Saturday, December 31, 2005

Vampire Brothers

Back in 1932, a young girl stumbled into a New Orleans police station and told a tale of being kidnapped by two men and held in this apartment. There, they cut her, and drank her blood. She managed to escape and reported them to the police. The police then raided the apartment where they found more people who being bled and fed upon by the two brothers. They also found some bodies that were drained of blood. The two brothers were arrested, tried, convicted, and executed in the electric chair. Their remains were buried in a cemetery. Shortly thereafter, people reported seeing the two brothers on the street, and in the apartment. More people turned up dead, with their bodies drained of blood. Their tombs were opened up about a year later and nothing was found, no ashes, bones, or dust. This begs the question, what happened to them? Are they really running around?

She told him so.....

This used to be called the Bottom of the Cup Tea room. I don't know what it is now. You can find this building in New Orleans at 732 Royal Street in the French Quarter. Back in the 18 and 19th centuries, wealthy men were expected to have mistresses of another color. This practice was called placage then. Today it's called Clintonage. Anyway, the man who lived here had a beautiful, light-skinned Creole woman named Julie. The social custom of the day was to keep a mistress, give her clothes, a house, money and nice things, and carry on affairs with them. However, you dare not marry them or else you were ostracized. Well, Julie was in love with her man and wanted to buck the system. He didn't for the obvious reasons. She pestered him day and night about marrying her. One night, thinking this would quiet her once and for all, he made a wager. If she stood on the rooftop of the house all night naked, he would marry her. Julie never had to think twice, she stripped naked, and climbed to the roof and remained all night. Sadly, that night was very cold, and wet and Julie eventually died from exposure. The next morning her body was found. Her lover was torn, and he died soon after.
This building is said to be one of the most actively haunted in New Orleans. Some ghost touring companies will say if you walk in, say her name, you will feel her presence. Well, I did just that, and I didn't feel a damn thing. Julie is said to be temperamental ghost, maybe she just didn't like me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Battles of Adobe Walls

Adobe walls is the name give to an abandoned fort that rests in what is now Hutchinson County, TX. On November 26, 1864, Col. Christopher "Kit" Carson was leading an expedition against Comanche and Kiowa Indians. Carson found a Comanche settlement and attacked it. However, the number of Indians was roughly over 10 to 1 more than his troops, more than he expected. Carson and his troops holed up in the Adobe Walls where they fended off charge after charge. The help of some howitzers on a high hill helped keep the Indians off Carson and his men. As food and ammunition ran short, Carson decided it was time to retreat. The troops retreated towards the rear, but the Indians saw this and set grass fires to back their escape. Carson changed track, setting his own fires and rushed through hails of gunfire to regroup and eventually withdraw from the area. Carson's casualties were 3 killed, 25 wounded (3 later dying). Indian casualties were estimated to be somewhere between 100 to 150.

On June 27, 1874, a second battle occurred. By now, the area had been teaming with buffalo hunters, including a young hunter by the name of Bat Masterson who would later earn fame and a name in history as an old-west lawman (with his good friend Wyatt Earp). The area Indians resented the buffalo hunters in the area and under the encouragement of a medicine man named Isa-tai. He performed a ceremony (getting high on peyote) and was told the Indians were to be protected from the white man's bullets. Under the leadership of Chief Quanah Parker the Indians attacked. The ruins were defended by a force of under 30 men, with superior weaponry. The Indian force ranged about 700 warriors who failed to take the ruins and defeat the hunters. Isa-tai's prediction about immunity from bullets proved to be false. In the end many of the Indians, including Chief Parker, were killed and the hunters lost only a few.

Race Riot in Houston

How many of you knew that on August 23, 1917, a race riot erupted in Houston, TX?
During World War I, the War Department (now the Department of Defense) set up Camp Logan in what is today Memorial Park. The assignment to guard the construction of the camp was given to the 3rd Battalion of the 24th Infantry, an all-black regiment. These men were experienced soldiers who had seen combat. Unfortunately when they arrived in Houston they were viewed with hostility by the white population. Since Jim Crow was the rule of the day, the soldiers would find themselves discriminated against when they would come into the city on a pass. They were insulted by white citizens, they were forced to stand in the rear of street cars despite many empty seats in the 'whites only' section. A sheriff's deputy went as far to arrest a soldier for sitting in the whites only section. Another soldier was arrested for interfering with the arrest of a black woman by Houston Police. A Corporal, Charles Baltimore, inquired to a Houston Officer why his men were being arrested. For his inquiry, he got pistol whipped by the officer who even shot at the fleeing corporal as he fled. He ran into a shed where he was arrested, but eventually released.
Meanwhile, back at the camp, resentment at their treatment along with the false rumors that Corporal Baltimore had been killed and a white mob was marching upon the camp for a fight planted the seeds for a murderous rampage. A number of black soldiers then stole weapons and ammunition and under the leadership of Sgt. Vida Henry marched into the city of Houston, shooting at citizens and police. White citizens who stepped out of their homes to see what the commotion was were shot in cold blood. The soldiers also stumbled upon white police officers and shot them too. In the 2 hour riot, 5 Houston police officers along with 11 citizens (all white) were killed. Four of the soldiers, including Sgt. Henry were killed (2 of them accidentally by the rioters themselves). Officers Ira Raney and Rufus Daniels' bodies were hacked with the soldiers' bayonets after they were shot.
In the tribunal afterward, 110 soldiers were convicted on a variety of charges, 29 were given the death penalty, however only 19 were actually hung. The area of the slaughter that day is now along Center and Roy streets and San Felipe street. For a more detailed account of that day, go here.

For a history of Houston Police Officers killed in the line of duty going back to 1860, click here.