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Now onto the first posting. This article was originally posted at my online magazine, The Parting of Veils. Since ghost stories and legends were a popular staple in the more ancient Christmas celebrations, I felt this would be an appropriate start. :)
One night this passed Halloween season, I was watching Destination America and caught a few programs covering supposedly real life ghostly encounters. One legend in particular caught my attention, one that I had never heard of before until I was watching that program. And that was of a legend from Topeka, Kansas about a specter known as the Blue Albino Woman (or "Witch") haunting Rochester Cemetery, located on the northwest outskirts.
The legend tells of a disfigured woman born with bluish white skin, white hair, and whose eyes were also red, according to some reports. As a child, she was teased mercilessly by her classmates. Upon growing into adulthood, the teasing continued, mainly by the neighborhood children that feared her. During the day, she glared at them while they (the children) were on their way to school. Nightfall was when she would venture out and wander the town (due to her skin condition, going out in the sun reportedly caused her great pain, therefore resorting her to going out mainly at night). The friendless woman is said to have died in 1963 from mysterious circumstances. That was when residents began reports of seeing a glowing white female figure walking through the area after dark. The most frequent sightings seem to be along Shunganunga Creek, which flows near Rochester Cemetery where the woman was buried.
Several individuals are said to have had encounters with her, including some employees at a nearby Goodyear Tire Factory and residents that see the apparition quite often (sometimes as much as once a week). Some of those individuals were featured on the Destination America program I happened to catch. One of these individuals was a woman by the name of Jessica Streeter, who had ventured into the cemetery on her birthday for some romance and fun with her boyfriend. According to her interview on the program, she and her boyfriend were getting it on when the 'witch' came up from the ground and started chasing them. And not in an 'I'm just trying to scare you off' kind of way. According to the account, the witch seemed to be out for blood. In fact, Streeter was afraid of the possibility of the woman following them home. So much so, that she performed a sort of ritual at the door as a way of trying to fend the 'witch' off.
Another account featured on the program belonged to that of a man by the name of James George.
Now interestingly, Mr. George himself commented on an article of the Blue Albino Woman as reported on the website Muldersworld.com. In his comment, he states that while what Destination America said on their show was based in fact, the producers did take some liberties. He then provided his own telling of his story.
One of the embellishments on Destination America's part that I immediately noticed upon reading George's recounting was when the program's report stated that the woman was captured and buried alive in the cemetery by a group of thugs (which is also re-reported by Muldersworld). However, George's telling (along with the tellings of others) states that she died under mysterious circumstances. So while the thug story could be possible, there doesn't seem to be any confirmation of that, at least as far as I could see.
Anyway, the version of George's account given by Destination America is as follows:
He was in a department store with his mother, shopping for back to school clothing. While shopping, he managed to wander into a rather dark corner of the store where a group of mannequins were being stored. As he was checking them out, one moved and turned to face him, turning out to be the blue albino woman. It was then he screamed, sending his grandmother running over to him. It was then his grandmother also saw the woman and told her that she was not welcomed there. Then she glided passed them and out the door.
Now here is an excerpt of George's story in his own words (you can read it in its entirety in his comment on the Muldersworld article or at artist-alley.net:
It was August of 1964 and I was trying on clothes in the dressing room of the children's department on the second floor of Pelletier's Department store which my Grandmother was Manager of. It was time for me to get my new school clothes. School was going to start soon and I would be entering the second grade.
Suddenly the door to the dressing room flew open and there stood a tall veiled woman dressed entirely in black. Her red eyes were visible through the dark veil as she reached out a gloved hand towards me. As the arm came closer I saw with horror the pale almost bluish flesh of the arm between her sleeve and glove. I let out a scream and she froze in her movement. Appearing behind the tall frightening figure was the small stature of my Grandmother. Summing up the situation quickly my Grandmother forcibly ordered, "Leave! You are not welcomed here!" The veiled woman slowly turned as I crouched back against the wall. I heard my Grandmother repeat, "You are not welcomed here." She then ordered, "Now leave!" The tall figure with the red eyes and bluish skin silently glided past my Grandmother and towards the stair well. I ran to my Grandmothers arms and watched, along with the employees that had come running when I screamed, the frightening figure descend the stairs and quickly disappear.
I was to learn later that this was the Albino Woman who had died the next year. I was not to learn until four years later why she had sought me out...
Again, you can check out the entirety of his story (and it is quite interesting) in the comments section at Muldersworld.com or at artist-alley.net (you can also see an image of his painting featuring the blue albino woman).
Other reports include drivers seeing her lurking in the Rochester Cemetery at night, prowling the interior woodlands near the cemetery and the creek. Some children have even reported waking up late at night to seeing her gazing into their windows.
So if you happen to be driving by the Rochester Cemetery in Topeka late at night, you just might catch a glimpse of the legendary Blue Albino Woman, also referred to some as the Witch of Topeka, Kansas.
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