Friday, December 20, 2013

Jumpin' Gene Simmons: Haunted House

Happy Friday!  Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far and to celebrate that joy that this time of year brings, I wanted to share with you a long overdue Friday Night Funny.  But, instead of taking inspiration from one of the many winter holidays and traditions, I thought I'd kick back with a Halloween favorite!  

The catchy lil' tune heard below is Haunted House.  Released in 1964, this particular version was made famous by Jumpin' Gene Simmons.  According to Simmons' 2006 obituary:    

"Simmons had learned Haunted House from another Memphis musician, Domingo Samudio, who had an international hit as Sam the Sham & he Pharoahs with Wooly Bully in 1965.  Haunted House fitted an early 1960s fashion for monster songs, such as Monster Mash, and reached the Top 20 in August 1964.  But Simmons failed to find another song with as much novelty appeal and it remained a one-hit wonder.  Several years later, the record inspired Gene Klein to choose Simmons as his stage name in glitter-rock band Kiss, though this compliment was a mixed blessing as Kiss's subsequent notoriety frequently led to Jumpin' Gene Simmons being described as "not the Kiss one.""

I wanted to share this particular song because not only is it really cute and pretty amusing, it actually shares a very important message...a message that as a paranormal investigator, I try to instill into my clients.  That message is basically to not be afraid; don't let your paranormal problems take over your life or make you think you have to leave your own home.  This realm is for the living, and sometimes it takes a little extra determination and empowerment to coexist peacefully, lol.  Take a stand and don't let anyone, dead or alive, bully you out of what is rightfully yours.  Although...if someone appears in your kitchen and eats your raw meat out of your hand, I would completely understand wanting to leave, hehehe.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Mystery of Ol' Thump...Solved?

R.D. Bailey Dam

For generations, residents along the Guyandotte River in Codger Town heard the sounds of a phantom horse and buggy.  Did workers building the R.D. Bailey Dam in 1967 finally solved the mystery, nicknamed Ol' Thump, once and for all?

At the turn of the century, a young boy from the small Mingo County community of Codger Town (near Justice) was out playing by the Guyandotte River when he heard the most peculiar sound.  O.M. Perry heard the distinct sounds of what he could only describe as a horse-drawn wagon, making its way up towards the bridge over the river, near where he was.  He moved out of the way and waited for the wagon to pass...but it never did.  At least, it never VISUALLY passed the dumbfounded youth.  Instead, Perry claimed to hear the wagon roll past him, and the sounds disappeared mid-river as the phantom horses and their load crossed a small bridge.

It was quickly theorized by residents that these ghostly sounds, which were dubbed "Ol' Thump," must have been the result of an early pioneer family who was either killed by Indians, or who died when they tried to ford the river with their wagon.  No one was REALLY sure, however, what was causing the strange sounds, but witnesses kept coming forth with identical tales.

One of these witnesses was none other than Perry's own son, Michael!  In 1956, Michael was playing at a neighbor's house.  This neighbor lived along the river and while the boys were out in between the house and the bridge, they heard the unmistakable sounds of Ol' Thump.  Just as his father had witnessed when he himself was a boy, Michael too witnessed the sounds of a horse-drawn carriage disappear.  Thinking it was a certain neighbor in his truck, the boys waited for the man to appear, but never did.  What they did experience was the sounds suddenly stop in the vicinity of the middle of the river.

Ol' Thump continued to make "appearances" well into the 1960s and there are many old-timers still in the area who are willing to share their own experiences with the phantom horse-drawn wagon.  However, the year 1967 saw the decline of the Ol' Thump legend...and many believe that a scientific explanation has finally been put forth to dispel the ghostly goings-on once and for all.

In June of that year, construction began on the R.D. Bailey Dam.  Originally named Justice Dam, but later changed in honor of a Wyoming County judge and state senator, R.D. Bailey Dam wasn't completed until 1980.  However, workers for the Army Corps of Engineers soon found out early on in the construction that there was a prehistoric underground river flowing directly below the riverbed of the Guyandotte River in the area!  It is now widely accepted that Ol' Thump was actually the result of rocks and debris moving and shifting below the Guyandotte River, causing an auditory illusion of a phantom wagon that disappeared in the middle of the river.

Today, the area which was once the community of Codger Town is part of the R.D. Bailey Lake Wildlife Management Area.  Encounters with Ol' Thump have nearly come to a complete halt, but if you're in the area, keep your ears never know what you're gonna hear!

More information on this location can be found in the book, A Guide to Haunted West Virginia, by Walter Gavenda and Michael Shoemaker.

*Looking for MORE haunted locations in Mingo County?  Read about the haunted Dingess Tunnel at Theresa's Haunted History!*

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ohio's Wickerham Inn

Property of
Halfway between Peebles and Locust Grove along Rt. 41 lies Adams County's oldest brick home, the Wickerham Inn.  Not only is it the county's oldest brick house, but it very well could be its most haunted as well!

The Wickerham Inn was built by Revolutionary War veteran, Peter Wickerham.  In 1797, Wickerham left Pennsylvania and settled in Adams County, Ohio.  Noticing that the Zane's Trace road, which was the first official road into the new Northwest Territory, ran across part of his property, Adams realized he could capitalize off the influx of travelers in the area who were desperate for lodging.  He built a brick inn, and in 1801 was granted his tavern license and opened for business.

The Wickerham only operated as an inn and tavern until the early 1850s but during its tenure in this capacity, picked up a horrifying ghost legend.  According to lore, a coach driver stopped one evening at the inn.  Having a pint in the tavern before bed, it is said that the driver boasted quite loudly about a large sum of money he had on his person.  Unfortunately, his boasting was heard by someone who obviously had evil intentions...

That night, a loud noise was heard coming from the driver's second floor room, yet died down before anyone investigated.  However, the next morning, the driver failed to appear for breakfast.  A young worker at the tavern was sent to summon the man, but the youth returned shaking, unable to speak of the horrors witnessed in the bedroom.  When some of the men went upstairs to investigate, they were horrified.  The entire room was splattered with blood and gore.  The bedding was soaked, blood puddled on the floor, and the walls and furniture were smeared.  However, the body of the driver was nowhere to be found.

In an effort to cover up an incident that would obviously be bad for business, Wickerham had the bedding burned and the floor scrubbed.  Yet, a grisly reminder remained behind.  The bloody stain of a man's outline, missing its head, stayed upon the wooden floorboards, where many say it remains to this day.  Shortly thereafter, the ghost of the nameless driver also began making itself known.  People would claim to see the headless silhouette of a man standing in front of an upstairs window.  One gentleman in more recent years also claimed to see a blue light which appeared in the same window.

