Monday, September 21, 2015

Mothman Festival 2015 (Day 1)



Originally, I had planned on attending only ONE day's worth of Mothman Festival festivities this year, but as things worked out, I ended up spending three days in Pt. Pleasant! In order to make sure I give every event, attraction, speaker, and vendor I experienced this weekend the attention deserved, I thought it would be best to break this up into several different blog posts.  Let's start with Friday evening....

As part of the weekend kickoff, the historic State Theater in downtown Pt. Pleasant was having a FREE screening of the documentary, Eyes of the Mothman. This 2011 documentary was written and directed by Matthew J. Pellowski and runs a little over 2.5 hours. There are a LOT of great documentaries and television shows featuring the Mothman, but you're not going to find anything as thorough and as well-researched as this documentary. It really goes in depth with exploring the Native American history of the area, the border warfare between the Native Americans and the white settlers/soldiers during the 1700s, the different sightings of Mothman, the different theories of what Mothman might be, other types of flying humanoids, Indrid Cold, etc. Anything that even remotely ties in with the Mothman mythos is covered and many different experts, professors, locals, and eyewitnesses are interviewed. I definitely recommend this movie if you haven't seen it.


Anyway, before the film even started, Carrie (my HPIR buddy), her son, and I got to town early for a quick dinner. Having always wanted to try the Iron Gate Grill and being turned away  last year, we decided to give it another shot. The Iron Gate Grill has been a fixture in Pt. Pleasant for years and we were pleased to see that they weren't too busy. We were quickly seated and had our drink orders taken. The booth we were given was extremely comfortable and unique, and the decor of the restaurant was really cool. I love old buildings, and this one definitely had a great feel to it.  The staff, including our server, seemed pleasant enough. Unfortunately, our sodas took over 15 minutes to arrive, and it would be at least another 10 before our waitress made time to take our food order. When the food arrived, it wasn't horrible---but it just wasn't what I expected. I was under the impression that this was a nicer restaurant. It certainly looks classy from the outside and the prices reflect a more upscale establishment, but the food just didn't reflect that. It wasn't bad--just very bland and very simplistic. My burger didn't taste like it had any seasoning at all, and the macaroni was straight out of a box of Kraft. I've read a lot of reviews of this place and it seems that people LOVE it throughout the year, but during Mothman Festival time, they just cannot get it together. I understand that the festival is a busy, stressful time, and being one of few nice, sit-down restaurants within walking distance, its gonna get crazy. Therefore, I wouldn't recommend trying this place any time near the festival, but it might be worth it during other times of the year.

Dinner wasn't a five star experience, but we weren't going to let that bother us. We finished up and made our way to the theater. An array of baked goods (including Mothman brownies), candies and drinks were available in the lobby for purchase, and a small food truck was set up outside with some tasty-looking options. I loved the fact that the State Theater was being used to show the movie.  Way back when HPIR had its first booth at the Mothman Festival (2007) we were invited by the people who were running the theater at the time to investigate the claims of paranormal activity. Several members of the team had simultaneously seen what looked like a shadowy form cross by in front of the ladies' restroom and we were excited about the prospect of witnessing the alleged apparition of a former employee who was said to make his nightly rounds, checking out the theater floor. We also learned that the storefront adjacent to the theater was used as sort of a staging area during the recovery efforts following the Silver Bridge collapse and that bodies were temporarily stored there.



We didn't experience any ghosts the night of the documentary, but we did experience something that was pretty darn strange. There was a really good turnout for the film, but we still managed to get good seats right in the middle section, just a few rows back from the front. After awhile, a few people around us left, leaving the rows in front of us completely empty.  It was a little under 2 hours into the film when an older man came walking down the aisle to our right, threw his stuff down, including a cane and a bundle, sat down, threw his hat off, dropped the cane, picked the cane BACK up, put his hat back on, and walked back up the aisle without the cane. He came back a moment later and sat down. At that point he began furiously writing something in a notebook, despite it being pretty dark in the theater. While this is going on, I started feeling uncomfortable. I know the Mothman Festival has the potential to bring out some...different...types of folks, but this was getting to the point where I felt personally that we weren't dealing with an every-day eccentric.

