Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wayne County's Elmwood Cemetery

Tombstone of Milton J. Ferguson
The Elmwood Cemetery, located just off State Route 37 in Wayne County, is one of the area's largest cemeteries, still receiving burials in the present day.  However, the cemetery began, as many do, as a small private, family cemetery for the Ferguson Family before being incorporated into a larger, public burial ground.

The Ferguson Family of Wayne County begins with Samuel, and his wife, Mary Jameson, both of whom were believed to have been born and raised in Ireland before coming to America, and eventually settling in Wythe County, VA in the mid-1700s.  One of their sons, William Leonard Ferguson, was born in Wythe County in 1777 and would go on to marry Sarah Stokes in that county in 1799.  A few years later, their son Milton Jameson Ferguson was born, on October 3, 1801.

Some time between 1803 and 1808, the family moved to what is now Wayne County, West Virginia (at the time, the area in which they lived was still a part of Cabell County, VA). 

According to a personal account, found at THIS SITE, it is a local legend that it is the spirit of Milton J. Ferguson who has haunted the cemetery since his death on December 9, 1853.  In fact, his spirit is said to "welcome" visitors to the cemetery, as they enter the old, Ferguson family plot.  The author of the account listed seemed skeptical at first, but did note that a feeling of uneasiness permeated the area.  Later photo analysis (unavailable) showed unexplained anomalies.

This is the only account I've heard of a possible haunting at this particular cemetery, so I'd love to hear from anyone out there who has more information to share!  Also, remember the next time you visit this cemetery, be sure to greet Mr. Ferguson and the rest of the Ferguson clan buried at Elmwood Cemetery!  As an aside...there is another member of the Ferguson Family who is NOT buried at Elmwood.  Milton's son, Milton Jameson, Jr., who went by Jameson, was an extremely prominent citizen in Wayne County, being admitted to the bar at the age of 20, and serving as a Colonel, and even under General Albert Jenkins during the Civil War.  He is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Ft. Gay.  THIS SITE has a wonderful history on this member of the Ferguson clan.

*Photo by Find-a-Grave user, OurPast.  Click on the link for internments.*

*Please note that this is NOT the same cemetery that HPIR was asked to investigate.  For information on that cemetery, please see:  Wayne County Cemetery Investigation

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Worst of the Worst!

Hey, readers!  Last week I tried a new type of blog--a Weekly Review of the blog posts that were getting the most attention at Theresa's Haunted History!

I quickly grew bored of this, so this week, I thought I'd try ANOTHER approach!  Welcome to the Worst of the Worst!  These blog entries, while I see nothing wrong with them, (of course, I'm a bit biased since I WROTE them) just haven't gotten the number of pageviews I think they deserve.   Admittedly, there are some ulterior motives as well--I recently read that posts such as this were good for increasing internal blog traffic, lol. If you haven't read these entries though, please take a moment and check out anything that might interest you.  Show these little posts some Holiday Spirit!  Thanks!

1. Ghost FAQs-Certification:  Certification in the paranormal field is a controversial subject.  This post reflects my thoughts on the whole situation, as well as practical tips from which any investigation can benefit.

2. Steel Hollow Caves:  The caves around Spencer, WV are haunted...but why and by whom?

3. McArthur House:  A ghostly child is said to haunt this former undertaker's home-turned antique shop located outside of Harpers Ferry.  Its a complete recipe for spooky story as found in Stephen Brown's book.

4. A Prayer:  When I was young, I found my own unique, and perhaps hilarious, way to deal with the things in my own home that I couldn't understand.

5. Former Ravenswood Theater:  A re-telling of a story found in A Guide to Haunted West Virginia.  This theater is now an office complex, but the tales of a ghostly visitor still abound.

*Follow Theresa on FaceBook for more updates!*

Friday, December 14, 2012

Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas!

I'm sure you've heard the line, and possibly sang it hundreds of times for yourself..."There'll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago!"  But, have you ever really asked yourself what it MEANS?  Plenty of people have pondered the subject and many of those have written extensively their own theories, but the answer is actually quite simple.  This favorite line in It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, is referring to a Victorian tradition that I personally hope will see a rebirth in the 21st century...and that is the tradition of telling ghost stories, not at Halloween, but at CHRISTMAS time!

Once you think about it, supporting evidence seems to pop up everywhere in pop culture.  Charles Dickens' iconic classic, A Christmas Carol is one such example, being listed as one of the most widely known ghost stories of all time!  For those of you who fell in love with the Woman in Black movie this year, if you read the actual book, you'd find that Arthur Kripps is actually recounting his tale during his family's Christmas celebration!

But WHY did ghost stories become such an enthralling yuletide pasttime?  That answer is a little more vague and ambiguous and I don't think there is any one straight forward, all-encompassing answer.  I've heard other bloggers mention that the telling of ghost stories was a way to calm down overly excited children for awhile.  I've also heard almost the opposite--that the winter telling of ghost stories was an exciting way to blow off steam after being cooped up inside for so long.  Some have even mentioned that during the Victorian era, new books were usually published right before Christmas, and since the Victorians loved their ghost stories, the new batch usually always contained something creepy for people to share around the fire.

