Friday, February 16, 2018

Friendship Goals: Paranormal Edition

To quote Homer Simpson, "It's funny 'cause its true." Well, obviously most paranormal investigation teams these days are NOT wearing unlicensed nuclear accelerators on their backs, but the sentiment does hold true. When you're out in the field, searching for the unknown, you want to know you can trust the people you're with! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day from Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State!

Happy Valentine's Day from Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State! I love vintage greeting cards, especially Halloween cards. However, I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day adding the unexpected ghostly twist to these cards makes them so much cuter! I love adding a little spookiness into traditionally non-spooky holidays. It's like a little bit of Halloween all year round!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review for The Ghosts of London

Title: The Ghosts of London---A Collection of Ghost Stories from the British Capital
By: Sean McLachlan
Published by the Charles River Editors
Amazon Purchase Information

Every couple of weeks or so, the mood hits me to fill up my Kindle with FREE ebooks. I'll go to the Amazon website, click on the Kindle Store, and then search the last 30 days of new releases, priced low to high! Over the years, I've found quite a few free ebooks on my favorite subjects---ghosts and hauntings!

However, the old adage is usually true: you get what you pay for. More often than not, these free ebooks are poorly written, factually inaccurate, or at least just really, really short. There are gems to be had, though, and The Ghosts of London is one of those gems!

I have several other ebooks from the Charles River Editors, mostly quick-history type books, and they've all been a great deal. They are well written, interesting, and long enough to actually be considered a book, lol. But The Ghosts of London, written by Sean McLachlan, is the best I've found so far.

This book isn't super long, but its got a great sampling of London's haunted history. You'll find some standby classics such as 50 Berkeley Square, which many know as the Most Haunted House in London. Of course, a few hauntings associated with the London Underground (subway system) are included, as are plenty of haunted pubs, churches, and other places of interest. There are also a few really strange stories included, namely the ghost of Sir Francis Bacon's FROZEN CHICKEN!!

Chapters are enhanced with photographs and illustrations, and there's a great bibliography at the end of the book. It's a quick, fun read, but its not overwhelmingly short like so many similar books tend to be. I'm not as up-to-date on my British hauntings as I'd like to be, so this was a great collection of stories to become familiar with.

Unfortunately, at the time of this review, the FREE promotion for this book has ended, and the price is up to $2.99. That's still a respectable price for the quality and quantity of information packed into this ebook. And, if you don't care for the ebook format, you can get this title in paperback as well, for about $10.

However, just keep your eyes open! Charles River Editors often offers their ebook titles for free during limited times, and they cover some really great subjects. I also managed to pick up a free copy of The Weird and Mysterious United States at the same time as The Ghosts of London! It's been added to the To-Be-Read pile and may end up as a future Book Review!

Happy reading, and happy haunting, everyone. Stay spooky!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Legislation Could Shut Down Tourism at the WV State Penitentiary in Moundsville

I am sickened by recent news. As you all know, I choose to stay as far away from politics as I can on Theresa's Haunted History. However, our West Virginia legislature has made that impossible this term. Not only have bills been introduced that would allow commercial logging to destroy the history and natural beauty of our state parks, but now, they're attacking tourism at the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville!

Back when the prison shut down in 1995, it could have easily taken on the same fate as so many other old buildings. It could have been left just an empty hull in the middle of Moundsville, waiting for vandals and the elements to finish it off. However, it was saved from that fate when a group of citizens under the name of the Moundsville Economic Development Council secured a lease for the property. That lease was renewed in 2004, and under its provisions, would have lasted through 2029.

However, a small clause was found embedded in House Bill 43-28.

In section 15A-2-23 it states: “All current leases for or involving the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville…are hereby abolished immediately. The commissioner is authorized, as lessor, to lease the West Virginia penitentiary in Moundsville, for a term of not more than five years.”

So, our lawmaker are planning on using a bill, which is otherwise a good thing, to shut down tourism at the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville. The bill is currently for review with the House Finance Committee.

