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!*