Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Buried Alive in Hampshire County, WV

Before the practice of embalming was widespread, the fear of being buried alive was a very real one for many.  This story comes from a February 12, 1885 edition of a newspaper out of St. Louis, Missouri, although the event in question takes place in Hampshire County, West Virginia.  I found it shared on the West Virginia Heritage, History and Memories Facebook page and it appears to have been originally shared on the Hampshire History Facebook page.  It was noted there that the young woman did survive, but other newspaper articles stated that it was believed she'd be a 'lunatic' for life.  


ALIVE IN HER COFFIN
A Dreadful Occurrence in a West Virginia Village--Morphia
Special dispatch to the Globe-Democrat

SPRINGFIELD, W.Va., February 12--A terrible affair has just come to light on the levels near Okonoko.  Mary Cox, a well-known and popular young lady, residing near the mouth of the Little Capon River, was taken violently ill.  The physician diagnosed the case as one of neuralgia of the stomach and prescribed morphia. A dose was administered at once, and another was left, with instructions to give it in twenty-four hours.  For some as yet unexplained reason the second dose was given in a very short time. In an hour or two after, the death of Miss Cox was announced and neighbors prepared the body for burial, and two days later the deceased was interred.  At the funeral one lady insisted that Miss Cox was not dead and begged that a physician be sent for.  That night the dogs of a man living near the graveyard stationed themselves near the tomb and kept up a persistent howling.  The neighbors talked, and the next day the grave was opened, when to the horror of all, it was found that the girl had been buried alive.  The coffin presented a terrible sight.  The lining was torn from the sides of the casket, the pillow was in shreds, and the poor girl had literally stripped the clothing from her body.  Her hands and arms were torn and bloody, the lips were bitten through, and handfuls of hair lay about.  The girl had come to, and evidently a frightful struggle to escape followed.  The affair fills the community with horror.

Theresa's Note: I found this story, word for word, in several other publications, including this one from the Rock Island (Illinois) Argus. I also did a little searching to see if I could find any evidence that Mary did go insane (and who could blame her after that ordeal?), but didn't find anything substantial.  I did find several articles mentioning a Mary Cox from Harrison County who was deemed 'insane' and died at the Weston State Hospital, but the age range doesn't match up.  Either way, its a frightening story that I'm sure left an entire community, not to mention a young lady, shaken to the bone. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Chilton House's Demon-Possessed Mirror

For years it has been a fancy restaurant, located on the banks of St. Albans' Coal River. But, is there a darker past hidden behind the brick and gables of Angela's On the River, formerly known as the Chilton House?  Maybe...

The historic Chilton House was built around 1857 by businessman Allen Smith, who had purchased the property a year earlier.  It was originally built about 200 yards away from its current location (right about where the post office sits now) and was right in the hub of the St. Albans business district.  It's a beautiful brick home,  built in the Gothic Revival style and sporting seven steep gables.  It wasn't until 1883, well after the Civil War, that the illustrious Chilton Family took ownership of the house.  Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Wilson Chilton, wife of William Chilton, Sr. bought the home from Smith's daughter and son in law.  It's noted that the house was expanded in 1883 when the Chilton's moved in, but you could hardly tell because the bricklayer was able to match up the original bricks so well!

Mary and William apparently needed the extra space because they had two daughters and five sons, all who became prominent citizens in St. Albans and throughout the Kanawha Valley.  One son, Samuel Blackwell, was a physician who died of typhoid fever in the home in March, 1893. Another son, William E. Chilton, II would go on to be a prominent lawyer and politician, serving as a WV Senator for several years.  The youngest son, John Savary, took over ownership of the home in 1915, but would go on to sell the property outside the family later on.

By the mid-1970's, the historic home was in danger of demolition as the 'Loop' was being built in St. Albans.  Local citizens were able to get the process started to get the home listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and by the end of 1974, the process of moving the home to its current location was underway.  It wouldn't become a permanent fixture until a cinder block foundation was finished in 1976, and would finally be formally added to the NRHP by 1977.  

It would later become the Chilton House Restaurant, and is still to this day a restaurant.  Angela Samples opened Angela's on the River in 2010 and its under this current ownership where a strange story unfolds.  This story came to my attention during the 2019 St. Albans' History and Mystery Tour, in which a costumed interpreter, portraying a member of the Chilton family, told the history of the home.  When asked about the 'ghosts' mentioned on the tour flyer, the interpreter mentioned that the restaurant was once home to a demon in a mirror!  