What I need for every one of you reading this is to share, share, share! Get this information out to the citizens of West Virginia and to the paranormal research community! Follow the WV State Pen on Facebook for updates and easily shareable information. More importantly, I need you to make calls/send emails to members of the House Finance Committee and your local representatives and/or Governor Justice and let them know that we will not let them take this community asset away from us.

As a paranormal investigator and researcher, the West Virginia State Penitentiary holds a special place in my heart. They offer both private and public ghost hunts, which are top-notch. If you're not ready to go for a full investigation, you can choose a shortened version. There are also various guided tours available, usually given by a former CO of the prison!

These history tours are outstanding. For an extremely reasonable price, you get an excellent look at the prison, a comprehensive overview of its history, and a peek at what life was like for inmates and staff alike. These tours are not only educational, but they're FUN, and each guide has his/her own personality and spin on things so each tour is a little different and can be tailored to the group's interests. I have an 8 year old son who has already learned so much about local history, social history, and the history of corrections in general, and its all because of the WV State Penitentiary.

But the old prison offers so much more! Television shows and movies often use the location for filming. During the Halloween season, they offer a top-notch haunted dungeon attraction. When Escape Rooms started emerging on the scene, they added that element as well! People rent out areas of the property for parties, weddings, and other festivities. Community events are held, including plenty of family-friendly and kid-oriented entertainment.

My son enjoying a tour
Like many visitors, some who come from out of state and even out of country to visit the prison, we tend to sink plenty of money into the local economy on our trips to Moundsville! We eat at local restaurants and stay at local hotels. We purchase fuel from local gas stations and pick up forgotten travel items at local stores. And of course, we make sure to take home plenty of souvenirs from the prison's gift shop!

But that's still not all! We visit other local attractions while in the area! If we weren't drawn to the area to see the prison, we'd probably never stop in across the street and see the burial mound and its museum (and spend money in THEIR gift shop as well!). We might not have visited the Golden Palace, or the former Castle Halloween Museum, or any of the great locations of historical interest in the Wheeling area.

For over 100 years, the West Virginia State Penitentiary did its job housing the state's worst offenders. It was seen a place of violence, a place of sickness, a piece of dark, yet necessary history. Now, it has the opportunity to educate, to entertain, and to provide a safe place for the community to come together. Don't let a few lines stuck in a bill destroy that legacy.

*A petition has been started on to Save the West Virginia Penitentiary.*

Beckley's Shape-Shifting Ghost

This newspaper story was published in the February 25, 1889 edition of the Wheeling Intelligencer. The story originally came from the Raleigh County Index, a short-lived weekly newspaper out of Beckley, WV. It was only published between 1880 and 1893. I found this copy on my current favorite website, Chronicling America! 

Transcript: The Raleigh County Index gives the following ghost story: For some time past some of our townsmen and citizens of the vicinity have been alarmed at the sight of a ghost that makes its appearance at a coal bank about two miles from the village. Sometimes the apparition assumes the shape of a man's head with eyes as large as a saucer, while at others it is pleased to masquerade as a young female, so unlike the balance of the feminine persuasion that it refuses to speak even when addressed. A crowd recently went to the coal bank, determined to make the personal acquaintance of this supernatural being, but spooks never appearing to a multitude, they were, of course, disappointed.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Mary Loves Dick - A Most Haunted Friday Funny

I'm just going to go ahead and apologize for today's blog straight up, as it is both a little R-rated AND a little sophomoric at the same time! But, it fits in with the LOVE/Valentine's Day theme this month! Anyway...

