Not much was said as we climbed the small knoll. We were trying not to become entangled within our harnesses and belts that were strapped upon us. My adrenaline was beginning to spike and so was my fear. We approached the set of steps up to the first platform. I was already walking a few steps ahead when we approached the stairs. The look on my daughter's face assured me I was more than welcome to go first. I proceeded up the wooden flight of stairs to the awaiting platform. Once up there, I watched every process as the attendant strapped my harness into the steel cable. I climbed another step and she opened up the gate. "Hold on!" My daughter exclaims. The attendant quickly replies "you don't have to." Not exactly the comforting words my daughter was looking forward to hearing. In my mind I'm thinking "don't worry I will." And off I went gently flying across the sky on a wire with my hands firmly grasped onto the handles. I quickly approached the next platform where I was immediately hooked onto another wire cable. From here I patiently waited to be reunited with my nervous daughter.
As she quickly zipped across the line I noticed a look of fear, as well as an adrenaline rush that placed a grin across her face. Now we had a decision to make. Head right for the more difficult obstacles, go left for the easier ones, or bypass them both and take the sky bridge. Since we're both fearful of heights we opted for the easier obstacles. Now another decision awaited me. Take the jump to the next platform, or use the swing and propel myself across. Part of me wanted to see if I had still had any of my long jumping skills left. Than I recalled "Nevermind" was also the hot new album in those days, I opted for the swing. Perhaps not the best decision. I must not have projected enough momentum because halfway across my swing came to a stand still. I outstretched my legs barely reaching the other platform and patiently pulled myself across. At this time my daughter decided she was taking the sky bridge.
She advanced toward the sky bridge and patiently walked her way across the swaying bridge. I proceeded through the various air obstacles, each proving slightly more challenging than the previous. I'm pretty sure the teenagers got a good snicker seeing a grown man with fear in his eyes. After surviving my way through the various rope and log obstacles my daughter and I rendezvoused at another wood platform.
Again we had our harnesses transferred to another set of wire cables. After being securely fastened in, I dropped off the platform and went soaring through the sky. Zipping across the tree lines watching the changing colors of the various trees, seeing the world from a bird's eye perspective. After reaching the next platform I just got strapped to the next line and off I went. No more waiting around for my daughter, too much adrenaline was flowing now. The platforms were also getting smaller and smaller, while we were advancing higher and higher into the sky.
With every zip across the sky I could feel my tensions easing. My fear of heights and the unknown became less. The refreshing wind blowing across your face, as you fly through the air, makes the worries of the world seem a bit easier. The feeling of flying allows you a freedom I haven't felt. A moment of weightlessness, a sense of independence, and a feeling of being alive.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
September 29, 1757 some locals in the area had been meeting at the home of the Spatz family. Harvest season was in effect and several locals were helping out the family. Picking, peeling, slicing, and canning various fruits and vegetables went on for several hours that day. As night began to fall the the neighbors began to depart for their homesteads, while the Spatz family prepared for a comforting night of sleep.
As the family began to slumber in their beds, the weight of their eyelids grew heavier with each passing minute. Beginning to find solace in their peace and comfort, they were awakened by the family dog making bizarre sounds. The youngest son vaulted out of his bed to take a peek. Upon opening the front door he was immediately struck by a bullet in the leg. Hurriedly he staggered back through the doorway and hastily slammed and locked the door before the intruders could gain entrance. The family rapidly collected their rifles and ammunition, and began to return fire. The family quickly realized they were severely outnumbered and were under attack by a native tribe of Indians.
As the group attempted to formulate a plan of escape, the attacking Indians were one step ahead of them. The family homestead was set ablaze while the family was still quietly gathered inside. In desperation they retreated into the stone walled basement and fought back the flames the best they could, pouring the remaining cider they had stored onto the gathering blaze.
The family stayed squandered in the basement for several hours, keeping as silent as they could. When the sun began to rise along the horizon the household thought they had out waited their assailants. As they emerged from a small basement window they were noticed by a young brave who rapidly alerted the awaiting tribesmen. The outsiders swiftly returned and began to assault the family members. Two of the children were tomahawked and scalped. The wife was bludgeoned with a butcher knife. The father and another son had their lives spared but were taken into captivity.
During all the commotion the youngest son had retreated into the woods for hiding. The Indians gave chase but eventually returned to the massacres. Stealthily the adolescent returned to the bloody scene as well. He stayed hidden behind a log while the natives finished off their work. He watched in awe as his family was brutally murdered before him, while his brother and father were led off to captivity.
