Episode 74: Pirates & Ghosts – Oh My!
Hello everyone. Welcome back. A special welcome to all our new listeners this year. I hope that you all had a safe and comfortable holiday season. Especially for those of you in the world whose holiday was disrupted by this pandemic. Also, welcome to 2021. Let’s see how this year pans out for us all eh!
I lived in the states for some years, in North Carolina – to be precise a lovely small town called Waxhaw, just out of Charlotte. I did a bit of movie extra work while I was there and one time I went to Georgia for an audition. Whilst I was there I decided to go on one of the ghost tours, because I wanted to learn a bit more about the history of the area I was currently in, not because I expected to see anything paranormal. I was really impressed with the tour guide, who was particularly interesting to listen to. And he told the stories in such an entertaining manner that I was thoroughly spell-bound.
When I got the chance after the tour had ended, I asked him if he had actually had any paranormal experiences on his tours, or if any of his guests actually had. It was no surprise when he told me of a couple of experiences. I can’t remember the precise details now. But that tour stuck with me, and I’ve always thought it would be a great thing to actually be able to sit down and talk to someone who does these tours. And finally, I got the opportunity to do so, with this episode’s special guest. However, the question for you, as always is: Are you willing to walk with me into this part of the shadowlands and see what awaits us there? BUT before we do. Sit back, relax with your favourite hot or cold drink, and your knee rug – this is going to be quite a journey, you might want to leave the lights on for this one. Then let’s begin.
Denny O’Rourke, the host of the paranormal podcast, Hauntingly Yours, is a life long enthusiast of the paranormal. From the time his grandfather appeared to him in a dream with a special message at 13 years old until now- it’s been eye opening and insightful. It’s left him wanting more though. What is on the other side for us after death? Today Denny in addition to being a podcaster is also a professional ghost tour guide, ghost storyteller and paranormal investigator. He’s a lover of history and finds himself aiming to keep the haunted locales and their stories alive. My special guest Denny O’ Rourke.
Pirates & Ghosts – Oh My!
Marianne: When we first made contact, I was quite excited to hear about your experiences and, that you’ve encountered in your life’s journey, in this area. Maybe we could start by you telling us how you came – well to one, to be a tour guide for a start. That’s absolutely fascinating.
Denny: Yeah. So I went to work for an outdoor living history museum, where I live in Virginia called Colonial Williamsburg, and it’s the largest outdoor living history museum in the United States, just over three hundred acres. It’s a representation of the way Williamsburg looked when it was the capital of the colony of Virginia during the 18th century.
I found myself working there as a gardener, interpreting gardening history from the time period, and the opportunity to become a ghost tour guide came up. And I said, well, you know, I’m an investigator. I’ve been chasing after the paranormal my whole life. Why not? And I went out, they had me perform a story for them. And they offered me the job the next day. And I ended up working for them for about five years as a ghost tour guide, storyteller. And then I left them. They decided to merge my program with another program, and create a new program that I didn’t agree with. And I ended up finding a new home and I’ve been working with them. Let’s see, I guess the better part of six, seven months now.
Oh great! And I know when I lived in the States, I lived in North Carolina for a number of years and where was it? I visited Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia. I went on a ghost-tour, a ghost-walk there. And, and I really, really enjoyed the history and the storytelling of the person who gave the tour. So in order to do something like that, you have to be a pretty good storyteller, you know, to be able to keep people. What’s the word? Involved!
Interested? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Absolutely, and that’s one hundred percent right, you know, and I can tell you from experience, if I ever feel like somebody is not into it, I have to think creatively and figure out a way to pull those people in. I haven’t had any complaints so far, so that’s good.
Well that’s good. So you have to really be, you have to really be a natural storyteller. You have to be part actor to be able to get the people involved and interested. And you have to be able to think on your feet and outside the box. I would say.
Very much so, yes. And thankfully, I do have – I mean my background is theatre. I also done film and television, so it definitely comes in handy.
I was going to say you have to have some sort of background like that to be able to to really dramatize and bring these stories to life.
Yeah, absolutely. So, maybe we could go back a little bit and maybe you could tell us how you became involved in the paranormal to begin with? What set you off on this journey?
Well, we’re going way back here when I was 13. I’m thirty-three now, by the way, when I was 13, my grandfather passed away. Actually, he died two days before my 13th birthday. And I remember I was very devastated by this because he and I were very close. Two days after we buried him, I awoke in a dream where I was in the white room with very bright lights. And I’m looking all around because it didn’t feel like a dream. But I knew I was asleep.
And I remember looking all around this place thinking, OK, where am I? And the room just seems like it goes on forever. And I start walking along and then I hear a voice call out to me and I recognized it. So I kept moving closer and closer and I realized it was my grandfather and he was sitting all the way at the other end of this room. And I hurried over to him and he’s sitting on this white throne and he’s wearing a white suit and he looks as good as he ever has. And I said, Papa! What are you doing here? He said, Don’t worry about that. I never got the chance to tell you goodbye. I just wanted to tell you I love you and I hope you have a good life.
And I woke up and I was crying my eyes out naturally, but I couldn’t figure out what just happened. You know, I. Was that him or was that a dream? I went around and I told everyone, my mom, my my stepdad, you know, the local reverend at our church. And everybody just said, you’re a 13-year-old boy grieving the loss of a family member. You know, it’s your mind playing tricks on you. But I knew there was something more to it. And that wasn’t the only time something like that has happened to me. It’s been happening over the course of my life where people I’m close to or have some kind of connection with, they somehow reach out to me and give me a message. But that kind of put me on the path.
