Friday, December 28, 2018

Ghosts vs. Goats: A Friday Night Funny

How many times has this happened to you on an investigation?  None?  Well, its still a cute little comic by Liz Climo and illustrates an important part of paranormal field research---the need for clear, concise communication!  Make sure you speak loud and clear during those EVP sessions so that you don't catch a recording of yourself mumbling and think its a ghost, lol.  Have a great Friday, everyone and if you're out investigating this weekend, make sure you're contacting GHOSTS and not GOATS! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018 from Theresa's Haunted History!

Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate!  This is such a positive time of year---a time to enjoy the company of friends and family, a time to show kindness and charity to your fellow man, and a time to honor those who have passed on.  The Christmas season is filled with so many strange and wonderful traditions and celebrations that give Halloween a run for its money!

I've tried to share some of those traditions of Christmas witches, monsters, and ghosts this month on Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page, and I hope you've enjoyed it!  I encourage you to do further research on the traditions that interest you the most and see if you can work them into your own holiday celebrations.  And, speaking of holiday celebrations, keep your eyes and ears open at all those parties and family get-togethers.  A festive gathering of family and friends always seems to attract visitors from the other side who want to share in the fun.  Keep your camera handy and be ready to experience some uninvited guests...and then be sure to share your stories and evidence with me through email or on Facebook.

Have a great day and let's finish out 2018 on a positive note.  I appreciate each and every one of you who reads and/or shares my work, who tell me your own stories, and who follow and support me on social media.  I can't wait to see what 2019 has in store for all of us! 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Santa Vs. The UFO: A Friday Funny

Happy Friday, everyone!  Are you ready for Christmas? It'll be here in just a few days.  If you're stressing about the holidays, take a second and relax.  It could be worse,  just like these characters above have discovered.  If you'll be out and about this weekend, please be careful and have a safe and happy holiday season!

Friday, December 14, 2018

6 MORE Commonly Misspelled Paranormal Words

I swear I'm not a spelling/grammar Nazi; anyone reading my work can attest to the fact that my lack of sleep and neglectful proofreading have led to some very unprofessional looking blog and social media posts over the years!  However, I do make it a point to learn (and practice) the proper spelling of commonly used words in the paranormal field.  It all started several years ago when I got banned from a Facebook paranormal group by telling a guy that he shouldn't call himself a paranormal expert until he could consistently spell 'paranormal' correctly.  That led to my fairly successful blog post, 6 Commonly Misspelled Paranormal Words.  I had fun writing that post, and wanted to share a few more words that I'm constantly seeing people in this field slaughter.  This post isn't meant to be mean or condescending. Instead, I hope you'll find it a light-hearted and fun way to bring attention to the issue of misspelled paranormal vocabulary.

1. Poltergeist: Ah, those noisy ghosts!  Whether you feel that poltergeists are an actual independent entity or a manifestation of RSPK (or some other explanation) there is only one acceptable way to spell the word, as far as I know.  There are no poltregeists, poltergiests, potergeists, or poultergistes  here!

2. Amityville:  Place names, especially if you're unfamiliar with them or if they're a little wonky sounding to begin with, can be difficult to spell correctly.  However, with all the movies, books, websites, and articles about this famous, yet controversial haunting, you'd think it would be more ingrained into the brains of paranormal enthusiasts. However, I can totally understand this spell checker is telling me its spelled wrong when I KNOW its spelled correctly...

3. Ouija:  I used to think that 'Ouija' was a fairly straight-forward word to spell.  It is just 'yes' in French and German, smooshed together.  However, I am constantly seeing people on paranormal social media platforms spell this with a 'Q.'  WHY?!?  What am I missing?  Please let me know in the comment section below if there is some actual reason why so many people spell it 'Quija.' I'm assuming that the 'Q' replaces the 'O' because people just assume that a 'Qu' should go together at the beginning of a word.  Bonus Fun Fact: Do you know how the Ouija Board got its name?  "Helen Peters Nosworthy is the woman responsible for giving the Ouija its mysterious name. Her identity was rediscovered by TBHS founder Robert Murch in a series of letters printed in the Baltimore Sun when the founders of Ouija took their grievances with each other public. Letters from Charles Kennard, the man who claimed to invent the Ouija board and his friend and business partner Elijah Bond, the man who patented it, stated that a woman by the name of “Miss Peters, Bond’s sister-in-law” who was known as a “strong medium,” asked the then-unnamed talking board what it would like to be called. The board spelled out O-U-I-J-A, and when asked what the term meant, it responded “Good Luck.”"

4. Believe:  Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, you should be mindful that you're 'believing,' and NOT 'beleiving.' The whole "I before E, except after C...etc." thing can get super complicated with its many exceptions, so be careful with this one...especially if 'believe' is used as part of your investigation/research/social media group's name.

5. Spirit: This is another one that I used to think was pretty straight-forward.  It is spelled just about how it sounds, but I keep seeing people write 'sprit,' which could be a simple typo, and also 'sprite.' Now, there is a being in paranormal lore known as a sprite, but too often when I see it spelled that way, its obvious that 'spirit' is the actual word the writer is looking for.

6. Zak Bagans:  Out of all the words on this list, I see Zak's name slaughtered most often.  There are plenty of ways to spell 'Zak', and the para-celebrity in question, known for his work on Ghost Adventurers and his Demon House documentary, does use a fairly unpopular variation.  Still, if you're going to write about a person, its always nice to look up and verify the correct spelling of his/her name.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Merry Christmas! A Tombstone Tuesday Perspective

Merry Christmas!  It's a greeting we in the tri-state hear A LOT this time of year.  However, its a holiday sentiment you don't normally come across while strolling through a cemetery.  Well, unless of course you're strolling through one of the many cemeteries that provide a final resting place for quite a number of people with the name Merry or Mary Christmas!  

Wikipedia, of all places, has some pretty interesting information on the use of 'Christmas' as a surname.  It is definitely not a common surname by any means.  However, you can find the greatest concentration of Christmases in Essex and Sussex Counties, England. Some believe its origins stem back to the 1100's when 'Christmas,' spelled various ways, was a byname given to those people who were born on Christmas day. 

