Coyote Chris Sutton joins me tonight at 9 PM EST on Midnight.FM. Chris “brings light to the darkest places.” He’s a Shaman and uses shamanistic healing work in his paranormal investigations. He’s a genuinely nice guy who cares about every aspect of our planet. I’m so excited to have Chris as my first guest of 2021. Let’s face it. We all need a little more light in our lives.
Tune in at 9 PM EST on Thursday, January 7th on Midnight.FM.
Visit the Sage Branch of the Bay County Library System to enjoy various examples of architecture with decorative elements and possibly a ghost or two. Henry Williams Sage (1814-1897) gifted the citizens of Bay City a library. Opening on January 1, 1884, the Sage Library remains a center of activity and enlightenment for the city. It may also have a ghost, or two.
Known as Michigan’s oldest continually open library, the Sage Library is stunning. Commissioned by Sage, the library was designed by New York architect Charles Babcock and supervised by the local architectural firm Pratt and Koeppe, with Andrew Thompson as the contractor. Sage invested $50,000 for construction, additional monies to initially staff the building, and donated over 8,000 books for the collection. He believed in public libraries, as well as the importance of debate skills. The 4-storey building had high school classrooms on the first floor; a library and reading room where a men’s debate club met on the second floor; and administrative offices for the Supervisor of Schools on the third. The basement housed the furnaces.
The architectural styles are many, with “French Chateau, Victorian Gothic, and Ruskin Gothic” styles prevailing. A beautiful fountain honoring the Greek myth “Leda and the Swan” sits outside the library. The library has been well maintained with many of the town’s businesses working on or in the building.
Paranormal author and investigator Nicole Beauchamp’s debut non-fiction book, Haunted Bay City, Michigan, was published this year. Nicole joined me for an episode of The Haunted Librarian Show and discussed one of her personal favorite hauntings: Jacob Beck.
Jacob Beck, Sr. owned and operated J. Beck & Son Steam Carpet Cleaning Works in the early 1900s. According to Nicole, Jacob laid new carpet in the Sage Library in 1904. Invoices reflect a payment of $11.36 for the installation and cleaning. In 1906, Beck was paid $5.18 to clean the carpets. In 1909, Beck died of a stroke at the age of 70.
Nicole and her paranormal group, Tri-City Ghost Hunters Society, investigated the library. The name “Jacob” came through on their ghost box. Upon further research, Nicole was told about Jacob Beck and his connection with the library. Listen to the archived show and/or read Nicole’s book for more information about Jacob, the Sage Library, and other paranormal activity in and around Bay City, Michigan.
Situated off the coast of Pinellas County, Florida sits the 1,136-acre Fort De Soto Park. The park has a complicated history—a history that is ripe for haunted stories. Tripping on Legends’ Christopher Balzano joined me on The Haunted Librarian Show to discuss some of the tragic stories. Curious about them, I decided to do a bit more researching. Two time periods stand out: The Mullet Key Quarantine Station and the 1980 Sunshine Skyway Bridge Collapse.
Five islands comprise the Fort De Soto Park. Visitors can access the park via boat or car. Inhabitants date back to 1,000 A.D. when the Tocobaga Native American Indians controlled the keys, as well as the Tampa Bay area, residing in villages. One hundred years after the Spanish explorer Pánfilo de Narváez and his men arrived in 1528, the tribe were extinct. By 1861, the islands came under government control and private use was prohibited. During the Civil War, the Union Army controlled two of the islands, Mullet and Egmont Keys. Various buildings were built over the years but ultimately were abandoned one-by-one by 1937. On May 11, 1963, the park was dedicated.
Tierra Verde, the official address for the fort, was originally part of Hillsborough County. Hillsborough County (Tampa and surrounding towns) was founded in 1834 and encompassed the western towns along the Gulf of America. Tierra Verde sits within Pinellas County, which was annexed from Hillsborough in 1912. Researchers should note the dates and keep in mind when searching for data on Fort De Soto Park.
The Tampa Bay area experienced several Yellow Fever outbreaks. From December 16, 1889-1937, the Mullet Key Quarantine Station served as a short-term isolation center for travelers coming to Florida. The quarantine area housed 15 buildings. One was built above the water. The hospital sat 700 feet from the shoreline. Erected on pilings (wooden beams stuck upright into the water), the 37 by 200-foot station consisted of 9 hospital rooms. People who did not exhibit symptoms were housed inland, while patients remained in the hospital. However, people did die at the station.
By 1892, a fumigation apparatus was in use to eradicate the mosquitos, which transmitted Yellow Fever and the cases began to subside. In late 1937, Hillsborough County relocated the station to Gadsden Pointe, closer to Tampa, thus ending one quarantine chapter for the Tampa Bay area. Balzano’s new book Haunted Florida Love Stories (2020) retells some of the ghost stories, possibly identifying who the spirits may be.
On May 9, 1980, the MV Summit Venture crashed into the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, causing a 1200-foot span on the southbound lane to fall into the channel, killing 35 people. A makeshift morgue was set up on Mullet Key.
Michael Betz and Robert Raiola, two FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) divers, were already planning on being at the bridge that day. This was Betz’ fifth day on the job; Raiola was training him. Both were eating breakfast at The Bunny Hut when the call came in. Upon arrival, the FDOT divers worked with Eckerd College’s Search and Rescue divers to retrieve bodies from the water. Betz and Raiola made two dives down to the upside-down Greyhound bus, where all aboard died (22 passengers and the driver), when another storm started moving in. Betz and Raiola were unable to retrieve all of the bodies trapped in the bus. Only 18 bodies were recovered on that day. Seven were recovered the next day by other divers.
Bodies were ferried to Andrew Potter Pier (also known as Potter’s Pier), on the southwest corner of Mullet Key. Here they were processed until being transferred to the Coroner’s office in Largo. Visitors to the park speculate that some of the ghosts seen may be those drowned in this horrific accident.
In addition to the possible victims of the bridge collapse, visitors claim to see phantom suicide jumpers.
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