Monday, August 8, 2011


   Whether you believe in ghosts and ghouls, or wave them aside as the fictional fables of bygone centuries, some places on this planet still strike a spooky chord. They are the places that inspire nightmares, panic attacks and revisits. And, with any luck, you may just find something otherworldly. Enjoy the list!

10.  Shelbourne Hotel/Dublin, Ireland
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   The year is 1824, and a row of showers has been converted into a majestic hotel, known as the Shelbourne. The Shelbourne has featured prominently in Ireland’s history, in that the country’s constitution was drafted there in 1922, and, throughout the years, it was favorite of many celebrities passing through Dublin. Room 526 was where a medium supposedly made contact with the hotel’s permanent resident, Mary. Mary was a little girl who lived in the houses that were converted into the hotel, until her death in 1791 from cholera.

9.  Highgate Cemetery/London, England

   In Victorian times, this was the place to be when you bit the dust. This necropolis was highly fashionable in its time, but sadly, since then, it has crumbled and deteriorated since its neglect due to World War II. The cemetery became a creepy, desolate place, complete with dead trees and twisting ivy. Many stories cropped up during this creepy and dark time in the cemetery’s history. Perhaps this is due to the fact that unsavory and unnatural characters love places such as this. Many ghosts and apparitions call this burial ground home, along with a vampire, a man in a top hat, a cloaked figured and a gray, haggard old woman. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to hear the bells ringing in the disused chapel. Thankfully, an organization known as The Friends of Highgate Cemetery is making progress with repairs and restoration of the historic location.

8.  National Theater/Washington D.C., United States

   This historic theater is located just blocks away from the White House, and was founded in 1835 by William Corcoran, and many other prominent city residents. It has had many famous performers, including Sir Ian McKellan, James Earl Jones, Kevin Spacey, Sting and Tim Curry. Winston Churchill had even spoken there once.  However, Tim Curry and Winston Churchill aren’t what make this place terrifying. The actor John McCullough was very prominent and popular in the 1800s, and was touring with a troupe who stopped in at the National. Under the stage was a raceway through which the Tiber Creek flowed freely until the 1950s, when it was enclosed in a storm sewer. The actors found this running water beneath the stage to be a perfect place to wash their clothes. McCullough and another actor (of lesser stature) began arguing. Some say it was over a beauty of an actress the two both had a thing for, or perhaps it was over a role that both men desperately wanted. The reason is irrelevant, really. Shots were fired, and John McCullough lay dead beneath the stage of the National Theater. His remains were reportedly interred in the dirt floor beneath the stage where he died. As you undoubtedly expected to hear, his apparition has been seen numerous times since.

7.  The Princess Theatre/Melbourne, Australia

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   In 1854, the historic Princess Theatre was erected by George Coppin, an actor and manager who was busy running and renovating many nearby theaters in Melbourne. However, this particular theatre was center stage for a tragedy that occurred on March 3rd, 1888. Frederick Baker, known as Federici, was playing the part of Mephistopheles in the opera Faust. A powerful scene of the opera was when Mephistopheles was to dramatically descend into Hell – via the Princess’ trapdoor. Federici’s performance that night must have been extra taxing, because he suffered a heart attack and died by the time he had reached the theater’s basement. The company of actors was gathered afterwards so the bad news could be shared. When they asked when it had happened, confusion set in. The other performers explained that that was impossible, as he had just been seen onstage taking his final bows. To this day a mysterious figure is often sighted onstage, and it even made an appearance for a set photographer during the filming of a documentary there.

6.  St. Andrew’s Castle/Scotland
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   This fortification in Scotland has existed, in one incarnation or another, since the 12th century. The castle saw many battles, and, in 1337, it was destroyed by the Scots to prevent its use by the English. By the end of the 14th century, however, Bishop Walter Trail ordered the castle rebuilt. The castle has had a long history, and many historic figures have been in and out for many reasons. But this isn’t a list for them. This castle is home to several apparitions: The White Lady, who walks the castle perimeter or the nearby shoreline. The spirit of Patrick Hamilton haunts one of the towers, where he has a good view of the spot on which he was burned alive. You can also see the ghost of Cardinal Beaton, who was murdered and hung naked from the castle battlements, or you can just look for the woman in the grey veil, who carries a prayer book and vanishes into thin air. Your best bet to witness these supernatural residents is to visit during the twilight hours of October and November.

5.  St. Augustine Lighthouse/Florida, United States



    This lighthouse in St. Augustine, Florida, was built in the 1600s by Spanish settlers. By 1824, it was an official US lighthouse, and was later replaced by the current lighthouse, located about a quarter mile away. The original suffered a tragedy when Mr. Andreu, the lighthouse keeper, fell to his death while painting the tower. When the lighthouse was being built there was a dispute over property and one of the parties involved, Dr. Ballard, is now rumored to haunt the place, along with the ghost of poor Mr. Andreu. Three girls are said to have drowned when the handcart they were playing in fell off the tramway, and now their spirits roam the grounds. The parade of lost souls doesn’t end there, however. When the Keeper’s House was being rented out for apartments, many tenants reported strange noises and seeing a young girl walking around. A keeper in the 1950’s even refused to live in the house, trading his living quarters to a Coast Guardsman stationed on-site. There is the mysterious Man In Blue who haunts the basement, and employees of a gift shop located in the house attributed objects being moved and noises being made to local poltergeist, Andrew. And the tower, itself, is rife with footsteps and disembodied voices. Be wary when you visit this lighthouse. Perhaps you will be its next tragedy!