Also according to Wikipedia, the earliest known record of someone being named 'Mary Christmas' dates back to 1837 when Mary Canon married a man by the name of Christmas in Alton. It is believed that 50+ women named Mary have gone on to marry men with the surname of Christmas...but the article doesn't mention anything about women who are born with the name Mary Christmas...or the women and/or men whose name take the Yuletide season a step further with the 'Merry' spelling of their first name!  For example:

Photo by Find-a-Grave Contributor Dianne Wood

Sergeant Major Merry Lawrence Christmas was born May 21, 1929 in Arkansas.  He served in World War II and in the Korean Conflict, and I'm sure his military buddies had plenty to say about his unusual, yet festive name! Sergeant Major Christmas passed away in 1999 and his tombstone can be found Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Newnan, Georgia.

Sergeant Major Christmas isn't the only fella whose parents produced a son they named Merry Christmas, though.  Merry Franklin Christmas was born on November 5, 1848 in South Carolina.  He passed away on July 13, 1914 at the age of 65. He is buried in the Bowden Cemetery in Drew County, Arkansas.
Photo by Find-a-Grave Contributor Leslie Acord

Find-a-Grave, a great website devoted to categorizing and documenting cemeteries and burials only has a few entries for people named Merry Christmas...but it actually has quite a few for MARY Christmases...120 entries to be exact!  I don't want to leave anyone out, but there's no way I can feature all those Marys on here's just a couple who were first to pop up!

Mary Van Christmas was born on Christmas Eve, 1910...but she wouldn't receive her unique holiday name until her marriage Grandison Christmas!  Mary passed away in 2000 and is buried in the Coley Springs Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in North Carolina.

Photo by Find-a-Grave Contributor Margaret Gagliardi

This next and final grave I'll be featuring is a sad one. It is the grave of little Mary Agnes Christmas, born January 22, 1931.  Unfortunately, Mary did not live to see her fifth birthday.  She is buried in Ephesus Church Cemetery in Jackson County, Florida. 

Photo by Find-a-Grave Contributor Mary Greer Thomas

I hope you've enjoyed this Christmas edition of Tombstone Tuesday!  I love the beauty and history of tombstones and am always eager to share the more unusual and fascinating examples of funeral art.  I also love to preserve the history of the people beneath the stones, and let their stories be told one more time. Haunted cemeteries are a lot of fun, but even those that aren't can be still be absolutely awesome! I hope you're continuing to have a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying all the Christmas-themed posts here on the blog and over at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page.  Stay spooky...and I'll catch ya on the next one!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide: Fallout 76 Edition

It's already December 10th!  Do you still have some holiday gifts to pick up...especially for those hard-to-buy-for people that seem to already have everything?  Why not treat your friends and family to a little bit of West Virginia---paranormal style, of course!

Ever since it was announced that Fallout 76 would take place in a post-apocalyptic Mountain State and feature plenty of West Virginia monsters, legends, and haunted locations, there's been a lot of interest in our area's history as well as our more...offbeat...lore.  And of course, there's been plenty of merchandise to back it up.  I've culled just a few of my favorite gifts that would be perfect for those gamers in your life who cannot get enough of Fallout 76 or those who simply appreciate a good dose of spooky West Virginia history.

1. Season Passes to Camden Park:  If your gift recipient is in the tri-state area, consider giving the gift of history AND summer time fun with a season pass from West Virginia's own amusement park.  Passes start at $49.99 per adult and would be a great gift for the thrill-seekers on your list.  When the images of the Camden Park sign in the game were released, people around here were thrilled, including me!  If you follow my blog or follow me on Facebook, you've probably seen me posting about the haunted history of the park.  But, even if your gift recipient isn't a believer in phantoms and spirits, how cool would it be to hang out in the actual location featured in the Fallout 76 game?

Source: WV Explorer

2. Greenbrier Bunker Tour: This unique gift is one that I would personally love to receive!  Well before Fallout 76 came along, it has pretty much been common knowledge throughout West Virginia that our state's swank resort, The Greenbrier, held a dark secret.  Below its posh halls was an underground bunker system, designed to house important government officials in the case of an emergency...such as a nuclear attack.  The government let the secret slip, and since then, the resort has been offering tours of the facility. These tours are offered year-round with a few exceptions and can get a tad pricey at $39 per adult. If you combine your tour with an overnight stay or simply just an on-site meal, you're looking at a good chunk of change, but one hell of a gift!  As an added bonus, the Greenbrier has a long history of reputed hauntings, as well! 

Photo Source

3. Official Fallout Mothman Museum T-Shirt: These awesome t-shirts, showing off one of MY favorite West Virginia monsters, are official Fallout merchandise, and can be purchased online, or on-site at the actual Mothman Museum.  Obviously, Mothman himself, WV's favorite flying humanoid, makes an appearance in the game, but so does the museum dedicated to him!  This particular t-shirt runs $22, but there are others to choose from, plus plenty of other awesome Mothman merchandise at all price points.  Shot glasses, stickers, pins, and other small items make great stocking stuffers, or add them to a t-shirt or larger souvenir for an awesome gift basket!

Source: Mothman Museum Facebook Page

4. Grafton Monster Print: The Grafton Monster is one of the lesser-known creepy creatures to be featured in the Fallout 76 game, but I'm glad to see him finally getting some much deserved recognition!  Previously, The Grafton Monster wasn't very well known outside of paranormal enthusiast circles, but now even he has his own merch, available through The Best Dam Town website!  For $30, your gift recipient can be the proud owner of this 11x7 art print! T-shirts and other items are also available.  I suggest following the Grafton Monster on Facebook for more information on this strange creature as well as updates on new items available for purchase!

5. Flatwoods Monster Lantern:  Every home needs one of these Flatwoods Monster lanterns, in my opinion!  In 1952, a group of boys, joined later by the mother of two of the group, witnessed something strange in the hills of Flatwoods, WV.  The strange creature they saw has been the cause of speculation for decades, and in recent years, has really gained a lot of attention, locally and nationally. Its inclusion in Fallout 76 has just been icing on the cake for this up and coming cryptid! The link provided will take you to a bunch of Flatwoods Monster merch, including the lantern (which costs about $28), but if you find yourself in the Sutton area, definitely stop by the Flatwoods Monster Museum for some in-museum only gifts!