The road is named due to the fact that the local spring turned a crimson color due to the blood that flowed here. The entire area was a hotbed of violent battles that occurred during the French-Indian War conclusion.
Numerous residents on the street believe there's much residual energy left nearby. Neighbors have experienced unexplainable phenomena, such as cold spots within their homes. Doors and windows have opened and closed without any explanation. One long time resident felt the presence of someone pushing her down a flight of stairs. With so much violence and spilled blood in such a close knit rural community, it should come as no surprise that there may be still be some restless souls.
Check out more on Bloody Spring Road here!
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
If you find yourself on a road trip through Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania go directly to jail. It will be an experience you won't regret or forget. The old Carbon County prison is a stately castle of solitude, full of history and mysteries.
Constructed in 1871 the fortress housed 27 cells and housing for the warden. Originally the prison housed both men and women, but on separate floors. But those who chose to not follow order would face solitary confinement in the basement. The reformatory was designed to hold the lawbreakers of society. More specifically the Molley Maguires, a group of men who fought for better working conditions within the coal mining industry that dominated the area. Unfortunately the mining companies in these times controlled every aspect of their workers lives. They provided them with a general store and housing, both of which the company would profit from. Many of these men would eventually be accused of various crimes throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. Charges would often range from arson, burglary, theft, to even murder. The corporations also controlled the detective agency which investigated the men. The police force who would arrest and detain the men, as well as the prosecuting attorneys who would have no problems building a case. The accused never stood a chance.
On June 21, 1877 a day referred to as "The Day of the Rope" four men were simultaneously hung from the gallows that were placed inside the prison. Within the next 18 months three more Molley Maguires would be hung within these walls. One of these men believed to be Alexander Campbell pleaded his innocence until his death. While being escorted out of his cell he slapped his hand onto the off-white wall proclaiming "this hand print will remain as proof of my innocence." Now many men in prison have declared their innocence since the beginning of incarceration. But for over 100 years now past wardens have cleaned, painted, and plastered over this hand print. Yet continuously in cell 17 you can see the mark of a man who demonstrated his innocence over 100 years ago.
You may also enjoy the Molley Maguire park, and this prison.
Prison is located 128 W. Broadway Jim Thorpe, Pa.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
You don't have to take a road trip to Sleepy Hollow to get spooked by headless ghosts. Hidden away on the roads of rural Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania rests a covered bridge believed to be haunted by such a spirit.
On a blistery winter night in the mid 19th century a man was traveling home in his horse drawn sleigh. A fresh snow had just fallen and covered the hilly roadways. He cautiously traversed his carriage through the slick, white powder. As the man made the turn to cross over the covered bridge he realized the bridge was devoid of snow. Unfortunately he was too late to come to a halt. When his snowbound vehicle touched the dry wooden timbers of the bridge, the man's horse became frightened and careened the sled out of control. The horse rose to his feet, tossing the owner from the sleigh. During the commotion the man found himself entangled within the reins of the horse. The reins had forced a grasp around the gentlemen's neck, the force of the horse cleanly swiped the man's head from his neck.
Other nearby spots you may enjoy. Witchcraft Road Crystal Cave Dragons Cave
Sunday, October 20, 2013
If you think Sleepy Hollow is all Headless Horseman and ghost stories, you haven't been into the Dark Shadows. Hidden away in the nearby town of Tarrytown, which Sleepy Hollow used to be part of, lies an imposing Gothic structure. Tales of vampires, witches, werewolves, and man made monsters surround the place. Located only one mile south of the Tappan Zee bridge, Lyndhurst is a site to behold...if you dare!
Walking the paved path to the modern castle our nerves were a bit sensitive. Our tiny flashlights and the glare of the moon lit our dim pathway. Massive trees obstructed what little light we had. Mysterious scarecrows in the surrounding field stared at us from a distance. The Autumn chill had our hairs on end as we approached the monstrous structure. Colored lights lit up the facade while casting a menacing shadow. From the outside we could hear the minor keys of an organ being played, our fears were beginning to be amplified even more. We cautiously approached the colossal wooden doors. As we neared the entry we were startled to be greeted by a gentlewoman, who was eager to show us around.
Stepping through the doors with our anxieties heightened even more, we stare in amazement at the Gothic architecture. Diminutive arched windows allowing only glimmers of light. Narrow hallways line the mansion, which are offset by high vaulted cathedral style ceilings.
Originally designed in 1838. The home was constructed of limestone from the nearby quarries in Sing-Sing. It's growth continued for over a century by the several families who resided there. These included a former "Big Apple" mayor, a shrewd businessman, and a railroad tycoon. They all left their unique touch on the home. Including varying architectural styles, as well as various interior, and furnishing changes.
