Not Holding a Grudge

Woodchester Mansion

The cellar

Hiding in the cellar, rescuing a frog and possibly experiencing actual paranormal activity. Last night we returned to Woodchester Mansion for Team Impact’s last Horror Night of the year.

We were torn between going to this or their Halloween party. But the party usually has about 200 guests and we’d end up ghost hunting anyway and getting annoyed when drunk party guests contaminated our EVPs. You know those weirdos who stand in the corner at parties, avoiding eye contact and silently praying they don’t have to engage in awkward small talk? We are the weirdos, mister. Though we were kinda tempted to show up unannounced at the party and stand outside the windows in our plague doctor costumes. But we decided the horror night was the better option. We can mask our social awkwardness much better when ghost hunting. Us “We’ll skip the group stuff and go spend time alone in the dark cellar that everyone hates.” Yep. Totally masking it.Woodchester Mansion

Woodchester MansionWe were meeting up with Tony and Dave beforehand and surprisingly didn’t get lost trying to find Tony’s house! Though we did get stuck in traffic on the M4 and arrived late. But arriving late is kinda what we do. But Dave was also late. We’d envisioned him getting eaten by cows, but this wasn’t the case. Tony gave us all a lift to the mansion then Team Impact set up for Horror Night while we claimed our seats at the front and started setting up our equipment. Most people bring a handbag. We bring all our ghost hunting equipment, tripods and food so pretty much take up half the drawing room by ourselves. People had been told they could bring blankets as the mansion is unfinished and gets very cold. Us “Lightweights” as we shivered our way through the film and threatened to rob Tony of his padded coat.

Woodchester Mansion

Lynx coffin dodger

The night started with a history tour around the mansion. As we’ve been on two horror nights before, Paul let us go down to the cellars alone. We cause less trouble alone. Actually no, we cause more trouble alone, it’s just no one sees it 😀 We had half an hour of getting distracted by the Halloween props and trying to remember to ghost hunt. We also got into a coffin that was down there. We’ve been inside a morgue fridge, so a coffin was next on our list before our Goth badges are revoked. We were still in the cellar when the group ventured down, so we hid in one of the rooms and waited to be found. People came to the doorway and shone their torches in while we lurked in the shadows, trying not to giggle. No one found us. So when everyone was in one room, we joined them briefly then left.

Woodchester Mansion

Cat coffin up

The film for the night was The Grudge. We haven’t seen it in years so it was good to see it again. Then it was time for ghost hunting! We joined in with the group vigil (check us out being sociable) and we all went to the servant’s corridor. We spread out down it, with everyone lining the walls. Except Cat, who was halfway down another corridor by herself. Lynx was standing in an opening to another corridor at the end by Paul and everyone saw a flash of light go across her. Our cameras weren’t on (buggeration), neither were our IR lights and everyone’s torches were off. It was pitch black. There was no light source to cause this. Normally we cause a lot of light anomalies – we wear a lot of jewellery and light reflects off it – but that’s when there’s a light source to reflect. Cat heard female voices in the distance, having a conversation. She thought maybe she was hallucinating or there were people elsewhere in the mansion, but we were all together.

Woodchester Mansion

Lynx in the shadows

Then we moved to do a vigil in the chapel. Everyone was holding hands, except us and Paul, who were standing in the corridor. Again Cat heard the female voices. After the vigil, she mentioned them to Lynx. Lynx heard them too and also thought maybe there were other people around. We told Paul what we’d heard. He’d also heard them. This was our fourth time in the mansion and we’ve never heard them before. Though we then found out that Jack and Laura heard them when they went to the mansion and Neen heard them in the basement during the first horror night.

Woodchester Mansion

Shadow Cat

The group were then split into two, with Team A doing EVP sessions on the top corridor with Tony and Dave and Team B doing vigils in the cellar with Paul. We returned to the servant’s corridor to see if we could recreate the light anomaly and see if we could hear the voices again. We did hear voices, but this time we think they were the other groups. We returned to the chapel but couldn’t hear anything. We also hung out in the mortuary and kitchen, but it was all quiet. Except for this weird ticking noise that seemed to follow us. We thought it was a clock. There are no clocks. Cat checked her watch, but it wasn’t that. It seemed to be around Lynx. After about twenty minutes of moving around, trying to find the source of the noise and praying it wasn’t Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart, we finally found it – one of the batteries in Lynx’s IR battery pack was ticking. Like a bomb. So we ignored it and carried on.

Cat’s camera battery died, despite having an hour left and being fully charged before we’d come. The K2 meter’s battery followed suit. We met back up with Tony, who was fetching new batteries for his equipment that had died. He told us they’d been experiencing things, so we joined his and Dave’s group in the top corridor for an EVP session. Everyone heard a bang coming from the drawing room, where no one else was. Paul kept going to check as they were all hearing noises there too. Dave heard ticking and Lynx mentioned her battery. He checked and that wasn’t the noise he heard. We swapped the battery out. As it was in Lynx’s pocket, she didn’t fancy it detonating and ruining her hoody. People also heard a blast of static, but it wasn’t captured by the recording device.

Woodchester Mansion

Frog rescue

Then it was time for everyone to split up. We frogmarched Dave down to the cellar. He hates it down there as he had a really bad experience there but we made a deal – he comes to the cellar with us and we’ll let him send us photos of him dressed a demon clown for their Halloween party. You know how we feel about clowns. Next thing we know, it’s three clown photos in exchange for cellar time. He drives a hard bargain! But we were determined to get him in the cellar. And he didn’t feel bad down there! We like to think our presence frightened any bad spirits away. We are usually the scariest things in any haunted location. Everyone else was on a mouse hunt. Team Impact had hidden numbered mice all over the mansion and they were worth a prize. Cat to Lynx “You know as soon as we leave this room, we’ll get distracted and forget to look for the mice. ” We got distracted ghost hunting and forgot to search for the mice. Paul reminded us when we left the cellar, so we made a conscious effort to find them. We found a real frog in the mortuary, so took it outside. One of our tweeps told us that might have been Prince Charming. Damn. We set him loose in the woods. Our Prince Charming is probably now in a predator’s digestion tract. Mice! We were meant to be finding mice. We checked all the obscure places we’d hide them – like inside the bathroom taps, up the chimney and under decorations. Turns out, unlike the snake twins we played in Witches Abroad, we are hopeless at finding mice. We should’ve brought our snake, Charlie. At the end of the night, Paul and Chris gave us a mouse each, so we were happy.

Woodchester MansionWe then went with Chris and two other guests back to the lakes. It was actually warmer outside than it was in the mansion! Or maybe our thick coats we’d donned made a difference. The thick coats that we didn’t use to keep ourselves warm during the film. The lakes are so eerie. The water is still. Leaves just sit on top of it. There weren’t many sheep out and they ran when they saw us. It’s ok sheep, we only repel ghosts. And people. You’re safe with us. When we got back, it was 4 a.m and everyone was doing one final vigil in the kitchen. We decided to be sociable again and joined them. Again, another light anomaly flashed across Lynx. This one had a weird blue zig zag line in it. Her camera and IR light were off. Everyone’s torches were off. Cat’s camera was on, but the screen was closed, so it emitted no light and she wasn’t standing beside Lynx when it happened. And she wasn’t pointing in her direction. (Damn blast and even more buggeration.) Again, everyone saw it.

The night finished at 4:15 so while Paul and Chris escorted everyone out of the park, we headed down to the cellar with Tony and Dave to use a ouija board. Cat’s camera battery suddenly died, despite again having plenty of minutes left. So she went back upstairs for a new one. Then her tape ran out. So she went back upstairs with Tony, who also needed new batteries. Ouija never work when we’re on them and once again, the spirits refused to talk to us, despite our brilliant lines of questioning. Maybe they don’t appreciate humour.

Woodchester Mansion

We wanted to sleep here.

We left at 6 and got back to Tony’s around 7 so we could fetch General Pinkinton. We’re very impressed Tony managed to stay awake for the drive back, as we were struggling. He offered us the use of his settees for a few hours so we wouldn’t have to fight to stay awake for the rest of the way home, so we accepted. We can’t die yet – we’re going to Edinburgh next week to launch The Malignant Dead. We have plans, Fate! Plans! Tony’s gorgeous cat, Anoushka, made a massive fuss of us, purring and giving affection. Not like our judgmental cats who demand to know where we’ve been. So this blog post has been written on two and a half hours’ sleep. Which means that either we’re functioning pretty well on two and a half hours’ sleep, or that our regular blog posts seem like they’re written by the sleep deprived.

Woodchester Mansion

L-R Tony, Lynx, Dave, Cat

Rainbow Brite

The Castro, San FranciscoNeen only had one place she wanted to visit in San Francisco, apart from Alcatraz – The Castro, San Francisco’s gay district. So for our last day, we spent the morning there. We knew we were getting close when we saw rainbow flags hanging from buildings. The Castro’s really cool and one of our favourite areas, along with Fisherman’s Wharf. On this one crossroads, instead of zebra crossings, they have rainbow crossings! We insisted on crossing all of them. They also have the rainbow honour walk, where they have large golden plaques of gay celebrities, or people who fought for LGBT rights, along with their picture and what they did. This is so much better than the regular walk of fame, which tells you nothing about what they did to earn their star, other than being famous. There were also small plaques detailing the history of The Castro from the 1700s to 2013, which was really cool. It’s clearly an area that is proud of its past and that’s great to see. We love history, so to have an area’s history integrated into the pavements was brilliant. Plus we always look at our feet when we walk, so it gave us something to read too 😀

The Castro, San Francisco

Harvey Milk’s house

Harvey Milk, the gay politician who was assassinated, lived there and his house is still there. There’s a painting of him in a window. After his murderer was only convicted of manslaughter, riots broke out. In retaliation, the police raided a bar, The Elephant Walk, and beat up the customers. It later burned down and was renamed Harvey’s. We had lunch there. They had vegan fries! They had a lot of vegan choices, or food that could be made vegan on request, yet this place wasn’t listed in ‘Vegan places in San Francisco’ when we googled places where we could eat. We also had an adult raspberry drink made from raspberry vodka, lemonade and raspberry liquor, which was lovely. It was a great place and the menu had the bar’s history in the back. Every time we bought alcohol in America, we were asked for ID. In Harvey’s, Cat was on a really high chair so leaned down to get her ID from her bag, holding onto the table so she wouldn’t fall off. The table started to tip. So she let go. Then her chair tipped, nearly pitching her into our waiter. She climbed down. We’re not built for high chairs and causing a pile up in a pub wasn’t how we wanted our San Francisco adventure to end.

