Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Halloween is one of the creepiest times of the year. The holiday was molded from ancient Celtic practices, religious rituals, and European folk traditions. Halloween is a time for celebration, candy, and ghostly superstition. The day has long been thought of a time when the dead come alive and watch over the land. These spirits will gather at haunted locations and wander the corners of Earth. The energy surrounding ghosts is said to increase tenfold on Halloween day. The ancient Celtic people would light bonfires and wear consumes to ward off the roaming spirits. In the history of modern man, certain patches of land have witnessed horrifying events of mass murder and carnage. These locations are said to house certain disturbing and ritualistic ghosts. This article will be discussing ten haunted places around the world. Places that might be stricken with an unexplained ghostly phenomenon this upcoming Halloween.

Camp Scott Top Tenz

10. Camp Scott

   Camp Scott is a 410-acre (1.7 km2) compound that is located in the US state of Oklahoma. The former Girl Scout camp is situated along the Snake and Spring Creeks near State Highway 82, in Mayes County. In 1977, Camp Scott entered its 49th year as a keystone in the Girls Scouts of America program. The annual summer camp began on June 12, 1977. Around 6pm on the first day of camp, a large thunder storm struck the area. This caused the dozens of campers to huddle inside their tents for the entire evening. Inside of tent #8 in the Kiowa unit, housed three small girls named Lori Lee Farmer, 8, Doris Denise Milner, 10, and Michele Guse, 9. What happened next cannot be adequately described. The following morning, a camp counselor discovered the lifeless bodies of all three girls. They had been raped, bludgeoned, and murdered. The victim’s bodies were scattered over the surrounding forest land. The event remains one of the worst mass murders in the history of Oklahoma
   In the weeks before the murders, strange events took place around Camp Scott. Personal items began disappearing from the cabins and tents. In one incident, a counselor reported that her doughnuts had been stolen, and inside the empty doughnut box was a disturbing hand-written note. The author vowed to “murder three campers in tent 1.” Because summer camps are rife with ghost stories, the note was treated as a prank and discarded. After the murders, Oklahoma police launched one of the largest manhunts in US history. Detectives ultimately focused their attention on a man named Gene Leroy Hart, who had been free since escaping from the Mayes County Jail four years earlier. He had previously been convicted of raping two pregnant women. Hart was arrested and tried for the crimes, but was ultimately acquitted of the killings in 1979. Later that year he died of a heart attack while in prison.
   During the publicized trial, the camp underwent many accusations, stemming from the fact that the girl’s tent was 86-yard (79 m) from any counselors. Other campers reported that they witnessed a man peeking in their tents on the evening of the murders. The day following the incident, Camp Scott was closed forever. To date, the Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders remain unsolved and DNA testing has returned inconclusive results. However, something is said to remain on the grounds of Camp Scott. It has been claimed that when a heavy rain falls, the eerie sound of small girls crying can be heard.     Dark shadows are said to lurk and the sensation of someone walking around you has been reported. Only true thrill seekers will stay a night within the walls of the Camp Scott compound. In an interesting twist, the original Friday the 13th film was released in 1980, which is only three years after the violent murders. The movie franchise has helped insert an urban legend in popular culture that summer camps are creepy and dangerous. Camp Scott just might be.