On New Year's Eve 2003, the television show, Most Haunted, broadcast its Most Haunted LIVE episode, featuring a hunt for the ghost of Dick Turpin, an English highwayman who was executed in 1739 for his crimes. Now, Most Haunted, and its resident psychic, Derek Acorah, aren't noted for their integrity in the field of paranormal investigation and research. In fact, in many cases, they've been proven to be deceitful and fraudulent. And sometimes, they're just really, really funny. In the clip below, Derek is temporary overtaken by spirit (you can tell by the retching sound that emits from him), and starts screaming "Mary loves Dick! Mary loves Dick! Mary loves Dick!" It's clear that Yvette is trying her best to stifle a giggle...and when the live cameras stop rolling, it gets worse. The whole team bursts into laughter and someone makes the remark as to whether Derek has won his 20 pounds.

I'm going to have to give this clip the honor of being the absolute funniest thing I've seen on Most Haunted, and I'm not the only one who has derived more pleasure than was necessary at this display. Derek took part in the 2017 season of Celebrity Big Brother, and has he was making his way into the house on opening day, a heckler in the crowd shouted the now infamous phrase at him, which puzzled a lot of people who had never seen the episode. Derek handled it like a champ, though!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sir Francis Bacon and the Ghost Chicken

Would you consider this a 'poultrygeist?' 

I write about a lot of weird stuff here at Theresa's Haunted History. I've written about so many weird things over the years that I had to add a whole page dedicated to these freaky, strange, and unusual pieces of history. Mummies, people being buried alive (on purpose!), curses...its all here at the Weird History section of the blog. But today, I'm adding a story that is weird even for me! What could be weirder than being haunted by a frozen chicken?

I recently came across this story while reading The Ghosts of London: A Collection of Ghost Stories from the British Capital, by Charles River Editors.

Back in March of 1626, Sir Francis Bacon decided to test out a theory he had been toying with. He believed that meat could be preserved without the use of salt by simply keeping it at a cold temperature. In order to test this out, however, he had to have some meat---and he chose a chicken from a farm near the Highgate area of London. The chicken was plucked and slaughtered, and then Bacon stuffed it full of ice to see if his theory was correct.

Unfortunately, Bacon never got to see the full results of his experiment. During this process, he came down with a cold, which turned into the pneumonia that would take his life on April 9, 1626. That should have been the end of the story. But it wasn't.

Pond Square Stock Photo from Alamy
Visitors to Highgate's Pond Square have been terrorized for centuries by the apparition of a headless, featherless chicken. The bird has been seen running around in circles, flapping its bare wings madly before disappearing from sight. Recent sightings have occurred in 1943, when a man named Terrence Long heard the sounds of what he thought was a phantom carriage, but when he turned around to see where the noise was coming from, he witnessed the chicken, and again in the 1970s when the chicken made its most horrifying appearance ever.

During that time, there was a young couple out on a date in Pond Square. As they sat on a bench, their make out session becoming more and more risque, the chicken carcass allegedly fell (or jumped) from a tree branch above them, right into the middle of their laps. I guess there's no better birth control than a dead, yet sentient, frozen headless chicken falling from the sky. Unfortunately for us, that was the last time the chicken was seen. Perhaps it had fulfilled its purpose?

*If you want MORE weird chicken stories, I've got a blog about a strange chicken from Wayne County, West Virginia! *

Monday, February 5, 2018

Shadows From the Past in the Luna Park Historic District: Charleston

Theresa's Note: I've got another Guest Blog submission for you today, and I think it's going to be one you're absolutely going to love. Kimberly Taylor, a local law librarian and paranormal enthusiast, has shared these experiences from her residence in Charleston's West Side. Possibly stirred up by some local construction projects, her formerly tranquil apartment became a passageway for citizens of another time. Kimberly then looked into the history of the area, and may have found the cause of these spooky disturbances!  A HUGE 'thank you!' to Kimberly for sharing this well-written, well-researched account of local activity!

Luna Park Entrance Sign Postcard
Source: Wikipedia, courtesy of My WV Home

I live on the West Side of Charleston, West Virginia in an apartment building that includes a nice view of the Kanawha River.  The location's tranquility drew us in; then the construction on Kanawha Boulevard began.

