Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's a Pre-WWII Halloween!

Tomorrow might only be the first day of September, but I'm already excited about Halloween!  Halloween isn't just a one-night holiday in my's really something that is celebrated at least throughout the entire month of October and arguably all year long!

Anyway, several weeks ago I got a really cool magazine from the Nitro Antique Mall auctions:  the October 1941 edition of The Railway Conductor.  When we realized that the cover photo was from Harpers Ferry, I got really excited by the idea that they MIGHT have mentioned the story of Screaming Jenny to coincide with Halloween.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, but it DID contain a neat little article on Halloween itself!

The following excerpt is credited only with the fact that it came from an encyclopedia and although it doesn't say which one, its an interesting look back at what Halloween meant in pre-WWII United States.  Enjoy!

"Customs and superstitions gathered through the ages go into our celebration of Hallowe'en or "Holy Eve" on October 31.  The day is so named because it is the eve of the festival of All Saints, but many of the beliefs and observances connected with it arose long before the Christian era, in the Autumn festivals of pagan peoples.

The ancient Druids had a three-day celebration at the beginning of November.  On the eve before, they believed spirits of the dead roamed abroad and they lighted bonfires driving them away.  In ancient Rome the festival of Pomona, goddess of fruits and gardens, occurred at about this time of year.  It was an occasion of rejoicing associated with the harvest; the nuts and apples as symbols of the winter store of fruit were roasted before huge bonfires.

Even after November 1 became a Christian feast day honoring all Saints, the peasants clung to the old pagan beliefs and customs hat had grown up about Hallowe'en.  It became a night of mystery and fun-making with many picturesque superstitions.  Folk came to believe that they could foretell the future on that night by performing such rites as jumping over lighted candles.  In the British Isles great bonfires blazed and laughing bands of "guisers", young people disguised in grotesque masks and carrying lanterns carved from turnips, gathered in each village.  Their rollicking fun and cherished superstitions are described in Robert Burns' famous poem, "Hallowe'en."

Our Hallowe'en celebration today keeps many of these customs unchanged.  Young and old gather to hunt nuts, and to duck for apples bobbing in a tub of water.  Grinning jack-o'-lanterns, rustling corn-stalks and white-sheeted figures create an air of mystery and black paper witches and cats are used for party decorations.

In the north of England, Hallowe'en is known as Nutcrack Night." 


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Washington, D.C. and the Demon Cat

The most evil creature in Washington.  Aww...
Washington, D.C. just isn't our nation's capital.  It's a symbol of all the freedoms and ideals that make America, well...America. It's history, politics, and a study of the human spirit all shoved into its tiny borders. Oh, and its bursting with ghosts!

My favorite of these ghost stories is a little different than the classic spooky tales of deceased presidents roaming the halls of the White House offering advice to anyone who will listen.  This is a tale of a Demon. Well, a Demon CAT!  

The Demon Cat, affectionately and cleverly nicknamed D.C., has been terrorizing security guards in the nation's capitol ever since the early 1800s!  It is believed that the phantom feline originates from a living, breathing cat that served its country many, many years ago.  Evidently, not long after the White House and surrounding buildings were built, Washington, D.C. had a problem.  The basement tunnels under the city were plagued with rats!  Cats were brought in to take care of the problem, but one cat remained long after the rest had wandered away or were adopted:  The Demon Cat of Washington, D.C.

To witnesses, the Demon Cat initially appears as a normal cat, often even being described as a helpless kitten.  However, as they approach the cat, its eyes begin to glow a sinister shade of red.  The tiny kitten grows to the size of a regular house cat, then to the size of a large dog, and then continues to grow until its the size of a lion, tiger, or by some accounts, even a bear!  Those who are lucky will witness the cat simply disappear into thin air.  Others aren't so lucky, and will feel a paralyzing fear as the creature lunges at them, only to disappear mid-air.  In any event, the creature is only said to show itself to those who are walking alone.  Twice, once in 1862 and again in 1898, the cat was shot at and at least one person is said to have died as a direct result from contact...dying of a heart attack allegedly brought on by fright.

There's no limit to the Demon Cat's area of prowess.  It is seen both above ground and in the basement tunnels of various government buildings, but it does tend to favor a specific area...a pretty creepy area in its own right.  When a deserving person dies and lies in state at the Capitol Rotunda, the casket is placed on a pedestal base known as catafalque.  The present catafalque dates back to the hastily constructed platform used in the funeral of Abraham Lincoln, and aside from a few adjustments, is basically the same as it was nearly 150 years ago.  When not in use, it is stored in an area below known as the Catafalque Storage Room, a crypt that was originally supposed to be the final resting place of George Washington.