6. Lunatic--A book about the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum:  This book, by author Edward Gleason, is the quintessential tome on the history of West Virginia's historic mental health institution, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.  The book, packed FULL of interesting facts about TALA and the history of the mental asylum in general, will surely fascinate the history buff on your list and is a must-have for anyone planning any upcoming investigations at the hospital!  Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of discussion about the ghosts that haunt the massive building, featured obviously in the Fallout game, so if that's more your gift recipient's thing, check out the book, The Haunted History of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum by Sherri Brake. You can find it on Amazon in paperback form for $12!

7. Overnight Investigation at the WV State Penitentiary in Moundsville:  Another one of West Virginia's massive, historic, HAUNTED buildings to be featured in Fallout 76 is the former state penitentiary at Moundsville!  Now, I'm a huge fan of gifting experiences, and what better experience for a paranormal enthusiast, or just a curious Fallout fan than an overnight investigation experience at a real haunted prison? Unfortunately, bookings for overnight investigations won't resume on the prison's website until mid-January, so perhaps you can craft up a fancy IOU or be a tad late in your holiday gift-giving!  Either way, its a fun gift that they're sure to remember!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

An Old Fashioned Christmas with Krampus!

On Saturday, December 8th my family and I dove head first into Christmas with a double dose of old fashioned Christmas fun.  Our first with Krampus.

This was our third year meeting and second year having our family photo taken with everyone's favorite Christmas demon.  Krampus is a hard-working guy; after making it through another Krampusnacht on December 5th, he took the time to meet and greet both pets and families at Mike Winland Studios in Kanawha City!  We loved our pictures from last year so much, that we absolutely knew we had to go back again this year...and once again, we were not disappointed.  Luke was a little braver this year...but not too much!  When it was our turn to have out photo taken, the photographer (Mike himself) recognized Luke from last year.  In fact, Luke's photo from last year was used on one of the ads for this year's event, so he was feeling pretty famous and important.  And then, he was feeling abject terror as Krampus stood behind him and giggled maniacally at seeing him back for another year.  We took a few fun poses, and as we waited to choose our photo, the Krampus stared at Luke, waved at him, and generally creeped him out fully.  I loved it, lol!  We are so lucky to have this opportunity to share a little culture and history with our son AND support a local artist/business owner. This Krampus was so detailed and spooky, and his actions and mannerisms were so spot on that it was really easy to forget that this wasn't an actual Germanic monster straight out of folklore, ready to beat you with a birch branch.

We bought an 8x10 portrait, but I also walked away with this gorgeous bracelet by Tiffany's Twisted Creations!  It's a real rat jaw bone! Tiffany was in the shop and we got to chat for a few minutes about her unique jewelry, much of which is made up of natural materials collected from her farm. You can find more of her work on Facebook and Etsy (Tiffanystwistedmind on Etsy).  Everything is reasonably priced, well-made, and if you're local, you can arranged a pick up/meet up to save on shipping.  Christmas is just a few weeks away and if you've got someone a little...different...on your list, you're likely to find the perfect gift at Tiffany's Twisted Creations.

Meeting Krampus and buying rat bone jewelry was a great way to get into the Christmas spirit, but our day wasn't done yet!  We headed straight back to Hurricane to take part in the town's Victorian Christmas and annual parade. The town of Hurricane was officially 'created' in 1888, and to celebrate the occasion, this year's town holiday festivities was to take on a Victorian flair.  There was a lot of potential with that idea, but unfortunately, it just didn't really come together.  There were very few activities being offered, but what there was, was pretty awesome.

We started off with a kid's card making craft at Rock Paper Sisters, a local business.  The craft was free, and Luke had a great time making a card for me and Aaron. The girls who own the shop were extremely helpful and sweet, and made sure Luke had everything he needed to make a beautiful Christmas card. While we were there, a group of carolers in Victorian dress sang some Christmas favorites for us, which was fun.  Afterwards, we headed over to the Hidden Creek Mercantile to see a dramatic reading of Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

I wasn't really sure what to expect going in, but wow, was I impressed!  Two narrators read an abridged version of the famous Christmas ghost story, while cast members acted out the scenes. The costumes (by Dale Morton Studios) were excellent and the cast did a great job.  I thought this would be the sort of thing that Luke wouldn't be overly interested in, but he really, really enjoyed it.  It was a story he was familiar with (thanks to Disney!) and the actors/narrators were so engaging that you couldn't help but be drawn in.  As an added bonus, FREE copies of A Christmas Carol book were given to the audience members! 

If you've been following me on Facebook, you know that I'm a huge supporter of bringing back the tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas time, so actually seeing such an awesome portrayal, in person, of the most famous Christmas ghost story of all time was perfect. And, as always, the parade was fun, but after all the more 'paranormal' elements to our day, it kind of took a back seat position in my mind, lol. Overall, we had a really fun Saturday filled with classic Christmas traditions. I love being able to make memories with my son and being able to add a little bit of a spooky element in there makes it even better.

I hope you and yours are also having a great holiday season!  I've got more spooky Christmas season fun coming to the blog and Facebook all month long, so keep checking back!  Happy Holidays from Theresa's Haunted History!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Ghosts vs. Kitty

I say this to my little black kitty, Ichabod, ALL.THE.TIME.  The next time I catch her staring at a corner like this, I'm gonna think twice about asking her if she sees a 'Yuck'---our term for bug, lol.  For whatever reason, her brother, Snowball, never stares off into nothing like this.  He'll sit and watch television for hours straight, but he's apparently not interested in the supernatural.

Have a great Friday, everyone...and if you have a kitty at home, pay attention to what they may or may not be seeing!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

My Spooky Ornament Collection

My love of all things spooky is evident in pretty much every aspect of my life...including my holiday decor!  Since officially becoming an adult and having my own Christmas trees to decorate, I've tried to slowly add more and, non-traditional...pieces to their branches.  Here's my personal collection of paranormal-themed Christmas tree ornaments thus far.  I'm always on the lookout for new pieces, so if you have a favorite spooky ornament of your own, please share!  You can comment below or join me over at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook and let everyone know how YOU decorate for this time of year!