In any event, the tavern closed for business in the 1850s and became a private residence, still owned by the Wickerham descendants.  It was rumored to be a stop on the Underground Railroad, and if so, in a weird twist of fate served as a stop for the Confederate Army.  On July 15, 1863, Morgan's Raiders spent a night in the home before moving on. The hauntings kept coming, but no one ever found out what happened to the driver.  It wasn't until the 20th century that some light was finally shed on the mysterious ghost.

According to newspaper columnist, Stephen Kelley, a woman named Virginia Wolfe Webb and her husband had inherited the home from her Wickerham ancestors, and it was her family who made a grisly discovery in the 1920s.  In 1922, the private home was receiving some upgrades, including adding central heating.  The new furnace was to be located in the basement, but workers realized that it was a tad too tall.  To make room, several limestone slabs of the floor would be removed and an area dug out to accommodate the furnace.  When the slabs were pried away, the workers were shocked to find a complete human skeleton...well, it was ALMOST complete.  The skeleton, just like the apparition and the stain, was missing its head!  Allegedly, Virginia kept the the bones in a box under her bed until the time of her death.

Today, the home is still privately owned, but neighbors and other nearby residents still claim to have seen the headless shadowy figure, still looking out the window....and still looking for his missing head.

Article by Stephen Kelley

Arkansas' Rush-Gates House

Photo courtesy of
Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving this year!  I am grateful for all you readers...and I'm grateful that I'm ALMOST done with the first haunted road trip around the United States with Theresa's Haunted America page!  Today's blog brings us one step closer...

In 1900, Missouri native, Dr. J.O. Rush, moved to the town of Forrest City, Arkansas.  He took a job as the surgeon and doctor for the local railroad, and in 1906 built his home (which doubled as his office/local emergency room) near the tracks.  Dr. J.O. Rush was a prominent and well-known citizen, and there are numerous references to him and his work in a variety of publications of the early 20th century.  He lived and worked in the home until his death in 1961.

Following the doctor's death, his home stayed in his family line until 1995, when ownership was given to the county.  Money was raised and extensive renovations were undertaken in 1998 to turn the house into the St. Francis County History Museum.  Today, the museum is still going strong, and features a number of exhibits portraying local history.  There's even a room completely renovated to look like an exact replica of one of the doctor's operating rooms! This bears as striking coincidence with Kentucky's Bluegrass Heritage Museum; a former doctor's home/office turned local history museum complete with reconstructed medical room with a haunted reputation....

Anyway, what is interesting about the museum collection is that is largely comprised of Dr. Rush's personal collection of artifacts!  Shortly after moving to Arkansas, Rush, who was somewhat of an amateur archaeologist, began collecting locally found prehistoric relics, including fossilized mastadon bones.  His collection continued to grow as patients paid him with relics and friends and family sent back exotic specimens from world travels.  The doctor was so proud of these items that he displayed them prominently in the hospital section's waiting rooms.

With so many things going on, its anyone's guess as to the cause of the paranormal activity, but there's definitely activity to speak of!  Weird shadows and movement in the windows are reported after museum hours when no one is supposed to be in the building.  Securely shut doors open on their own, strange noises, some which sound like muttering, are heard, and objects have a bad habit of disappearing.  In fact, according to curator Shelley  Gervasi, there aren't many on the staff of the museum who HAVEN'T experienced the disappearing object phenomenon!

Whether these events are the work of those who died during the home's tenure as a hospital, the doctor himself, or even tied to the many artifacts, it does appear that the renovations to the museum definitely stirred something up.  In order to better understand the paranormal activity associated with this location, the team Paranormal Research in Unknown Phenomenon uses the facility as a training ground, and several times a year, the museum hosts an open ghost investigation event for the public.

Links of interest:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Celebrity Vampires

This past summer, I implemented the very first Theme Week here on Theresa's Haunted History:  Vampire Week!  Unfortunately, the ADD kicked in, and I never quite got around to finishing out my entries for Friday and Saturday.  I apologize...but hopefully I will be redeeming myself before the end of 2013!  My first step in that redemption is to bring you today's Friday Night Funny!

Obviously, this was meant to be posted in June as part of Vampire Week, but better late than never, right?  I sincerely hope you enjoy this compilation of Celebrity Vampires!

It all started in 2011 when the following photograph was put up for sale on eBay.  Seller Jack Mord from Seattle, an antiques dealer and collector, was offering the carte de visite style photograph for a mere price of $1 million.  The photograph was found in the back of an album filled with other Civil War era photographs and is believed to be a gentleman who lived in Bristol, Tennessee around 1870.  Although un-labeled, it is believed that the photograph was taken by a man named Professor G.B. Smith.

From Business Insider
According to Mord's personal theory, the man in the photograph is none other than our modern day actor, Nicholas Cage.  Mord, who believes Cage is actually a vampire, states that every 75 years or so, the man whom we know as Nicholas Cage, fakes his death and begins a new life with a new identity.  However, skeptics were quick to point out at least one major flaw in this theory...and that's the widely accepted belief that vampires cannot be photographed!

Vampire, doppelganger, or just unfortunate resemblance...whatever the cause, Nick Cage would soon find out that he wasn't the only celebrity with a historical look-alike!  There are literally tons of these out there, but I culled a few of my favorites.

Shortly after eBay saw the Nick Cage vampire, the John Travolta vampire made an appearance.  A collector from Ontario, Canada listed this ambrotype from the early 1860s for a STEAL at $50,000!

In 2013, this photo of an Eddie Murphy doppelganger hit the internet.  Various individuals attempted to debunk the photo using error-level analysis, but not strong conclusions were ever published.  

That May, another photograph caused a similar sensation.  Digital archivists from the New York Public Library came across the photo of a Harlem man, circa 1939, who is a dead-ringer for rapper Jay-Z.

From NY Daily News

So there's just a small sampling of MY favorite celebrity look-alikes.  I'll let you come to your OWN conclusions as to whether or not these strange images are a little more than just mere coincidences are not.  I also encourage you to take a second look at those old family photo albums you might never know what (or WHO!) you're gonna find!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dingess Tunnel

Dingess Tunnel ca 1893
Dingess Tunnel is one of those super-haunted locations that everyone seems to know about.  Everyone...except for me!  Originally constructed in 1892 for the Norfolk and Western Railroad, the tunnel served as a major landmark along what was known as the Twelve Pole Creek Line, between Lenore and Wayne.  Nearly a mile long and now open to automobile traffic, the tunnel is today used as a major thoroughfare into the small Mingo County town of Dingess.  However, a long and seedy reputation of violence and death has permanently scarred the historic structure and ensured its position as a Haunted West Virginia place of interest!