When the guy violently ripped a page from his notebook, tearing the paper almost in half in the process and then walked over and thrust it at a boy sitting with his family in the next aisle over, all three of us present gave each other the LOOK. When the guy then approached the stage and leaned over it (using it as a table, I guess, but giving him an eerie appearance from behind as if he were praying at an altar) we decided we needed to leave---immediately. I don't think I can put into words what I felt---just that I felt so uncomfortable and had a nagging feeling that we had to leave or else. As we were standing outside the theater discussing what we should do (tell the staff, although they didn't seem too concerned by the guy's erratic behavior or go back in and find different seats) the guy quickly comes out of the theater and starts walking towards us. We made a hasty retreat to the car and booked it out of town!

Our night wasn't completely over yet, though. We decided to drive out to the TNT area. When we got out there, there were plenty of other people who had a similar idea, so we chose to avoid the crowds waiting to explore the igloos and come back when it wasn't so busy. The drive back was a little eerie. A crescent moon hung low on the horizon and the clouds gave it a reddish glow, almost turning it the color of blood. It was quite the backdrop as we discussed what happened in the theater to have made all of us have the same feelings and react the way we did. Did we just overreact to someone who was a little off, or did we all simultaneously pick up on something that threw up a red flag? We might just have gotten our answer the very next day...

Check back tomorrow for Saturday's adventures!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Book Review: Ghostly Encounters

Title: Ghostly Encounters: Confessions of a Paranormal Investigator
Author: By Jeff Scott Cole with Johnathon Robson
Published: 2015 by Skyhorse Publishing, New York
Purchase Info: Amazon

Whenever I get the chance to attend a paranormal conference or event, or even just visit another state, I always try to find a few new books for my paranormal library. This past weekend, I attended ScareFest in Lexington, Kentucky and happened across the booth of C-Bus Paranormal, an investigation team out of Columbus, Ohio. I was initially drawn in when some information on the team's volunteer and fundraising efforts for Prospect Place caught my eye. I had the opportunity to investigate Prospect Place way back in 2007 and have always had an affinity for the history, culture, and of course, the paranormal activity of the location!

Anyway, I was excited to see that two of the team members were selling a new book they had collaborated on, and I bought a copy.

I absolutely love books written by real investigators out in the field. It's entertaining and enlightening to see how other teams operate, the places they've been, the evidence they've collected, and why they got started doing this type of work in the first place. Unfortunately, most of the books that I've picked up on this topic, while interesting, aren't necessarily very impressive.  That wasn't the case with Ghostly Encounters. I was extremely impressed, first with the quality of the book itself. This wasn't a print-to-order self published, unedited piece of work---this was a REAL book. For only $20 (less on Amazon), this professionally published, attractive, well-written work was an excellent value and an excellent addition to my personal library.

Secondly, the concept of this book really impressed me. For the most part, it reads like a normal book you'd expect from a paranormal investigator. It begins with Cole's personal journey into delving into the fascinating field of paranormal research and how he joined the C-Bus team. It's followed by some techie information, another chapter furthering his personal journey, more techie stuff, and then a large section featuring some actual investigations at various pay-to-play locations throughout the country. In addition, the appendix offers a listing of paranormal teams by state, as well as a list of alleged haunted places that offer investigation opportunities.

Normally, these types of books that feature investigations will mention potential video evidence, and refer to possible EVP data, but given the print format, all they can do is give a link and hope the reader will go check it out if interested. The authors of Ghostly Encounters really take a technological jump forward. Instead of just a mere link or a mention of their evidence, they've included QR codes directly within the text so that as you read about the evidence, you can use your phone or tablet and go directly to that evidence and see/hear it for yourself. And, if you don't feel like reading with your phone attached to you, the link is available so you can go back and check it out at your leisure.

A well-written book with a cool, modern twist featuring my favorite subject is pretty awesome in any case, but I really enjoyed this book on a personal level. I seem to have a very similar philosophy and approach to investigation as the C-Bus team, with the main difference being that HPIR doesn't do a ton of pay-to-play locations. It's always nice to see others who share similar goals and ideas, and how they are applying those ideas to the furthering this field. Ghostly Encounters was a great, quick read and I think that anyone with an interest in paranormal investigation, no matter if they are just starting out, or are a seasoned investigator, can enjoy this book. It's a great compilation of investigation experience and evidence, technical advice, and personal experience. I gave it a 5/5 stars!

