Friday, July 31, 2015

Theresa's Top Links for July 2015

It's been awhile since I've done a link-roundup! Usually I just share anything cool I find on Facebook or Twitter, but there are a few sites that I find myself going back to over and over so much that they deserve a more permanent shout out! This is by far a comprehensive list---just a few that stick out to me that I haven't already linked to in the past.  Skeptical views, haunted places, ghost stories, radio shows, and plenty of articles on all aspects of the paranormal are covered here.  If you want to add any notable links, please let me know in the comments!

1. Supernatural Magazine--An excellent collection of articles on a variety of paranormal topics.  Whatever your paranormal beliefs, you're sure to find something here of interest...and something you'll find educational.  I've posted several individual articles from this site over the past few months and they always seem very well received.

2. Paranormal King Radio Network--This is the home to Paraversal Universe, one of my favorite paranormal radio shows.  Join Jennifer Scelsi and Kevin Malek each Friday evening at 8pm EST for excellent discussion and interviews with some of the top names in paranormal research.  A chat room is also available during the shows to ask questions and interact with the guests and hosts.

3. Mysterious Heartland--Anything and everything to do with haunted locations, ghost stories, urban legends, and beautifully creepy locations throughout the Midwestern United States.  Those tri-state area fans in Ohio might find this website of particular interest.

4. Midnight in the Desert--Art Bell is back with an all-new radio show! Check out the website for information on guests, upcoming shows, and how to listen to the show live, Monday through Friday at 12am EST.

5. Memento Mori (My Macabre Fascination)--This is the blog of paranormal researcher, Anna Hill. Anna Hill is a voice of reason in this field, and I always enjoy her writings.  If you want some serious paranormal commentary by someone who really knows what she's talking about, check out this blog!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Theresa Takes On West Virginia's Most Haunted! (Part One)

I began writing this blog almost a year ago. The original idea was to build off a popular post where I came up with my OWN list of the most haunted locations in the country, state by state. I had high hopes that I could do the same on a state level---take each of West Virginia's 55 counties and narrow down one location per county that would be recognized as being the perfect representative of that county's haunted history.

As you can see, that idea has not come to fruition, lol.  It proved to be just a little too daunting for me.  I might revisit the idea in the future, but for now, I thought I would take on the more manageable task of just picking my TOP 5 FAVORITE HAUNTS in the state. The criteria for this post is a little different---I tried to pick locations whose haunted reputations are well known throughout the Mountain State and beyond. For example, each location listed here has been featured as part of at least one television show.  There are tons of great, underrated haunted locations and ghost stories throughout West Virginia, but I feel these ten are universally recognized.  Please let me know in the comments what YOUR top picks would be!

The West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville is one of MY personal favorites on this list and along with the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, seems to always find its way on those top 10 lists of most haunted places in the country!  Construction on the penitentiary began in 1866 and it continually housed inmates up until 1995. Over the course of its 130 years, the prison saw two major riots, numerous suicides, plenty of violence and murder, and more death from disease than you could ever imagine. With all that dark history, there's no wonder people think this location is haunted!

The most popular ghosts associated with the old prison include the infamous shadow man who has shown up in photographs, a presence in the indoor recreational area known as the Sugar Shack, and the spirits of infamous inmates Red Snyder and R.D. Wall. Ghost and history tours are available, as well as private and public investigation opportunities.

As mentioned above, Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum always seems to find its way onto most haunted lists, and for good reason.  This Kirkbride style mental health hospital traces its roots to before the Civil War! As with many state insane asylums of the 19th century and early 20th century, TALA was plagued with issues of overcrowding, treatments that we would today classify as inhumane, and allegations of abuse, neglect, and all sorts of unsavory behavior. The last patients were removed and relocated to other facilities throughout the state in 1994 and for years, the building sat empty, largely unused.  Today, a variety of ghost, history, and architectural tours are available, as well as public and private ghost hunts and even some fun stuff like concerts, paintball, and drag shows. With all the activities available, people still flock to the old asylum for its haunted history, most notably the spirit of a little girl named 'Lily.' 

No list of famous West Virginia hauntings would be complete with a mention of Lake Shawnee, location in the southern part of the state, near Princeton.  I first became aware of Lake Shawnee when it was featured on Scariest Places on Earth, a television show that featured hauntings and showed everyday people being taken to these places and told about their history. While there is a lot of misinformation and a lot of information that cannot be validated nor denied regarding this location, it still is a spooky place! In recent years, it has been the subject of numerous national articles. 