And while the Demon Cat seems to freely roam for the most part, he's usually only seen only during specific times.  Reports of the cat have taken place around the time that a new president is elected into the White House, but more spookily, the Demon Cat seems to be an omen of great tragedy befalling America.

Allegedly, the cat has been seen before the deaths of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, and JFK.  He's been seen before the stock market crash of 1929 and even on the eve of September 11th.  

The last "official" sighting took place prior to the 1940s, though.  That's because during that decade, an "official" explanation was given.  Basically what they were saying was that former security guards had a long history of being drunkards...and that in one specific incident, a drunken guard was lying down on the job, got licked by a normal cat, and since he THOUGHT he was standing up at the time, overestimated the cat's size! Due to this hilarious accusation and the tightening security protocols, guards stopped reporting sightings of the demon cat, and today, the newest stories are only coming from retired personnel.  

(Going back in time with this post!  This was supposed to be the August Blog Challenge's Day 10: Write About an Animal!)

Tweet This!

Today's Blog Challenge topic is to write a list of people to follow on Twitter!  Here's my list of the Top 7 most interesting accounts to follow for plenty of updates on paranormal topics.  If you're on Twitter, go give 'em a follow!

1. Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State---shameless self-plug here!  This is the account that I use to share updates on this blog, Huntington Paranormal news, and information about our Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours.  I also like to share quotes, Netflix recommendations, and re-tweets of awesome articles on a variety of paranormal subjects.  I try to offer a little bit of variety from what you'll find on my FaceBook fan page!

2. Two-Lane Livin' Magazine---this local publication has lots of great information on Appalachian culture and homesteading, but my favorite feature is the haunted history segment by paranormal author, Sherri Brake.

3. Maine Ghost Hunters---a paranormal group out of Maine, obviously.  They post lots of interesting, thought-provoking questions of interest to both investigators and enthusiasts of the paranormal.

4. Para-Civility---an organization devoted to promoting civilized interactions between paranormal groups and debunking the myths behind "paranormal unity."

5. Who Forted?---an online magazine/website sharing some of the weird news going on in the world.  Ghosts, monsters, UFOs, and all sorts of fortean phenomena are discussed in oft-times hilarious and always well written/researched articles.

6. Paranormal SOS---daily compilation of paranormal news stories.  Always a little something for everyone...and several times my blog has made the cut!

7. Loren Coleman---Updates from probably the most well-known contemporary cryptozoologists in the world.

*Craving more paranormal social media?  Check out my list of 11 Top FaceBook Fan Pages!*

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Spookily Awesome FaceBook

Well, I've made it to Day 19 of the August Blog Challenge, and today's topic is to write about a FaceBook page that has taught me a lot, inspired me, made me laugh, etc.  That's a lot to ask of a social media site, but I finally chose a page that I think you all will enjoy!

Ghost Magnets with a Twist is a fan page ran by a paranormal investigation team out of New York.  And while their style of investigation doesn't always mirror mine 100%, this is undoubtedly a team that has it together.  Professional and compassionate about their work and clients, I always enjoy reading whatever they happen to post.

More importantly, this is one of those pages that is really conducive to interaction.  A variety of Topic of the Day and other questions reach close to 2000 fans every day, and there's always some good discussion.  I enjoy putting in my two cents, of course, but there's also a lot of really good comments and opinions shared by such a diverse group of people.  Seeing so many people actively thinking about and expressing ideas about the paranormal is always inspiring to me!

Go give Ghost Magnets with a Twist a big LIKE on FaceBook, and for more of my favorite paranormal-related FaceBook pages, check out my previous blog, Top 11 Tri-State Area Paranormal Fan Pages!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Captain Disillusion Takes on the Gas Station Ghost

Day 18 of the August Blog Challenge is upon us, and today's challenge is to write about a video that I love, that inspires, and/or that teaches!   The first thing that popped into mind was a YouTube series by a "super hero" that goes by the name of Captain Disillusion.  As described on his website:

In a world where the content of digital images and videos can no longer be taken at face value, an unlikely hero fights for the acceptance of truth.

Captain Disillusion guides "children" of all ages through the maze of visual fakery to the open spaces of reality and peace of mind.

So in short, Captain Disillusion, complete with his silvery face make-up and high tech video editing, tears apart controversial videos, showing just how easily they can be explained through natural means, but mostly, how easily they can be faked.

I chose to highlight this particular video because even though he's pretty crass and rude to the reporter involved, its news stories like this that further lead to the devolution of the paranormal field.  Shoddy and sensational journalism highlighting the ignorance of the general population on paranormal matters at its best is illustrated beautifully.  Oh, and this case took place in Ohio, so I thought it related nicely!