Links of Interest:
C-Bus Paranormal Website
C-Bus Paranormal Facebook Page

Monday, September 14, 2015

ScareFest 2015



On Saturday, my boyfriend and I made the two and a half hour trip to Lexington, Kentucky to visit the country's largest horror and paranormal convention---ScareFest! I hadn't been to ScareFest since before Luke was born, so I was really looking forward to it! ScareFest, which is owned and operated by Patti Star, the president of Ghost Chasers International, is in its 8th year. It seems like in the past, every time I wanted to go, we had something else planned that weekend or something else prevented us from going, but this year nothing was stopping us!

The trip up was pretty uneventful except for some rain. It cleared up for awhile, but as soon as we got out of the car at the Lexington Center parking lot, it started raining again. Getting soaked was NOT a great start to the day. Anyway, we got there around noon, with the first speaker we planned on seeing starting at 12:30pm. We planned on attending a talk by Ben Hansen, from SyFy's Fact or Faked, called "Profiling the Hoaxers: Eliminating the Hoaxers from the Truly Unexplained."

Unfortunately, Ben's presentation relied heavily on the PowerPoint presentation that he prepared and there was NO SCREEN in this particular room.  Apparently there HAD been a screen, but it was moved and misplaced the night before during a wedding rehearsal. Ben also had NO MIC, which wasn't a huge problem in this particular room, but a performance was going on in the lobby at the same time involving very loud music.  At this point, I was getting frustrated, so I can't imagine how Ben felt.  Still, he turned it around and pulled off a wonderful discussion. Even without the actual photograph/video examples his presentation was educational and entertaining as he spoke about his background, different investigations presented on the show, book recommendations, and how easily a hoaxer can be caught---just by talking to him/her IN PERSON. Ben really stressed the importance of interviewing people face to face, since so much of our communication is done non-verbally.

I was quite content with what was presented, but due to the snafu, Ben agreed to reschedule for later that evening, for anyone wanting to see the full presentation later on in a different room, which I thought was very gracious of him.  And, on a personal note---he's just as cute in person as he is on television!  He just seems like a funny, smart, and overall sweet kind of guy. I probably could have stuck around and fan-girled for awhile, but we had to move on to the next presentation.

We arrived at the American Horror Story panel a few minutes before it started, so we got stuck in the back. It made seeing a little hard and honestly I watched most of the discussion through the giant phone the chick in front of me was holding up, recording with.  Still, our location gave us a chance to get a first glimpse of the crew waiting outside the room to be introduced. Again, I felt a twinge of fangirl crop up when Amazon Eve (Erika Ervin), Naomi Grossman, Matt Fraser, Jamie Brewer, Rose Siggins, and of course, Jyoti Amge came in.

I've been a huge fan of American Horror Story since the first season, but Aaron only started watching it with me during Freakshow and fell in love with little Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge). In fact, I think Jyoti was the big draw for a LOT of people, as most of the people we were sitting near were discussing her before the show.  I thought it was hilarious how she keeps insisting that people don't treat her like a baby, yet whenever she spoke (she had someone interpreting for her) the whole audience let out a collective 'Awww!,' me included, lol. You just couldn't help it---she was absolutely adorable and Aaron and I agreed that she looks much tinier in person. But, the entire panel was extremely interesting to listen to...and kinda dirty, lol. The orgy scene kept coming up, and apparently a few members of the cast had had some previous experience!

Naomi sort of led the pack, but each member present had plenty to say, and said it very well. Before Freakshow even aired, I was fairly familiar with most of the people on the panel, having read about them, or watched documentaries or other shows they'd been in.  Still, it was definitely cool to hear them in person discuss their experiences on the show, but also what they had been doing AFTER the show. One touching moment came when a fan asked about people with different disabilities and different issues relating to and looking up to the cast members and Matt told a story about a little boy he had recently met who had the same physical disability as he did.  He was able to connect with this little boy, but he was also able to talk with his parents and give them advice and tips on things the little boy would be experiencing, how best to deal with those things, and how to make day to day activities a little easier.

After that, we took a quick break for lunch in the convention center's food court. I had chicken strips and fries and Aaron had a hamburger from Sunset Strips. It was a disappointing meal, but was enough to sustain us for the next few events. Following lunch, we headed back to see Josh Gates, formerly of Destination Truth.