As already stated, the tunnel was constructed in 1892 and according to local history, it was constructed largely by African American and Chinese immigrant labor.  It was these two ethnic groups, among many impoverished families of all colors and backgrounds who not only flocked to the area to work on the railroad tunnel construction, but also to work the coal mines in and around Dingess.  It is said that there were a fair share of accidental deaths while the tunnel was under construction...but that there's an even darker history to account for the high number of deaths surrounding the tunnel itself!

During construction of the tunnel and throughout its first 12 years of use or so, this was THE main route in this area of Mingo County. However, locals didn't take kindly to outsiders, especially if those outsiders were of a much darker skin tone. Local lore is filled with tales of an unknown number of deaths resulting in outsiders, especially African Americans, being shot to death at the entrances to the tunnel. This violent history continued well into the second half of the 20th century. According to an article for the e-WV Encyclopedia by Robert Spence, writer Huey Perry described it as a notorious ambush site in his 1972 memoir of the Poverty War, They’ll Cut Off Your Project. An example of these ambushes was felt by a contributor to an query about the tunnel. This person related a tale that happened to her family in 1968 when her husband, child, family friend and herself attempted to go through the tunnel with out of state plates. They were stopped on the other side by several men with shotguns, demanding to know who they were and why they were there. The husband told them they were there to visit family members, and after providing his driver's license as proof of identity and luckily LOOKING like the family he said they were there to visit, the car was begrudgingly allowed through.

In addition to the violence, the narrow tunnel has also seen its fair share of accidents as well. There is mention of an event in June 1905 where two trains collided, resulting in the deaths of at least three people, but I have yet to find any substantial information on it. I did, however, stumble across another train wreck at the tunnel that occurred on September 6, 1899. A freight train crashed, resulting in seven deaths, including those of the brakemen, Frank R. Archer and Charles Booth, fireman John Chafgin, and four unknown

From Panoramio

Over the years, the tunnel fell out of favor, and eventually out of use, as a railroad line. In the 1960s, a one-lane paved road was constructed through the tunnel as a main route into the modern town of Dingess.  Today, you can still take an incredibly frightening journey through the habitually dark one-lane tunnel...but keep your eyes open for one of the ghosts of the tunnel!

For years, the tunnel has had a reputation of being haunted by the souls of those who perished in at least one of the train crashes...and possibly those who perished as a result of the high level of violence!  The apparition of a man has been seen hanging at one end of the tunnel, and at least one person claims to have gotten a photo of a little girl standing in the tunnel.  Visitors have also reported experiencing various sounds, both heard audibly to the naked ear, as well as EVP evidence, including a voice saying "Hi" and the sound of organ music.  The tunnel has such a reputation that when the Ghost Lab crew visited in the summer of 2010 to check out an alleged haunted house, locals insisted they make a stop at the tunnel!

UPDATE:  The Logan County Facebook page posted an article from Appalachian magazine about the train collision!  Find the link HERE!

(To those finding this blog through the iReport article, I've noticed some comments in the comment section of that site stating that a ghost hunter's blog is not a legit source, and I wish to clarify.  The purpose of this blog is to combine the fact with the folklore, a tag line clearly stated in my header.  I've reported on the LOCAL folklore and thought I made it clear which parts were backed up by historic resources and primary documentation...and which parts were tales passed down by locals. I'm sorry if I have failed to make that distinction clear enough.  Although I pride myself on doing in-depth research on many of my haunted WV locations, we cannot forget that folklore, no matter how technically "false" it is, is a part of the culture and history of a location as well.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Alabama's Haunted and Historic Drish House

Around 1822 Dr. John Drish moved to Tuscaloosa area, where he set up a successful physician's practice as well as construction company.  By 1835, he married the wealthy widow, Sarah Owen McKinney, and began construction on a palatial Greek Revival mansion.  It would be the center piece of his plantation, located just outside of town.  It was completed in 1837.

Originally named Malone Place, the Drish Mansion underwent drastic renovations in the late 1850s which turned the Greek Revival styled home into an Italianate paradise, complete with 3-storey tower.  It is a local legend that these changes were the direct result of a healthy competition between Dr. Drish and Robert Jemison, a founding citizen of Tuscaloosa who at the time was building his own Italianate home.  Unfortunately, the doctor would not be around much longer.  He took a nasty fall down the staircase of his home and died in 1867.  Again, local legend has an interesting explanation for these events...

Allegedly, Dr. Drish was somewhat of a gambler and an alcoholic and after a night of drinking, the doctor began hallucinating in bed.  He jumped up out of bed, took off running, and fell right over the banister to his death.  His will stipulated that upon his death, his body should be laid out in the upstairs area of his own home and his body surrounded by candles.

Sarah remained in the home until her own death in 1884 and by some accounts, she became increasingly maddened and distraught over the death of her husband.  She even went as far as preserving the candles from his funeral to be used in the same manner during hers.  Unfortunately, she hid them away and they could not be located after her death.

Over the years, the home has been used in a variety of capacities.  In 1906, the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education established the Jemison School in the home, which surely was a blow to Dr. Drish, who was in direct competition with Robert Jemison in life.  By 1925 it was a car parts warehouse for Charles Turner's Tuscaloosa Wrecker Company and in 1940 it was purchased by the Southside Baptist Church.

Membership in the church dwindled by 1995 and for awhile the property was leased to the local Heritage Committee.  However, it wouldn't be until 2007 when several of the former church members turned the deed over to the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society.  Since then, the organization has been busy trying to clean out and stabilize the structure, as well as demolishing several wings added onto the original homestead.  The group also opened the home up to paranormal investigations for the first time, and with very good reason!

The ghosts of the Drish Mansion made their public debut with the 1969 book, 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, by Kathryn Tucker Windham.  According to stories found within the book and elsewhere in popular ghost lore, it seems that there are at least three ghosts that still reside within the home.  The apparition of Dr. Drish himself has been seen, and there are stories that his daughter, Katherine, who was also said to have gone insane due to her relationship with a young man being forbidden by her father, makes an appearance.  However, the most prolific haunting is possibly connected with Sarah.

After Sarah's death, passersby would often note that lights would be on in the third story tower.  Many times, this visible candlelight was so overpowering that people assumed the home was on fire!  The fire department would be called, and when they arrived, found no evidence of a fire burning anywhere in the home.  It is believed that Sarah is lighting the candles that she so desperately obsessed over for her own funeral.