And, you know, and that’s been spread out quite vastly over the course of my life. Back in July of two thousand and seven, I had an experience that I guess – truly set me down the path that I’m on now. That really, you know, grounded my feet in the paranormal field. And I’ve been looking for answers ever since.
I grew up in the second smallest county in Virginia, called Mathews County. And about 10 minutes from my house there is this place called Old House Woods. Now, old house woods. Best way I can describe it, it’s the stuff of like all good legends are made of inside a sixty-acre creepy patch of woods. It’s haunted by pirates and witches and soldiers from the Revolutionary War. And the list is probably ten miles long of, you know, hauntings.
And I had a friend one night who asked me if I wanted to go ghost hunting. Now, I had never done that at all. Here I am, 19 years old, and I’m thinking, you know, I watch all these shows on TV like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters. And I said, you know what? I’m interested in the paranormal. I’ve had a few things happen. Why not?
He and I, we had to work late one night at this little cafe we’re working at and we take a drive out to the woods. We drive down the center of the woods through the dirt road. And I’m looking all around, you know, it’s just after midnight. It’s absolutely spooky out. We get to the end and I see, you know, a no trespassing sign. And I went on, whoa, whoa, whoa. He said, oh, no, don’t worry, don’t worry. We’re not trespassing on anybody’s property. We’re just going to turn around and come back out. And I said, OK. And we got to the end, and we turned around. Then he pulled over to the side of the road.
Once we were in the middle of the woods and we got out and he ended up sitting on the ground and told me he was going to astral project. And I said, OK, yeah, I know what you’re talking about. And he sat there and got in this like meditative like stance. And it was coming and trying to astral project, which I didn’t think he was doing a very good job at. All the while I’m looking around and I’m keeping an eye on the woods, and because I had no idea what to expect in it, it’s like we’re pretty much in the marshlands, swamp everywhere.
There’s swamps everywhere, really tall pine trees, that if the wind blows, they kind of like, slam up against each other and make horrible sounds. You could hear like, frogs in the distance. It definitely added to the ambience of what we were doing. But I’m sitting here looking around and after ten minutes, I finally, I encounter something. I hear what sounds like somebody’s moving through the woods about several yards to my right. And I look over adjusting my eyes and I can clearly see the trees being pushed back and forth as somebody’s moving through the woods. And then I hear the footsteps and I hear twigs snapping and then I’m thinking, OK, somebody is in the woods.
Well, next thing I know, somebody physically comes out of the woods. It’s the shadowy figure and he dissipates into this lake. Best way I can describe it is this black vapor, just this giant cloud. It kind of sails out of the woods over the ditch bank and comes down to the road and then dissipates again. And he’s this full on apparition of a man, one hat, and he’s wearing a long flowing overcoat. I mean, he looks, as if I had to guess, he looked like he was from the 17th century, very much a pirate. I know enough about history I’ve seen in movies. I knew it was a pirate and I’m, I was speechless. I, this is like something out of a horror movie that I’m witnessing and I look at. And my friend who’s not paying attention, and I said, Charles, get up now! And I took off running to the car. I didn’t look back. I jumped in the back seat and I look out the window and I see this pirate running after my friend chasing, and my friend screamed his head off the entire way.
But right as it got up to the car, the pirate grabbed a hold of him, threw him up against the car, and they started struggling. And there was a fight going on. And my friends begging me, Danny, help me, Danny, help me. And I’m like, man, this is out of my league. I have no idea what’s going on here, what you’ve gotten me into. But I’m not messing with this, this entity. No way. No how! And all of a sudden I see him throw a punch, and then he manages to escape. Gets in the car and we drive off. I mean, I’ve never seen him drive that fast, I mean in all my life. But the last thing I remember seeing, I turned around and looked out the back window of the car and this man was running toward us, this pirate he was running toward the car. And he was glowing. He was like this blue colour. And I guess he gave up because he stopped and then six more guys dressed as pirates showed up behind him.
Whoa! You guys must have been just about peeing your pants.
Yeah, yeah, and I mean, to this day, I mean, it still blows my mind every time I take that trip down memory lane. I feel like I had an experience that most people want and never get, you know what I mean? And I keep going and looking for those types of experiences.
Well, you would I guess one is verification for what you experienced, because it’s not very often that you have spirit physically interacting
on that level. Actually, very rare. For you to see that on your first encounter, is pretty, pretty radical, really.
Yeah. And I mean, the only way I can really wrap my mind around it is this entity, you know, this spirit he must’ve been laying in wait for a very long time, building up the energy to physically, you know, manipulate and touch, you know, another human being. I mean, what what else is there? I mean, unless you want to go down to the demon, rabbit hole. But even that now, I don’t think so.
No, no. I’m not a believer in demons. I mean, I’ve been a medium my entire life. And I’ve seen some very nasty, human spirit. And I’ve seen some inter-dimensional beings. But demonic is a religious, terminology, used to create fear. And certainly, inter-dimensional beings give off, can give off an energy that creates fear in us. Because, it’s a totally different energy to what we’re used to. Doesn’t mean that they’re evil. It just means the energy is quite, vastly different to ours.
But, I agree with you. I agree with you. That would have been – and, and certainly I mean, I’ve had spirit physically touch me. Never hit me, but touch me, as in comfort touches and many people have. But to see that? How did your friend deal with it?
