The problem of the computer freezing up after performing a POST has been resolved by me.
I should have considered it as an option so I disappointment myself that I did not. What was causing my computer to slow down during start-up and made it impossible to launch any processor intensive programs such as Photoshop or even copy files from one folder to another was the "ghost drive." As cited originally I noted that aside from the slow down I also noticed that my primary 1TB HDD was being displayed on the list during the POST but it did not show up under My Computer, thus the term "ghost drive."
Working with this HDD earlier, I had switched the SATA ports from one internal HDD that was displaying with the one that was not and it made no difference at all. Finally, after myriad hours of troubleshooting today and then seeking help here and waiting for a rescue raft from someone smarter than me to save the day, I thought what would happen if I simply disconnected the "ghost drive" from the system. Presto!
The missing drive was the source of my computer's major slow down. Once off the system everything reset back to a normal state and I could even pop open Photoshop in a few seconds. So I have a working computer again but I have a 1TB HDD that is my main drive for all my content that is not working properly for some reason, or maybe it is a MB issue. I do not know.
If anyone has any suggestions about the HDD issue, please share your input. I could really still use a booster today and another rescue raft. Thanks for reading. Take care:)