In an attempt to make the West Side more inviting, the City Council decided to expand the riverside walking path and add a bicycle lane.  This meant reducing the four-lane Boulevard to three.

Soon surveyors and heavy equipment showed up.  Monster size machinery ripped layers of concrete and rebar up like they were peeling an onion of its layers.  Backhoes exposed decade's old oil and river residue and deposited it in neat piles in front the apartment building.

Other than the inconvenience of road construction in my front yard nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Washing dishes is mundane so I like to pass the time daydreaming or staring into the living room at the television.  I'd been in our small kitchen for a while one particular afternoon and staring mindlessly at the television set for quite a while.  Then, what the hell was that?  A guy just casually strolled through the living room followed by another!  I rushed into the living room thinking the worst of the West Side had finally intruded into our quiet space only to find no one there. 

I wasn't frightened by the occurrence because shades have been a part of my life experience since childhood.  Startled, yes.

The next construction phase brought in more equipment including earth movers as tall as the apartment building that churned up soil and river residue so old it smelled like swamp and sickness.  Sometimes it burned my eyes.

Workers showed up before dawn and frequently stayed well past dusk.  Glaring spot lights became the norm and quiet time was pushed later and later into the evening.  Eventually I took to wandering the apartment in the middle of the night, peering out windows.

During one late night roam, I lingered in the office looking at a friend's painting, getting lost in the swirl of colors and, then got further distracted by the pages of a familiar book.  Reminding myself that it is a work night, I move toward the living room for one last glance out the windows.

Except between me and that last glance is a man leisurely sitting on the couch eating his lunch from a tin pail.  What the hell?!  Now he's looking around and unscrewing the lid to his thermos!  I slowly move into the living room barely stifling a shout to my sleeping husband, when the man stands up in a fluid motion and heads toward Kanawha Boulevard disappearing through the corner wall.

Heart pounding and palms sweating I quick step it back to bed, pulling the blankets close for comfort sure that the morning will bring clarity.  Sleep didn't come and dawn's light certainly didn't make the night's event any clearer.

An old building such as ours probably has a secret or two and, I intended to uncover those secrets with some property research.  There was even a date etched into one of the basement walls that would provide a good starting point.  Though it was faded from time, I could make out the 193 and part of the last digit as either a 1 or 9, 1931 or 1939.

The property searches turned up nothing.  Nothing except an old building with a perfectly normal history of tenants moving in and out.

So I smudged the apartment with sage and put the lunching and strolling shadows behind me.

Driving home from work one evening I noticed a new sign on Park Avenue.  The sign read, Luna Park Historic District.  Luna Park?

Once home I raced to do an internet search on Luna Park, Charleston, West Virginia.

Frank Ingersoll invented, designed, and commissioned the construction of a series of amusements to house the roller coasters his company manufactured.  These parks became known as Luna Parks. 

Crowds at Luna Park, circa 1915. Photo from WV History on View

Charelston's Luna Park opened to the public in 1912 and was owned and operated by John Crowley and Sam Moore of Moore Books.  By 1913, thousands of people were visiting Luna Park.  They came by street car and steamboat.  A local newspaper reported that street cars sometimes delivered people to the Park's entrance at a rate of 1,200 per hour.

The more I read the more curious I became about the grand entrance that supposedly could be seen from the decks of the steamboats chucking up the Kanawha River.

At last, I found a trove of Luna Park pictures and among them one of the entrance.  It was indeed grand for the time period.  The arched gateway spanned more than a city block and was flanked by two tall towers covered in colorful flags and bunting.

I continued looking through the pictures, marveling at the sheer number of visitors depicted and just how sad and kind of creepy the Park's clowns and other entertainers appeared.  Most of all I was in awe of the massive public swimming pool made of timber and sheet of tin.

In 1923 Typhoid was rampant.  The City's response to the epidemic was to pump the pool so full of chlorine that it is said a single welder's spark set the pool afire and ultimately devastated the whole park.