The Castro, San Francisco

rainbow crossing

We headed back to our apartment for our bags then lugged them down to the BART station. We were originally going to get a tram, but some people told us it was only three blocks down. Three blocks is a long way when you’re dragging heavy cases. Especially as America’s roads are ridiculously long. The BART train was in the subway. So we had to take our suitcases down several flights of stairs. Not easy. The machines then wouldn’t accept Lynx’s travel card or debit card, so we had to ask a guy from the Muni desk for help. There was no one at the BART desk. He eventually found a machine that takes credit cards, so that accepted her debit card.

The Castro, San FranciscoWe then had to take our suitcases down the escalator. Lynx nearly fell with her two, so sent the briefcase trolley down by itself while she got the other one on. Cat just managed to fit the large suitcase on a step. We asked a woman if we were getting the right train and she said we were. Then when we were on board, she came up to us and told us we actually had to transfer at San Bruno – she’d looked it up for us as she didn’t want us to miss getting to the airport! Some people there were so nice and helpful. We got to the airport in plenty of time, but security took so long, we only had half an hour before boarding the plane. One man in the security queue complimented our tattoos, saying he’d never seen such badass ink. Thank you, kind sir! Our films for the way back were Ant-Man (brilliant) Jurassic World (the dinosaurs were fantastic, the lead female should’ve been eaten from the start) and a horror, Maggie (boring.) And security didn’t confiscate our decorative dagger! Ok, it was in checked in luggage not hand luggage, but still. Cranberry and Raspberry squash in unmarked bottles – Very Bad. A dagger that could carve out eyeballs and cause panic in the airport – Perfectly Acceptable.

The Castro, San Francisco

Oscar Wilde’s rainbow honour walk

We only managed a couple of hours of sleep on the plane. Again there was no choice in the vegan meal. So we chose not to eat it. We weren’t given breakfast. Clearly vegans don’t eat breakfast. Dear god the woman in front of us was possibly the vainest person we’ve ever met. She spent the entire flight reapplying foundation (she was already wearing it) for ten minutes at a time, then she’d spend half an hour at a time in the toilets and went several times (either she a terrible case of the squits or was using the time to further Barbify her face) then she’d constantly put her hair in a ponytail, take it out, mess with it, put it back in a pony, twist it round. Twist it round again. And again. Put more foundation on. Twist her pony tail. We were tempted to do a nature style documentary voice over for her. “And here we have the female Vainius Maximus, who spends 23 hours a day grooming herself. Easily identified by their immaculate appearance, their inability to ignore their own reflection and their lack of personality.

The Castro, San Francisco

Harvey’s, formerly The Elephant Walk

They can often be found doing duck face in reflective surfaces and Instagraming their perfect faces in public toilets.” She did her makeup with her compact mirror then her hair with her phone’s camera. We should’ve pulled faces and photobombed her. After doing this constantly for the entire flight, she looked no different. She put her hair in a ponytail just before landing then as soon as we landed, she took it out then spent the whole ten minute walk to baggage, messing with it. We were tempted to cut it off – it was clearly bothering her. She got off the plane looking like a supermodel. After 9 hours of being on the plane, our hair was flat in places, our red eye shadow was smeared under our eyes and our fishnets were even more torn. Maybe we should spend more time on our appear- sod that we’ve got better things to do. Like world domination. You can’t achieve world domination by looking in a mirror.

The Castro, San Francisco

The Castro theatre

As we got to baggage reclaim, we were going to text our mum to say we’d landed. We couldn’t find Stormborn (our Smartphone) anywhere. We emptied the rucksack – not there. Lynx had taken photos with it on the plane then didn’t put it back. We went to find someone to ask who we should speak to. He sent us back down to baggage reclaim to find the Virgin Atlantic desk. The guy there took the details then told us to come back when we’d got our bags. Our bags didn’t come ‘til 1:30. Our coach was at 2:10 so we were starting to panic. Lynx returned to the desk, but nothing had been handed in. She was given a number of the lost property to phone when we got home, after the cleaners had been. Considering we knew where we were sitting when we lost it, we were confident we’d get it back. Two weeks later, no one has handed it in 😦 Stormborn has clearly been stolen. Tesco has blocked the sim and phone and we had a passcode on the phone anyway, so to whoever who took it, if we find you, we will act out a scene from one of our stories on you. And it won’t be one of the rare happy scenes! It’ll be one of the ones from the Romance is Dead trilogy. Yeah, you heard right. Is that how you want your life story to end? With a lovespoon?

The Castro, San Francisco

one of the information plaques

Our coach was on time. We slept until we reached Newport. We slept much better on the coach than we did on the plane. There was so much traffic when we hit Cardiff and Sarah was stuck in it on Western Avenue. We got home at 7ish. Bandit was so excited to see us! He didn’t know what to do with himself. He was running back and forth across the settee. He’s never that excited. He normally just waves a front leg at us then rolls over, flashing his armpits. He then couldn’t settle for the evening. We were glad we were home in time to put our rabbits and duck to bed, so we wouldn’t have to wait until morning to see them. We said hello to Peking and she gave an almighty quack, like she was pleased we were back. It’s nice to be missed. The cats all flocked, demanding feeding. Even our adopted stray, Moussy, appeared. We celebrated our return with ice cream (proper food at last) and spent the evening unpacking and washing our clothes. Continuing living the high life! We went to bed at our usual time (half midnight) then got up at our usual time of eight a.m. No jetlag! Perhaps having bad sleeping patterns for seventeen years is good for something.

The Castro, San Francisco

us in Harvey’s. Great bar, great fries, great drink

Escape from Alcatraz

Madame TussaudsToday was the day. We would be visiting the number one place on our haunted locations bucket list: Alcatraz. To say we were excited would be a massive understatement. Think Jason Vorhees on Thursday 12th. Think Freddy Krueger at bedtime. Think Leatherface at a chainsaw sale. Except we wouldn’t be butchering teenagers in hilariously creative ways. We’re saving that for Halloween 😉 We started the “Alcatraz! Alcatraz!” chant from the moment we got out of bed.

Madame TussaudsWe caught a tram to pier 39 and found the Alcatraz gift shop! We’d heard there was a gift shop and threatened to blow our budget in there, but we weren’t sure where it was or if it truly existed. Y’know, like unicorns and happily ever afters. But there it was, looking at us with its ‘come hither’ windows and we were powerless to resist. And like we promised, we spent more in that one shop than we probably had all holiday. Absolutely no regrets. Especially seeing as it was other people we were spending money on. Though we did buy ourselves Alcatraz pyjamas.

P1120602We wandered to the harbour edge and found sea lions sunning themselves on jetties. They were so cute. But they stank. There were loads of them! They were clambering over each other and making noises. We spent a long time looking at them and took a ridiculous amounts of photos of them. Cuteness must be captured. Then we looked up. We could see Alcatraz in the distance!

P1120603Next we went to Madam Tussauds. We posed with Johnny Depp at the entrance – we didn’t need to see anymore, but we’d paid so we went in. The models are so detailed – even their body hair. There were some that we had no idea who they were – some sports stars and pop stars. We played Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’ then danced with Madonna. We played a drum kit (badly) and had a disco with John Travolta. Well, he was on the dance floor by himself.

Madame Tussauds

with Al Capone

It seemed rude to make him dance alone. Luckily the other tourists were not around yet. And they even provided dressing up clothes and props for us. We’re buggers for dressing up. There were sparkly black jackets for posing with Michael Jackson, red hoodies for posing with ET and a bathtub with a knife for Alfred Hitchcock. There were three of each jacket – it was like it was made for us. We also sat in a cell with Al Capone. Seeing as we’d hopefully be meeting his ghost later, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. At the entrance, we posed with Captain America. We didn’t grope this one though. Sorry Cap, but there were witnesses and we know you’re a good Christian boy.

P1120692We then headed to pier 45 to meet Marcia before going to the Gold Dust for a drink while we waited for our Dungeons tour. We got to discuss favourite punk rock bands with the barman and tried convincing him to switch the American football game off in favour of his punk rock DVDs. MCR were on there! Jesus Christ their vodka measures are generous! We had one vodka and lemonade and were tipsy. First time we’ve ever gone to the Dungeons drunk. It started with the gold rush guy, Sutter. Marcia had to spin a wheel to determine our fate. It landed on retribution, so we went into a lift and went down to a talking head, which might have had something to do with the gold rush. Madame TussaudsAfter that, we went to the torturer, who, as usual, picked a guy to demonstrate the anal hook and chappie chopper. We chanted ‘chappie chopper!’ throughout his torture. After that was the judge. Lynx got picked as Black Bart, a poet and thief. The judge accused her of 28 crimes. She corrected him. It was 29. We then went into Miss Piggots’ bar, where we were all shanghai’ed. Sadly, the boat ride was under maintenance so we went to the doctor, who picked a guy who had the plague. The final part was Alcatraz with the ghost of a dead prisoner who played a harmonica. That was the best part.