Wait, what?!?  A demoniacally possessed mirror?  I had to know more.  Luckily, a gentleman nearby was able to fill in some of the details with first-hand knowledge.  Here's the story as it was told to me:

As part of the period furnishings in the restaurant, there was included a large, antique mirror.  Being an antique mirror, its appearance was understandably a lil' spotty and grubby looking.  However, no matter how much effort Angela or her staff put into trying to clean the mirror, it would never come clean.  But the mirror wasn't just dusty and spotted with the normal gunk and grime acquired over the years...people would actually SEE something, something potentially evil, reflected in the mirror!  It was decided that it would be in everyone's best interest if the mirror was just removed and disposed of as quickly as possible.  So, it was taken out to the dumpster.

Chilton House 1950's

However, it was quickly brought to Angela's attention by someone familiar with what was going on that if that mirror happened to break, surely the demonic entity trapped therein would be set free and be unleashed into the community!  So, the mirror was quickly dug out of the trash and gently sat nearby, apparently in full view of travelers driving down St. Albans' Loop. I say 'apparently in full view' because the mirror wasn't out of the trash for more than a few minutes when someone drove by and saw it being discarded.  This person asked if they were offering it for free.  The staff in charge of disposing the mirror replied that yes, it was in fact free...but there was a demon in it!

The person didn't stick around for clarification and pealed out without saying a word.  The mirror would soon find a new home, however, when another driver stopped by shortly after and loaded it up.  

It would be interesting to know whatever happened to that mirror and if the new owners experienced anything spooky associated with it.  So, if you live in the St. Albans area and know what happened to the mirror...perhaps its hanging in YOUR dining room?...please let me know!  I'd love to check it out and bring some closure to this story.  And...if you're wanting to get rid of it, I'm guessing there's a guy out in Las Vegas by the name of Zak who'd be willing to give you a fair price! 

Bonus Fright:  I heard another rumor from a tour patron that there were still slave shackles visible  in the basement, left over from the home's pre-Civil War days.  I don't *think* this would be true, at least not at the modern location, because when the house was moved in the 1970's, it was put on a cinder block foundation.  Any old basement/cellar/etc. would not have been included...right? 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Chasing Ghosts at the St. Albans History and Mystery Tour 2019!

C&O Depot
I was pretty bummed about not being able to attend the WV CASE Paranormal Expo this year...but since I was in (my) town for the weekend, I decided to go and do something fun and spooky, anyway.  So, I went to the St. Albans History and Mystery Tour, hosted by the St. Albans Historical Society!

Adult tickets were $10 each, and while they were sold at the door, we ordered ours in advance through EventBrite, just so we'd have them ready!  We checked in, ran into some old friends, and got ready to tour through the city of St. Albans, WV to hear its history...and maybe a few ghost stories to go with it.  The way the tour was set up was similar to what Ironton, OH does with its cemetery ghost walk, although on a much grander scale.  Upon checking in, you're given a sheet of paper with the addresses and a brief description of each spot on the tour.  A presentation was given at each spot every 15 minutes starting at 5 pm and running until 8:45 pm.  It was up to you go at your own pace and either walk or drive to each destination.  

Since we got there before 5 pm, we had PLENTY of time to get through each stop without feeling rushed, which I could really appreciate it.  In theory, I love the idea of running it this way, but we found out along the way that presentations didn't always start on their given times.  This led to a few times where I think we missed some information.  But, since we had plenty of time, we could stay through another presentation and there were even a couple of stops that we just revisited completely at the end of the evening. 

Overall, I had an excellent time!  I know a little about the basic history of St. Albans, so it was cool to hear some additional stories told through re-enactors portraying historical figures from the area's past.  Here are the locations featured on this tour, and a little about each one!

1. St. Albans Historical Society--At this stop we saw an awesome lil' skit about who exactly were the first settlers and who technically 'founded' the city known today as St. Albans.  It was really cute, and the re-enactors did a wonderful job.  There was also cider and snacks available for FREE at this location!
Lantz Lumber

2. C&O Depot--Right next door to the Historical Society building is the old C&O Depot where we learned a little about the railway industry in St. Albans, and Collis P. Huntington's role in its development.  This is also where we heard our first spooky ghost story.  Years ago when the station was in operation, a passenger missed his train and had to sleep overnight at the station.  He awoke sometime later with the sounds of what he assumed was a train coming...not just through the station, but THROUGH the building at him!  He then heard the sounds of people talking, and hustling about, almost as if he was witnessing the phantom procession of passengers disembarking through a big-city depot.

