Sunday, January 31, 2010

Top 20 Dark Destinations for Month of January 2010

Typically when we blog one of our top 20, 25 or 50 lists, Casey or I will post the top locations on the site based on the hits each article has gotten since its creation. We thought we'd do something a little different this month and show you what has been getting the most attention over the course of the past month. Some of the same locations are on both lists, but there are a few that have gained in recent popularity that have made the Monthly list. Take a peek.

1. The Sylvia Likens House
2. The Haunting in Connecticut House
3. Twilight (2008): Thunderbird and Whale
4. The Sharon Tate House
5. Twilight Saga: The Cullen House
6. Emma Crawford Festival and Memorial Coffin Race
7. Amityville Horror House
8. West Virginia Penitentiary
9. The Body Farm, Knoxville, TN
10. Twilight Saga: The Swan House
11. Sylvia Likens Memorial
12. Twilight (2008): The Swan House
13. The Empire State Building
14. La Push, Washington
15. Twilight (2008): Kalama High School
16. Missouri State Penitentiary
17. Old Alexian Brothers Hospital
18. Twilight (2008): Bloated Toad
19. Twilight (2008): The Cullen House
20. The Saint Louis Exorcist House

If you would like to see the current Top 20 of all time list click here.

-Tom G

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Poe Toaster Nevermore?

For sixty years, the mysterious black-clad figure known as the Poe Toaster would make an appearance at the Old Westminster Burial Ground on the anniversary of author/poet Edgar Allan Poe's birthday. The unknown individual (who is assumed to be male) pays a yearly tribute to Poe by laying three red roses and half-empty bottle of Martell Cognac upon the author's gravestone. The gift is occasionally accompanied by a note from the mysterious mourner. Last year, for the two-hundredth birthday of Edgar Allan Poe, the Toaster failed to leave a note. This year, on January 19, 2010, the Poe Toaster failed to show up at all.

A crowd of around fifty people stood vigil throughout the night (a larger crowd than had been present for the year prior), keeping an eye out for the Poe Toaster and occasionally singing Happy Birthday to Edgar Allan Poe. They were disappointed when the Toaster did not arrive with his annual tribute. It has led to speculation on what may have happened.

Some have wondered whether the Poe Toaster may have died or was in ill health. A week earlier, David Fanks, a local poet and performance artist known for his pranks passed away, leading some to speculate that the Poe Toaster had been him. Others have speculated that the tradition may have just ended at the sixty year mark, on the two-hundredth birthday of Poe. ESPN reporter Cam Martin even suggested that the Poe Toaster may have failed to show because he was upset about the Indianapolis Colts beating the Baltimore Ravens in a football game on the Saturday prior to Poe's birthday.

Whatever the reason for the Poe Toaster's absence this year, Jeff Jerome, curator for the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum (see Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum), has said that he will continue to watch for the Poe Toaster until 2012. If the Toaster fails to return by January 19, 2012, Jerome will give up the vigil he has kept since the 1970s.

Pay a visit to the Old Westminter Burial Ground to learn more.

-Tom G

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Graveyard of the Pacific

The winter months are truly treacherous ones for those who sail the waters of the "Graveyard of the Pacific"; a section of the Pacific Ocean that runs along the western coast of North America. The turbulent waters have claimed thousands of ships and many lives. This week alone marks the separate anniversaries of two different sinkings in that section of the "Graveyard" that is the mouth of the Columbia River, with more later this month and over the next two.

The most infamous of the sinkings took place 49 years ago this coming Thursday. On January 14, 1961, The Mermaid, a crab boat with two crewman aboard, ran into trouble when it lost its rudder in violent weather conditions. The Coast Guard came to the ship's rescue. Unfortunately, the rescue attempt failed and led to the sinking of The Mermaid as well as causing three Coast Guard vessels to capsize in the process. The Mermaid's crew was lost as well as five members of the Coast Guard who were aboard the rescue boat Triumph. The names of the lost Coast Guard members were added to the memorial in Maritime Memorial Park in Astoria, Oregon (see Maritime Memorial Park, Astoria, OR).

Unsuprisingly, the area has also been the location of claimed ghost ship sightings and other paranormal activity. It has also reportedly been home to one or more sea monsters.

Click here to brave the treacherous waters along the Mouth of the Columbia River to learn more about its shipwrecks and supernatural lore.

- Tom G

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Inspiration for the Song Jeremy

This Friday will mark 19 years since the suicide of Jeremy Wade Delle. Delle, a student at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas, took his own life in front of his fellow students in their English class on the morning of January 8, 1991. The 15-year-old had recently relocated to Richardson from Dallas and had apparently been in counseling at the time.

Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder happened upon a news story about the incident which inspired him to write the lyrics for the song Jeremy. The song wound up being one of three hit singles from the band's debut album Ten. When interviewed by [title]Rockline[/title] in 1993, Vedder said the following about the song and its controversial music video:

"It came from a small paragraph in a paper which means you kill yourself and you make a big old sacrifice and try to get your revenge. That all you're gonna end up with is a paragraph in a newspaper. Sixty-three degrees and cloudy in a suburban neighborhood. That's the beginning of the video and that's the same thing is that in the end, it does nothing... nothing changes. The world goes on and you're gone. The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself. Be stronger than those people. And then you can come back."

Two different music videos were made for the song, with the second one being the one shown on Mtv, though in a censored version which caused some confusion and further controversy.

Click here to read more about the school, Jeremy Delle and the song that was inspired by his suicide.

- Tom G