|Recent Photo from the Wade Center|
Anyway, the Wade School in Bluefield is one of those locations that keeps popping up on sites listing Haunted Places in West Virginia, so I decided to look into the legends for myself. What I found is that the Wade School in Bluefield was built in 1921. It was designed and built by William Thomas Owen, Jr., who had arrived in Bluefield with his family in 1909 and is responsible for building several opulent homes and other structures in town, including the Peery Building. Owen passed away a mere three years after the completion of the school (on Halloween!), and is buried in a local cemetery.
The Wade School was originally built to house the junior high students, and featured a popular football field out front where many local games were played. In 1957, the school switched from housing the junior high students to the elementary students. It remained in operation as a school until June 2000 when the county began a massive school consolidation project.
Wade School's fate was uncertain at this point. Bluefield State College was not interested in the building as it was originally thought they would be...so it sat empty for several years until 2005 when a non-profit organization was developed in order to convert the former school into a community resource center.
Today, the Wade School is now the Wade Center, an outreach ministry that caters to the needs of at-risk children in the community. The former classrooms were turned into computer labs, tutoring rooms, and places to teach art classes. Recently, the Wade Center went through another round of renovations, and reopened in December of 2012. There's no word yet as to whether anyone associated with the Wade Center has experienced these ghostly manifestations, but we in the paranormal community know that renovations tend to stir up any latent energies that might be present. Combine that with the energy of many school-aged children, and you've got a recipe for a haunting....
Ghost stories that are being quoted online are very short and nondescript, and presumably come from a time when the school was operating as a school. It seems as if the sounds of children running up and down the halls when no one is around are observed, as well as the apparitions of these ethereal children. It is also included in these entries that a female teacher of the school was decapitated...and that three students apparently fell over dead for no reason.
And that's where I need YOU readers! I've started pouring over the Mercer County death certificates for 1921 until 1969 (when online records cease). I haven't gotten very far yet, as its a slow and tedious process. If you have a name or date that one of these deaths may have occurred...or if you've had your own ghostly experience at the Wade School, I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below, or reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Interestingly, I found an African American teacher who died, but not by decapitation...and several junior high aged students who died...but apparently not at the school. One girl was shot, and the other's cause of death was listed as diabetes. I'll keep looking and update if I find anything!
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*Mercer County Airport
*Bluefield State College