Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Captain's House, Parkersburg

The Captain's House, located on Juliana Street in Parkersburg's historic district, was built by George Deming, prior to 1860.  George was born in Connecticut in 1806, and was an accomplished Master Mariner.  Shortly before the Civil War, Deming left New England, and took his young family to Parkersburg, where he built at least two homes.

This home, sometimes referred to as the "Markey House," is the oldest, and is built in a classic New England style, with a small front yard, and narrow halls and a low ceiling, reminiscent of a ship.

Deming passed away in 1861, possibly due to the typhoid epidemic which was sweeping the area.  Deming's young son also passed away sometime during this time period.  Both are buried two blocks from the house in the Riverview Cemetery.  Deming's gravestone has an elaborate ship carving, and along with his birth and death dates bears the claim that he is a direct descendant of Myles Standish.  Unfortunately, the son's stone is too worn to accurately see the dates or name.

It is believed that  since Deming was in his 50s at his time of death, yet he had several young children, his wife was probably much younger.  There are no records of any other Deming's in the cemetery, so it is believed that she moved away shortly after the death of her husband and son, and remarried.

The Captain's Home has since then acquired a reputation for being haunted.  Rumors abound that subsequent owners have been driven mad while living in the home, which has undergone extensive renovations over the years.  While these rumors seem largely unsubstantiated, the home still has paranormal activity associated with it.  Workers restoring the home reported seeing a child's footprints in the dust in the attic, although no children lived in the home at the time. The dust was cleared, and several months later, the footsteps would reappear, although no children had even set foot in the closed off section.

Another strange anomaly seems to be the glow of a fire reflected in the home's windows.  People looking at the window see the reflection of orange flames whipping about, and other weird light anomalies, which are attributed to the Captain's pipe burning.

Oddly enough, the Captain isn't confined to his former home.  Residents have seen his apparition in various parts of town, often walking with his head down, and wearing a black overcoat.  He is seen at times in Riverview Cemetery, and some claim, even in the Blennerhassett Hotel.

Today, the home is a private residence, but is featured on the Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours.  Photo from the Haunted Parkersburg website.

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