Madam Tussauds

Psycho Lynx

We went back to the Gold Dust, but we had Red Bull this time, as we haven’t liked any of the vodka and lemonades we’ve had in America. There isn’t enough lemonade. For food, we went to the Hard Rock Café. Their fries are vegan! And we ordered a red berry press, with vodka, and fruit at the bottom, which you crushed to get the flavour. It was delicious! We only bought one between us, because it was large and we haven’t had much luck with drinks. It was by far the best we’ve had, apart from the strawberry Dakari in Vegas.

Madam Tussauds

Cat and Audrey Hepburn

Then it was time for Alcatraz! There were well over a hundred people queuing. We didn’t think there would be that many. We knew instantly any atmosphere the jail contained would be killed. We kinda hoped we’d be put on two separate ferries and the first ferry would get hopelessly lost, or hijacked by the sealions. Sadly, we were all on one ferry. We kept watch for the sealions. AlcatrazWe stood outside at the bow so we’d have the best view for arriving. We tried to read our information on route, but every time we started speaking, a woman gave everyone facts about Alcatraz for the whole journey, so we couldn’t do it. Hey, we’re trying to be professionals here! It was sunset as we crossed so we got some gorgeous shots of the Golden Gate Bridge with the sun going down behind it. And of a pelican flying past the sun, which was perfect, as Alcatraz means pelican. The trip over was smooth – Lynx didn’t feel sick once. A ranger asked why everyone was at Alcatraz. No one spoke up. Lynx “Ghosts!” Neen “Don’t say ghosts.” Cat “Dead people!” No one else offered a reason for their visit.

AlcatrazIn 1775, Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala, discovered the island and named it La Isla de los Alacatraces, or Island of the Pelicans, as they were its first inhabitants. In 1850, president Millard Fillmore signed an order claiming the island for military use. In 1859, the US Army established a fort there and installed 100 canons around it, which guarded San Francisco Bay until 1907 when it became a military prison. Prisoners included Confederate sympathisers and those accused of treason during the Civil War. Native Americans were also held there, including 19 Hopis from the Arizona territory for land disputes with the federal government. Alcatraz was also home to the first west coast lighthouse. During the early 20th century, inmates built a new 600 cell block, which still stands, along with a hospital, mess hall and other buildings. They finished in 1912 and it was deemed the world’s largest reinforced concrete building.

Alcatraz

guard house and sally port

In 1933, the army gave Alcatraz to the US Justice Department to house criminals too dangerous for other prisons. It opened July 1st 1934 after improvements were made to make it more secure. The first prison warder, James A Johnston hired 1 guard for every 3 prisoners and each prisoner had his own cells. From 1934-1963 it was a maximum security federal penitentiary, housing 264 of the country’s most infamous prisoners, which represented less than 1% of the prison population. They dubbed the prison ‘The Rock’. They were sent there for disobedience while serving sentences elsewhere. The Federal Bureau of Prisons believed staying there with sparse conditions and minimum privileges would teach the prisoners to follow rules. Prisoners spent between 16 and 23 hours in 5′ by 9′ cells equipped only with a bunk and a toilet. Famous inmates include Al Capone who was convicted in 1934 for tax evasion. He spent a lot of his five year stint at Alcatraz in an isolation cell and was mentally unstable when he was discharged.

Alcatraz

watch tower and barracks

Robert Stroud spent most of his 17 year stretch in solitary confinement. Unlike in the film, The Birdman of Alcatraz he was forbidden from keeping birds in his cell, like he had been at Leavenworth. Another film, Escape From Alcatraz depicts the story of the Anglin brothers, John and Clarence and Frank Morris, who chipped through the walls of their cells, hiding the holes with cardboard grates. They made a raft to escape and were never caught. Alcatraz’s most dangerous prisoner was George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly, who served 17 years for kidnapping and extortion. Gangster Alvin ‘Creepy Karpis’ Karpowicz, who was listed as Public Enemy Number 1 by the FBI in the 1930s, spent 25 years at Alcatraz, more than any other prisoner.

AlcatrazThere were 14 known escape attempts, involving 36 prisoners. FBI reports state 23 were captured, 6 were shot and killed during the attempt, 2 drowned and 5 went missing and were presumed drowned. From May 2-4 1946, 6 prisoners overpowered wardens and were able to get weapons but not keys. They killed 2 correctional officers and injured 18 others. The US Marines were called in, resulting in 3 of the prisoners dying (Bernard Coy, Marvin Hubbard and Joe Cretzer) and three others put on trial. 2 received the death penalty. During it’s time as a prison, 8 people were murdered by inmates, a guard was murdered in the laundry room in the 1930s, 2 died during the 1946 escape attempt and 5 inmates were killed in random attacks. Five committed suicide and many died trying to escape.

Alcatraz

water tower

It’s reputedly haunted by Native Americans who died on the island during the American Civil War and at the military prison. Prisoners who after serving time were deemed insane reported hearing whispering in the middle of the night, floating blue lights and figures, moaning and chains clanking in unoccupied cells. One prisoner in D Block saw glowing red eyes and screamed for hours. In the morning he was found dead with a purple face, bulging eyes and strangulation marks around his throat.

Alcatraz

the morgue

Guards initially dismissed the prisoners’ stories until they experienced stuff too – cold spots, fingers on the backs of their necks and crying in the middle of the night. The first warden of Alcatraz, James A Johnston heard a woman sobbing while he conducted a tour of the jail. Prisoners saw other prisoners wearing 19th century clothing from the military prison and someone else saw a gang of Native American prisoners marching in a circle before vanishing. There have also been phantom gun fire, cannon blasts and fire alarms going off on their own.

Alcatraz

us with Ranger Tim

The Warden House, which is now a burnt shell after the Occupation of Alcatraz is haunted. During a party, a man in a grey suit with mutton chop sideburns and a brimmed cap was seen. He left the room icy cold and extinguished the fire in the Ben Franklin stove. A phantom lighthouse materialises in the fog of San Franciso Bay.

Alcatraz

hospital wing

Former inmate Leon ‘Whitey’ Thompson also worked as a guide and visited the prison many times before he died in 20005. He believed Alcatraz was haunted and often felt watched. He believed the prison was damned. He was friends with another inmate, a Texan called Johnny Haus.  He last saw him when he left the prison on 25th October 1962 and knew he’d never see him again. But in the 1980s when he was in a cell, waiting for a tour, he saw a large, dark figure at the end of the Michigan Avenue corridor. It walked around the corner and out of sight. From the way it walked and the feeling it gave off, he believed it was Haus.

Alcatraz

in the hospital wing

Screams, clanging and crying have been heard. A ranger reported hearing banjo music coming from the old shower room once. Only one prisoner was allowed to play his banjo in the prison – Al Capone. Another ranger also heard the banjo in the shower room and visitors to that area report chills there with one visitor saying he felt fingers touch his neck but there was no-one behind him. Sounds of a harmonica being played have also been heard.

Alcatraz

Robert Stroud’s cell

George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelley apparently haunts the church with Alvina ‘Creepy Karpis’ Karpowicz haunting the kitchen and bakery. Voices from the hospital wards are heard. A husband and wife claimed to have heard canaries in the Birdman’s cell and saw him reading a book, but he wasn’t allowed to keep birds in Alcatraz.

Alcatraz

operating theatre

While in cellblock D, Ghost Adventures step inside the solitary confinement Cell 13 which many have seen glowing red eyes responsible for killing an inmate and examine the 1953 escape attempt.  D Block is apparently the most haunted, with 4 of the 42 cells experiencing activity, especially cells 11,12,13 and 14. Cell 14 was the solitary confinement cell (the hole) and is the most haunted. It’s permanently cold, even in summer and 20-30 F colder than anywhere else.

AlcatrazIn Block C Utility Passageway, where a bloody uprising took place in 1946, a National Park employee heard loud, clanging noises, but the sounds stopped when he opened the door. When he closed the door, the noises started again. In the Hospital ward for the maimed, crazed prisoners, park personnel have heard voices. Also in Block C, in 1984, Ranger Rex heard the loud sound of a heavy door swinging back and forth while he was on night duty. He could find no logical explanation for it. Abie Maldowitz (aka the Butcher) apparently haunts C Block. He was murdered in the laundry room.

AlcatrazIn Blocks A & B, loud screams have been heard, along with running footsteps and crashing sounds. Cells in 14 D were the infamous solitary confinement cells. Steel boxes were kept here. The cells are always cold and psychics feel intense impressions, with stronger impressions being felt in the corners of the cells.

Officials for Alcatraz dismiss any claims of it being haunted.

AlcatrazWhen we docked, we managed to get left behind to take photos and film. A ranger was hanging back, rounding up the stragglers, so we convinced him to have a photo with us. We didn’t think he’d say yes, but he did. Tim Cook, was his name and he’d only been there 3 weeks. You know our talent for seeking out the newbies at any haunted location. We were the last into Alcatraz and we asked if we could visit the hospital before the audio tour, hoping we’d have it to ourselves. They let us, but we only had two minutes before everyone else joined us. The hospital is only open for the night tour. It was quite funny watching everyone dutifully file around with their headphones on. We were the only ones doing our own things.

AlcatrazWe were trying to film information about Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz, but at no point were we alone in the cell. We feel self-conscious doing info pieces in front of everyone, but in the end, we had no choice. Then the tourists just kept coming, so we made our way back downstairs to the audio tour starting point. As much as we wanted to listen to the audio, we were too excited and we wanted to listen for anything paranormal. We couldn’t ghost hunt and listen to a tour and we only had 2 hours there. The parts of the tour we heard were really good – they have former guards and prisoners talking to you. We’ll have to go back and do a day tour with an audio tour. No, day tour without the audio then another tour with it. Hell, just give us the damn prison for a night by ourselves.

