Pour A Glass of Wine for the Spirits: Haunted Vineyards and Wineries

Pour A Glass of Wine for the Spirits: Haunted Vineyards and Wineries


To celebrate my return to blogging after a short break (not of my choice!), I decided to explore ghosts through one of my favorite pastimes: drinking wine! I do not have the luxury to see many vineyards in person, but visiting them through their ghost stories is just as fun. The following vineyards and wineries have especially interesting paranormal history. Open a bottle of wine, turn down the lights, and get ready to be spooked (or not, you are so brave).

Bartholomew Park Winery (Sonoma, California)

Before it became a winery, this location served as a morgue, insane asylum and delinquent home for wayward women. According to ghost hunter Jeff Dwyer, “A short time after the winery opened, employees heard voices singing in the cellar that once housed prisoners. The choir is heard in the afternoon and again late at night. Hymns are the usual choice” (source). Visitors have also reported doors locking on their own, a fire extinguisher thrown against the wall, and a piano playing.

In the 1970s, the remains of a woman were discovered in the basement walls during an earthquake retrofit. Some attribute these remains to Madeline, an incarcerated women who lived on the property in the 1920s/30s.  She tried to escape several times and was eventually successful. Or, is that her in the wall?

Korbel Champagne Cellars (Guerneville, California)

Korbel was founded in 1882 and produces the very popular champagne I consume once a year (because I can only afford Andre). The horror film Altergiest was inspired by and filmed at this winery (I haven’t seen it, have you?). People have reported orbs, cold spots, and moving objects.

A lot of the hot ghost action happens in the Santa Nella House. In the late 1860s, the Korbel Brothers called on their friends to help in their Champagne endeavor. One of these friends, Dr. Joseph Prosek, arrived in 1871 and built a large house near the vineyards. He planted grapevines and olive orchards (for medicinal purposes). Now called the Santa Nella House, Prosek’s home is now an inn for those visiting wine country. According to Dwyer, four ghosts haunt this location.

  1. Dr. Prosek’s Wife, Emma (supposedly): She moves, hides, and reproduces objects around the inn. She is seen wearing a long black dress with high collar.
  2. An Elderly Gentleman: He sometimes wears a tophat and mourning coat. He has been seen sitting in a parlor chair and walking around guest rooms. He sometimes makes noises and messes with electronics.
  3. The Veranda Ghost: Seen outside the house (mostly on the veranda), this ghostly man likes to ring the doorbell.
  4. Ghost Cat (yes!): This cat leaves paw prints on the bed and carpet of The Blue Room.

Franco-Swiss Winery (St. Helena, California)

The 2010 Time article “Bringing a Historic but Haunted Winery Back to Life” describes Leslie and Richard Mansfield’s decade-long endeavor to bring this “ghost winery” back to life. This restoration project came with a ghost: Jules Millet, a past owner of the winery who was murdered there in 1882. One winter night, Leslie and Richard were giving their dinner guests a tour of the winery with flashlights. One of their friends shouted, “If you’re here, Jules Millet, knock three times!” Nothing happened. The next night when Leslie was home alone, she heard six loud explosions in the house. The next morning she went to the basement and found the source of the noise: the flashlights used during the late night winery tour exploded into a million pieces.

Belvoir Winery (Liberty, Missouri)

The Belvoir Winery is on the historic Odd Fellows Home site. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) was founded by Thomas Wildey in Baltimore, Maryland in 1819. The IOOF “promotes the ethic of reciprocity and charity, by implied inspiration of Judeo-Christian ethics” (source). The Odd Fellows Home site in Liberty served as a place to care for their members, widows, and orphans. This wasn’t considered charity, because residents worked (if physically able) and were expected to remain in good standing. The site had three main buildings: the hospital, the old folks home, and the school. There’s also a cemetery onsite. I recommend reading its history on the winery’s website (super interesting).

