There's certainly no shortage of ghost stories in New York, but it's not often a political figure steps up and makes statements about potential spirits. Current NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has done just that.
According to the Albany Times Union, Cuomo mentioned the topic back in April, noting that he's not interested in ghosts and considers himself a 'big, tough guy,' but bravado aside, he reports that he doesn't sleep much in the mansion:
"It's a creepy house. I'm a big, tough guy so I don't get afraid of ghosts, but I'm not enamored with them anyway. So I don't sleep much when I'm in that house because there are a lot of noises going on, and it gives me a chance to read up on past governors and what they've done in New York."
A later report in the New York Post offered further statements from the Governor:
"So, it's me alone, when I'm in the house because my family is in Westchester...and there are stories that this house is haunted. Now, I don't believe in ghosts, and I'm a big, tough Italian guy, but I'll tell you, it gets creepy in that house, and there are a lot of noises that go on and you are very alone."
The mansion is 161 years old and sits near the Capitol building in Albany. According to historians, the only recorded death in the mansion occurred in 1909 when the Reverend David C. Hughes, father of Governor Charles Hughes, died from a "stroke of apoplexy."
Whether or not Rev. Hughes is responsible for the paranormal activity in the mansion is up for debate. Most people don't believe that the Reverend had any unfinished business to keep him around. Still, New York State Capitol assistant curator Stuart Lehman, who leads the annual Capitol Hauntings tours every Halloween, says visitors have reported a variety of strange sounds and sights in state buildings, including the governor's mansion.
Former governor David Paterson stepped up with his own take on the haunted mansion telling the Post that ghost absolutely did exist in the grand old house.
Paterson says that while living at the mansion, his five-year-old nephew told him he could feel an invisible hand guiding him up the home's stairs. The former governor also relayed one of his personal accounts.
Late one night, he was in a second-floor bedroom when he heard a sound 'like a vase smashing.' He searched two floors of the building but could find nothing to explain the strange noise. The following day, he spoke with staff who told the governor he'd encountered the mansion's ghost.
"I told the staff, and they all got quiet and left the room. One came to me and said, Governor, nobody wanted to say this to you, but it's the ghost. One employee is afraid to clean one of the rooms because she thinks the ghost is in the room."
Staff members at the mansion believe the spirit is that of a former groundskeeper. In fact, they believe it's the groundskeeper for the mansion's original owners, that is-before the state bought the building in 1877-meaning that the noisy spirit may have been present for a very long time.
Paterson offered some words of comfort to the current governor:
"Governor Cuomo should be relieved, it's a friendly ghost, like Casper."
As for current governor Cuomo, he spends most of his time at his family home in Westchester and when he's in the Albany mansion, well, those sleepless nights are spent buried in books, trying perhaps, to ignore the eerie sounds that take over the historic building each night.
"...come with me now as we take a trek into the dark and turbulent domain of Nessie, the world's most supernatural monster."
So says Nick Redfern in the introduction of his new book, "Nessie." In some ways, it's a big promise, but as usual, Redfern delivers.
The Loch Ness Monster is one of the world's most famous cryptids. Over the years, there have been countless books published examining various theories to explain what the monster may be. That being the case, one has to wonder, what exactly a new book on the topic may have to offer. Sadly missing among the various publications of recent years, has been a close look at the supernatural elements and possibilities related to the creature. This, is what Nick has brought to the table with his latest foray.
Back in the 1960's, the late Frederick W. "Ted" Holiday, another Brit who was intrigued by the monster, wrote "The Great Orm of Loch Ness: A Practical Inquiry into the Nature and Habits of Water-Monsters" Holiday used the term "Orm," roughly meaning "worm" as a launching point to delve into a theory that the creatures in Loch Ness, and in other lochs, were actually giant worms. Almost as soon as he published the theory, Holiday was off delving into other possibilities. Possibilities that the creatures were something more akin to the paranormal world rather than flesh and blood beasts.
