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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mountwest Community and Technical College Inherits a Ghost!

Photo by Lori Wolfe, Herald Dispatch
Just up the street from Huntington's famous Phantom Hitch-Hiker of 5th Street Hill is a 4-story modern office complex.  It was built in 1980 and served as office space and the Huntington headquarters of Ashland Coal. When Ashland Coal merged with Arch Mineral around 1997, the building became locally known as the Arch Coal Building, serving that corporation for another year or two until many of the jobs were sent down to the St. Louis headquarters.

The following year, Applied Cards Systems leased the building and began a rocky existence in the Huntington location.  In May of 1999 15 employees were hospitalized with dizziness, vomiting, and respiratory issues, although inspectors never found any cause for the illness.  Later, the company would have issues with parking, a lawsuit filed by the state against them, and lease problems.  Twice they threatened to leave the Huntington area, but stuck it out until the official closure of the call center in 2006.

The following year, another call center, PRC opened its doors.  PRC's client was DirecTV, so when PRC went bankrupt in 2008, DirecTV worked out a deal to buy the building and maintain over 500 jobs.  DirecTV continued to grow and flourish and today is one of Huntington's leading employers.  However, they were not destined to stay in the old Ashland Coal Building for long.

When Mountwest Community and Technical College was forced to split from Marshall University, it began looking for a new home.  It's first choice was the ideal Ashland Coal Building!  It had ample space for classrooms, labs, dining facility, and all the other amenities the campus would need.  DirecTV agreed to vacate the building and move down hill into the former Ames building, which shut down in 2001.  They made the move to this better suited facility in August of 2011 and after extensive renovations, Mountwest was ready to open the new campus the following year for its Fall semester.

And, like all good institutions of higher learning, this new campus is said to be haunted!

The hauntings actually date back to around 2002, according to a viewer-submitted experience on the StrangeUSA website.  According to that person, a security guard working at the Applied Cards center died of heart failure in the fourth floor restroom.  Immediately afterward, employees at Applied Cards began reporting paranormal activity throughout the building, but most notably in the basement and on the fourth floor.  Doors were said to open and close on their own, even locking themselves without explanation.  The smell of pipe tobacco would pop out of nowhere around the halls and offices, only to disappear as quickly and mysteriously as it appeared.  The most creepy activity reported is probably the feelings of being watched.  People were reporting that they constantly felt as if someone were standing behind them, looking over their shoulder.  Obviously when they turned around, they were completely alone.

Today the fourth floor of the building is used as office space, classrooms, and a study area.  The basement area is used as dining facilities and locker room facilities.  One cannot help wonder if the recent construction and renovation has managed to stir anything up...or has finally laid to rest the paranormal activity that plagued employees of Applied Cards for four years.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has worked in the building, or is going to school at Mountwest and has any information on any possible recent hauntings!  You can comment below, or reach me at  Thanks!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Collections: Mothman

It's Friday, September 20th here in Kanawha Valley and I bet there's a BUNCH of you out there reading this that cannot wait until tomorrow!  This weekend obviously marks the 12th annual Mothman Festival in Pt. Pleasant, WV!  HPIR and Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours have usually set up an informational table every other year at this world-renowned event, so it saddens me that we won't be there this weekend (we went last year)....too much other stuff, including my son's 4th birthday party AND a very important investigation later that evening that I'll tell you more about later!

But just because I won't physically be there (actually, I'm probably taking the family down there Sunday, so look for me wandering!) doesn't mean I'm not excited for all of you who will be!  To get you all super excited about the big event and to give you a few places to make sure you check out while in town, I wanted to do a special Collections post.  Here is a collection of some of the Mothman-related and Pt. Pleasant area posts I have on my website.  Enjoy, and please feel free to share the word with anyone you know who will be making the trek to the spookiest small-town in West Virginia this weekend!

Mothman Through the Peephole:  Late last year a woman from Portland Oregon claimed to have been harassed by a large humanoid with wings.  She even claimed to have snapped a picture of the beast through the peephole of her apartment door.  And while the photo does show something that resembles or beloved Mothman, most experts agree that her story just doesn't add up.  Decide for yourself!

TNT Area:  Everyone knows the TNT area as the alleged home and hiding place for Mothman.  However, I had a paranormal encounter of a very different nature there.  Was I helped by chivalry from beyond the grave?  Includes a brief history of the TNT area and my own story about what happened when we tried to visit an igloo that was off the beaten path.

The Lowe Hotel:  No other building is quite as synonymous with the haunted history of Pt. Pleasant.  If you weren't lucky enough to secure a room here for the festival, there WILL be public tours at designated times.  Check the sign on the front door for more information.

Pt. Pleasant River Museum:  It's probably gonna rain on Saturday, so if you get caught in an unfortunate downpour (and even if you don't) I highly recommend checking out the Pt. Pleasant River Museum, located across the street from Tu-Endi-Wei.  There's a great collection of riverboat history, films, and even a giant fish tank.  There's also the ghost of a man in white coveralls seen roaming the building!

Historic State Theater:  Located right down the street from the main hustle and bustle, and directly beside the Silver Bridge Memorial, the State Theater is an integral part of the Mothman Festival, showing wonderful films and documentaries and even hosting guest speakers.  It's also haunted, as we got a chance to find out for ourselves!

Summers House:  Located on the WV Farm Museum property, and rumored to be haunted.  The Farm Museum offers hayrides through the TNT area on Saturday evening, and its definitely worth getting there early to explore the actual museum itself.  You'll see a two-headed stuffed cow and other strange taxidermy, historic log church and a schoolhouse...and the Summers House, which is reportedly haunted by a member of an esteemed early WV family!