Phantom Vehicles Top Tenz


9. Phantom Vehicles

   Many areas of the world claim to hold the mystery of a phantom vehicle. A phantom vehicle is a ghostly or haunted mode of transportation, which can take the form of a car, train, ship or plane. In some cases, the objects are said to have a visual flicker. One of the most famous phantom vehicles in the world is located in the Saskatchewan village of St. Louis. St. Louis is an eerie place with a strange past. The area houses a large archeological site, where some bizarre bones have been unearthed. Key discoveries at the site have included evidence of an ancient species of wolf and buffalo, which are approximately 25% larger than modern species. Beads have also been discovered that have indicated a style and decoration of clothing occurring approximately 1000 years prior than previously thought. In 1983, the Canadian National Railway abandoned the rail line that was located south of Prince Albert and north of St. Louis. The tracks were permanently removed, but it seems that the train has stayed.
   On a nightly basis, lights can be seen traveling along the path of the old St. Louis train tracks. The lights are flashy with bright colors. This paranormal phenomenon has been named the St. Louis Light. Thrill seekers from all over the world travel to this area of Canada to view the strange occurrence, which has been described as the carriage lights of a train traveling from the south. The intensity of this activity increases on certain days of the year and the lights bring about strong emotional reactions in people. Silverpilen is a reported subway train that haunts the metro system of Stockholm, Sweden. The phantom train has been described as a silver aluminum model C5 car. This model was manufactured in the middle of the 1960s. During this time, Silverpilen was the only train in the entire Swedish fleet that was silver. It acted as a back-up unit until 1996, but many residents of Sweden have never seen the vehicle and fail to believe in the train’s existence. According to ghost stories from this area of the world, Silverpilen only travels after 12:00 midnight and has been known to stop and invite travelers.
   Upon entering the doors of the train, a fuzzy feeling falls over your body as you encounter a compartment full of ghost life. The doomed passengers are then lost in the train forever or emerge from the vehicle days to months later. On the night of December 29, 1972, Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 crashed under strange circumstances into the Florida Everglades. In all, 101 of the 178 passengers onboard the flight were killed in the accident. After the crash, Flight 401 became known for reported paranormal activity, supposedly stemming from the salvage of the plane’s aircraft parts, which were placed on a number of different airplanes after the accident. Over the following months after the crash, employees of Eastern Air Lines began reporting sightings of the dead crew members on board a different L-1011 (N318EA). It was a serious situation and the reports caused officials to remove all equipment that originally came from the doomed Flight 401. After the action, reports of the ghosts stopped.

Clinton Road


8. Clinton Road

   Clinton Road is located in West Milford, Passaic County, New Jersey. The road spans roughly 10 miles (16 km). Over the generations, Clinton Road has gained a reputation for unexplained paranormal activity. Reported visions include a roadside hitchhiking ghost, strange creatures, Satanists, the Ku Klux Klan, and fireside witch gatherings. There are only a small number of houses lining the road and much of the adjoining property is undeveloped publicly owned woodlands. Articles describing abnormal activity on Clinton Road date back to 1905. One legend tells of a ghost boy that drowned in a stream along the road. Supposedly, if you toss a coin into the water off any of the bridges on Clinton Road, the boy will throw it back at you. This area of New Jersey clearly has a long history, with an American Revolutionary War iron smelter being located just east of the road. If you drive down Clinton Road late at night, headlights of a truck may appear out of nowhere and chase you down until you exit the road. Daylight visions have been cited, with people claiming that they have seen people dressed in strange clothing loitering around in the woods.
   People who visit Clinton Road have reported a feeling of uneasiness or mounting dread as they move down the road, sometimes so great that they have to turn back. In 1905, a man named Richard Cross built a castle on the high land peering over the reservoir surrounding Clinton Road. Decades later, the structure fell into ruin when a fire destroyed it. After the incident, the castle became a popular location for teenage parties and reported Satan worshippers and their sacrifices. It is a scary place, and certain people have written to Weird NJ magazine telling of strange occurrences in or near the castle site. This includes people going into seizures and being physically injured. Within certain individuals, the castle is said to produce instant and disturbing visions. Many people have also reported seeing members of the KKK, which is interesting because prior to the US entry into World War II, a German-American Bund maintained camps in the area surrounding Clinton Road. If you are unfamiliar, a Bund member holds a favorable view of Nazi Germany.
   It has been rumored that professional killers dispose of bodies in the surrounding woods. In 1983, this claim was substantiated when a bicyclist traveling on Clinton Road noticed a group of vultures feasting at a spot in the nearby woods. This sparked the man’s interest and led him to the discovery of a dead body. An autopsy found that the deceased individual had been murdered by foul play, but something else initially puzzled police. The victim had ice crystals in his blood vessels near the heart. Pathologists concluded that someone had frozen his body after death in an attempt to mislead investigators into believing he died at a later time. Ultimately the information led to the direct arrest of Richard Kuklinski or The Iceman. Kuklinski is a prolific contract killer and mafia assassin. The six foot five inch (196 cm), 300 pound (135 kg) monster claims to have murdered over 250 men over a career that lasted from 1948 till 1986. It is unclear how many bodies he planted in the area surrounding Clinton Road or if his victims still haunt the patch of land today

