Travel Channel’s immensely popular Dead Files returns for Season 12 on Thursday, February 20, 2020.
“Deadly Vessel” premiered on The Dead Files on August 22, 2019. The episode focused on a New Orleans restaurant called “Vessel.” The episode contained a couple errors; however, none diminished Amy’s walk and observations. The episode profiled a woman who transformed New Orleans.
On November 6, 1795, Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester was born in New Orleans to Don Andres Almonester y Rojas, age 59, and his significantly younger wife, Louise Denis de la Ronde, age 29. Almonester was a wealthy Spaniard who was a Notary and real estate mogul. He commissioned the Jackson Square (then known as Place d’Armes) icons: St. Louis Cathedral, the Presbytere, and the Cabildo. When Micaela was 2 and ½ years old, he died.
Micaela became the wealthiest heiress in New Orleans. Her mother arranged Micaela’s marriage to a 20-year-old cousin, Xavier Celestin de Pontalba, affectionately called “Tin Tin.” They married on October 23, 1811 when Michaela was 15 years old. Shortly thereafter, the couple moved to Paris, settling in the French chateau, Mont I’Eveque.
The marriage full of conflict. Celestin’s father, Baron Joseph Delfau de Pontalba, wanted control over Micaela’s entire inheritance. Her mother had wisely contracted for a small portion of the money to be used as a dowry. The marriage produced 5 children, though only 3 sons lived to adulthood.
In 1830, Micaela defied her husband’s orders and traveled to the U.S. Upon arrival in Washington, D.C., Micaela was invited to the White House. A rumor states that she had a torrid affair with President Andrew Jackson. Upon return to France, Micaela was locked in her room without contact to household staff and shunned by Tin Tin’s family. The goal was to cause Micaela to forfeit her vast fortune to the Baron.
Nearly 23 years to the day of marriage, on October 19, 1834, the Baron attempted to murder Micaela. Using two pistols, he shot her 4 times in the chest. Miraculously, she survived, though permanently maimed. Later that evening, the Baron committed suicide.
The newly titled Baroness de Pontalba, Micaela attempted to divorce her husband numerous times. The French courts had strict laws pertaining to divorce and rejected each claim. Luckily, her husband attempted to ruin Micaela’s reputation by publishing excerpts from the court proceedings. Micaela was able to turn the tables on Celestin, showing that he did not have her best interest as a wife in mind. By tarnishing her good name, Celestin violated his marriage oath. The Court finally allowed her to separate, although they never formally divorced.
In 1848, Micaela took sons Alfred and Gaston and returned to New Orleans. Micaela was disappointed at how run down her properties appeared. She commissioned architects to level the homes and rebuild Place d’Armes. The Pontalba Buildings were constructed and adorned with wrought iron railings that still contain the “AP” letters carved within them. Micaela financed the bronze statue of Andrew Jackson sitting on his horse which if the focal point of Jackson Square.
Had Micaela’s father-in-law not been so greedy, she would not have ascended to the title of Baroness. Micaela remained friendly with her estranged husband, even caring for him by covering his living expenses. Micaela died on April 20, 1874 at the age of 78. A gracious smart businesswoman, Micaela left a great legacy through her preservation efforts and charitable work.
Now some feel she haunts a restaurant that was once part of her vast real estate portfolio.
The Vessel restaurant was formerly a church. Built in 1914, it was converted to a restaurant in the 1970s. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina forced the restaurant to shutter. Alec Wilder had a premonition to purchase an historic church in New Orleans. He and partner Eddie Dyer purchased the property sight-unseen. The restaurant launched in 2016 to rave reviews. The official Website boasts: “eat drink congregate.”
Located at 3835 Iberville Street, the restaurant serves locally sourced items and city favorites. Reservations are highly encouraged. We make our annual trek to NOLA this December, and you can bet that I will be booking our table. Who knows? Maybe the Baroness will dine with us.
Read my latest blog at Haunt Jaunts:
Historic Holbrooke Hotel (CA) Closed Indefinitely for Renovations: https://www.hauntjaunts.net/historic-holbrooke-hotel-ca-closed-indefinitely-for-renovations/
Friday night the hit TV show Dead Files was airing back-to-back episodes. I put the show on but started drafting my blog. I was also working on my conference presentation submissions. Imagine my surprise to find out that I made a Twitter cameo. Awesome!
ParaNews for the Week of February 12, 2018
ParaNews for February 12, 2018:
- Lara Crockett Muscolino’s husband, Ricardo, was sentenced last Friday to 50 years in jail for murdering her. Sentencing was 30 years for 2nd degree murder and 20 years for using a firearm in the commission of a felony. The combined sentencing will run consecutively essentially ensuring he will die in jail. Maryland state law requires felons to serve 50% of their sentences before becoming eligible for parole. Lara was well known in the paranormal community. She co-founded Maryland Ghost Trackers with fellow nurse, Matt K., in 2008. She is deeply missed. For an in-depth discussion, please read “Justice for Lara.”
- Dead Files started Season 9 on Saturday, February 3rd. This past Saturday, February 10th, the 2nd episode “Deadly Reflections” aired. Amy Allan helped a widow in Waxahachie, Texas who was consumed by guilt in the premature death of her husband. The Travel Channel website has incorrect dates for the season. Follow @TheDeadFilesTV for the most up-to-date information and a video of Amy being distracted by two adorable cats. Apparently, cats are her weakness.
- Professional golfer Graham DeLaet tweeted out images and a video of the UFO he spotted last week on February 6th. The Canadian was in Ixtapa, Mexico when he gazed up at the sky and caught sight of a white ball of light. Graham stated is was the “freakiest thing I’ve ever seen.” Twitter users suggested that he may have caught sight of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Like the pro he is, Graham took that news in stride, saying it was pretty cool, too.