He was pretty exasperated, I mean, he could barely talk. You know, I just kept going. What was that? What was that? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I can’t deal with it. He said, let’s go. Let’s go. I mean, he had been doing he had been ghost hunting long before I had. But he I mean, actually, I did an interview recently and I told the story, of course. And he, he saw the interview and basically said, is this the story that I’m thinking of? Because, I remember just how fast I drove trying to get out the woods that night. And he remembered it very well
Wow, yeah, Yeah, well, it’s pretty dramatic. So, you know, your mind tends to tends to glaze over traumatic things. So they’re not so hard for you to deal with.
Yeah, yeah. Exactly.
There was something else in there, that I was going to say and I can’t remember what it was. Oh gosh, I hate that. It’ll probably come back to me, so – oh that’s right! So this, this entity – this spirit that was there, he obviously had a lot of anger and control issues.
Oh, yeah, I’d say so.
And he obviously felt like you were being disrespectful, or maybe he was still guarding his treasure. Who knows?
Yeah, you know, that’s an interesting thought. Because, one of the many legends of the place is that the infamous pirate Blackbeard actually came ashore, White’s Creek, which runs along the woods. And he took about a dozen men and and buried some treasure, and then killed them all, to – so their their spirits would protect the treasure. You know, dead men tell no tales and all that. And then he got back on his ship, sailed further down the coast to North Carolina and met Lieutenant Maynard and unfortunately met his ultimate demise.
That’s really interesting. So that could explain, you know, maybe it wasn’t such a legend after all? Maybe he actually did that. And that maybe would explain the group of men coming up behind? And, the anger of that particular person? Who knows?
That makes sense to me.
That’s interesting thought. Food for thought though, isn’t it?
Oh, yeah, I mean, I’ve had multiple experiences in those woods and I’ve had other run ins with pirates. Actually, there is one night where we actually – Me and some friends got permission to spend the night in the woods. And I was actually filming a small documentary about my experiences and the history, and everything. And I remember we were all gathered around our campfire. We were eating some stew.
And everyone was like, oh, you know what? Leave the rest for tomorrow. That’ll be a good lunch. And I said, OK! Left the ladle in the pot at the campfire. Everybody turned in for the night. And as I was falling asleep, I saw these seven figures moving toward camp and they were glowing this blue, this blue colour. I saw six figures tall figures, that were clearly adults. And then I saw a shorter one in front, which I assumed was a child.
And I’m looking I’m hearing them on my pillow, looking out the tent, and I’m thinking I’m tired. My eyes are playing tricks on me. Well, I wake up the next day and one of my friends who was with me, he was visiting from Nepal. And he, we woke up, I think it was like seven o’clock in the morning. We’re all very groggy. And he says, guys, I had this strange dream where I awoke in the tent to hearing this terrible racket outside in the camp. Well, I got up, I went to investigate. And when I came out, there were these seven people gathered around the campfire eating our beef stew. There were six men. They were dressed like they were from another time period and had funny looking hats. And there was a little girl in a white dress, that was kind of raggedy looking. They were sitting there eating our beef stew. And I yelled at them and said, hey, that’s our stew!
They turned and looked at me and they started laughing. And the little girl took the ladle and chucked it at me! And everybody just started laughing at him. Nobody believed it at all but me, I went, hold on. I took what I saw and I took his dream, and I put the two together. And I looked at him and I said, Tensen, where’s that ladle? Because, I had looked down in the pot and it wasn’t there. And he said, well, in the dream she threw it – and he pointed. And there it was on the other side of camp!
Oh, wow. Wow. That’s pretty freaky!
Right? Yeah. So I mean, the other guys thought, you know, it was just him being silly. But, there once they saw the ladle on the ground, they just went, OK, nope, no!
Don’t want to know about this right? And that would be that would be a normal reaction. Wouldn’t it. Wow. That was pretty much a shared experience, that validated what you had seen. And validated for Tensen is it?
Yeah, it validated for him what he had experienced as well?
How cool was that? Wow! So, that got you – so really put you on a lifelong journey into the fields of the paranormal and the unexplained.
Oh, yes, very much so. Without a doubt.
Yeah, I would I would say so, and then – and then, of course, you started working with the tours. And tell us, what sort of things have you experienced as a tour guide?
Well, first one that comes to mind is – it was September third, two thousand-sixteen, I was doing a tour. It was my second tour of the night. And those days I did two. I did one seven o’clock, one at eight-thirty. And it was a Saturday night. I remember I had about forty-five people
Oh a big group!
and yeah big group and were marching all around the historic area. And I’ve been taking them to all of the historic houses, telling them about the history and the spooky stories. And I get to this one shop. It’s called the Prentis Shop. It’s just a retail store. They actually sell handcrafted items, made by the local tradesmen. Who work there in the historic area, for the museum.
And I stop at this shop and, you know, I’m telling everybody about the history and, you know, this is an original building built in seventeen thirty-nine. This is who it’s named after. And then, I tell them about the spooky happenings. Because, people have been saying the place is haunted for years. And I get to the end of it and I start joking with these little kids, these children that are sitting around my feet. And I say, kids, look, I know what you’re thinking. You would like to say something bad about this, this shop, and I don’t recommend it, OK? Because, Mr. Prentis, the man whom the shop is named after, he’s still here lurking in the shadows. He’s waiting for some smart aleck kid like you to try their luck.