Pioneer Cemetery:  It's not haunted that I know of, but you won't want to miss this small collection of some of the area's earliest graves.  You can't miss it as its literally right on the side of the road!

Book Review for Haunted Hospitality:  This is single greatest resource for anyone wanting to know the history of the Lowe Hotel...and its hauntings.  Written by Robin P. Bellamy who is an annual guest speaker at the festival.

Mothman 2012 Recap:  HPIR DID have our table set up last year in Vendors' Row...and had some interesting experiences!  Read about them here!

Inside one of the igloos.  Vandals painted an extra, er, appendage on him since this was taken.

Here's a few BONUS locations in the general area!

1. Our House Museum.  Located across the river, in Gallipolis, Ohio.  Apparition of the former owner, plus the sound of opera singer, Jenny Lind, as well as tons of other activity reported!

2. Bruce Chapel and Mai Moore Mansion:  The mansion is no longer standing, except for a few ruins deep within the woods, but Bruce Chapel is located a short drive from Pt. Pleasant, in the Apple Grove area.  Permission to investigate this location can be sought by looking the location up on FaceBook!

3. Sliding Hill Phantom:  Located in Mason County, Sliding Hill Road has a ghost tale going all the way back to the Revolutionary War!

4. Anna Potts:  Speaking of the Revolutionary War, here's another vintage tale of a woman still searching for her daughter who was captured by Indians.

Anyway, that should definitely get you started, but please feel free to message me if you'd like any additional information...and definitely take a look around this website!  I've got a ton more haunted places within an hour's drive of Pt. Pleasant and a pretty fair collection of book reviews of books I've picked up from Mothman Festival speakers and vendors!

Have a safe and happy Mothman Festival 2013! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Joe's Older than Dirt Cafe

From, Louisville Halloween
Located on LaGrange Road in the Louisville area of Kentucky, Joe's Older than Dirt Cafe has been serving decades of thirsty patrons in the mood for a cool drink, a hot meal, and a lively conversation.  And, as we know in this field...those things make a perfect setting for a ghost!

Back in 1936, Joe Keal, Jr. had a dream of opening a tavern.  The following year he did just his parents' backyard!  (From census records, it looks like Joe and several siblings remained at home with their parents in Lyndon well into their adult years).  The tavern became an immediate hub of local social activity, and Joe was even known to hitch up the horse and buggy and go fetch visitors straight from the railroad depot nearby and bring them to his establishment.

Joe died in 1966, and although the bar was purchased and put in the very capable hands of Gary and Janet Gish who made the necessary renovations while keeping the bar's awesome ambiance (there's a TREE growing in the middle of it!), it seems like Joe is sticking around, keeping an eye on things.

Over the years, patrons and staff alike have witnessed a myriad of paranormal activity, such as disembodied voices, items being moved around, and the standard electrical disturbances.  But the most compelling reports are of the Man in the Red Plaid Shirt.  This man, described as being an older, taller man, is seen throughout the establishment, including behind the bar where he was seen from the waist up, his bright red plaid shirt leaving a lasting impression on Janet's mind.

This apparition has been seen in other areas as well, including the kitchen, the service alley, and in what is called the "old bar" section.  This area, before renovations, was actually Joe's bedroom while he was alive, and he has been observed walking through walls where doorways once stood.

Today, Joe's Place, as its called by the locals, is still a great place to enjoy a drink while watching the game (ANY game, as the place boasts 20 televisions) or to take the kids for a family-friendly lunch.  Prices are good, service is fair, and the decor cannot be beat.  Throw in a ghost or two and you've got a fun evening out!

Consuming Louisville
Kentucky Spirits, Undistilled, by Lisa Westmoreland-Doherty

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Mourning Wreath Comes to Life in Eskdale, WV!

Victorian Mourning Wreath
Hey everyone!  Sorry I didn't get around to posting a new haunted location today as promised, but its been a LONG day and I'm still not feeling great for whatever reason.  I didn't want to leave you hanging without anything, though, so I thought I'd share this REALLY awesome article that was passed on to me today.

The following excerpt was given to me by my mother-in-law who grew up in the Cabin Creek/Eskdale area.  Update: This article is from a paper called the Messenger, dated April 4, 1912.   Hope you enjoy this strange tale as much as I did!

Strange But True

The daughter of Thos. Crouch, of Eskdale, died in the Sheltering Arms Hospital last August, following an operation for appendicitis.  Her remains were taken to Eskdale for burial, and friends in that town gathered from a flower garden that was the pride of the young woman flowers enough to make a wreath which was placed on the coffin.  The flower is known as Bachelor Button.  As the coffin was being lowered in the grave the mother of the deceased, requested that the wreath be retained.  She took the flowers home, and placed them in a frame under a glass.  In a day or so they died and turned brown.  Recently, or more than four months afterwards the flowers have taken on new life, and are as fresh and beautiful as they day they were cut from the flower bed.  New buds are coming out and opening in all their beauty.  It is one of the strangest things that has claimed the attention of residents of that section, and the curious are paying daily visits to the Crouch residence to have a look at the transformation.  The flowers have not been removed from the frame hanging on the wall, there is no earth in the frame or anything to account for the strange phenomena.

Sheltering Arms Hospital, 1888-1923

I've spent the last hour or so trying to find the family history and give a name to this young woman, but the Vital Stats section of the WV Division of Culture and have both come up short for me.  I have found a few clues.  I believe Thomas Crouch was married to Wilminna or Minnie (spelled at least 5 different ways, lol).  There are three daughters listed on the 1900 census:  Pelie (age 15), Dora (age 3) and Sallie (age 1).  By the 1910 census, Pelie and Sallie have disappeared from the household.