The small amusement park opened in 1926 on land marred by an Indian massacre and some say its location doomed it to a cursed existence.  Numerous deaths are said to have occurred during the park's operation, including several drownings and a little girl killed when her swing struck a parked delivery vehicle. Today, visitors to the area report that the apparition of a man can be seen in one of the Ferris Wheel seats, and the little girl, wearing a pink dress, can be seen either in full apparitional form, or in the form of a cold spot or orb near or on the swing ride.

Along with the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville, Dr. Grimes' Dental Office is probably my favorite on this list.  It is located in Huntington and was the subject of a Dead Files episode a few years back.  Over the course of several years and several investigations, I've put a lot of personal research into this location and have a very fond attachment to it.  

The dental office is housed in a former duplex, built shortly after the turn of the last century. It was mostly used as housing for men working for the railroads, but in the 1920s, it was home to a young lady named Lavina and her family.  Lavina's apparition had been spotted numerous times, along with evidence that she might be accompanied by something a little darker. Lavina died under rather mysterious circumstances in the home and it is believed that those circumstances may have been sinister. Luckily, it now seems that Lavina's soul is at rest, yet this location is still one of my top favorite haunts of all time.

Riverview Cemetery

With a list including a prison, an insane asylum and a spooky amusement park, I felt obliged to include a cemetery...and Parkersburg's Riverview Cemetery is definitely an iconic West Virginia haunted burial ground. A staple on Susan Sheppherd's Parkersburg Ghost Tours, Riverview Cemetery is home to several different legends, including sightings of a hunched man wearing a black trench coat. The phantom, which has been spotted in broad daylight AND long after the gates lock for the evening is believed to be Captain George Deming, who once lived near the cemetery.  He is seen standing near his own grave and is believed to be mourning a lost child buried close by.  The most popular legend of the cemetery, though, is undoubtedly the Weeping Woman.  The Weeping Woman is a carved statue standing watch over the Jackson family plot and many believe that she walks the cemetery at night, weeping for lost family members. It is also said that those who come to the Weeping Woman with an unselfish wish will find that wish granted!  Many women who have come and touched the statue have found themselves to be pregnant shortly thereafter!

I know this list is a little light---I originally had intended this to be a Top 10 list, but decided that I'd break it up a little.  So...don't fret!  In the coming months, I'll be posting even more most haunted lists from right here in West Virginia, and probably Ohio and Kentucky as well! And as always, you can always check out my Haunted West Virginia Page for more great Mountain State locations! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Slit-Mouthed Woman

Today's blog takes us far, far away from the tri-state. The legend of Japan's Kuchisake-onna has fascinated me for years and it has been interesting to see 'new' versions of the legend pop up on different websites! If you ever plan on visiting any Asian country, especially Japan, you might want to pay attention to this blog---it might just save your life.

The Kuchisake-onna is more commonly known as the Slit-Mouthed Woman, so named for her grotesque appearance.  Beginning around 1979 in Nagasaki Prefecture, school children walking home alone would report that a very beautiful woman with long, black hair and wearing a beige trench coat would approach them.  In these days, her mouth was covered by the collar of her coat or a scarf.  She would approach the child and ask him or her if they thought she was beautiful.  If the child said no, the woman would take out a large pair of scissors from underneath her coat and immediately kill the child.  If the child said YES, the woman would remove the covering from her mouth, revealing an horrific gash.

She would then repeat the question, "Am I pretty/beautiful?"  If the child said no, he would be cut in half with the large pair of scissors.  However, if he child said YES, the Slit-Mouth Woman would let him off easily---the scissors would be used only to slash the child's mouth, copying the woman's own injury.

In later years as a fear of germs would lead many Japanese to wear surgical masks out in public on a regular basis, the Slit-Mouth Woman kept her beige trench coat, but upgraded her mouth covering.  Her back story has also changed over the years.  In the original tales, the Kuchisake-onna had been the beautiful, yet unfaithful wife of a samurai.  After discovering that she had cheated on him, the samurai slashed his sword across the woman's face, marring her great beauty so that no one would ever love her again.  With the 2007 release of the film, Carved, a back story developed to explain that the ghost was that of a woman who was hit and killed by a car in the 1970s, an accident that left a disfiguring wound across her face.  She allegedly was a child murderer.

So, if you DO encounter the Slit-Mouth Woman you're doomed right?  Well, not exactly.  For one thing, she only seems to go after school children, so if you're of a more mature age, you're automatically pretty safe.  She only goes after children who are walking ALONE, so if you are a child, make sure you take a buddy with you wherever you go.  But, if you still find yourself a victim of the Slit-Mouth Woman, you'll need to trick her!