4.  St. James Theater/Wellington, New Zealand

   Some people would gladly tell you that New Zealand’s capital hosts one of the most haunted theaters in the world. The current building was erected in 1912, and if you are given the opportunity to see a performance there, you might meet Yuri. Legend holds that Yuri was a Russian performer who was unfortunate enough to fall to his death from above the stage. Or perhaps he was murdered? Some believe that a fellow Russian performer pushed him. Regardless of the identity of the ghost or its reason for sticking around, plenty of people will attest to its existence. Yuri loves to mess around with the lights, his favorite thing to do being turning all of the lights back on after the theater has been locked up for the night. But Yuri is among friends at the theater. The aptly named Wailing Woman also calls St. James her stomping ground, and cries and moans and, you guessed it, wails throughout the theater. In life, she was poorly received during a performance, which she took to heart, and proceeded to off herself in the dressing room. A boys choir is also at home in the theater – they played their last show at the St. James Theater before setting sail for a tour before the Second World War. Their ship was never seen again. With all the tragic events that have allegedly plagued the theater, it isn’t much of stretch to see why stories of haunting persist to this day.

3.  Joelma Building/Sao Paulo, Brazil

   Sometimes, the legends of the ghosts and spirits haunting a location must take a backseat to the horrifing facts. At 8:50 a.m., February 1st, 1974, an air conditioning unit overheated, and started a fire in the high rise. The building was one giant fire hazard, from the desks, to the chairs, to the curtains, even the ceiling. All made from flammable materials. There was only one stairwell and the building lacked fire alarms, emergency lights and exits and a sprinkler system. There were 756 people inside.
The fire made the stairwell impassable above the 11th floor, and despite typical fire protocol, firefighters began evacuating the occupants using the elevators. About 170 people made their way to the roof, in hopes of being picked up by helicopter, but there was no place to land, and the smoke was keeping aerial rescues out of the picture anyway. Of the 170 on the roof, 80 hid under the floor tiles. Only these people were found alive on the roof after the fire was put out. Another 40 people jumped, or fell, to their deaths. The fire burned itself out by 10:30 a.m., allowing police and firefighters to tally the death toll: 179 souls perished in the fire. The building underwent four years of rebuilding, and was renamed Praca de Bandeira after the square it faces. The current building is rumored to be heavily haunted by those consumed by the flames.

2.  Monte Cristo Homestead/New South Wales, Australia

   It takes something special to be billed as Australia’s most haunted house, and boy, is this place special. The year 1885 saw the construction of the house by Mr. Christopher William Crawley. The house remained occupied by the family until 1948, and stood vacant until 1963. It is now a museum and tourist attraction where visitors can stop in to witness one of the mansion’s seven alleged spirits. Mrs. Crawley herself is said to roam the chapel where she spent many hours of her life after Mr. Crawley died. A woman in period clothes calls the verandah home. Perhaps she is the maid who was unfortunate enough to fall to her death from the balcony. If you look at the stairs below, you can see the discoloration from where her bloodstains were bleached off. At least three deaths are associated with the second story alone. Two of these deaths include Mr. Crawley’s fatal blood poisoning and a woman who died during childbirth. The place is lousy with disembodied footsteps stomping around on hardwood floors, which is made eerier by the fact that the entire house is now carpeted. Objects move by themselves, and faces are seen peering through second story windows, with no balcony or supports outside. A young stable boy was asleep in his quarters in the stable, and was too ill to get up for work one day. His boss didn’t believe him, and in an act of pure stupidity, set fire to the boy’s bed to rouse him from his ‘illness’. Turns out the boy was telling the truth, and was burnt to a crisp. A mentally challenged man was kept shackled for forty years, until he was found curled up near his mother’s dead body, and was sent away to an insane asylum. And since the Victorian era isn’t the only one ripe for creating ghosts, it would be best to mention that, in 1961, a young man, inspired by the recently released movie Psycho, murdered one of the caretakers (living on the grounds) and carved “DIE JACK HA HA” into the door. The inscription remains to this day.

1.  Resurrection Cemetery/Chicago, United States

   We have all heard stories about ghostly hitchhikers. But have you heard of the most famous one? I’m speaking about Resurrection Mary. In 1934, sixteen-year-old Mary was a regular at the O’Henry Ballroom, which still stands today (although it is now the Willow-brook). She got into an argument with her boyfriend on the dance floor, and left the ballroom. She was walking home along Archer Avenue, and right about the time she was passing Resurrection Cemetery, a car swerved out of control, and struck and killed her. Her family was heartbroken and had her buried in the cemetery she lost her life in front of, still in her dancing gown and shoes. And that is how this story ends. Until five years later, at least….
   It was now 1939, and Jerry Palus was yet another regular at the O’Henry. He spotted a beautiful blonde girl across the room, and asked her to dance. They danced the entire night, with the young lady barely uttering a word. He offered her a ride home when the night was through, and she accepted. When they were passing Resurrection Cemetery, she quickly told him to stop and let her out there, instead of taking her to the address she had given him. She disappeared at the gates. The next night, Jerry went to the address that was supposed to be her final destination. The woman said there was no girl that lived there, and he was mistaken. He spotted a picture on the mantlepiece of the young lady he had danced with the entire night. The woman explained that she was her daughter, and that she had been dead for five years. To this day, people see the girl walking along the road. They give her rides, only for her to disappear from the vehicle. Some say they have danced with her, others claim to have even kissed her. On one memorable event, in 1977, somebody even claims to have seen a girl behind the cemetery gate, grasping the bars in what can only be described as a death grip, and screaming in pure terror. The man who witnessed this traveled to a police station. When the authorities arrived, there was no sign of anybody. But the two metal bars she had appeared to be gripping were bent and twisted, with what seemed to be finger marks embedded in them. The bars were removed, and it was determined that such distortion could only be achieved through extreme heat and pressure. They eventually reformed and replaced the bars, but they consistently revert back to the charred and mangled state.


