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Haunted Circle Hot Springs Alaska
Although I’m not too keen on the plethora of paranormal reality shows out there, one that I do enjoy is The Dead Files because of the historical research involved in each episode.
One of the episodes of the first season called “Arctic Wrath” focused on an investigation into an old lodge in Central, Alaska.
Central is about 140 miles north of Fairbanks with a current population of approximately 100 individuals.
The hotel is a very large building comprised of three stories and called Circle Hot Springs. The hotel is built on the location of hot springs discovered by a gold miner moose hunting in the fall of 1897.
Frank Leach bought the property in 1909, and built the hotel in 1930 with lumber cut from big trees by Medicine Lake and lumber from Fairbanks.
Emma Gunz was a nurse at Yukon Hospital in 1920. She enjoyed going to Central to visit the hot springs. She and Frank met and were married in 1924.
The Leaches were hard workers and maintained a fabulous garden growing fresh vegetables that were famous throughout the state.
Frank was a talented carpenter and built all of the furniture for the cabins and subsequent hotel.
People loved coming to the hotel and enjoying the garden and the delicious vegetables all winter long. The Leaches were known for their generosity. They had a dance every Saturday night and served huge platters of delicious food. Mr. Leach died in 1955; and, Emma passed away in 1974.
A very different picture of the Leaches is portrayed in The Dead Files investigation.
The paranormal investigation was requested by the family of the current caretaker at the Lodge. When Bill, the current caretaker, and his wife were visited by their daughters, they were frightened by the paranormal activity they experienced during their visit including coming home to their rugs standing on end, witnessing doors opening and closing, and hearing footsteps up and down the stairs.
Dawn has also seen a grandmotherly figure wearing a dress and sweater appear in the library.
In 1989, her sister Heather saw the apparition of a woman in an upstairs window. She also experienced a cleaning rag flying past her.
Colette, the girls’ stepmother, described a bowl flying off a shelf in the kitchen in front of her while she was cleaning the floor.
The most frightening experience was the appearance of a three-headed apparition.
The three-headed apparition was witnessed by the entire family, but as different images including a Native American, a monkey and a reaper.
Colette said the apparition had large feathers, two male heads and a third head that was half-monkey and half-man. She felt like he wanted to kill her. She also saw a 3 foot tall creature that looked like a bear until it became “a changeling” and disappeared through a small hole.
Amy, the investigator for The Dead Files, experienced a lot of paranormal activity in the old lodge. She claims there are many dead people in the building. She talks about a tall man who is very angry and possibly drunk. He despises women and really wants to hurt them. She also encounters a woman and child crying, possibly abused by the father. She talks about a circle of women on the ground crying and begging. A dead person crawls up the basement stairs towards her. She hears “rough screaming like howling.” She sees a woman who is “all messed up.” She is in a white dress spinning and falling. She is dying, but there is no one to help her.
Amy believes the two main entities causing problems in the house are the tall man as well as a “nasty” German woman who threatened to push her head into the table. She believes the tall man is able to read people’s minds to find out what they fear most and use it against them. He might possibly be a shape-shifter.
Steve, the historical researcher for The Dead Files, interviewed several people about the hotel and the Leaches.
According to local historian, Al Cook, Frank was a hard worker, very handy, and laid-back. Anna was described as quite bossy and could often be heard yelling at her husband.
Pam, the real estate agent for the property, said the hotel was originally built for gold miners coming in to have a little food and recreation during their time off. She remembers when she started coming up to the property 35 years ago always hearing stories of ghosts. The property has been CL for over 10 years now.
In 2002, a tragic helicopter crash took the lives of newlyweds going to Circle Hot Springs for their wedding reception. As there were no ambulance or hospital services available in the area, wedding guests driving to attend the reception saw the crash and loaded the victims into cars to drive to Fairbanks. He did not survive.
Amy feels that the Leaches are still on the property and the man is especially of danger to the girls. Bill feels that he assists him with his projects. When he is unable to find a tool or part he needs, the apparition helps him locate what he needs. “He helps me out, and scares the girls.”
Amy advised Bill to have a talk with the entities. They either straighten up and respect the women in the house or they can’t stay there any longer. She advises the women to make it clear that they aren’t going to tolerate these behaviors. At last report, the Leaches were treating the ladies with more respect.
References and Additional Information:
The Dead Files, Season 1, Episode 19. Arctic Wrath.
1970s interview with Mrs. Leach; although somewhat of a recluse at this time, she agreed to meeting if they didn’t get too personal: http://jukebox.uaf.edu/central/biohtm/emleb.html
Link to photo of Frank and Emma Leach: http://www.cdhs.us/Photo%20Collections/Choate%20Collection/80-P-02-34.html
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