Is It a Phenomenon?

As I check in with what CNN is reporting about when it comes to world news, I learned about the mysterious Korean “Ghost Ships” found in Japan.

The Japanese say these boats have been washing up for years, the problem being, they are full of dead bodies. There are clues to suggest that they are North Korea fishermen, but that isn’t certain. These boats had been entering Japanese waters for five weeks at the time of the report. The key question authorities are asking is: Who are they (the dead bodies)? and Where did they come from?

  • The Japanese Coast Guard claims that this has been happening for years, yet there is only data supporting this for the last five years.
  • In 2011, 57 bodies were found
  • In 2012, 47 bodies
  • In 2013, 80 bodies had washed up, or were found floating at sea.
  • In 2014, 65 bodies
  • And the count as of 2015 was 34 and growing.

The total for those five years was 283 boats, although the Coast Guard hadn’t disclosed how many bodies were on board. A Coast Guard spokesman for CNN stated, “We think they possibly met with an accident due to the weather, but we can’t confirm as the conditions of dead bodies were bad.”

For me, to claim the weather is at fault for all of these dead bodies is too far fetched. Is it possible that these people were attempted defectors of fishermen who just strayed too far from land?

How long these bodies had been at sea is unclear to the Coast Guard, but at the time of reporting in 2015, the second of the most recent boats that had been found, appeared to have been one to two weeks post-death. In November of 2015, some of the ten bodies that were found on three boats could have been there for up to three months.

Is it possible that all these boats are fishing boats? That this isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s just the first time situations such as this have been noticed?

October to February is the key fishing season for Squid, Sandfish, and King Crab off of the coast of the Korean Peninsula. Kim Jong Un has been promoting the fisheries, and this could explain why there are more fishing boats that are going out. The North Korean boats are reported to perform poorly, with bad engines, which risks lives to go out farther to catch more, sometimes drifting causing the fishermen to starve to death.

Whether there is more to the phenomenon of these boasts arriving with dead bodies aboard or if it’s just coincidence of where the fishermen are drifting out in order to catch more fish, we may never know. Analysts have stated that the victims are likely to be from North Korean fishermen, and fishing nets were found aboard some of the boats. Kim Jong Un had been pushing for his subjects to increase their catch.

This story may not be one that catches your eye, but for me, the idea that so many boats are washing ashore with dead bodies aboard and the Coast Guard knows nothing about why or what may have possibly happened to these people is startling and puzzling to me to say the least. Is it that Kim Jong Un pressured the increase of the catch so much that they were willing to lose their lives for it? Upon Kim Jong Un visiting a fishery station he was reported as saying, “It is spectacular to see the pickling tanks and freezing storehouses full of fishes.” He repeatedly expressed his pleasure over the fact that the station had caught thousands of tons of fishes in only a few days, and had called on the station to set a high goal for remarkably increasing the yearly output of fish in a short span of time.

The Japanese police are investigating, but North Korea has yet to comment on the ships. Is there more to this story? I believe so.

The Forgotten Ones

While doing some research for my book, I came across a small town murder, much like in the story I am writing, (Check it out in my pages section: Upcoming Book).  I would like to share this story with you now, as no voice should go left unheard.

With a population of just about 400, in a small town called Montverde, Florida,  a community where the residents felt safe to leave their doors unlocked, is rocked.

On April 8th, 1980 Georgia Jane Crews left her family home around 8:30 pm to walk to the convenience store, which was only about a mile from her home. She had planned on getting some snacks for  a film she was planning to watch that night. Before Georgia left, she told her brother Toni, that she would be back shortly.

An hour passes and Toni becomes concerned that Georgia hasn’t returned yet. His first thought is that she had just gone to a friend’s house to watch the movie instead. But, after calling around, he would learn that no one had heard from her, causing him to start searching the neighborhood.

Parents, Mike and Linda, had been out setting up trotlines on Lake Minnehaha, as Mike was a commercial fisherman. When they returned home, they found Toni in a panic as well as a few of the neighbors helping to search for Georgia. The idea or mere thought that something bad had happened to her was completely out of the question. Many believed she was just somewhere close by. Another hour will pass before Linda calls the police.