The line to get in to see Josh's presentation, which was simply titled "Destination Truth with Josh Gates", literally wrapped down one side of the hallway and down the next. I honestly didn't think we'd get a seat, but miraculously, there was plenty of room for everyone. Again, being seated toward the door, we got the first glimpse of Josh waiting in the hall to be introduced. In the past, I had heard that Josh can kind of be a jerk to people when he's 'off the clock,' but I guess since he was being paid at the time, none of that shone through, lol. He was actually a really likable, really hilarious guy to listen to.

His talk was set up as a Q and A session, and the audience had plenty to ask, especially about his many, many travels. Much of what he talked about I had either seen on his shows or read in his book, but his skills as a story-teller made it just a really unique, fun experience. And yes, like Ben Hansen, he was definitely a cutie in person.

Immediately following Josh's discussion, we headed upstairs again to see the Fright Night panel. When Aaron and I were looking over the schedule of events, planning on what to see and do, he mentioned that he really enjoyed the movie. I had never seen Fright Night, so we decided to watch it together...and I was hooked. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the film and it was a real treat to hear William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys talk about their experiences. As an added bonus, director Tom Holland was there via Skype. The crowd was a little thinner than it was for AHS, so our seats were good and Aaron even got to ask a question about working with Roddy McDowell that elicited a wonderful response from everyone on the panel.


By the time that panel was over, it was 6pm and we were getting tired and hungry, but we weren't done yet! We spent about an hour going through all the vendor booths and took home some awesome goodies. We bought Luke a plush Bat Girl and two t-shirts. I picked up a book from C-Bus Paranormal and a RHPS Riff Raff Funko figure. Aaron picked up a few gift items, and we got mom an answer mat to use with her pendulum.  The vendor floor was over double what it had been during our first visit over 6 years ago, but I think we at least got to see everything once. There were some really cool props, stilt walkers, plenty of people wearing crazy awesome costumes, tattoo artists and body piercers, celebrities, paranormal teams, and more.

Overall, I had a great time, even though things started out a little rocky. There were so many other seminars I wanted to attend and speakers I wanted to hear, but there just wasn't enough time to fit everything in. I also would have liked to have focused more on the paranormal side of the conference, but since I was with Aaron, I tried to make sure we did things that would interest him as well---and I don't regret it. Both horror panels we went to were fabulous.  Hopefully, we'll be back again next year!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Paranormal Distribution

It's Friday...finally. I could use a good cheering up and I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who would agree. I hope today's Friday Night Funny will put a smile on your face like it did mine! Back in high school and college, statistics was my favorite math class, so I'm especially partial to this image.  If you are too, you can order a poster-sized print of it off Amazon!


Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Ghost of Mary Lee at Waverly Hills


Honestly, I was pretty hesitant to post today's blog as there is so little information on this particular photo, and what information there is seems pretty contradictory and changes dramatically from website to website.  Still, I thought it was interesting enough to at least start the research process on, share what little IS known, and just keep this particular entry as a work in progress. Anyway...

This photo was taken on September 10, 2006 at the famous Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. It was taken by Tom Halstead during an overnight investigation of the facility by Missouri Paranormal Research. The photo was taken on the 4th floor of the main hospital building around 7am.

The camera used was a Pentax K1000 35mm film camera with a Pro-Master 5600 extendable flash. ILFORDHP5 black and white 400 ISO film was used. According to team data, the camera settings were at a 1/60 second speed and F-stop of 5.6.

With Mary Lee inset

As one can pretty plainly see, on the right of the frame there appears to be the apparition of a young woman with dark hair and a white nightgown or dress. But who is this woman? With the death toll well into the thousands, there seems like there could be a never-ending pool of potential suspects.  But, a few theories have prevailed.

She is commonly believed to be a young girl named Mary Lee, based on a photograph that was found of a similar looking girl signed, "Love, Mary Lee" on the back. But who was Mary Lee? One website claims that SHE is the legendary nurse who allegedly hung herself in room 502 after either learning that she was pregnant by a doctor or had TB or both. Others say that Mary Lee was the daughter of a doctor who often visited the patients and tried to cheer them up. Unfortunately, she herself contracted TB and passed away. And others just simply believe she was one of many of the patients who lived and died in the facility over the years. 