   Highland games are events held throughout the year in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. Certain aspects of the games are so well known as to have become emblematic of Scotland, such as the bagpipes, the kilt, and the heavy events, especially the caber toss. While centred on competitions in piping and drumming, dancing, and Scottish heavy athletics, the games also include entertainment and exhibits related to other aspects of Scottish and Gaelic culture.
   The Cowal Highland Gathering, better known as the cowal Games, held in Dunoon, Scotland every August, is the largest Highland games in Scotland, attracting around 3,500 competitors and somewhere in the region of 15–20,000 spectators from around the globe. Worldwide, however, it is dwarfed by two gatherings in the United States: the 50,000 that attend Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina and the even larger gathering—the largest in the Northern Hemisphere—that has taken place every year since 1865 hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco. This event is currently held Labor Day weekend in Pleasanton, California.

   The games are claimed to have influenced Baron Pierre de Coubertin when he was planning the revival of the Olympic Games. De Coubertin saw a display of Highland games at the Paris Exhibition of 1889.


   The origin of human games and sports predates recorded history. An example of a possible early games venue is at Fetteresso, although that location is technically a few miles south of the Scottish Highlands.
   It is reported in numerous books and Highland games programs, that King Malcolm III of Scotland, in the 11th century, summoned contestants to a foot race to the summit of Craig Choinnich (overlooking Braemar).    King Malcolm created this foot race in order to find the fastest runner in the land to be his royal messenger. Some have seen this apocryphal event to be the origin of today's modern Highland games.

   There is a document from 1703 summoning the clan of the Laird of Grant, Clan Grant. They were to arrive wearing Highland coats and "also with gun, sword, pistill [sic] and dirk".  From this letter, it is believed that the competitions would have included feats of arms.
   However, the modern Highland games are largely a Victorian invention, developed after the Highland Clearances.

Heavy Events

   In their original form many centuries ago, Highland games revolved around athletic and sports competitions. Though other activities were always a part of the festivities, many today still consider Highland athletics to be what the games are all about — in short, that the athletics are the Games, and all the other activities are just entertainment. Regardless, it remains true today that the athletic competitions are at least an integral part of the events and one — the caber toss — has come to almost symbolize the Highland games.
   Although quite a range of events can be a part of the Highland athletics competition, a few have become standard.

  • Caber toss: A long tapered pine pole or log is stood upright and hoisted by the competitor who balances it vertically holding the smaller end in his hands (see photo). Then the copetitor runs forward attempting to toss it in such a way that it turns end over end with the upper (larger) end striking the ground first. The smaller end that was originally held by the athlete then hits the ground in the 12 o'clock position measured relative to the direction of the run. If successful, the athlete is said to have turned the caber. Cabers vary greatly in length, weight, taper, and balance, all of which affect the degree of difficulty in making a successful toss. Competitors are judged on how closely their throws approximate the ideal 12 o'clock toss on an imaginary clock.

  • Stone put: This event is similar to the modern-day shot put as seen in the Olympic Games. Instead of a steel shot, a large stone of variable weight is often used. There are also some differences from the Olympic shot put in allowable techniques. There are two versions of the stone toss events, differing in allowable technique. The "Braemar Stone" uses a 20–26 lb stone for men (13–18 lb for women) and does not allow any run up to the toeboard or "trig" to deliver the stone, i.e., it is a standing put. In the "Open Stone" using a 16–22 lb stone for men (or 8–12 lb for women), the thrower is allowed to use any throwing style so long as the stone is put with one hand with the stone resting cradled in the neck until the moment of release. Most athletes in the open stone event use either the "glide" or the "spin" techniques

  • Scottish hammer throw: This event is similar to the hammer throw as seen in modern-day track and field competitions, though with some differences. In the Scottish event, a round metal ball (weighing 16 or 22 lb for men or 12 or 16 lb for women) is attached to the end of a shaft about 4 feet in length and made out of wood, bamboo, rattan, or plastic. With the feet in a fixed position, the hammer is whirled about one's head and thrown for distance over the shoulder. Hammer throwers sometimes employ specially designed footwear with flat blades to dig into the turf to maintain their balance and resist the centrifugal forces of the implement as it is whirled about the head. This substantially increases the distance attainable in the throw.

  • Weight throw, also known as the weight for distance event. There are actually two separate events, one using a light (28 lb for men and 14 lb for women) and the other a heavy (56 lb for men, 42 lb for masters men, and 28 lb for women) weight. The weights are made of metal and have a handle attached either directly or by means of a chain. The implement is thrown using one hand only, but otherwise using any technique. Usually a spinning technique is employed. The longest throw wins.