The daughter listed as "Pelie" appears to actually be Pearl, and by information from Find-a-Grave, got married and lived to a ripe ol' age, marrying first a Crum, and then a Pruitt.  I have yet to find ANY death information for Dora and Sallie.  Apparently I'm not the only one, lol.  I've SCOURED records and family trees on Ancestry and no one seems to know what happened to the two younger girls.

The mother died in 1935 and the hospital where the girl died closed in 1923.  Therefore the girl in the article HAD to have died prior to 1923.  If Sallie DID die, it appears she died before or around the age of 11.  Dora is listed on the 1910 census, so she possible could have been aged 13-26 when she passed away, leaving both girls as potential subjects.

I guess I'll keep looking!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Would You Want to Live Here?

If you've been on Facebook any time in the last few months, chances are you've seen someone post this photo, usually accompanied by the challenge of, "Would YOU live (visit/spend the night/etc.) here?"  If the creep factor didn't bother you, you'd probably weigh the benefits of living that close between two tracks...and decide that no matter how historic or beautifully haunting the little home looks, its not worth it!  But, how much do you REALLY know about the building in this photo?

It probably doesn't surprise you, but this isn't a home that has survived the march of progress to be nestled between two tram tracks...its actually a tram station! WAS.

From what I can gather, I BELIEVE this particular station is the Little Pest Depot, located in Budapest Hungary.  Built in 1887, the depot once serviced the country's horse-drawn tram network along the Zugligeti Road, a main thoroughfare.  The pictures above and below were taken post-1896 when the city installed its first electric railway system.

From WikiPedia
This particular depot serviced the 58 tram, and thus, was known as the 58 Tram Depot.  It was eventually taken out of service in either December of 1976, or early the following January.  Unfortunately, vandals and the elements have taken their toll on this unique building, which was already creepy enough 100 years ago!  Here's a modern look at the old tram stop, with many, many more recent photos from the Zugligeti Reality post on the Merites website:

More Info

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Camp Wheelgate

The Haid House
While scouring the internet for brand-new, little known ghost stories and haunted places in West Virginia, I stumbled upon a story about Camp Wheelgate.  Camp Wheelgate, which was once a Girl Scout camp, is located on Dutch Road, just outside of Quick, WV.  It's about 30 minutes from Charleston and as I hope you'll find, has quite the interesting history...with plenty of haunts to go along with it!

I encourage you to read the story in her own words, but a submitter named cndlou2 shared a disturbing tale to the Your Ghost Stories website concerning her first paranormal experience.  The setting was a girl scout camp named Camp Wheelgate that she attended when she was a pre-teen.  It was during a routine scouting weekend, when the group stayed at Camp Wheelgate.  Camp Wheelgate was actually a farm setting, and instead of staying in a tent or cabin, the girls actually stayed in the old farmhouse (more on this later).  The first day of camp was uneventful, and the group slept downstairs.  During their second day at the camp, the group visited a local church/cemetery, and being young girls, probably didn't conduct themselves with as much decorum as they could have.  cndlou2 notes that girls played on graves and the church altar, and rang the church bell.  

From the Vintage Girl Scout Online Museum
That night, the activity started.  The group had decided to sleep upstairs in the old house this second night after finally getting the fireplace to work, and its unknown as to whether this act, or the earlier visit to the cemetery was the catalyst, but something happened that night.  Some girls reported seeing a white mist on the stairs, even claiming that they had difficulty getting up that staircase.  Others claimed to see a face looking down on them from the window while they were outside.  The activity accumulated when EVERYONE witnessed a loud bang coming from inside the house...a noise so loud that scout leaders went on a search to find the source of the noise.  Oddly, nothing was out of place except for the fact that 10 heavy cots had simply disappeared!  The cots, which had been set up earlier in another room, were too heavy for pre-teen girls to even lift, let alone sneak out of only two exits, both which would have been noticed.  Therefore, according to cndlou2, the scout leaders made other sleeping arrangements...far away from Camp Wheelgate.

Benedict and Margaret Haid, Jef and Rob's Wedding Site
Camp Wheelgate wasn't always a Girl Scout camp.  The home where these events took place was built around 1872 by Benedict Haid and his wife, Margaret.  The Haids, who were German, had anywhere from 5-9 children. According to the map below, I believe the Catholic Church and Haid Cemetery, where Benedict and much of the family is laid to rest, is the location where the girl scouts visited earlier on that fateful day.  What's interesting is this map, which I found while just trying to FIND where Camp Wheelgate was located, contains no less than 6 cemeteries nearby!  But, I'm pretty sure that's the one they visited.

Anyway, the farm stayed in the Haid Family for some time before it was required by the Girl Scouts in 1954.  The camp officially opened for its first session on June 27, 1954 and was only used for the Brownies, the scouting class for girls aged 7-10 years old.  In 1959, the camp saw a sad event when a retired gentleman named Augusten Bouchard who was working as a janitor for the camp, passed away on the property from a heart attack.  In 1961, the camp was still used for just the Brownies, and was managed by scout leader, Miss Meg Bailey.  It wasn't until 1974 when the Black Diamond Girl Scouts took over, and the camp was finally used for the older girl scouts.  Based on the age given by cndlou2, I believe that she visited the camp sometime between 1974 when the camp opened for the older Girl Scouts, and when it closed in 1986.