More information on the history of the house and its ghosts, as well as the results of an investigation by the Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group can be found in the article below:

Tuscaloosa News: Drish House Finally Gets a Chance to Yield its Secrets

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jenny Haniver

Awhile back this particular photograph made its mandatory rounds throughout Facebook and the rest of the internet...especially on paranormal websites.  What was this strange bi-pedal creature?  Was it an alien?  How about a demon or an angel?  Theories abounded, most taking on a very extra-terrestrial theory as to what the little human-like monster could truly be.  And then, the voices of reason stepped in, lol.  It was quickly shown that the little creature was nothing more than a member of the ray or a skate family.  So, not an alien; just a marine fish cut and sculpted into a thing of nightmares.

Obviously, I had watched all this unfold, but honestly, wasn't really interested until just recently.  I was watching my favorite show on Netflix right now, Oddities, which chronicles the adventures of a very unique antique store in New York known as Obscura.  Taxidermied animal anomalies are a specialty for the shop and every once in awhile the shop discusses what is called a gaffe...the fake taxidermy specimens such as the Fiji mermaids and...the Jenny Haniver!

I was quite excited to see that the stupid little fake thing that caused such a stir online awhile back actually had a name as well as an interesting and LONG history.

Jenny Hanivers, also known as Devil Fish, originated as early as the mid-1500s as a way for British sailors in Belgium to make a little extra cash.  Taking the carcass of a ray or skate, the sailor would cut, dry and varnish the finished product to sell as oddities and souvenirs.  The name Jenny Haniver is believed to have come from a loose pronunciation of the French phrase, jeune d'Anvers, which translates to "young person of Antwerp."

And even though the photo above managed to fool more than a few modern people, it doesn't seem like too many people were fooled at the time....or were they?

As early as 1558, there was a warning to the people that these were not a new species.  Konrad Gesner's Historia Animalium, volume IV clearly states that the Jenny Haniver is a disfigured ray and NOT a dragon, as many believed! a twist of fate that so often comes with this line of work, a friend posted the image below as I was planning out a post on the Jenny Haniver...

Salvador Dali with a Jenny Haniver.  You're welcome!

*Theresa's Note*  If anyone wants to buy me a Christmas present, apparently these things are still being sold in some places!  I would LOVE my very own little Jenny Haniver under the tree this year!

Book Review for Kentucky Spirits Undistilled

Title: Kentucky Spirits Undistilled
Author: Lisa Westmoreland-Doherty
Published: 2009 by Schiffer Publishing
Amazon Order Information

I purchased Kentucky Spirits Undistilled because I was in need of some inspiration; my Haunted Kentucky page has always been lacking WAY behind West Virginia's and even Ohio's...and I needed some ideas on wonderful Bluegrass haunts to further research and feature.  This book offered me just what I was looking for, and was a really fun read in the process!

Kentucky Spirits Undistilled isn't a long book, but its packed full with over a dozen haunted locations.  The author provides a wonderful mix of historic background information, current descriptions of the location and its alleged paranormal activity, and of course, her own adventures while visiting.  Where applicable, she's added photographs of her adventures, many of which allegedly contain proof of paranormal activity.

Many of the locations are from around Louisville, where the author lives, and I honestly had no idea that Louisville had so many interesting places...from graveyards to restaurants to everything in between, there's a ton of different places, many of which are open to the public to visit.  I was impressed by the fact that I had only previously been aware of 2-3 of the locations, making this a wonderful resource for new fodder on the Haunted Kentucky fact, you might have already seen at least one places already featured!

Overall, this book was well-written and very entertaining!  The author states at the beginning that she's skeptical, and that she's approaching the book from a journalistic standpoint...not one of a paranormal investigator.  Despite this caveat, there are plenty of photos in the book that claim to show paranormal activity that a more die-hard investigator would quickly dismiss...and the author does relate more than a couple of tales of being quite frightened during her adventures by something she apparently doesn't believe in.  However, by the conclusion, she does admit that her mind might have changed, but just keep in mind that those in the field who are a little more based in science might not be impressed with the "evidence" of ghosts presented.  It's still a great book, and a wonderful addition to the local folklore collection!  I can't wait to track down a copy of her haunted Lexington book!

*Looking for MORE Book Reviews from Theresa's Haunted History?*

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Halloween Cat

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted a black cat.  Since we're a dog family, and NOT a cat family, I thought that dream was never going to come true.  When I was 17, a stray cat DID show up at our house, who quickly became part of the family...but he was a tabby.  Years later when we were on the search for a pet cat for my son, Luke, I told him that people didn't pick cats; cats picked their OWN owners and that when the time was right, God would make sure he got the kitty that was meant for him.  The kitty that came into our lives was a white and orange flame-tail we named Snowball.

Aaron and Ichabod
I resigned the fact that even though I always wanted a black cat, I had to listen to my own advice...that cats pick their own owners and it must not have been in God's plan for me to have my little black kitty.  I owe an apology to someone up there because a few weeks ago, a little black kitty came into our lives!  When a friend and fellow HPIR member, Kelly, put a message up asking if anyone to take the emaciated little ball of feisty black fluff she had found at a client's home, I knew that I had to give this kitty a good home.  Mom, Luke, and I (after calling a very reluctant Aaron) got in the car and went to go pick up our new baby.

The little kitty was so thin that you could see and feel every one of her bones.  We took her directly to our vet, and luckily my mom drove because even though we had the cat carrier, I held the tiny cat all the way back to Hurricane.  She was literally so thin that I was afraid she wasn't going to make it, and if she DID'NT make it, I wanted her last moments to be ones filled with love and comfort.  She laid against my chest and slept the entire way.  I decided early on that the little cat would be named Ichabod, after Ichabod Crane.  I know that new television show just recently came out, but OUR Ichabod is actually named after the Disney character.  Each year at the start of the Halloween season, Luke, Aaron and I watch the animated movie, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which contains a loooong description of how thin Ichabod Crane was.  Unfortunately, we found out from the vet that Ichabod was a female.  Still, the name was so fitting that we kept it, and call her Icky for short.

Aside from finding out from the vet that Ichabod was a girl, we found out that she was severely emaciated and basically had no muscle mass.  She was so weak that they wouldn't even give her the required vaccinations.  We made an appointment to come back in 10 days with orders to provide plenty of kitten chow and even more TLC.  Ten days came and went, and Icky gained over 2lbs.  She was now healthy enough to start the vaccination process.  She had also grown quite comfortable in her new home and even with her new cat brother, Snow.