The Weeping Woman Top Tenz

7. The Weeping Woman

   La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) is a popular legend in the Spanish-speaking cultures of the southwestern part of the US and Mexico. The story tells of a beautiful woman named Maria who suffered from depression and drowned her two young children by tossing them into a flowing river. Maria became haunted by the memory of her kids and ultimately crumbled in inconsolable grief. She would not eat, and walked alone on the riverfront in her torn white gown searching for her boys. She cried endlessly, with periodic fits of screaming and wailing. After weeks of suffering, she ended her life on the banks of a riverbed. When Maria reached the gates of heaven, she was asked, “Where are your children?” and she replied, “I don’t know, my Lord.” She was not permitted to enter heaven until she found her boys, banished to an eternity of wandering the Earth’s rivers, searching in vain for her drowned offspring.
   Over the centuries, the ghost of La Llorona has become angered. In certain areas of the world she is known to hunt and kidnap wandering children or teenagers that disobey their parents, grabbing the kids by the leg and tugging them into a watery grave. After darkness falls, Maria’s restless spirit walks the banks of multiple bodies of water in the southwest portion of the Americas. In the area surrounding the Santa Fe River in New Mexico, her loud cries have become a curse of the night. The Weeping Woman is a beautiful ghost. She is tall and thin with long flowing hair. Reports have claimed that she can be seen drifting between trees along the shorelines or floating in the watery current. If you are marked by the desire of La Llorona, an untimely and mysterious drowning could be in your future. Some believe that those who can hear her cries are going to die.
   In Mexico, Central and South America, the tale of La Llorona is represented as a cultural symbol that models negative behavior, ultimately looking to prescribe an idealized version of motherhood. The ghost of La Llorona has been reported in many locations throughout North and South America, including a creek between Mora and Guadalupita, New Mexico, and as far north as the Yellowstone River. However, the majority of the reports of the Weeping Woman surround the Santa Fe River. For example, a tall wailing spirit has been repeatedly viewed in the PERA Building near the river. The PERA structure was built on land that once held an old Spanish-Indian graveyard. If you are looking for a good Halloween scare, go explore the Santa Fe PERA structure on a dark evening.

Crybaby Bridges Top Tenz


6. Crybaby Bridges of Ohio

   Over the years, a strange phenomenon has been recorded in the vicinity of specific rural bridges in the US state of Ohio. On certain days of the year, after the Sun goes down, the sound of a baby’s presence can be heard. Most often, a shattering cry is recorded, but in other cases a baby’s laughter or scattered speech is said to plague the area. These bridges have been given the label Crybaby Bridges. The eerie locations usually hold a violent history, with stories involving a baby or young child being brutally killed. One of the most famous Crybaby Bridges is the Rogues’ Hollow Bridge, which is located near Doylestown, Ohio. In 1840, this area of Ohio experienced a large mining boom when coal was discovered in the deep hollows southeast of the village. The area became known as Rogues’ Hollow because the miners had a strong reputation for wild goings and violence. Rogues’ Hollow was congested with saloons, houses of ill repute, disease, dust and Sunday dog fights.
The Rogues’ Hollow Bridge sits deep inside Rogues’ Hollow on an old climbing road. The bridge is located in a remote area and is approachable from only one direction. Due to bad weather, it can only be reached during certain months of the year. The bridge is adjacent to the old Chidester Mill, which is often included in articles describing haunted locations. Loud voices and celebrations are said to radiate around the Chidester Mill. If you dare venture near the Rogue Hollow Bridge on a dark evening, be sure to keep an open ear for the sound of a crying baby. The noise has been reported to come from all directions, often times floating above your head. People have also reported that as they left the bridge, the intensity and volume of the crying increased. The Screaming Bridge of Maud Hughes Road is another reportedly haunted bridge located in Liberty Township, Ohio. The bridge is reputed to have been the site of many terrible accidents and suicides.
A set of old railroad tracks sits 25 feet below the bridge, and at least 36 people are said to have been killed on or around the Maud Hughes Road Bridge. Many different people have reported seeing and hearing usual things around the structure, including ghostly figures, mists, and lights, as well as black hooded figures and a phantom train. These aspirations seem to have an evil agenda and people often report a sensation of wanting to run while crossing the Maud Hughes Bridge. Others have made claims of screaming in their ear, load moans, shrieks, and the sound of a baby crying. Near the town of Salem, Ohio, citizens have reported strange occurrences around the Egypt Road Bridge. The area surrounding this bridge is closed off to the public. The bridge is located at the end of a dead-end and can only be reached from a single direction. Strange occurrences around the bridge have been reported, including the loud cries of a baby. However, unlike other Crybaby Bridges, on Egypt Road these sounds seem to occur during the day and night.