  • Weight over the bar, also known as weight for height. The athletes attempt to toss a 56 pound (4 stone) weight with an attached handle over a horizontal bar using only one hand. Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each height. Successful clearance of the height allows the athlete to advance into the next round at a greater height. The competition is determined by the highest successful toss with fewest misses being used to break tie scores.

  • Sheaf toss: A bundle of straw (the sheaf) weighing 20 pounds (9 kg) for the men and 10 pounds (4.5 kg) for the women and wrapped in a burlap bag is tossed vertically with a pitchfork over a raised bar much like that used in pole vaulting. The progression and scoring of this event is similar to the Weight Over The Bar. There is significant debate among athletes as to whether the sheaf toss is in fact an authentic Highland event. Some argue it is actually a country fair event, but all agree that it is a great crowd pleaser.

  • Maide Leisg(Scots Gaelic meaning 'Lazy Stick'): Trial of strength performed by two men sitting on the ground with the soles of their feet pressing against each other. Thus seated, they held a stick between their toes which they pulled against each other till one of them was raised from the ground. The oldest 'Maide Leisg' competition in the world takes place at the Carloway show and Highland Games on the Isle of Lewis.

   Many of the Heavy Events competitors in Scottish highland athletics are former high school and college track and field athletes who find the Scottish games are a good way to continue their competitive careers.
   Increasingly in the USA, the Heavy Events are attracting women and master class athletes which has led to a proliferation of additional classes in Heavy Events competitions. Lighter implements are used in the classes.


   For many Highland games festival attendees, the most memorable of all the events at the games is the massing of the pipe bands. Normally held in conjunction with the opening and closing ceremonies of the games, as many as 20 or more pipe bands will march and play together. The result is a thunderous rendition of traditional favourites Scotland the Brave or Amazing Grace, and other crowd-pleasing favorites.
   It is, in fact, the music of the bagpipe which has come to symbolise music at the Games and, indeed, in Scotland itself. In addition to the massed bands, nearly all Highland games gatherings feature a wide range of piping and drumming competition, including solo piping and drumming, small group ensembles and, of course, the pipe bands themselves.
   But the pipes and drums are not the only music which can be heard at Highland games. Music at Highland games gatherings takes on a variety of forms. Many such events offer fiddling, harp circles, Celtic bands and other forms of musical entertainment, the latter usually spiced with a healthy amount of bagpipe music.


   People dance there. There were several traditional dances that were danced along to traditional music.

Secondary Events and Attractions

   At modern-day Highland Games events, a wide variety of other activities and events are generally available. Foremost among these are the clan tents and vendors of Scottish related goods. The various clan societies make the Highland games one of the main focus of their seasonal activities, usually making an appearance at as many such events as possible. Visitors can find out information about the Scottish roots and can become active in their own clan society if they wish.
   At modern games, armouries will display their collections of swords and armour, and often perform mock battles. Various vendors selling Scottish memorabilia are also present selling everything from Irn-Bru to the stuffed likeness of the Loch Ness Monster.
   Herding dog trials and exhibitions are often held, showcasing the breeder's and trainer's skills. In addition, there may be other types of Highland animals present, such as the Highland cattle.
Various traditional and modern Celtic arts are often showcased. This could include Harper's circles, Scottish country dancing, and one or more entertainment stages. In addition, most events usually feature a pre-event ceilidh (a type of social event with traditional music, dancing, song, and other forms of entertainment).
Various food vendors will also offer assorted types of traditional Scottish refreshment and sustenance.

Major events in Scotland

Burntisland, FifeBurntisland Highland GamesSecond oldest in the world
Ceres, FifeCERES HIGHLAND GAMESOldest Free games in the world
CrieffCrieff Highland Games
DunoonCowal Highland GatheringBiggest Games in Scotland

Major events outside Scotland


Calgary, AlbertaCalgary Highland Games
Cambridge, OntarioCambridge Highland Games
Grande Prairie, AlbertaGrande Prairie Highland Games
Coquitlam, British ColumbiaBC Highland Games
Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Antigonish, Nova ScotiaAntigonish Highland Games
Almonte, OntarioNorth Lanark Highland Games
Cobourg, OntarioCobourg Highland Games
Maxville, OntarioGlengarry Highland Games
Sudbury, OntarioSudbury Celtic Festival & Highland Games
Montreal, QuebecMontreal Highland Games