Bill Pepper, from Jef and Rob's Wedding Site
In 1986, the property was put up for sale and purchased by a lawyer from Charleston, Bill Pepper and his wife, Sue.  It was Bill's original idea to create a private get-away for his family close, but still far away, from the hustle and bustle of the city.  However, the business opportunity was ideal, and Bill eventually would convert the old Haid home into a beautiful bed and breakfast, and the farm hosted many weddings, family reunions, and other events over the years.  The B&B is still open and operational, both for rented events, but also to stay for a night or two in an idyllic farm setting.  It is no longer known as Camp Wheelgate, reverting back to the name of Benedict Haid Farm, and there are no reports of further paranormal activity that I've uncovered.  

Was the incident witnessed by a group of girl scouts and their leaders simply the product of overstimulated pre-teen minds?  Was the ghost that of the former janitor, still on the job?  Or, was the ghost(s) that of a member of the Benedict Haid family, upset that not only these girls disrespected the family cemetery and church, but then were hanging out in the family homestead?  Perhaps you should book at night and find out for yourself!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Mayo Mansion and Methodist Church of Paintsville, Kentucky

Mayo Mansion, City-Data
Good morning!  Last night I asked my FaceBook readers to pick which state today's post would come from, and Michelle chimed in first, suggesting Kentucky!  Michelle, for being the first to respond, this post is dedicated to you...but to everyone who else chimed in, don't despair!  It looks like West Virginia was the popular vote, and I've got PLENTY more of those in the works.  If I don't get around to posting a bonus location this afternoon, tomorrow's post will definitely be from West Virginia.  Anyway...

I chose the Mayo Mansion in Paintsville, Kentucky after finding several references to it on a Kentucky Topix thread.  Oddly, most people who chimed in claim that the Classic Revival structure is NOT haunted, but reports abound throughout the web about one particular ghost that has been sighted numerous times.  But first, a quick look at the history of the Mayo Mansion.

The Mayo Mansion was built over a period of several years.  Ground broke in 1905, but it wasn't completed until December of 1912.  It was built by Kentucky's first coal baron, John Caldwell Calhoun Mayo, for his wife, Alice Jane Meek.  Mayo came from humble beginnings, but worked hard to better himself, studied geology, and eventually became one of Kentucky's wealthiest citizens, buying up coal rights all over eastern Kentucky.  Originally, the mansion was supposed to be simply a palatial home, but influenced by the old plantation homes that still dotted parts of southern Kentucky (and most likely at the urging of Alice, affectionately known as Alkie or Alka) plans were changed to double the size of the mansion, which came in at a cost of $250,000.

Unfortunately, Mayo was never really destined to live in the dream home that took seven years to complete...and neither was Alice.  The two took a tour of Europe in 1913 and upon returning home, Mayo discovered that his incurable Bright's Disease had worsened.  He was briefly hospitalized in Cincinnati, but ultimately passed away on May 11, 1941 at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel; he was in the city to seek out the opinion of the country's best doctors.

Filled with grief and the burden of inheriting the company from her husband, Alice picked up and went to Florida.  In 1917, she met and married Samuel Fetter, a doctor from Ohio who was recuperating from his own illness in Palm Beach.  They returned to Kentucky and purchased a Victorian home together, which they renovated extensively.  During this time, she was still busily taking care of her late husband's affairs, dividing the interest of the company between herself and her two children, and donating the mansion that was built for her.  She donated the mansion and the property to the Sandy Valley Seminary who under the administration of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, created the John C.C. Mayo College.

John Mayo had been a prominent member of the church, and had even donated the land and half the construction cost of building a new church building near his own mansion.  The construction of the church took considerably less time, starting in 1908 and culminating with the first service on September 19, 1909.  For a little bonus haunting, I found ONE reference that this historic church itself is haunted.  A woman is seen kneeling in prayer inside, and some have even heard her whispering or chanting in prayer.  Many believe this to be the apparition of none other than Alice Mayo.

Mayo Methodist Church
Sadly, Alice's second marriage only lasted four years, as Fetter's own illness finally took his life as well.  For business purposes, Alice had her name legally changed backed to Mayo.  No one could deny that Alice wasn't a shrewd businesswoman.  By 1928, the John C.C. Mayo College was officially known as the Sandy Valley Seminary, yet financial hardships caused the school to close down and sit vacant.  Alice sued to regain ownership of the property, stating that since the intended purpose to which she donated the land and mansion had failed, legally she retained ownership.  It was a long battle, but ultimately she won, and the title was returned to her in 1936.

However, she quickly turned around and in 1938 sold the property to a business associate of her first husband, E.J. Evans, who leased the property out to several organizations, including the city of Paintsville, who opened the Mayo Vocational School.  In 1945, the property was sold to the Most Reverend William T. Mulloy, the Roman Catholic Bishop from Covington, KY.  With the leadership of the Sisters of Divine Providence, the mansion became Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic School.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Residents passing by the property have often noted that Mr. Mayo still seems to be guarding his palatial home...but oddly enough, is never seen INSIDE.  Rather, he is seen, complete in period correct clothing and hat, sitting on the sidewalk outside the property, watching those who go by.  Why he is still sticking around, no one knows for sure, but he did spend seven years building a home for a wife, who, not only never really lived in it, but pretty much shucked it to the side.  Could the fact that he never really lived there be the reason why he won't go inside...or is the old Southern Methodist intimidated by all the Catholic nuns?