Captain Disillusion's video series is always an inspiration.  Humor infused with science allows for an easy understanding of certain concepts, many of which aren't as simple as a bug on a camera casing.  If you get a few minutes, check out the plethora of Captain Disillusion videos on YouTube.  Many videos have a paranormal (mostly ghostly) theme, but other topics are discussed as well.

Captain Disillusion's YouTube Channel
Captain Disillusion's Official Website and Blog

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Haint Blue

From Kitchen and Residential Design
I've always been a Southern girl at heart even though I technically have never lived in the deep South!  Still, I think that fascination with southern culture ultimately influenced my love of the color and legend of Haint Blue.  Have you ever looked at an older house, especially one in the South, and noticed that the porch ceiling was painted a beautifully soft shade of pale blue-green?  THAT is haint blue...but where did this trend start?

Blue painted porch ceilings can be found in most locations throughout the United States in one form or another.  On the East Coast, it is not uncommon to find Victorian Mansions implementing a variety of blues, greens, mustard yellows, and terra cottas.  The Victorians loved to paint their homes in colors that reminded them of nature, and a blue porch ceiling was obviously a nod to the sky on a beautiful clear day.

There is also a belief that a blue porch, and blue window trimmings also serves as a deterrent against insects, who are fooled by the color into thinking it is just a continuation of the sky, and thus, don't "settle down."  While this is a very romantic notion, the truth is in the chemistry:  The formula for these wonderful blue paint shades was often a milk based paint using lye as an ingredient.  Lye, being a natural insect repellent, was actually what was causing the bugs to keep their distance.

From Curious Expeditions
Bugs weren't the only thing that this paint was said to repel, though.  Sometimes referred to as Gullah paint, haint blue was said to be a color that kept restless spirits of the dead, or "haints," from approaching or entering a house.  The Gullah culture of South Carolina's lowcountry believed that haints could not cross water, and that by painting the home with the same blue-green color as water, especially near any openings, would keep any evil spirits from crossing.

Today, there is a huge design aesthetic devoted to paying homage to Haint Blue, but many people still choose this as an outdoor color scheme based on a strong family tradition.  I personally love it and find it fascinating and whenever I explore an old building, I always make it a point to note any usage of "haint blue!"

(This blog post is Day 9 of the August Blog Challenge--Write About Color)

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Southern Spirit Guide

After taking another weekend break, I'm back with Day 8 of the blog challenge and today's topic is to write about a blog that I regularly read.  Honestly, I don't read as many blogs as I should, especially in my niche, but there is one in particular that I make a habit of reading whenever new material is posted.

That blog is the Southern Spirit Guide by Lewis Powell, IV!

As you can probably guess from the title, this blog covers all things spooky in the southern United States.  What I've tried to accomplish with my blog with West Virginia, Lewis has succeeded with an entire REGION.  Well-written and immaculately researched listings for haunted locations throughout the south are the cornerstone of this blog, making it a favorite read of mine.

There is so much variety; from haunted movie theaters to inns to everything in between, you're sure to find a location that interests you or that you're already familiar with.  Beautiful pictures, often original, accompany each blog, and a handy bibliography makes further research quite easy.

Lewis is also one of my favorite paranormal researchers on a personal level as well.  We both have a similar love for researching haunted locations, but also for books...especially paranormal-related tomes!  In fact, he's just about the only person I know whose library may be more expansive than my own.  He's also been such a wonderful supporter of Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State, often sharing and promoting my work, and always giving credit where credit is due--something I've found lacking in this field.

So between being an awesome person and having an awesome blog, that is why I chose to feature Lewis Powell's Southern Spirit Guide as one of my favorite blogs!  Please go check it out, and feel free to give him a shout on FaceBook as well!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Maryland's Kitty Knight House Inn and Restaurant

It's a spooky, wet Saturday morning here in the tri-state!  In order to help brighten your day, today's post is another installment in the Haunted America series.  Here's a quick peek at the history and haunts of Maryland's Kitty Knight House Inn and Restaurant.  Enjoy!

Catherine "Kitty" Knight was born around 1775 to John and Katherine Knight, prominent citizens within the Georgetown, Maryland community.  Tall, graceful, and known for her distinctly tall Colonial-style hair-do, Kitty was quite the beauty.  But, she was also an accomplished, brave, and arguably stubborn woman as well.  Those traits would pay off, however, during the War of 1812.

