sábado, 11 de enero de 2014

Château Miranda

The History of Château de Noisy (Château Miranda) (Belgium)

The History of Château de Noisy (Château Miranda)

Château de Noisy is a beautiful castle in the open lands of Belgium. The former ‘holiday camp’ is in a heavy state of disrepair and despite several offers, the owners refuse to sell it. It has suffered heavily from vandalism and the details from the interior have been removed to be used in another castle. Château de Noisy is one of the most beautiful locations we have seen. As of December, 2013 – the owners of Château de Noisy have formally applied for licence to demolish this heritage castle. Please see the end of this article for links to the formal petition against this action.
Initially Chateau Miranda, boasting beautifully landscaped gardens, served the family Liedekerke de Beaufort as a summer residence.

Original View

Chateau Noisy Front

Current State (2013)

Chateau de Noisy - Clock Tower Black White


During the French revolution the Count Liedekerke-Beaufort and his family, who we very much involved in Belgian politics, fled their home, Château de Vêves, to a secluded farm in the forest on the outskirts of the village in 1792. Upon the ending of the revolution, the English architect Edward Milner, was commissioned in 1866 by the Liedekerke-Beaufort family to design and build a castle on the land.

Original Interior

Chateau Noisy Interior

Current State (2013)

Château de Noisy - Staircase


Château de Noisy was to be built with many towers, conical roofs, and other Neo-Gothic details, with approximately 500 windows. Milner did not get to finish the castle as he died before the building was completed. The building was continued by the French architect Pelchner, extending the Château largely.
The clocktower was finished in 1903 and is 183 feet tall, and 1907 saw the completion of building activity. Initially Chateau Miranda, boasting beautifully landscaped gardens, served the family Liedekerke de Beaufort as a summer residence.
During the Ardennen offensive in World War II, the château was briefly occupied by German troops. During the Battle of the Bulge, there was also fighting on the property.
Château de Noisy - Red roofed room
Chateau de Noisy - Decayed Corridor
From 1950 the castle was taken over by the National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS) as a ‘holiday camp’ for children who suffered from ill health. Around this time, the castle was named Home de Noisy or Château de Noisy. Equipped with 200 places the ‘holiday camp’ gave shelter to the children, providing fresh air, a fabulous playground and healthy food.
Château de Noisy - Stair case
The regime at Home de Noisy was strict, it was run by female officials and the children dressed uniformly. In the square between the outbuildings a small football pitch was set up and the fountain in the garden was converted into a swimming pool. These were of various nationalities and language regions: French and Flemish children between 5 and 14 from Belgium and during the holiday season, children from Italy.
Château de Noisy - Hallway

After 1970 it was used for outdoor activities and sport holidays for children, and became well known in Belgium.

“Despite the ‘municipality of Celles’ offering to take it over, the family has refused.”
Chateau Noisy Rear Quarter

Original State

Chateau Noisy Front

Current State (2013)

Chateau de Noisy - Front Clock Tower
In the 1990′s the owners began to search for investors, with the desire to transform the Château into a hotel. Due to the rising costs of maintenance and refurbishment, the plans failed and the Château was abandoned in 1991.
Chateau de Noisy - Collapsed Flooring
In 1995 a fire claimed part of the roof, and shortly after this the owner removed the hardwood floors, fireplaces and Italian blue marble to use in the neighbouring farm and another castle in Italy. In 2006 a violent storm, caused the stable roof to collapse.
Chateau de Noisy - Washroom
Despite the municipality of Celles making an offer to take it over, the family has refused.

Summary & Current Situation

This beautiful building is unstable and in disrepair. Internally, the structures are failing. Despite this, the building still maintains it beauty. Its likely that Château de Noisy will fall and become ruins unless the owners invest or sell. With the history, this however seems unlikely.
I am looking for original documentation on Noisy, postcards, press articles etc. If you have any, please contact me
It has been confirmed that from December, 2013, the owners have put forward a formal request for permit to demolish Château de Noisy. The heritage loss of this beautiful castle is significant and incomprehensible. A formal petition has been arranged, please take a few minutes to have a look and sign if you feel this place is worth saving.
Chateau Noisy Front Celles

Image Gallery

Available here



domingo, 5 de enero de 2014

Dr. Couney and the Coney Island 'Child Hatchery'.