Let me remind you that this is a small town of only about 400 people, so when I tell you that there was only one part-time police officer at Montverde, do not let it come as a shock to you.

When the police offier realizes the severity of the situation, he calls for help from the surrounding counties. By the end of that night, there were several officers from three different police departments, sniffer dogs (K9), and a helicopter all involved in the search for Georgia.

The K9 had been able to  pick up on Georgia’s scent leading away from her house and then down a dirt road that went in the direction of the convenience store. Georgia had liked to walk baraefoot, and the police had found small bare-footprints at places along the road, giving them hope that they were heading in the right direction. Only after a short distance on the dirt road would the dogs lose Georgia’s scent as well as the footprints. At this point, the investigators believed she had gotten into a car; willingly or by force, it was unknown.

Night would grow longer and the sky would get darker. It was at this point that Georgia’s family realized something was wrong. Georgia had been scared of the dark, and would not have waked anywhere alone at night in the dark. It was certain that Georgia would not have run away from home. Just as she had told her brother Toni where she was going, she always informed someone of where she was going and always asked for permission if she was leaving their garden.

Midnight would strike. Over 100 residents alonside police were searching for Georgia. Police were also conducting door-to-door interviews, trying to gain some idea of what happened to Georgia. Lake Florentine would be searched by divers the following day. Police  would follow up on sighting of several suspicious and unfamiliar cars that had been reported, none linking to Goergia’s disappearance. The FBI would enter the search a few days later, confirming the theory that Georgia had walked down the dirt road and then got into a vehicle by using tracking dogs. A helicopter was also used to search the area using heat sensing technology, but nothing would be found.

On April 10th, the Lake County Sheriff’s department, Georgia’s grandmother, and the Montverde police chief would receive a phone call from an anonymous caller, claiming that Georgia was dead. The caller would refuse to give any further information, and the police would be unable to track the call.

Six days after this phone call was received, they would find little Georgia’s body in Fern Park, Seminole County, by a family of four. The decomposition of her body would make it difficult for a visual identification, but through the efforts of the medical examiner and a bone spur on one of her feet, an identification would be made as well as the fact that Georgia was still wearing the clothes she was last seen in. She was found lying on her back, one leg tucked behind her back, a single stab woound in the back, the possibility that she was strangled also hasn’t been ruled out. Luckily there was no sign of sexual assault. This poor girl has been through enough.

Several clues were left behind by the killer, one such clue being that of a homemade metal cross necklace. Georgia’s family had never seen the necklace before which would lead the police to only one other possibility, it belonged to the killer. Several anonymous phone calls were made to the police, thought to be from the same person who told them that Georgia was dead. He had statedthat he knew who the killer was, but became nervous and mumbled things about their own safety, before hanging up. The police held a public press conference urging anyone with information to come forward and that their identity would remain secret. They urged the unknown caller to call them again and share any information, but the caller never called again.

Little Georgia’s voice can no longer be heard again, but through my website I bring her voice and her story to light. It could be through this necklace that was left on her body that they may find the killer. . The necklace had been made from two pieces of silver, that had been drilled and then welded together, before being attached to a silver chain.

Little Georgia’s life ended before she was given a chance to make her mark on the world. I wanted to give her voice a chance here on Voices, past, present, and future.

BOULDERS

I offer you another tale to start your day with a moral at the end.

THE OBSTACLE IN OUR PATH (OPPORTUNITY)

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. He then hid himself and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the King’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many people loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the boulder out of the way.

A peasant then came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the boulder out of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been.

The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king explaining that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

MORAL: Every obstacle we come across in life gives us an opportunity to improve our circumstances and while the lazy complain, the others are creating opportunities through their kind hearts, generosity, and willingness to get things done.

What will you do today? Will there be a boulder standing in front of you that you will move with all your might? Will your pen ly on the table today, or will you busy it with your creativity and inspire the world today?

What is the biggest obastacle you face today? Is it yourself or is it others? Let us know in the comments. No one likes to feel alone and through your words, maybe you can impact someone today.