Still, its widely believed that the tradition comes from simply the time of year, and its pagan connections.  During the winter solstice, on December 21st, the day is the shortage of the year, making the night the longest of the year.  Thus, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead are at their all-time thinnest.  The world around us is "dead" and cold and dark...a perfect recipe for ghosts to walk the earth.  The actual connection with Christmas, comes from the ideas that there is no hard evidence mentioned anywhere that Christ was born on December 25th.  Rather, in the early days, the church, trying to eradicate pagan festivals, actually overlaid Christian holidays with pagan celebrations.  In fact, many other Christmas traditions, full embraced during the Victorian era, stem from pagan celebrations.

In a very modern perspective, Christmas DOES seem to stir up thoughts of ghosts for a variety of reasons.  Christmas, and other winter holidays, are times when families come together.  Why shouldn't those family members that have already passed be a part of the celebration, too?  In fact, many people do report visits from deceased loved ones this time of year and paranormal websites are flooded with "ghost" photos around the tree!  Some cultures have formal traditions incorporating departed loved ones on the holidays, such as the Ukrainian tradition of setting a place at the holiday table for deceased family.

And, there are even some other reasons why Christmas time seems to be QUITE haunted.  When we look at the past, there are a lot of tragedies associated with winter.  In a time before modern medicine, it wasn't unheard of to die of the common cold or flu...often in the winter months.  This was also a time of many accidents as candles and fireplaces were instrumented to a much greater degree to light the long nights and warm the cold.  Accidents involving icy roads and runaway oxen carts were also quite common!

So, this Christmas, after the obligatory reading of the Night Before Christmas, nestle by the fire and regale friends and family with your OWN personal ghost stories, or pick a volume of ghost tales from any of the numerous books at your local library or bookstore.  Keep your camera handy, too, but if you can't wait until Christmas Day for a little paranormal fun, we have an alternative for those of you living in the tri-state area!

2018 Update: There will be no Christmas Tours this year.  Sorry!

As the Christmas season is upon us, HPIR's Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours is offering a unique experience for our tour guests!  Tomorrow, December 15th, we will be conducting our first ever Victorian Christmas Ghost Tours of the sleepy little hamlet of Guyandotte, WV.  Please join us as we share with you the history and the haunts of some of the many Victorian era homes, some undoubtedy decorated festivally and beautifully for the season!

This is a one-day only event, and tours will meet in front of the historic Buffington House on Main Street.  Our first tour leaves at 5pm, but with limited space available, you may pick up your tickets and designate a preferred time slot as early as 4pm.  A wonderful spread of refreshments will be available FREE for all tour patrons.

As this IS the holiday season, we at HPIR and Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours would like to give back to our community.  For that reason, we are asking for tour patrons to make a donation of either 2 non-perishable food items OR $1 per guest.  100% of donations will go to area charities to help ensure everyone in the Huntington area is taken care of this winter.  We would love for you to join us in this very special walking tour, which lasts a little under an hour and a half.  Please dress warmly and feel free to bring your camera!  Flashlights are also highly recommended and our website, listed below, will have all the information you need!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Review for Night Stalks the Mansion

Every once in awhile, I'll stumble onto a book that leaves me so captivated that I can't put it down until every last word has been read.  That's what happened recently when I picked up a Kindle copy of the classic, Night Stalks the Mansion.

Written by Constance Westbie with Harold Cameron, the book tells the two-year saga of the Cameron Family's life in a haunted house.  The story is from the 1950s and chronicles how the Camerons and their five children, under the stress of living out of a hotel due to a post-war housing shortage and job transfer, fell under an air-tight lease to a house that DID prove too good to be true.  Even before the family moved in, weird footsteps were heard.

Not being able to break the lease, the Camerons resolved to learn to live with their ghostly inhabitants, and even come to think of them almost fondly.  Two ghosts appeared to make their presences known in the house, the first being a distinguished lady who frequented the home's library, but whose footsteps could be heard leaving that room and ascending the stairs to the third floor.  The second ghost was of a male, whose footsteps were heard walking along the gravel drive.

Over the course of their stay in the home, the pieces fall into place about who these ghostly visitors may be.  An elderly man, once a slave who worked the original mansion, filled in the missing pieces, but paid a dear price for it. 

This book really reads more like a novel...and a detective novel at that.  On one hand, its hard to believe that the history of the house learned from the elderly man fit so perfectly...and in such a great time frame, lol.  You know that time is coming, and its so vindictive when it does and everything finally makes sense.  On the other hand, the story is TOTALLY believable.  The activity, while disconcerting to those not used to it, is fairly mild and for the most part is characteristic of most hauntings we deal with.  The family comes together to learn to live with their ghosts, giving them the same respect as they would living inhabitants.  Its really quite touching, and a great read for anyone who has recently found his or herself in a similar situation.

Originally published in the 70s, this book made a comeback around 2005 when a grand-nephew of Mr. Harold Cameron discovered that his family history would make for an awesome movie.  That movie was put on hold, but a FaceBook page recently created for it states that its back on track, and just released a video game!

Today, the home in a Pennsylvania suburb is caught fire and was torn down in the late 1980s.  Another home was built atop the site and incorporated into a new housing development.  According to sources, neither the new home, nor the surrounding homes, are reported as haunted.

