Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving from Theresa's Haunted History

It's pretty obvious that 2020 has been a year like no other in our lifetimes. The worldwide pandemic has obviously put a huge damper on the world of paranormal investigation and research, in addition to just being a general upheaval in every day life.  So many things have changed, and we've all had to adjust to new norms taking the place of our previous way of life. My son isn't able to partake in the martial arts training he loves, and has also switched to virtual school, which is a lot of work and worry on my part. In addition to that, my mother in law passed away in October, and we're now going through the process of moving my husband back home here. 

I'm beyond stressed. My anxiety and depression have come really close a couple of times to spiraling out of control.  But, I know that I am so, so lucky and therefore, am so, so thankful this year.  My family has remained relatively healthy. No one has experienced job loss or wages cut because of the pandemic. We've been able to spend more time together, and I've had more time to slowly get back to working on my paranormal interests.

Earlier in the year, I took advantage of the lock down to catch up on my paranormal non-fiction reading. I also binged watched a ton of documentaries and paranormal shows on YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. I took a few online courses through Coursera and FutureLearn. And, I've been taking advantage of many FREE online lecture programs from a variety of paranormal researchers, historical societies, and other organizations. I've been trying to find the light in the dark, and I think I've been doing okay. But, I couldn't do it alone, and I wanted to share some of the specific people and things that I'm especially grateful for this Thanksgiving season. 

I'm thankful for my family for always supporting my paranormal interests and making sure I have the funds and the childcare to make sure I can pursue them. My husband has been especially great in encouraging me and never saying no when I ask him to make a stop at a local haunted cemetery on our way home. I'm thankful that I have access to the internet and various platforms to help me stay connected with others in the field, and watch/read/listen to paranormal media. I'm thankful that my car has held up and has safely transported me to different investigations and events this year and for the past 11 years.  I could write a book talking about all the things I'm lucky to have in my life, but here's just a short list of specific people/organizations I really wanted to give credit to.  I know I'm leaving so many people off this list, but here's what came to mind, in no particular order:

*The Flatwoods Monster Museum and Andrew Smith for giving me the opportunity to help spread the word about all awesome paranormal tourism opportunities you can experience in Braxton County, WV!  Click the banner link at the top of this blog (best seen on desktop version) to learn more about The Flatwoods Monster, the Haunted Haymond House, the Bigfoot of Sutton Lake, and all sorts of other spooky and non-spooky things that you can see in do in Braxton County.

*Teresa Holcomb Frame for inviting me to experience the Haunted Haymond House in Sutton, WV for myself this October. The Haunted Haymond House has a really fascinating history and no shortage of paranormal activity to be experienced.  There are different paranormal and psychic-themed events throughout the year, and you can also rent the home for overnight ghost hunts.  Teresa has done a wonderful job preserving and sharing the history of the home, and bringing it back to its original splendor.  She's also done a wonderful job in advancing the paranormal study of the home, through allowing investigators to come in and share their evidence and experiences.  This was also my first REAL investigation in a very long time, and so it was especially meaningful to have such a wonderful place be my first dip back.

*David Scott Worley of Haunted Beckley.  Haunted Beckley has some great ghost tours and other events throughout the year and I've been fortunate enough to attend several.  This year, Scott invited me out to two awesome ghost story and ghost hunting events.  Not only did I get to participate, but I also got to help lead some group investigations.  It was so fun getting to meet new people, and also connecting with people in person who I only knew through Theresa's Haunted History. 

*Brian Clary of SRI.  This year, I took a plunging leap out of my comfort zone and joined a newly formed investigation group, Spectral Research and Investigation. Because of the current worldwide situation, we're taking things slow, but we've had a successful training investigation of the TNT area, outside of Pt. Pleasant, and of course, the overnight investigation of the Haunted Haymond House! I can't wait to see where the new year brings us, and I look forward to really getting out in the field once again with like-minded individuals. A special shout out goes to my friend, who'll I'll call T---she wasn't able to make it to our Haymond House investigation, but she loaned me some equipment, which came in super handy!

*FeedSpot. I'm thankful that FeedSpot ranked this blog, Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State number 17 on its list of the Top 90 Paranormal Blogs of 2020! I'm not sure how I pulled that off, but I'll take it! 

*Lewis O. Powell IV of the Southern Spirit Guide.  The Southern Spirit Guide is one of my favorite blogs, offering information on tons of haunted locations throughout the southern United States, and its author, Lewis, has always been a great supporter of my blog. I'm blessed to have his encouragement! 