Popobawa Top Tenz

5. Popobawa

   Popobawa is the name of an evil creature that has been terrorizing the East African coast. The spirit is a shapeshifter and has been described as taking many different forms. The being can appear as either a human or an animal, and metamorphose from one into the other. The beast has been viewed during the daytime, but doesn’t attack until the late evening. Popobawa has been reported to abuse men, women and children, but the majority of the incidents are targeted at men. People routinely report assaults and poltergeist-like phenomena surrounding the creature. However, the most feared action is a sexual attack and the sodomizing of adult men. Many people in this area of the world have contacted the police and implicating the Popobawa in rape cases. In the mainstream media, the events have been described as an incident of mass hysteria or panic that comes and goes in waves. The largest outbreaks occurred in 1995 and 2007, when the reports spread all over the East African coast. The victims of the Popobawa are ordered to tell others about the attack, or the creature will return. It seems that the villagers in this area of the world become enraged if you claim that the spirit is unreal or fake in any way.
The Popobawa has been known to attack in many areas along the East African coast. The reports of the creature originated from the area surrounding Zanzibar Archipelago, which holds several islands off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean. Specifically, the area of Pemba Island is said to be watched by the Popobawa. However, during large outbreaks, the presence of the spirit has been reported in mainland Tanzania. His presence is usually announced by the sound of scraping claws on the roof and a sharp, pungent smell. It has been suggested that the wave of attacks increase during All Hallows’ Eve, when ghosts are said to patrol the night. In most reports, Popobawa primarily attacks men and only in their own beds, resulting in many guys sleeping outside in the streets or on porches after recent attacks. The beast is known to overpower his prey, holding their face to the floor and sodomizing them for up to an hour. His genital area has been described as “significant.” Many Africans believe that the creature takes human form by day, and lives among the people. If you visit this area of Africa, keep a look out for the Popobawa.