That doesn't stop the interest in the former Edwards home, though!  I don't want to give any details away for those wishing to pick up a copy of this book for themselves, but a local group has delved into the history of this location and has discovered that although its no stranger to tragedy, the history of the mansion as recorded in official documentation doesn't quite match up with the legends and the claims laid out in the book.  Please see their link below for what is now known as the Heilbron Mansion.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is experiencing the ups and downs of living in a haunted home.  I would also recommend it to anyone wanting a quick, spooky-but-not-horrifying tale of what its like to have to share your space with a roommate...a roommate from another time and place!

Heilbron Mansion
Amazon Purchase Info

Brian, the Aftermath

Apparently Rhode Island doesn't have the same mental hygiene laws that West Virginia does!

After posting what is being described as a suicide note/goodbye letter to his wife and daughters on FaceBook Sunday night, the former TAPS member and star of Ghost Hunters went missing...sparking a manhunt that not only involved family and friends, but local law enforcement and ghost hunters/paranormal enthusiasts over the country.

Luckily, Brian was found safe and sound Monday evening, and the Twitter Tweets from wife, Michelle, along with Chip Coffey and Jason Hawes all reported that he was on his way to receive treatment.  Yesterday, Brian was apparently released from a local medical facility, and put back on his medication for bipolar disorder.  Here, in his own words, as posted on his FB account is a letter to his fans, family and friends:

"Ok everyone, I am safe. I wanted to thank everyone that was concerned for me. I am sorry I posted it here on Facebook, but I was so out of it, I didn't know what to do or where to go. I know I still have tons of friends out there, and couldn't realize it at the time. I should have never done this, but no it was not a hoax. I was serious at the time. Please do not bash Michelle: She is the mother of my children and I am still very much in love with her and always will be even though I ruined that relationship. This was my fault I was in this situation and didn't know what to do. Thank you to all my friends that posted on here and web wide looking for me, and to all my personal friends, I will be calling you tomorrow or the next day to talk to you all. Michelle, I will be calling you tomorrow. I miss you!! I am out of the hospital and back on my medications that I needed for my bi-polar condition. As for all the assholes that bashed me, YOU DON"T KNOW ME, OR MY SITUATION. There is always more than one side of the story. REMEMBER THAT!!! Again thank you and I was deeply touched by everyone who searched, posted, and hunted for me. Especially a certain couple of people who I never thought would look for me. Eric Cadorette you have no clue what you did for me today. Best bros forever man!! (sounds corny, but I don't give a shit!! "

Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State continues to wish Brian the best.  As someone personally dealing with a bipolar diagnosis myself, I understand to agree how hopeless things can feel...and how important it is to stay on prescribed medications despite periods of feeling like nothing is wrong.  However, I can't help but feel a LITTLE angry at the situation.  Police resources were called upon, that perhaps could have been better spent elsewhere and a person who is obviously in need of help was only held for less than 48 hours.  So many people came together to share information and spread prayers and well-wishes that it makes me feel that if we as a paranormal community could come together over other issues, there isn't anything we can't accomplish! 

Addendum, because some people are CLEARLY missing the message of this post:

In no way, shape or form, have I ever intended, or blatantly said, that I think it was a waste of time for people to look for this individual and to make sure he gets the help he needs.  The only thing I said was that perhaps police resources could possibly have been put to better use--and I say that because I know that if it were me personally, I would feel terrible knowing that my actions had caused precious time away from helping someone who was in a worse situation than myself.  I don't pretend to know this individual personally, and I sure as heck cannot begin to fully understand his actions and the issues behind them. 

I wish him nothing but the best, but I am disappointed overall with how the situation was handled.  I don't truly think all was done in the aftermath to ensure that he WILL receive the medical and psychiatric support needed to combat this type of diagnosis, but hopefully the outpouring of love and concern by those who have never met him will help show him that there are people who care and who will be there during the darkest times.

I also think its perfectly healthy from a psychological standpoint to be angry when someone engages in this type of behavior.  Survivors of loved ones lost to suicide always go through an angry phase, as this act is seen as selfish.  Fortunately, most realize that people who make claims like Brian did, or who actually go through with self-harming acts are NOT in their right minds and that there is no selfish intent.  However, speaking from personal experience, I do know its also selfish to go off medications or deny myself treatment when its needed....I have lived this personally, so those out there judging me but worshipping Brian like an idol are a bunch of hypocrites.  This is very common with bipolar...feeling like you're fine, you don't need meds, then bam.  I can only hope that this experience is enough of an eye opener for Brian to recognize this as well and take more responsibility in monitoring his situation.  Again, this is all going on what he himself has publicly said.

Please, if you don't agree with me, at least be intelligent enough to READ and comprehend before telling me what a terrible person I am. 

Once again, if you are feeling like you need help, or just someone to talk to:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Original Article

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Gangnam Style Apocalypse!

(I was going to wait to post this until Friday, since it IS a Friday Night Funny, but I didn't want to deny you readers this little gem any longer!)

The second I heard and saw "Gangnam Style" for the first time, I knew we as a nation were headed for the end.  Of course, at the time, I was envisioning a more slow and steady decline, such as that seen in one of my favorite movies, Idiocracy.