Alcatraz

solitary confinement

We hung around in the cell areas, taking photos when everyone else had gone. Yep, over 100 people on the tour and we managed to lose them all. So long, tourists! Footsteps and voices are heard in B block, so wanted to try and experience them. Then we found the notorious D Block! In cell 14, the most haunted cell, Cat & Neen felt seasick, like the cell was swaying. They also felt it a bit in cell 13, where the demonic red eyes are seen. We asked a worker, Mike, to lock us in a solitary confinement cell, so he locked us in cell 12. We were only allowed 2 minutes, but he gave us 2 and a half. As we’d waited, about 12 people came out of that one cell. We wanted to be locked in alone. It was pitch black.

Alcatraz

D Block

By the time we finished, others were having a demonstration on how the doors worked. We didn’t come all this way to watch a video on people locking cell doors. Put key in, turn key, click. We have the gist of it. We came to find ghosts. Mike came up to us and asked if we wanted to go back to the hospital. Alone. When someone comes up and asks if we want to go to a dark, haunted area of a prison, alone, “Hell yes!” is the only sane response. We snuck up with him and he locked us in, leaving the lights off. He also took us to the out of bounds psych observation cells! We had exclusive access. See what happens when you break off from tours? You get taken off into dark, forbidden areas by a member of staff.

Alcatraz

dining hall

We returned to the cell area and interviewed a female ranger about the ghosts. She hadn’t experienced anything spooky. Then we noticed how quiet Alcatraz had become. Everyone else had left. We were then herded out. Neen disappeared halfway down and we had no idea where she was. She eventually came out of the theatre. She’d gone down some steps and through a secret tunnel they apparently told us about. We didn’t hear them so we’d missed it. We were gutted. We gave Ranger Tim one of our Calamityville business cards. We were going to give one to Mike, but couldn’t see him and had forgotten to do when we were with him.

Alcatraz

inside a secret tunnel

The boat ride back was beautiful, as San Francisco and the bridges were all lit up. We definitely went at the right time – sunset on the way, night on the way back. Marcia left when we landed so we went back to the Hard Rock Café for another drink – it’s our last night in San Francisco, so we didn’t want to head straight back. Russian tourists wanted a photo of us and we had a conversation about our Panasonic Lumix with a Native American man, before pointing out to the barman the crappy pop songs they were playing were NOT ‘Hard Rock’, therefore the restaurant name was false advertising. The barman agreed with us and said that unfortunately it was down to popular opinion. Us “we want hard rock and the customer’s always right.” Sadly, our requests were not met and we scowled through the songs until their total shittiness drove us out.Alcatraz

Bristol Horror Con

Bristol Horror ConA 5:30 a.m. start is bad at the best of times. It’s even worse when you don’t get to sleep until 2:30 a.m. Since returning from America, our insomnia has reared its ugly head. We think this is why we didn’t get jet lag – we’re so used to not sleeping well that our bodies didn’t even notice. Wait one moment…we function normally without eating, without sleeping, our hands are ten degrees colder than everyone else’s, we’re always pale, we hate garlic and we can’t be out in direct sunlight for long. *Looks around suspiciously. Shuffles away from anything wooden or stake shaped. Hisses at a crucifix.*

Bristol Horror ConBut we had a good reason for being up at such a horrific hour – today was Bristol Horror Con. It was our first ever con as traders, so we were hoping to at least make the money for the table. Our mum and sister who make jewellery at Brillioso Beads supplied us with keyrings, bookmarks and necklaces, and our friend Hayley’s aunt, Lynne, made bracelets for us to sell to help reach our target. Thank you Mum, Sarah and Lynne, you’re stars. Seeing as we haven’t sold a single book all month, selling one would be a bonus.

Bristol Horror ConWe set off at 6:50 a.m. as the sun was just peeking over the clouds to see what the hell we were doing up so early. It was all going so well until we reached sign posts our route planner didn’t mention. One sign matched later directions, so we followed it. We were wrong. We stopped at a petrol station and Lynx asked the cashier where the Future Inn was. Him “is it in Kingswood?” Lynx “I don’t know.” Him “what is the Future Inn? Is it in Georgetown?” Lynx “I don’t know. I’m not from here.” Him *pointing to a guy filling his car with petrol* “you could ask him.” She left without asking him and we turned around. We figured our best plan of action was to retrace our route. We then followed another sign our route planner mentioned. It started taking us to Bath. We turned around, discarded our route and decided to head for the city centre and wing it the rest of the way. We ended up by the car park we were supposed to park in. The end of the journey went like this: “Where the hell are we? What’s the next direction? Ooh Cabot Circus car park! That’s it!”

Bristol Horror ConWe’d got there at 8:05 and the con didn’t start ’til 10, so there wasn’t a meltdown in sight. We spotted people carrying stuff and followed him, thinking they clearly knew where they were going. We were right. We made it to the Future Inn and headed upstairs. We were fairly early, so had plenty of time to set up. Most people had brought black tablecloths. We’d brought our spiderweb ones. We were in the middle of the room, on the end of our row, so it was easy to get out. We hate being penned in, so it was ideal. And it meant we wouldn’t have to perform any table acrobatics every time we needed to get out. Just as well. Our skirts weren’t suitable. Faceplanting on our books wouldn’t look very professional.

Bristol Horror Con

Stephen Cooney’s table

The first person who bought a book from us was a Calamityville fan! He’d commented on our Ancient Ram Inn episode a few days ago and mentioned he’d been there 13 times. Today he came over and said “You’re from the YouTube show! I saw your Ancient Ram episode. I’ve been there 13 times.” Cat “You’re that guy!” Being writers, our way with words is remarkable. He said he loved our episodes and loved our style of investigating, especially the zumba dancing in the witch’s room. Not sure our investigating has a style, other than ‘unprofessional’. It was awesome to meet a fan though. We don’t get to meet many. Not sure most people will admit to watching Calamityville. He bought a copy of Deadly Reflections.

Bristol Horror ConWe got to meet fellow horror writer Adam Millard, a seasoned Horror Con pro. Southcart Books in Walsall, who stock our books, hold authors events and Adam often goes to them. We’ve never been, but we see him in the photos so we knew of him. We spotted his red mohican instantly. It was great to finally meet him. We also met an actor who reckons we’d be good in films. We said we’d tried acting and have no talent for it whatsoever, apart from standing there and looking creepy. He thinks that could work. He’s with an alternative modelling agency and thinks they’d love us. Yeah, horror sells this time of year 😀

Bristol Horror Con

Team Raven

Our friend Hayley joined us to help with her baby, Wyatt, who was an angel throughout. He certainly charmed the guys behind us. It was so helpful having her there, as she’s used to being in sales so was great at talking to people and telling them about our books while we skulked around assuring people the free sweets we were offering were not a prelude to poisoning or kidnapping. Plus Hayley’s read all of our books and remembers them better than we do! So she was able to recount plots to people while we pointed to Soul Asylum’s cover and said “That’s an asylum in North Wales. We got kicked out of there.” Think we our sales technique needs some work…screw it, we’ll just take Hayley to every event so she can sell for us and we can lurk nearby, trying to make eye contact.

Bristol Horror Con

with Cheyenne and Dugald

Cheyenne and Dugald came to see us! We’ve known Cheyenne on Facebook and Twitter for a few years and we got to meet her and her husband Dugald a couple of years ago when they came to our Cathays Library reading, so it was great to see them again. Thanks guys for making a special trip! They made us look popular, which is always good. They were clearly a good luck charm as sales picked up when they arrived then dropped after they left.

Bristol Horror Con

our incredible piece of artwork

We bought an awesome painting from artist Stephen Cooney. His table was in our eye line and we couldn’t stop admiring his artwork from afar. He’s truly talented and his paintings are actually book covers! Mostly in America. We couldn’t resist buying one. This is the only piece of artwork we’ve ever bought. We fell in love with it. Hayley also bought a painting of his. Check out his website here.

Bristol Horror Con

Team Raven’s support staff working tirelessly behind the scenes

Lots of people took photos of us. It was like being back in Vegas! One guy from Corporal Nourishment wanted a photo of us with his Psycho Juice for his Facebook page, so we agreed. Normally Red Bull is the only product we promote. One day they’ll notice us… It was great to meet so many different people and even though it was our first ever con, it didn’t feel that way. Hopefully we’ll be able to attend more. It’s certainly easier to sell face to face than it is online. We had a fantastic time and sold nine books, which is more than we’d hoped for. Thanks to Tommy Creep for organising it. He came round to speak to everyone, which was nice. We hope it will return next year and if so, we’ll definitely be there. Like all horror monsters, we’re not that easy to get rid of.Bristol Horror Con

Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery HouseThe day started with an exciting trip to Safeway. We say ‘exciting’ but only because it was our first visit into an American supermarket. In reality, it wasn’t exciting at all. It was just as expensive as the corner shop by our apartment. We were going to buy crisps, but a single bag of crisps in America is the size of a multipack bag over here, yet their cereals come in tiny boxes. Oh and their peaches are so large, we’re convinced a small boy and some insects live inside them. No, we didn’t try them. Would you want to be the person to accidentally eat James?Winchester Mystery House

We went back to our apartment to access Wi-Fi and arranged to meet our friend Marcia as she would be joining us for the Winchester Mystery House. She very kindly offered to drive us to San Jose, where the house is. It’s about an hour south of San Francisco. After an hour of failing to find each other (not having Wi-Fi or 3G is a real pain when trying to arrange a meeting place), we met up at 12 and headed off.