The Candy Man Top Tenz

4. The Candy Man

   Dean Corll was a sadistic serial killer that savagely murdered dozens of small boys in the US state of Texas during the early 1970s. He was responsible for the death of a confirmed 27 children. At this time in history, the term serial killer had not yet been coined, and the case was simply known as the Houston Mass Murders. In the early 1960s, the Corll Candy Company was founded by Dean’s mother. The Corll family set up a production facility in their home and turned the garage into a candy store, which was located across the street from Heights Elementary School, in the Houston Heights area of northwest Houston, Texas. Dean became second in command of the candy business and lived in an apartment over the garage. During this time, Dean Corll became known as The Candy Man. He would routinely give out free candy to the local children, in particular teenage boys. The company had a handful of employees and Dean was in charge of hiring the staff, which consisted of teenage children.
   He even installed a pool table at the rear of the factory where employees and local youths would go to hang-out and do drugs. At this time, Dean Corll befriended 12-year-old David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley. In 1968, the Corll Candy Company closed and Dean gained work as an electrician. He killed his first known victim in 1970. Most of the children he murdered were abducted from Houston Heights. He would lure his victims into a van with an offer of a party. He used the help of two teenage boys, David Brooks and Elmer Henley, who were given $200 for every successful capture. He would overpower his victims and perform sadistic rituals. Corll would start by putting his prey on a plywood torture board. He sexually assaulted all victims and usually killed them by strangulation or shooting with a .22 caliber pistol. Upon searching his home, police found multiple wooden torture boards with handcuffs, ropes, sex toys, and plastic covering the carpeted floor. He also owned an odd wooden crate with what appeared to be air holes cut into it.
   On August 8, 1973, Henley angered Dean Corll when he brought his young girlfriend over to his house with another friend, Tim Kerley. The group drank and did drugs and each fell asleep, but when they awoke Corll had handcuffed them all. Elmer Henley reportedly convinced Corll to let him go, so that he could participate in the murders. When his back was turned, Henley took the gun and shot Dean Corll six times killing him instantly. Henley then began to tell the police about the deadly rampage and specify where the children’s bodies were buried. It was the first time that the Houston police department had investigated Dean Corll or even connected the series of rash murders to one person. In a highly publicized trial, Brooks was found guilty of one murder and sentenced to life in prison. Henley was convicted of six of the murders and sentenced to six 99-year-terms.
During the years of Dean Corll’s murder spree, he is known to have frequently changed addresses in the Houston Heights area. He lived in a trailer park, several apartment buildings and rented rooms at private residences. Specifically, these locations include a metal warehouse in the 500 block of West 22nd Street, a run-down apartment building in the 800 block of Heights Boulevard, a house on North Durham and an apartment on East 7th Street. A collection of old structures in the Houston Heights area have witnessed the worst crimes known to man. Dean Corll buried his victims in one of four separate locations, a rented boatshed in southwest Houston, a beach on the Bolivar Peninsula, in woodland near a cabin on Lake Sam Rayburn (owned by his family) or on a beach in Jefferson County. A small group of people living in Houston believe that the ghost of Dean Corll and his victims haunt the city. Reports have surfaced from his grave stone, which mysteriously reads “PFC US Army.” Why he was still given this honor after death is unknown to me.

Corpse Road Top Tenz

3. Corpse Road

   In late medieval times, a steady population increase caused an expansion in the construction of churches in Great Britain. This upset the mother churches of the area, who felt that the new organizations were encroaching on their territory and taking away profits and power. For this reason, they instituted a law indicating that all burial rights were the property of the mother church. Officials had corpse roads constructed, which connected outlying locations and their main churches. This was a great hardship on the people and it meant that citizens living on the outskirts of town had to transport their dead family members a long distance in order to be buried. Sometimes the corpse roads traveled up steep mountain cliffs and over large bodies of water and rivers. Many of the pathways contained specifically placed coffin stones, which were used as a resting spot for the travelers. Evidence of the stones is still evident today and a number of the locations are said to hold a dark spirit. In many cases, humble men, women, and old citizens were given this impossible task of transporting their loved ones. This burning animosity and the continual shuffling of human corpses is said to have left a lasting impression on the hundreds of corpse roads in Europe and South America.
Many of the corpse roads have disappeared over the years, but you can still see the remains of some prominent routes, which appear in the form of small woven pathways. For generations, people have reported strange noises and lights on these ancient corpse roads. Legend tells that spirits and ghosts regularly fly along the roads in a direct straight line from one end to the next. This energy guides the people along the trail at night. It directs them around all fences, walls, buildings, and other structures. The Will-o’-the-wisp are said to patrol the corpse roads. Folklore is full of tales describing the Will-o’-the-wisp, which are ghostly lights that resemble a flickering lamp. These mischievous spirits attempt to confuse travelers. They are said to recede and fade away if approached. Ancient people believed that these paths were haunted. They followed a list of specific rules to prevent the dead from wandering the land as lost souls or animated corpses.
The number of reportedly haunted corpse roads is extensive. Phantom lights are regularly witnessed on the Scottish cemetery-island of Mun in Loch Leven. Traditionally, these lights were thought to be omens of impending death. Many eyes have reported a regular phantom funeral procession heading across Dartmoor on its way to Widecombe and the burial ground. People have also witnessed a monk dressed in all white. Places where corpse roads intersect are considered dangerous and are believed to be occupied by special spirit-guardians. A famous corpse road in England runs from Rydal to Ambleside in the Lake District. Along this route, at the foot of Blue Bell Hill, is an old coffin stone. It is a rectangular stone that measures 14.4 feet (4.4 m) long and 9 feet (2.8 m) wide. In 1836, a sack of bones was discovered under the rock and it has since been revealed that the area is one of the Medway tombs. The Corpse Rock is located on private grounds, with local residents staying far away from the area in the mist of night. However, the field is currently being planted as a vineyard, which has caused a buzz in the area, as it may be disturbing sacred ground and releasing the wrath of ancient ghosts.