During the war, many of the town's younger men were off fighting the British, leaving behind the women and the elderly to defend the town.  On May 6, 1813 the British, under Admiral Cockburn stormed the Georgetown area with torches lit.  Many of the citizens had fled, but not Kitty....and not an elderly woman who lived in one of two brick homes built atop a hill overlooking the Sassafras River.  Soldiers were ordered to burn these two homes as well, and had actually already set flames to the home of the elderly woman.  Twice, it is said that Kitty stamped the flames out, all the while pleading and begging with Admiral Cockburn to spare the woman's home, as she was too sick and elderly to flee.  

No one knows exactly what it was that convinced him, but Admiral Cockburn finally was convinced and moved by Kitty's bravery.  He spared the homes, as well as several others and a church, and ordered his men out of Georgetown.

Later, Kitty would actually purchase one of these homes she bravely saved, and in 1924 and 1929 a Washington County native by the name of Herbert G. Stine purchased both it and its neighboring house on the hill.  He combined and remodeled the two homes, one built between 1773 and 1783 by Archibald Wright, which are today collectively known as the Kitty Knight  House Inn and Restaurant.  A beautiful facility with a beautiful past, the Kitty Knight House also boasts a resident ghost--none other than Kitty Knight herself.

Kitty makes her presence known in a variety of ways.  Those more visually sensitive have seen a woman in 19th century clothing descending a staircase in the home.  Others have seen a similarly shaped shadow flitting by in the dining area.  Doors open and close on their own accord, and often, staff will notice lights turned on in rooms that are not currently occupied.  When they go to turn them off, they find that the light is no longer on.  In one specific incident, a travel writer staying at the hotel was astounded when the innkeeper showed her her room, and the door closed by itself on her.  It is stated that this is how Kitty shows that she likes you!

Apparently the entire staff is very friendly and welcoming of questions about their resident spirit, so if you find yourself in the Georgetown area in need of lodging or just a hot meal, stop by the Kitty Knight House Inn and Restaurant; you're guaranteed a spooky good time!

Writing the Vision (The HAUNTED history of the inn by Mindie B.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Headless Shadow Being of Route 50

I wanted to take advantage of today's Blog Challenge topic (write about a memory that haunts me) to share with you another personal experience of a ghostly nature.  Having cultivated this interest in the paranormal since an early age, and a having a long history of seeing and experiencing things that I cannot explain, there are very few things I've encountered in my 30 years that really scare me.  Startle me, yes...but terrify me to the point of tears, no.  Therefore, today's story is definitely a memory that haunts me, and quite literally at that!

Nearly ten years ago I was completely in love with a guy who lived in Grafton, WV.  Being here in Winfield didn't exactly make our relationship easy, but we made it work.  At the time, I was going to Marshall and working as a 2nd assistant manager at Dollar Tree.  Sunday shifts at Dollar Tree were an all day shift, so only one manager was on duty the whole day.  So, every other Sunday it was MY day, which generally meant I had that Saturday off.  On each of those weeks, I would leave work shortly after closing on Friday night (9-10pm, depending on season) and drive straight up to Grafton to spend all day Saturday with my boyfriend.

This was a pretty routine trip and I had made it many times.  I'd get off at the Bridgeport exit and travel Route 50 on to Grafton.  Most nights were uneventful, and I made the trip in around two hours or less.

What started out as one of these uneventful trips would terrify me for the rest of my life.  I was driving on Route 50 and as I was approaching a small clearing on the right hand side of the road just past some trees, I noticed an inky black shadowy figure running from the field towards my car at top speed.  My first thought was DEER, so I started to hit the brakes.  Everything from that point kind of went in slow motion.  As I'm watching this thing approach me, I see that its not a deer.  It's not even an animal of any sort that I can make out.

What I see coming toward me is the inky black shape of a man.

All I was really concentrating on was this thing's legs.  Two strong legs ran at a fairly wide stride and as I saw the "foot" hit the white line on the edge of the road, I slammed as hard as I could on my brakes and braced myself for impact.  However, at the same time, I could see that the very millisecond this thing's foot hit the road, it vanished!

Not getting cell phone service in this particular stretch, I panicked and raced on to my boyfriend's house as fast as I could go.  As he came out to my car to greet me, he knew instantly there was something wrong.  I was speaking incoherently and blabbering before just collapsing in his arms and sobbing.  Later when I calmed down, I was able to tell him what I had experienced.