Sources:
Paranormal Task Force
Waverly Hills History and Legends
Paranormal Association
Michael Phillip Cash's Blog 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Murdered by Human Wolves

If you were to visit Oklahoma's Konawa Memorial Cemetery, you might come across the grave of Katherine Cross. The unassuming stone reads states that Katherine Cross, daughter of JT and MK Cross, was born on March 13, 1899 and died on October 10, 1917.  It's always sad to see the grave of someone who died so young, but death is a normal part of life, and it doesn't discriminate based on age---especially during that time period!

It isn't until you take a much closer look at the tombstone that you realize there is much more to the story...

Yup. That's right.  It says, "Murdered by human wolves." Who or what were these human wolves and how was Katherine murdered? Rumors sprang up that her body had been found mutilated---torn to shreds. Some say the culprits were Ku Klux Klan members, while others took a more supernatural approach and claimed that these 'human wolves' were actual WEREWOLVES. Further legends sprang up that Katherine's ghost was haunting the cemetery, being seen AND heard in the vicinity of her tombstone, a legend that persists to this day.

But what REALLY happened to Katherine?

According to data from Katherine's death certificate and an October 25th, 1917 edition of the Seminole County News, Katherine's death was every bit as horrific as the legends would lead one to believe---but with a much more human monster than any werewolf or even Klan member.  Katherine died of what was listed as a 'criminal operation' at the hands of Dr. A.H. Yates, and his assistant, a school teacher named Fred O'Neal. While not confirmed, this cause of death heavily implied that Katherine had undergone an illegal abortion and succumbed due to complications.

What is especially tragic is that she wasn't the first.  On August 15, 1917 another young lady named Elise Stone was admitted under Dr. Yates' care.  She stayed at his office for four days before being sent home, where she died soon after. The original cause of death listed for Elise was 'congestive chill,' but suspicion arose and her body was disinterred for an autopsy. Like Katherine, her cause of death was now listed as complications from a criminal operation. Although the newspaper article states that the two men were charged, it doesn't appear that any further legal action was ever taken. And even with the cause of death cleared up, there are still more questions than answers concerning this strange tale of how two young women suffered a nearly identical fate two months apart and what the heck a school teacher was doing assisting abortions.

One researcher has delved into a few different theories suggesting that Mr. O'Neal was actually the father of these unborn children or perhaps even worked as a 'scout,' choosing among his young pupils boys and girls to engage in illicit sex acts with prominent town citizens. Whether or not any of that is true, we will probably never know.

*All Photos from Find-a-Grave*

Sources:
Merlyn's Cave
Wikipedia
Find-a-Grave
USGenWeb


Friday, September 4, 2015

Tennessee's Never-Ending Feud and the Ghosts of the State Capitol

The construction of the state capitol building in Nashville, Tennessee may have taken 14 years to complete...but its taken over 150 years to settle one of the biggest feuds in the entire state!

When construction on the capitol began on July 4, 1845, architect William Strickland was called in from Pennsylvania to work on the project. The limestone building was modeled after a Greek Ionic temple, with its lantern designed after the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. Slave and convict labor made up the majority of the workforce.

It took two years to lay the foundation of the building, and other issues, including a lack of funds, turned what William Strickland assumed would be a quick job into a never ending nightmare that would prevent him from ever returning home to Pennsylvania again. The main problem was that a man named Samuel Morgan. Morgan had been hired by the Capitol Commission to oversee Strickland's work and keep him on schedule and under budget. Not surprisingly, Strickland and Morgan were constantly at odds over the design of the building and especially the money involved. Disagreements over even the minutest of issues would erupt into a fit of screaming and cursing between the two men. 

That volatile relationship finally came to an end in 1854 when William Strickland passed away. With the construction of the capitol still not complete, his son took over in his place.  As a great honor, William Strickland was entombed within the capitol walls---northeast corner to be exact.  But...did that REALLY end this passionate feud?  Many say no.


Construction finally did wrap up in 1859 and Samuel Morgan eventually would join Strickland in the grave...quite literally, actually. When Morgan died in 1880, he was also entombed within the capitol walls---southeast corner. That must have not sat too well with Strickland because capitol staff, allegedly including police personnel, have heard on many occasions the heated arguments of two men coming from the northeastern corner of the building. When they go to investigate, they find no one there. And, while the two men who are doomed to spend eternity arguing over design details and budgets are the capitol's most famous ghosts, some stay they are definitely not the only ones!  Among the odd noises and footsteps heard when no one is around, prominent politicians and many others have stated that they've seen or experienced a number of different things including the apparition of a woman wearing antebellum dress, another apparition of a man kneeling at the James K. Polk mausoleum, and the apparition of a Confederate soldier.