2. Suicide Cliff and Banzai Cliff

The Pacific Ocean theatre of World War II was a major conflict between the armed forces of Japan and those of the United States, the British Empire, the Netherlands and France. Two of the largest battles included the Battle of Saipan and Battle of Okinawa. The 82-day-long Battle of Okinawa was one of the deadliest in all of World War II. Japan lost over 100,000 troops, and the Allies suffered more than 50,000 casualties. Simultaneously, more than 100,000 civilians were killed, wounded, or committed suicide, which was approximately one-quarter of the entire population. The one chilling factor that both of these battles have in common is the mass suicide of Japanese civilians, usually accomplished by leaping from the steep cliff faces of the islands. After the Allied forces captured Saipan, the soldiers erected a civilian prisoner encampment. They were told that over 25,000 Japanese people lived on the island, but it was soon evident that thousands were missing.
After searching the island, Allied soldiers made the grisly discovery that Japanese citizens were committing suicide by jumping from Saipan’s Suicide Cliff and Banzai Cliff. It has since been realized that Emperor Hirohito personally found the threat of the defection of Japanese civilians disturbing. During the Battle of Saipan, Hirohito sent out an imperial order encouraging the civilians of Saipan to commit suicide. The order authorized the commander of Saipan to promise civilians who died an equal spiritual status in the afterlife. Over 10,000 Japanese people committed suicide in the last days of the conflict. In Okinawa, this issue is at the center of an ongoing disagreement between the local government and Japan’s national government. In 2007, a mass rally erupted in Okinawa when the Japanese government announced that they were changing the wording in school text books regarding the suicides. Okinawa ultimately won a court battle and the books were restored, using the statement that the citizens “were forced into mass suicides by the Japanese military.” This was partially achieved by evidence that implicated the Japanese military in distributing grenades for the purpose of suicide.
The island of Saipan is said to be haunted by ghosts. Today, the land is officially the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It is littered with underground shelters and tunnels that were used during the war. In many cases, mass suicides were performed in the bunkers or massacres took place as US troops dropped explosives into them. This is said to have left a lasting impression on the Saipan underground, with the sound of artillery fire, explosions, and screams routinely spreading over the land. However, the majority of the strange activity has been reported on the cliffs surrounding the limestone covered Mount Tapochau, located at 1,560 ft (480 m). One of the drops has been given the nickname Suicide Cliff, while the other is named Banzai Cliff.
The beauty of Saipan makes it a popular tourist destination and many people have claimed supernatural experiences. At all times of day, but more prevalent at night, human figures can be seen leaning over the cliffs and jumping. Children can be heard crying and sporadic gusts of wind loom over the area. Unlike other ghostly phenomenon, these spirits appear to be determined to jump off the cliff and don’t notice human contact. People have also reported violent visions, often stemming from the scene of dead bodies on the rocks below. If you search the Internet for the ghosts of Saipan, you will find many links to a video that was recorded near Banzai Cliff. It has been claimed that the video shows a ghost jumping from the cliff. Check it out for yourself. If anything, the video gives a good perspective of what this area of Saipan looks like.