The next morning he suggested that we go see if I could show him the spot where it happened.  In the daylight things looked a lot less ominous, but I noticed something I hadn't before.  The section of road where this happened was in a curve, and out in the field, right in the middle of this curve, was a fairly large tree stump that looked as if it had been struck by lightning---it was charred and jagged.  When I told him this was the spot, my boyfriend got a weird look on his face and asked me what I noticed about the tree.  Apparently, it HADN'T been struck by lighting.  What had really happened was a car full of teenagers had struck it, decapitating at least one of them.  What was even weirder he said, was that it was a local legend that years prior to that, there had been a massacre that left two people decapitated.

Spooky Tree Stump by Hovis

I had seen a ghostly image of someone running in the same spot where these two horrific accidents were said to have happened.  Perhaps I had just seen the tree stump and gotten spooked thanks to being tired after a long shift in retail.  Perhaps my boyfriend had made it all up; after all, I still haven't to this day tried to confirm any of these events.  Or, maybe I did see something paranormal.  Perhaps it was a member of the massacred party I saw attempting to flee.  Or maybe it was the spirit of one of the young people trying to get home.  I always thought it was interesting that I don't consciously remember the figure actually having a head, and if it really didn't, and wasn't just a detail that I conveniently forgot, then that could lend some credibility to these alleged tragedies.

At this point, I honestly don't want to know what it is I saw that night.  I want to remember my experience for what it was...but I will admit that it was terrifying.  After that happened, I could NEVER drive alone on that road again after dark.  After one attempt sent me into a horrific panic attack, it became the norm for me to just leave my car at a hotel in Bridgeport and have my boyfriend come pick me up.  This happened nearly ten years ago, yet it is still fresh in my mind, as if it happened yesterday.  It is a memory that will forever haunt me.

*There's another ghost sighting on another stretch of Rt. 50.  Near Salem, a faceless woman in red has been spotted!*

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review for Slenderman: From Fiction to Fact

Title: Slenderman: From Fiction to Fact
Author: Rev. Robin Swope
Published 2012 by CreateSpace
Amazon Purchase Info

I hope in the near future to bring you a more in-depth post on Slenderman--who or what he is, where he came from, and how he has taken the paranormal world by storm recently.  But first, I'd like to share with you one of the few non-fiction books available on this subject.  (As an added bonus, Day 5 of the August Blog Challenge is to write about a book I've read recently, and this is the latest hard copy addition to my personal paranormal library.)

Several years ago, the mythos of the Slenderman was borne on an online forum called Something Awful.  In a facetious thread designed to show how easily fake paranormal photos could be produced, Slenderman quickly became a huge hit, complete with a creepy back story like no other.  Forum member after forum member contributed to photographs of Slenderman, and stories to go with them, almost all of them involving Slenderman as a watcher and snatcher of children.  To see Slenderman certainly meant untimely death, disappearances, or a lifetime of bad luck.  The entire process was documented as being completely fictitious.

However, something happened...

Released to the world, Slenderman began to take on a literal life of his own.  Those not privy to the Something Awful contest swore that they had witnessed Slenderman for themselves!  As more and more stories started pouring in, Slenderman acquired almost a cult following!  Today there are multiple fiction books, games, and other apps all starring the creepy tall, gaunt fellow with a few extra tentacle-like appendages.

In order to combat some of the misinformation and take a scholarly look at who or what Slenderman is and why people believe he is real...and if he actually IS becoming real...Rev. Swope has compiled a history and compendium of anecdotal evidence on the mythos.  Obviously there is an in-depth breakdown of the events on the Something Awful forum, followed by some possible historical nods to Slenderman as an archetype.  Finally, there are plenty of stories from real life people who claim to have experienced this phenomena, and a brief analysis as to whether or not its actually possible that the collective conscious has "breathed life" into the legend, almost in the same manner as a Tibetan thought form.

The author, Rev. Robin Swope, has made a name for himself in the paranormal community as a consultant to many paranormal investigation groups and television shows across the country.  And, being an "actual" minister, his credibility and integrity are held fairly high.  Therefore, this book is a fair look at the myths and legends of Slenderman.

 It is well written and entertaining, and the Grammar Nazi in me is pleased to announce that this is one of the better self-published tomes out there pertaining to spelling, grammar, etc. And although there really isn't much in the book that cannot be found for free online, it is compiled all in one place within this book, making it a perfect addition to any paranormal library.  It's also just a great spooky read!

*Want MORE book reviews from Theresa?*

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Barboursville UFO?

It's Day 4 of the official blog challenge and okay...I'm TECHNICALLY a little late since its actually 2:30am of Day 5.  You'll forgive me, right?  Anyway, today's challenge is to write about something I did that didn't have the desired results...and what I would do differently, given the chance.  Well, there's a LOT of things I've done (or rather, didn't do in some cases) both in my personal life and with my paranormal studies that didn't work out.  Many times, its because I let fear, laziness, or some other character flaw stand in my way.