And everybody started laughing. I was just joking around, trying to have a bit of fun. And one of them gets up. He’s like 10 years old. He looks at both of the windows on the side of the building where I’m standing, and he says as loud as he possibly can. Mr. Prentis, are you here? I think your store is stupid. And he spits on the ground. I said, oh? Somebody’s a tough guy, OK? We don’t provoke ghosts, young man. And he he laughed. He thought it was the funniest thing in the world. But then it was like he did a three-sixty. He went completely white, and then he took off running to the back of the group. And I look back, he’s holding onto his mom for dear life, pulling on our mom. Help me, help me. She’s like, what? Sweetie, what’s wrong? He points at the shop window that I happened to be standing under. And she looks at the window. She goes completely white and she has no words all of a sudden.
And everybody else who’s all around us, they were laughing. They just went completely silent. And they looked at the window and they had no words. Everybody was completely and totally mortified, at something that was in that window. And I looked at everyone and I said, Guys, what’s going on? And why did all of you just become silent as the grave? And then a gentleman at the back of the group yelled out to me and I look back. He was an elderly man, white, white hair. He’s got a New York Yankees hat on. He’s got a camera around his neck. And I said, Sir, what’s wrong? And he said, Denny, should anybody be inside this shop right now? I said, No, sir. Why? He said. I’m pretty sure there’s a man sitting in the window right now. And there’s a really bright light on, you can’t miss it!
And I looked at everybody else because I thought the guy was messing with me, you know, trying to have fun, so I said, guys, is is he telling the truth? And they’re like, yeah, yeah, you want to turn around and look in the window. So I took a couple of steps out and I looked in that window. And what I should have seen, by the way, was a black curtain that’s literally nailed to the windows. So it’s there to help maintain a 18th century look about the building. They don’t want people to look in and see a laptop or a fax machine or something. Modern – throws you for a loop.
And I’m looking at it. This window, and the curtains not there. It’s gone. It’s like somebody just ripped it off the window. And instead there’s a bright light on inside the store. And there’s a man sitting there in a chair. Quite plainly, we can all see him. Sitting there like he’s at a desk, you know, doing something. And we’re we’re looking at his profile. You can see his ears. You can see his neck. And you could tell he had long brown hair, which is pulled back. And he was wearing an 18th century outfit, very prominent collar. And you can see the chair he was sitting in. Now everybody’s begging me. Danny. Danny, what is this? What’s going on? And I’m like, OK, hold on, guys. Let me let me find out.
I walk up to the window., I knock on the sill, trying to create a little noise. I say, Hey, pal, I’m sorry to bother you up there. My name’s Danny. I work for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Do you mind telling me who you are? I just finished a tour out here and I’m terribly sorry, but all of my guests are absolutely petrified. Who are you? And a few seconds later, I got a response because he moved back in his chair. He got up. And he turned around to face me. And I got one good look at him, because, he came in real slow. He bent over. He put one hand on each of his knees and he kind of levelled his head with mine and just stared me right in the face.
And, what I could clearly see was a middle aged man, probably in his mid 40s, long brown hair, brown eyes. He had some facial hair coming in and he was dressed as an 18th century merchant. Now, I know he was a merchant based off the type of attire that he was wearing. Not only that, I was a merchant for the for the historian museum at one point myself. So, guilty as charged. But I’m looking at this and I’m thinking the tailoring is way too good.
This guy has to make his own costumes. But I cast that aside and I waited for the response. And I could tell this guy was ticked off, but I never got a response other than him getting up and looking at me. Because, the light in the store blinked off. He was gone, and then the black curtain reappeared like the whole thing never happened. Yeah, pretty much. I turned around to try and tell my group what I thought happened, and my group had taken off running. They were going every which way. And I basically said, all right, you guys have a good night.
And I got back to my manager’s office to tell him what happened. And the gentleman who asked me to look in the window, he followed me the entire way. And he said, Danny, I just wanted to tell you that I was taking photos from the moment the guy appeared in the window. And I just wanted you to have one of the photos. And I went. Wow. Yeah, and I mean, I’ve had it on my phone ever since that day, September third, two-thousand-sixteen. I I tell that story every night at work. But if you look
Oh, my goodness!
like a little bit yeah, I’ll try to show it to you as best as I can.
Can you send me a copy of that? And I’ll put it on this episode’s page on my website. I have a page for each episode where I put a fully written transcript for deaf people, and I’d really like to put that image with it.
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. I can do that.
I think it’s awesome to have that. To have that! Oh, wow. That’s pretty amazing.
Yeah. That’s been by far my my best experience. But I’ve, I have had multiples. I have. I’ve had multiple experiences. There’s one house there. They can – they consider it, the most haunted house in the city. And it’s called the Paton- Randolph House. And the spirits there literally know me by name whenever I go there. And if I turn on the spirit box, which is a perk of coming on my tour, because, it’s an extreme tour, I carry paranormal equipment. But, if I turn on the spirit box and they start talking to me without me saying, hey, it’s Denny No, I turned it on. Denny, Denny, hi Denny. Hey, Denny, I’m like, all right. All right. Hey, guys. Yes, yes, it’s me. I know you like me.
That’s so cool. I’ve had similar experiences. I used to nurse – I live in a small town in New Zealand called Napier, and I started my training as a hospital, hospital based training, on Napier Hill, which is like a huge hill in town. The old original, Napier cemetery is right by the nurse’s home where I used to live. In the days, back in the seventies when I started my training, nurses in New Zealand, had to live in the nurse’s home. That was the regulations. Very British. Not like it is at all in America.