Winchester Mystery HouseThe Winchester Mystery House is amazing! Just as great as we thought it would be, which is a relief because normally things don’t live up to our expectations. We should probably lower our expectations, but we save that for dealing with people. We like to have some hope in our lives. The house was incredible. Sarah Winchester’s husband made the famous Winchester rifles. Following his death from Tuberculosis, a medium told Sarah she would be haunted by the spirits of everyone killed by the rifles but the only way to appease them, would be to never stop building her house. So she bought an 8 room farm house in the middle of nowhere and for 38 years until her death in 1922, builders worked 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at a cost of $5.5 million. She paid them double the going rate.

Winchester Mystery HouseWe did the grand estate tour so we got to go round the house, the garden and behind the scenes in the outbuildings and basement. Our house guide, David was hilarious and not bad looking. And there wasn’t anyone in the group we wanted to feed into a woodchipper, which never happens. We visited 110 of the 160 rooms but weren’t allowed to take photos or film, which is annoying. We can’t produce a ghost hunting episode without filming! None of the furniture in the house is from when Sarah owned it, as it was sold off, though it is from the correct time period.

Winchester Mystery House

stables

Because there were so many rooms and the tour was quite short, we didn’t get to linger or explore anywhere. It was “This is…room.” Move on. “This is the…” Move on. When entering the servants’ quarters, Cat felt a weird wall of energy as she walked through the doorway, like passing through an invisible barrier then in the next room, had what we call ‘fishtank feeling’ – it’s the weird head rush feeling you get you put your hand into a tank of water and the water and light distorts things – It’s happened at quite a few locations now, but other than that, we experienced nothing spooky. Though we weren’t exactly long enough anywhere to experience things.

Winchester Mystery House

Foreman’s house. This was the original size of the Winchester Mystery House

A film crew was there, as they’re making a film about the house, so a small group had come to check it out, which meant we had to wait a couple of times for them to finish in a room before we were allowed to enter. Unfortunately, there were several tours going round, so even if we had manage to lose ours, we would’ve ended up in another group. We would love to explore the house on our own and do an overnight ghost hunt. Though knowing our luck, we’d fall out of the door to nowhere. We asked David if we could sleep there. He said he didn’t mind, but we’d have to be careful not to set off the motion alarms. Our sleep is as restless as a hungry zombie. That would never work.

Winchester Mystery House

water tower

Unfortunately, on the behind the scenes tour, there was a family we could’ve cheerfully fed to piranhas. They annoyed us before we’d even begun the tour. We knew doing two tours without wanting to gleefully and creatively murder someone would be too much to ask for. There is a reason we don’t work with people. The group we’d been with, were somehow on a different behind the scenes tour, which was a shame. We wanted to join them. The outbuildings were interesting – there was the fruit drying shed, stables, garage, car wash, aviary and basement. We were allowed to take photos and film on this tour, but we only filmed shots, not the actual tour. Afterwards, we filmed outside and did our information pieces, so hopefully we still have an episode. Hell, we’ve made episodes from less. And everyone watches them for the locations anyway. Like what we used to do with Most Haunted before deciding DIY dentistry was a better way to pass the time.

Winchester Mystery HouseMarcia wanted to check into her hostel in Marin Headlands across the Golden Gate Bridge, and as we wanted to cross it, we went with her. We reached it close to sunset, so the sky was kinda golden. We could see Alcatraz! Her hostel seemed like a nice place – beautiful views of Golden Gate Park and the buildings are lovely. It’s like a summer camp, but partway up a hill. It instantly reminded us of Camp Crystal Lake and we eagerly awaited the arrival of Jason Vorhees’s mother. Maybe she missed the bus. We returned as the light was failing, so the bridge was lit up, then tried to find somewhere to eat. There was a place that did homemade vegan ice cream, Pena Pachamama, so we headed there. There was nowhere to park and we ended up driving around for 40 minutes. We kept saying that we had food, we were fine, but Neen insists on us eating at least one proper meal whenever we stay somewhere.

Winchester Mystery HouseWe should’ve found somewhere else. It was packed and there was nowhere to sit. The food was mostly vegan, but nothing we’d eat. Why don’t vegan places do fries? We ordered the ice cream and a hazelnut chocolate mousse. For a drink, we had the limeade, which was made from agave – cactus (we had to ask what it was). It was sharp, but just about drinkable. The ice cream was made from almonds and wasn’t too bad. We couldn’t eat more than one spoonful of the mousse and the more we drank the agave, the worse it got. This is why we don’t go to vegan places but prefer to find places that do vegan options. From now on, we’re not going to bother looking for vegan places. If a place doesn’t have something we like, we’re happy to eat our food outside then join our companion afterwards. We did it in the airports, we’ll do it in restaurants and pubs.

Winchester Mystery House

door to nowhere

Food is a real issue with us. We can’t eat food of certain colour, texture, strong taste, smell, or if it looks a certain way. This is why we take food everywhere we go. It’s not a case of being fussy or getting away with it as kids, we physically cannot eat it. Whenever we try new food, we actually have to force feed it to ourselves. Imagine if your spoon was filled with poison or nails but you had to try it – that’s what it feels like when we’re faced with new food. It’s like a phobia. We would LOVE to be able to go out and eat whatever was put in front of us (vegan, obviously) and we envy people who can. This is how we survived not eating in Vegas – when your diet is so limited, you learn not to eat. Winchester Mystery HouseFortunately, we’re much better with drinks, so if we’re hungry, we can fill our stomachs with liquid instead. Eating is very much a social thing. So we don’t socialise that much. It’s easier than having to explain your problem and if you refuse everything you’re offered, you end up looking rude. We had this problem on the planes. Everyone else got a choice of menu. Those with specialised diets were not given an option. It was ‘this is your meal’. We ate the tiny bowl of fruit and forced down the bread roll (we can’t stand bread unless it’s toast but felt we had to eat something) and that was it, the whole 11 hours flight. Next time, we’re not going to bother putting a dietary requirement and just won’t ask for meals. It’ll be better than them having to throw away our untouched food because the smell of it makes us feel sick. The air hostess at the end of the first Virgin flight brought round Love Hearts, which we can eat, and made us take extra as we hadn’t eaten. On the flight back, the bread roll was wholemeal. White bread can be forced, wholemeal cannot.Golden Gate Bridge

But if this day had a disappointing end, the next was bound to be better.

Roll on Alcatraz!Winchester Mystery House

Bay Watch

San Francisco tramWe didn’t get to our apartment until midnight. We rented it off a guy called Jeff through Airbnb. Much cheaper than hotels, it was in a great area and we had our own fridge and freezer. Friday morning was all about winging it. We figured the best plan was to find a tourist information centre and get a map. We knew where Alcatraz was and that was about it. We had our priorities sorted! Except we needed a map to find the tourist information centre! We decided that as the USS Hornet was near the same pier as the Exploratorium, we could visit them at the same time.

We caught a tram to the piers. Our first ever tram! We were excited. But if there was an award for Most Impatient Tram Driver, ours would’ve won. What is it with us getting on public transport of death wish drivers? He refused to go directly to the stops, instead beckoning people to come to him if he was stopped at lights, and beckoning passengers off before the stops and not letting them use the rear doors. He also used his horn a lot. Another driver who clearly hates his job. San FranciscoAnd San Francisco drivers are nuts. We’d considered hiring a car while we were there, but after seeing how everyone drove, there was no way in hell we were participating in the madness. Though apparently driving at pedestrians on designated crossings seems to be a national sport. “White man is on, arsehole!” was our most commonly used phrase. In the UK, the crossing man is green. So there were constant shouts of “green man! No, white man. Damn it!” Jaywalking is illegal in America, but most of the time it was actually safer to jaywalk when there were no cars around, as they would drive at you when you used the crossings at the legal times. We decided getting arrested wouldn’t result in our deaths, the way using the crossings would.

Ripley's Believe it or Not San Francisco

Groping Captain America at Ripley’s

We decided to look for somewhere to eat, but after walking for a while, we realised we were in the financial district. We’d passed some food vans, so Neen got food from there and we ate our crisps. Though we ended up queuing for ages in the sun for the food van, as it was very popular.

Exploratorium

This took one man 40 years to make.

We made our way to the Exploratorium and went in. It was very much like Techniquest. We had a go on a few things but were conscious of the fact the USS Hornet closed at 4 and we didn’t get into the Exploratorium ‘til 1:30. We would need at least an hour to explore the haunted war ship. We hadn’t expected San Francisco to be as large as it was. It’s bigger than London, so most of our time would be spent travelling, which we hadn’t factored in. We left at 2:45 and headed to pier 3. The ship wasn’t there. So we returned to the Exploratorium and asked them for a map. We bought one for $6 and asked the staff about the Hornet. They thought it was on pier 45, so we caught a tram there. No Hornet. Turns out, it’s not even in San Francisco, like the internet claims. It’s across the bay.

Ripley's Believe it or Not San Francisco

Iron Twins at Ripley’s

We went into MacDonald’s to steal their Wi-Fi and ordered fries so we could stay. The heat in Vegas killed our appetites and we’d survived on 2 bowls of cereals, one bag of crisps and one shortbread biscuit, all day, for four days. It was cooler here so we figured we should probably eat. The fries were alright, but salty. This is the first time we’d ever eaten in a MacDonald’s. There was a horrifying moment when the cleaner mopped the floor in the unisex toilets (which stank worse than a politician’s election speech) then emerged and dragged that same mop across the restaurant floor. We suddenly regretted the fries, and our previous boycotting of MacDonald’s seemed even more reasonable. The Dungeons and Madame Tussauds are right by pier 45, so we decided to go there. We’d left our tickets in the apartment, as we’d planned to go there on Sunday, so we tried to find the tickets in our email. Our email didn’t go back far enough so Lynx checked the deleted folder then synched the messages to go back a month. Twenty minutes later, it still hadn’t synched. So we’d achieved bugger all.