To Jump or Not

In a day and age, where there is war, there are rising prices, there is isolation due to the Coronavirus, and we all have our eyes glued to social media; In a time when our mental health is being challenged I offer you this:

THE GROUP OF FROGS (ENCOURAGEMENT)

As a group of frogs was traveling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, the told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them. However the two frogs decided to ignore whatthe others were saying and they proceeded to try and jump out of the pit. Despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out.

Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying and he gave up, falling down to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said,

“Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

I offer you the moral of this story:

People’s words can have a big effect on other’s lives. Think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth. It might just be the difference between life and death.

Encourage those around you to fight for their life. To embrace that which gives them light and hope. As a community it is our job to lift those who otherwise may give up and let defeat and death take hold.

A Pebble of a Choice

We all want to drive traffic to our sites, so we read all the advice on how to do this that we can find. Yet it say that if we don’t have the right niche this will not happen, no matter how great your site is. I have been at this for months, thought that I was doing well, and then I got sick with a flare up, and had to restart again. The experts say, write about what fascinates you, something you could write about everyday, whether you had one follower or not.

My goal has been to bring to you stories to inspire your creativity. A conversation waiting to happen. Today, I bring to you a short story with a moral at the end.

THINKING OUT OF THE BOX (CREATIVE THINKING)

In a small Italian town, hundreds of years ago, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. The loan-shark was a very old, unattractive looking guy that just so happened to fancy the business owner’s daughter. He decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed. However, the catch was that he would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter. Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust.

The loan-shark said that he would place two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black. The daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark.

Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked out two pebbles. Whilst he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that he’d picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag. He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.

The daughter naturally had three choices as to what she could have done:

  1. Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
  2. Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
  3. Pick a pebble from the bag fully well knowing it was black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.

She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it, accidentally dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She then said to the loan-shark:

“Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”

The pebble left in the bag is obviously black, and seeing as the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped was white, and clear her father’s debt.

Now to the moral of the story; Why I chose to tell you this story.

It’s always possible to overcome a tough situation through thinking out of the box, and not giving in to the only options you think you have to pick from.

I can or could offer you a list of how to’s, but that’s not what I do. I present you a story. I shine a light on the creative aspect of your brain, and give you a character, or a setting. I tell you stories of the past, the present, and future, and challenge you to create.

I ask you to subscribe, I ask you to follow, I ask you to share, and I ask you to comment on how I can better provide you with the things you need to inspire and create.

When Castles Speak

If you are looking for a most sinister place in which to set your story, why not choose that of Moosham Castle. It is considered one of the most haunted castles as well as the administrative center of the Zauberarjackl witch trials and the site for werewolf hunts in the 1800’s.

Although no traces of the earlier structure remain, Moosham Castle is believed to have been built on the foundations of a Roman castrum fortress.

If we travel back from 1675 and 1690, the administrative center was responsible for all: trial, sentencing, and execution during the Salzburg witch trial. 139 people were killed during this time. A horrific number of 39 children between the ages of 10 and 14 were accused and executed for witchcraft. This is where 53 teenagers also met a bloody end to their life.

As we look for stories to tell, they ly everywhere. All we need to do is look. An unusually large number of those killed were male (113). The records named every single victim. They youngest, a boy named Hannerl. He had just turned 10. The eldest was Margarethe Reinberg, 80 years old.

The methods of execution were brutal, even for this time period. The sadistic authorities preferred a process of slow torture. Only when an individual was close to death would they be offered the small mercy of a hanging or decapitation. Children were made an example of. They would chop their hands off and mark their chests with a burning iron, then kept alive and paraded in front of the locals as a warning.

As we look into our stories of the past, it is inevitable that we should hear the Voices of the Past, echoing their stories back to us.

During the late 18th century Moosham Castle would experience another troubling period after the witch trials had ended. Reports of deer and cattle were being found dead on the castle grounds. Bloodthirsty locals would immediately jump to the conclusion that in their minds seemed “logical” , that werewolves were at the castle. The residents of Moosham would be rounded up and murdered for their nocturnal predilections leaving Moosham abandoned for several decades afterwad.

Moosham Castle has made a name for itself especially for believers of the supernatural looking for the castle’s many ghosts. It is rumored that the many screams of witch trial victims can be heard at night, as well as werewolves who apparently still prowl the grounds .