*I'm thankful for YOU!  Seriously, I cannot thank everyone who reads and shares my blog and social media posts enough. I love being able to connect with people who love the paranormal as much as I do, and I hope that my posts entertain and even educate you on the haunted history of West Virginia and beyond. Thank you for giving me a reason to keep doing what I'm doing, and the encouragement to keep improving.  I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and an amazing rest of 2020.  Here's to a better year in 2021---stay spooky, ya'll. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

My Ohio White Bigfoot Experience

Source: Sasquatch Chronicles.  My Bigfoot had much longer hair

I'm definitely more interested in the ghosts and hauntings side of paranormal research, and long-time readers of the blog and Theresa's Haunted History Facebook have surely noticed that those topics get the most attention from me.  However, I've always been fascinated in all aspects of the strange and unexplained---including cryptozoology. 

As with other areas of interest, I'm always up for reading books and articles about cryptids, watching documentaries and other shows exploring their existence, and as of late, listening to as many podcasts on the subject as I can.  But, unlike my ghosts and hauntings research, I don't have a lot of field experience.  As much as I love nature and enjoy being outdoors, even in my younger days, I didn't do a whole lot of deep-woods camping or hiking. So, I always thought my chances of spotting any cryptid, let alone the king of all cryptids---BIGFOOT---was pretty low. 

And then I saw it. 

I don't think most people who witness a Bigfoot go out with the intention of having such an experience, and that was true with me, too.  I was actually out doing some historical research.  I'm not sure of the actual date, but this would have been between 12 and 14 years ago (between 2006 and 2008), before my son was born, but after I had already joined Huntington Paranormal Investigations and Research as Historical Research Manager.  I BELIEVE it was sometime in the spring, summer, or very early fall. And the location was near Ironton, Ohio.

Huntington Paranormal had gotten several tips about a haunted cemetery in Lawrence County, Ohio and had been to the location several times with some interesting results. The Kelly Cemetery was a small, family cemetery that had been the victim of countless vandals over the years, but was quite the history-packed little place.  Dating back to the 1850's, the cemetery held not only the family of prominent businessman, William Kelly, but many other early Ironton citizens as well, before the WoodlandCemetery was opened nearby.

In order to gain some historical perspective on the cemetery and its inhabitants, I was joined by fellow HPIR investigator, Danny, on a trip to the Lawrence County Historical Society. We had a lovely chat with the docent on duty who gave us some information on the Kelly family and seemed genuinely interested in why we wanted that information. When we told her, she suggested we go visit ANOTHER small local cemetery, which she said was connected to the Kelly Cemetery.  She gave us directions, and off we went. It was warm and sunny, perfect for a cemetery stroll.

We found the road she had told us it was on, but initially, we couldn't find a cemetery.  The road dead-ended at a private property, so we turned around, heading back to the main road. With the car now facing the opposite direction, we did notice a little hill on our right, with what looked like a 4-wheeler path going up it, and an open farm gate.  We thought...'could this be the cemetery?' We found a place to pull off, trudged up the hill, and were delighted to see a tombstone!

Someone had been taking care of this cemetery, but not putting in a whole lot of effort. There was a mown path that led between the scattered tombstones, but the rest of the area was covered in waist-high grass. As we stood in front of a surprisingly modern tombstone (I think it had an engraved cartoon elephant) we heard a really loud rustle in the grass on the hill above us. I'm thinking deer? Property owner? Pot farmer come to check on his stash?  Never in a million years did I think Bigfoot, and to be honest, I still have no idea what the hell we saw. Typing this whole experience out makes me realize that there are details that I thought I vividly remember...but that just don't make a whole lot of sense, logically.

Anyway, we hear this loud rustling and look up to see this THING, running away from our direction, up towards the ridge line. As it was running away, we didn't see the face, but what we did see was a bipedal being absolutely covered in long, white hair. This hair wasn't pure, snow-white, but it had that dingy, yellowish, nicotine-stained look that you'll see in older dogs that desperately need groomed.

We were probably 100 feet away, if not more, and with the high grass, we didn't get a super good look at this thing, but it appeared to be crouched or hunched over, whether from just being in a running position, or from trying to conceal itself in the grass, I don't know. The grass obscured most of its legs, but from the buttocks up, it seemed pretty broad and pretty tall...not supernaturally large, but as big, if not bigger, than an average human man. 

Closer...but still not exactly what I saw. Source: Etsy

It took about three long strides before it disappeared up and over the hill where we couldn't see it, and presumably ran into the wooded area. We didn't hear or see anything after that, but both felt a strong sensation of being watched. The feeling wasn't necessarily threatening, but we still didn't remain there much longer!