The Krampus ornament on the left was purchased last year at Mike Winland Studios.  We were at the studio to get our picture taken with Krampus, a tradition we hope to repeat again on Saturday!  If you're going to be in the Charleston, WV area on December 8th, come down to the studio 12 pm to 4 pm or 6 pm to 10pm to meet Krampus for yourself!  During the 6 pm to 10 pm time slot, the studio will also be hosting the Fright Before Christmas Art Show and live music. Check the link above for more info.

The Mothman and Ghost ornaments are both stained glass and metal creations that I picked up at Nitro's Festival of Fright, back in October.  Both were created by and purchased from Kelly Bryant, Studio 13. During the Christmas season, they'll find a home on my tree and for the rest of the year, they'll probably be used as decor somewhere else in my house.

This cute little bauble is another nod to West Virginia's favorite creature, the Mothman.  Aaron and I purchased this from a vendor at this past year's Mothman Festival.  Unfortunately, I didn't get her contact information, but she's there every year.  I also purchased a really cute Mothman headband from her!  If you ever get the chance to visit the Mothman Festival, definitely do so...there are so many creative and artistic souvenirs available for purchase, along with live music, internationally-known speakers, and so much more. 

My little BOO ghost on the left was a present from my mom years ago, so I have no idea where it came from.  At one point, the jack-o-lantern lit up, making the haunted house scene in its mouth more visible.  It's had a rough go, but its still one of my favorite pieces.  

In the middle is my third and final Mothman ornament.  Aaron and I bought this at another Mothman Festival, probably six or seven years ago.  It's a simple silver ball adorned with a Mothman sticker, but its held up well over the years, and makes quite an impression on our tree!  And finally, my other Krampus ornament is on the right!  I purchased mine a couple of years ago at Oddbird Gift Emporium in Charleston, during our first meeting with Krampus!  I haven't been in the store yet this holiday season, so I'm not sure if they have any in stock, but this is a fairly common ornament that you can pick up at many places.  It's available on Amazon for less than $15. 

*Want MORE Spooky Christmas Ornaments? Check out my Top Tuesday: Best Christmas Ornaments post!*

Friday, November 30, 2018

Ghost on a Vent: A Friday Funny

I don't really have much to say about today's Friday Funny post, other than that I found this image on Facebook and thought it was adorable!  Obviously, this cute little ghost is paying tribute to the famous Marilyn Monroe subway grate photo, taken September 15, 1954 by Sam Shaw during the filming of The Seven Year Itch. Stay Spooky, everyone!  Another month is almost upon us! 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Stop Shooting at Spirits: A Vintage Ghost Story from Pt. Pleasant

Mr. Devaux-Source
Back on July 26, 2018 a young man from Connecticut named Christain Devaux was charged for firing his gun at what he told law enforcement officers was a ghost.  He claimed to be a paranormal investigator, and originally stated that he had fired the shots at what he thought was an intruder breaking into his home.  After he changed his story (and put two bullet holes through his own wall) he was charged with several infractions resulting from his 'lying' to the police.  When this news broke, we in the paranormal community had mixed emotions.  Some thought it was funny.  Others thought it was sad---this guy was obviously mentally ill.  ALL agreed, though, that it made the paranormal investigation community as a whole look bad.

However, Devaux was NOT the first person claiming to be a ghost hunter to actually fire a weapon at a ghost.  In fact, since the mid 1800's, that trope pops up quite a bit in ghost lore, including being a staple in plenty of stories from around the tri-state area.  I'm not sure why, but for nearly 200 years people have thought that a bullet could stop a ghost.  And so, they continuing firing at them...just like another young man from Point Pleasant, WV did back in 1886.

In an article from the Weekly Register, dated 24 November 1886, the story of Richard Edwards versus his neighbor and a bag of flour is told.

Apparently, Richard Edwards was living with his father David on what was then known as Front Street. (From census records, it appears Richard would have been in his early 20s at the time.) The family was living in the historic Roseberry Estate, a home built by Thomas Lewis, Jr. in 1815 and which is still standing today. Also living in another section of the home was a family by the name of Anguish.

Roseberry Plantation.  Source: Pt. Pleasant Register

As the story goes, Richard was out one Friday evening watching for ghosts.  It was said he believed that the nearby property of the late Dr. Samuel G. Shaw was haunted and apparently he needed his revolver to help prove it.  Unfortunately, as Richard was making his vigil, Old Man Anguish was coming home from town carrying a sack of flour.  As he crossed the street and approached the side gate to gain entry to his side of the home, Richard shot him in the abdomen.  The bullet didn't make direct contact, but instead left a painful, albeit non-deadly wound.  Richard claimed that the white flour sack resembled a ghost coming up the dark street, and that's why he fired.  Mr. Anguish claimed that when he realized the boy had a gun, he called out to him not to shoot him, and then actually grappled with him after he was shot.  When Mr. Anguish asked Richard why he had shot him, the boy stuck to his assertion that he was a ghost.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any follow-up articles for this story.  Was Richard ever arrested...or perhaps even committed?  He does show up in later genealogical records and appears he died fairly young, never having been married.  And what of Old Man Anguish?  Did he fully recover from his wounds?  But what I REALLY want to know is...why was the Dr. Shaw property thought to be haunted?  Was this a locally accepted fact, or simply all in the head of a mentally unstable young man?  Dr. Shaw, who had died the previous year, was a highly respected early citizen and medical doctor of the Pt. Pleasant area.  Did his ghost (or that of someone else) haunt the old property back in 1886, and if so, could the area still be haunted??

This article can be read in full from the free newspaper archive site, Chronicling America.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Ghosts in the Blood: An Old-Timey Medical Perspective

Ah, the good ol' days, where illness was caused by spirits and the best remedies included bleeding, alcohol, and cocaine!  Things certainly have changed, but there are still some cultures that believe strongly in a spirit's ability to affect our health.  'Ghost Sickness' is a common belief among Native America Indian tribes, yet plenty of people from ALL backgrounds have felt a correlation between health and the supernatural.  If you believe you are being made ill by a spirit...please lay off the cocaine.  There are other ways to combat the problem!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Haunted Thanksgiving 2018!