Edinburgh Vault Top Tenz

1. Edinburgh Vaults

   In the late 18th century, the city of Edinburgh was a thriving community. To help drive expansion, officials in this area of Scotland approved the construction of two bridges, the North Bridge and South Bridge. The South Bridge is a nineteen arch viaduct, which holds some unusual architectural feats. Eighteen of the arches were enclosed behind tenement buildings, which were built upon floor layering. In total there are approximately 120 vaults beneath the surface of the South Bridge, ranging in size from 6.5 feet (2 meters) to 131 feet (40 meters) squared. The South Bridge officially opened for business on March 1, 1788. For around 30 years, the Edinburgh vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers and other tradesmen. Specific sections were used for the storage of illicit material, including dead bodies. The bodies were examined by doctors and reportedly used in medical experiments. Unfortunately, construction of the South Bridge was rushed and the surface was never sealed against water damage. For this reason, the vaults began to flood and the area was abandoned.
   By the start of the 19th century, slum dwellers had taken over the vaults and the area became a renowned red light district, with countless brothels and pubs operating within the abandoned complex. Living conditions in the chambers were appalling. The rooms were cramped, dark and damp, with no sunlight, poorly circulated air, no running water, and no sanitation. Serious crimes and acts of violence were a major problem. The serial murderers Burke and Hare are thought to have chosen victims from this area. In the middle of the 19th century, the first reports of bizarre visions and ghostly phenomenon were issued. At that time, city officials made the decision to drop tons of rubble into the Edinburgh Vaults, making them inaccessible. The landmarks were not rediscovered until the 1980s, when they were excavated by Norrie Rowan and his son. During the unearthing of the vaults, strange occurrences and loud cries were often reported.
   Today, the Edinburgh Vaults house some of the most popular tourist attractions in the area, including many ghost tours. The most popular venues are the Mercat Tours, Marlin’s Wynd, and a tour known as The Caves. Specific corridors of the Edinburgh Vaults are said to house spiritual characters. Mr. Boots is a ghost that has been known to nudge tourists and follow large groups. He can often be heard using foul language and stomping on the hard stone floor. A young spirit named Jack can be seen running about the dark rooms, giggling as he passes by unsuspecting people. One of the most chilling spirits is an ailing pregnant woman that can be heard crying for attention and help. The Edinburgh Vaults are also known to contain odd cold air flows. Scientific studies and overnight sleepovers have been conducted in the vaults with some unexplained findings. In 2009, a BBC TV production team recorded a strange voice that appeared to be that of a Catholic priest reciting the Last Rites. The ghostly voice continued to be heard on the recording for some 20 minutes before abruptly ceasing after what appeared to be the sound of children yelling.


   The Soap Box Derby is a youth soapbox car racing program which has been run in the United States since 1934. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. Cars competing in this and related events are unpowered, relying completely upon gravity to move.


   In the wake of the first car races, local kid auto races took place in the US at a very early stage. In 1914 the motion picture Kid Auto Races at Venice starring Charlie Chaplin was shown in the cinemas.  The first All-American race was held in Dayton on August 19, 1934, after an idea by Myron Scott, a photographer for the Dayton Daily News. The following year, the race was moved to Akron because of its central location
and hilly terrain. In 1936, Akron civic leaders recognized the need for a permanent track site for the youth racing classic and, through the efforts of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Derby Downs became a reality.
   An accident in 1935 captured the public's interest, and boosted the event's profile. A car went off the track and struck NBC's top commentator and sportscaster Graham McNamee while he was broadcasting live on the air. Despite a concussion and other injuries (which would necessitate a two-week hospital stay), McNamee described the collision to his listeners and finished his broadcast.

   Using standardized wheels with precision ball bearings, modern gravity-powered racers start at a ramp on top of a hill, attaining speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Rally races and qualifying races in cities around the world use advanced timing systems that measure the time difference between the competing cars to the thousandth of a second to determine the winner of a heat. Each heat of a race lasts less than 30 seconds. Most races are double elimination races where a racer that loses a heat can work their way through the Challenger's Bracket in an attempt to win the overall race. The annual World Championship race in Akron, however, is a single elimination race which uses overhead photography, triggered by a timing system, to determine the winner of each heat. Approximately 500 racers compete in 2 or 3 car heats to determine a World Champion in each of six divisions.

   During its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, when Chevrolet was a sponsor and famous TV and movie stars made guest appearances, as many as 70,000 people would gather in August to eat snow cones and cheer hundreds of youthful racer/builders (boys only in early years) ages 11–15 who were the champions of local races around the nation and from several foreign countries. In 1947, actor James Stewart was appearing in the Broadway play Harvey; in order to attend the event, he cancelled a weekend's worth of performances and refunds were issued to ticketholders. At its peak, the Derby was one of the top 5 sporting events in terms of attendance.