St. Ursen, FribourgHighland Games Swiss Championships



United States

Scottsboro, AlabamaNorth Alabama Scottish Festival & Highland Games
Eagle River, AlaskaAlaskan Scottish Highland Games
Camp Verde, ArizonaVerde Valley Highland Games
Phoenix, ArizonaArizona Scottish Gathering and Highland Games
Prescott, ArizonaPrescott Highland Games
Tucson, ArizonaTucson Celtic Festival and Highland Games
Batesville, ArkansasArkansas Scottish Festival
Bakersfield, CaliforniaBakersfield High Games
Santa Cruz County, CaliforniaScottish Renaissance Festival featuring the Loch Lomond Highland Games & Celtic Gathering
Campbell, CaliforniaCampbell Highland Games
Costa Mesa, CaliforniaUnited Scottish Highland Gathering
Fresno, CaliforniaFresno Highland Games
Livermore, CaliforniaLivermore Scottish Games and Celtic Celebration
Modesto, CaliforniaModesto Highland Games
Oakland, CaliforniaOakland Scottish Games
Pleasanton, CaliforniaCaledonian Club of San Francisco Highland Gathering
Salinas, CaliforniaMonterey Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Santa Cruz, CaliforniaSanta Cruz Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Ventura, CaliforniaSeaside Highland Games
Vista, CaliforniaSan Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering
Woodland, CaliforniaSacramento Valley Scottish Games
Elizabeth, ColoradoElizabeth Celtic Festival
Estes Park, ColoradoLong's Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival
Highlands Ranch, ColoradoColorado Scottish Festival
Sterling, ColoradoSterling Celtic Festival
Goshen, ConnecticutSt. Andrews Society of Connecticut Scottish Festival
Norwalk, ConnecticutRound Hill Highland Games
Scotland, ConnecticutScotland Highland Festival
Dunedin, FloridaDunedin Highland Games
Fort Lauderdale, FloridaSoutheast Florida Scottish Festival and Games
Green Cove Springs, FloridaNortheast Florida Scottish Highland Games
Ocala, FloridaOcala Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Panama City, FloridaPanama City Highland Games
Pensacola, FloridaPensacola Highland Games
Tallahassee, FloridaTallahassee Highland Games
Sarasota, FloridaSarasota Highland Games
Winter Springs, FloridaCentral Florida Scottish Highland Games
Zephyrhills, FloridaZephyrhills Celtic Festival and Highland Games
Blairsville, GeorgiaBlairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Chickamauga, GeorgiaAppalachian Celtic Festival
Anderson, South CarolinaLoch Hartwell Highland Games
Ringgold, GeorgiaRingold Highland Games
Savannah, GeorgiaSavannah Scottish Games and Highland Festival
Stone Mountain, GeorgiaStone Mountain Highland Games
Honolulu, HawaiiHawaiian Scottish Festival
Boise, IdahoTreasure Valley Highland Games
Oakbrook, IllinoisIllinois St. Andrew Society Highland Games
Springfield, IllinoisShamrock Games
Springfield, IllinoisSpringfield Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Columbus, IndianaColumbus, Indiana Scottish Festival
Fort Wayne, IndianaIndiana Highland Games
South Bend, IndianaCeltic Festival and Bryan Verkler Invitational Highland Games
Davenport, IowaCeltic Festival and Highland Games of the Quad-Cities
McPherson, KansasMcPherson Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Wakeeney, KansasTh' Gatherin' Fire Festival O'Beltane
Carrollton, KentuckyKentucky Scottish Weekend
Glasgow, KentuckyGlasgow Highland Games
Murray, KentuckyWestern Kentucky Highlands Festival
Jackson, LouisianaHighland Games of Louisiana
Minden, LouisianaTartan Day Celebration
West Monroe, LouisianaNortheast Louisiana Celtic Festival
Belfast, MaineMaine Celtic Celebration
Brunswick, MaineMaine Highland Games
Elkton, MarylandFair Hill Scottish Games
Frederick, MarylandFrederick Celtic Festival
Havre De Grace, MarylandStepping Stone Museum Highland Games
St. Leonard, MarylandSouthern Maryland Celtic Festival and Highland Gathering
McHenry, MarylandMcHenry Higland Festival
Snow Hill, MarylandChesapeake Celtic Festival
Florence, MassachusettsGlasgow Lands Scottish Festival
Greenfield, MassachusettsWestern Massachusetts Highland Games and Festival
Alma, MichiganAlma Highland Festival and Games
Kalamazoo, MichiganKalamazoo Highland Games
Livonia, MichiganSt. Andrews Society of Detroit Highland Games
Saline, MichiganSaline Highland Games
Farmington, MinnesotaMinnesota Scottish Fair
Moorhead, MinnesotaCeltic Festival
Gulfport, MississippiHighlands and Islands Games on the Gulf Coast
Jackson, MississippiCeltic Fest Mississippi
Buffalo, MissouriSouthwest Missouri Celtic Heritage Festival
Riverside, MissouriKansas City Highland Games
St. Charles, MissouriMissouri Tartan Day Festivities
Hamilton, MontanaBitterroot Scottish Irish Festival
Las Vegas, NevadaLas Vegas Celtic Gathering
Reno, NevadaReno Celtic Celebration
Lincoln, New HampshireNew Hampshire Highland Games
Albuquerque, New MexicoRio Grande Valley Celtic Festival and Highland Games
Altamont, New YorkCapital District Scottish Games
Amherst, New YorkAmherst Museum Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Old Westbury, New YorkLong Island Scottish Games
Greensboro, North CarolinaTriad Highland Games
Hendersonville, North CarolinaFoothills Highland Games and Festival
Huntersville, North CarolinaLoch Norman Highland Games
Laurinburg, North CarolinaScotland County Highland Games
Linville, North CarolinaGrandfather Mountain Highland Games
Mint Hill, North CarolinaMint Hill Highland Games
Waxhaw, North CarolinaWaxhaw Scottish Highland Games
Winston-Salem, North CarolinaWinston-Salem Celtic Music Festival and Highland Games
Hartville, OhioBrigadoon Beltane Festival
Wellington, OhioOhio Scottish Festival
Tulsa, OklahomaOklahoma Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Yukon, OklahomaScottish Heritage Festival and Highland Games
Athena, OregonAthena Caledonian Games
Baker City, OregonEastern Oregon Highland Games
Gresham, OregonPortland Highland Games
Madras, OregonHigh Desert Celtic Festival and Games
Winston, OregonDouglas County Celtic Highland Games
Bethlehem, PennsylvaniaBethlehem Celtic Classic
Edinboro, PennsylvaniaEdinboro Highland Games
Ligonier, PennsylvaniaLigonier Highland Games
Manheim, PennsylvaniaCeltic Fling and Highland Games
Richmond, Rhode IslandRhode Island Scottish Highland Festival
Clover, South CarolinaClover Scottish Games
Greenville, South CarolinaGreenville Scottish Highland Games
Mt. Pleasant, South CarolinaCharleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering
Rapid City, South DakotaBlack Hills Dakota Gathering of the Clans
Gatlinburg, TennesseeGatlinburg Scottish Highland Games
Jackson, TennesseeCeltic Fest
Arlington, TexasTexas Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Bedford, TexasBedford Celtic Heritage Festival
Helotes, TexasSan Antonio Highland Games
Houston, TexasHouston Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Salado, TexasSalado Scottish Clan Gathering and Highland Games
Lehi, UtahUtah Highland Games
Payson, UtahPayson Scottish Festival
Delaplane, VirginiaVirginia Scottish Games and Festival
Leesburg, VirginiaPotomac Celtic Festival
Lanexa, VirginiaWilliamsburg Scottish Festival
Lexington, VirginiaLexington Scots Irish Festival
Mechanicsville, VirginiaMeadow Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Radford, VirginiaRadford Highlander Festival
Enumclaw, WashingtonPacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games
Bellingham, WashingtonBellingham Highland Games
Graham, WashingtonTacoma Highland Games
Greenbank, WashingtonWhidbey Island Highland Games
Kelso, WashingtonKelso Hilander Festival and Games
Mount Vernon, WashingtonSkagit Valley Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Prosser, WashingtonProsser Scottish Festival
Puyallup, WashingtonScottish American Festival
Spokane, WashingtonSpokane Highland Games
Bridgeport, West VirginiaNorth Central West Virginia Scottish Festival and Celtic Gathering
Milwaukee, WisconsinMilwaukee Highland Games and Festival
Waukesha, WisconsinWisconsin Highland Games
Gillette, WyomingWyoming Celtic Festival
Jackson, WyomingJackson Hole Scottish Festival