I used to go over to the cemetery all the time and visit. And just sit there, because, I enjoyed the energies. It was quiet and it was peaceful. And the spirit there knew me. And I had been away for about, oh twenty years, and I came back to Napier. And I went for a visit and I had my recorder and I got, Oh Marianne’s back! Marianne’s back!
Oh yeah. Oh, cool.
Of course, there’s no time in spirit.
Yeah, right. Yeah, exactly.
And spirit, spirit is just humans that no longer have this physical body. So they have the same – the emotions and feelings that they had when they were here. So they would have built a bond up with you, especially if you’re going there the all the time and you’re respectful.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly right. And I know when I first started doing tours for the current company, I’m with the the spirits at this house. You know, I think they got aggravated with me asking the same questions every night that I came. And I’m just thinking, guys, you don’t understand. I’m doing a job here. You know, I’m giving different groups of people each night a performance, you know? And unfortunately, yes, you are a part of the performance. You know, if you feel so inclined to come out and chat. Yeah, it’s like, you know, I would say, are there any men in here with us tonight? You’ve asked this already. It’s like, OK, why do you linger at this place? We’ve been over this.
I’m like, OK, so I, I learn to adapt very quickly because I knew I wanted to keep that friendly rapport with them. So instead of coming there and just asking a billion questions, I would just come there and start a conversation, you know – hey, everyone it’s Denny. I hope everybody is doing all right tonight. How’s it going? You know, and trying to get them to come out slowly, but surely. And it seems like every time I go to that one house, there’s always someone different there.
On record, there have been over thirty plus deaths in the house. Yeah. And there are – there is a cemetery on the property that no one’s ever found, with one of the former families that lived there in the nineteenth century. And I had a conversation with a spirit one night who told me his name was Michael. This was actually about two weeks ago. And I said, well, Michael, I’m curious, can you tell me how many people are in the house right now? He said twenty-seven.
And I was kind of baffled about that. Despite that – oh that’s a number out of left field. I mean, OK, I said, are you sure? He said, yes. And I said, are you part of the Randolph family? And he said maybe. And I said hm somebody is feeling persnickety. OK, yeah, doesn’t want to reveal who he is? But I, I went and looked it up, because, I mean, I’m very familiar with the house, but I, I won’t pretend to know everything. I did find out that the Randolph family, who, who the house is named after, they had twenty-seven slaves when they lived in that house. So I thought, oh, what if Michael is an enslaved person. Yeah, I just – coincidence? I’m sure you can say that, but either that, or somebody is privy to some information.
Yeah. Well, that’s, it’s really interesting, Now. I was looking up, I was looking up – doing a bit of research on you and I heard, read that the scariest incident you’ve ever experienced was in the Horn Habour Nursing Home?
Oh, yes. I actually just talked about that last night for a virtual podcast summit that’s going on right now. Indy pods united, yeah. A bunch of my friends got together and decided to put that little shindig together. Yeah, yeah. But I, I talked about that. That was a big trip down memory lane. So pretty much after I became familiar with Old House woods, I decided I needed to branch out and I started looking for other places in my hometown. And one commonly talked about places pretty much from the time I was born was Horn Harbour Nursing home.
Everybody talked about it was this great nursing home. It was a government run from nineteen forty-three up until about nineteen seventy-seven. A lady named Ethel Owens operated it. Ran it. She worked there for about twenty-five years and then, when the patients got transferred, she fortunately became ill and ended up becoming a patient herself at the new nursing home, Riverside Convalescent Center. And then, from there it was – it turned into a home for troubled boys from Denmark. And these boys, they were just total delinquents. They were always getting into trouble, getting arrested. They were doing witchcraft and trying to resurrect spirits and all sorts of crazy things.
And there’s, there’s a lot of speculation that it’s because of them, that the building became haunted. That they unleashed something, that they, they had no idea would actually come about. They, they actually had a room in the facility called the Devil’s Room, where they would carry out this black magic. And up until the building was demolished back in 2014, if you ventured in there, you could see the devil’s room. I mean, you know this heavy steel door, it’s got a red pentagram on it and it says The Devil’s Room. And you go in and it just smells like death.
Absolutely creepy, creepy place. But, I’ve had multiple experiences in there, and the scariest, most spooky experience I had, was the late one night my son, my friend Charles from, who took me to Old House Woods for the very first time and introduced me to ghost hunting. And it was me, him and another friend named Michael. Who is the sceptic out of us. And we went into the to the facility and we’re walking around. It was probably like two o’clock in the morning.
It was incredibly late. And I remember we were standing in the kitchen. And the kitchen is absolutely massive, massive kitchen. And of course, long since been cleared out. There’s this oven that’s in the middle of the room that’s about it. And the oven seen better days, so you know, it’s rusted and falling apart, I think, on two legs. And there’s a pantry off in the corner. And then on the far side of the room, there’s a door that you can take to go outside to the courtyard.
Then where I was standing, which I was in front of the oven, just on the other side, the oven, there are two windows and those windows were both broken. There was glass on the floor. And we’re standing around in here and I’m looking at the moon coming in through the windows. And I said, you know, is there anyone there? And if someone’s there, could you please give us a sign to acknowledge your presence? You know, doing the typical, paranormal investigator thing.