With doctors' appointments and everything else, she's kept me even busier, but I can't imagine our home would be complete without her.  She's my little Halloween gift--I finally got my black cat, and right before Halloween!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Movie Review: Insidious, Chapter 2

Last week, Aaron took me to see Insidious: Chapter 2.  I had been waiting patiently for WEEKS for this one, and we caught the last week of showing at my local theater.  Oh.My.Goodness.  This was seriously one of the best movies I've seen in a long time!  I am proud to offer this quick review as part of my annual October Horror Movie Challenge!

In Chapter 2, we pick up where the first movies leaves off.  The Lambert family is recovering from their ordeal, and while police sort out just what happened to psychic researcher, Elise, they move in with the grandmother.  And, as heavily implied in the first movie, we quickly find out that things aren't necessarily back to normal!  Throughout the course of the film, things get weirder and weirder and the lovable ghost hunters from the first movie are joined with a new ally (and an old one) to help the grandmother fight the evil force that has returned.

I love the fact that this film explores what happened to Josh as a child and develops a back story to explain the evil that has plagued him since he was a young boy.  It's a cleverly done story and is pretty darn creepy.  What this movie lacks in the jump scares that made the first one such a hit, it makes up for it with a satisfying and in my opinion, rather intelligent, plot.  It feels like a good, classic ghost favorite kind of movie!

The ending of the movie is rather open-ended and according to sources, there are plans already for a follow-up!  It'll be interesting to see just what direction the movie goes in; it seems like the Lambert family has finally put an end to the ordeal...or have they?  And what about our little red, Tiptoe-through-the Tulips, friend?  Chapter 2 definitely has the feeling that it could have gone in several different directions and hopefully some of the other aspects touched upon in Chapter 1 will be developed later on.

I definitely recommend watching this one if you get a chance, but its highly recommended that you watch the first movie beforehand.  You won't be totally lost if you don't watch the first one, but it certainly adds to a greater understanding and thus, a greater enjoyment...and there's one scene in particular that explicitly goes back to the first movie and explains what REALLY happened.  So yeah...this one is a strong, two thumbs up from me!

Book Review for Booger Hole

Title:  Booger Hole: Mysteries, Ghost Tales, and Strange Occurrences
Author: Mary Lucinda Curry
Illustrated by: Elaine Douglas and Joe Holley
Published: 1990 by Frog Pond Printery
Book Photo: by Susanna Holstein who also reviewed this wonderful book on her wonderful  Granny Sue blog!

My favorite used book store is closing at the end of the month and in order to support a local business (and get some HELLUVA good deals in the process) I've been visiting about once a week to browse through leftover stock.  They must be pulling stuff out of the deepest recesses of storage because I've stumbled across some wonderful little gems that probably would be overlooked by most people.

One of those little gems is the book, Booger Hole, by Mary Lucinda Curry.  First printed in 1990, I wound up with the 1998 fourth printing edition that I found by complete accident.  I was reaching up on a high shelf to look at another book and realized that there was a teeny, slim volume stuck underneath it, invisible to the naked eye.  I grabbed it out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised.  It was a book of West Virginia ghost stories!

Well...its kind of a book about West Virginia ghost stories.  The book is actually a very short primer on the rough history of an area of Clay County called Booger Hole.  Since the Civil War, Booger Hole, located off a section of Rush Run Hollow known as Richardson's Run, has had a seedy reputation.  It has been known as a place of thieves, murders, and spooky, supernatural experiences!

The author discusses the possible roots of this reputation and follows up with several tales of theft and murder connected to Booger Hole...some murders which to this day are classified as unresolved.  The second part of the book is a collection of ghostly and supernatural legends, passed down orally from various contributors including a gentleman who has lived in the area since the 1930s.  This is really a fascinating read.  It's well written, especially for a low-distribution publication, and the author cites plenty of primary historical documentation to back up the tales that have been passed down through the generations.  My absolute favorite tale in the book is a personal experience told by Wilson Douglas concerning what we would now call a vardoger experience!

Unfortunately, the somewhat cursed reputation of Booger Hole has continued on into modern day.  Just this past summer a group of local teenagers piled into a pickup truck with the intent of visiting Booger Hole's Chimneys.  The Chimneys is the name given to a group of chimneys of course...the only remaining remnants of long-ago burned down houses. According to the book, these are probably what is left over after local citizens, fed up with the reputation of murders in the area and fueled by the court case of Howard Sampson, set fire to homes and ran many of the Booger Hole residents out in 1917. Local legend says the chimneys house the ghosts of former residents and screams have been heard emanating from the old structures.  Around dawn, the pickup truck full of teens rolled over, killing one young girl and injuring 10 other kids.

That tragic incident aside, Booger Hole is a short book, but its jammed with a wonderful array of local history and legend.  This book is a must-have for any collection of WV folklore, history, or ghost tales library so obviously it fits right in on my shelf!  Unfortunately, a copy might be a little hard to obtain.  My copy has a publishing date of 1998 on it, so I'm not sure if the address is still valid or not, but below I'll add the contact information if anyone's interested.

Cindy Curry
Rt. 2, Box 82
Duck, WV 25063

Ghostly Encounters Tour 2013

Hunter's Moon by
This weekend kicks off the second weekend of Huntington Paranormal's Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours!  In this installment of our 2013 tour season, we're bringing back our popular Ghostly Encounters Walking Tour of downtown Guyandotte!

The Ghostly Encounters tour will take visitors on a guided walking tour through Huntington's oldest, and some say most HAUNTED, neighborhood!  At a little under 2 hours and a little over a mile in distance, your Ghostly Encounters tour will take you to about a dozen of Guyandotte's most haunted locations.  History combines with legend to provide a unique experience that is sure to leave even the most skeptical shaking their heads!  Every year we change things up a tad, and every year multiple visitors report having their own paranormal experiences!  Cameras are highly encouraged as a way to document YOUR experiences!

As always, this tour is being offered to the public for FREE, and is led by knowledgeable guides eager to make your tour experience one you'll never forget.  Tours leave from the Guyandotte Branch Library on Richmond Street and early ticket distribution begins at 6 pm.  This year, the library is holding a special movie night in conjunction with our tours!  Arrive at 5 pm for a FREE horror movie and popcorn while you wait for your tour to start.  Bring your camera and flashlight, and be sure to wear comfy shoes and join us this Friday and Saturday, October 18th and 19th for Ghostly Encounters!