Make sure to tell her she's beautiful when she first asks.  Then, when she takes off the mask to reveal her wound, don't answer her with a yes or no.  Instead, when she asks if you find her pretty, tell her you find her average, or so-so.  Better yet, answer her question with a question: ask HER if she thinks YOU'RE pretty!  In her confusion, you'll be able to get away.  If for some reason, you mess up and the scissors come out, grab a handful of candy and throw it at her. She'll be forced to stop and pick it all up, giving you ample time to run away.  I hear she's particularly fond of butterscotch...

More Asian Ghost Stories on Theresa's Haunted History
The Yurei
The Ubume
The Cursed Japanese Kleenex Commercial

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Buyer Beware: The Tragic Death of Ellen Shannon

There's a rather unique tombstone at Girard Cemetery in Erie County, Pennsylvania. It doesn't feature an elaborate shape or carving, nor does its size immediately draw the eye of visitors.  In fact, from afar, it looks pretty unassuming---just a normal tombstone.  It's only when one gets close enough to read the epitaph that one realizes just how special this tombstone really is.

Ellen Shannon was born in Ireland around 1844. As a housewife living in Pennsylvania, she suffered an extremely tragic and quite ironic death at the age of 26. An oil lamp exploded, fatally burning the young woman. While burns sustained from lamp accidents was a pretty common thing during this time period, the family of Ellen Shannon decided to use her tombstone as a way to point out the ironies in this particular case and warn the public that it could happen to them, too! 

A product known as R.E. Danforth's non-explosive burning liquid did just what it was marketed NOT to, and the results were deadly.  In fact, it wasn't the only time Danforth's product claims failed to deliver.  In November of 1872 a twelve year old boy suffered a similar fate trying to light his wood stove. 

In a time before Consumer Reports, the Better Business Bureau, and the internet, one family took it upon themselves to find a unique way to not only warn others of a dangerous product, but to get in a sweet little jab to the company as well. Over 100 years later, this tombstone still exists to tell the tragic and ironic tale of a young Irish girl's death...a death that should never had happened. Buyer Beware. 

In Memory of
 Ellen Shannon
Age 26 Years
Who Was Fatally
Burned Mar. 21 1870
By the Explosion
Of a Lamp Filled
With R.E. Danforth's
Burning Liquid

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ohio's Haunted Hammel House

By some accounts, Waynesville is the most haunted city in Ohio, boasting no less than 36 haunted sites within town limits...and the historic Hammel House bed and breakfast is its most haunting building! Built on the site of a former log tavern known as Jennings House, Hammel House gets its name from one of its rather colorful owners, Enoch Hammel.

Hammel seemed like a rather fine, upstanding citizen to most residents of the town, but a Quaker woman who stayed across the street from Hammel House on a regular basis knew better.  Mrs. Anna O'Neal was known to park a wagon in front of her cabin so that her children wouldn't be able to see the "Bacchanalian revelry and ribald conduct which was hourly enacted." In later years, the inn was owned by Mr. W.O. Gustin who made major improvements, added modern amenities, such as electricity, and turned the place into a fine hotel, which hosted several presidents over the years. However, today, the inn is as much known for its ghostly goings-on as it is its famous guest list!

In an interview, owner Pam Bowman describes the hauntings of Hammel House.  As the stories go, in 1823 a traveling merchant, possibly a jeweler or gold merchant came to Waynesville and stayed the night in Room #4 of Hammel House.  He was never seen from least, not in the flesh.

Since then, visitors have reported that in addition to the apparition of a ghostly cat, the murdered merchant still makes his home at the inn. He is seen as a shadowy form that will manifest in one area of Room #4 and make his way out into the inn and into the dining area.  Some guests sleeping in that particular room and the one next door claim that this shadowy manifestation has even climbed into bed with them! If you're a little uneasy about booking a room with a possible ghost, each October the inn features a special Ghost and Goblet Dinner and Tour where you enjoy a wonderful meal at the inn, followed by a ghost tour of some of those Waynesville hot spots!

Interview with Pam Bowman
Hammel House website

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pearl Harbor's Ghost Photo

Way back in September of 2011, the internet was abuzz with a new 'ghost' photograph taken at Pearl Harbor's USS Arizona Memorial. The popular image was even picked up by CNN...but what WAS it?

When an Australian family visited Hawaii in 2001, one of their stops was the USS Arizona Memorial. Located in Pearl Harbor, the memorial, which was built in 1962 and sees over 1 million visitors a year, straddles the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona. The USS Arizona was the victim of the Japanese attack of December 7, 1941...the attack that plunged the United States into World War II. 1177 sailors and marines were killed during that attack, and 1102 of them, for various reasons, claim the wreckage as their final resting place.