There are other tales and legends to be told of Moosham Castle. One such being that of a bailiff named Anton. He ruled Moosham Castle in the mid 1900’s. Nicknamed Schorgen-Toni, known for his cruelty. He had taken pleasure in torturing his prisoners in the most horrible ways and had even mistreated his own parents. His behavior was well known throught the region, but he was never punished for his crimes. The locals had started to believe that he had sold his soul to the devil.

As the story continues, one night a storm swept over the land. He had made his final round in the dungeon, enjoying seeing the wounds and pain he had inflicted during that day. Once he was satisfied he went to his apartments. He heard this storm and an uncomfortable thought popped into his mind. Needing to shake the feeling from him, he takes a drink and settles into his chair. In the meantime, a carriage drawn by four shiny, black horses came closer to the castle’s gate. The gates open for this unknown guest as if done by magic. The carriage stops in the castle’s courtyard and a figure dressed in black gets out. The bailiff, Toni, nearly dozed off, suddenly hears a knock at the door. Toni opens the door and the figure in black is there. The stranger speaks to him. Toni begins to plead, knowing this day would come eventually, but he was not ready to face his fate. The dark figure is ruthless. It dragged Toni along in his carriage and took him down to Hell, for eternity.

Throughout the years Moosham Castle has been open to the public and many reports of paranormal incidents have been claimed. Some people feel as if they are being watched, touched even, especially in the torture chamber. Others feel as if they are being breathed on. A strange white mist and shadow figures have been seen in the corridors. During EVP sessions, dismbodied voices have been heard and a dark presence is often felt in Toni’s room where doors tend to open and close on their own. Other claims have been of people hearing footsteps, but once they turn around, nothing is there.

While these stories are creepy, they are still one’s that should be told. As we look for that one detail that could make or break our story, the tale in which we choose to write, it may be here, in the depths of these places and voices speaking out.

A Chilling Castle

If we continue with our travels into the dark abyss of haunted casstles, we will come acrosss Chillingham Castle, which serves the word chilling quite eloquently, given it has quite the chilling past.

This castle is steeped in history. It was a 12th century stronghold which became a fully fortfied castle in 1344. Chillingham Castle occupied a strategic position durin Northumberland’s bloody border feuds. It was often under attack and often basked in the patronage of Royal visitors, a tradition that still remains to this day.

Chillingham Castle has some of the highest levels of paranormal activity in the country. The poet, Longfellow begins an apt description of the castle with the following verse:

"All houses in which men have lived and died are haunted houses: Through the open doors the harmless phantoms on their errands glide, with feet that make no sounds upon the floors."

THE WHITE PANTRY GHOST

A space called “The Inner Pantry” is occupied with a frail figure in white, who still appears. This is the room in which the silver was stored and a footman who was employed to sleep here and guard it. As history would have it, the footman had turned in to sleep one night when this lady in white attacked him. She was very pale and had begged him for water. The footman, thinking it was one of the castle guests, turned to obey. The footman remembered that he had been locked in this room, and that no visitors could have entered. This same pale figure is still seen today, and it is thought that the longing for water suggests poisoning.

For the writer within you, this would make for a great story, as with little information, the setting is ideal, the white ghost, could be a man or woman, and if our imaginations incline us, we could turn this into a love story gone wrong, one poisoning the other.

THE GHOST IN THE CHAMBER

This ghost is one that is unseen, it is merely felt as as “Impalable impression on the air”, the poet Tennyson says. In this chamber there is a sense of something unseen, yet distinctly moving. It could be as little as a chill, or as intense as something dark, and a creepy sensation. It could also be that of an oppressive atmosphere.

An extract from a recent visitor said, “I felt this hand on my arm. It was a most friendly feeling and I believe, someone was trying to guide me to see something.” Now whether it was the chamber in which this sensation was felt, it is unknown. But, I personally am not letting anyone, that I cannot see, lead me anywhere.

If we take this one room and try to write a story that surrounds just what could have taken place in the Chamber, what would your story be? Where does your imagination take you? What could this ghost have been leading the visitor towards? What was there the presence wanted to be seen?

VOICES IN THE CHAPEL

The Chapel is beside the Great Hall. If we were to travel inside we may hear the voices of two men who are often heard here. We may not be able to understand the words, and if a serious attempt is made to do so, the voices will cease.