An interesting side note:  Friday's tour falls on the 2013 Full Hunter's Moon!  The Hunter's Moon is the full moon immediately following the Harvest Moon, which is the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox.  Sometimes referred to as the Dying Grass Moon or the Travel Moon, the Hunter's Moon signified the start of the time when hunters began stocking up on meat for the upcoming winter.  It is believed to have gotten its name from Native American origins, but the first mention of it comes from a 1710 edition of British Apollo, which states that its the name the country folk used to describe the October full moon.  Some believe that a full moon can actually increase paranormal activity, but either way, it'll be a hauntingly beautiful and somewhat spooky experience as we tour the town under the light of the full moon!

I'd also like to take a moment to thank all of our volunteers and all of our guests!  HPIR has been offering these free ghost tours since our inception at the 2008 Guyandotte Civil War Days.  We truly enjoy offering this service to our community and have gotten wildly positive feedback.  We often say that the best way to teach history is through a good ghost story and I've personally seen this in action year after year as some of our regulars can quote, nearly verbatim, Guyandotte's early history up through the Civil War!  We hope you continue to enjoy our tours as much as we love giving them.  Hope to see ya out this weekend, and please see our website for full details on the Ghostly Encounters Tour, and the rest of our season's schedule!

Upcoming Tour Dates:

October 18th and 19th-Ghostly Encounters Walking Tour
October 26th-Guided Ghost Hunt
November 1st and 2nd-Civil War Haunted History Tour

Strange Photo Taken from a Previous Tour

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

National Face Your Fears Day!

Thing, the Chirophobic's worst nightmare
Today is October 8, 2013 and that means its National Face Your Fears Day!  With Halloween is just a few short weeks away, this is a time of year when most of us WANT to be scared! Horror films, ghost stories, and haunted house attractions are some of the ways we can safely face our fears this time of year and have a lot of fun at the same time...but to some people, its not that easy!  Fear of everyday objects can be debilitating...and unfortunately, kinda hilarious for the rest of us!

So, in order to celebrate this unique and somewhat spooky holiday, I thought it would be fun to make an alphabetical list of some of the more interesting fears and phobias.  I've also thrown in a few Halloween-themed phobias just for fun!  These have all come from The Phobia List, which offers an excellent index and information on a variety of phobias.

Automatonophobia- Fear of ventriloquist's dummies, animatronic creatures, wax statues - anything that falsely represents a sentient being.

Barophobia- Fear of gravity.

Chirophobia- Fear of hands.

Dextrophobia- Fear of objects at the right side of the body.

Eisoptrophobia- Fear of mirrors or of seeing oneself in a mirror.

Francophobia- Fear of France or French culture.

Genuphobia- Fear of knees.

Homichlophobia- Fear of fog.

Ichthyophobia- Fear of fish.

Japanophobia- Fear of Japanese.

Kathisophobia- Fear of sitting down.

Linonophobia- Fear of string.

Mycophobia- Fear or aversion to mushrooms.

Novercaphobia- Fear of your step-mother.

Omphalophobia- Fear of belly buttons.

Peladophobia- Fear of bald people.


Ranidaphobia- Fear of frogs.

Samhainophobia: Fear of Halloween.

Triskaidekaphobia- Fear of the number 13.

Uranophobia or Ouranophobia- Fear of heaven.

Vestiphobia- Fear of clothing.

Wiccaphobia: Fear of witches and witchcraft.

Xanthophobia- Fear of the color yellow or the word yellow.


Zemmiphobia- Fear of the great mole rat.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Ghost of Emma Crawford-Colorado

Emma Crawford
Around 1889, Emma Crawford moved from Boston to Manitou Springs, Colorado with her mother and sister, Alice.  Emma, who had been diagnosed with TB when she was just seven years old, hoped that the fresh mountain air and healing spring waters would be enough to "cure" her disease...or at least let her live a fairly normal life and pursue her musical career.  The family set up house on Ruxton Avenue, and as Spiritualists, were even known to conduct a few seances at the residence.

For awhile, the treatment, popular for many East Coasters, seemed to be working, and Emma's condition improved.  It was during this period of hope that Emma's close friend and suitor, Wilhelm (William) Hildebrand, asked for Emma's hand in marriage.  As the story goes, Emma actually met Wilhelm while living in Boston.  He became smitten with her and moved to the area to work for a local railroad company...and to presumably be with his young love.  Emma was hesitant, but accepted his proposal on the condition that if the tuberculosis were to take her life, he'd make sure she was buried on nearby Red Mountain.

Emma had developed almost an obsession with Red Mountain.  It is said that during her times of sickness, she'd lie in her bed and look out her window at the peak of Red Mountain in the distance.  Emma became convinced that the spirit of an Indian, Red Chief, roamed the mountain.  This obsession would ultimately lead to Emma's demise.

In December of 1891, just weeks before she was to be married, nineteen year old Emma took her good health as a sign to hike up to the top of Red Mountain.  She made it to the top, where she claims that the spirit of Red Chief appeared before her beside a pinion tree. She tied her handkerchief to this tree, then hurried back down to tell everyone of her wonderful adventure.  Unfortunately, the over-exertion was just too taxing on her health and she lapsed into a near-delirium before finally succumbing peacefully in her mother's arms.

Wilhelm kept his word and gathered a team of a dozen men to help him bring Emma up the mountain.  It was a difficult undertaking but finally Emma was at peace where she wanted to spend her eternity...but she wouldn't stay that way for long.

In 1912, her grave was moved to make room for a railroad project.  She actually became somewhat of a tourist destination, as passengers would pay $1 for a thrill ride trip that included an 80% downward incline and a chance to see Emma's ghost.  Even after just a short decade following her death, Emma's grave was being visited by other Spiritualists who hoped to contact her spirit and the others said to roam Red Mountain.  However, due to safety concerns, the railroad project was shut down in 1927 and Emma's grave was largely neglected.

Two years later, the heavy rains of late summer washed Emma's casket and remains down the mountain and into the canyon below, where her skull and pieces of coffin were discovered by two young boys.  After sitting in storage while the family was attempted to be contacted, Emma would eventually be buried in what is now Crystal Valley Cemetery.  Her remains were never claimed by family; instead, Bill Crosby who took piano lessons from Emma as a child and whose grandfather was one of her pallbearers, claimed her body.  Her grave was unmarked until 2004 when a memorial stone was erected in her honor.