Plans were made after the fire to rebuild Luna Park to its' original glory but the funds fell short.  And in 1925 the swollen Kanawha River rushed the banks leaving ten feet of water covering what was once Luna Park.

The water eventually receded but, the City decided to parcel the land into private land plots and through streets.  The last photo I found showed a map of those plots of land and streets superimposed on Luna Park's grid.  The answer to the mysterious lunching and strolling shadows was right there.  The apartment building was built alongside Park Avenue and on top of the once grand entrance to Luna Park.

If you'd like to learn more about Luna Park and see some excellent photographs from its short time as a Charleston landmark, then please check out the My WV Home website. And, if you'd like to read about and see some current photographs from the Luna Park Historic District, its National Register application is available online at the WV State Archives site.  Again, I cannot thank Kim enough for sharing these experiences with us and allowing me to publish them on my blog. Please make sure to share this with all your spooky friends on social media and if you have a story you'd like to share, please contact me at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook. Stay spooky! 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Links I Love: February 2018

It's February, a month for love! In honor of Valentine's Day, this month I'll be sharing a lot of love-related stuff---including this list of links I love! Go show these sites some of YOUR love and check 'em out!

1. Chronicling America---I have been obsessed lately with Chronicling America's FREE newspaper archive, which is a component of the Library of Congress' online database! Although I wrote about this site some time ago in my Newspaper Research blog, I've only just now taken the time to really start going through it. I've found so many wonderful 'ghost' stories and of course, many articles of note concerning historical events related to famous haunted locations. In the coming months, look for more blogs featuring research gleaned from this site.

2. My WV Home---This is another site that I've shared before, but love so much I wanted to share it again! If you're looking for information and/or photographs from West Virginia's past, especially from the Charleston area, then this is your go-to spot.

3. WV Heritage, History, and Memories Facebook---This is a fairly new Facebook group, but already I have 'LIKED' so many of the historic images that are posted here! There's a great geographical variety of content and the owner posts very regularly.

4. WVGhosts---WV Ghosts is a staple in the paranormal history and culture of West Virginia. For years, owner J. Moore has been collecting and archiving the ghost stories that make up WV's haunted history.

5. Ghost Blog UK---I've recently joined the forum over at Ghost Blog UK, and while its in its earlier stages, there's lot of interesting information and some great networking. I try to check it out at least once a week, and contribute as often as possible.

6. Find a Grave---In most cases, to have a ghost you must have a death. Find-a-Grave is a great resource for finding information on the deceased. And, its a great resource for directions and other information to cemeteries that may have a haunted reputation.

7. Southern Spirit Guide---The Southern Spirit Guide is another site that I have often talked about on this blog and my Facebook page. It's a wonderful collection of haunted locations from throughout the southern United States.

8. Hayley is a Ghost---This blog is filled with all kinds of great advice on paranormal investigating and related topics. Well-written, well-researched, and entertaining to read, Hayley is a Ghost is one of my favorite blogs for information on the paranormal.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Spooky Valentine's Day Gifts

It's less than two weeks away from Valentine's Day! Can you believe how fast this year is going by? Hopefully, you've already got your Valentine's gifts out of the way, but...if you're looking for a last-minute getaway or token of your love for your spooky sweetheart, here are a few options to consider.

1. Valentine's Vampire Masquerade---February 10th at the Archive of the Afterlife/Sanford Center in Moundsville, WV. Come alone, or bring your partner...but come dressed as your favorite vampire and get ready for music, food, and all sorts of spooky fun. Admission: $10 single or $15 couple.

2. Valentine's Weekend Ghost Hunt at the Hotel Conneaut---February 9-10. If you're in the PA area, this sounds like an awesome weekend! Your ticket gets you access to a guided ghost hunt of the haunted hotel, buffet dinner, your room for two for the night, breakfast the following morning, and more! Admission: $95-170.

3. Love Never Dies Valentine's Ghost Tour of Philadelphia---Here's another option for those in the PA area! Take a romantic, candlelight walk through Philly, taking in the city's most haunted locations. Tour dates are available on February 9, 10, and 14 and admission is $22 per person.

