Monday, August 16, 2004


The Old Man
Originally uploaded by Ghost Host.
One of the most fearsome spectres associated with The Sweeney Family Horror is the phantom known as The Old Man. This malevolent manifestation is noted by several of the Sweeney's diaries, the most detailed of which comes from Colleen Sweeney's October 28th entry:

"...but the past few days have been even worse. The children are terrified. I have begged James to let us leave this place but he steadfastly refuses. Last night I saw the old man. Or at least I saw something. I believe it is the same creature who torments the children. He was a ghastly vapor. It seems to me he was wearing a funeral suit. I saw him (it?) in the hall. Hiding in the shadows. I wanted to scream, but no sound would utter forth from my mouth. It was like a horrile nightmare. But I am sure I was not asleep. I swear he was laughing at me. Not that one could actually hear him laughing. It was as if he was projecting the laughter into my mind. I shut my eyes hoping that when I opened them again he would be gone...and he was. Why is this happening to us? I pray James will allow us to leave. I have begun to genuinely fear for our safety. I have told the children that there are no such things as ghosts and goblins and creatures of the night. I didn't know I was lying..."

The entry is disturbing not only for what it details but also for what it leaves out. Why would James Sweeney continue to subject his family to the psychological torment associated with a paranormal event of this magnitude?

I cannot yet say. However,
here are some facts that are without dispute:

Sweeney kept a locked cabinet somewhere within the family home. Kate Sweeney's diary called this item "Daddy's Cabinet of Curiosities."

Sweeney was known to frequent stores that did trade in, for lack of a better term, occult items.

James Sweeney returned from a business trip in New Orleans with a spirit board (a.k.a. ouija board) as a gift for his children.

The New Orlean's establishment, "The Raven's Claw," a purveyor of "dark merchandise" has a listing in its register for a "J. Sweeney" on October 10th, 1925.

Popular legend blames Kate's dabbling with this spirit board for summoning the forces that put the event we call The Sweeney Family Horror into play.

Of course, it is the particular details of the overall event that we are here to investigate. I fear that there is much more to the story than the legends surrounding it immediately reveal.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Behind the scenes: Fox Haunt

Click here to see an outstanding home haunt in California. What's better Mike Fox is a great guy: Fox Haunt

Consider me green with envy. Although I am pretty sure my neighbors are glad I don't have "The Terrible Trio" in the front yard for two weeks every year. Enjoy...

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Behind the scenes: Haunting 101

We'll probably repost this later on when activity on this BLOG picks up but we wanted to announce that UMKC's COMMUNIVERSITY has asked us to teach an outreach class on, you guessed it, home haunting. We'll be accepting a class of about 25 on October 19th for a personal walk-through of the display and a behind the scenes look at how we do it. We'll also hand out a resource page with lots of links to good home haunting resources. If you're interested, keep an eye out for the COMMUNIVERSITY catalog. Or leave a comment here and as the details are confirmed we'll let you know. Do join us. Who knows. Maybe you'll be haunting your neighborhood before long.


Although it appears this ghostly site has not been updated in quite some time I thought I would share with you some information on other paranormal activity in Kansas City. I will leave them to their investigations because my team has our hands full trying to unravel the mysteries of the old Sweeney home.

Monday, August 09, 2004


Originally uploaded by Ghost Host.
On the nights leading up to Halloween, passersby the old Sweeney home report strange sights and sounds. Many say the graves of the Sweeney Family appear once again in the small plot in front of the home, though due to city regulation, the graves were moved years ago. More haunting is the claim made by some that the Sweeney's oldest daughter, Kate, rises from the grave to warn off all visitors. Particularly on All Hallows Eve when, it is said, the supernatural activity reaches its peak. This photo, of unknown origin, seems to show the gravestone of the Sweeney family's patriarch, James. In the background, one may argue that a spectre is visible. This phantasm may be Kate. Or it may be a trick of light. Since there are no identifying features of the old Sweeny home that can be seen in this photograph I cannot say that this is an authentic photo of a manifestation at the Sweeney home. But I also have to wonder what someone would have to gain by faking it. I am currently looking for anyone who is gifted with "the sight" to assist me in my investigation of this recurring Halloween haunting.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Behind the scenes: The Terror Syndicate... the perfect place for any of you who may be interested in doing a home haunt of your own to start looking around. Just click on this post's title to go there now.

First, it will give you a look at a home haunt that puts ours to utter and complete shame (What?You thought we were the only people who go a little crazy in late October?). The site (and haunt) is run by the one and only Steve Hickman. He's a far better builder than I'll ever be. I'm a pretty good planner but alas, Norm Abrams I am not. Steve builds props that will blow you away. And he is not the only professional grade home haunter out there. Google Devious Concoctions and Wicked Stone Halloween why don't ya'.

On Steve's site, you'll see props that may look more than a bit familiar. That's because I've purchased a number of Steve's construction books and used many of his patterns.* Our gargoyle for instance, is modeled after Steve's, although I put more detail in the hands and wings and completely changed the design of the wings.

Steve would love for you to check out the books and products he has for sale. You'll also find links to other home haunting resources on Steve's site. Once you start looking around you'll find a whole host of folks who like to "haunt." Join us, won't you? If you have a haunt, let us know!

*Steve's books include how-to's for building all his props. Numerous haunts utilize them. However, something you won't find everywhere is the original and immersive backstory that binds all our Sweeney Family Horror props together. This approach is still pretty unique among home haunters. Some will certainly "theme" their props but we haven't met many who have gone as far as we have to weave a tale around all the props and tie the whole display together. We hope it makes a visit to the Sweeney Family Horror spookier and more fun.

Behind the scenes: Hi From The January Family

While the GHOST HOST and his team will be giving you all the information on the ghostly "back story" that goes along with our Halloween display, our posts will cover off the more practical items that many of you have been asking us for years.

First things first:

The target installation date this year is Saturday, October 9th. We'll start in the morning and, if all goes well, the display should be up and running by that evening.

Work to be done for the display this year:

1. The Sign Keeper: Last year's sign that told people to tune into our radio broadcast (89.7 FM) left a lot to be desired. We have a design in mind for a life-sized, sign-holding reaper to put out this year. This should look much better than the cheesy sign we had last year. It's already August and with a new addition to our family, it is not a guarantee we'll get it done.

2. Extensive repairs: The Rocking Tombstone and Gargoyle both came down with significant wear and tear last year. These are the first on our list to get done for this year.

3. A new Kate: We have acquired a new "Kate" ghost. Our old Kate was getting so dirty that she barely glowed at night so we wanted to remedy that.

Feel free to make comments here if you have questions you'd like to see us address. Remember, this is a family activity, so please keep your comments G-rated.


Originally uploaded by Ghost Host.
This is the only known photo of what some claim to see on the roof of the old Sweeney home during the weeks that lead up to Halloween. This photo is dark, and I can't claim to know its origin. It seems to show a "Gargoyle" demon. A manifestation of this kind is often seen as a harbinger of other supernatural activity. If this gargoyle does appear then it is highly likely more strange events will follow.


This blog will note our attempt to reseach the hauntings at the old Sweeney home. As many of you know, each year at Halloween, a series of strange events take place at the aformentioned address. My team and I plan to set up the most advanced survelliance techniques in an attempt to understand more about what actually happened to The Sweeney Family and why the Halloween season seems to draw out the restless spirits of the old home.