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating today!  I just wanted to tell ya all how thankful I am for each and every one of you reading this blog. If you're new to this blog, welcome!  And if you're a returning reader, thank you so much for your support.  I really appreciate every read, every comment, every social media LIKE, and every share I receive.  I'm so lucky that I have the time and the ability to devote so much energy to this blog, and it really makes me happy that there are so many of you out there who share my love of the paranormal and the spooky history of West Virginia!

I hope you have a wonderful day filled with friends, family, and plenty of yummy food.  Be sure to snap lots of pictures and keep your eyes, ears and minds open today---Thanksgiving and Christmas are prime times for loved ones on the other side to join in on the festivities!  And, when you're ready for a little break today, hop on over to Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page and let me know what YOU'RE thankful for!


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Flatwoods Monster Museum's Bazaare!

What's a Bazaare? Bazaare = Bazaar + Bizarre, and its what happens when you bring together a bunch of paranormal authors and researchers specializing in UFOlogy and cryptozoology for a FREE meet and greet event and merch sale!  The Bazaare was put on by the Flatwoods Monster Museum, and was another great opportunity to bring attention to the Flatwoods Green Monster as well as the paranormal field in general.  It was also a great way to bring paranormal enthusiasts and others to the Sutton/Flatwoods area for an up-close look at the little town that made history in 1952.

After Luke's jiu-jitsu class, we jumped into the Jeep and made the journey north to Braxton County.  The last time Aaron and I were in Braxton County, we visited the Flatwoods Monster Museum, took pictures with all 5 of the Monster Chairs, and concluded the evening with the world premier showing of Small Town Monsters' movie, The Flatwoods Monster: A Legacy of Fear.  It was a lot of fun, but we didn't have Luke with us!  We thought the Bazaare would be a great opportunity to introduce him to the legends and lore of the Flatwoods Monster without him getting bored and cranky, lol.

We were right!  The event ran from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and we arrived around 12:30 p.m. with things already in full swing.  The center floor of the museum was set up with several large tables packed with merchandise from Seth Breedlove, Stan Gordon, Dave Spinks, George Dudding, Eric Altman and Les O'Dell from WV Cryptids and Strange Encounters.  Each featured guest was available and eager to chat with---sharing their knowledge and hearing visitor stories.  

Paranormal investigator, Dave Spinks was there with his new book, West Virginia Bigfoot.  I had to pick up a signed copy for myself and have a quick talk with Dave, who is a really nice and genuine kinda guy.  George Dudding was there with his wide array of books on all things spooky in West Virginia, and Stan Gordon had some of his work available as well.  Seth Breedlove was selling DVDs of his Small Town Monsters productions, including his Flatwoods movie.  Luke, however, was more interested in his movie on the Beast of Bray Road, lol.  Funny side note:  When Luke was about 3 years old, we took him to the French Creek Wildlife Center.  We were both fascinated by the wolves---lying in the sun they just looked like a cute, happy domestic dog.  However, when they stood up and walked, there was something powerful and a little creepy about their movements.  Later on, when we asked Luke what his favorite animal was that he saw that day, he replied with, 'the werewolves.' For YEARS after that, whenever you'd ask him what his favorite animal was, he'd say it was a werewolf. 
Anyway, Eric Altman, who is a Bigfoot researcher, was also in attendance with some cool merch and information. Les from WV Cryptids and Strange Encounters was there as well, and its always a pleasure to see him and talk with him about his current research.  We first met Les at the museum back in April, so it was fitting that we got to go see him again at the museum.  He even had a really awesome gift for me:  an Ouija t-shirt that he made!  Speaking of the museum, it was up and running as usual during the event and the staff was awesome as usual---very friendly, chatty, knowledgeable and helpful.  Luke had a fun time checking out the displays, and it always amazes me how interested he actually is in this stuff, asking follow-up questions and talking about what he saw for days afterwards.  We bought some really cool souvenirs, some for us and some to send to friends in Australia, including postcards, magnets, and guitar picks.  Luke was thrilled to see the pressed penny machine, as he absolutely loves those things and honestly, there were some really cool designs!

We wrapped up our visit to the museum, but we weren't done with Braxton County yet! We had planned on grabbing lunch and then starting the journey to photograph all five of the Monster Chairs. We wanted to take Luke to The Spot, the little restaurant decorated with monster memorabilia and featuring menu items named after various creatures.  Unfortunately, The Spot was closed for the season!  That was a huge disappointment, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Not only does it give us an excuse (as if we needed one!) to return in the Spring/Summer, but it led Luke to the finest dessert known to man.  We ended up having lunch at Shoney's, which was actually sort of a treat since most of the Shoney's restaurants around us have closed.  The meal was good, but Luke and Aaron decided to order the chocolate cake/sundae monstrosity you'll see in the photo.  I'm pretty sure my son now has diabetes, but it was sweet to see him so excited about a dessert and hear Aaron share his childhood memories about eating the same thing.  I'm pretty sure that made the whole trip worth it---at least to Luke!  But, we still had the chairs to conquer!

Since Aaron and I had found all five chairs back in April, we had no problems quickly locating the first four in the series.  Luke wasn't all that into it at first, but by the time we pulled up to the park for the third chair, he was excited.  Unfortunately, as we pulled into the Gassaway Dairy Queen for the last stop on our trip, we noticed a spot of dead grass, tons of No Trespassing signs, and NO CHAIR. What the hell?  We couldn't find any information online, so we drove around Gassaway a little bit to see if it had been moved.  We finally pulled into the drive-thru at Dairy Queen and asked the employee what was going on.  He told us that the property the chair sat on had been recently sold to a private buyer and the chair removed. He didn't know where it had been taken or if there were plans to reinstall it.  If you have any information, please let me know what's going on!