   Most local television channels had a show that presented these horror movies at night or on weekends. These shows usually had a host who was tasked with presenting low-grade films to television audiences. These hosts were most often in costume, and were taken from the ranks of the studio staff.
   A few of these horror hosts became icons and gained nationwide, or international, recognition for their roles. However, most of these hosts were local and not recognized outside their local areas, but their characters added to the enjoyment of the movies.
 All of the hosts on the list, except for one, were presented in costume.

10.  Zacherley/The Cool Ghoul

   Zacherley was the host of WCAU’s Shock Theater, which debuted on October 7, 1957, and ran for 92 broadcasts, through to 1958. Actor John Zacherle wore a long black undertaker’s coat’s as the character “Roland,” who lived in a crypt with his wife “My Dear”, and his lab assistant Igor. The hosting of the show involved numerous stylized horror-comedy gags that have now become standard on television.
   In the opening sequence, Zacherley would descend a long round staircase to the crypt. The producers erred on the side of goriness, showing fake severed heads with blood simulated with Hershey’s Chocolate syrup. The show sometimes featured live “cut-ins” during the movie in which the soundtrack continued to play on the air, while the visual feed switched briefly to a shot of Zacherley in the middle of a humorous stunt, such as riding a tombstone.

9.  Svengoolie

   Svengoolie is the name of a character from a long-running series of locally produced television programs in the Chicago, Illinois area. Svengoolie was originally played by Jerry G. Bishop and debuted on Screaming Yellow Theater, which aired on WFLD from September 18, 1970, until the summer of 1973.
   The show featured various low-budget horror and science fiction movies hosted by horror host Svengoolie, who wore face makeup, a wig and a top hat. In between film breaks, the character presents various sketches, tells corny jokes and presents song parodies spoofing the film being played.
   Svengoolie is currently played by Rich Koz, who was originally a fan of the show who wrote in with some sketch ideas. On June 16, 1979, a new series named Son of Svengoolie debuted on WFLD, with Koz in the role of the Son of Svengoolie.

8.  Sir Graves Ghastly

   Sir Graves Ghastly was a character created by Cleveland-born actor Lawson J. Deming, for the popular television show of the same name. Sir Graves Ghastly had its longest run on WJBK, TV2 in Detroit, from 1967-82.
   Sir Graves Ghastly was a middle-aged man in vampire makeup with a deep voice like Boris Karloff’s. He started and ended the show by climbing out of and into a coffin and showed classic horror films, and gave good background on them. At end of the show he wished viewers “Happy Haunting,” and gave an evil laugh as he lay down in his coffin.
Other characters on the show included Sir Graves’ sidekick, Baruba, a ghostly apparition known only as The Glob, and a cemetery caretaker named Reel McCoy, who traditionally opened each episode by unearthing a movie reel from what appeared to be a grave. The show followed a consistent format of back-to-back horror films, interspersed with brief sketch comedy pieces featuring the many characters. The program was originally billed as Sir Graves’ Big Show, but later became known simply by the character’s name.