As for architect and his overseer?  Well, after all these years, they may have finally found some common ground. It is said that whenever remodeling or construction goes on at the capitol, the ghostly duo team up to protect the capitol they worked so hard to build.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Book Review for American Monsters

Title: American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America
Author: Linda Godfrey
Published: Tarcher (2014)
Amazon Purchase Information

A lot of my paranormal reading this year has focused on cryptozoology and monster lore, and one of the BEST authors on this subject is Linda Godfrey. After thoroughly enjoying hearing Linda on the radio many times and reading her book, Real Wolfmen, I knew I would not be disappointed with this selection.

I was right!  Coming in at over 300 pages, this book is a little on the chunky side compared to most of the other paranormal-related books I've read recently, but at no point was it ever boring, or felt tedious to get through. Instead, I found myself pretty engrossed at the many different stories, often told from the perspective and in the words of the person(s) reporting the experience.

The book is comprised of three major areas: beasts by air, by sea, and by land, or if you will, monsters that fly, monsters that live in the water, and monsters that walk on land. Linda covers just about every geographical area in the country, combining anecdotes, historical precedence and scientific (and sometimes, not so scientific) theory as to the nature of America's strange creatures. As with Real Wolfmen, there's a huge focus on Wisconsin, which I haven't yet determined means that Wisconsin is the most cryptid-rich state in the nation, or its just because that's where Linda lives!  Either way, I'm not sure I'd want to be hanging out in the woods alone out there.

Obviously, I recommend this title and think it would be a great addition to any paranormal library. It's a wonderful overview of America's monster lore told in an interesting way with appropriate commentary where needed. It's a great collection of little known stories sprinkled with more documented cases and is a great place to begin research into this fascinating genre of paranormal study.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Theresa Takes On West Virginia's TOP 10 Most Haunted Roads

Country roads, take me home....


From dirt lanes to interstate highways, West Virginia is known for her roads.  Sometimes hilly and mostly curvy, these travel routes are often beautiful....and often dangerous. Danger will lead to tragedy and tragedy sometimes leads to a ghostly reputation. Below I've compiled a list of my favorite haunted roads throughout the Mountain State, known for phantom hitchhikers, gravity hills, and  much more. In no particular order:

1. National Road---The National Road was the country's first federally funded interstate highway, with construction beginning in Maryland in 1811. By 1818, the road had come through what is now Wheeling, West Virginia. The section of road near the Pennsylvania border is said to be haunted by phantom sounds of cannon fire, left over from several Civil War era skirmishes which took place along the route.

2. Fifth Street Hill---Huntington's Fifth Street Hill is home to the state's best urban legend: a phantom hitchhiker. Depending on who is telling the story, since 1942 drivers along this road have spotted a young woman in white.  She is always seen on rainy, dreary nights after midnight and anyone daring to give her a lift will find that she has vanished before reaching the bottom of the hill. Legend states the woman was on her way to be married in Wayne County when she was killed in a car accident.

3. Route 50---On Route 50 near Salem, motorists have claimed that when the moon is full and bright, they have seen an apparition of a woman in red, walking alongside the road. If the motorist stops and offers assistance, they quickly discover that the woman has no face!

4. Route 901---Do you want to get face to face with a Civil War soldier? On Route 901 near Spring Mill, drivers have reported that while stopped at a crossroads on foggy nights, they are visited by just such a thing.  They will see movement coming from the side of the road, and see a soldier emerge wearing a Confederate uniform and clutching his back in pain. He then flings himself across the hood of the car, but if you jump out to offer him help, he disappears.

5. WV Turnpike---The WV Turnpike is probably the most haunted road in the state, especially in an area between Beckley and Mossy. UFOs, phantom hitchhikers, and all sorts of other paranormal shenanigans have been observed by travelers, state workers, and even state troopers! Construction began on the route in 1952 and before its completion, at least five workers had been killed. Further, many family cemeteries were moved or otherwise disturbed during the construction, leading many to believe that those lost souls are the ones haunting the road today.

