo Abductions
UFOs & Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge
Uncontrollable Entity Encounter
Port Deposit, MD - 10/9/2013 - unedited: I felt a disturbance in my side. I began to think about alien related topics, such as telepathic communication with beings, possible abductions/contact in the past, etc. Against my control, I walked to a chair (one I usually dont sit in) in my living room and gazed out the back door. I noticed a bright glowing gold craft appear in the sky, shortly followed by another beside it. I ran outside to stare at them. They displayed movement and light in which Ive never thought possible of any aircraft. I noticed they shut their lights off, and I turned around and noticed my parents inside my house. I went back inside to tell them the great news, but they dismissed it. My mom then left and my step-dad went to bed. I kept staring out the back door, and I saw them again. I ran to my room to grab the dislocated scope of a gun to get a better look at them. When I went back outside, they were glowing very bright, with bursts of light. I walked out into a field to get closer. As I gazed upon the crafts, I felt an inner joy, a great bliss, in which Ive never felt before. I periodically lost control of my body, and it seemed as if I offered myself to the crafts. I dont have much memory from that, but the next thing I remember was me holding up the scope to get a glimpse of the second craft, it seemed to come closer to me. I viewed it with great detail, it looked like nothing I could even imagine. It also seemed to let out a white light, which seemed as if it was aimed in my direction. I then took the scope away and saw beings maybe 15 feet away from me. I became overwrought with fear, and I began to hyperventilate. I turned to run, but I didnt make it far. I found myself unable to control myself, and I turned around to stare at them more. It appeared as if one came towards me, and at that moment, I managed to turn and run away. I remained outside and called a close friend, emotionally breaking down. I still noticed the beings, but I looked away for a few seconds and they were gone, and I saw the crafts in the sky again. As I write this, I grow uncontrollably tired and I feel the disturbance in my side once more. - MUFON CMS
The Alien Abduction Files: The Most Startling Cases of Human Alien Contact Ever Reported - currently reading...Kathleen Marden will be our guest on BTE Radio in November. Lon
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