*There are some conflicting reports about the possible paranormal activity and even perhaps some of the history concerning this location and a mansion of the same name in Ashland, KY.  I'm still working to make sure that everything here is correct and pertaining to the same location.  If you have any updates or corrections, feel free to send them my way:  Thanks!*

For more info on this family:
Appalachian History, by Dave Tabler (Info on Alice)
The Strange Career of John C.C. Mayo by Henry Caudill

Monday, September 9, 2013

Huntington's Suicide Hotel and the Ghosts of the Express Printing Building

Park Tower, Randal Brown Collection
So...the term "suicide hotel"  obviously seems a little dramatic, and you're probably wondering what the heck it has to do with a local printing company...a haunted local printing company, at that!  Honestly, I haven't really put together all the pieces myself, but I hope you enjoy reading about the wild journey that led me to both of these locations from the 700th block of Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington!

It actually all started at another investigation...

During an HPIR investigation of another historic building in the Huntington area, our Ovilus started saying some strange things.  While in Dictionary Mode, it surprised us all when instead of saying something normally found in a dictionary, it spit out the name Edwin.  We had some other interesting things happen that evening that seemed to be associated with this entity that we now called Edwin, so when I got home after the investigation, I began the research process into finding out whether this guy really did exist, and if he did, who he could be and why was he there.

I started with a simple search on the West Virginia Division of Culture's website, looking for anyone named Edwin who died in Cabell County between 1920 and 1940.  I didn't find anything that might relate to the case we were working, but I did find something of interest that immediately drew me in:  On July 30, 1938 Edwin M. Godby, a divorced dentist from Clarksburg, took his own life.  The 41 year old shot himself in the head at a place called the Park Tower Hotel in Huntington.

I don't pretend to be an expert on Huntington's history, but I thought that I would have at least come across this location before.  But, never having heard of it, I turned to Google.  The first entry that popped up was a Find-a-Grave entry!  The entry was for a 21 year old gentleman named Ronald E. Barr.  Barr was a traveling glass salesman from Wellsburg, WV.  On October 9, 1935, Barr took his own life through an overdose of Sodium Amytal.  He did so at the Park Tower Hotel in Huntington, WV.

So within a few minutes time, I had gone from having no knowledge of the Park Tower Hotel, to finding out only two pieces of information about it:  that it was located on the corner of 7th Street and 4th Avenue, and that two people had committed suicide there.  Therefore, I facetiously nicknamed it the Suicide Hotel!  Later, I went on to do some library research and found out a little more about the history.  The Park Tower Hotel was built around 1927 by renowned architect Levi Dean.  70 guestrooms boasted private baths, while 53 rooms were available without.  George Arrington was the proprietor for many years and was a proud manager for the "fireproof" hotel.  A 1928 Marshall yearbook ad claimed that visiting sports team to the college always stayed at the Park Tower because it was clean and homey...and at rooms available for $2 or less a night, was an economical choice!  Over the years, the Engineers Club of Huntington also met here.  Unfortunately, the hotel would quickly lose its charms.  It later became known as the Milner Hotel, and had a rather seedy reputation up until the 1980s.

Park Tower after the 1937 Flood. Source

*Side Note:  In 1924 Congress passed legislation promising anyone serving in WW1 a bonus of sorts; they were to receive $1.25 for each day served overseas and $1 for each day served in the United States.  These payments were to start in 1945, but in 1932, many of these veterans were feeling the effects of the Great Depression.  Destitute, they banded together  and ascended on Washington, D.C. Calling themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force, they demanded their payment be made early.  Much to the dismay of Huntington officials, who were already having a hard time feeding its own citizens, the fight of the BEF was brought to Huntington, and Doak Carter set up headquarters in the Park Tower Hotel.*

Anyway, this was a cool location with some tragic history, but since the building was torn down in the early 1980s and there were no actual ghost stories known, I never added it to the growing list of Haunted WV locations.  I kept it in the back of my mind, though...

Sometime before all this happened, I had been introduced to another Huntington location said to be haunted:  The Express Printing Building, located across from the courthouse.  Geoffrey Foster, a local paranormal investigator, had written a book about some of his personal experiences and local haunts...and the Express Printing Building was a location where he personally lived and experienced paranormal activity.  According to Foster's book, Ghosts of West Virginia, the most common occurrence in the three-storey building's upstairs apartment complex is hearing heavy, phantom footsteps in the hallways.  Other activity included the sounds of dishes rattling in the sink in the author's own apartment, and a collection of Happy Meal toys in a friend's finding themselves taken off a shelf and apparently played with!

It was believed that these hauntings could be a result of a fire that broke out in the back of the building...a fire that took the lives of a small child and a homeless man who had passed out on the back staircase.  The staircase in particular became a hotbed of activity, with several people having the experience of someone unseen following them up the stairs, breathing heavily, and even brushing up against them.  At the time, I didn't really pay attention to the address of this location, but knew it was across from the Cabell County courthouse.  With so many other things going on, I never got a chance to research the location further, and like the "Suicide Hotel," it got relegated to the back of my mind.

Then, last year, I needed a printer in a hurry to whip of some preview copies of my own book, Haunted Huntington, Volume I.  I chose Express Printing because it was local and I had heard good things about them.  The owners were wonderful people and they did a great job, VERY quickly, for me and seemed very interested in the subject matter of the booklet.  I only got to chat a moment with them, but they claimed to have never had any ghosts in the bottom floor of the building, where the shop was located.

Anyway, it wasn't until a week later when I was picking up my books that I came to a startling realization.  The address for Express Printing was in the 700th block of Fourth Avenue, with just a small building separating it from being on the actual corner of 7th St. and 4th Avenue.  I wracked my brain trying to remember where I had heard that address before:  it was the address of the Suicide Hotel!