Today, people claim that the apparition of a dark haired beauty wearing a ragged wedding dress is seen roaming the area of Red Mountain, never to rest until she is returned to her original resting spot.  As a way to memorialize Emma and to appease her spirit, the town of Manitou Springs celebrates in a very unique way.  Since 1994, the town has hosted annual Halloween coffin races!  Participants dress up as Emma and create unique coffin vehicles, which they then race, reminiscent of the "ride" Emma and her coffin took down the mountain.  In more recent years, a period-correct wake and funeral are also held for Emma in the historic Miramont Castle.

*2018's Coffin Races will be held on Saturday, October 27th!  This event has been featured on the Travel Cemetery and many other media outlets and is celebrating its 24th season this year with a parade, the races, and much more!  Check out the race's FB page for more info*

More info on the story of Emma can be found in the book Haunted Manitou Springs, by Stephanie Waters

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

FaceBook's Most Famous Ghost Girl

With the start of Halloween season, EVERYONE starts getting in a spooky mood, including local media!  This is the time of year when news stations, periodicals, and radio stations start delighting their audiences with spooky local legends, interviews with local paranormal teams...and of course, the sharing of alleged ghost photographs!

One of those photographs has been making its rounds en force on FaceBook lately, complete with captioning.  It seems that a family had been experiencing some weird things, and the family pets seemed quite interested in something unseen.  When a photo was taken, a little ghostly girl was clearly seen outside.

Pretty spooky, right?  I bet the girlfriend in the photo thought the very same thing!  Fortunately for her, however, she has nothing to fear.  The photo, featuring the world's creepiest little girl in a printed dress, was created using a popular smartphone application.  The app is called Ghost Capture by a company that calls itself by the aptly named, but unfortunate moniker of Ghosts Don't Exist.  What I assume happened was that the boyfriend in the story (granted that what little back story we do have has any basis in fact) wanted to scare his girlfriend, and thus played a little prank on her using the app.  She freaked, shared the photo with friends and family, and the more gullible of the lot took it to the next level until it eventually ended up fooling at least one radio station who is sharing the image.

Ghost Capture App Ghosts

Unfortunately, its not JUST everyday people being fooled.  Obviously the media is being fooled by this and similar images, but the saddest aspect is that people who are self-proclaimed paranormal experts and paranormal investigators are sharing this image around FaceBook thinking its real. Comments from others serve to enforce the idea that this little ghost girl is fooling a LOT of people. 

Now, everyone has a right to believe what they want when it comes to the paranormal field and I'm not one to dispute things that I cannot begin to prove or disprove.  However, this photograph is a known fake using an image clearly taken from a well-known phone application.  Belief is one thing, but we as investigators and researchers of the paranormal must walk a line; its possible to be open-minded and tactful, especially when it comes to dealing with the beliefs of others (especially those who are our Facebook fans, lol), but this can be accomplished without the spread of misinformation and mis-education.  Passing photos such as this off as 'real' only hurts the field as a whole, whether done intentionally or not.

The Original Photo, posted by the awesome people over at Ghost App Ghosts

And, going off on sort of a tangent...there is absolutely no excuse for anyone working in the paranormal field to be tricked by this particular image.  Seriously, this little girl should be earning royalties from beyond the grave; out of all the choices this particular app affords, plus those of copycat apps, she is always the most popular. Chances are, you've seen this same image pop up in numerous "true" ghost photos at least half a dozen times.  Look below for a few examples of our favorite little spook I've culled from a quick Google Search...and please see my article on Photo Analysis for some really easy ways to check a photo's authenticity! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tour Season 2013

Welcome to October!  With the lowering of the temperature and the falling of the leaves comes a very special time for Huntington Paranormal Investigations and Research...TOUR SEASON!

Our Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours are entering our 6th season of offering completely FREE, historically accurate, fun and of course, SPOOKY walking tours of Huntington's oldest neighborhood.  This year, we've added a little special treat for ya'll!

We get so many requests to join us on a ghost hunt and unfortunately, that's just not feasible to take everyone who contacts us.  So, we've decided to bring the ghost hunting to YOU!  Our first event of the year will take place this weekend on Friday and Saturday, October 4-5.  Instead of the usual walking tour (those will be held later on) we're offering YOU a public ghost hunt of Huntington's oldest brick residence, The Buffington House.

Please join us this weekend for a hands-on guided ghost hunt of the historic home!  Bring your own equipment or help us use ours to see if we can capture evidence of Guyandotte's earliest and most prominent citizens!  Recent investigators visiting the house have captured a myriad of EVP evidence,  mysterious Ovilus and K-II hits, and even a few personal experiences!

These special tours are FREE.  Please meet us at the Guyandotte Branch library at 6pm for early ticket distribution.  We'll be leading THREE separate hunts, lasting a little under 2 hours each, and visiting one other haunted and historic location in downtown Guyandotte!  (If you miss this weekend's event, another ghost hunt will be held on October 26.)

*Please see our website, GuyandotteGhosts, for more information on THIS event and our upcoming tour schedule!*


(Theresa's Note:  This event is not a part of Guyandotte's Swinefest activities.  HPIR and Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours are not affiliated with this organization and will no longer be providing free tours in conjunction with the festival.  If you'd like more insight on this, plenty of articles can be found in the Herald Dispatch and on local news stations' websites.  Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, Swinefest is being held on the date of our first event AND is apparently advertising a haunted cemetery tour.  Please be advised that the cemetery tour being advertised on Swinefest literature/posters/websites is NOT being hosted by HPIR and Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours.  )

Friday, September 27, 2013

Some Paranormal Humor from Spring Hill Cemetery

It's been awhile since I've posted a Friday Night Funny.  Luckily, on Wednesday I came across this little gem of grave humor and couldn't wait to share it!  This amusing anecdote comes from the Huntington Advertiser in an article dated June 6, 1911 and features one the city's most prominent burial grounds.  This particular cemetery has long had a reputation of being haunted by real ghosts and spirits...but maybe not all the stories are what they seem!  (For the ghost stories, check out Spring Hill Cemetery on Theresa's Haunted History!)

Sexton at Spring Hill Cemetery Tells Novel Tale at Confederate Reunion

Col. A. F. Southworth, recently returned from Little Rock, Ark. and is authority for the following story, which he alleges was told by Rev. W.J. Cocke, a veteran of the war, now sexton at Spring Hill Cemetery.

It concerns a youth and a maiden fair who were wont to roam about the cemetery grounds in the cool shades of twilight.

Now and then the sexton would discover the pair of lovers, in a secluded nook engaged in that phase of love-making called "spooning."  For many days the sexton watched the couple and smiled upon their happiness.

It occurred to him one day, however, that they might be fit subjects for a joke which he accordingly prepared.  He climbed into an empty coffin and closed the lid as they were approaching one evening.  As they drew near he made noises indicative that some supposed corpse was howling about being put in a coffin before he was dead.