   Today there are broader categories that extend the age range to younger racers and permit adults to assist in construction. This is especially helpful for younger children who cannot use power tools, as well as to provide an outlet for adults.
   Starting in 1993, the All-American Soap Box derby began the Rally World Championship. The Rally derby, works on a grand prix style of race where each district, 10 in all, send back a number of champions based on number of racers and races in each district.

Ultimate Speed Challenge

   The Ultimate Speed Challenge is an All American Soap Box Derby sanctioned racing format that was developed in 2004 to preserve the tradition of innovation, creativity, and craftsmanship in the design of a gravity powered racing vehicle while generating intrigue, excitement, and engaging the audience at the annual All-American Soap Box Derby competition. The goal of the event is to attract creative entries designed to reach speeds never before attainable on the historic Akron hill. The competition will consist of three timed runs (one run in each lane), down Akron’s 989’ hill. The car and team that achieve the fastest single run will be declared the winner. The timed runs are completed during the All American Soap Box Derby race week.

   In 2004, during the inaugural run of the Ultimate Speed Challenge, the fastest time was achieved by a car designed and built by the Pearson family, driven by Alicia Kimball, and utilizing high performance pneumatic tires. The time achieved on the 989' track was 27.190 seconds. Jerry Pearson returned to defend the title with driver Nicki Henry in the 2005 Ultimate Speed Challenge beating the 2004 record time and breaking the 27.00 second barrier with a 26.953 seconds elapsed time. John Wargo, from  

  California, put together the 2006 Ultimate Speed Challenge winning team with driver Jenny Rodway. Jenny set a new track record of 26.934 seconds. In 2009, Derek Fitzgerald’s Zero-Error Racing team, with driver Jamie Berndt set a new track record time of 26.924 seconds. In 2010, Mark Overmyer’s Clean Sheet Racing team with wheel experts Duane Delaney and Mark Estes, and driver Jim Overmyer set the track record at 26.861 seconds in the opening heat of the opening round. Several minutes later, driver Sheri Lazowski, also of Team Clean Sheet, lowered the record to 26.844 seconds.


   In 1973, 14 year old Jimmy Gronen of Boulder, CO was stripped of his title two days after winning the national race. Suspicions were running high even before the finals, and Gronen was actually booed by many spectators.
   The unusual dimensions of Gronen's margins of victory and heat times tipped off derby officials to illegal circumstances surrounding Gronen's racer. Subsequent X-ray examination of his car revealed an electromagnet in the nose. When activated at the starting line, the electromagnet would pull the car forward by attracting it to the steel paddle used to start the race. Gronen would activate the electromagnet by leaning his helmet against the backrest of his seat, which activated its power source. This became

very evident as Gronen's heat times progressively slowed down as the race wore on, because the electromagnet lost strength each time it was activated. Usually, heat times get faster each time a racer completes a heat. Videotape of the race also showed a suspiciously sudden lead for Gronen just a few feet after each heat began. The margin of victory for a race heat will normally be no more than 1 to 3 feet. Gronen's early heat victories were in the 20 to 30 feet range. (Aluminum insulator plates were added to the starting ramps in 1974 to render an electromagnetic system useless.)
   Midway through the 1973 race, Derby officials also replaced Gronen's wheels after chemicals were found to be applied to the wheels' rubber. The chemicals caused the tire rubber to swell, which reduced the rolling resistance of the tire.

   In the final heat, Gronen finished narrowly ahead of Bret Yarborough. Within two days, Yarborough was declared the 1973 champion.
   Gronen's uncle and legal guardian at the time, wealthy engineer Robert Lange, was indicted for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and paid a $2,000 settlement. Lange's son, Bob Lange Jr. (and Jimmy Gronen's cousin) had won the previous 1972 Derby using a car considered to be indistinguishable from the vehicle used by Gronen. Boulder, Colorado was also banned from any future participation in the All-American Soap Box Derby.