Besides some of it's successful owners, the home is known more for the creatures who have lurked around the property. In 1970, after being released from a vault in the Sleepy Hollow cemetery, a vampire was seen lingering around the Lyndhurst property.
The following year several witnesses spotted a witch prowling around the grounds. it seems that as quickly as they were seen, was as quickly as they vanished. Than in 1979 things got very strange at Lyndhurst. Not only did the witch and the vampire make a return visit, but a werewolf, a mummy, and a Frankenstein monster were all detected along the property.
'House of Dark Shadows" and its sequel "Night of Dark Shadows", both used interior and exterior locations for filming the cult movies based on the popular soap opera.
The family friendly telefilm, "The Halloween that Almost Wasn't" was filmed almost entirely on location at the Gothic mansion. Disney routinely played the film until the late 19990's. Now the film is quite difficult to locate, which is a shame. The final scene is totally groovy! Lucky for you I found it on YouTube.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
On nights in Autumn, the Philipsburg Manor transforms from historical education center to a haven for creatures, monsters, and misfits. The Horseman's Hollow haunted attraction is frequently rated as one of the tops in the country.
On a brisk October night my family and I braved the nip in the air and the chill in our bones. Waiting in line we could feel the anticipation building inside us. Myself, I can watch the goriest, scariest films without even flinching or being fazed. My enjoyment from these things is the amusement I get from my wife being scared. I know it's kinda demented. At times I purposely lead her right into the hideous creatures waiting around the corner. I do get a giggle out of how terrified she gets, but also get comfort when she looks for me to protect her.
Well, this night was gonna be a bit different. My teenage daughter was along for the trip. The anticipation she faced while in line, you could cut with a knife. Pacing around in line, chewing fingernails, asking me repeatedly "how scary is it?" My reply over and over "I don't know!" There was definitely some fear of the unknown inside her. No matter how many times we told her this is all fake, her fears continued welling up.
As we entered into the attraction I led the way with my two ladies in tow. They grasped each others hands as they gripped the back of my shirt. We dodged and darted our way around creeps and scares at every corner. Stalks of corn towering around, while strobes of light disoriented our vision. Black lights mesmerizing colors in our conscience. Strange hands reaching out to grab you, while screams of panic raged out around us. This was all too much for my daughter. Her breathing began to get a bit heavier, and the tears began to develop. My wife grasped her closer as I tried comforting her with words. We briskly began to rush through the attraction as quickly as we could. I couldn't help but notice everywhere we turned the same monster seemed to be there. I believe he recognized my confusion also. It was at this time that this ominous creature informed me he was an E.M.T. and asked if my daughter was gonna be okay, and if we wished to exit the attraction. We declined on exiting but felt better knowing this man was not trying to continuously scare us but was generally concerned for our well being. From that point on that dark figure waiting in the corners, was a sigh of relief for us.
Our visit to the Horseman's Hollow taught us all a few things. My teenage daughter realized she may not be as grown as she would like to believe. My wife learned that when someone is more afraid she can step up and fill herself with enough courage to escape danger. And I realized nothing can really scare me except the feelings I have for my amazing daughter and beautiful wife. Together we all learned that not all the people who act in these attractions are not just weirdos who get off on scaring people, but are people themselves. After relaxing our nerves with some warm cider, we all shared the most common reaction after being frightened... we participated in a bout of exuberant laughter.
Friday, October 18, 2013
While attempting to flee from the path of the Headless Horseman, Ichabod Crane took a route through the Old Dutch burial grounds. It was in these grounds where the final showdown between the two took place. Ichabod felt if he could cross the bridge spanning the Pocantico river he could escape the ruthless horseman who was hot on his tail. Others who had encountered him had declared the horseman would vanish in a ball of fire if this occurred.
As the two raced toward the diminutive structure the headless horseman quickly gained ground. When Ichabod's horse hit the rustic bridge the lumber boards rattled below. The simpleton glanced behind him in anticipation of seeing his pursuer burst into a ball of flames. Instead he saw the horseman's steed rise up on two legs while the decapitated goblin hurtled his head at his unsuspecting victim. Many believe this was the end of Ichabod Crane's life.
The four lane modern bridge on route 9 is named the Headless Horseman bridge and was constructed by William Rockefeller, who founded Standard Oil with his brother John. This bridge is in close proximity to the one Ichabod and the horseman had their final confrontation.
Sleepy Hollow cemetery gates and discover the rustic beauty they have hidden away. It may not have a cool sign near it, but it makes for an awesome souvenir photo. Get yours here!