Then, I started seeing this wonderful little graphic being passed around on the web, and a little piece of me died a silent death, lol.  It appears that a Nostradamus prophecy can be interpreted as predicting a correlation with Psy's successful dance craze and catchy tune and the end of the world, estimated to coincide with the 2012 Mayan prophecy!

I apologize for the lack of a decent picture, but if you can't read the text, it goes as follows:

"From the calm morning, the end will come
When of the dancing horse
the number of circles will be 9" 
Nostradamus, 1503

"Experts" claim that this prophecy means that when the number of views of the video (on YouTube, lol) reaches 1,000,000,000 (9 zeros or circles) the end of the world will occur.  The number of 800,000,000+ was quoted when the poster was made in early December, leading many to believe that the magic number will likely be achieved around December 21, 2012, the date when the Mayan Calendar is said to come to an end.  The "calm morning," is undoubtedly to many, a code for Korea, a land nicknamed the Calm Morning Country or land of the Calm Morning.  I looked up that last fact on Google to verify, lol.

What is even more horrifying is recent chatter of Psy's former anti-American statements and the petitions to block his presidential performance.  And yes, I realize that this is completely ridiculous, so that is why I'm including it in my Friday Night Funnies section of my blog.  However, if you'd like to read about ANOTHER Nostradum End Times prophecy, which can only be found at Theresa's Haunted History, click the link below!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Brian Harnois, Missing after Alleged Suicide Note Found

Once again, the paranormal community has come together in a display of love and support for one of our own.  This morning, it was reported that Brian Harnois, formerly of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International, left what is being described as a suicide/goodbye note on his FaceBook.  The note, which appears to be no longer available for viewing reads as follows, according to sources on the TAPS18+ message board and the Who Forted Blog:

I wanted to write this note to say goodbye to a certain few that need to know what happened to me. I have fucked up my life again to the point of no return this time. I am homeless, jobless, and pennyless. I have 2 wonderful daughters who deserve a lot better than what I can give them, and deserve better in life than what I would ever be able to give them. I love them both very much and this goes out ot them the most. I am sorry daddy is such an extreme fuckup. I could never get my crap together and you both deserve better then this. I love you both very much and will always be there to see your acomplishments in life. Because I know you will both do amazing things. You both will probably never know the amount of love I have for you two and that is my fault. I have been an extreme mess for almost all of my 36 years on this earth and enough is enough. I have lied, stolen, and done some other really bad things, but the one thing I can say I did right was bringing you two into the world. I love you both babies and will miss you SO MUCH!!! I have not seen or talked to you both in over a week and it has killed me more and more every day. I am in a deep depression and know I will not come out of it. As for you Michelle, I know now more than ever that I was in the wrong for 90 percent of the 7 years you have known me. I don’t know if you will ever read this, but if someone could pass this on to her it would be great. I can’t call you because I am to afraid of what might be said as I know I can never have you back. You were my one true love. I realize that now more then ever. You were my soul mate and someone that I could have lived with forever. ANd to know I messed that up is to much for me to bare anymore. You were my world, and I shit all over you. I know it was wierd the way we met but I think it was fate that we did. I am SO SORRY that I messed things up like I did. Please forgive me one day. I wanted to give so much to you but in the end I couldn’t even scrape two pennies together for you and that was the last straw. I love you Michelle, and I always will. Goodbye my love and goodbye my 2 darling babies. I will miss all 3 of you!!

Since that message, Brian has been missing and it is rumored that there have been in the past few weeks some nasty messages from his ex-wife concerning issues of non-payment of child support and missing a birthday party.  No one has had contact with him in several days and his cell phone is turned off.  Friends and family, including Grant Wilson, former TAPS/Ghost Hunters colleague, have been searching.  Local law enforcement is also involved in the search, as Brian is now listed as an Endagered Missing Person.  Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Warwick, RI police department at (401) 468-4200.  Please spread the word.

I personally have never been a fan of Brian's work in the paranormal field, but its tragic that anyone, in the field or not, would feel like this was the only way out.  Please keep Brian and his family and friends in your thoughts tonight, and pray for a happy ending.  He has two young daughters who need him.  I will update if any there is any new news.

And if you're finding yourself feeling desperate and alone, please remember that there is always someone willing to listen:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Update:  Wife, Michelle, has confirmed the disappearance.  This article sheds a little more light on recent interactions between the two concerning the messages I posted about earlier:

Update 2:  Jason Hawes just tweeted that Brian has been found, safe and sound!  This development came around 11am Monday, when Michelle, Chip Coffey, and Jason all started tweeting around the same time that he had been found and was on his way to receive psychiatric treatment.  No further details are available at this time.  Thank goodness that this didn't end as badly as it could have!

Update 3:  I've posted a follow-up article containing Brian's own words on the situation. 
Brian, the Aftermath

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Vermont's Haunted Follett House

I'm feeling inspired; inspired to finally get some more work done on Volume I of my Haunted America series!  That inspiration brings you the tale of the beautiful, yet tragic Follett House of Burlington, Vermont.

This massive Greek Revival structure was built around 1840 as the private residence of prominent citizen, Timothy Follett.  Follett, who among other things, was a New England shipping tycoon, judge and lawyer, commissioned the work of famous architect Ammi B. Young to design the home.  In 1845, Follett was named the first president of the Burlington and Rutland railroad, and for the next few years, his palatial home became not only a showpiece, but a hub of socialite activity.