And, all of a sudden I hear what sounds like two little boys laughing. And I’m looking all around. My friends are looking around, and then I tag them, because, I pinpointed where it was coming from, and I pointed straight ahead without saying anything. And we all start looking at the two windows in front of me. And sure enough, there are two silhouettes that look like young boys. They’ve got their their hands over their eyes, you know? Like they’re peeking in at us. Having a laugh. And what – my friend Michael is the skeptic. He’s like, all right, we know you’re out there. You need to stop messing around and come on in. I’ll mess you up.
And one of them walked right through the window. And all I saw was the silhouette of this boy come in through the window. And I knew he was there, because, the broken glass under the window sill on the on the floor started crunching! And I said, oh, he’s actually there. And then the other silhouette ran down the length of the building, came in the door and ran all the way up to my friend. And my friends went, my hands going cold, ice cold. And then he said, oh, I feel fingers, fingers. And they’re lacing the locking around my fingers. And it was pretty much that point on him and Charles took off running to the car! And they left me standing there. To put it, quite bluntly. Left me standing there to hang out with the two shadow boys. And I just thought, oh, why is this always like this, I mean?
But, I ended up leaving and Charles and I, we took Michael home, dropped him off. And then Charles took me back to my place and I got out of the car, and I felt like somebody got out of the car with me. And I looked out at the house and I see this shadow of a person run up toward the front door. And I looked down at Charles. He said, bye Denny have a good night! And he took off, because, he saw it, too. And, to make a long story very short, over the next two weeks, I was pretty much harassed by the entity of a young boy, who I guess, was probably eleven or twelve years old. I would wake up in the middle of the night to somebody knocking on my bedroom window and I get up, look outside, there’s no one there.
I’d go outside and walk around the house. There’s no one. But I felt like I was being watched. The only way to put it, I’m looking all around. I could feel it, but there’s no one there. Yeah. And there would be random noises like inside my closet and I hear footsteps going down the hall. And then I remember one day I was going to take a shower and I saw what looked like the shadow of a person at the corner of my eye go into my bedroom. And I had this pet rabbit at the time, and I’d go into the shower, start the shower, and I hear my rabbit screaming its head off. I run back into the room and my rabbit’s levitating. In mid-air, like somebody is wringing his neck! And then, he just drops! Dead!
And I was I was just like, um OK, what what just happened? You know, I was upset. I took the rabbit, I buried him. And the next morning I remember I woke up in a dream and there’s this strange, twelve-year-old boy that I’ve never seen, standing at the foot of my bed. He’s dressed like he’s from the nineteen-seventies, maybe nineteen-eighties. I couldn’t really tell. And he’s standing there at the foot of my bed with my dead rabbits bag of food, and he’s pouring it all over my feet, laughing hysterically. And I said, Hey, who are you? And then I woke up and when I woke up I looked down at my feet and saw the bag of rabbit food levitating in mid-air. And then it just dropped. . .
Oh my goodness!
onto the bed. And I said, NO, no, no, no, I said – I said aloud to an empty room, I said, whoever you are, you’re going home. You don’t belong here. Obviously, you attached yourself. That’s fine. But it’s time you go back. I’ve had enough. And I got a couple of people together, I brought all my equipment with me, because, I’d built quite the arsenal at this point. And I went with my voice recorder and I invited him to come back. And we pulled into the driveway of the place. And it was just after midnight, got out of the car and took all my equipment. I turned on my voice recorder and all of a sudden I felt somebody get out the car with me that wasn’t in the back seat.
And I look behind me and I’m like I said to my friends, did you feel like somebody got out of the car? And then we saw the shadow of a person dart behind the bushes that were near us. And I said, it’s him, it’s him. He’s run over there. And I quickly run around the corner. I’ve got all my equipment out. I’m recording this. And when I get behind the bushes, I see what looks like these two clouds of like, white mist just lingering there. And they’re kind of moving back and forth around there. And I see and can hear what sounds like the laughter. Two boys laughing quite clearly and quite plainly. And then one of them says, thank you, Danny! And then it was from the, from there on, we were like, OK, we got what we came for his back, let’s go.
Wow. Yeah, that. Wow. I think you handled that really well. And I guess you learned from there on to tell entities that they can’t follow you home.
Yes, I make that a point, every single time I go do an investigation, or if I even do a tour because I know like that.
Yeah, because doing tours, there are some of them that like to follow me around. I actually had an attachment for probably about three weeks. I had a twenty-two-year-old male spirit named Jake. He – I knew I knew what house he was from, but he would follow me all around and everybody – I had two psychics tell me that he was my protector. And I said, okay, that’s fine. So whenever I went to his house, I would say, Jake, if you’re here, you’re welcome to follow me. And I would hear, OK, thanks.
And he actually would try to introduce me to other spirits, weirdly enough. And then one night it was, it was – there was a female spirit name, Onna, who I’m detecting was German. But she said, Jake trouble. And I said, Jake’s in trouble. And she said, yes. And I said, where is he? She said, On the ground. And out the corner of my eye, I’m seeing what looks like this like fog near me that’s just kind of hovering above the ground. And I said, he’s near me. She said, yes. And I said, What’s wrong? She said, thirsty, water. And I said, Well, I have a container of water. If all he needs is water, he can help himself. Of course, I’m not sure what exactly this means? And then all I hear is, thank you. And I never heard from him anymore after that.
yeah, no idea.
Interesting. And how does this interaction? You obviously you have abilities, or you wouldn’t be having so much interaction with Spirit.
Yeah, and I’ve always considered myself very open to the paranormal, very sensitive. I actually did a, I did a Reiki healing for the first time back in September. And the Reiki master actually told me that I am clairvoyant.