You might remember sometime last year when I had my mind made up that I was going to undertake the study of UFOs to satisfy my own curiosity and add another dimension (no pun intended) to my work in the paranormal field.  My ultimate goal was to even become a MUFON representative!  Well, I didn't get too far past reading a couple of books on the subject and taking half a course on UFOlogy.  And now, I REALLY wish I had because for two straight days, I have witnessed something I seriously cannot explain!

It all started Sunday night.

I couldn't sleep so I went for a drive and ended up in Nitro.  I was driving back home to Winfield via Route 2 through Poca, Bancroft, etc.  I love this windy river road because it takes the driver past all these tiny little towns that have such a colorful coal camp history that one really doesn't expect to find in this area of the state.  It's a beautiful drive and I often find myself staring up at the sky.

Off in the distance I had noticed a very big, very bright blinking white light which from my perspective, seemed to be right over the Kanawha River.  I assumed it was one of those lights they mount atop poles to alert aircraft that there's a huge mountain right there, lol...which seemed to make sense because there are several in the area.  At one point, the light seemed to be joined by ANOTHER smaller light, and it looked like they were blinking at each other, as if communicating.  I passed by an area that has a lot of deer, so I took my eyes off the road for awhile, and when I went to look back, I couldn't find the light.  I was interested, but the skeptic in me said that it was nothing to note.

And then came Monday evening...

Several members of HPIR were invited to give a short lecture to the LeSage Lions' Club.  On my way into Huntington, I noticed a really neat advertising balloon in the shape of a zeppelin, tethered to a string near Milton.  Therefore, when I was coming BACK down I-64 eastbound, I really tried to rationalize that perhaps my little balloon was lighted.  Here's why:

About 8:45pm or so, I was just coming through the area between the 29th St. exit and Barboursville.  The sun was setting fast, but it was still fairly light out.  I was once again looking up at the wide open sky when a huge, bright white light seemingly blinked on.  Its not like this like came out from behind a cloud or behind a tree in my line of sight; it literally just blinked on in the middle of a wide open area.  And it was BRIGHT.  It didn't appear to be moving, or if it did, it was going super slow.  I kept getting closer and closer to it, yet I couldn't really make out anything other than it LOOKED fairly low in the sky and it looked like there were possibly two large lights, almost in a binocular pattern.  This thing didn't blink, it made no noise, and it seemed too far away to be from the airport in Ona or my little advertising balloon.  I nearly wrecked as I tried to stare up at this thing and get any information possible.  I ended up driving right underneath and past it, and soon after lost sight of it in my rearview mirror.

As soon as I got home, I popped on the computer and instant messaged another member who was driving behind me on her way home to Milton.  I asked if she had seen the light, which much to my delight, she had!  Not only that, she described it the exact same way I did and was as stumped as I was as to what exactly it was.

I honestly don't know what it is I saw.  Was it an aircraft, military or civilian?  Was it a hang glider turning on the lights to his craft?  Was it Venus?  Or was it something out of this world?  I don't have the answer, but I wish I did and luckily its not too late to go back and make some changes to that plan that just didn't work out the way I wanted it to!

I'm not sure what I will or can do differently other than making myself do the reading, contacting the proper people, and finding some classes/training, both in UFOlogy and in astronomy and related fields.  I feel like these two back to back sightings were a sign that I need to make an effort into finding the truth, not just for myself, but for anyone else who might need help seeking answers.  I also think a big step I'd do differently is to try another venue other than the exclusive (and expensive) MUFON.  There's actually a local group of UFO researchers that I will definitely be contacting.  Advice is most welcome!

Want to read about more of Theresa's UFO experiences?
A Milton UFO
Lights and Lizards Over Beckley

Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy Anniversary HPIR!

Photo by Melissa Stanley
After taking the weekend off to share another haunted location (the surprisingly popular entry about the ghost of Anna Potts!), we're back to the August Blog Challenge. The challenge for Day 3 is to write about something I am proud of...and there's nothing in the paranormal world that I'm more proud of than being a part of Huntington Paranormal Investigations and Research.

This August, HPIR is celebrating its SEVENTH year together!

Over these past seven years, HPIR has truly grown into much more than a bunch of people with a common interest who get together once in awhile.  We've become friends, we've become family, and we've become a renowned organization known for providing professional paranormal investigations, awesome ghost tours, and community service.

I am proud to have been accepted as a member of HPIR in September 2006 and I am proud of what we've worked so hard to become.  I'm proud of my fellow teammates and their commitment to the field of paranormal research.  I'm even proud to have been given the opportunity to investigate so many interesting places and share their history.  We've got some great things coming up this year and I hope you'll continue to follow us on our journey.