It was a disappointing way to end the day, but we had fun, nonetheless! As my son is getting older, he's getting more into West Virginia's monsters and the paranormal side of our state's history.  It's quite rewarding to have the opportunity to share stuff like this with him, and see his reaction.  And I gotta say, we are so lucky to live in an area that is embracing this spooky history more and more.  The Flatwoods Museum does such a great job in preserving and sharing information on the Flatwoods Monster.  This Bazarre was just one more way to bring awareness, have fun, and get people excited about an interesting piece of our state's history.  Please visit the links to the guests' websites/social media and show them some love...and be sure to check out the Flatwoods Monster Museum's page as well for updates on upcoming events and information on everything you've ever wanted to know about the Flatwoods/Braxton County/Green Monster! 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Lift Your Spirits!

A little Friday Funny to...lift your spirits!  Happy Friday! 

Theresa's Note:  I found this image on Facebook.  If you know who should receive credit for it, lemme know!  Thanks! 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Weird Creature Haunts Bluefield, WV

Today's Throwback Thursday vintage news article comes from the Charleston Daily Mail.  It was published on 2 September 1923 and tells an interesting tale of something strange seen along Memorial Avenue in Bluefield, WV.  West Virginia certainly is no stranger to weird creatures and with the new Fallout 76 game featuring so many of them, I'm glad to have the opportunity to share a few of the lesser known.  But, what this some sort of monster or creature...or was it a ghost?  Perhaps it was all just a practical joke.  We may never know, but please enjoy this strange little article, transcribed below and if you're looking for MORE of West Virginia's strange creatures, check out these articles on the Bluefield Gargoyle and the Creature of  Milton's Kilgore Creek!  Stay spooky and stay away from those Petting Parties!

Old Ghost Story of Neighborhood Dug Up and Retold With Assertion That Present Apparition Is Same Old Spirit; Petting Parties Losing Popularity

BLUEFIELD--Sept. 1--A creature dressed in black, chalky white face, with large, shining eyes and long claws is reported to be haunting the south Bluefield roads.  For the last several nights motorists have reported the strange creature appearing in the most lonely spots as though rising from a bush or clump of high weeds. It walks on all fours and as a car passes it appears and raising to its hind feet, it claws at the air with its vicious loafing claw.  Some of the motorists have stopped and even gone back to investigate the proceedings, but found nothing.  A car of young Romeos, several nights ago, decided to capture it, staged a chase, but after running for several yards the ghost-like creature disappeared among some wild underbrush.  The young men were terrified and returned to the bright lights with wild stories.  Several times the police of the city have tried to make a capture but have never been able to see the object or so much speculation.  But it is there, and has been seen by numerous citizens of Bluefield.  Last night it was reported snooping around in the brush along Memorial Avenue and on the old Cumberland Turnpike.

In this day of reality, it is foolish to say there are any ghosts in the world, but there are many in this vicinity who swear the thing is a ghost.  A farmer from Bland County (Virginia side of Bluefield) by the name of Bailey, who was in the city yesterday selling produce in the city market, offered an old tale of the early days of this section as a solution for the mystery.  The story is too long to repeat, but it seems the residents of about fifty years ago can remember a crazy widow who lived along the old turnpike.  The boys in that day used to rock her house and the more timid people avoided passing after dark. One night her body was found in the road near her house.  For many years after, they claimed the section was haunted.

Whether it is a ghost or whether it is someone playing a prank, the effect is the same on joyriders.  Especially the ones who ride at a late hour hunting lonely spots to stage petting parties.  Of course the gentlemen connected with night riding are all brave men but they do not wish to take a chance.  And they do not wish anything to come sneaking around and hopping up on the running board when least wanted.  So again joyriders will have to keep a good lookout for it might not be a ghost and it might not stay in the same place every night.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Ghost Soldiers of St. John's Church

Tomorrow, 11 November 2018, marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.  As we remember the day that ended the war to end all wars, I wanted to share with you a hauntingly beautiful art installation dedicated to fallen soldiers in one English town.

In the small village burial yard of St. John's Church in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire,  eleven 'ghost soldiers' made of chicken wire stand guard over their own tombstones.  The phantom soldiers are the work of local artist, Jackie Lantelli.  Ms. Lantelli, who generally creates fairy sculptures from chicken wire, decided to use that medium to honor the eleven men from the village who died serving their country during that great war of 1914 to 1918. 

The sculptures will be on display through Monday, and have already caused quite an emotional response among visitors, who now have a more concrete representation of the men who are generally only remembered with a name inscribed on a tombstone. 

For more information and more photographs, please see this BBC article, Ghost Sculptures of WW 1 Soldiers Erected in Cemetery. Photos by Robert Eveleigh/Slimbridge Local Historical Society.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Dress For The Job YOU Want!

Ever since I was little, I wanted to work in the paranormal field.  I think part of that goal was influenced by my love of the Ghostbusters movies.  Back then, however, I was convinced that I was going to go to school to become a parapsychologist.  I'd still love to become a parapsychologist, although over the years, my interests have shifted a bit to the historical and folklore side of paranormal study. What about you?  What did YOU want to be when you grew up?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Theresa Travels to Pt. Pleasant (November 2018)

The Nina and the Pinta

This past weekend, my family and I made plans to visit Gallipolis, Ohio.  Our destination was the riverfront, where we would once again experience The Nina and The Pinta, two recreations of Christopher Columbus' famous ships.  We're kind of like Columbus Groupies...not that we support, you know, the genocide and stuff...but we enjoy history and we enjoy boats.  We've seen the Columbus Foundation's historically accurate replica ships in both Charleston, WV and Ashland, KY and now we can add Gallipolis, OH to our list!  It was really fun, and Luke was finally old enough this year to actually learn and retain some interesting information.  If you get a chance to see these boats in person, I highly recommend doing so!  They tour 11 months out of the year, and make it into our region about every 1-2 years. Anyway, we also got a quick glimpse of the quaint, historic little town of Gallipolis, which was founded in 1790 as a colony of French citizens.  There are a lot of cool places of historical (and even spooky!) interest in town, such as the haunted Our House Museum.  But, being late autumn and on a Sunday, there wasn't a whole lot we headed across the bridge and into Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia.

Ever since my son was little, he has called Pt. Pleasant 'Mothman City.' Obviously, Pt. Pleasant was home to the original 1966-1967 Mothman/UFO flap and is now home to the world's only Mothman Museum, the annual Mothman Festival, and of course, the world-famous Mothman Statue! Since the anniversary of the original sightings is coming up later this month, it seemed fitting that we spend a few hours in one of our favorite little towns. 