Redfern delves into Holiday's work, paying tribute in a sense, but in some ways, it feels like he picked up the threads still hanging from questions Holiday brought up. Redfern brings in other fascinating aspects to the Loch Ness mystery as well, covering other researchers, and the numerous odd incidents that have unfolded in recent years. This in fact, is where the strength of the book lies.
Dragon Cults? Check.
The "Great Beast" aka Aleister Crowley? Check.
The Exorcism of Loch Ness? Check.
And there's more, much more.
While many researchers insist that, if there is indeed a creature in Loch Ness, it must be a physical animal, the vast amount of strange occurrences around the loch over the years point to even more intriguing possibilities. It's this range of alternative information relating to Nessie and her environs that Redfern ably delves into in this volume. As with any good book in the fortean field, Nick offers some speculations and stimulates the inquiring mind, leaving more mysteries for us to explore.
As someone long intrigued by the creature and the Loch itself, I've read most, maybe all, of the material published over the years. But even if you're a veteran Nessie aficionado, you'll love this book as a "refresher" course on the weirder aspects of the legend and you might find a few gems you haven't heard much about previously.
Check out Nessie, it's another great offering from Nick Redfern.
The Hindustan Times is reporting that police in Western Rajasthan are at their wit's ends trying to solve a bizarre series of cases reported by families in the region. Reports claim that women and girls are being plagued by a "hair cutting ghost."
Baburam Meghwal, a resident of the Jodhpur district, told the Times:
"A few days ago, my 13-year-old daughter Asha (name changed) was sleeping in the night when someone chopped off a thick bunch of her hair. We came to know about the incident when she woke up and started crying."
The phantom barber started his attacks in June and, to date, authorities have received dozens of similar reports from across the region. Police started getting calls about the strange attacks and at the same time, social media posts added to the furor. Rumors spread like wildfire and a weird panic set in throughout several villages.
Many citizens believe that a group practicing black magic is involved. These evil magical practitioners purportedly have the ability to shape-shift. It's said they gain their powers by cutting the hair of unsuspecting females.
Meghwal expressed the same concern that residents have been discussing in hushed tones: "We suspect occult activities and the supernatural being involved in this as there was no outsider present in our house during the time of the incident."
Usually, the incidents occur when the women are sleeping. In some cases, the victims are put to sleep, perhaps via a gas. Tarachand Lakhan told reporters about the attack on his family: "I work at a hospital as a fourth class staff and was on duty when the incident happened. My family was watching TV when a strange smell started to come through the cooler and they all fell asleep."
Lakhan said after they awoke from their strange slumber, they discovered a lock of their fourteen-year-old daughter's hair near the front door. The family was so concerned they conducted a spiritual ceremony in the house for clearing and protection:
"We were extremely worried after the incident and had to conduct a pooja in our house to ward off any evil force that was behind this phenomenon. I didn't go to work for the next two days and stayed guard at the house."
A rural Police Superintendent voiced concern over the rapid spread of rumors and stated that the incidents were mostly affecting poor areas:
"We are investigating all the occasions, but so far, it's not clear who all are behind the phenomenon. Most of these incidents have taken place in the remotest of villages where literacy is very poor."
Adding to the growing panic, messages have been appearing in WhatsApp groups, warning villagers about evil spirits active in their communities. Terrified citizens have formed groups to patrol the streets, looking for the culprits.
The panic has been a boon to "bhopas," purported 'godmen' who claim to be experts on various mystical matters. These mystics claim they can offer protections against the evil entities...for a fee. Government officials have criticized the bhopas and the attempt to cash in on the situation:
"The bhopas are flaring up the situation by spreading unnecessary panic for their own profit."
Authorities are trying their best to control the growing panic, sending representatives out with nightly village patrols to prevent innocent people from being harmed. They have few leads on the source of the messages and are still attempting to get to the root of the panic.