Ripley's Believe it or not San Francisco

cannibal jewellery

In the end we went to Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium. It was on our list anyway and it was either that, or waste the entire day. We’d rather waste money than time. Money can be recuperated. It was really cool in there. And for once, the oddest things inside, weren’t us! They had models made out of car tires, car parts and matchsticks, as well as an actual shrunken torso and a video explaining how tribes do the shrunken heads, which was fascinating. Did the first person to do it think ‘you know what would be cool? Killing my enemy then shrinking his head and wearing it as a victory pendant?’ How did they work out how to do that? They didn’t have libraries and Google back then. Maybe we should start a collection from our worldly travels and open our own museum. Let’s see, we have the rocks from the Grand Canyon and…pin badges. Hey, it’s a start!

Ripley's Believe it or Not San Francisco

Shrunken head

Neen had found a ghost walk that started at 7 outside the Queen Anne Hotel, the San Francisco Ghost Walk. We left Ripley’s at 6:30 so jumped in a taxi. We wouldn’t have made it on a tram. We got there with fifteen minutes to spare and wandered into the hotel. It was freezing! We’d brought jumpers with us, but hadn’t bothered with our hoodies or jackets, as we didn’t know we’d be doing the ghost walk, or that it would be so cold. San Francisco is a lot like our summers, so it feels like home. Much better temperature than Vegas. We stayed in the hotel until the ghost walk started, so we’d have less time to freeze. We also interviewed one of the workers about the ghosts, but he hadn’t experienced anything. He hadn’t been working there long. Finding the newest member of staff and asking about ghosts is a real talent of ours. He knew someone who had experienced something though.

Ripley's Believe it or Not San Francisco

us with the world’s tallest man

Queen Anne Hotel

The Queen Anne Hotel

The Queen Anne used to be a girls school, opened by Mary Lake, and she’s rumoured to haunt it, especially room 410. We were allowed to investigate the hotel before starting the ghost walk outside. Sadly room 410 was occupied. We didn’t think the guests would appreciate us bursting in with our cameras and conducting a vigil as they tried to enjoy their stay.

Queen Anne hotel

Inside the Queen Anne

Before we headed outside, the guide, Jim Fassbinder, asked the hotel if they had anything in the lost and found and got Neen a hoodie as he was worried how cold we would be. He then went to his car two blocks away and got a massive varsity jacket and silver anorak. Neen had the jacket, Cat the hoodie, Lynx the anorak. We started as the most stylish people on the walk and by the time we got outside, we should’ve been arrested by the fashion police. But we were warm and very grateful to Jim. How many guides would do that?

Queen Anne hotel

the haunted room

The walk was brilliant. Jim was very entertaining and funny. It’s one of the best walks we’ve been on. We walked around Pacific Heights, which is a nice, residential area and has a lot of haunted places, some of which were on our list, such as the house once owned by Mary Ellen Pleasance, the Voodoo Queen. It finished at ten then we stayed behind, as he wanted to tell us some stories about Alcatraz. He’s friends with some of the rangers there, so he was telling us the places to lose the tour. That’s the kind of advice we need! We walked back to our apartment. Once the wind had died down, it wasn’t too cold. So the evening wasn’t a waste, which made us feel better. And we had a plan for Saturday – the Winchester Mystery House.Queen Anne hotel

 

Titanic exhibition, Luxor hotelWe headed out to the Titanic exhibition in the Luxor hotel at 10:30. We were given passenger boarding cards of actual passengers then at the end, you got to see if you survived or not. We had the same one and Neen was our future daughter in law. We survived. Forgot to check Neen’s. She probably drowned. We’re excellent swimmers. We posed for photos – they had the bow of the boat so naturally we recreated the famous Titanic pose. It would’ve been rude not to. Insulting, even. Neen got up on the rails but our short dresses and fishnets wouldn’t allow for that. While our dignity filed for divorce years ago, we’re yet to participate in the ‘accidentally flashing your knickers at the camera’ craze that some people indulge in. The woman at the gate applauded us after the photo was taken. Do not many people do it? Such a waste! You can’t go to a Titanic exhibition and not do the pose! We also struck a pose on a replica staircase in first class.Titanic exhibition, Luxor hotel

The exhibition was brilliant. Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, but to actually see the pieces they recovered was incredible. And to read the stories of the passengers, who they were, why they were there. It’s sad some people were only on the ship because the coal strike meant the ships they’d been booked on, couldn’t sail, so they were upgraded to the Titanic. And they died. One man was due to board with his friend, but was shanghaied. It’s probably the only time being shanghaied was the better option. His friend didn’t survive.  It’s amazing to think that delicate items such as glass or dining sets survived. As well as a lot of passenger’s belongings, like razor blade wrappers! You drop plates on the floor, they smash, but they survived sinking to the bottom of the ocean. There was a large piece of the ship as well, imaginatively named The Big Piece.  The gift shop sold replicas dining sets from the first, second and third classes, which we thought was cool.

Mandalay Bay Shark reefWe then boarded a tram to Mandalay Bay to go to the shark reef. We’ve always had an obsession with sharks and recently discovered our love for terrible shark films. We always cheer when people get eaten. But we’ve never seen a shark in real life. Our ambition is to swim with them. We first visited the sea monsters museum, where they had specimens of different sea life. It was like the Bodies exhibition but with sea creatures. Though we fail to see how an Emperor penguin is any way monstrous. Then we came out of there and got a bit lost looking for the shark reef so had to ask for directions.Mandalay Bay shark reef

There weren’t just sharks there. We felt really sorry for the crocodile – he was in a small tank and looked so depressed. He didn’t really have enough room to swim around in. There were sharks, fish, rays, jellyfish, an octopus and even sea turtles! It was fantastic being so close to them. There were also piranhas, but sadly they weren’t the man-eating kind. Apparently, they prefer beef and chicken.

not a man eating piranha

not a man-eating piranha

Horror films have lied to us. The sharks all had lots of space, so they could’ve given the crocodile more space. Or at least fed it a child to cheer it up.It was amazing seeing sharks up close. We wanted to dive in the tanks with them. We can swim around, looking threatening. Unfortunately, as sharks never stop moving, it was impossible to get non blurry photos of them. We couldn’t spend as long in there as we would’ve like as we had a plane to catch!Mandalay Bay shark reef

We time to do some quick gambling, so we had a go at computerised roulette and Black Jack. Lynx won $2 on Black Jack! 😀 The cashier’s probably never been asked to cash an amount that small, but a win’s a win! We were determined to do some gambling before leaving Vegas but we just didn’t have time before. It would’ve been criminal not to gamble at least once. A waitress took our order – drinks are free when you’re gambling – so we had to wait for her to return after our measly $3 bet was up, so we kept pressing buttons, acting like we were Roulette champions. We had no idea what we were doing and had to read the rules.Mandalay Bay shark reef

It was then time to head for the airport. There was still so much we wanted to do in Vegas! McCarron Airport was very confusing. It said to go upstairs for check-in then sent us back downstairs. We checked in no problem – screw you, Gatwick! Then had to board a tram to take us to our gate. We had enough time to type up what we’ve done so far. Our flight for San Francisco was leaving at 5 p.m. We honestly hadn’t expected to enjoy Las Vegas – when we thought of places in America we wanted to visit, Vegas was never included, but we were so wrong. We loved every minute. Mandalay Bay shark reefThe people were lovely, there was so much to see and do. We weren’t there long enough! We only did 10 minutes of gambling and we never got to use the pool. It closed at 6 and we were always busy in the day. We hoped San Francisco wouldn’t be a let down, as that was the one we were excited about. Normally the things we get excited about don’t live up to our expectations and the things we’re not bothered about, tend to be amazing. Roll on Alcatraz!P1120249

Ghost Adventures

Trawling haunted hotels and randomly meeting the Ghost Adventures Crew. And to think, we had nothing planned!

Neen was at her brother’s wedding all day so we video called our family first thing. The time zone difference and our lack of available WiFi meant we hardly had any contact with them. Apparently Facebook was really quiet without us! We were surprised we make that much of a difference. The animal army ignored us, except our iguana, Kyler, who nodded at us. Our sister’s dog, Axel, launched a lick attack on her when we said hello. We like to think he was passing kisses on.

Bally's hotel Las VegasWe hadn’t planned what we would do while Neen was at the wedding, but we didn’t want to waste the day, so we hopped on the bus and decided to tour the haunted hotels. That should keep us out of mischief for a bit. We’d done a lot of research before travelling, and as our main aim in America was to ghost hunt, we figured we should probably start. We started in Bally’s, which was super posh. It’s built on the site of the former MGM Grand, which nearly burned down in November 1980. 650 people were injured and 85 people died, mostly from smoke inhalation from being trapped on the stairwells, or they died in their sleep. The tower where people died is still part of the hotel and people have seen a group of ghosts together. Staff have witnessed them in the staff restrooms and corridors. We found in these hotels that acting like we were supposed to be there meant no one stopped us, even when we rode lifts up to the guest floors.

Bally's hotel Las Vegas

corridor in Bally’s

Except when we walked straight past security into a private area. This is always our undoing. We’re incapable of blending in. They told us it was a private area, so for once, we were quick thinking, wandered over to a map on the wall and said we were getting our bearings. They soon got distracted by us being twins, so it was good and we weren’t escorted out. We took the lift to the guest rooms. There just happened to be a conference on on the floor we were. We clearly were not dressed for a conference and hadn’t had time to make fake badges. Sam and Dean would’ve had them pre-made, but we hate advance planning. The corridors reminded us a bit of the corridor in the final level of Streets of Rage.