Susan De Vanny was with her family visiting the memorial when she snapped a photo of the wreckage that can be seen below the water. It wasn't until she got home, however, that she began looking through her vacation photos and came across this startling image! The combination of the ripples of the water and the sun shining through the leaking oil created a near-perfect image of a young man's face! The face, which many think represents one of the fallen sailors from the attack, is said to appear as if it is crying or even screaming. Susan states, "It just looked sad, really sad and young."

One of the most obvious explanations for the ghostly appearance of the photo is the phenomena of pareidolia.  Pareidolia, also known as matrixing, describes how our brains take random stimuli and patterns and try to make sense out of them.  Our brains are hard-wired to see faces in random objects and while this sounds like as good an explanation as have to admit this is still a pretty striking image!

Info from The Stir

Saturday, July 25, 2015

FREE Online Photography Education

If you know me or are familiar with this blog, you've probably already realized that I am a HUGE supporter of higher education for paranormal investigators! In a field as dynamic as this one that incorporates so many different disciplines, there is always something to learn. 

One area where I definitely see a need for more training and education is the field of photography.  While there aren't any real 'experts' in the paranormal field (how can you become an expert or even receive any type of certified credentials to study something that isn't proven to exist?) a good bump to the resume is being proficient and knowledgeable in the photographic process. A little knowledge of photography can go a LONG way in adding integrity to both your evidence collection and your analysis of possible evidence.

Obviously, nothing beats hands-on experience, but taking a live class can be hard for those who are already busy with careers, family, and other pursuits.  Plus, it can get expensive!  That's why I've compiled this short list of completely FREE photography courses available ONLINE! I have personally taken each of these courses myself and recommend them. I think there's enough here that anyone, from the complete beginner and up can learn a little something will be come in handy. There are literally tons of different photography courses out there, so if you find one that isn't on the list that you recommend, please let me know and I'll be happy to add!


Digital Photography by ALISON Courses--This is an intense, but extremely thorough lecture series offered FREE through ALISON Courses by Harvard University.  After working your way through 12 modules, which contain varying numbers of lecture videos each, you have the option to take the course assessment and earn a certificate of completion. Topics include an extensive view of the inner workings of the digital camera, focusing on the DSLR, exposure, light, optics, etc. You may start this class at any time and work your way through it at your own pace.

The Art of Photography by Open2Study--This class is taught by Dr. Shane Hulbert of RMIT University, and even though it is geared more towards the artistic application of photography, there is plenty of excellent information useful to the paranormal investigator.  There are four modules within this course, each with 10 videos each.  Each week you work your way through a module, taking a one-question quiz after each video, followed by an assessment of the whole module after the tenth video.  Topics covered include the different settings on your camera and what they mean, the meaning of RAW and why it should be used, image editing software, how the aperture and shutter speed works, etc. This course is designed to take 4 weeks to complete.  It runs every 5 weeks, with the next session beginning on September 7, 2015. interested in a traditional course format with quizzes and assessments?  I'd recommend this series of tutorials and education from Free Photo Course.  You can read through the material, complete with reference photos at your own pace and not have to worry about deadlines or tests.  There's some great basics here, including a brief history of photography, which was a nice addition.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Ghostly Rowboat of Lake Bomoseen

Today West Castleton, Vermont is a ghost town, sitting empty along the banks of Bomoseen Lake.  However, it was once a thriving community filled with mills and slate quarries populated with many migrant workers of Irish, Italian and Slavic descent. The boom began around 1850 and maintained throughout the 1800s.  Unfortunately, by the early 1930s, the quarries were drying up and slate was becoming less and less in demand.

In 1929, Samuel Hazard, who owned and operated the Lake Shore Slate Company died and left a huge chunk of what was known as West Castleton to his step-daughter.  In 1959 she gave 365 acres, which included a number of historic buildings to the state.  The next year, that land opened up as Lake Bomoseen State Park. Visitors can now visit the area and hike old West Castleton, taking the self-guided Slate History Trail tour.

And if they are lucky, visitors to the park might also even spot the ghostly rowboat of the lake. As legend goes, a popular tavern was located across the lake from West Castleton on the eastern shore. It was a favorite watering hole for many of the Irish quarry workers, and one evening three friends took a rowboat out for a night of drinking and merry-making. The men never returned to West Castleton.  It was presumed they drowned in the lake, but their bodies were never recovered.  All that was left was an empty rowboat, floating out in the middle of the lake.

Witnesses have claimed that on nights when the moon is full, a phantom rowboat can be seen silently gliding across the lake.  Some say the oars don't make a sound, nor a visible ripple as they hit the water.  Others say that the rowboat is completely empty, guided across the water by some unseen force.