Living only about a half hour to 45 minutes away from Pt. Pleasant my entire life, I've been there quite a few times.  I think, though, that being so close, I've taken the area for granted a bit.  It really is a fun little town to spend some time and learn all about West Virginia's most famous mysterious monster.  Our first stop was to the Mothman Museum.

Now, I love everything about the annual Mothman Festival, but during the festival I never get a chance to visit the actual museum.  It is just way too crowded.  And honestly, I had only planned on making a stop into the gift shop during this trip, as I have been to the museum before so, so many times.  However, my son, Luke, really wanted to go into the museum and since admission was cheap, we went for it.  I am SO glad we did.  There is so much stuff to look at in the Mothman Museum that you could spend hours in there and not see every single thing, and every time we go back, there's been something new added or we see something we missed on the previous trip.  There are props, photos and memorabilia from the movie, The Mothman Prophecies.  There are hand-written eye-witness accounts.  There are newspaper clippings, information about the history of the TNT area, costumes and artwork, books and rare documents.  There is even a small 'theater' playing Mothman documentaries. 

Luke is finally at an age where he's getting more into stuff like this.  He wanted to watch a bit of the documentary, and even took the time to read several newspaper articles.  When we asked him questions about what he thought the Mothman was and whether or not it was good or bad, he replied with thoughtful, knowledgeable answers.  As a mom and a lover of all things paranormal, I had never been happier!  After purchasing some souvenirs from the gift shop, we made the mandatory photo stop at the Mothman Statue.  One day, I want to put together a flip book of Luke's Mothman statue photos over the years, starting with one of the pictures of me pregnant with him, standing in front of the iconic silver creature with the glowing red eyes!

After a quick lunch, we rounded out our little afternoon with a trip to the TNT area bunkers.  It had been a long time since we had taken Luke out to see the bunkers and with it being a warm day and the thick foliage starting to die down, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity.  As we entered the first bunker, Luke was VERY hesitant.  In fact, he was close to tears.  He absolutely refused to go any further than the doorway.  So, Aaron and I walked around a bit and took some photos of the newest graffiti.  We had planned on only visiting the first open bunker on the trail, but Luke insisted that we go a little further down to the next open bunker.  I'm not sure what changed, but he found his courage, and proudly marched right into the center of the bunker, experimented with the strange acoustics of the structure, and laughed at a spray-painted penis drawn on the floor.  It was really special seeing him conquer his fear and hear his theories as to whether or not the Mothman actually camped out in these strange, concrete igloos.

We had to pass the first bunker on our way back to the car, and Luke decided that he would go ahead and go into this one as well now, which he bravely did!  Even on a Sunday afternoon with other people in the area, even I have to admit that the area around the bunkers is kind of creepy.  Therefore, I was impressed with his bravery and I have to wonder what he tells his friends at school when they ask about what he does on the weekends, lol.

Anyway, with the sun setting we bid adieu to Point Pleasant, aka 'Mothman City' and headed back home, with plans to visit again soon, and also to spend more time in Gallipolis as well.  For us, Pt. Pleasant is just a short drive, but it really is worth the trip if you're coming from further away.  If you can attend the yearly Mothman Festival in September, check that out---its a whole experience of its own.  But, if you can't make it down for the festival, there really is no bad time to visit.  The Mothman Museum is open year-round, and the statue is located right beside the museum.  The haunted Lowe Hotel can be booked much more easily during non-festival times, and the TNT area bunkers are always accessible as long as the weather isn't terrible. With other local museums and historic sites, you can easily spend an afternoon, a weekend, or maybe even longer exploring the area, and with the release of the new Fallout 76 game, in which the Mothman Museum and ol' Mothman himself appear, I think we'll see a lot more visitors to the area soon!

I picked these up at the Mothman Museum gift shop for $10 each.  They are by LizPavlovicDesign
IG: @keepon_creepinon

Monday, November 5, 2018

Book Review for A History of Moonville, Ohio and a Collection of its Haunting Tales

Title: A History of Moonville, Ohio and a Collection of its Haunting Tales---Revised Edition
Author: William M. Cullen
Published 2013 by Xlibris LLC
Amazon Purchase Information

Several weeks ago, my boyfriend and I attended the third annual Midnight at Moonville festival, a fun celebration of the history and the hauntings of a small Ohio railroad community and its infamous haunted train tunnel.  This was my first visit to the haunted Moonville Tunnel, and while a festival setting wasn't really conducive to experiencing the tunnel's paranormal activity for myself, we had a wonderful time.  One of the souvenirs I picked up from the Vinton County Tourism booth was the book, A History of Moonville, Ohio and a Collection of its Haunting Tales!  If you know me, you know I love to pick up a volume of local ghost stories any time we go out of town.  There were a couple of options available, but I chose this particular book because I thought it would be a pretty comprehensive look at both the history AND the ghost stories.

And, it was.  At only 80 pages, this book was a short, quick read but it was stuffed full of information.  As the title would reflect, it is basically broken down into two parts---the first being a history of how the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad came to build a line through this rural, desolate woodland and the early families that lived and worked in the area. Being a native West Virginian, I was personally interested in how closely the history of Moonville could be linked to the history of what is now West Virginia (then still part of Virginia at the time of the railroad's inception). The ability to have railway access from various points in Ohio to places such as Parkersburg and Wheeling was one major reason for the rail line to be built in this area, and there were a couple of families of note who moved to the region from West Virginia.  However, the overwhelming reason why this isolated area made such a great location for the railway was simply because the Coe family who owned a huge chunk of the land where Moonville would sit 'donated' the property.  I use the word 'donated' in quotation marks because the Coes received quite the personal benefit of having the railroad come through that area.

To a history buff, this section of the book was pretty interesting to me, and I learned a lot about the area.  If you don't allow yourself to be bogged down by the potentially confusing genealogy and string of birth/death dates, there are some really great stories, and some pretty useful information (such as why the town was named after the Moon family and not the Coe family) that would especially be of interest to those wanting to conduct a paranormal investigation at the tunnel.  Speaking of paranormal....