Paris Hotel Las Vegas

inside Paris hotel

We half expected to fight our way through floating tables and an endless stream of bad guys. We snuck into a ballroom to do our info piece, before wandering the shopping centre below. The lady in the sweet shop, Lick, had four month old twin boys so we spent a long time talking to her. We bought a pack of Fun Dip, because one of the Card Against Humanity cards is ‘stuffing a child’s face with Fun Dip until he starts having fun’. Then an Italian worker outside a shop asked us to marry him and wanted a photo with us to show his mum. We’ve managed to go thirty two years without a marriage proposal, but get one within days of being in Las Vegas.

Paris hotel Las Vegas

Paris hotel

Our next stop was Paris. We hadn’t intended to go there but ended up through Bally’s. Paris was lovely. It had streets and houses. We then went to the Flamingo, which is haunted by Bugsy Siegal, a gangster who built it in 1946, only to be murdered six months later by his investors. He’s been seen on the fifth floor and Presidential Suite. We went up to the top floor and found a tropical garden area below. We saw ducky birds! We then went down to the fifth floor, doing some calling out as we wandered, trying not to appear too crazy to the cleaners. Flamingo hotel Las VegasWe got a closer look at the garden. They have flamingos! All thoughts of ghost hunting fled. We’d never seen flamingos in real life. We made our way out to the pool area. There were flamingos, ducks, a black swan, a pelican and enormous fish. Bugsy apparently also haunts the pool area and wedding chapel, which are supposedly built on the site of his old apartment, where he was shot. He’s been seen hundreds of times in the Flamingo. Maybe there’s good room service. We didn’t think we’d be allowed in the chapel, but nobody stopped us. Again, we used the ‘act like we’re supposed to be here’ ruse. They looked at us as we approached the pool, so we made a swift u-turn. Taking cameras to a pool area probably wasn’t wise.

Caesar's Palace Las Vegas

Caesar’ s Palace

The next hotel was Caesar’s Palace. That one’s huge but lovely. It’s made to look like Rome in some areas. It was so posh, we couldn’t afford to breathe there. The shops were all expensive boutiques. There was a statue show about Atlantis which was cool and there were large statues everywhere, one was a replica of Michelangelo’s David. The toilets are apparently haunted  – well, the sensor taps turn on and off and if you put your hands under one already running, it switches off. We have enough problems trying to get sensor taps to work! We don’t think sensor taps turning on and off is in any way paranormal.

Caesar's Palace Las Vegas

that awkward moment when you stumble across a naked man

But we’re professionals and it needed investigating. Nothing happened and we were there a while. Yes, we filmed in the toilets. We had to wait a long time for women to leave then a cleaner noticed we were twins and started talking to us. Sometimes, sticking out can really hamper your surreptitious activities! One guest took an abnormally long time to leave. Think she was on to us, but we refused to break first. Hey, looking suspicious in toilets is an art form! After her epic time at the sinks and mirror, she then moved on to a side room with mirrors and stools. Seriously, how can you spend that long at a mirror? Don’t you have things to do? We’re trying to film in here and with you around, we just look like perverts!

Bellagio Las VegasWe went up a walkway and ended up in the Bellagio. That’s not haunted, but the hotel that used to be there, Dunes, was. Before it closed in 1993, people would experience cold spots in the tower and casino. After hours on the top floor, there would be a blue glow and people would hear voices. October 23rd 1993, Dunes imploded. The Bellagio was also really posh. We got the bus back to the Tropicana to look for a vegan ice cream place. Couldn’t find it. There wasn’t much to see in the Tropicana – it didn’t have a shopping area like the others, just stalls in a corridor. Tropicana Las VegasWe tried to find a Tiki mask, which apparently gives you a purple rash if you touch it, but we couldn’t find it. We couldn’t get on any of the hotels’ Wi-Fi so we returned to the Excalibur. A guy who stands on the walkway wanted a photo with us. We made friends with his American Bulldog, Beau, who was gorgeous. He also wanted to marry us. The guy, not the dog. It’s really weird! In the UK, guys shout abuse at us, usually “freaks!” In USA, they want to marry us. But we don’t believe in marriage so turned them down. Though we wanted to keep Beau…

Flamingo Las Vegas

flamingos at the Flamingo

When we were back in our room, we Google mapped the ice cream place. Turns out, it’s off Tropicana Avenue, not the hotel. And it’s quite far away. We got back at 3:30. Neen came back at 5ish. Our Facebook friend, Samantha, had tagged us in Aaron Goodwin’s Instagram photo yesterday – the Ghost Adventures Crew were going to be outside the Riviera hotel at 6 p.m. before starting their investigation there! We had to go. This would be the only time we would ever be in the same city as them. But we were trying to check into our flight for Thursday and Neen was getting ready so we didn’t get to the bus stop ‘til 5:54. Then the bus took forever and people took ages boarding so we didn’t get to the Riveria ‘til 6:20. That was a stressful ride! The only chance we would ever have to meet Ghost Adventures, and we were late. We had to stop ourselves barging the bus driver aside and taking the wheel. But our Travel Insurance still didn’t cover bus hijacking.

Zak Bagans

Us and Zak

We thought we’d miss them, but Zak was just finishing talking to the cameras. He then got mobbed for photos. He kept saying he had to go, so we didn’t think we manage to get a photo. Girls were jumping in by him and snapping selfies and each time we got close, another one would jump in as they all shouted his name. He was starting to look a bit stressed. We’re so short, the other girls all towered above us and were pushing in.

Billy Tolly

us and Billy

Eventually we got close so Cat tapped him on the shoulder and asked if we could have a photo with him. We were actually the ONLY people who asked permission to have a photo with him. A woman then jumped in for a photo. Cat looked back at Lynx, like “this ain’t happening.” Especially when the woman then pushed her kid in by him for a photo. We’d resigned ourselves then that we weren’t going to get a photo and just watched. Then Zak grabbed Cat round the waist and pulled her in for the photo, so she grabbed Lynx. We were actually the only ones Zak put his arms around. It obviously pays to be polite.

Jay Wasley

us and Jay

Lynx then spotted Billy so we went over to him. He was talking to a man, then when they finished, we asked if we could have a photo with him. He was lovely and chatted to us for a bit. We told him we were going to there to ghost hunt and would be going to Alcatraz. We also got an autograph off him. On the notepad we stole from the Excalibur. Hey, we’re writers. We don’t steal things like shampoo and bathrobes, we steal stationery. We then got a photo and autograph with Jay. After telling him where we were from, we just stood there awkwardly, not saying anything. Yep, our one chance to meet the guys and we completely froze. Great first impression!

Aaron Goodwin

us and Aaron

Lynx then spotted Aaron so we mobbed him for a photo and autograph. He was pulling faces with everyone else, but when it came to us, someone was talking to him, so we were pulling faces, but he wasn’t. Way to make us look like the crazy ones. We tried to get an autograph from Zak but he was being mobbed so we didn’t get a chance. We were so excited afterwards. “Fangirls,” Neen called us. We tagged the guys in our photos and Billy messaged us at 3 a.m. – which must have during their investigation! 😀 We apologised for being awkward and not really speaking and said it was great to meet him. He said it was great to meet us and that he thought we were awesome! 😀 So next time some twatbandit shouts abuse at us, we can retort with “Yeah well, Billy thinks we’re awesome!”

We headed across to Treasure Island to get another strawberry Dakari. The guy who served us was so rude. He refused to take all the change and insisted on having a quarter instead. We didn’t tip him. Rudeness shouldn’t be rewarded. He was damn lucky we didn’t throw the drink at him. But we hate wasting money. We got the bus back then Neen went to our room while we went up to the Dragon’s Lair shop and bought a skull dagger. Hopefully customs won’t take it off us, but considering how much trouble we had trying to get Cranberry and Raspberry on the plane, this may turn ugly.

Treasure Island

Pirates by night

We saw dead people

Mirage hotel, Las Vegas

dolphin at The Mirage

The day started annoyingly when we went to meet Neen, who was having breakfast with her parents, thinking they were in the MGM Grand. They weren’t. And we’d forgotten stuff from our room so had to return to the Excalibur. Except it’s illegal to cross the streets on the Strip – you have to use the walkways, or further down, crossings. We find this really weird. And frustrating! Especially as the walkways are all up high, which involves a lot of stairs. Or escalators if we were feeling lazy. By the time we got to the Hard Rock Café, we were hot and tired. A guy said “I think you dropped something.” We looked back. Him “your smile.” Cat “Well I’m not picking that up.” He’s lucky we didn’t drop him with a kick to the balls.the Mirage

We headed out to get a bus. A guy who worked in a ticket stand next to the bus stop wanted a photo with us. We really should start charging. We got the bus to Circus Circus and wandered around there for a while. Fortunately, it’s not circus themed on the inside. We half expected the place to be filled with clowns and readied ourselves to kick them in the juggling balls. A security guard devil horned us as he passed. We failed to find the haunted room, as they appear to have renamed them. We got the bus to Treasure Island for a look around. The heat coming off the wooden boardwalk was immense! We could feel our toes burning in our boots. Vegas heat is weird in that it’s not like British heat, which is the blazing sun (when it bothers to show up), but more like standing under a heater.