Paranormal experiences include:

  • Apparitions of orphan children
  • The sound of children running down the halls, giggling, and singing “Ring Around the Rosy”
  • The sound of a piano playing
  • Doors opening and closing
  • Shadows
  • The feeling of being watched
  • A hug and shoulder grab from an unseen source
  • A “mischievous man” growling

Zephaniah Farm Vineyard (Leesburg, Virginia)

In 1743, Lord Fairfax (a friend of George Washington’s) sold 2000 acres to George Nixon, who then started a dairy farm. In the 1800s, his daughter Mattie inherited the farm. She legally owned the farm until she married British veterinarian Dr. William Casilear, because it was passed to him due to a (sexist) law.

So, Dr. Casilear was a jerk. He was aggressive, carried around a pistol, and supposedly cheated on his wife with the cook. In July 1911, Dr. Casilear shot one of this tenant farmers, Joseph Cross, to death. He believed Joseph left the gate open, accidentally letting the cows loose. Dr. Casilear said it was self-defense and, since this was Jim Crow South and Cross was black, he was acquitted of his charges. Dr. Casilear ran off and was never seen again, leaving Mattie to care for the farm. In 1950,  the Hatch family purchased the property. In 2001, Bill Hatch and his wife Bonnie planted grapevines and started their winery journey.

According to paranormal investigators, there are possibly 35 spirits on the property (mostly in the library), including pets! One of the spirits is Mattie and, according to Bill Hatch, she is especially active when soon-to-be-married couples visit. Maybe she’s trying to warn them of the difficulty of marriage? Bonnie has reported hearing loud conversations upstairs. A carpenter refuses to enter the attic. And, employees have seen apparitions sitting at the table. The owners are not too worried about all these ghosts, though. During a paranormal investigation, it was revealed that Mattie was pleased with the changes made to the property (Food and Wine).

I wonder if there are ghost cows?

Photo of a ‘Guardian Angel?’

Posted: 19 May 2017 08:46 AM PDT

Photo of a ‘Guardian Angel?’

Little Aasher Liles – who has Down Syndrome – took the remarkable shot by using his mum Kerri’s mobile phone.

The apparition resembles the cartoon character Casper the Friendly Ghost.

It was only until Kerri took her phone and scrolled through her camera roll to discover the astonishing ghostly figure, which she believes is his “guardian angel”.

She became convinced that the seven-year-old – who cannot speak – had taken this picture while they were on a flight back to Houston, US.

Photographer Kerri wrote on her Facebook page: “We were flying back to Houston from Washington and my seven-year-old, who’s recently become obsessed with taking pictures with our cellphones, wanted to take some pictures out of the window after I had reached across him to take one myself. Read more at Boy, 7, captures incredible photo of ‘guardian angel’ floating outside plane

Scotland: The Monster of Glamis


The Monster of Glamis – Does a real monster live inside the most famous castle in Scotland? Or, if not today, did it in the past? Almost unbelievably, the historical evidence for this is more compelling than one might suspect. What self-respecting Middle Ages castle doesn’t deserve its very own ghost story? And this one involves royalty going all the way up to the Queen Mother herself.

Bizarre ‘Blue Glowing’ Ionized Energy (1 Pic)

Bizarre ‘Blue Glowing’ Ionized Energy

A puzzling piece of footage from Ohio appears to show some kind of strange energy moving across the sky in the midst of a hail storm.

The video was captured by a man named Chip Beale, who was filming the treacherous weather from his home.

In the short clip, a loud buzzing sound can be heard and, though the trees in Beale’s yard, a blue-ish glow travels horizontally through the air. Read more w/ video at ‘Eerie Energy’ Filmed During Hailstorm

Employee Encounters a Possessed Mannequinn (2 Pics)