Unfortunately, Follett's success would soon come to an end.  In 1853, after going bust, he was forced to turn ownership of his beloved home over to rival, Henry Campbell, of the Vermont Central Railroad.  Follett would not only lose his fortune, but his health and mind as well, dying in a sanitarium in 1857.

For several years, the home remained as a private residence for several different families before being turned over for mission work in 1892.  From there, it served a wide array of purposes, including ownership by the Knights of Columbus and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  In 1978, the Pomerleau Agency, a real estate development company, took ownership of the badly dilapidated structure and began a restoration project that would bring it back to its former glory.  The home now serves as a real estate office for the company.

It also seems that Timothy Follett has decided to take back the home that was rightfully his.  His spirit is attributed with the disappearance of objects off workers' desks that are found months later in odd and random places.  He's also attributed with messing with the lights in the evening.

The home is featured on Thea Lewis' Queen City Ghost Walk, and has been investigated by Lewis and the Vermont Spirits Detective Agency.  While finding no hard evidence of ghosts there, aside from a possible disembodied voice of a woman singing, many still eagerly attend these tours, hoping to catch a glimpse of Timothy Follett, still watching over his most prized possession.

More history and interior photos of the Follett House

Weekly Review

Greetings lovers of all things ghostly!  As of this writing, it is officially Sunday morning, bringing another week to a close here at Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State.  I'm working on some really fun and interesting blogs for you for the coming week, but I wanted to try a little something different this morning...

Over the past year, Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State has taken on a pretty diverse readership, thanks to expanding outside of just tri-state area haunts.  I'm proud to announce that not only is this blog a premier source of information for haunted history of WV and the surrounding states, but also offers articles on a variety of subjects, book reviews, and even popular ghost photos!  Because of this diversity, people of all interests seem to stumble upon this blog. 

As regular readers, I thought you might be wondering....just what are people looking for?  Using my statistics tools, available free with this blog, I'm listing the TOP FIVE blog posts for the week, in terms of unique pageviews.  Have YOU read these entries yet?

1. The top spot goes to Thornewood Castle, the REAL Rose Red House with 195 views this week alone.  This popular haunted location in Washington State is consistently one of the most viewed submissions on this site, and I contribute it to several things...People LOVE Stephen King, and people LOVE a good controversy, lol.  I wrote about this location several years ago on my first attempt at Theresa's Haunted History because I was such a fan of the Stephen King miniseries, Rose Red, and I also wanted to incorporate a Haunted America category into my writing.  People are STILL finding this blog, looking for questions about whether the movie was based on real people and events.  My answer sometimes disappoints...

2. Coming in at number two is another fan favorite, The Amityville Demon Boy Photo.  Uncovering new evidence about an iconic photo from an iconic case by iconic investigators (Ed and Lorraine Warren) was one of the best things I could have done for blog traffic, lol.  See what all the fuss is about, along with the 181 other viewers this week!

3. I'm proud to say that spots 3-5 actually get back to what this blog is really all about--WV ghosts and folklore.  The number three spot actually belongs to a piece that I wrote covering a quick menagerie of haunted locations around the WVU campus.  40 people this week have been wondering just what goes bump in the night at those hallowed halls.

4. Next, the Ghostly Duo of Sharkey's Fins Cafe has received 33 viewers since it was posted a few days ago.  HPIR just recently did an investigation of this location, so check out my impressions, as well as some of the history of this unique location in Huntington, WV!

5. Close behind Sharkey's with 30 unique pageviews is one of my favorite tales from the WV ghostlore collection---Ikie's Tomb.  If you haven't read this blog yet, you HAVE to go see what locals are saying about this haunted burial place for a young boy.

And there you have it!  The top five most viewed blogs for the week of December 2-9.  What was YOUR favorite blog post this week?

Also...I want to hear from you, readers!  Would you like to see monthly updates of the most viewed blogs?  Weekly updates?  Or should I completely abandoned these types of blog posts?  Let me know what YOU want to see and read at Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State!  Feel free to comment below, or follow me on FaceBook to voice your opinion, see updates to this blog, and catch the latest paranormal news and tri-state events!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Ghostly Duo of Sharkey's Fins Cafe

Vicker's Apartment Building seen to the right of the large white building

There's always a certain excitement when I get to add a new haunted location for Huntington!  This location is no exception, especially since it is one that HPIR got to investigate in a rare Sunday evening investigation late in November.

We were called in to this popular night spot after multiple witnesses had experienced different types of paranormal activity at the bar.  Reports range from a shadowy figure being seen darting about, an upstairs door that refused to stay shut on its own, and even poltergeist-like activity---one employee had straws thrown at her while working at the bar, and another had something smack him on the head while upstairs.

From talking to the clients that met us onsite, it does appear that there's a very good possibility, as they believe, that there are two separate entities who make their presence known.  One entity is believed to be almost a "pervy" sort of prankster, who enjoys giving the ladies' an occasional smack on the rear.  This prankster is believed to be connected with a tragic event that occurred in recent years, tied with the bar.  While "fresh," this entity is usually seen as kind of playful, and fairly harmless.