 Treasure Island, Las Vegas

Us outside Treasure Island

Treasure Island, Las Vegas

Treasure Island at night

Treasure Island had the coolest gift shop. Inside wasn’t very pirate. Most of the hotels only seem themed on the outside. New York New York has some fake streets and the Venetian has the canal with streets. We stopped at a bar on route to the Mirage and the bartender said he’d been to Alcatraz about 25 years ago and told us haunted places in San Francisco to check out. His cousin and his wife have a ghost hunting show on YouTube. He was bored. We told him to leave the bar in our capable hands while he went for a wander. He reckoned his boss wouldn’t be too pleased. It would’ve been fine! Neen’s done bartending before. And things never go wrong when we’re around…

Las Vegas

Lynx and Neen on the tram

Las Vegas

Cat on the tram

We got on the tram, which is a monorail, to the Mirage. They have dolphins! And lions and tigers. We went into the Siegfried and Roy secret garden. There were about eight dolphins in three different pools. They looked so cute playing with balls then they did a training session with four females. Two of them jumped out of the water. They’re not performing dolphins, but they are taught a few tricks. The dolphins were born there in the research centre. It was so hot there, we had to stop ourselves from jumping in with the dolphins. The Mirage, Las VegasWe can do tricks with balls too! And we’d enjoy splashing tourists. There were four tiger cubs that were so adorable. They were asleep when we first got there and there was a guy sitting in the room with them. He has the best job ever. We had to restrain ourselves from dragging him out by the ankles and taking over his role. This could’ve been our only chance to tickle tiger tummies. Then they woke with a vengeance and were gnawing on another guy that was trying to feed them. There were two lionesses, a black leopard, a white and normal tiger, two lions and a leopard. We felt sorry for the leopard – it was in a smaller pen and was pacing, which is a sign of boredom and being in captivity for too long.the Mirage, Las Vegas

the Mirage, Las VegasWe got another bus ticket and returned to the Excalibur for a quick freshen up before heading out to the Luxor. We were going to do the Bodies exhibition and the Titanic artefacts exhibition at the same time, but Neen was going out with her brother and dad for her brother’s stag do, so we only had time to do the Bodies exhibition. A guy stopped us and offered us a free massage in one of these machines they have. ‘Cos that’s not at all creepy. There’s only one way to combat creepiness – be even creepier! Us “No thanks, we’re going to look at corpses.” We know how to charm people! The Bodies exhibition was incredible. They have skeletons, and bodies showing the muscles, or organs, some showing the nerves. They were donated by executed prisoners. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos. There were also dissected bits on slides, organs, bones, and organs showing the veins and arteries. They even had foetuses in different stages of bone development, which was fascinating. They gave you the option of bypassing the exhibition with the foetuses, which was very sensitive of them. It’s well worth a visit. They had the knee meniscus (cartilage) and said tearing it could cause debilitating pain. This is what Cat did (thought hers ripped right off. Her knee is affectionately named Linus), so it was cool to see what Linus looked like before her cartilage got removed. Linus was wearing an ice patch due to all the walking and spasmed slightly in sympathy for the meniscus in the glass case. Lynx’s left knee decided to click its way all around the exhibition. It hadn’t clicked before entering the exhibition and stopped clicking afterwards. Obviously the quiet of the exhibition reminded it of when we do EVPs and it wanted to contribute.the Mirage, Las Vegas

the Mirage, Las VegasNeen headed out for seven p.m. but we were knackered to decided to stay in and catch up on our blog entries. Yep, our laptop joined us in America so we wouldn’t have to remember everything from our time there, we could write it up daily.

It’s really weird, so many people compliment us. Almost every shop worker we encounter loves our look, and people keep taking photos of us. Not like in the UK, where we just get abused. We’re not used to being popular.

Luxor hotel, Las Vegas

Inside the Luxor

Airwolves

Papillon Grand Canyon tourThere was only one thing worth getting out of bed at 6:20 a.m. for – our helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon with Papillon. The bus was picking us up at 8 and we needed the time to get ready. Unlike some people, we don’t jump out of bed, picture perfect, ready to start our day. We groan, slump out and wander like zombies. Do you know how long it takes to turn zombies into passable humans through the power of makeup? 20 minutes. We’re not big on makeup and get bored easily.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

Papillon Grand Canyon tourWe’re pretty sure the tickets mentioned a limo pick up. Considering the only limo we’ve ever been in is a funeral one, we were excited, imagining this was how film stars lived. The black bus that turned up was certainly not a limo. No spacious leg room and mini fridge for us then. The bus driver seemed really beaten down by life and almost killed us several times on the way. It was like she was determined to end it all and take us all with her! And several other guests went missing, leading to us spending a long time driving around the strip and blocking hotel entrances. We’d been excited about the Grand Canyon for most of the year. No way in hell were we planning to end our morning flattened in a bus. If Sandra Bullock could take the wheel in Speed, so we could we. Luckily we didn’t have to. Our Travel Insurance didn’t cover bus hijacking.Papillon Grand Canyon tour

Papillon Grand Canyon tourThe greeter at the airport not only knew where Wales was, but had just come back from visiting Swansea and Cardiff! A lot of people in America thought we were English. We mentioned Wales and got blank stares. We had to explain it’s next door to England but is not in fact, England. So finding out this guy even knew our cities was a proud moment. Then over the tannoy they announced our names for the flight and added “from England.” A frustrated cry of “Wales!” echoed around the gift shop. *Grinds teeth* There are FOUR countries in the UK. FOUR. We shared the helicopter with three French guys. We sadly did not get to sit in the front, which would’ve made for amazing views. The helicopter ride was fantastic. First time we’ve ever been in one. And we didn’t play the Airwolf theme! Very disappointed in ourselves for that. Papillon Grand Canyon tourLynx only felt sick once on the way and a couple of times on the way back but Cat pocketed a sick bag just in case. The views were stunning and it’s so weird seeing such straight roads! It’s like they’re trying to defy nature. We landed in the Grand Canyon’s Western Rim with three or four other helicopters. It was incredible. We took a couple of rocks as souvenirs. Papillon Grand Canyon tourActual pieces of the Grand Canyon are way better than touristy mugs and keyrings. Though if the canyon collapses now, we apologise. We had a picnic in a shelter. They provided a small tub of Pringles and a packet of apple slices so we were able to eat something. We even drank some water! Check us out, trying new things. Most people just stayed under the shelter with the picnic, but we went exploring and gently hugged a cactus. The half hour went way too quickly. Photos don’t do the scale of it justice. Still can’t believe we were there.Paillon Grand Canyon tour

After a quick stop at our hotel to freshen up, we decided to go to Fremont Street. As we were heading for the bus stop, there were street artists dressed up. One was a Transformer, one was some kind of robot and there was another one. The robot guy wanted a high five from us then the three of them asked us for a photo. We declined, because you have to pay them, then one even said he’d waive his tip for a photo! 😀 Normally it’s tourists wanting photos with street performers, not the other way around! We got a 24 hour bus ticket and headed for Fremont Street.

Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas

canal in the Venetian

Except we’re easily distracted and spotted the Venetian hotel with its gondolas. So we jumped off the bus and booked a gondola ride through the hotel. The inside is amazing, they’ve recreated St Mark’s Square in Venice, complete with canals. Yes, there is a canal inside the hotel.

Venetian Hotel gondola

us and Caj

While we were waiting, a Russian tourist asked if he could take a photo of us. Our gondolier, Caj was brilliant. He was funny and even sang the Cornetto song when Neen asked. Every damn word. He sang the proper version then Mambo Italian while we danced. Nobody else appeared to be dancing in their gondolas. Caj kept blowing us kisses as we were leaving.

Venetian hotel gondola

Neen and Caj

We got back on the bus then stopped at the Mob Museum. That was really cool. We know a little bit about the mob, but not a lot, so it was great to learn the history and put faces to infamous names. They had the actual wall where the gangsters were killed in the St Valentine’s Day Massacre. So naturally we posed by it, with Neen shooting Lynx, Lynx surrendering and Cat doing a death pose.

Mob Museum, Las Vegas

actual wall from the St Valentine’s Day massacre

Mob Museum, Las Vegas

Neen firing a Tommy gun

Sensitive as always. We got to have a go with a fake Tommy gun then there was an electric chair which moved. So we took turns getting electrocuted. Naturally we did the whole ‘juddering as electricity courses through our veins’ bit then slumped into a death pose. Some people who were watching thought we were actors that worked there and even applauded us! Nope, not actors, just tourists messing around 😀 We also fired a bulletless revolver in a training video and kept shooting suspects in the arse as they ran away. Take that, dirtbags. We had our photo taken in a police lineup. The lady there loved our look and even loved our accents. Really? We told her the Cardiff accent really isn’t popular back home. But is appears we sound exotic to Americans. Who’da thunk it?Mob Museum, Las Vegas

Mob Museum, Las Vegas

Vegenation

Inside Vegenation

We headed to Fremont Street and joined it in the middle. We walked down to the end to find the vegan place in Container Park, which is a fenced off area with large shipping containers. Hence its name. The vegan place only served healthy stuff. This is a particular pet peeve of ours. You go to a vegan place and it’s all lentils, tofu (what the hell is tofu anyway?), kale chips, chickpeas, nuts and raw whatevers. People think this is what vegans eat. No! You know what we eat? Ice cream. Chocolate. Chips. Crisps. Sweets. Cake. We eat like normal people, just a vegan version of it. We’re vegan because we love animals, not because we want to eat like squirrels. So we wandered back to Fremont Street, but a different way and happened across a vegan restaurant, Vegenation. They served fries, which were actually large potato wedges sprinkled with paprika, and ice cream! We had vanilla and chocolate. Delicious! Chips and ice cream. It’s not that hard to keep us happy. Vegenation only opened in May. A good find! The greeter loved our hair so sat us near the door to attract customers 😀

Vegenation

vegan ice cream at Vegenation

Fremont Street Las Vegas

Fremont Street

We walked back through Fremont Street. As it was dark, it was all lit up, with people on a zip wire above us. This is what we imagined the Strip to look like. There were street performers everywhere. Some wearing hardly anything. Yet people were taking photos of us. We’re not the most interesting people in Vegas! They obviously don’t get many Goths or twins in Vegas. We were trying to find a bus back then saw one behind us. We ran about a block alongside it and just beat it to the bus stop. It amused the bus driver anyway.

Fremont Street, Las Vegas

Fremont Street at night