There's no real reason to believe that perhaps the many souls and/or energies that permeated the Suicide Hotel moved over to Express Printing when the building was torn down, but the coincidence of how I found out about the hotel and how it does relate, at least geographically, to a reported haunting, is just one of those weird things that this field always finds me in the middle of!

Black and white photo and some historical information for the Park Tower Hotel, courtesy of Huntington: The Edwardian Age's Modern Movement (2005) by Don Daniel McMillian.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ghosts of the Hotel Prichard

Prichard, 1950s
In my humble opinion, and I may be a bit biased, but it seems like Huntington, WV is one of the most haunted cities in all of West Virginia, and even in the tri-state area.  Ghost stories are associated with nearly every one of its vast number of historic buildings, and the Prichard Hotel is no exception.  Unfortunately, this is one of those buildings where the ghost stories were unclear and undefined...with just a simple "its haunted," taking place over any specific incidents.  Until now that is!  I've finally stumbled upon some concrete stories, and while I'm still doing some additional research on the history of this building, I wanted to go ahead and share a little about this location in hopes that someone out there will come forth with his/her own personal experiences!  Anyway...

The Hotel Prichard was built on the corner of 9th Street and 6th avenue in 1926 by Frederick C. Prichard.  It was designed by the architect Henry Ziegler Dietz and boasted 13 floors (a bad omen?) containing 300 guest rooms, all with private baths, a ballroom, and several public AND private dining rooms.  Prichard, who had made his fortune in the coalfields of Fayette County, built this building, but is also famous for the Robson-Prichard Building, now known as the Guaranty Bank building; at the time, these were two of the tallest buildings in the city.

However, the good times would soon come to an end for Prichard and he lost his fortune during the Great Depression, only a few years after his lavish hotel was built.  He was forced to sell his Huntington properties, but instead of giving up completely, relocated to Texas.  He never lived in West Virginia again, but did visit from time to time, up until his death in 1960.

Over the years, the hotel hosted a number of very interesting guests!  In 1949, Gene Autry stayed there while performing in Huntington.  In 1956, the staff of NBC's Today Show stayed at the Prichard...including the famous chimpanzee host, J. Fred Muggs!  He was the first (and presumably only) chimpanzee to stay at the hotel during its glory days.  Even John F. Kennedy and his staff stayed at the hotel during the 1960 presidential campaign!

It seems like symbolically, the year 1960 was the start of the hotel's decline.  That was the year when Prichard himself passed away...and the year when Kennedy was elected, only to be assassinated three years later.  It lasted another 10 years as a hotel, but it was never the same as it was in its glory days.  Then, in 1970, the hotel was purchased by Polan Realty and converted into an apartment complex, with businesses renting space on the ground floor.  Today, Shane Polan is the owner of the building, which is still being used as an apartment.

It was in one of these apartments that a young tenant reported a year of living hell...not from a nightmarish roommate or an inconsiderate landlord....but from a constant barrage of paranormal activity!

The account, which occurred on the 10th floor in room 1003, was submitted to the Ghosts of America site, and contains the whole gamut of hauntings.  A man was seen wearing turn of the century clothing, drinking glasses shattered one at a time over a period of several weeks until the renter was left without any, and an incessant ringing of the doorbell was heard on a regular basis.  The ringing would stop when the renter would get within a few feet of the door...and of course, there was never anyone there when the door was answered.  Even the renter's cat was terrified of the apartment, refusing to come out from under the bed.  When removed from the situation, the cat blossomed into an outgoing, friendly animal.

During the course of my very brief look into the history of this location, I've already found a ton of deaths associated with the hotel, leading up to present day as its use as an apartment.  The Prichard has also, in recent years, suffered with a run of bad luck in regards to illegal drug activity, petty crime, and a disproportional number of fires.  The building has stood strong, though, and the current owner, Shane Polan, is working hard to clean up the magnificent old building and restore her grandeur.  However, its because of this checkered past that its anyone's guess as to who or what might be haunting this Huntington landmark.  Again, I'll be looking into the history a bit more, especially about what was on the site before the hotel was built, but I'd love to hear from you readers!  Do you have a ghost story or any additional historic information?  Do you have a wonderful memory of staying here, eating here, or even attending prom in the ballroom?  Please submit anything you'd like to share in the comments below, or reach me at  Thanks, and happy haunting!

Photo and historical info from:
Jean Tarbett Hardiman, Herald-Dispatch

Friday, September 6, 2013

Kentucky's Haunted Bluegrass Heritage Museum

Since I featured an Ohio location yesterday, I felt obligated to provide my Kentucky readers a brand-new location as well!  I've chosen to feature the Bluegrass Heritage Museum in Winchester because even though there isn't a whole lot of information out there on the actual hauntings, the history of this location is fascinating...and a formerly adjoined bed and breakfast next door makes this a perfect location to spend a long weekend!

The Bluegrass Heritage Museum actually got its start in 1994, but since 2000 the collection has been housed in a beautiful white brick home.  The home was originally built in 1887 by Dr. Ishmael, who lived in the home until his death in 1920.  Shortly after, in 1927, Dr. Edward Putney Guerrant purchased the home, and over the years, several surrounding homes and properties.  He turned the Ishmael home into the health care facility known as the Guerrant Mission Clinic and Hospital.

Guerrant operated the hospital until his death in 1964, with his son taking over until the hospital's closure in 1971.   Today, the Guerrant heirs are still involved with the property, running a wonderful bed and breakfast known as the Guerrant Mission Bed and Breakfast, in another historic home behind the clinic property.  This house was used as housing for the nurses during the hospital's tenure.  The museum, though, uses the original clinic space to house three floors of collections dedicated to different aspects of Kentucky history.  The third floor, however, which served as Dr. Guerrant's operating room, is dedicated solely to the clinic's history and impact on the community.