3. Lantz Lumber Company--At the Lantz Lumber Company, we met the Weimer family and learned of their role in the lumber industry and in St. Albans' overall history.  We had another spooky tale as we learned that footsteps could be heard in this large, brick building used for storage---but when investigated, no REAL footsteps can be found in the dust.

4. Johnson/Smith House--The Johnson/Smith House was one of my favorite stops on the tour.  We got to go inside this beautiful, early 20th century home to 'have tea' with Mrs. Johnson and other local society women.  Mrs. Johnson would tell us about herself, stopping only to listen in to the 'gossip' of the society ladies, who had their own spin on these stories.  The house was beautifully decorated, both inside and out, for Halloween and refreshments were available.
Johnson/Smith House

5. Flowers on Olde Main--This gorgeous flower shop has been in business for 50+ years, but the building in which its located has an absolutely wild history.  Here we met African-American architect, John C. Norman, who told us how he built the building. Upstairs was used a one of the few pool halls that allowed African-Americans, and during Prohibition, the building was home to a speakeasy, complete with 'hidden' elevator that ran bootleg whisky up from the lower floors.  The ladies who worked and lived in the building were present to share their experiences with hearing phantom footsteps on the main floor of the shop when no one else is around.

6. Angela's On the River--Now a popular restaurant, this former home to the Chilton family was almost razed when the Loop was being built in St. Albans.  Luckily, the pre-Civil War era home was saved, moved a short distance away.  Although the flyer for the tour states that we'd be hearing about 'the spooky things that have happened here,' when asked, we only received a short quip about a demon in a mirror.  Luckily, I found someone who had a little more information to give on that story....so look for THAT in another blog!

7. Bangor Cemetery--I have driven by this cemetery hundreds of times and never once noticed it.  It is a small burial ground dating back to the early 1800s and unfortunately many of the tombstones have been knocked over.  It's a neat little location with ties to George Washington's family and I hope to see a group come in one day and help restore the damaged stones.  As a further interesting side note...this cemetery does contain a 'slave section.'  But, apparently the slave section of the cemetery has houses built over it now!  I wonder if any of those homes are experiencing paranormal activity?
Angela's on the River

8. Morgan's Kitchen--Morgan's Kitchen was another great lil' stop on our tour.  Roasted marshmallows over the fire, live music, and a dedicated re-enactor talking about early pioneer life in the St. Albans area made for an awesome presentation.  At this stop we learned quite a bit about the old Fort Tackett, including a more mysterious side to its history.  The fort had been attacked by natives at one point and continuing YEARS after the event, people living in the area of where the fort once stood would report hearing the residual sounds of that attack, including yelling and whooping, and women screaming.  

I had a really fun time seeing this side of St. Albans under a bright and beautiful (almost) full moon. I thought the re-enactors did a wonderful job telling the history of the town and it was nice to see so many people interested. I would have loved to have a little more of the 'mystery' side thrown in, but I'm a weirdo, lol.  Overall, it was a great night and I'm so glad that we got to experience this tour.  I look forward to future events put on by the historical society, and if I get the chance to attend, I'll be sure to share my experiences with you!  Happy Haunting!

Looking for MORE ghostly goodness from St. Albans?  Check out these articles:



Flowers on Main

Morgan's Kitchen

Bangor Cemetery

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Cemetery Shortcut: A Friday Funny




So...this is totally going to be ME in the afterlife.  I understand that 'Theresa' with an 'H' isn't the more popular spelling, but its so perplexing to receive messages intended for 'Teresa' or 'Tresa' when my properly spelled name is printed right there for anyone to see, lol! I had to order a new college diploma because my name was misspelled on it...so I guess if I want to avoid this guy's fate, I need to pre-order and proofread my stone well before I actually need it!

Have a fun, safe and spooky weekend, ya'll!  There are numerous activities going on this weekend including the premier of Ghost Nation and a ghost tour in Ripley, WV by Granny Sue Holstein tonight (ghost tour also offered Saturday).  Tomorrow is the Moonville Tunnel Festival in Ohio, The Nitro Festival of Fright in Nitro, WV, a ghost tour of St. Albans, WV and the WV CASE Paranormal Expo in Morgantown, WV!  There are also plenty of other haunted house attractions and ghost tours going on throughout the tri-state.  Let me know what YOUR weekend plans are! 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Theresa and JR Visit The Flatwoods Monster Museum!

