Thursday, September 9, 2010

How legends get started

Disclaimer: Please do not enter any of the locations mentioned in this article without permission from the owners. These places and those like them are considered private property and entering them without the owner's permission is trespassing. You will be arrested for this and will make it harder for serious investigators to do their job.

Is this old abandoned house haunted? Given it's
appearance it has to be right?

See this house? Would you believe me if I told you it's haunted? Why wouldn't you, look how creepy it is. And it's abandoned so it has to be haunted right? Wrong.

The house in the photo is th Craycroft house on Palm Avenue, just south of Herndon. It was built in 1927 by a Frank J. Craycroft who invented a brick that had great insulationg properties that were perfect for the summers and winters here and decided to build his home from this material. Unfortunately tragedy struck two years later when a disgruntled brick mason shot Craycroft who then died from his injuries several months later. This part is known to be true as the story was retold in Valley's Legends and Legacies Vol. III.

Given the story of the death and the appearance of the house (fenced off and in a state of decay) it's easy for an urban legend to take seed and grow. People passing by the house and not knowing the history of it might assume it's haunted. They then mention it to someone else and that person may say they heard it was haunted from someone else. These are how urban legends get started. Same with Kearney Mansion. People assume since it's an old historic building that it HAS to be haunted. And somehow a story like the one where anyone who sees the ghost of Mrs. Kearny dies gets started and is perpuated through the years. Hell even I've been guilty of believing this. When I was in high school I was told there was this cemetery out in the country in Madera that the church had been burned to the ground by satanist and they performed ceromies in the now abandoned cemetery. Of course I believed this as a friend of a friend who in turn had heard it from someone else. Of course none of this was true, but given the nature of the cemetery and the stories I was told it was easy to believe it was.

My point in all this is don't always believe what your told. But that doesn't mean the story still shouldn't be told. Urban legends are just part of our area's folklore. And that's what I've been doing with Weird Fresno lately, telling the folklore stories and urban legends of the area. I'm not trying to prove anything (I'm not that arrogant to think I can where others haven't). I used to love the story but got so caught up in being an investigator and in trying to prove ghosts exist that I forgot what orginally interested me in the paranormal. It was the stories.

So next time you hear a place is haunted or a monster was seen in those trees behind the park or that a UFO laned in a pasture and killed a few cows, don't automatically assume it's true. Just take the story with a grain of salt and look into the story to see if the claims can be verified. And of course pass it on to me so I can add it to the ever growing list of stories in Fresno.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you read Jeff Belangers Legend Tripping if not I am sure you will enjoy it. I have investigated with you and I thought you spent more time proving ghosts do not exist which helps the field much more.

Michael said...

I haven't read it yet (it's on order from Amazon), but I'm familiar with it. What he talks about is what I used to do before I actually investigated, and I want to get back to that as that's what I really enjoyed.

Not sure if I spent time trying to prove ghosts do not exist as I believe in the existence of them. More likely I was skeptical of what I was told and wanted concrete evidence, not photos of orbs (which seems to be the norm).

You said you investigated with me. Any hints as to who you are?

Anonymous said...

I hear ya if I see one more orb with a face I will scream and why are all the ghosts named Sarah or Mary or George???? you limit your evidence when you single out. Any haunted location can have different spirits everytime you go there. My name is Pam I was in two of Jackies classes with you. Glad to see you are still active in
the field You are skeptical which is must. I specifically try to stay out of the Carnival Aspect that is running rampant in our field. Good luck keepin it real Micheal :)

Anonymous said...

I spelled your name wrong sorry Michael

Anonymous said...

If you try to access this property YOU WILL BE ARRESTED

Michael said...

Anonymous makes a great point, and one I forgot to mention. When exploring any of these places, be it a cemetery, abandoned house, etc, always get permission before you go.

An incident happened several years ago where a bunch of kids broke into the Academy Cemetery in Clovis and destroyed a bunch of headstones. Now it's impossible to investigate the place as Clovis won't let anyone go in.

So don't be an idiot and get permission first. If you don't get permission, then just move on to the next place. There's plenty to see out there.

Anonymous said...

great Now FPI has the address on their meet up site

Anonymous said...

although I agree with you about how urban stories get started, the Kearney house, for one thing, is in fact haunted. I am a medium and a paranormal investigator as well as a volunteer with the house. I have spoken to both the female spirit as well as the young boy.... Is the Craycroft house haunted? I do not know, I have not investigated it yet, does have some interesting energy and would love to be given the chance... m

Anonymous said...

I went in the Craycroft house a few times when I was younger and I believe it is haunted. A door slammed shut on my friend and nearly broke his shoulder. The story I heard about why it is haunted involved the wife having an affair with the brick mason, Craycroft killed her and the mason killed Craycroft. Probably not true, but the place has bad vibes, it always cold inside, and you should not try to go in there.

Cameron said...

I lived across the street from the Craycroft house back in the early 70's back when people still lived in it and it was surrounded by fig orchards. The man who lived there had these big dogs that would run around loose and one of them stole my cookie right out of my hand when I was 3 or 4 years old.

Anonymous said...

If I found someone in possession of these old brick who could I contact to get them returned. The subject is currently in Madera County jail on other theft charges. I think he has like 10 or so. Or has there been any recent thefts reported?

Anonymous said...

When I was young before this house was fenced off my friends and I went to check out this house. I would have to say this house has something about it we all walked up to the back door to check what the deal was about this house we found a skeleton of a kitten embedded into the brick. Right in front of the back door not to mention symbols of satanic symbolism. Im telling you there is something going on Over twenty years ago you could get into this home.