That’s what I got too.
And she she specifically said, you know, you’ve been pretty much denying this your entire life. You predict things before they happen. You feel things. And I said, yeah. And she said, accept it, embrace it. It’s part of who you are. And she told me that my third eye was close to which she couldn’t quite figure out, given what I do. And she opened it for me. And I kid you not. Ever since then, it’s made me even more of a magnet for spirits everywhere I go, it’s like, I actually work at a nursing home, for day work. And I actually was putting up calendars in our empty unit yesterday. And I was in this one room and I felt like somebody ran up behind me and I went, Oh, great, here we go. And I turn around. There is nobody there in the room with me, but I could feel it. There is a very heavy presence. And I took out my cell phone really quick and I hit the video and I turned on the flash. And sure enough, there was an org right there floating around. I thought it was a lens flare first. And then I realized it was an orb, because he started moving all around me.
And I just went through and I asked a series of questions and I specifically said that. I wanted him to him or her to know that I was protected. I was surrounded by white light and they were welcome to be friends with me, but they must have good intentions. And I went back and I listened to this. And right after I said that, I got an EVP saying yes. So I said, OK, got my point across.
They’re – even though they’re no longer with us, they’re still people.
Oh absolutely. Absolutely.
Yeah. You know, that’s one thing I always stress when I do tours, you know, and I’m pulling out all this equipment and getting spirits to interact. You know, I always tell people, be respectful. You know, they’re not circus monkeys. They’re here to talk with us, just like we’re here to talk with them.
And give them a choice.
Yeah. Choice always. And that’s a really wonderful, respectful attitude. And I feel that’s why you tend to have so much success, you know, with interacting with spirit, is because, you do treat them with respect. You do treat them like they’re regular people, which they are. They’re just regular people without these vessels we carry around.
Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Yeah.
From all your experiences then, what made you decide – you have a podcast, tell us a little bit about your podcast?
So pretty much back in March, in March of this year, twenty-twenty, I took a ghost tour guide class for the current company I work for, The Original Ghost of Williamsburg. And they were like, OK, great, Denny’s the star of the class because he’s, you know, I was literally the only one coming in with the prior experience. And, I’m pretty much a walking history, history book of not only history, but ghost stories of the area as well. And they were asking me, OK, how soon do you want to start working? These these guys, they’re new it’s going to take a little while. They wanted to put me to work the very next week, which I was very excited for. But then the coronavirus pandemic hit, all of a sudden,
Oh of course!
oh, wait, we can’t do tours. And then I found myself sitting around for a few months and I was going, I want to keep my storytelling skill set sharp. You know, I can tell stories to anybody I want any time. But, I would rather be telling those stories that are near and dear to my heart. So I decided I’ll start a podcast and I put a couple of feelers out and people were like, Yeah, I’ll listen. Sure, go for it. And I came across Anchor and went to town. And I started off nice and easy, I talked about old house woods and the stories of that place that I grew up with.
And then of course, my own experiences and ventured from one town over to where I live now called Gloucester, picked a place from there and talked about it. And then over time I said, you know, I should go outside the United States and just tell ghost stories from all across the world. So I started finding places of historic value, researching them until I was blue in the face. And digging up as much as I could, compiling it into like a 30 minutes to an hour segment and talking about the history, the folklore and any ghost stories behind that location. And I ended up doing 13 seasons, 13 seasons, excuse me. I ended up doing 13 episodes for my first season. I’m currently in the middle of a break while I’m gearing up for season two, which I’m very excited for.
How exciting. Yeah, that’s really awesome. And I know how much work goes into it. I suspect – I have a feeling, that you researched like I do. I like if if I’m doing a subject like one of the episodes I did in my first season. I’m currently in a break at the moment between my fifth and sixth season. And in my first season I did my episode called “A Glitch in the Matrix Holographic Reality?” I, and I did over 30 hours research for that episode. It was like writing a mini thesis, got all the theoretical physicists I could find on the subject. I researched them. And I suspect that you work in the same way.
Absolutely. I, I essentially take what I do for tours where I go into a location and I, I dig up the history, I dig up what happened in then I figure out how to kind of compile it, shorten it, and present it in a timely fashion. But I definitely jump into it with both feet.
Right. And what’s your podcast called?
My podcast is called Hauntingly Yours, A Podcast for the Paranormal.
Hauntingly Yours, A Podcast for the Paranormal.
It’s probably much easier to just say hauntingly yours. But, and I decided, at the very beginning, because, my main objective with my podcast is to keep the stories alive and keep people telling them, you know, I, I tell you the story. You turn around and you tell your friend and your friend tells your mom and so on and so forth down the line. And I called it a podcast for the paranormal, because, it’s it’s dedicated to the spirits. I’m not just doing this for my own gain. I’m doing this because I’m trying to keep their stories alive, their memory going.
That’s really cool. And it’s actually a really nice way to look at Denny. It’s really a nice, a nice thing. So, give us your social media. So how can people contact you? They can hear your podcast. Are you on most podcasting apps? Like, I know you’re on Anchor. Are you on Apple and…?
Yep. So I’m, I’m on all the, the major platforms. Right now I have been using a link-tree just because, it kind of compiles all the the links into one space. And I mean, I’m on Apple podcast, Google podcasts, Cashbox, Stitcher, Pandora, iHeart radio, Amazon music. The list just goes on from there.
Pretty much all of them. And you’re on Instagram? What’s your Instagram handle?