The Dead Files Confront a Skin-Walker
Spoiler Alert: This article contains elements from the episode.
The season 8, episode 5 of The Dead Files saw Amy Allan confronting a skin-walker. Skin-walkers come from the Navajo Indian culture. They are shapeshifters who disguise themselves as animals. The difference in this episode is that this skin-walker takes on the image of a known person, either dead or alive, so that the person encountering the skin-walker will feel relieved. Boy, were they wrong.
The Navajo Nation is centered on Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Their culture is rich with folktales. According to NavajoLegends.org, the skin-walker is a medicine man or witch who has turned evil. These walkers shapeshift into 4-legged animals; “The term yee naaldooshii literally translates to ‘with it, he goes on all fours.’” This was not the paranormal problem at this location, Indiana.
Amy never addresses if this skin-walker is tied with Native American lore. Her description showed a spider-like creature that drained the souls from a person who died on or near the property. Amy spoke of a car accident that occurred between the 2 houses in 1979 where a 16-year-old boy died. Amy claims that the skin-walker stole this boy’s soul. However, it collects souls, many souls. This specific creature is extremely old and has always existed (as opposed to being born human). In addition to stealing souls, this creature borrows images of living people to trick the living. The concern is for the elderly patriarch of the family.
One of the short-term solutions Amy suggests is for the family to contact a shaman. Dictionary.com defines a “shaman” as “a person who acts as an intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, etc.” As with many other families on The Dead Files, this family was still searching for one when the episode debuted. Maybe the production company should employ a shaman, and I happen to know one who would be fantastic and a huge help. Just a thought!
Evidence Inadmissible in a Court of Law
Some of The Dead Files episodes carry a disclosure stating that the evidence discovered and discussed are inadmissible in a court of law. Essentially, the disclosure means there may not be proof of a crime or proof to obtain an arrest and conviction. It’s an important disclosure. It also prevents Amy Allen from claiming a specific person committed a crime on TV. She may theorize; however, she shouldn’t conclusively make these assertions. In most of their cases, stories are collected and presented to Amy for possible confirmation that a crime may have been committed. In “Feeding the Fire,” the stories lead the viewers to believe that the man who confessed to the crime really didn’t commit the crime. This is a serious non-paranormal problem. Too many murders remain unresolved by people making false confessions.
This episode attempts to link the murder of Linda Jane Phillips to Henry Lee Lucas, a one-eyed drifter who claimed to killing hundreds, if not thousands, of women. Instead of setting the matter to rest, it creates many more unanswered questions.
Linda Jane Phillips was born on October 27, 1943. The 26-year-old school teacher disappeared on August 8, 1970. Her mutilated body was found on August 10. She sustained 26 stab wounds. Further, she was sexually abused. Her death was established as August 9th. The case sat cold for 14 years.
Enter Henry Lee Lucas. Lucas had already killed his mother. He served time and was released in 1970. By 1975, he was back in jail. In 1984, he confessed to a slew of murders. Linda’s was one he listed.
Lucas’ confession may have been false. The historian interviewed on the episode stated that police were unsure Lucas actually committed the murder. This was not always the case. Police in 1984 were all but certain. As proof, Lucas was able to discuss elements of the case; however, none of it was withheld from the media or it was things killers may know. Further, Lucas self-confessed to these crimes. Back in 1984, Kaufman County D.A. William Conradt seemed overly confident they caught their man. Conradt went on the record professing his firm belief Lucas did in fact murder Linda. He based his opinion on Lucas’ now famous quote: “There are just some things so terrible that you can’t forget them.”
Conradt was overzealous to close this case. He should have been more skeptical of the unsolicited confession. It is clear that Lucas sought “serial killer” status. Lucas’ number of victims shifted from 360 to 600 to 3,000. He recanted many of his “confessions.” In Texas, he was convicted of killing 11 people and received the death sentence for one. Then Governor George W. Bush commuted the sentence to serve 6 life sentences plus 210 years. Lucas died in jail of a heart attack in 2001 at the age of 64.
This episode highlights the ultimate tragedy in murder cases. Many self-professed killers didn’t commit the crimes. They were seeking fame, glory, audience appeal. Too many police departments are satisfied with confessions and refuse to re-open cases. The tragedy becomes two-fold. 1) Police departments lack interest in solving cases where the confessed killer turns out not to be the actual killer. And 2) Momentary closure pales in comparison when the victims’ families realize the killer is still at large. That just may be the case for Linda Jane Phillips.
“Feeding the Fire”
The Dead Files proffers interesting cases with unique perspectives on possible paranormal events. Nearly every episode adds to the paranormal discussion by highlighting a different possible reason for the encounters. Season 9, episode 11 “Feeding the Fire” was filmed in Kaufman, Texas. A 60-year-old man was convinced the paranormal activity ended his marriage. He lives on a large lot in one mobile home, while his ex-wife and three daughters line in another. Some of the pieces of “evidence” supporting the activity were images from phantom bruising. Phantom bruising crops up in several other TV series and movies. They are not immediate links to hauntings.
Phantom bruising are bruises that appear for no particular reason. Rather the reason is unknown to the “victim.” Rarely discussed on ghost hunting shows is that phantom bruising is explainable in most circumstances. Legitimate reasons include vitamin deficiency, exercising, affects from medication, signs from aging, and diabetes. To be clear: Most phantom bruising is caused by real world reasons. That’s not saying that all phantom bruising can be explained away.
Vietnamese people call unexplained bruising “ghost bites.” These bruises show up in various locations—on the thigh, under the arm, etc. Noting locations helps debunk these events. It is helpful to take pictures to build a case for paranormal bruising of unknown origins. As always, document everything. As with a crime scene, each piece taken together creates the larger story. See the next blog on what I mean.