GHOSTS IN THE COURTYARD

If we travel into the courtyard, moonlight casting shadows of battlements across worn flagstone, it is not impossible to see the shades and shadows come to life here.

The most famous of these ghosts is the “Blue (or radiant) boy” who according to the owners, used to haunt the Pink Room in the castle. He is a childish wraith whose heart rendering cries of either fear of pain echo through the corridors upon the stroke of midnight. In the past, it was said that the cries always seemed to emanate from a spot near where a passage is cut through the 10-foot thick wall into the adjoining tower. As the cries fade, a bright halo of ligh would appear, and the figure of the young boy, dressed in blue, would approach those sleeping in the room.

As the story goes, the bones of a child, surrounded by decaying fragments of blue cloth, were found behind the wall. His bones were given a Christian burial, and the “Radiant Boy” was seen no more, that is until Sir Humphrey began renting the room. There are guests who complain of a blue light flash that shoots our of the wall in the dead of night.

THE walls of this castle are full of stories that could immediately fill the pages of a book if the right story teller were to grab hold and write their tales.

Take Lady Berkeley for instance. She was the wife of Lord Grey, who ran off with her sister, Lady Henrietta. Lady Berkeley was left abandoned at the castel , with only her baby daughter for company. It is said that sometimes the rustle of her dress is heard as her invisible revenant sweeps along the rambling corridors in search for her husband, leaving a cold chill in her ghostly wake.

If you are so inclined, the author Richard Jones, tells these stories in his book Haunted Castles of Britain and Ireland. You can purchase it on Amazon. And I remind you I am an Amazon affiliate. I will earn a commission from the sale if you so choose to buy it. It could possibly be the book you need to read for inspiration to write your next best seller.

I hope you enjoyed these haunting tales and return for more.

Contest Acceptability

I missed the deadline for the last Reedsy writing contest due to the flu but this week is inspired by Earth Day. I wonder if the type of writing that I do would be considered in a contest of this origin?

Prompts are:

  • Set your story in the woods or on a campground.
  • Write about a character who loves cloud gazing.
  • Start or end your story with a person buying a house plant
  • Write about a trip to see a natural siht that’s usually only ever seen in photos.
  • Write a story involving a friendship between two different species.

When stories are dedicated to Earth Day, would the judges only be inclined to review stories that restore the Earth and inspire others to change the Earth?

Is it acceptable to write within your own genre?

Would your story be considered in this contest?

Let me know what you think in the comments. Short stories are a great way to expand on witing abilities and if stuck in the currrent story you are working on, it’s a great way to rechannel yoursef.

Which prompt would you choose?

What would be your inspiration for your story?

Let’s continue the conversation. I want to know what you have to say.

Happy writing!

Leap Castle

As the flu ravages my home and everyone in it; as it takes my back and my knees and my arms, and creates an undescribable ache; as it takes my head and composes a solo on the drums; I have had time to thing creatively, form thoughts, look at many of your posts, and let intrigue and fascination at what you have to say, fill me as I lay in the bed with books to read, my notebook for my ideas, and my computer, tablet, and phone, in case my fever breaks and work can yet resume.

I want continue to bring to you stories of places around the world in which many of our settings and characters may generate from for the stories we choose to write. As a new writer, I look for inspiration where ever it may choose to be found.

Let’s travel to Leap Castle, Ireland. It is said that this castle alone has seen more gruesome deaths than a Game of Throne’s wedding has. Legend has it that within the O’Carroll clan, one brother plunged a sword into another, a priest, as he was holding mass in the castle’s chapel. The O’Carroll clan had a fondess for poisoning dinner guests. The room in which the brother, (the priest), died is now called “The Bloody Chapel”, and it is said that the priest haunts the church at night.

Please don’t think that the horror ends there. During the early 1900’s, the castle was undergoing renovations when workmen found a secret dungeon within The Bloody Chapel where so many human skeletons were found. They filled three cartloads when they were haulded away.

I ask you, what could you create from this? On the creativity level of your psyche, what stories can you imagine putting on paper? What art can you paint or draw? What poem rings true in your ears? What masterpiece lies in the wake?