So Happy Anniversary, HPIR!  Here's to the next 7 great years!

*Melissa also blogged about the HPIR anniversary, so go check out the official HPIR Para-Blog!* 

Blog Challenge Countdown:
Day 1-Someone I admire (Hans Holzer)
Day 2-The Goal of Theresa's Haunted History

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Ghost of Anna Potts

Posted at Anna's Violin
I recently stumbled upon a new-to-me ghost legend from the Clifton area of Mason County, WV.  Once a coal mining area in the mid to late 1800s, Clifton, which is named for a small cliff in the area, sits along the Ohio River about a mile and a half south of the town of Mason.  No longer home to even a post office, the former "town" of Clifton does yield a few street names within its vicinity that offer a few clues from its past:  Cliff Road, Cliff Street and Old Clifton Road are obvious examples that help mark out the town and roads such as Blake Street, Stewart Street and Rader Lane are a tribute to some local families.  

But within the maze of streets, marked and unmarked, you'll find one in particular that goes by the name of Ann Street...

While I can't be for certain how Ann Street got its name, its a neat little coincidence that the ghost of Anna Potts has been seen in the area for over 200 years!

As the legend goes, Anna McDade Potts and her husband Sandy came to this area shortly before the Revolutionary War, when tensions were still high between white settlers and local Native American tribes.  But there was something about Anna that fascinated the local Indian population.  Her bright red hair and creamy white skin was unlike anything they had ever seen before and bestowed upon her the moniker: Great Spirit Woman with Hair of Fire.

Anna and Sandy had two daughters who presumably took after their mother, for a local tribe became obsessed with one of the girls.  They came to the Potts and offered a trade of 10 horses for the girl.  When the family refused, they came back with 20 horses.  The second refusal enraged the Natives and legend has it that they attacked the family.  Anna and her two daughters were raped and the daughters kidnapped.  Sandy was allegedly attacked and had both his legs burned off.  

For the rest of her years, Anna grieved over the loss of her daughters.  Each November, she would leave her little farm and search the neighboring settlements for any evidence of her daughters.  She searched all winter long before returning to the farm each May.

To some people, Anna never gave up her search, even after her death.  Over 200 years later, the Great Spirit Woman with Hair of Fire still rides the countryside on her faithful mule, searching each winter for her missing daughters.  She is sometimes seen, but more often she is heard; her grief-filled wails pierce the darkness near Clifton Woods and she cries and screams across the centuries.  

This story is so well known locally that a West Virginia author took the story and turned it into a novel. From Out of the Forest by William Winebrenner was an instant success and is/was being made into a move called Anna's Violin.  Buzz over the book and upcoming movie has led to a number of people coming forward with their own experiences, attributed to Anna's ghost.  

The photo above was brought to a book signing at the Pt. Pleasant Farm Museum  by a young girl who claimed to have caught the image on her family's game camera in the woods.  It came courtesy of the author, and the blog cited below.  Also available on the same blog is a video interview with another gentleman who claimed to have witnessed Anna's ghost when he was a boy.  Go to the link below and listen to what happened to him while out one evening!

If you have any additional information on this WV ghost story, or have seen/heard/experienced the ghost of Anna Potts for yourself, I'd love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below or send me an email at!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Goal of Theresa's Haunted History

It's Day 2 of the blog challenge and today I have been asked to write about a goal I have and how I plan to get there.  This has been an especially hard challenge for me as a procrastinator.  I have no problem SETTING goals...but follow-up is a little different!  It's been this way my entire life, and it hasn't gotten any easier when it comes to providing fresh, new content on this blog!

It's always been the primary goal of this blog to provide the largest and most accurate collection of haunted places in West Virginia, and so far, I've done a fairly good job, I think.  I get a decent amount of traffic and most of the feedback on specific locations has been very positive.  However, there is always room for improvement!

Opinions, please!
One of the biggest issues I face is simply a lack of motivation.  I have a huge list of locations that I've stumbled across or have been submitted to me, and I lack the motivation to getting around and fully researching and posting them.  It's not that I don't have the TIME in most cases...its just simply a personal hurdle of feeling overwhelmed, overanxious, and under appreciated, lol.  In other words, its the ADHD kicking in.  I can't finish one project because I'm too busy thinking about 6-7 others!

That's partly why I joined this challenge; its a way to stay accountable and a way to get into the habit of daily writing.  This particular blog challenge leaves the weekends free, and I've made a promise to myself, and now to YOU readers, that I will try my best to fill in those weekends with new locations and new articles!  Feel free to help keep me accountable--if you haven't seen me post anything new, or want to suggest I write about something in particular, call me out on FaceBook or Twitter!