While working at the department store Dillard’s located in Florida, an employee noticed something out of the ordinary—as strange things began happening at the store. She believed that one of the mannequins at the store, is possessed by something. One particular mannequin, sits near the front part of one main entrance.
This typically is used to display different dresses on sale. (The department is in the junior section of the store) While working there, they mentioned just how creepy this one mannequin seemed to be. It almost felt like they were being eerily watched by this one mannequin. There are several other mannequins which are used by this department at the store as well.
However, this one seemed entirely different. They had a bad feeling about this mannequin. One night before closing, the lady was straightening a rack of clothes near the mannequin, when they heard a loud scraping type sound. There was only one other employee working that evening and they were downstairs returning a pair of shoes.
What they thought, was either another employee or customer came to drop something off. However, when they turned around, she noticed that the mannequin was facing away from the entrance, instead of towards the door like it normally would be. This certainly puzzled and startled her. She simply refused to go closer until her co-worker returned.
She at first thought she simply imagined that the mannequin moved and her mind was merely playing tricks on her. Then she rationally started thinking that it was always facing the same way. She believed this mannequin was watching her work. It is a typical mannequin, seen in any type of store such as this. It isn’t motorized in any way, but pose able.
This wasn’t the only strange moment, several weeks passed by and the lady came back in to work a morning shift. She discovered the same mannequin inside one of the dressing rooms. She assumed that one of her fellow co-workers had simply placed it there. One of the visual team inspectors came by asking where the mannequin was.
She told them it was in the dressing room. After hearing this, they got angry as the night before this mannequin was dressed for a prom-theme demo display. It had an expensive gown on as well. As this lady asked around, everyone simply denied moving the mannequin. Her heart began to sink into her stomach, she was in complete and utter shock.
One fellow employee named Rebecca said that as she was walking by the mannequin one night, she heard someone hiss,‘Leave.’ She mentioned that the mannequin moved its head as well. But she couldn’t verify it did happen, she thought she imagined it initially. Another incident happened, when a customer was in the store—checking the price tag of the dress the mannequin was wearing.
The customer complained she felt an electrical type of shock. It was strong enough for her to say she had been electrocuted. She shrieked loudly and a manager then approached her, asking her if she was okay and what was wrong. The manager heard the stories of this mannequin but didn’t believe a word of it.
Mannequin with necklace  Later, on one customer had lost a locket while trying on clothes in the store. This young girl was upset about it as her father had given it to her. He had since passed away. Several employees looked around all of the dressing rooms and all around the department. They couldn’t find this locket anywhere.
The young girl then left the store in tears. The lady felt badly for the girl but didn’t know what else to do. The next evening, while she was in the store working she looked over and noticed the locket hanging around the neck of the mannequin. Even more disturbing is that the locket was empty and inside the picture was gone.
I am going to come back and take over a mannequin when I die!

The Yesnaby Healer – Pow-Wow

The Yesnaby healer
Yesnaby: Illustration by S Towrie
At Yesnaby, in Sandwick, there lived a woman who was said to have had the power to stop bleeding without leaving her house.
No matter how far distant the subject might be, once the woman had been called upon for help, the blood would stop.
On one such occasion, the woman was visited by a farmer pleading for her help.
One of his horses had met with an accident, and was bleeding so profusely that the blood was running out of the stable door.
The woman expressed doubt as to whether she would be able to help – more, it seems, because she didn’t trust the farmer than any doubt in her abilities. As it turned out the last farmer she had assisted had not paid her, in any form, for her cure.
Nonetheless, the woman eventually told the farmer to go home and she would do her best. By the time the man arrived back at his farm, the horse’s bleeding had stopped, and the animal was well on the road to recovery.