An article on Yahoo Voices lists this location as in the Top Five (#4, actually) Haunted Locations in Kentucky and from what I can tell, this is based on a small snippet of information that is listed on several other locations, but without a strong original source.  This information states that the location is full of paranormal activity such as phantom footsteps, doors opening and closing by themselves, and even full-bodied apparitions.  There is even EVP evidence of screaming and moaning, and a video showing alleged poltergeist activity.  The hot spot of the museum is definitely the third floor, where the operating room was located, but activity occurs throughout the location, including the former morgue.

This past summer, the museum celebrated finally becoming debt-free, and when asked about the future of the museum at the former clinic, it was noted that there would be improvements on the roof and windows...but that the collection was rapidly outgrowing the space the building provided, leaving the fate of the Guerrant Clinic to an uncertain future.  Go visit while you can!

Bluegrass Heritage Museum Website

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Veterans' Memorial Hospital, Pomeroy, OH

Meigs County Children's Home, by Tom Darrell (1983)
Today's blog post is a special Haunted Ohio location!  I didn't really mean to write an Ohio piece today, but what started as an insomnia-fueled quest for some interesting ghost stories to read quickly turned into a hunt for more information on one place in particular.  That place is the Veterans' Memorial Hospital, located in Pomeroy, Ohio.

The hospital opened for business on September 20, 1962 as a 41-bed facility dedicated to the veterans of Meigs County.  Upgrades took place in 1971, turning it into an 88 bed facility, but unfortunately, the hospital closed its doors in 2001.  By 2008, there were talks of converting part of the facility into the new EMS headquarters, but the design of the building and cost were prohibitive of that idea.  Cost was again a factor in the decision to NOT use the space as a new medical clinic.  There has been interest in using the former hospital as an office complex and renting out space, but for the most part, the large building sits fairly empty, being used for storage. (Source: Abandoned Online)

According to several different websites listing haunted locations and ghost stories of Ohio, this hospital is home to a young female ghost who is seen wearing a long, white nightgown.  Further research would give a more detailed description of the girl...a few more clues as to who she might be.  For example, Haunted Hocking: A Ghost Hunters Guide to the Hocking Hills and Beyond, by Janette Quackenbush, features the tale, and adds that the little girl is most notably seen from outside the hospital, through the windows.  The young apparition stands in front of the window, wearing her long nightgown and often holding a candle.  When spotted, she'll quickly disappear, but is said to also play with the interior lights of the building, turning them on and off.

Being seen from outside the building makes sense due to the fact that the building is not occupied, but it seems as if the little girl was haunting the hospital long before it closed its doors!  A former nursing employee of the hospital weighed in on a local TOPIX post about area hauntings with some chilling information.  When the hospital was operational, the little girl was heard much more frequently than she was seen.  Staff and patients alike would hear her bouncing a rubber ball and skipping along the halls.  She was seen, however, by several different residents sitting in certain rooms alongside different patients.  It was accepted that the ghost was that of a little girl who died mysteriously before the hospital was even built!

Up the hill a bit from the hospital on Mulberry Road was the Meigs County Children's Home, an orphanage that first opened its doors in March of 1883 on land given to the county by Ms. Sarah H. Dabney.  The orphanage operated until 1973 and was later used as office space for the county school board, and possibly at one time, as elderly housing.  While I haven't yet confirmed or denied the story, it is said that in the 1940s, a four year old little girl disappeared from the orphanage.  Her body was never found, but a pair of blood-stained little girls' panties were...leading investigators to suspect foul play.

Is the little ghost girl that wanders the halls of the Veterans' Memorial Hospital the same girl who disappeared not so many years ago from a nearby orphanage, or was she a patient who lost her life in sometime in the 40+ years of the hospital's history?  Both of these locations appear to still be standing...perhaps one day her story will be told to someone who will listen.

*Want to read about MORE spooky locations in Ohio?  Check out my Haunted Ohio page for additional ghost stories from the Buckeye State!*

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cat Scratch!

In the realm of Bloody Mary, Light as a Feather/Stiff as a Board, and 100 Candles, lies a new paranormal-themed slumber party game:  Cat Scratch.

I was introduced to Cat Scratch last evening as I was trolling around the paranormal phenomena section of  Yahoo Answers.  Intrigued, I decided to look up a little more information on the game, and found it was pretty simple to play, but did require at least two people, making it perfect for sleepovers!

How to Play:
1. One person sits on the floor while the other lies down with his/her head in the sitter's lap.  Additional guests sit in a circle around the pair, quietly.  Candle or other dim light, or complete darkness is not required, but definitely adds to the ambiance.

2. While gently massaging the person's temples in a circular motion, the sitter begins to tell a frightening tale involving a cat.  The website Scary For Kids has two examples, but honestly, they aren't really that creepy.  Please see below for a list of spooky cat tales that can be found here at Theresa's Haunted History for more inspiration...or simply make up your own.  The story content isn't as important as the mindset of the person lying on the floor.  They are to be as relaxed as possible, concentrating almost meditatively on the speaker's words.

3. When the story is finished, the person lying on the floor can lift up their shirt, and if the "incantation" worked, should have scratch marks on their back!

Does it Work?
Honestly, I've never tried this...and probably never I can't really give you a satisfactory answer as to whether or not it "works."  However, keep in mind that it is very unlikely that these actions are going to summon anything paranormal into scratching you.  In VERY rare cases, you might find that that the 'scratchee' actually goes into a deep enough meditative state that its possible they could pull a mind-over-matter type deal and actually manifest scratch marks on themselves.