Let’s continue… This dungeon was designed so that prisoners would fall through a trap door, have their lungs punctured by wooded spikes on the ground, and die a slow, horrific death within earshot of the sinister clan members above.

THE ELEMENTAL- is one of the most interesting spirits that reside at Leap Castle. The origin or exact nature of the Elemental is unknwn but there are many theories that have circulated over the years. An early belief is that the Elemental was put there by druids long before the castle was built. Its purpose was to protect the sacred site used for initiations and druid magic.

Another theory is that is was placed there by an invading force to burn the castle from the inside. The person thought to be responsible: Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare. He was a renowned magic practitioner and had attempted to take over the castle on several occasions.

As we dive deeper, local myths say that the Elemental is the spirit of an ancient O’Carroll who died in the castle from Leprocy. It is believed that this is the reasoning for the decomposing facial featured and the apalling stench that accompanies the presence of the spirit.

Other hauntings within the castle: A Red Lady; her ghost is reported to walk the halls holding a dagger. There were two little girls, Charlotte and Emily, they would run up and down the spiral staircase. Emily died after she fell from the battlements on the top of the castle’s tower and Charlotte can still be seen running around after her sister, calling her name.

On a Sunday, this isn’t quite the story that should be told, but in our creative minds, what if we were to take the two girls and turn this story into a haunting of the love of one sister for another? We could take any part of the history of Leap Castle and turn it into what ever we choose it to be. Maybe it’s the dilerium of my fever or just the mere hopes that you will join me in conversation of a creative aspect, that would create such a story as this.

Join me in the conversation and help others create. Have a wonderful Sunday.

Dundas Castle

When we imagine places, settings, and scenes, even characters for our characters, sometimes we need to drive down into the unknown, the eerie, and the abandoned places around the world to find just that one piece that’s missing from our story.

Join me as I take you into the Dundas Castle. It was built in the 1900’s. The owner died before it had been completed and his wife was rumored to have been locked away in one of the upper rooms of the Dundas Castle, until she was sent to a sanitarium (mental institution).

There are rumors and myths that this castle is haunted by the spirit of Josephine Dundas. One of the most mysterious claims, and maybe one of the most outrageous claims, is that one of the ponds around Dundas Castle turns blood red during full moons.

Looking like it had escaped fro the pages of a dark and grim fairy tale, this castle sits high on a dark hillside. It is complete with Gothic windows, turrets, towers, steep parapeted roofs, crumbling walls, and a courtyard that is overgrown with trees and shrubs. The Dundas castle has been a landmark and source of stories, both real and romanticized for almost 100 years.

The locals know and identify this castle as Craig-e-Clair. Almost a thousand acres of land surround this castle. The castle was built by Bradford L. Gilbert in the late 1880’s, he was a noted architect in New York City.

Originally Gilbert had built an estate that was known as “Beaverkill Lodge” on this property. It was the hamlet of the Craig-e-Clair. Gilberts’ wife was a native of Ireland and had chosen the name because the Catskill scenery had reminded her of hoome. The name translates as “Beautiful Mountainside”, named after an Irish fishing village. Wurts-Dundas purchased the land and buildings in 1907.

Wurts-Dundas was as many wealthy men of his time were, and wanted a mountain hideaway for his family and friends. So, in 1907, he purchased 964 acres of forestland with a view of the “Beaverkill”. This land had been a fishing retreat complete with a “Swiss” style country house. Wurts was not satisfied with the existing structure, so he set out to build the finest mansion he could that would incorporate the wooden country house. It is thought that his inspiration for this castle came from late nineteenth-century interpretations of medieval European castles that were constructed in Scotland.

One of the rumors that circulate about Josephine Wurts-Dundas , and please mind you that although it is a fun and entertaining tale to tell, there is no actual evidence for this tale, is that there was a section of the castle in which Josephine was kept a virtual prisoner because of her mental state. Another likely tale was that there were no inside doorknobs, so as to keep her in. Anther is that there were fingernail scratches in the woodwork, all in her effort to escape.

If you are in need of inspiration for a story to write this makes one heck of one indeed. Travel with me again as I tell of other mysterious abandoned places, stories yet to be told.

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