Staff Sergeant Reckless

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we like to spend time honoring all of those who have served in the military – humans and horses alike!!! Perhaps best known is Staff Sergeant Reckless (c. 1948 – May 13, 1968), a decorated war horse who held official rank in the United States military was a Mongolian-bred mare who was purchased in October 1952 for $250 from a Korean stable boy at the Seoul race park who needed money to buy an artificial leg for his sister. Reckless was bought by members of the Marine Corp and trained to be a pack horse for the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, Anti-Tank Company. She quickly became part of the unit and was allowed to roam freely through camp, entering the Marines’ tents, where she would sleep on cold nights, and was known for her willingness to eat nearly anything, including scrambled eggs, beer, Coca Cola and, once, about $30 worth of poker chips!

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Visiting Presque Isle State Park

Last weekend, my best friend and her family invited me to go with her and her family to the beautiful Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA.  We saw so much more wildlife than I’ve ever seen at our local state park, or even around here.  I fell in love with water and the sand and saw driftwood for the first time.  This was also my first time to a “seashore” though I still dream of visiting the ocean one day.  I love those houseboat homes floating on Horseshoe Pond too!  I’d love to stay in one.  It was a beautiful and fun day and we finished up with a hearty meal at the Cracker Barrel in Erie.

Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches into Lake Erie. As Pennsylvania’s only “seashore,” Presque Isle offers its visitors a beautiful coastline and many recreational activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling and in-line skating. A National Natural Landmark, Presque Isle is a favorite spot for migrating birds. Because of the many unique habitats, Presque Isle contains a greater number of the state’s endangered, threatened and rare species than any other area of comparable size in Pennsylvania.

At the City of Erie, a peninsula, over six miles in length, arches out into the water of Lake Erie forming an expansive natural harbor. French explorers recognized the intrinsic value of the harbor and in 1753 constructed Fort Presque Isle on the mainland near the harbor entrance. The name Presque Isle means “almost an island” in French and referred to the nearby peninsula. From Fort Presque Isle, fur traders could portage their goods fifteen miles to Fort Le Boeuf, located at the upper reaches of the Allegheny River near present-day Waterford, and then float downstream to Pittsburgh and on to Louisiana. Fort Presque Isle and its portage thus became a vital link between the French fur trade network in the Great Lakes and its colony on the Gulf Coast.

Curious about those houseboat homes floating on Horseshoe Pond?  I was too.  Learn more about them HERE.

If you live nearby or if you’re going to be traveling in the area, I highly recommend stopping in at this beautiful park.  You won’t be disappointed!

 

Till Next Time…

Heather

Paranormal Bandwagon & Sunbury Lunatic Asylum

A photograph taken at a notorious lunatic asylum in Victoria has caused quite a ruckus today…

Eerie photo appears to be ghost of doomed patient on roof of Melbourne hospital

That article came through on my FB feed this morning.  A friend had shared it.  I’m interested in this type of stuff, so I thought, well, I’ll go check it out.  Based on the pictures, people were divided on whether or not it was truly an apparition or a chimney.  A lot things created confusion, like the height of the roof in the dark, the location of the chimney in comparison to the location of the apparition, and if there really was an apparition in the first place.  It was divided.  But the majority of people believed that it was a chimney.  Now just because I am a believer, I am not the first to hop on the bandwagon and immediately say “YES”.  I gotta look at something.  I gotta zoom in and look around at the picture first and really scrutinize and see something before saying that there is something there.  This is what I came up with.  I will let you decide for yourself.  The night shot was taken Sunbury Historical Tour’s participant Ebony Toth-Littlewood during one of the night tours of the Old Mental Hospital.  She captured what appears to be a female patient on the roof of the Old Nurse’s Quarters.

Original Shot…

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My Conclusion…

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A little history…

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Sunbury Lunatic Asylum first opened in October 1879. Its proclamation as an asylum was published in the Government Gazette on 31 October 1879.

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Prior to being opened as an asylum, Sunbury was controlled by the Department of Industrial and Reformatory Schools (VA 1466). When Sunbury was acquired by the Hospitals for the Insane Branch (VA 2863) patients were transferred from the Ballarat Asylum (VA 2844) and the Ballarat Asylum was handed over to the Department of Industrial and Reformatory Schools. Patients were also transferred from Yarra Bend Asylum (VA 2839).

Since its establishment the title of the institution at Sunbury has been altered several times to reflect both the community’s changing attitude towards mental illness an2886679d the Victorian Government’s approach to the treatment of mentally disturbed persons. Despite the changes in designation the function and structure of the agency has not altered significantly, therefore the institution has been registered as one continuous agency. From its establishment until 1905 the institution at Sunbury was known as an Asylum. This title emphasised its function as a place of detention rather than a hospital which provided treatment for mentally ill people who could be cured. The Lunacy Act 1903 (No.1873) of changed the title of all “asylums” to “hospitals for the insane”. This Act came into operation in March 1905. The Mental Hygiene Act 1933 (No.4157) altered the title to “mental hospitals”.

An asylum/hospital for the insane etc. was any public building proclaimed by the Governor-in-Council and published in the Government Gazette as a place for the reception of mentally ill persons. An asylum could also provide wards for the temporary reception of patients as well as long term patients. Up until the Mental Health Act 1959 became operative in 1962 these “short-term” wards were known as “receiving houses” or “receiving wards”. The Mental Health Act 1959 (No.6605) designated hospitals providing short-term diagnosis and accommodation as “psychiatric hospitals”. However throughout its life Sunbury has been used almost exclusively for long-term patients.

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Patients could not be retained in an Asylum without a warrant requesting their admission. Prior to 1867 the warrant was signed by the Governor. After this date the Chief Secretary (VRG 26) was responsible for this function. From 1934 the Director of Mental Hygiene (VA 2866) and from 1952 the Chief Medical Officer of the Mental Hygiene Branch (VA 2866) were successively responsible for admission of patients. The Lunacy Act 1914 (No.2539) made provision for the admission of patients on a voluntary basis, i.e. on a patient’s own request for a specified period of time.

In 1962 under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1959 (No.6605) Sunbury was proclaimed in the Government Gazette as a Mental Hospital and a Training Centre as it was responsible for mentally disturbed and mentally retarded patients. In 1985 responsibility for Sunbury was passed from the Mental Health Division (VA 6961) of the Department of Health II (VA 2695) to the Office of Intellectual Disability Services (VA 2909), a division of the Department of Community Services (VA 2633). It was used for a period thereafter as a training centre to accommodate intellectually handicapped persons.

Victoria University accepted the Urban Land Authorities’ offer in 1992 to take over the Caloola site and operated it as a university campus for several years; it closed the campus in 2011 but is still home to a primary and specialist school, 3NRG radio, and the Boilerhouse Theatre Company.

In 2013, a group known as the Sunbury Asylum Alliance was established with the aim to reclaim the site for a community, training and tourism hub.

Sunbury Historical Tours

Sunbury

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