It is MUCH more likely, though, that when you pull up your shirt, you're gonna find what look like scratches!  These might be actual scratches caused by mundane things throughout the day that you didn't notice, or simply reddish marks caused by lying down on the floor, putting pressure on certain areas, for a set amount of time.  To test this theory out, I just went and examined my own back in the mirror, and sure enough, I have what can easily be interpreted as a "cat scratch," caused by my own nails trying to seek relief from a bug bite, lol. To a spooked tween WANTING to be scared, I can see where these could easily be misinterpreted...but that's part of the fun!  With Halloween fast approaching us, its the perfect time to give this a try; just let me know what happens!

Cat Stories From Theresa's Haunted History:
1. Wait 'Til Emmet Comes-this classic tale is said to have originated right here in Appalachia!
2. Demon Cat of Washington, DC-a terrifying creature stalks our nation's capitol
3. Ambrosis, the Ghost Cat-my own pet cat who never left
4. Phantom Lioness of the Cincy Zoo

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Poltergeist Trilogy Curse

They're Heeeeree...

It's been 31 years since the first Poltergeist movie hit the big screen and the iconic horror film trilogy has been scaring the pants off people ever since!  Even if you haven't seen any of the movies, the very image of young Carol Anne kneeling in front of a static-y television uttering those two, horrifying words in that innocent sing-song voice is enough to invoke an innate sense of fear.

But why is it so scary?  We KNOW its just a movie, right?  Of course, but like any good horror movie classic, the very circumstances surrounding the film itself are wrought with legends and alleged "true" paranormal activity!  Let's take a quick look at some of the eerie coincidences that are often cited as evidence of the Poltergeist curse:

Deaths of Cast Members:
Years ago, it was rumored that everyone who worked on the film met an untimely end.  Obviously, that isn't true, but there were at least four notable deaths of cast members that occurred during or slightly after the six year run between the release of the first and last Poltergeist movie.  Two of these deaths were not highly unusual.  Julian Beck, who played Kane in the second film, died after an 18 month battle with stomach cancer.  Will Sampson, who played the shaman died from complications after a heart/lung transplant.  Both actors were older, not in good health, and had been battling terminal issues for some time before their respective deaths.

The deaths of Sampson and Beck are still tragic, but not necessarily evidence of a curse.  Instead, most people point to the very untimely deaths of two other stars:  Dominique Dunne, who played the oldest daughter Dana, and Heather O'Rourke, who played Carol Anne throughout all three movies.

On October 30, 1982, Dunne, who was 22 years old, was confronted at her home by her ex-boyfriend, John Sweeney.  Sweeney had come to reconcile, but when Dunne refused, he attacked her, choking her for an estimated 4-6 minutes.  Dunne passed out and lapsed into a coma.  She died on November 4.  Sweeney was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and served less than six years in prison.

Heather O'Rourke was just 12 years old when she passed away in February of 1988.  Believed to have been suffering from the flu since January of that year, Heather continued to get worse until fainting at breakfast one morning.  On the way to the hospital, she went into cardiac arrest.  It was later discovered that she had an intestinal blockage, a condition brought on by her previously diagnosed Crohn's Disease, and was experiencing sepsis.  She underwent surgery to remove the blockage, but the toxins coursing through her blood stream were too strong and she died on the operating table on February 1st, shortly before the release of the third film.  Because she died prior to the release of the film, it is debated as to whether or not she had actually completed filming all her scenes.  Her parents claim that all scenes were completed the previous June, but producers claimed that subtle changes had to be made to the script to accommodate her passing.

Other Creepy Stuff:
There were some other interesting things that happened on set or to actors during the filming of the movies, again, most notably the first.  During the first movie, Oliver Robins, who played Robbie, nearly died when one of the mechanical clowns malfunctioned and began choking him.  At first, it was thought that he was a really good actor, but when he actually started turning blue, it was realized that he was in serious trouble.

JoBeth Williams, who played the mom in the first movie, had her own supernatural experiences OFF set.  She claimed that when she'd go home in the evening, all the framed photos on the walls of her home would be askew.  She'd fix them back, but find that the next evening, they'd again be out of place.

So...the above points are the "evidence" that is often presented when the curse is discussed, but WHY would this movie be cursed?  Many people believe that there is a very simple reason for this...simple, but very, very creepy!

Remember the pool scene in the first movie...the part where all the human skeletons pop up, confirming that the subdivision was built atop a cemetery where the headstones were moved but not the bodies?  Those were REAL human skeletons.  Seriously.  At the time, it was much cheaper to purchase human skeletons than ones made of plastic.  In fact, when I was in high school, we still had a skeleton in our science department who was 99% real human remains.  Those same skeletons were used again in certain scenes in the second film.

Obviously, the cast wasn't too thrilled with this revelation.  A film about the dangers of treating the bodies of the dead with disrespect using real human remains as props is rather ironic and even prompted Will Sampson, who was a medicine man in real life, to conduct an exorcism on set.

Whether or not the souls of those whose bodies were used in the filming of this series came back to wreak vengeance...or whether or not you believe there is ANY type of curse associated with this trilogy...its still interesting to think about all the coincidences and spooky things that keep popping up with not just THIS movie, but so many other horror movies out there.  In any event, with Halloween barreling its way towards us, the Poltergeist trilogy will inevitably hitting the small screen on at least a few different channels.  If you choose to watch, just remember that the pool scene has a couple of un-credited extra actors involved!