Hauntingly Yours Podcast.
Hauntingly yours. Are you on Twitter?
Twitter as well, yeah. HY Podcast FM
OK, brilliant. And I’ll have links to all your social media on this episode’s page of the podcast website www.walkingtheshadowlands.com. Do you have a podcast website? Or just a Facebook page at this point in time?
Just a Facebook page at this point in time.
So is your Facebook page the same name as your podcast?
So it’s going to be the same name as you can find it under the same name as the Instagram, Hauntingly Yours podcast.
OK, brilliant. So there you go. Have you started writing a book yet?
That is, that is in the works! Yes. My, my one of my objectives is to essentially take all the places that I talk about in each season, sit down, expand upon the history, get more stories and more pictures. And just before I knew it, created a compendium of haunted places throughout the world.
That’s great! I could actually, I actually – the reason I asked that is I actually saw, in my mind’s eye you writing this book. At first I thought it was just about that wood area, that you talked about at the beginning, I forget the name of it. Where you had your pirate experience
Yes. When I – the Reiki master I met recently, she actually suggested that I write a book about it, but she suggested I write a children’s book. Nah, no.
No, not for children. This I can see. I can actually see it. And I can see that it will do very well actually, as well Denny. You’ve possibly got a couple of books on you, but yeah, I can see that doing very well for you.
Good to know. Food for thought.
How exciting. So what do you have coming up for you? I understand that you guys are you still in lockdown in the States? Or is life sort of getting back to normal?
Well, you know, it was, we were, we were in lockdown and then we’re out of lockdown. Every, every state is different right now. We’re currently in what’s called phase three here in Virginia. But I think we went back to phase two because there’s been a spike in the virus cases.
We’re very much getting hit with the second wave right now. And people are starting to kind of buckle down and go, OK, it’s coming back around and more people are getting sick, and more people are dying. Yeah it’s, it’s, it’s kind of it’s kind of scary, you know? Because, we don’t know what’s going to happen.
Exactly. It is pretty scary. We’re very lucky here in New Zealand because we so geographically isolated. Way away from any other country in the world. The closest country is Australia and of course, then next is the Antarctic. So we are very, we’re very lucky. So where do you see yourself going from here?
I see myself eventually. Being in the paranormal field full time between podcasting and writing books and paranormal investigation, I just see myself full time doing what it is I love, and that I feel like I’m meant to be doing. Telling ghost stories.
I can see you doing that as well. I mean, I can’t ever see you not telling ghost stories in one form or another.
Sure, yeah, yeah.
Like as this old gray gentleman, you know, telling stories to the kiddies and to the grown ups, who will listen to them. Yeah.
Yeah, I, I remember one of my old storytelling mentors, she said to me once, been told a story about you until you’ve told it 50 thousand times. And I said, you know, there’s probably something to that. And I imagine as I get older and older and older, I’ll find out the true meaning behind that.
Yeah. And you never get tired of telling them either, because, they become part of your fabric. Of who you are.
Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
Before, before we – before we end our conversation. Do you have any any other experience that stands out the most to you? It doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to be frightening. What stands out the most to you of all that you’ve experienced?
As a whole, I would say I just had a, an experience not too long ago where I was told that I had spirit guides. And I was, the person who told me, she said that I had I had several of them. And I said, Oh, really? And she said, you’ve got one that I believe is either a grandfather or great grandfather. And I just thought, oh, gosh, it’s my grandfather. My mom’s dad, who passed away two days before my 30th birthday and appeared to me the dream. He’s, he’s back protecting me, you know, keeping me on the right path, if you will. And I went and got I got my spirit box and I started trying to make contact. And I made contact with one of my spirit guides, and she she told me her name was Ann. And I asked if my grandfather had said his name, Robert Slaughter. I said, is a spirit guide.
She said one of them. And I said, is he near? She said, yes. And I asked, could I speak to him? And she said that he was unable to speak, but he could hear me. And I said, OK, well, I’m not sure if he’s actually there? So can I get some sort of confirmation? And she said, sure. I said, what did he call me when I was growing up as a child? Well, what was it that he called? What was it that he called me? And there was like a few seconds of just static. And I heard Angel. And I started crying, like right there on the spot, because, that’s what he called me all the time, and even though I was a boy. I was just like, I was like papa. Stop! Call a girl Angel, don’t call me angel. What? It’s just a sweet term of endearment. I mean, that’s all it is. There’s no harm in it.
And I essentially I told I told the spirit, guide Ann, I said, tell him that I appreciate him being here, but he can go on. He doesn’t have to be here anymore. There’s several of you around to help me on my way through life. That’s great. But tell him he can rest. And it was just kind of a profound moment for me, because, you know, here I am again. I’m this 13-year-old boy say goodbye to my grandfather in a dream, but now I’m here as a thirty-three- year- old man telling him goodbye once more.
Aw that’s really sweet. That’s really sweet. And, you know, our guides come and go as we reach various stages of growth in our life. New ones will come in and old ones will leave. We usually have one main one that stays with us, but others come and go.
I can see that I can see that
Denny it’s been awesome having you on our episode today. Thank you so much for your time and your really interesting experiences that you’ve shared with us. I’ve really loved it.
Oh, great. I was more than happy to share. Thank you for having me on.
I hope that you have enjoyed listening to Denny as much as I did. Some people are born story-tellers and know how to keep your attention. Thank you so much Denny for sharing your most unique experiences with us all this episode.
Our music today was called Strange Things, by Jay Urban.
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