It is the black, shadowy entity that tends to give off a more negative vibe, and we believe that it may be more connected with the history of the building, although at this point, there is nothing obvious that is popping up, giving a clue as to WHO this entity might be.  However, from what we do know of the history, there are plenty of possibilities!

The building itself actually encompasses three different addresses:  410, 412, and 414 10th St.  Sharkey's currently occupies addresses 410 and 414, while 412 in the middle is a staircase that leads to an upstairs apartment complex, known as Vicker's Apartments.  The building, collectively known as the Vicker's Apartment Building, was built by a prominent WV architect, Levi Dean, who was known for many, many beautiful churches, hospitals, government buildings, schools, etc. around Huntington and throughout the state.  The first mention of the Vicker's Apartments available to us at this time is in the 1916 Polk City Directory.  412 is listed for the apartments, while 410 and 414 are listed as vacant.  However, it is possible that the building is slightly older...

The more visible J.W. Valentine building, which would later become the Day and Night Bank, sits just to the 4th Avenue side of the building.  It was constructed by architect Sidney Logan Day in 1908, with an addition in 1910, meaning that this apartment complex could have been built shortly thereafter.  Afterall, Levi Dean came to Huntington around 1904, which would put him at the right time period.

In any event, 412 would remain the Vicker's Apartments, even up through today, but the businesses that occupied the first floor were extremely varied.  By 1917, the left side of the building was occupied by a piano store, Steinway and Sons, with Thomas Newberne as the manager, while the other side was a ladies' clothing store, named Woman's Exchange.  By 1920, the New System Bakery was on the left, while the ladies' clothing store had a name change, and was now known as Eva E. Suiter Company.  In 1924, the bakery was replaced by Kearney-Weiler Sporting Goods.

In 1930, the sports store was still in operation, but the 414 address belonged to the Medical Arts Pharmacy and Supply, under the management of Harry Carnahan.  There is a gap in records until 1936, but we know by that year, the medical supply store had expanded, now occupying the entire bottom floor (410/414).

The medical supply store stayed at this location until 1945, when it was replaced by Dunfee Boot Shop, under Chester H. Dunfee.  Dunfee's had a 30 year run at this location, before the bottom level became vacant in 1974.  It stayed vacant until 1976, when the short-lived Elbow Room Club would spend two years, before finally becoming Verb's Tenth Inning Restaurant in 1978.

In 1983, the entire building, apartments included, was listed as vacant, with a brief period in 1987 when the apartments only were occupied.  This streak was broken in 1990 when Tom Cyrus and Rebecca Richardson opened up the Academy of Ballroom Dance.  In 1993, the building was once again vacant, but would return in 1994 as Sharkey's!

I would have never guessed that this little brick building would hold as much history as it does, and I've been methodically examining those who have lived in the apartments, and who owned/managed businesses downstairs for anyone who could be a candidate for the ghost!  Unfortunately (for our purposes), most lived normal, everyday lives and died normal, everyday deaths, so we're hoping when we get our audio, etc. fully analyzed, that there might contain some clue to lead us in the right direction.

Also unfortunately for us, it doesn't seem like the ghosts really wanted to come out to play while we were there.  Aside from a member seeing a shadowy form in front of her and some strange Ovilus hits, not many personal experiences were recorded.  We were told that the ideal time to witness the paranormal activity was when the bar was closed and when no one was supposed to be there...making our investigation time right on target.  But, it seems that the spirits of Sharkey's share a familiarity with those who know share their space on an everyday basis, making the only spirits available to the casual observer the ones in bottle form!

HPIR Investigation of Sharkey's (Check back for updates!)
List of Levi J. Dean projects

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rotary Park--Haunted or Not?

I'm always looking for new haunted locations to include here at Theresa's Haunted History, but also for HPIR investigations, and I've been reading up on good ways to find non-reported or under-reported locations that have a lot of potential.  After coming across a story about a brutal murder that happened in the park in the 1950s, I decided that this place was definitely worth looking least from a historical viewpoint!

Rotary Park first opened in 1921 when the City Civic Community, spearheaded by the local Rotary and Kiwanis clubs pushed for a public park project in Huntington.  Public parks were viewed as an asset to public social and physical health, so together, these organizations raised money to buy up land for use in the project.  Over 60 acres were purchased from John Hite, and would become the basis of Rotary Park, located just off Rt. 60 today.

When it opened, the park was nothing like it is today.  The site, chosen for its outstanding panoramic views, was not accessible by automobile traffic.  Rather, it was a place for hiking and rustic outdoors activities.  In 1925, the park expanded its acreage and control was given over to the Huntington Board of Park Commissioners (an organization which later became the Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation District.

It wasn't until 1929 when the park became more accessible to the citizens of Huntington.  Roads were built throughout the park, including a historic stone bridge, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Picnic areas were also built, making the park more open to the everyday citizen...but still offered a secluded, wooded natural sanctuary.

However, that same seclusion would be used for nefarious purposes as well as tranquil ones.  In particular, one of Huntington's most brutal murders took place in the park on January 4, 1958.  Mrs. Inez Booth was at home reading one evening, waiting for her husband, Melvin, to return from his Guyandotte grocery store business.   Mrs. Booth was forced at knife point from her Collis Avenue home, into a car, and driven to an especially secluded area of the park where she was raped and stabbed, suffering a slit throat, abdomen, and leg.

