Delafield, Wisconsin Nestled in a wooded area it sits, the sounds of prayer filtering from its walls. It is a place of learning and piety, peaceful in its setting in God's country. On its campus priests, monks, and laymen debate and revel in religion, instilling traditional values and giving glory, all the while sharpening their minds and souls. For a student walking the grounds, there is a presence, holy and serene, that makes the old church at Nashotah Lake the very definition of a seminary. There were, however, darker times, when piety was cast aside for at least one.
Bristol, ConnecticutThis month's Cold Spots marks the one-year anniversary of the column, so to celebrate, I figured I'd take you, the readers, to an amusement park!
Clinton, Maryland The stately farmhouse sits on lush fields of grass, its red exterior a stark contrast against the blue sky. From the outside visitors see a woman dressed in clothes from the time period in which the home was built, beckoning them to come inside. It is, after all, a museum. The inside walls are adorned with photos from years gone by, many showing the house as it was when the name ?Surratt's Tavern?
Beaufort, South Carolina Most cities have some sort of historic district. These streets are those lined by houses from eras gone by. A person can look at the architecture and guess at the grandeur of life in the past. In every historic district there is the crown jewel, a house of such beauty and regal stature that it epitomizes the age. Beneath the shady oaks and past the vast lawn, it is difficult to picture the home as anything but a work of beauty. However, even if that house was the first built on that land, there is still history beyond the structure.
Camarillo, California California is a state with more than its fair share of ghostly residents, and true to the West Coast way of life, many of them deal with stars of past eras and horrific tragedies, the likes of which no other state can easily boast. While stories of the ghost of Marilyn Monroe and Howard Hughes are well known and accredited to dozens of locations, there are places where the presences of ghosts is not merely a fabrication to boost the tourist trade.
St. Paul, Minnesota
Goldfield, Nevada The town in which it resides is all but dead. Few remain of what was once a thriving community, and the buildings that line the streets are marked with decay and disuse. Among the crumbling bricks and boarded windows sits a monolithic titan, once the toast of the town and many states over. Its windows covered, its sidewalk fenced off, one might get the impression that the town doesn't want the liability of letting anyone in. It just might be, however, that the greater liability lies in letting whatever is inside out.
Seward, Alaska The cold, snowy forest regions of Alaska do not seem particularly hospitable to human life. With permafrost below the ground and dense trees blocking the sunlight, one might be surprised to find, nestled outside a city like Seward, an abandoned orphanage. Crossing onto the property, there's an instant melancholy, a feeling of loss and pain. It is obvious that these buildings have not been occupied in many years. But then a sound, a giggling child, is heard across the main yard. It is joined by other voices, more than could easily be hidden around a corner.
Lafayette, Oregon Passing through the iron gates at the bottom of the hill, one feels like they're crossing an otherworldly threshold. The long path winds between trees, barely visible as it makes its way to the top of the hill. Whispers are heard on the wind, and stories are told from those who've been here before and those that have the scars to prove it. It is no house protected by dogs, but a city of the dead watched over by one who was murdered by a town and the malignant prophecy that some say will soon be fulfilled.
Albuquerque, New Mexico The theater lights dim as the show is about to start. The crowd finds their seats and the conversation dwindles to a murmur. In the darkness, a patron spins in her seat, as though icy hands had just run up her spine. She glances about, her eyes finally settling on the balcony, where a small child, far too young to be in attendance alone, waves to her with a gleam in his eye. She doesn't know why, but the boy frightens her.
Jerome, Arizona Check in or check out; there is nothing quite like staying in an historic mansion when visiting another city. The fly-by-night and by-the-hour chains that promise sterile rooms that all look the same may be a pleasant place to sleep, but they have no personality. Travelers often like to find a place of historic significance, where the air still smells of the old world, where the furniture might be older than they, and where the general atmosphere breeds a type of nostalgia and importance that is missing from many modern hotels.
Natchez, Mississippi Mississippi is a state known for its beauty, culture, and history. It has been the setting for some of the most well respected works of literature and movies. But past the beauty there are shadows, hidden secrets, and a different history that paints old Mississippi in a singular light. Some history is better off forgotten, but there are always things that remind of times past. Sometimes the dead refuse to stay buried ? especially when the dead are victims of murder.
Olalla, Washington There are methods of murder and ways of disposal. There are motives as old as time. There are also the scars of misery left by the hands of evil. Even the most jaded of investigators finds the occasional case that gives him pause, and when there is not much left of the victims to bear witness, sometimes the shells of humanity left behind give the most compelling testimony.
Cleveland, Ohio A cast-iron gate encircles the yard around an old Gothic mansion in the most unlikely of places. From atop the stone walls, gargoyles peek down at passers-by while black boards mask the windows and doorways. It may look abandoned, but there are signs of renovation all about with a sign proudly proclaiming that the historic castle will soon open its doors. A brave person might venture into the shadow of the overhang, pressing his ear to the door. He might hear babies crying from within, music coming from an old pipe organ, and a voice that tells him to come inside.
The Ladd School Exeter, Rhode Island There are things that go bump in the night and things that push men to the edge of sanity. There are buildings that seem to exist for no reason other than to perpetuate man's cruelty against his fellow man, and the souls that reside within cry out against what was done to them in life. Some people look at those who are different and find them ugly and undesirable and want nothing more than to put them someplace where they won't be seen. Out of sight, out of mind.