7.  Sir Cecil Creape/Phantom of the Opry

   Sir Cecil Creape, aka The Phantom of the Opry, was played by film editor Russ McCown, and was perhaps Nashville’s best known horror host. The show was aired on WSMV, channel 4 Nashville from 1971-1973, and was called Creature Feature. During that time Sir Cecil hosted horror movies and always had lots of skits in between breaks. The set was a dungeon, with stone walls and fireplace which always had a picture of Floyd Kephart, local political analyst, on it.
   Sir Cecil would descend the stone staircase into his dungeon set to utter the words “Did someone call?” in his unmistakable droll. Sir Cecil wore a dark blue cape with a huge purple collar and a chain mail tunic. He had a hump back and walked in a slow, lurching style. He had a large scar across his forehead and wore a monocle in one eye, as well as a set of deformed teeth. Sir Cecil signed off his show each week by saying “Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the beddie bugs bite.”

6.  Morgus the Magnificent/Momus Alexander Morgus

   Morgus is a quintessential mad scientist that originated in the New Orleans, Louisiana, television market, and first appeared on late night television on January 3, 1959, in the House of Shock. Morgus hosted the science fiction and horror movies in between experiments, and was created and portrayed by actor Sid Noel.
   The doctor was assisted by executioner styled sidekick Chopsley. His well-intentioned experiments typically go awry at the last minute. Dr. Morgus also has an assistant, Eric. In the early version of the show, Eric was a talking human skull. When Morgus returned in the 1980s, Eric had become part of the computer known as E.R.I.C. (The Eon Research Infinity Computer), and holds all the knowledge of the universe in his memory banks.
   Dr. Morgus was the first horror host to star in his own motion picture, The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus (1962).

5.  Count Floyd

   Count Floyd is a fictional horror host who was played by another fictional character, newsman Floyd Robertson, on the comedy series SCTV. Both characters are played by comedian Joe Flaherty.
   Count Floyd is the host of the cheesy, and unscary, Monster Chiller Horror Theater. The show was set in a dungeon where he would emerge from his coffin wearing a cheap vampire costume, including a white turtleneck, and speaking in a bad stereotypical Transylvanian vampire accent. Oddly, although he was supposed to be a vampire, he would open each show howling like a werewolf, then start to laugh as he addressed the audience. It’s obvious that Floyd Robertson is embarrassed by his role as Count Floyd and doesn’t enjoy it much.
   The movies he would host were fictional and had titles like “Dr. Tongue’s 3D House of Stewardesses,” “Dr Toungue’s 3D House of Pancakes”, “Tip O’Neil’s 3D House of Representatives,” “Blood-Sucking Monkeys from West Mifflin Pennsylvania” and Ingmar Bergman’s “Whispers of the Wolf”.

4.  Vampira

   The Vampira Show aired on Saturday nights at midnight on KABC-TV, Channel 7, May 1, 1954 to April 2, 1955, and the show featured mostly low budget suspense films. Vampira was portrayed by Maila Nurmi, and she is generally accepted to be the first television horror host. Despite the shows short run, The Vampira Show set the standard format for horror host shows to follow.
   Each show opened with Vampira gliding down a dark corridor flooded with dry-ice fog. At the end of her trance-like walk, the camera zoomed in on her face as she let out a piercing scream. She would then introduce that evening’s film while reclining barefoot on a skull-encrusted Victorian couch. Her horror-related comedy antics included ghoulish puns and talking to her pet spider Rollo.
   Her most notable film appearance was in Ed Wood’s camp classic, Plan 9 from Outer Space, as a Vampira-like zombie, filmed in 1956.

3.  E Nick Witty

   Monster Movie Matinee aired on Saturday afternoons on WSYR Channel 3, Syracuse, from 1964 – 1980. The show opened with creepy organ music and sounds of howling wind as the camera followed a path through a scale-model cemetery, to a bridge and path leading to a haunted mansion on a hill with dry ice as fog. Once inside Monster Mansion you see Dr. E. Nick Witty sitting off camera in an ornately decorated chair in a darkened room. You can only see his arm and it is clad in a black silk smoking jacket with a white cuff, a pale hand with long, sharp, black fingernails and large ornate rings. The doctor’s hand continuously gestures as he speaks. Dr. E. Nick Witty was played by the station’s weather man, Alan Milair. Supposedly his facial disfigurement was too terrible for his audience to ever view. The doctor had a deep baritone voice and unforgettably evil, sardonic laugh.
   Epal was the doctor’s assistant. His face was crisscrossed with shoelace-like stitches running the length of his face and forehead, punctuated by an eye patch. Early in the broadcasts Epal had a hook which was later replaced by a metal hand which Dr. Witty built for him. He was played by the late Williard Everett Lape, Jr.
   The segments between the movies followed a continuous plot thread drawn out for several weeks, such as finding a cure for Epal’s lycanthropic condition, building a time machine, and Dr. Witty’s attempt to restore his facial features.