Mrs. Booth did not die right away.  In temperatures reaching lows of around 7 degrees, she laid in a pool of her own blood down in an embankment where she was thrown and left for dead.  With her last remaining strength, she managed to crawl towards a residence on Glendale Avenue, one of the housing developments located below the park.  It was in the Withrow's backyard that a police officer found her around 11:30.  She was taken to St. Mary's Hospital, where she died that morning at 2:30am.  She was 51 years old.

Before Mrs.  Booth passed away, she was able to name her attacker, 25 year old Larry Paul Fudge.  Fudge was a family friend who had grown up with the Booth family's children.  Fudge, a former honor student at Huntington East High School, had just recently visited the family's home and it was even a known fact that Melvin Booth had signed a bond agreement for Fudge for an incident 5 years earlier, where Booth was convicted of extortion of a 17 year old girl.

Fudge was arrested for the murder of Mrs. Booth less than an hour after she was found.  He was picked up at his parents' home in Altizer and confessed to the crime.  After a short trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to the death penalty.  On Tuesday, July 1, 1958 at 9pm, Fudge met his end at the WV State Penitentiary in the arms of Ol' Sparky.  He was the first man from Cabell County to be sentenced to electrocution.  His remains were brought home, and he was buried in Barboursville's Ridgelawn Memorial Park.

Today, that same tranquil seclusion of the park that is enjoyed by so many nature lovers is still one of its most dangerous aspects.  Despite the addition of modern baseball fields, and a top-notch disc golf course, much of the park is still wooded, and its developed quite a seedy reputation.  It is known locally as an excellent place (all times, day AND night) to go "cruising."  Drug deals and thefts are also fairly common.  Because of all the criminal and adult activity, as intrigued as I am about investigating this location, it doesn't seem to be a good idea, lol.

I do urge, however, that anyone who DOES wish to check out claims of paranormal activity take precautions.  Do not go alone, let someone know where you'll be and when you'll be back, and consider a daytime only investigation of the better trafficked areas, keeping a cell phone handy.

I'd also love to know if anyone has heard any actual stories of this location being haunted, or if anyone has had any paranormal experiences here.  If you have any information, please email me at or leave a comment below.  Thanks!

Links of Interest:

Historic Bridge National Register application
Death Certificate for Inez Booth
Death Certificate for Larry Fudge
Article on the murder of Inez Booth

Feel free to email me for more information on this location!  I've got a ton more that just doesn't "fit" with the blog, lol.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

EVP Tips and Tricks

With a new year fast approaching, I've been trying to gain a better understanding of my readership, and what kind of things YOU want to read at Theresa's Haunted History!  Since there are a lot of investigators, plus a lot of people INTERESTED in paranormal investigation that visit, I'd like to start sprinkling in more investigation information, starting with the basics and working my way up.

To get started, I'd like to share some tried and true tips and tricks for getting the most out of your EVP sessions!

EVP stands for electronic voice phenomena, and refers to the act of capturing voices on a voice recorder that aren't heard with the human ear at the time  (if the voice is heard aloud, whether or not its captured on a recorder, we call it a disembodied voice).  There are many, many theories as to how and why this is possible.  There are an equal number of theories as to what the best type of recorder to use is---digital or analog, followed by what make and model.  This information will be discussed in a later blog, but for now, I've compiled a baker's dozen +2, of my most useful tips and tricks when it comes to capturing and analyzing EVPs! 

1. Choose a "type" of EVP session.  There are three major subcategories when it comes to types of EVP sessions, and each one can be utilized to some extent, based on your needs and projected goals.  The first is simply a Passive EVP session.  In passive sessions, the recorder is simply left to run, usually in an empty, yet controlled, room.  You don't actually ASK any questions, but rather, leave the recorder to simply run and see what it picks up.  This type is usually reserved for people wanting to find out what goes on in a room when no one is there, making any sounds heard (given they are paranormal and not of a natural explanation) residual in nature.  This is also an ideal strategy for those who believe that actively asking an entity questions gives them the go-ahead to make contact with YOU, even at times and locations outside of the EVP session.  If your recorder has a function that allows it to only record when a voice/noise is picked up (voice activation), experiment with it on that setting so that you're not having to listen to hours and hours of nothing.

Obviously, the next type of session is the Active session, where the investigator actively asks questions of the suspected entity, hoping for a response.  The bulk of tips following will concentrate on the ACTIVE session.  Lastly, I simply have a category called "other."  This last category is simply letting the recorder run while you're talking, taking a break, interviewing a client, or setting up/breaking down.  Having a recorder running during an interview is a great way to go back and double check information that you might have missed in your notes.  It has an added benefit, because sometimes an entity likes to chime in when certain subjects are being discussed...namely, themselves, lol.  That's also why we like to run the recorder while we're just chatting--you never know when an entity will want to make itself heard, and many of our very best EVPs were captured under these circumstances.

2. Once you decide what type of session you'll be performing, you'll want to find a place to do it.  Wherever you choose to do the session, make sure you are on camera at all times!  I cannot stress how important it is for everyone involved in the session to have his/her face fully on camera at all times.  This cuts down on a huge false positive of an investigator making a noise and not remembering it later on.  You can also tell if the investigators present seem to react to overly loud noises or not, ruling out natural causes. This simple step does huge things to improve your integrity in a field where so little is constant.