The Eagle
The Vermont Ghost Guide
Vermont State Parks website

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Polish Wedding Chairs


 "These chairs were laid out for a wedding in 1939 in Poland. The wedding was abandoned, and so were the chairs due to the German invasion. They were found again after the war with the trees growing through them. Every year they are repainted."


You might have seen this viral image floating around the web, and its definitely an interesting image to say the least. It really plays on our emotions of how sudden and tragic the Nazi invasion of Poland and other countries was, and how it so deeply affected so many families' way of life. Lives were put on hold and other lives were lost.  However, like so many other viral images, this one joins the ranks of The Last House Standing, The Buckley Family Murder, and The Death Rose as very real images...but with very made-up back stories!

This image does not portray a testament to what is left behind after the people are gone, but rather is a statement of the artistic juxtaposition of trees (who are always standing) and seating. It is one of several similar art installations by Patrick Demazeau.  This particular work from 2001 is entitled "The Four Seasons of Vivaldi" and can be found in Belgium. 

More information:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

6 Commonly Misspelled Paranormal Words

One of my least proud Facebook moments was being banned from a paranormal interest page because I told a guy if he couldn't spell the word 'paranormal,' he should probably stop calling himself an expert in the field...

Okay, so I admit that was a little mean of me, but the guy really did have it coming, lol.  And it wasn't just a once or twice typo was consistent.  But still...mean.  Today's blog post, however is NOT meant to be mean.  Rather, its meant to be a light-hearted look at some of the most commonly misspelled words that I personally see while perusing around paranormal related sites and social media.  It might also be a little educational!

1. Paranormal--I have to start with this one since its the word that inspired this post to begin with! Paranormal, which in the most basic of definitions means 'beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation' can sometimes be slaughtered when written out.  I've personally made the typo 'parnanormal' a few times, but have luckily caught it before publishing!

2. Apparition--If you see an 'apparition,' then you've seen the ghost or ghost-like image of a person. I see this commonly misspelled as 'apperition,' but there are a few creative alternatives as well.

3. Cemetery--We all know what a cemetery is, but it seems like very few social media users know how to properly spell it, most often replacing the proper spelling with 'cemetary.' BONUS INFO: Do you the difference between a cemetery and a graveyard?  'Graveyard' is a term to denote a church burial ground, while cemetery is more secular.

4. Psychic--Again, if you claim to BE psychic or have psychic abilities, you might want to learn how to spell it properly before you print up a stack of business cards! This one can be tricky, though; if misspelled as 'physic,' a spell-checker won't catch your error.

5. Investigate/Investigation--Many paranormal researchers are also investigators, meaning they get out there and actually do field work, trying to prove or disprove the existence of paranormal claims.  Many paranormal researchers also seem to misspell this word as 'investagate' or investegate.' This is probably one of the more frequent misspellings that I see.

6. Creepy--A lot of paranormal-themed websites, especially on social media, are all about the creepy factor.  Things that are creepy are arguably more interesting than the more mundane aspects of paranormal research. Still, every time I see this word spelled 'creapy' I have to stop and process just what the hell the writer is trying to say. There are even a few Facebook group pages that use this erroneous spelling in the actual title of the page.


Pareidolia--this is that term that denotes how your brain puts together random stimuli into a meaningful pattern, for example: seeing faces or shapes within the clouds. This is a pretty difficult term to spell, and you don't see it come up in print all that often.  Therefore, while I'm not a fan, I think its completely acceptable to pass up a futile attempt of writing this word and simply use its more common counterpart:  MATRIXING.

Angel--Since this original post, I thought I would add another bonus word because I am not joking---I've seen this word misspelled by at LEAST a dozen people this week. It's pretty easy to call an angel an 'angle,' thanks to typos and autocorrect....but when you consistently misspell it over and over and over again, well, you might just need to reevaluate, lol.

So there ya go with MY top 6 (+2) list!  Please join me over on Facebook and let me know which commonly misspelled paranormal words drive YOU crazy!  You can also hop over there and point out if I have inadvertently misspelled any words myself!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Toronto's Haunted Hockey Hall of Fame

From Wiki
In 1993, Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame moved into a new Brookfield Place location.  The building chosen for the location was built in the early 1900s and was formerly known as the Bank of Montreal.  But, before the Hall of Fame could officially open for business on June 18th, it would need a massive overhaul.  A $27 million renovation turned the former bank building into a state of the art sports showplace...and it might also have stirred up its resident ghost.