The second part of the book is dedicated to the plethora of ghost stories and haunting legends surrounding the area of the tunnel and what used to be the town of Moonville. This is the part of the book that I found the most fascinating.  Obviously, I LOVE a good ghost story, but I think the author did an excellent job in sorting out the legends of Moonville.  For YEARS, the area around the Moonville Tunnel has had a reputation for being haunted.  As far back as 1895, a Chillicothe based newspaper ran a story about the Ghost of Moonville:

"A ghost (after an absence of one year) returned and appeared in front of a freight at the point where Engineer Lawhead lost his life. The ghost is seen in a white robe and carrying a lantern. "The eyes glistened like balls of fire and surrounding it was a halo of twinkling stars" - Chillicothe Gazette, 17 Feb 1895"

Stories from actual railroad employees witnessing an apparition and/or a phantom lantern were still being reported through the mid-1980s---all the way up until CSX stopped running trains through the area and tore the tracks up.  Obviously, there were also plenty of experiences being reported by local residents, hikers, kids partying in the area, and paranormal investigators starting in the late 1800's and still going on today!  Some of these stories and experiences deal with 'other' ghosts of the tunnel---a lady who shows up as a blue orb, another lady in white who appears as a solid person walking along the area where the tracks once stood, and the laughing of a little girl who was allegedly hit by a train in the mid 1980's. 

But, there appears to be one main, or as some call him, one TRUE GHOST of the Moonville Tunnel. 

This is where things get REALLY confusing.  There are a ton of stories of a phantom haunting the area around Moonville Tunnel that share some striking similarities.  However, the variations in these stories are unlimited, as are the alleged back stories for how this ghost came to be.  Sometimes this apparition is seen as an 8 foot tall African-American man with piercing red eyes.  In some stories, he is wearing railroad attire and in others, he is dressed as a miner (there was also a coal mine in the Moonville area).  He is often seen with a flowing white beard, and in some variations of the tale, is wearing a doctor's white coat (or a sheet?!).  Once in awhile, he is seen without a head!  However, in nearly all variations of the story, he is seen waving a lantern, desperately trying to get passing trains to stop.

Theories abound as to who this ghost could be.  Was he a doctor trying to flag down a passing train in order to save the smallpox ravaged village?  Was he a drunken miner who stumbled in front of a passing train?  Was he an employee of the railroad, either a brakeman, an engineer, who suffered an accident or was murdered?  Or was he someone else entirely?  Like most ghost stories, I think there is no real clear answer.  Based on historical documentation provided by the author, it seems as if there are kernels of truth embedded in each of these different tales.  As stated earlier, the area is extremely rural and for people living there in the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th, there wasn't a great way to travel.  The easiest and quickest route to the next town over was to walk along the railroad tracks.  However, this was an extremely dangerous endeavor because between Moonville and the next town over, there were four trestle bridges and two tunnels.  If you were caught on a trestle or in the tunnel when a train approached and couldn't get out of the way fast enough, you were done for...and that's exactly the fate of at least 34 people the author could confirm.

So maybe there isn't one true ghost of Moonville, but several, whose stories have intermingled and have been added on to throughout each new re-telling over the past 100 years.  However, that still doesn't explain, exactly, the ghost mentioned in the 1895 newspaper.  According to the author and several other sources I've seen, the ghost mentioned in that article...the one who would probably qualify as Moonville's True an engineer named Theodore Lawhead.  Lawhead, and his fireman, Charles Krick, were killed in a horrific head-on train collision in November of 1880.  Based on Lawhead's fate, and the dates of the accident and when the first ghost stories began circulating, it would make sense that the ghost is in fact Lawhead.  Is Lawhead still trying to warn others of the dangers of the Moonville Line?  There are plenty of people out there who believe so!

Further Reading:

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Grave Digger and a Ghost

I found this image on Pinterest, and although I haven't found a ton of information about it, I loved it so much that I wanted to share!  Here's what we know:  The title is The Grave Digger and a Ghost, and the artist is a popular British characterist, George Montard Woodward.  It was completed in 1795 and is now a part of the Tate Gallery collection.  Spooky art is one of my passions and I hope to be bringing you even more paintings, sculptures, and other mediums highlighting the artistic side of the paranormal throughout 2019.  Stay spooky, ya'll!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Thank Goodness its...FRIGHT DAY!

It's always FRIGHT DAY here at Theresa's Haunted History! I love this little TGIF ghostie...he's the perfect transition from Halloween season back to the regularly scheduled rest-of-the-year spooky time.  I'm always a little sad during November with my favorite holiday coming to an end for another year.  But, its almost like a time to regroup and get ready for another year of spooky fun.  Happy, I mean FRIGHT Day, ya'll!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Very Ghostly November!

The Halloween season is over for another year, but the spooky fun never comes to an end here at Theresa's Haunted History!  

In October, I participated in the Ultimate Blog Challenge---a challenge that involved me publishing a brand new blog post EVERY day throughout the month.  I have attempted this challenge before, but this was the first time that I completed it.  So, while November won't have nearly as many new blogs as last month, I think you'll be pleased with what's coming up!  There will be more ghosts, more witches, and more weird and spooky stories from West Virginia and elsewhere.  I've got at least one more book review to share, a couple of personal experiences, and plenty of Friday Funnies!

November will also be a big month for Theme Days and Theme Weeks!  Both here on the blog, and over at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook Page (and maybe on Theresa's Haunted History's Twitter) I'll be blocking off  specific days or even full weeks for special topics.  There will be a Ouija Wednesday and a day dedicated to the original Mothman sightings. The first week of November will be dedicated to serial killers, and haunted objects will be featured later in the month.  There will be several more special topics throughout the month, so be sure to check back often.  

Also, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for LIKING Theresa's Haunted History on social media, reading my blogs, and sharing my posts.  Your support and kind words keep me going, even when I completely lose my motivation.  I love learning about all aspects of the paranormal world and I love sharing what I learn with all of you; it thrills me that there are people out there that enjoy it as much as I do.  Thank you so much for everything you do, and please, always feel free to message me about your own experiences or to make suggestions for topics to discuss.  

Have a wonderful month and stay spooky, everyone!