2.  Mystery Science Theater 3000

   MST3K is a cult television comedy series created by Joel Hodgson and produced by Best Brains, Inc., that ran from 1988 to 1999. MST3K originally aired on WUCW, Minneapolis-StPaul, Minnesota, from 1988 to 1989.
   The series features a man and his robot sidekicks who are trapped on a space station by an evil scientist and forced to watch a selection of bad horror and science fiction B-movies. To keep sane, the man and his robots provide a running commentary on each film, making fun of its flaws, and wisecracking their way through each reel in the style of a movie-theater peanut gallery. Each film is presented with a superimposition of the man and robots’ silhouettes along the bottom of the screen.
   During its eleven years, 198 episodes and one feature film, MST3K attained critical acclaim. The series won a Peabody Award in 1993, and was nominated for writing Emmys in 1994 and 1995, and nominated for a Cable ACE Award.

1.  Elvira/Mistress of the Dark

   Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was the host of Movie Macabre, a weekly horror movie presentation on Los Angeles television station KHJ-TV, in 1981. Elvira was played by actress/showgirl Cassandra Peterson. She wore a black, gothic, cleavage-enhancing gown, giving her a vampish appearance, which was offset by her quirky, quick-witted personality, and valley girl-type speech. Elvira presented low budget horror films and made fun of them during the intermissions.
   In 1989, Cassandra was sued by actress Maila Nurmi for alleged infringement of her pioneering original Vampira TV horror hostess persona. The case was thrown out when Nurmi failed to appear in court.
   Elvira is undoubtedly the most famous and the most highly-publicized TV horror host, ever, both nationally and internationally.


   La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, in which participants throw tomatoes at each other. It is held the last Wednesday in August, during the week of festivities of Buñol.

Changes Throughout Its History

   The tomato fight has been a strong tradition in Buñol since 1944 or 1945. No one is completely certain how this event originated. Possible theories on how the Tomatina began include a local food fight among friends, a juvenile class war, a volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, a practical joke on a bad musician, the anarchic aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage. One of the most popular theories is that disgruntled townspeople attacked city councilmen with tomatoes during a town celebration.
   In 1950, the council allowed the party to happen. The next year however it was not approved, thanks to pressure from town residents and other participants.
When the festival was finally officially sanctioned, the launching of tomatoes became inventive. Methods such as using water canons, catapults and filling of fountains of rivals became common. Between the noise and chaos, participants typically primed

with those who were mere spectators, including local personalities. By 1957 the festival was once again banned with strict penalties, including imprisonment, threatened against those flouting the ban. In that year, the neighborhood decided to organize what they called "the funeral of the tomato", which came in a procession carrying a coffin with a great tomato, accompanied by a band playing funeral marches along the path.
   Due to local pressure, in 1959 the town finally approved the Tomatina, but imposed a rule that people could only throw tomatoes after a horn sounded and should end when it sounded a second time.
   Between 1975 and 1980 the festival was organized by the ordeal of San Luis Bertran, who supplied the tomatoes, replacing the previous arrangement of participants bringing their own. The party became popular in Spain thanks to Javier Basilio reporting the issue in the RTVE Informe Semanal in 1983.

   Since 1980 the City Council provides participants with tomatoes, each year a greater tonnage than the previous year. Visitors became attracted to the event and in 2002 it was declared a Fiesta of International Tourist Interest. In 2008 a soundtrack was created, the song of the Tomatina "Todo es del mismo color" created by the bunyolense rock band "Malsujeto".


   At around 10am festivities begin with the first event of the Tomatina. It is the "palo jabón", similar to the greasy pole. The goal is to climb a greased pole with a ham on top. As this happens, the revellers work into a frenzy of singing and dancing whilst being showered in water from hoses. Once someone is able to drop the ham off the pole, the start signal for the tomato fight is given. The signal for the onset is at about 11 when a loud shot rings out, and the chaos begins.

   Several trucks throw tomatoes in abundance in the Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive and are grown specifically for the holidays, being of inferior taste.  For the participants the use of goggles and gloves are recommended. The tomatoes must be crushed before being thrown so as to reduce the risk of injury.

After exactly one hour, the fight ends with the firing of the second shot, announcing the end. The whole town square is coloured red and rivers of tomato juice flow freely. Fire Trucks hose down the streets and participants use hoses that locals provide to remove the tomato paste from their bodies. Some participants go to the pool of “los peñones” to wash. After the cleaning, the village cobblestone streets are pristine due to the acidity of the tomato disinfecting and thoroughly cleaning the surfaces.

   La Tomatina Buñol has inspired other similar celebrations in other parts of the world:

  • Since 2004 the Colombian town of Sutamarchán holds a similar event on the 15th of June when a surplus of tomatoes is harvested.
  • In Costa Rica the town of San José de Trojas (Valverde Vega Canton) celebrates a tomatine during the local Tomato Fair in February.

In the town of Dongguan in southern Guangdong province in China, a tomato fight is held on the 19th of October, during which they use up to 15 tons of tomatoes.
  • The City of Reno, Nevada in the United States also has an annual hour long tomato fight that started in 2009. The event seems to take place on the last Sunday of August, and is organized by the American Cancer Society. Organizers also named the festival La Tomatina, and give full credit for the idea to the Spanish festival.
  • On February 12, 2011, at the field of Esparraguera, town of Quillón, VIIIth Region, Chile, the first version of the Great Tomato War was held under the auspices of the local municipality and a private firm. Like the spanish Tomatina, it was a playful battle involving young people.

The video game company Namco included in the 6th installment of the saga Tekken fighting game, a scenario that mimics the Tomatina buñolense.
  • The festival was recreated for the song Ik Junoon (Paint it red) from the 2011 Hindi film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.