Theme Park History: Dr. Martin Couney and the Coney Island 'Child Hatchery'

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Published: October 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Of all the stories in theme park history (and perhaps medical history), one of the most curious has to be the story of Dr. Martin Couney.
Dr. Martin Couney
Born in 1870 in Germany, Dr Couney was one of the early pioneers of neonatology. He helped to develop the baby incubator and methods of caring for premature babies. In the late 1890s, his senior associates tasked him with spreading the word of the new technology to doctors and hospitals. Couney developed an exhibit and began demonstrations at fairs and expos around the world. The exhibits proved to be very popular, but more so with the curious general public than the medical industry they were intended to reach. The exhibit generated considerable crowds and revenue, but doctors and hospitals just weren’t that interested at the time.
After traveling exhibitions throughout Europe and the US for a few years, Dr. Couney set up a permanent exhibition in the newly opened Luna Park at Coney Island. In those days, hospitals had no special care for premature babies, so Couney was never short of patients. The outside of the building was no different than the other sideshows surrounding it. The sign above the door read “Life Begins With The Baby Incubator.” Customers were enticed in by a carnival barker and charged 25 cents to come and see the “child hatchery.”

Coney Island incubator exhibit
The inside was essentially a hospital. The atmosphere was quiet and clinical, incubators lined the walls, and trained nurses were employed to care for the babies. One of the nurses was Couney’s daughter, who ironically enough was born premature and spent some time in the incubator herself. The wet nurses employed to feed the babies were ordered on diets, and were fired if caught eating a hot dog or some other fried fare from the boardwalk. Tour guides were fired if they made jokes during the presentation. The rules and regulations for infant care were strictly enforced, and professionalism was emphasized. It was important to distinguish themselves at least a little from the pandemonium surrounding them.

Coney Island nurses Coney Island incubators
Naturally, there were those opposed to the idea of putting premature babies on display for the purposes of entertainment and profit. More than once there was a movement to shut him down. Dr. Couney had his reasons though, for throughout the show’s existence, he never charged a cent to the parents of the children he treated. It was the revenue of the paying customers covering the very high operating costs. He never took a payment for his services, and he accepted children of all kinds. Race, economic class, and social status were never factors in his decision to treat. The names were always kept anonymous, and in later years the doctor would stage reunions of his “graduates.” The medical profession that had once called him into question eventually embraced his methods and began promoting their use and sending him patients. Dr. Couney would eventually open more incubator attractions…a couple more at Coney Island and a handful around the country at other amusement centers and fairs.
Eventually, the enormous expense of running the exhibits began to outweigh the revenue as public interest in the attraction waned. Dr. Couney had made his case for the preemie though, and almost forty years after attraction opened, the first research center for premature infants was opened at Cornell University’s New York Hospital, reportedly differing very little from his operation. By this time, other hospitals were also opening treatment centers of their own. In 1943, Couney declared his work “finished” and closed for good. It’s reported that over 40 years of operation, Couney’s incubator attractions had an 80% success rate and saved about 6500 newborns from almost certain death. He died a few years later in 1950, having left his mark in both the theme park and medical industry.

viernes, 3 de enero de 2014

The Mysterious Case of Elisa Lam

The Mysterious Case of Elisa Lam

There are mysteries that are so eerie and strange that they boggle the mind for days on end. The case of Elisa Lam is one of them. In February 2013, this 21-year-old student from Vancouver, Canada, was found dead inside the Cecil Hotel’s rooftop water tank in Los Angeles. The L.A. County Department of Coroner ruled the death “accidental due to drowning” and said no traces of drugs or alcohol were found during the autopsy. However, there is much more to the story than what is implied by police reports. The first piece of evidence that needs to be considered is an elevator surveillance tape that recorded Elisa’s behavior only a few moments before she lost her life.
The four-minute video posted on YouTube shows Elisa pressing all of the elevator buttons and waiting for it to move. Seeing that the elevator doors are not closing, starts behaving extremely bizarrely. Here’s the video.
Right after the events of the video, Elisa apparently gained access to the rooftop of the hotel, climbed to its water tank and, somehow, ended up drowning in it. Her body was found two weeks after her death, after hotel guests complained about the water’s taste and color. Incredible.
At first, Elisa enters the elevator and apparently presses all of its buttons. She then waits for something to happen but, for some reason, the elevator door doesn’t shut. She starts to look around, as if she is expecting (or hiding from) someone. At 1:57, her arms and hands start moving in a very strange matter (almost not human) as she appears to be talking to someone, something … or nothing at all. She then walks away. The elevator door then shuts and appears to start working again.
Seeing the surveillance footage, most people would conclude that she was under the influence of drugs. However, Elisa did not have a history of drug use and her autopsy concluded that no drugs were involved. When one looks at the context and the circumstances of this death, things become even more mysterious.