For over 50 years, visitors and staff to the building have reported encounters with a ghost they called 'Dorothy'.  Dorothy was rumored to have been a young teller who committed suicide for any number of reasons, including stealing money, knowledge of an embezzlement plan by bank officials, or involvement in the planning of a bank robbery by the Irish Republican Army. Others believe she committed suicide over a jilted love affair.

From Seeks Ghosts Blog
And in fact, that's what seems to have been the case!  In 2009 the local Star newspaper researched the ghost of Dorothy and uncovered her true identity.  Dorothy was really Dorthea Mae Elliot, a 19 year old employee of the bank. Co-workers described her as a tall, buxom brunette who was very outgoing and friendly. However, the beautiful life of the party was not as happy on the inside as she projected on the outside.  On the morning of Wednesday, March 11, 1953 she showed up to work early.  Those who were the last to see her alive noted that she was wearing a blue knitted dress, and looked 'distressed and disheveled'. Around 9am she came downstairs and quietly took the bank owned pistol from the security desk and made her way back upstairs. No shot was heard, but shortly after 9am she was found in the second floor women's bathroom by a co-worker. 

Dorthea was still alive as ambulance workers carried her downstairs with the help of a wooden Windsor-style chair.  She died 22 hours later at St. Michael's Hospital.  A newspaper article that ran at the time of her death noted that she was lonely and depressed over her boyfriend leaving her for a 'job on the boats.'  Those close to the situation, however, believed that Dorothea was actually despondent over the soured love affair with a married bank manager who kept an apartment in the building.

Since that day, people have experienced a host of paranormal activity in the building, contributed to 'Dorothy'. Windows opening and closing, lights flickering on and off, phantom footsteps, ethereal moans, and ice-cold touches are just some of the ways 'Dorothy' makes her presence known.  She's also been seen by a few select individuals, most notably musician Joanna Jordan, who was playing the harp at an event when she saw a brunette woman staring down at her from the second floor...and a little boy visiting the Hall of Fame with his family who reported a woman with long, black hair walking through walls.

Star Newspaper Article
More encounters with Dorothy
History of the Hockey Hall of Fame

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hungarian Woman Sought Murder Clue From Spirits

Today's blog post is another interesting newspaper article I stumbled across during my research.  It comes from the January 23, 1914 edition of the Huntington Herald Dispatch and is of interest to tri-state residents of both West Virginia AND Ohio!


Widow of Thurmond Miner calls on Coreyville Spiritualist but Mrs. Blake is ill---instructed to return in February to communicate with unseen world.

Coming from a little mining camp near Thurmond, W.Va. to talk to her dead husband through Mrs. Blake, the far famed spiritualist of Coreyville, O., Mrs. Frankie Ravis, a Hungarian woman who cannot talk English, was forced to return last night when the mysterious woman of Coreyville was unable to talk with the spirit world.

Mrs. Blake told Mrs. Ravis that she was ill, but instructed her to come back without fail late in February, at which time she might hear her husband's voice.

When Mrs. Ravis came to Huntington, she was taken to police station by a business man to whom she appealed. The man could not understand the language she spoke and therefore asked the police to find an interpreter. The woman had a paper in her hand on which was written, "Mrs. Blair."

Sergeant Lee Wilson called Harry Ziegler, who speaks the Hungarian language, and in a short time Mr. Ziegler learned the Hungarian woman's story.

Late in last autumn her husband had fallen from a bridge near Thurmond and was killed. The wife suspected that he had been a victim of foul play, telling Mr. Ziegler that he had been struck on the head by a robber or assassin.

She desired to communicate with him in the spirit world through Mrs. Blake, of whom she had heard.  One of Mrs. Ravis' friends whose husband had been mysteriously murdered in a black-smithing shop had gone to Coreyville and talked with her dead husband through the spiritualist, according to the story given Mr. Ziegler by the foreign woman.

"How is Mrs. Blake going to communicate with the spirits when she probably can't talk Hungarian?" suggested a bystander.

When this thought was conveyed to the foreign woman she was perplexed not at all but declared that she couldn't talk to her husband in English because he didn't know that language any better than she did.  She thought that Mrs. Blake would have no difficulty in summoning the spirit.

Mrs. Ravis said after returning from Coreyville last night that she would return in February to communicate with her husband. She was greatly disappointed at not having the opportunity of hearing his voice again.

"The woman has some property in Thurmond, according to her statement to Mr. Ziegler yesterday afternoon.  Her husband had been a successful miner and saved most of what he made.

Mrs. Ravis is a picturesque character and in her younger days must have been a beautiful Hungarian woman. She gave the impression of being a woman of considerable education and her manner was one of culture. 