3. I always find it polite to introduce myself to any entities that may be present.  Let them know who you are, and why you're here...and how your equipment will let them communicate with you. 

4. When doing an EVP, my main goal is to find out who the entity is, even if we already have a suspect, why they are still here, and if there is anything we can do to help them.  However, to add integrity and have a possible chance at historic documentation, we do need to find out WHO the entity is, and the best way to do so is to ask a variety of questions in a variety of ways.  Redunancy is key--ask for name, surname, family members, birthdate, current president, occupation, etc.  Be creative.

5. Along those same lines, tailor questions to fit your suspected entity.  Even if you just have a time period in mind, you can really tailor questions that would be appropriate of that era to maximize your results.  We do a lot of Civil War era buildings, so we like to ask about "current events" from that time period, and discuss what side that person supported.  In addition, watch your tone of voice depending on who you suspect the entity to be.  For example, you'd not only ask different questions, but you'd talk in a completely different tone and vocabulary to a child than you would a general.  It also doesn't hurt to pick up a few key phrases in different languages that are, or were at one time, prevalent in your area of investigation.

6. I strongly encourage anyone new to this field to NEVER provoke an entity, or challenge it...and even to the veterans, use only with extreme caution and with full understanding and permission from the property owner.  Provoking is often extremely rude, and not necessary to elicit a response.  In extreme cases, it can be dangerous.  An irate entity may make its feelings known to you, but more than likely, it'll wait until you're gone, and take it out on the owner or occupant.  The misuse or overuse of provoking is unprofessional and makes this field look bad.

7. Allow ample time in between your questions.  When I first started investigating, the recommended allotted time between EVP questions was 30 seconds.  I've always found this to be overly tedious and not neccessary.  About 5-10 seconds is ample, as most true EVPs are only a word or two long.

8. Don't forget your voice tags!  If you hear a dog bark, say "dog barking" aloud, and also write it down!  Any noise you hear, make sure to note it so that there's no confusion later.  Coughing, whispering, sneezing, tummy noises, outdoor traffic, animal noises, etc. can sound grossly different through a recorder's microphone, so make note of it and you won't be confused.  Further, make sure you speak in a loud, clear voice and never whisper...whispering sounds too ambiguous on a recorder and may be mistaken as an EVP.

9. When starting the analysis phase, don't get burned out.  Get a good set of headphones, and only listen to your recordings in chunks.  You shouldn't listen for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.  Take a short break, then listen to another chunk.  This cuts down on aural fatigue, which can lead to hearing things that aren't there.

10. ALWAYS save a copy of the ORIGINAL that hasn't been amplified or altered in any way. 

11. Don't over analyze.  If you do too much to "clean up" and amplify a recording, you're opening yourself up to audio-pareidolia.  If you can't understand what the EVP says without anything but some minimal work, then there's a good chance its not a true EVP.   Save it for research purposes, but don't get upset when others question its integrity.  And as an added bonus, since you don't really need to do too much to an EVP, you're not going to need expensive software starting out.  Audacity and other such free programs do a great job for beginning EVP work.

12. When letting others hear a possible EVP for the first time, don't tell them what YOU hear.  Let them decide first, then discuss, else you run the risk of false positives caused by the power of suggestion.  Along the lines of this step, you might want to have a full understanding of the ABC class system used to denote the clarity of EVP recordings.  I'll add a link below for more information.

13. Listen for "pop-clicks." EVP research has shown that many true EVPs will follow a noise that sounds like a pop or a click.  It is theorized that this noise is the entity breaking the sound barrier into our dimension.  If you hear a pop or a click, take a closer look at the segement immediately following.

14. While conducting an EVP session, don't be afraid to use other pieces of equipment, such as a Mel Meter, K-II, thermometer, or other type of EMF meter.  By sync'ing audio with your video that you have running, you can tell if any EVP is accompanied by a change in temperature, EMF, etc.  One piece of evidence is great, but having a back-up, supporting event is even better!  Similarly, many people like to have more than one voice recorder running in the same area.  Some models just pick up different frequencies better, and by some theories, an entity may simply choose a recorder to "imprint" a voice on, so its interesting to compare results.

15. And last but not least...don't try this at home!  I always advise people to never conduct EVP sessions at their own homes, whether or not they think they have paranormal activity or not...if you do think you have activity, keep a journal and call in a reputable team.

There are several reasons why I never recommend someone doing this in their own home.  For starters, it causes unneccessary fear.  Most are just not emotionally ready to handle hearing an ethereal voice in their home.  To some, this may even be unfounded, if a layperson misinterprets a non-EVP as an EVP.  Further, I have seen people actually get addicted to EVP work.  If they aren't analyzing EVP, they're running recorders, 24/7 until it becomes unhealthy and life-consuming.  Associating this activity with something that can be done at home just leads one more quickly to this downward don't do it!

This entry is much longer than I intended it to be, so I'm gonna stop there, but please check out the links below, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let me know!  I will be addressing further EVP issues in the future, so if you have a recommendation, I'd love to hear it!  Take care, and happy hunting!

HPIR's Best EVPs

EVP ABC Classification System

Association TransCommunication ( formerly AA-EVP)