Cecil Hotel’s Dark History

Built in the 1920s to cater to “businessmen to come into town and spend a night or two”, Cecil Hotel was quickly upstaged by more glamorous hotels. Located near the infamous Skid Row area, the hotel began renting rooms on a long-term basis for cheap prices, a policy that attracted a shiftier crowd. The hotel’s reputation quickly went from “shifty” to “morbid” when it became notorious for numerous suicides and murders, as well as lodging famous serial killers.
“Part of its sordid history, involves two serial killers,  Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger.
Now on death row, Ramirez, labeled “the Nightstalker”, was living at the Cecil Hotel in 1985, in a top floor room.  He was charged 14 dollars a night.  In a building filled with transients, he remained unnoticed as he stalked and killed his 13 female victims. Richard Schave, said “He was dumping his bloody clothes in the Dumpster, at the end of his evening and returned via the back entrance.”
Jack Unterweger, was a journalist covering crime in Los Angeles for an Austrian magazine in 1991.  “We believe he was living at the Cecil Hotel in homage to Ramirez,” Schave said.
He is blamed with killing three prostitutes in Los Angeles, while being a guest at the Cecil.
In the 50’s and 60’s the Cecil was known as a place that people would go to jump out of one of the hotel’s windows to commit suicide.
Helen Gurnee, in her 50s, leaped from a seventh floor window, landing on the Cecil Hotel marquee, on October 22, 1954.
Julia Moore jumped from her eighth floor room window, on February 11, 1962.
Pauline Otton, 27, jumped from a ninth floor window after an argument with her estranged husband, on October 12, 1962.  Otton landed on George Gianinni, 65, who was walking on the side walk, 90 feet below. Both were killed instantly.
There was also a murder of one of the residents.  “Pigeon Goldie” Osgood, a retired telephone operator, known for protecting and feeding pigeons in a nearby park, was found dead in his ransacked room on June 4, 1964.  He had been stabbed, strangled, and raped.  The crime still remains unsolved.”
Elisa Lam’s case is yet another sordid addition to the hotel’s history and can lead us to ask: “What the hell is wrong with that place”?

The Movie “Dark Water”

The story of Elisa Lam is eerily similar to the 2005 horror movie Dark Water. Dahlia, the main protagonist of the movie moves into an apartment building with her young daughter Cecilia. Both of these names are relevant. Black Dahlia is the nickname given to Elizabeth Short, a woman who was the victim of a gruesome murder in 1947 – one that appeared to be particularly ritualistic. The case was never solved. According to LA Observed, it is rumored that Black Dahlia was at Cecil Hotel right before she lost her life.
“The Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, is alleged in at least one book to have hung out at the Cecil and drank at the bar next door before she disappeared in 1947, though cultural historians Kim Cooper and Richard Schave of Esotouric say that’s just rumor.”
- LA Observed, Serial Killer Central
In the movie, the daughter’s name, Cecilia, is, obviously, quite similar to the name Cecil Hotel.
After moving into her apartment, Dahlia notices dark water leaking from the ceiling in her bathroom. She ultimately discovers that a young girl named Natasha Rimsky drowned in the building’s rooftop water tank, which caused the water to turn black. The owner of the apartment building knew about this fact but refused to take action. Elisa Lam’s body was  in the water tank for over two weeks, causing hotel guests to complain about foul tasting “black water”.
The ending of the movie is also eerily relevant: The apartment buildings elevator malfunctions and the ghost of Cecilia’s mother braids her hair. Is Elisa Lam’s death one of those ritualistic murders that are synchronistically mirrored in a Hollywood movie?

Another Strange Coincidence

Shortly after the discovery of Elisa Lam’s body, a deadly outbreak of tuberculosis occurred in Skid Row, near Cecil Hotel. You probably won’t believe the name of the test kit used in these kinds of situations: LAM-ELISA. That is hardcore synchronicity.

No Foul Play?

LA authorities ruled in June 2013 that Elisa Lam’s death was accidental and that she was “probably bi-polar”. That being said, some questions remain unanswered. How did Elisa, who was obviously not in her right mind, end up in the hotel’s water tank, an area that is difficult to access? Here’s a news report describing the water tank area.
 As the reporter states in the video, the rooftop area is protected by an alarm system and the water tank is difficult to reach. How did Elisa reach that area? Also, how did she close the water tank lid?
As is usually the case for strange deaths, authorities have been incredibly secretive and non-transparent during this investigation. What truly happened here? Why are there so many strange coincidences? Why was Elisa Lam acting so strange in the elevator? Was there a ritualistic aspect to this death? Why is the Cecil Hotel a hotbed for these kinds of stories? Is there some paranormal stuff going on there involving dark entities? The mystery appears to be whole and authorities do not seem to be wanting to probe further. Maybe I should cite here the slogan that appears on Dark Water movie posters : “Some mysteries are not meant to be solved”.
Read more at http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/mysterious-case-elisa-lam/#FZs5Pi7g3Eb2zD3o.99