The poke worked.  The lovers separated in their fright and fled in desperate haste when they saw the corpse, or ghost, or what-not, climb out of the coffin.  The boy went in one direction and the girl went in the other, climbing a wire fence in her hurry, and leaving thereon a goodly portion of her gown.

"They never came back," said Sexton Cocke, concluding his story.

Theresa's Note:  I did a little extra research to make sure that Sexton Cocke was in fact in charge of the Spring Hill Cemetery, and indeed it appears he was.  He's actually the Reverend William Joseph Cocke, who also later served as the chaplain for Huntington State Hospital, located just across the street from Spring Hill Cemetery.  Rev. Cocke passed away at the ripe ol' age of 94 on December 8, 1938.  He outlived two daughters, Rebecca (died 1901 at the age of 21) and Irma (died 1923 at the age of 44).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Movie Review--A Haunting at Silver Falls

Long-term readers of the blog might remember that starting every October, I challenge myself to watch as many horror flicks as I can manage, then review them in a weekly re-cap.  Each year, I fail miserably at the number of movies I actually end up watching!  So, to switch things up a bit this year, I'm just going to take more time reviewing individual movies and not worry so much about the numbers; quality over quantity, right?

I'm starting a little early this year and I've chosen A Haunting at Silver Falls for my first movie!  This was chosen because its a new release (2013) available on Netflix and also because I'm really picky with my horror.  I strongly prefer supernatural/ghost movies to zombies, vampires, and the ever popular torture porn genre and this one seemed to fit that description.


Anyway, A Haunting at Silver Falls claims in the opening credits to be "inspired by actual events." I haven't found what those actual events are, other than several mentions that the director, Brett Donowho took the inspiration from reading an article about the unsolved murders of two twin girls (and honestly, don't really care enough to look into it further) but I did find  the movie was shot in and around the REAL town of Silverton and incorporated loosely some actual components of the town.  Seventeen year old Jordan has been living in L.A and is the star of the movie and main character.  Her mother died when she was five, and when her father suddenly died (apparently two weeks ago) she was sent to live with her mom's sister Anne, and her husband Kevin, in the small Northwestern town of Silver Falls.  She doesn't actually KNOW these people, though, and the reason she was given as to why they never visited was because the aunt looks so much like the deceased mother that it would have been hard on Jordan's father.

Jordan settles right in to her new life, and immediately begins dating the slightly nerdy Valedictorian who takes her on a date to a local party spot near the very haunted Silver Falls.  Cops bust up the festivities and Jordan gets separated from her new love, who it turns out gets arrested.  The local bad boy drives her home and begins his creepy pursuit of the pretty new girl.  However, while lost briefly in the forest, Jordan finds a ring which would ultimately change her life forever.  She begins being stalked first by one, and then two dead girls...the ghosts of twins murdered 20 years before.  Its up to her to find out why and what message they are so desperate to pass on to her.

Overall, I give this movie a strong 2 out of 5 stars.  

The acting was solid and the story was interesting, at least to me.  I LOVE movies where the main character has to solve a mystery with the help of the undead and find out that things aren't exactly what they seem.  This followed pretty closely with that formula, although many would argue that its a little played out.  What I had an issue with was that this movie just didn't make a lot of sense.  There's not enough suspension of disbelief in the world to account for all the things that just didn't add up.  As one reviewer I found noted, it's almost like they threw all the potential killers' names in a hat, and then drew from said hat.  Literally, just about everyone in this town had just enough of a back story that they could have been the guilty party...

I think part of that was because the movie felt unfinished.  I don't know whether there were a lot of cut scenes or that certain plot points were never developed or what, but there are way too many aspects that aren't successfully or satisfactorily explained.  For example, why did the REAL killers start this whole thing and just how old were they when they did??  Further, what would have happened if Jordan wouldn't have told the bad boy policeman's son to eff-off and listened to what he had to say?  Did he REALLY know what was going on, and if so, why didn't he do anything?

And seriously, what the hell was with the psychiatrist?  Who sends a 17 year old girl to visit a death row inmate as an attempt to cure her?  Is that even allowed, considering he's being executed in just a few hours?  

So yeah. If you're looking to kill a couple of hours this movie might be a good fit.  There aren't any jump scares, very little gore,  and overall its creepy, but not scary.  This is one of those films that had the potential to be really great, but just fell a little short.  In other words, its a typical Netflix feature!

A Haunt in North Dakota's Trollwood Park

Photo from Fargo Park District
In 1895, Cass County, North Dakota opened up the Cass County Hospital and Farm along the Red River.  The property was multi-purpose:  it was a hospital which provided the best care possible for the less fortunate, a nursing home for the elderly without family or means of supporting themselves, and a Poor Farm, where paupers of a more sound health could work, providing fresh vegetables, milk, and meat to those being treated at the hospital.

However, around 1935 social security and other such programs were eliminating the need for county farms and state-supported nursing homes.  Elderly patients now had a means of choosing a private nursing home option...which many did.  In order to meet that need and stay afloat, in 1947 the facility became strictly a nursing home facility.  It officially changed its name in 1962 to Golden Acres Haven.  In 1973 the nursing home finally shut down.

The following year, the property transferred to the Fargo Park District.  In 1978, the Trollwood Performing Arts School opened, operating a summer camp style learning facility on the property.  It was during the tenure of the performing arts school that the park truly gained its haunted reputation.  According to numerous sources, whenever a performance was put on, a lady wearing a 19th century dark blue dress would be seen standing or dancing around a nearby willow tree.

Today, the performing arts school has moved to a new location and the park features playgrounds, disc golf, two gazebos, and two different stages where weddings, performances, and reunions can be held.  And...visitors are still seeing the woman in blue.  Others have experienced phantom touches, the feeling of someone following close behind them in the park, and a disembodied voice calling their name.

Investigation into the paranormal claims by FM Paranormal has yielded some interesting evidence, including several EVPs.  The team also discovered that the willow tree in question is in front of what was once County Cemetery #2, one of three burial grounds used by the old hospital/farm for paupers.  Over the years, the cemeteries had fallen into neglect, even tripping a visitor to the park when erosion caused human bones to stick out from the ground.  Most of the bodies were removed to another cemetery, but obviously, some remain.  It is often theorized that the apparition of the woman (and another apparition of a man from around the same time period spotted less frequently) is related to the neglect of these cemeteries.

Cass County Hospital History
FM Paranormal Investigation Page 
Article about FM Paranormal's Investigation