My Paranormal Influences – Pow-Wows Long Lost Friend

Posted: 02 Aug 2013 11:16 AM PDT

A few days ago, I received an email from a reader who wanted to know what influenced me to become interested in the paranormal. There have been a number of unusual episodes that I can recall, but the following narrative probably sums up my story the best. The esoteric and paranormal influences in my life were a bit more unusual than most. My descendants (who came to America, at Philadelphia, in 1734) were Ana-Baptists from Switzerland…better known in the New World as the Amish. I am the 11th generation of my descendant Ulrich Strickler, who fled the reformation and persecution. The original family homestead in Springettsbury Township, York Co. PA is recorded at the National Register of Historic Places As more German-speaking people moved into Pennsylvania, Old World folk-healing was established within the Pennsylvania Dutch / High German communities. The practice was known as ‘Pow-Wow’. The well-known ‘hex signs’ (Speilwerk) on Amish barns are Pow-Wow symbols used to deter evil spirits. Somewhat similar to HooDoo Conjure, Root Work and Magick, Pow-Wow is deeply associated with the Bible…especially the Old Testament. Most of the better known healing spells and folk magic are in John George Hohman’s 1820 German-American magical receipt-book named Pow-Wows or Long Lost Friend Another resource used is the The Sixth and Seventh Books of MosesThough ‘Pow-Wow is illegal to practice under Pennsylvania State Law…be assured, it is still used. My family had deep religious beliefs and prescribed to the long held symbols and customs. Though I’m not a religious person, I am spiritual and continue to keep ‘The Long Lost Friend‘ near me. It’s my version of a ‘talisman’ and reminds me of the healing sessions I witnessed as a boy. The 1988 film Apprentice to Murder was based on a true story attributed to a great uncle (portrayed by actor Donald Sutherland) who practiced Pow-Wow in southern Pennsylvania. Paranormal activity has been a part of me all my life. I have always had some psychic sensitivity but lacked the knowledge to properly use it. But one important event forced me to further examine my spirituality and how I would regard life here and beyond. I have posted the following event previously, but it was the greatest influence in my spiritual life. In 1977, it was confirmed that my great Aunt Lydie was suffering from lung cancer. The prognosis was not good and the doctors stated that she had very little time to live despite the fact that her illness didn’t slow her down. After a stint in the hospital, she returned home and continued her normal routine. Lydie was my mother’s aunt, my grandfather’s sister and would always open her home and kitchen to the family. The fact is that she practically raised my mother since my grandparents both worked. Her and my uncle owned a well-kept home in the south central Pennsylvania countryside that was surrounded by cornfields and woodlands. When I was a boy, I would take long hikes along the dirt roads as well as hunt for squirrel and deer in their woods. When I’d return to the house, my aunt would have a big hug and food on the table. I was very close to my Aunt Lydie. I had been married to my first wife about a year and was living outside of Baltimore, MD. My mother also lived in Maryland but about 15 miles from me. The family kept daily contact with Lydie and we all continued to visit her to make sure the house was maintained even though we lived an hour away. Lydie seemed resilient and didn’t let her illness get her down.

One late night, my wife and I were in bed asleep when ‘something’ woke me. I rolled on my back, opened my eyes and noticed that the room seemed to be illuminated somehow. By that time, my wife had also awaken and was wondering aloud as to why the room had lightened. We sat up and looked around the room in amazement. I was just about to get out of bed to check on my baby daughter when suddenly, a white billowy apparition started to materialize by the foot of the bed. The form was about 5 feet in height and continued to take a distinct form. Little by little, the spectre developed into the likeness of my Aunt Lydie. As I looked at the apparition’s face, I could see the mouth and eyes moving. It looked directly at me as it seemed like it was trying to tell me something. Both arms started to raise as if it wanted to hug me…the same way my Aunt Lydie would do when I’d walk through her kitchen door. My wife was motionless, shocked and scared out of her mind! She jumped out of bed and ran into my daughter’s bedroom, slamming the door behind her. By this time, the apparition started to dissipate and was completely gone after a few seconds. I sat on the bed utterly astonished. Honestly, this wasn’t the first ghost or phantom I had seen but it definitely was the most unforgettable. Then it struck me…my Aunt Lydie was dead. I looked at the alarm clock which read 2:33am. Just then, the telephone on the nightstand started to ring. I picked up the receiver and it was my mother calling. “Lon…don’t get upset. But, did you see Lydie?” I acknowledge to her that I had. She continued, “Well, Mom (my grandmother) called me and said Lydie had come to say goodbye to her and Daddy (my grandfather).” Well, by this time, I was totally freaked out. The fact that we all lived in separate locations many miles apart and that the spectre of my Aunt Lydie had visited us at the same time was mind boggling…at least to this, then, 20 year old. In the morning we were told that my aunt had been rushed to the hospital a little after 2:00am and had died in the emergency room at 2:27am after suffering a massive stroke. This incident really opened my eyes and encouraged me to take a serious look at paranormal field work. Since that time, I have experienced a plethora of strange and unexplained phenomena…and I still have an overwhelming desire to find the answers. Lon