4. Plenty of other hotels and Bed & Breakfasts throughout the country offer some outstanding Valentine's specials and many of those places have a haunted reputation! Just check your favorite haunted accommodations in your area and see what's available!  There's no other motivation to get up close and cozy with your partner than sheer terror!

5. Plush Ghost Valentine---If you're looking for something a little more tangible as a Valentine's gift, the Etsy seller, Kiraslilshopofhorrors, has you covered! These small, plush ghosts, complete with Valentine sentiment, can be yours for $16 each.

6. Ghost Jewelry---Sometimes, its best to go the old fashioned Valentine's Day Gift route and express your love with jewelry! Etsy has so many wonderful examples of jewelry, ranging from cute to sophisticated, and coming in at a variety of price ranges. My personal favorite is this bracelet from Artlysian!

7. Ghost Chocolates---Keeping with a traditional theme, there's something inherently romantic with chocolate covered strawberries! Dip your own for your sweetheart...but use white chocolate and draw a little ghost face on them for an added spooky twist.  Make sure to wash it down with some spooky spirits!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Muffin Top Ghost: A Friday Night Funny

Happy Friday Night Funny Day! Maybe this ghosts needs a little 'exorcise' in the afterlife!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Haunted History of the Oahu Community Correctional Center

Source: Haunted Rooms

When I think of haunted prisons, I think of the WV State Penitentiary at Moundsville. I think of Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. I think of the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. The state of Hawaii does not, however, come to mind. Yet, it probably should, as even this island paradise is not without its history of haunted correctional facilities!

When I decided to find a new place in Hawaii to add to my Haunted America page, I did a simple Google search for 'haunted Hawaii.' I noticed that the Oahu Community Correctional Center consistently made the 'top haunted lists.' Unfortunately, in each article that I came across, the same information was presented---sometimes word for word.

It seems as if the current facility, which is equipped to hold 950 pre-trial detainees, as well as offering various educational and social outreach programs for offenders, sits atop the site of the old Oahu Prison. Historical information regarding the history of the center has been difficult to ascertain. At best, information is lacking. At worst, it is downright confusing and in some cases, conflicting reports come from different sources.  However, according to a government document, dated 19 May 2017 and entitled 'Future of the Oahu Community Correctional Center,' there has been some type of correctional facility on the site since the early 1900s. In the mid-1970s, an annex was added to one of the original buildings, and by 1982, a new jail building was added to the complex. Some sources say that at least one of the buildings on the campus of today's center go back to 1916, and early photographs from an 1888 magazine publication denote that the Oahu Prison was located on that site even further back.

Prisoners Eating Poi: Hawaii State Archives
No matter what the actual history of the site entails, it is common knowledge among both inmates and staff that the facility is haunted. Inmates often report that they can hear cell doors creaking open and slamming shut, even though no one is around at the time.

It is stated that 47 prisoners were hanged at the site between 1909 and 1944. When the new building was constructed, the offices were built atop the site of the former gallows. Because of this, staff members tend to avoid the squad room, refusing to sleep there while not on active duty. They say the room has an eerie, uncomfortable feeling and unexplained disturbances are common.

Since the actual Oahu Community Correctional Center opened up in the late 1970s/early 1980s, it has been subjected to habitual overcrowding, despite the construction of new facilities. Over time, the buildings themselves are also becoming outdated. So, recently, the Oahu Community Correctional Center has been hunting for a new home. What is extremely interesting about all that (at least to me!) is that according to a Honolulu Star article from November 14, 2017, the main candidate for the new facility is the current site of the animal quarantine facility. The article makes sure to mention that this facility is ALSO haunted! Part of the facility was built atop the old Halawa Naval Cemetery. It is believed that those buried in the cemetery, along with the traditional Hawaii Night Marchers who use this area as a route, haunt the quarantine station!