The second part of attaining my goal is something I'd really like everyone's input on.  In order to feel more like I'm doing something worthwhile and simply not wasting my time, I've been seriously considering monetizing this blog.  It won't be anything huge...just a few small ads placed at the bottom or in the side-bar.  I think that if I knew that I had the potential to make a few extra dollars by doing something I love, I'd be more inclined to do it more often!  But, since this blog wouldn't be where it is today without the readership and support of all you out there, I wanted to get some honest opinions first.

So...what say you?  Yea or Nay to the ads?

If you have any experience with ads on your blog, feel free to shoot me some advice as well!

Blog Challenge Posts
Day One-Someone I Admire (Hans Holzer)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hans Holzer--A Short Bio

"After all, a ghost is only a fellow human being in trouble"

Welcome to Day One of my August blogging challenge!  Today's topic is to write about a person I admire.  There are a lot of names connected with the field of paranormal research and parapsychology, and many of those names are associated with people who have really done groundbreaking work that have made this field what it is today...still not fully accepted by science, but definitely much more accessible and generally more acceptable.

When trying to narrow down just one of these people, I've found that my age (I'm 30) does actually play a large role in who I would say I admire.  Well, my age....but also the fact that I have been studying and researching ghosts, apparitions, and all things spooky since I could talk, plays a role as well.  Many people, especially younger folks, who have began exploring their interests in the paranormal after 2004 will undoubtedly tick off a list of para-celebrities as their top influences in this field, and while I have nothing against anyone who has their own show, I can't say that I'm necessarily influenced by someone who is my contemporary....but just got lucky enough to be on TV.  The best way I can explain this would be to quote a line from Bob's Burgers in which Torpedo advises Bob on his choice of role models: "Little bit of advice, Bob.  If you want a role model, choose an old guy.  By he tie you're grown up they're dead."

So, I chose someone who is no longer with us, but played a role in my early paranormal education, Hans Holzer. Hans Holzer obviously has had his flaws, and he's no stranger to controversy, but to me, he wa one of the pioneers.

I was introduced to Hans Holzer's large library of work as soon as I could read, almost.  My grandparents had a few of his books, and then later on, my mom brought me home another from the high school library where she worked.  Today, I only have 14 out of well over 100 different titles, but Holzer remains a large influence in my life.  In fact, he was the first parapsychologist I ever heard of, and was the inspiration for my own career goal of becoming a parapsychologist (which for you younger readers, was the accepted term over ghost hunter or paranormal investigator at the time).

Hans Holzer was born on January 26, 1920 in Vienna, Austria.  As a young man, he studied archaeology and ancient history, but like myself, had his interest in the paranormal sparked by a family member.  Unfortunately, the threat of Nazi invasion caused the family to doubt their safety, so in 1938, they moved to New York.  In the 1950s, Holzer became involved heavily with theater before returning to higher education.  After going on to pursue a parapsychology degree, Holzer taught classes at the New York Institute of Technology.

He married in 1962, and today, his daughter Alexandra has taken over the ghosting business, and has made a name for herself in this field.

One of Hans' most famous cases, despite its connections with the Warrens, was actually the Amityville Horror case.  It was his work with medium Ethel Johnson-Meyers that yielded the theory that the home was built on a Native American burial grounds, which revolved around facts later debunked by the local historical society.  His first book, Ghost Hunter, was published in 1963, and although the term "ghost hunter" had been used as early as 1936, many claim that this was the book that brought it into mainstream vocabulary.

Hans Holzer died in New York in 2009.  He was a vegan, a Wiccan high priest, and a supporter of reincarnation, himself believing he had fought in the 1692 Battle of Glencoe.

Hans Holzer, while not the only "paranormal investigator" of his time, was definitely one of the most vocal, most published, and certainly an individual not afraid of going against popular opinion.  His research has paved the way for a new generation of paranormal researchers to build upon and approve.  He was an educated man, but chose not to limit his mind just to "accepted" science. As the opening quote infers, he's one of the first to really give a human personality to what we would call "ghosts," and is an attitude embraced by most of the community still to this day. And that is why I admire Hans Holzer!

New York Times Death Notice

*Theresa's Silly Note:  Have you ever seen the movie, Summer School, with Mark Harmon?  It used to be my all-time favorite movie, so it took all my strength from taking this blog in another when the class had to write an essay on the person they admire most and Denise wrote about the person she admired the least, and then went off on a diatribe about her boyfriend, Andre!*