Back in the car, we tried to rationalize it. We must have seen an albino deer, or a shy mountain man with long, white hair. But, we couldn't convince ourselves that we hadn't seen a bipedal creature of some sort, not wearing any clothing that we could see, but instead, completely covered in long, stringy white hair. This creature had managed to clear not a short distance with three large strides, then seemingly disappear without a trace. 

I still have no idea what I saw, and I don't tell this story that often because to me, its so unbelievable.  What did we see? Despite the grass being anywhere from waist to shoulder high on me (I'm about 5'5''), why didn't we see this thing when we got there? Was it lying down? Where did it go so quickly? From the grass rustling we heard to the height of this thing, it doesn't seem like it could have made it all the way into the trees before we lost sight of it, and we certainly FELT like it was still in the area. 

Interestingly, while trying to find out more about what I could have seen, it occurs to me that the shorter stature and the longer hair (especially being white) of this creature sound more like the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman...but what would such a creature be doing in OHIO?  

Although our recollections aren't 100% the same, even after all these years, Danny and I still agree on the basics of what we experienced that bright, sunny afternoon in Lawrence County, Ohio.We weren't out in the deep woods, or some long-forgotten location unseen by man for decades.  We were half a mile from the main highway. So, keep your eyes and your mind open---you never know what you're going to experience and where! 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Investigation Safety: The Investigator's Shinbone


Today's blog is another one of my Friday Funnies combined with some legitimate paranormal advice!  I'm sure you've probably seen the above-graphic, or some variation of it, posted on social media over the last few years, and with good reason.  It's something that most paranormal investigators and/or ghost hunters can relate to on some level.  I know I've personally whacked my shin directly into chairs, beds, coffee tables, and anything else that might be at shin level!  And, while it definitely doesn't feel good, and usually doesn't do any damage, it does bring up an important safety factor that I'd like to address. 

Although this graphic highlights the comical side of it, stumbling around in the dark, in an unfamiliar location CAN be dangerous. Luckily, there are a few ways to mitigate the risks. 

Whether it is your first trip to a location, or you've been there many times before, I suggest you start off each investigation with a thorough walk-through of the entire property.  If this is an indoor location, make sure the lights are on.  If you're at an outdoor location, arrive early to take advantage of full daylight. If you're being shown around by the client and/or property owner, be sure to ask them of any safety hazards you should be aware of.  Take note of where furniture and other large items are located, and locations where you'll be setting up stationary equipment.  I like to take baseline, reference pictures of the entire space before the investigation, and you can take it a step further by making a quick sketch of the area to be investigated, noting potential hazards and obstacles. 

If there are any areas of concern found, make sure they are pointed out to EVERY investigator/guest on site. If there are objects blocking high traffic areas, or fragile items that could easily get bumped, see if the client would be willing to move them out of the way for you.

For other hazards, glow sticks work great. You can use glow sticks to mark potential trip hazards, loose floorboards, uneven stairs, or furniture with sharp, dark, pointy corners. Portable touch lights can be set up in locations, such as staircases, that need a little bit of extra light. And, yellow caution tape can be used to mark off larger areas that need to be avoided altogether. 

When moving from place to place or room to room, pay attention to what you're doing.  It's easy to get distracted by your equipment, especially if you're filming with a handheld video camera or taking readings, but take a moment to look away from your devices to make sure you're not going to walk directly into something.

And finally, weigh the costs of whether or not you really DO need to go dark and/or investigate solely at night. There are plenty of reasons for and against going 'lights out,' which you can read about in my blog: Ghost FAQs: Going Dark. If you are in an area that has quite a few hazards and safety risks associated with low visibility, it might be worth sticking to daytime or lights on activities. And, as always, make sure a well-stocked first aid kit is part of your ghost hunting arsenal. 

I hope you got a knowing chuckle out of today's little graphic, but also picked up a few tips on keeping a silly situation from becoming something a little more dangerous. Have a safe and spooky weekend, and if your plans include any investigating, make sure to watch out for furniture and other safety hazards! 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Mothman in Clendenin

Today marks the anniversary of a decades-old mystery.  On November 15, 1966 two couples from Point Pleasant, WV witnessed a startling winged humanoid creature which would chase their car at speeds of around 100mph. This strange sighting of the monster later dubbed 'Mothman' would kick off a 13 month period of high strangeness in Pt. Pleasant. People flocked to the former WW2 munitions plant where the creature was first seen, and many did in fact report seeing something.  Others began noticing UFOs in the skies above the region, having psychic experiences, seeing ghosts, or just experiencing any number of unexplained phenomenon.

But did the November 15th sighting really start things off?

