Monday, November 28, 2011

Lavina's True Story...Dr. Grimes' Office Part 2

Several weeks ago, Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State brought you the story of Lavina G. Wall, the girl believed to be at the center of the Dr. Grimes' dental office haunting.  Lavina G. Wall was said to have died around the age of 11 from appendicitis, not long after the death of her baby sister in a fire while living in Ohio.  This information regarding the little ghost girl named Lavina was related to Dr. Grimes by a family member of Lavina's named Mrs. Andre.  Apparitions, EVPs, and even psychic impressions over the years by staff, patients, and paranormal investigation teams have all seemingly backed up this story.  The presence of a little girl thought to be Lavina, and another little girl, believed to be her sister, and named Sarah, according to a psychic impression, have become so well-loved and prevalent at the site, that a shrine to them has been set up in the upstairs bedroom where she was believed to have died.  Visitors leave toys and other trinkets in the closet for the girls, because it is believed that is the area where they feel the safest.

Since that original story, there have been a few more breakthroughs in the quest to find out the truth of Lavina's identity.

On November 7, 2011, I conducted a title search on the property, which yielded very few new pieces of information.  There is no record of a house being on the property prior to 1909, but we do believe it could have been there as early as 1901, and its first sale was recorded in 1909.  The former duplex was ALWAYS a duplex, until it was purchased by Dr. Grimes in the 1970s...but it was also always a rental property owned by one owner who rented it out to two different families.  In 1929, the year Lavina died, the owner of the home was listed as a Thomas Mannon.  Thomas Mannon, who lived on 6th Avenue, passed away on March 27, 1929.  He willed the property to his offspring, which was "managed" by son, Homer Mannon.  Homer Mannon was the owner of the property at the time of Lavina's death in October of 1929, and interestingly enough, was also a dentist!  The 1930 census, which lists Lavina's mother as head of the household, has the Wall family (minus the father and older siblings) and a boarder living at 1125 20th St.  An elderly widow, Mrs. Elvira Reffitt, lived in the adjoining apartment, 1125 1/2 20th. St.

On November 12, 2011, even more information was uncovered as HPIR president, Melissa Stanley, and Dustin Stanley, located Lavina's tombstone.  Lavina is buried in Locust Grove Cemetery in Lawrence County, Ohio.  Along with Lavina, several other tombstones were found.  The first one belongs to her father, Cyrus Kemp(er) Wall, aka C.K. Wall.  He died in 1952.  Another tombstone was for Lavina's little brother, Irvin F. Wall.  Irvin Franklin Wall was born on September 28, 1912, and died on December 29, 1913.

The next grave that was found is the most interesting.  The grave of Shirley V. Wall who died in 1917 at the age of 7 months lies right along with the rest of the Wall family.  At the time of this infant's death, Lavina would have been around nine years old.  The two younger siblings found here were born and died in between census years, and records for them have been hard to find.  At this point, it is unknown if Shirley V. Wall died in a fire as stated by the Mrs. Andre discussed in an earlier post or not...research is still being conducted. Initially it was thought that this piece of information regarding Shirley could lend credibility to the Mrs. Andre story.  The baby would have died when Lavina was approximately the right age listed in the story, and she did have an older sister.  The information regarding the father not living with the family in 1930 also lends verification to the part of the story concerning the idea that he was an alcoholic that the family was trying to get away from.

HPIR conducted its third investigation of the property on November 26, 2011.  While setting up our equipment, the information we had gathered thus far was presented to Dr. Grimes.  Dr. Grimes believed that the Lavina we found was a DIFFERENT Lavina than the one that is haunting the property and who was discussed by Mrs. Andre.  However, he did provide us with a copy of Mrs. Andre's obituary, which provided some excellent genealogical clues.

The Mrs. Andre who originally told the story of Lavina to Dr. Grimes was born Harriet Lay Foreman.  If we could find a link to Mrs. Andre and the Lavina G. Wall that WE found, then we could possibly debunk the original story...and yup---we did find the connection.  Mrs. Harriet Lay Foreman Andre was related to Lavina, but only by marriage.  The information we were given by Dr. Grimes stated that Mrs. Andre had an aunt who's daughter died on the property.  The truth is...

...Cyrus Kemper (C.K.) Wall, Lavina's dad, had a sister named Ruth.  In 1900, Cyrus was living with his older sister in Lawrence County, Ohio.  Two years later, Ruth married a man named Loren Wilson Andre in Huntington, WV.  In 1910, Ruth and Loren had a son, whom they named Loyd W. Andre.  Loyd W. Andre would go on to marry Harriet Lay Foreman.  It is unknown exactly where Harriet received her information, presumably from her husband or her mother-in-law, Ruth.  It is also unknown as to how and why exactly the information got so mixed up along the way.

At this point, we cannot say there couldn't be another Lavina.  However, there is no other Lavina in Harriet Andre's genealogy that I can find, and since the property was a rental where records of tenants were scarce, we cannot verify that there was never another Lavina who lived on the property, despite the unliklihood.  We do, however, believe that there is potentially a little girl ghost or two, as well as several other entities, as there are plenty of personal experiences, EVPs, and other circumstantial evidences pointing in that direction.  As serious investigators, though, we must look first and foremost at what evidence can be gathered through use of the scientific method and backed up by historical documentation.  Unfortunately, the historical research, nor hard science have been able to prove that the girl in question IS Lavina...she could simply be some other lost soul, completely unconnected with the original story, trying to make her story be heard.

HPIR is continuing its research into this case, and will announce when updates are added.  We are still looking into further information on the Wall family, but also into several other deaths that are said to have ocurred in the house.  Also, as soon as the footage and data analysis from our investigation is complete, we'll be adding any potential evidence to the HPIR page.  Melissa Stanley, group president and founder, has created a hauntingly beautiful video compilation for Lavina and possibly the unknown little ghost girl seen and felt by so many.  The video can be found on our investigation page, linked to below, or on our YouTube page, also linked below.

This case is another example of how Huntington Paranormal just doesn't tell Huntington's history one ghost story at a time...we also give a voice to those who can no longer speak for themselves.

Links of Interest:
Theresa's First Article into Lavina's Story
HPIR's Investigation of Dr. Grimes' Office November 2011
1st Investigation of Dr. Grimes' May 2007
October 2007 Dr. Grimes' Investigation
HPIR's YouTube Channel

Information above has been backed up and cross-referenced wherever applicable.  Supporting documents, including, but not limited to, birth certificates, death certificates, census records, and newspaper clippings can be made available upon request.

The painting in the photo above was painted by Dr. Grimes.  It depicts the image of the little girl he saw, who is believed to be Lavina.  Photo property of Melissa Stanley.

UPDATE: April 2012
The little girl who was said to have drowned in the upstairs bathroom has now officially been found!  Read Carla's story HERE! 

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