She wore a black dress, hat, and veil of foreign appearance.  Although having been in the country for a number of years she had associated practically none with Americans.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Pocket Guide to the Afterlife Book Review

Title: The Pocket Guide to the Afterlife--91 Places Death Might Take You
Authors: Augusta Moore and Elizabeth Ripley
Published: 2009 by Bloomsbury

I found this little full-color, illustrated gem at a local Goodwill and while I was thrilled at my luck, didn't realize at first just how cool this book really is.  The Pocket Guide to the Afterlife features 91 different religions from all corners of the globe and gives a brief overview of that religion, breaking down  in somewhat greater detail what each religion says about that age-old question:  "Where do we go after we die?"

Being a paranormal investigator, I assumed this was going to be a handy reference guide for when we deal with clients of varying beliefs and backgrounds.  I am a firm believer that you cannot offer your client the best and most effective course of action unless you really understand what is going on through THEIR perspective...and while arguably religion has little to no place in scientific investigation, religious beliefs undoubtedly help shape a client's perspective on what is happening to them.

What I didn't realize was how profound of an impact this book would have on me personally.  For a cute little book filled with somewhat goofy pictures and very brief synopses on some truly unique religions, I got a lot out of it! Granted, I don't foresee too many Zoroastrians coming to us for help with their paranormal problems, but it was really cool to compare how religions that are light years apart can have such similar belief structures when it comes to the afterlife. There were several cases where different religious interpretations of the afterlife even seemed to accurately explain some of those universally held paranormal ideas that so many people just accept as fact without ever questioning where that information originally came from!

Of an even more personal nature, this book really sparked a lot of internal dialogue and thinking within myself.  Reading through the different belief systems, I kept finding examples that closely fit in with my own belief systems...which up until this point I sort of gave a very non-committal 'agnostic' title to. It really got me thinking about my own beliefs, my own religion, and most importantly, the idea that so many people falling into the middle (or just having beliefs that reflect some, but not all, of the tenets of various religions) must mean that NO ONE has gotten the whole religion thing 100% correct yet!  That's a pretty deep emotional response for a book that is largely supposed to be a quirky and humorous novelty book!

Even if you're already deeply rooted in your belief system, this is still a great little handy reference to have on hand and its a quick and fun read.  I definitely learned a lot that I didn't know before and have a whole page worth of notes to research for further information.  This book is a great little addition to any paranormal, religious, non-fiction, etc. home library!

Friday, July 17, 2015

FREE Online Research--Newspaper Research

Photo by ShironekoEuro
As a paranormal researcher and the Historic Research Manager for Huntington Paranormal Investigations and Research, I have discovered that one of the absolute best sources of information comes in the form of newspaper archives! I have spent countless hours hunched over the microfiche machines at the Cabell County Public Library, looking up obituaries, news coverage of disasters, and other articles of interest. Even advertisements can offer useful information about daily life. Many times I'll be looking for one thing, and stumble upon an article or photograph pertaining to another local haunting or interesting story!

I'm lucky that I live relatively close to the library and can usually find the time to visit a few times a month, since these archives are not yet digitally available off-site. But what if you're NOT able to visit these archives regularly...or are researching a topic or location from another area? If the internet is your only option for research, there are some pretty awesome newspaper archive services out there...but they come at a fairly hefty price, usually available through monthly, 3-month, 6-month and yearly subscriptions. However, if this is a service you find yourself using often, it might be well worth it---saving on travel expenses and the ability to research topics at your leisure and from your own computer (and printer) are excellent reasons to consider a subscription service.  Most also offer a free 30 day free trial---so you can do some major research on a variety of topics all at once and then cancel! is my personal favorite and is running a reduced price on yearly subscriptions this month.

The options above are great and all, but here at Theresa's Haunted History, I'm always looking for resources that are completely FREE! Below I've compiled a short list of free online newspaper resources that I have personally used in my own research. Do you know of any other FREE newspaper resources, especially those pertaining to the tri-state area of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky?  If so, please join me over on Facebook and let us know!

Free Online Newspaper Archives

Chronicling America: The Library of Congress has digitized a great number of newspapers from across the country.  While obviously not ALL newspapers are represented, there are plenty of examples from West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.  Unfortunately, the archive only dates between 1836 and 1922. Still, there is some great information to be found, and the search options are very user-friendly.  Just doing a little exploring, I found some interesting articles about both the WV State Penitentiary at Moundsville and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.

GenDisasters: GenDisasters is a collection of newspaper articles about different disasters transcribed by volunteers from across the country.  By searching by state, disaster, year or even keyword, you'll gain access to different tragedies such as fires, explosions, train derailments, etc.  I have been a volunteer transcriber for several years now and have added a number of Huntington, WV area articles.