According to newspaper articles that began appearing around the tri-state on November 18th, several days after the famous Pt. Pleasant sighting occurred, Mothman may have shown himself in a wooded area outside of Clendenin! 

Grave of Homer Smith in Reamer Cemetery. By Ruth Smith

On November 12, 1966, a man named Kenneth Duncan was  with a group of men in the Reamer Cemetery, located near Clendenin in Kanawha County. It was a Saturday, and Duncan was there to dig the grave of his father in law, Homer Smith, who would be buried the next day. Duncan claimed that something looking like a brown human being was gliding through the trees and only in sight for about a minute.  Unfortunately, the other men present (Robert Lovejoy, Bill Poole, Andrew Godby, and Emil Gibson) did not see the creature.

Being the only witness, Duncan initially didn't say much about his experience until the news reports of the flying humanoid in Pt. Pleasant came out a few days later. 

As the crow (or Mothman) flies, the distance between Clendenin (in Kanawha County) and Pt. Pleasant is about 50 miles.  If traveled by established roads, that distance jumps to an average of 80 miles. Either way, an entity that can fly at speeds of upwards of 100mph would have no problems making the trip from Clendenin to Pt. Pleasant in three days.  But first...he'd make a stop in Doddridge County!  To find out why, please see the article:  What Happened to Bandit?

Friday, November 13, 2020

Happy Friday the 13th!


Happy Friday the 13th! The last Friday the 13th we had in 2020 was in March.  That was the day West Virginia Governor Jim Justice shut down the schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  That was also the day that the President of the United States finally declared Covid-19 to be a National Emergency.  With cases on the rise again, I'm afraid that the second Friday the 13th of 2020 isn't going to offer us much better news.  

So, here's a lucky black cat to spread some GOOD luck this Friday the 13th. I know my personal lil' black kitty, Ichabod, has brought nothing but good luck and joy to our family, and hopefully this lil' black kitty will bring you the same.  Here's to making the best out of the rest of 2020 and beyond!  Stay spooky, friends! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Happy Veterans Day from Theresa's Haunted History!

 On behalf of Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State, I want to wish all those who have served, are currently serving, or who will serve a very Happy Veterans Day! I'd also like to give a shout out to the families of our service men and women who have also had to sacrifice so much for our country.  Have a wonderful day! 

Here are a few Veteran themed posts from Theresa's Haunted History that you can check out today!

Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston, WV

Paul's Story, a family ghost tale

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Book Review for The Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories

Title: The Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories

Author: Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Published 2014 by Globe Pequot

Amazon Purchase Information

It's been over a year since we lost the awesome author and paranormal researcher, Rosemary Ellen Guiley. I don't know why, but she's been on my mind quite a bit these past few months, and it made me realize that I never reviewed her book, The Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories!  Although Rosemary was an internationally-known author and her research covered a huge span of paranormal topics, she seemed to spend a good deal of time here in the Mountain State, and wrote extensively about the rich, spooky history of West Virginia. 

The Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories is an extremely thorough look at ghosts and hauntings throughout the state.  Each section is devoted to one of the eight geographic regions, as designated by the West Virginia Department of Commerce, and each section is packed with a variety of ghostly tales and legends.  Some of the stories are well known and have been passed down in West Virginia's ghost lore for many years.  Others were tales that even I have never heard before.  Some of the stories have a great deal of historical documentation to back them up, while others fall more in line with composite legends that may or may not be based on REAL people or true historical events, but yet have cemented themselves in our paranormal history.  Rosemary is careful to distinguish which stories are more fact, and which tend to be more legend.

As with all of Rosemary's books, this one is very well written.  It's an entertaining read, as well as an informative one, as she not only shares her personal encounters as well as those of the witnesses...but also gives an excellent historical background on the stories. West Virginia is such a unique location, and there are so many aspects that make it a great place for the paranormal to thrive.

Being that this book is so comprehensive, I'd definitely suggest adding it to your own collection of paranormal literature, and if you're only going to purchase one book dealing with West Virginia hauntings, this would be a good choice.  It's a wonderful resource for finding new locations to investigate, research, or just to visit when you're in the area.  At 276 pages, there are definitely PLENTY of locations to check out! 

I had a lot of fun going through this book and have added some locations to research further for my blog.  But, my biggest surprise was reading in the back of the book, under the Acknowledgements page! It is such an honor to be mentioned in this book. I have loved and respected Rosemary's work for so long, and it is really special to know that my work helped shape this collection of West Virginia's ghost stories. 

More interested in Cryptozoology? Check out Rosemary Ellen Guiley's Monsters of West Virginia!  You can also check out what else I've read and reviewed on my Book Reviews page. Stay Spooky!