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Paranormal Great Lakes & Mississippi River

Date: 06-20-14
Host: George Noory
Guests: Charles Cassady

George welcomed former film critic for TV Guide and author of several books on the paranormal, Charles Cassady, Jr., who shared strange tales from the Great Lakes and Mississippi River regions as well as other weird stories. Cassady said he approaches his work from a skeptical perspective, while noting that there have been "too many sincere accounts reported to me... that I just cannot completely rule out a fantastic claim." One interesting account he related was about Lodner Phillips, who invented and tested submarines in the Great Lakes in the 1850s—decades before author Jules Verne published Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Tales about Phillips say he took his family for a pleasure excursion to the bottom of Lake Michigan, Cassady reported.

Cassady detailed another fascinating piece of Great Lakes folklore from the 1940s, when a tugboat captain claimed to have been nearly rammed by what appeared to be an antiquated steamer. The captain boarded the old vessel, saw what he described as a zombie-like crew, and was informed that he was aboard the Hudson—a ship that went down in September 1901 with all hands lost. The tugboat captain was told the crew had been forced by the devil to rise from their watery grave every year and sail on the anniversary of the sinking, Cassady explained. The captain was warned to disembark the phantom ship or join its cursed crew permanently, he added.

Cassady continued with the bizarre story from the 1930s about Goat Castle in Mississippi. The owners, a demented, crippled, would-be piano player and his caregiver girlfriend, let the mansion fall into ruin and get overrun by livestock, he revealed. Their former friend and neighbor, Jennie Merrill, hated the sight of Goat Castle and tried unsuccessfully to buy the property and have it razed to the ground, Cassady said. Jennie was later found shot to death, her neighbors were arrested and questioned about the crime, and it was determined that a roving bandit had killed her, he noted. According to Cassady, however, stories abound of a ghostly woman haunting the adjacent woods and shrieking about her real murderers—the owners of Goat Castle.

Open Lines followed in the final hour.

News segment guests: Lauren Weinstein / Peter Davenport

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