I did not want October to end without at least one Halloween-themed post! 😉
The Crooked Spire
This is the nickname given to the Church of St. Mary and All Saints, which is located in the town of Chesterfield in Derbyshire, England. The reason for the nickname is pretty obvious. According to a tourist website called visitchesterfield.info, the church spire was straight when it was built. However, it became twisted because of “the amount of green timber used during its construction.” This green timber warped under the stress of 32 tons of lead tiles that were placed on top of it.
According to Wikipedia, there are several less logical but more colorful explanations about why the spire became crooked:
In common folklore, there are numerous explanations as to why the spire is twisted. One well established legend goes that a virgin once married in the church, and the church was so surprised that the spire turned around to look at the bride, and continues that if another virgin marries in the church, the spire will return to true again. Several local legends hold that the Devil was responsible. In one tale, a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shoed the Devil, who leaped over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape. A similar story has the Devil causing mischief in Chesterfield, seating himself on the spire and wrapping his tail around it. The people of the town rang the church bells and the Devil, frightened by the clamour, tried to jump away with his tail still wound about the spire, causing it to twist.
Located in the city of Niš in Serbia, Skull Tower is a grim monument of the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which occurred between 1804 and 1813. According to Atlas Obscura, the Serbian rebel army faced annihilation by a large force of Turkish imperial guards. The rebels did not want to surrender or flee, so the rebel commander Stevan Sindelic blew up their own gun powder room, killing his entire army and nearby enemy soldiers in the process.
In retaliation, the Turkish commander Hurshid Pasha came up with a gruesome way to deter future uprisings, which Atlas Obscura describes as follows:
The bodies of the dead rebels were mutilated. Their skins were pe[e]led off their decapitated heads, stuffed up with straw, and sent to the Imperial court in Istanbul as proof of Turkish victory. The skulls were used as building blocks for a tower built by the main road at the entrance of the city . . . .
Once containing 952 skulls, the 15-foot high and 13-foot wide tower now contains only 58 skulls. In 1892, a chapel was built around the tower, and the chapel still exists along with the tower today.
Sathorn Unique Building
Construction on this ambitious 49-story residential building in downtown Bangkok began in the 1990s. It was supposed to be a luxury apartment complex with 659 apartment units and 54 retail outlets. Unfortunately, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 brought a halt to its construction. Although nearly complete, the Sathorn Unique Building project was abandoned, and years of neglect transformed it into the rat- and weed-infested wreck it is today. Instead of housing wealthy tenants, it eventually became a hangout for homeless people, drug dealers, drug addicts, and stray dogs.
The locals believe that this place is haunted. According to Brent Swancer, the “Sathorn Unique Building is mostly known to locals now as the ‘Ghost Tower,” and is well known as an intensely haunted site that most sane people generally avoid.” This is not surprising because, as Swancer puts it, the “building is known for dead bodies turning up here with frightening frequency, some from the building’s various dangers, some murdered, some suicides, and others unceremoniously dumped here for inscrutable reasons.” Although the Sathorn Unique Building is officially closed to the public, urban explorers and others continue to illegally enter the building despite the ghost rumors, falling debris, and other structural dangers.
Grey Towers Castle
Built in the 1800s, Grey Towers Castle is a U.S. National Historic Landmark located in Glenside, Pennsylvania. It was the home of William Welsh Harrison, the co-owner of the Franklin Sugar Refinery, and his family. Harrison commissioned an architect named Horace Trumbauer to design this castle after the main house of the original property he purchased called Rosedale Hall burned down in a fire. The castle was built on the same site as Rosedale Hall. According to the Arcadia University website, Grey Towers Castle was supposed to be a “grand structure inspired by but not directly copied from Alnwick Castle, the medieval seat of the Dukes of Northumberland in England.” Grey Towers Castle is a three-story castle with 40 rooms. It has “eclectic styles of architecture and interior decoration,” and the “décor of the principal rooms represented French styles dating from the Renaissance through the age of Louis XV.” Wikepedia notes that it also has several secret passageways and a series of underground tunnels.
Like the Sathorn Unique Building, Grey Towers Castle and the surrounding grounds are supposedly haunted. Here are two examples of some of the strange happenings and hauntings at Grey Towers Castle that Andy Stettler outlines in his article “The Ghosts of Arcadia and Grey Towers Castle”:
Dead Friend Haunting
A friend of the Harrisons’ daughter visited Grey Towers Castle. Her scarf got caught on the banister of the back staircase, which caused her to flip over the banister and accidentally hang herself. Today some people who have rushed down these same stairs have reported “the feeling of someone pushing on them to slow them down.”
The Red Room
The Red Room reflects the unhappy marriage of William Harrison and his wife. The story goes that William Harrison had romantic trysts with the maids, and one day Mrs. Harrison could no longer tolerate his infidelity. She stabbed her husband in one of the circular rooms of Grey Towers Castle. The room was originally white, but after the stabbing the bloodstains never came out of the walls despite attempts to repaint the room. Finally, the room was painted red and renamed the Red Room.
William Harrison died in 1927. Two years later in 1929, Arcadia University, which was known as Beaver College at the time, purchased Grey Towers Castle for $712,500 (Wikipedia notes that this is equal to $9,785,828 today). It became a part of the university, and believe it or not today some of the freshman at Arcadia University spend their first year on campus living in dorm rooms on the third floor of Grey Towers Castle! The Arcadia University website presents this living arrangement as a positive experience for students, “offering them a unique glimpse into life as the Harrisons lived it” . . .