Google News Archive: I have mixed feelings about the Google News archives.  There are different ways of maximizing your search results using this feature, but quite honestly, I've found that the easiest thing to do is do a regular Google search for whatever you're looking for and see if any newspaper stories are included in the search results. The big problem is, however, is that the newspapers aren't transcribed by a human--they are digitally translated using a software program.  This results in a LOT of mispellings---to the point where its almost impossible to actually read what is being said.  Plus, you generally cannot read from the actual newspaper image itself---just the text box below, which is all running together.  Still, I've had some measure of success and at the very least, have found out critical dates of events so that I can narrow down the search parameters on the microfiche and find out what the local papers have to say.

The Glenville Mercury: Glenville State College in Glenville, WV, which began as a Normal School, has digitized their school newspaper!  Archives go from December 1929 to July 2000 and while the content may be a little more geared to local and college interests, there's some interesting stuff in there if you look hard enough.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

The Day I Walked Through a Ghost

The best photo I could find of the hallway, lol. 
Inspired by several things I've ran across on Facebook, I've decided its finally time to start adding more of my personal experiences on here! I think its important that the regular readers of this blog get a better sense of who I am and the things I've experienced that have shaped my views and involvement in paranormal research and investigation.  I think its also important to document my personal experiences and share those in hopes that others who have experienced the same or similar things can have something to relate to and know that they aren't alone. Documenting experiences, even if they aren't something that can ideally be 'investigated', is extremely important in paranormal research as it helps provide clues to patterns, common types of activity, etc. Please note that I don't necessarily claim that any of these experiences are 100% paranormal---many are just things that are kinda spooky and strange.  Some are just things that as hard as I've tried, I cannot find a natural explanation that perfectly describes their circumstance---such as this first tale of the time I walked through a ghost!

When I was ten years old, my mom got remarried and we moved from Hurricane into a house in Winfield. We were only the second owners of the fairly modern home.  It had been built in 1976 as part of a subdivision on former farmland by my now ex-stepfather's parents.  Unfortunately, his father had passed away in the backyard of a heart attack less than ten years after the home was built.

We moved into the home in the early 90s and it was pretty immediate that something was really, really off about that house.  Over the years, the intensity and atmosphere of whatever was happening in regards to paranormal activity would change, but the one constant over the years was our hallway walker.  No one who spent any amount of time sitting in our family room was excluded from seeing our hallway walker. Every so often, the shadowy form of a very large man could be seen just walking past the family room, down the hall.  He would always be headed in the same direction, walking from the bedrooms toward the formal living room. From the size and shape, we assumed that this man was the former owner of the home, and while this strange shadowy figure could be seen at just about any time, he was most often cited from early afternoon to about 10pm.

One afternoon I was home alone and was rushing to get out the door.  I can't remember if I was leaving for class or for work, but I was definitely in a hurry and fairly preoccupied as I rushed down the hall, deep in thought, with my head down.  Near the end of the hall, I caught what felt like a solid object standing in front of me through my peripheral vision.  My first thought was that my mom had come home, was standing in the hall, and I was about to barrel right into her.  As a natural response, I threw up my hands to brace for impact, letting out a little yelp. It was all I could do, as I was so close to the object that a crash was inevitable.  But, as I made contact with whatever was in front of me, I realized that it was not my mom, nor was it anyone or anything solid.

I have a hard time putting into words exactly what it felt like as I crashed into our resident ghost, lol.  The closest I can come is that it felt like electrified plasma?  As I hit the mass in front of me, it didn't feel solid, but it didn't feel NOT solid either, almost like walking through a very thick mist. There was some resistance, but not anything that was strong enough to slow me down.  It was cold, but not bone-chillingly so.  It wasn't 'wet,' but did seem to have somewhat of a dampness or a misty quality.  It wasn't painful, but it felt a little like a very low voltage charge---kinda prickly all over. I didn't see any apparition, but around me, for the split second the event took place, it just looked darker, almost shady.

As I came out the other side, I immediately had the distinct impression that I had just crashed through the hallway walker.  I apologized profusely to the open-air and quickly left the house, chalking this event up to just another in a long, long list of strange stuff that went on in that house.  I never walked through anyone after that, but the hallway walker is still there, making his daily trips down the hall, passed the living room.  Over the years, we've seen him with less frequency, but he has a tendency of popping up when you least expect it!

So, what about you?  Have you ever experienced walking through, or somehow else physically interacting with a ghost or spirit?  If so, what did it feel like?  Please share your experiences over on my Facebook page.