6. Childers Road---This residential street in Barboursville is known for the apparition of a pre-teen boy seen riding his bike. Allegedly, the child drowned in the area, but is still out being a kid. There are also reports that one of the homes on this road has quite a bit of activity in it!

7. Grasslick Road---Grasslick Road in Ripley was the site of a horrific murder in 1897, in which John Morgan slaughtered members of the Pfost-Greene family. The house is gone, but the site off Grasslick Road is still said to contain the residual memory of one young girl of the family fleeing, screaming for help.

8. Hog Alley---This alley in Harpers Ferry is the nightly route of a terribly solid apparition of a black man with a large, bloody scar across his neck. The man is Dangerfield Newby, the first fatality in John Brown's 1859 raid. After his death, Newby's body was thrown into the alley to be consumed by pigs.

9. Reese's Run Road---In the not too distant past, a local girl was brutally murdered on this road in Harrison County. Those visiting near the site have heard her screams and sobs and reported the eerie feelings of being watched.

10. 22 Mine Road---Logan County's 22 Mine Road has been a source of entertainment for legend trippers for years! Many stop their cars, rucks, and even skateboards on a designated spot on this road to see if the ghost of Mamie Thurman, whose body was found along the road in the 1930s, will cause their vehicle to roll UPHILL. This gravity hill feature isn't the only thing spooky---for years, truckers have claimed to have picked up a hitchhiking woman matching Mamie's description!

*Do you know of a haunted road in West Virginia not on the list? Please share it below in the comments or head on over to Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page!*

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Historic Research--Fallen Officers

National Law Enforcement Memorial, Washington D.C.
Last week on my Facebook page, I shared an urban legend from Erlanger, Kentucky. The legend states that a police officer who was hit and killed by another vehicle during a traffic stop likes to haunt an area known as Narrows Road, even going as far as pulling over drivers in his 1950s era patrol car.

This isn't the only haunting or urban legend that involves the death of a police officer, killed in the line of duty and unfortunately, like many of those stories, I couldn't actually find any documentation to prove that a policeman WAS in fact killed.  However, it did highlight the need and importance of research in regards to backing up or completely disproving these types of stories.  But where can one find information on this subject?

Many individual states, counties and towns have their own memorials to police officers killed in the line of duty, and these physical monuments can usually be found, with the names and death dates engraved on them, at the police headquarters or county courthouse. Often, an index of names found on the memorials will be listed online, often with accompanying biographical data and photographs.  One of the best sites I've found that is easily searchable and contains data for every state in the country is the Officer Down Memorial Page.  I've linked to this site below, as well as a few other sites of interest to researchers in the tri-state area. If more information is needed, a name and date of death makes doing further research, especially looking up newspaper articles, that much easier.

*May 15th is Police Officers Memorial Day*

Countrywide Databases
Officer Down Memorial Page---A countrywide listing of fallen officers, searchable by state, officer name, year, etc. Many of the links below actually refer to this site, so this might be the best place to start.

Animal Control Officer Deaths---Not a ton of information on this site, and its not easily searchable, but some interesting data on animal control officers, sheriffs, and firefighters killed in the line of duty in regards to animal cases. 

Kentucky
Kentucky State Police Fallen Trooper Memorial---great photos and biographical information on Kentucky state troopers who were killed in the line of duty.

Ashland, KY Officer Memorial---Brief information on Ashland, Ky officers killed while serving. 

Lexington, KY Fallen Heroes---Lexington police officer deaths up until 1967.

West Virginia
WV Law Enforcement Memorial---located at the state capitol in Charleston, the monument lists the names of fallen police officers throughout West Virginia. Names, date of death, and department can be found at the website. 

WV State Police Hall of Honor---Names and pictures of state troopers who were killed in the line of duty.

Huntington, WV Police Department Memorial---A list of officers with the Huntington PD who died in the line of duty, with information on the deaths.

Charleston, WV Police Department Memorial---A list of officers with the Charleston PD who died in the line of duty. Some photos and brief biographical information.

Ohio
Ohio's Highway Patrol---Officers and support staff with Ohio's Highway Patrol who were killed on duty. Includes photographs and short bios.

Gallipolis, Ohio Police Memorial---only one name listed thus far, but excellent information.