If you follow Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State regularly, you probably saw where, once again, I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge!  And, once again, I failed miserably before I really even got started.  I had full intentions of bringing you a NEW, exciting paranormal blog EVERY DAY for the month of October, along with daily topics on Facebook.  Unfortunately, life got in the way.  My mother-in-law had a medical emergency and has been hospitalized for the last week.  So, we've been dealing with that, and I've been away from my laptop quite a bit.

Things are starting to settle back down a little bit, so I'm trying to get back on track, and filling in with a few 'bonus blogs' to make up for the days I missed.  And today's bonus blog is another installment of Theresa's Travels!

Now, I've been married since March.  My husband grew up in a very religious family and just never cultivated an interest in the paranormal.  Luckily, he loves me and generally tries to show an interest in my passions.  But, despite the fact that he lives in Grafton and we travel past the area frequently, he had NEVER been to the Flatwoods Monster Museum in Braxton County!

So, on Tuesday we were making the drive back up I-79 after visiting my mom in Winfield and I made an impromptu decision.  TODAY was gonna be the day that shared this really cool piece of West Virginia's strange history with the man I love.  He was a little hesitant at first, but that quickly changed!

After having a nice little chat with Andrew Smith who runs the museum, JR and I perused the collection.  I think he was able to walk away with a better understanding of the Flatwoods Monster story, and asked me plenty of questions afterward.  My heart melted to see him take a bunch of photos, which he promptly shared on Reddit, lol.  I think he was most pleased with his shiny new Mothman/Flatwoods Monster pressed penny that I made for him! 

It was a really brief trip, as we had to get back to the hospital to see his mom, but it was the perfect little stop.  I love the Flatwoods Monster Museum and have been multiple times over the past couple of years, but it was really special to share that with my husband.  I think the Flatwoods Monster kind of holds a special place in our relationship since I inadvertently ended up wearing a Flatwoods Monster t-shirt to my own wedding! But, the Flatwoods Monster is also special in that it is such a fascinating example of West Virginia's weird history.  Andrew does such an awesome job running the museum and promoting the Flatwoods Monster that this once-obscure little story has really turned into an entity known all over the world.  If you find yourself cruising up Interstate 79, take a quick detour and see this unique tourist spot...admission to the museum is free, a variety of affordable souvenirs are available, and the place is chock full of photos, documents, memorabilia, and much more related to one of West Virginia's favorite monsters! 

Follow the Flatwoods Monster Museum on Facebook to stay up to date on information concerning the monster and upcoming events at the museum!  Author Sherri Brake will be on-site October 26th!


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Sistersville Stocking Lady

Photo by Find-a-Grave contributor, Kathy Cook

I absolutely LOVE stories of haunted cemeteries and cursed tombstones.  There's just something about these particular legends that I think appeal to the thrill-seeker and adrenaline junkie in all of us!  Recently, I learned of another such legend here in the Mountain State:  The Stocking Lady of Sistersville. Like many of West Virginia's tombstone legends, this particular grave marker should be respected and admired....from far, far away!

Although we'd probably not consider Sistersville a booming city today, at one time the area was filled with wealthy citizens who made their fortunes in the oil and gas boom of the 1800s.  Many of those once-prominent citizens now call Oakwood Cemetery home, including the family of Philo Stocking.

Philo Stocking migrated from New York to the Wheeling area, and finally settled down river in Sistersville around 1841.  Local history has Philo Stocking as being one of the first people to attempt to drill oil in the area, but unfortunately it didn't quite work out.  However, Philo was a smart man.  He was sure that there was oil under his property, so he retained the oil and mineral rights to his property for him and his heirs.  Meanwhile, Stocking and his wife, Nancy, opened up a flour mill in 1852, which is still standing today under the name of Riverside Mills.  His son eventually took over the business and the family experienced financial success in the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century.

Philo passed away in 1882 and his wife Nancy followed in 1901. Both were buried in the beautiful Oakwood Cemetery. A large granite monument with the elaborate figure of a woman cradling the grave was erected, overlooking the Stocking plots.  At one time, it must have been an impressive piece of funerary art.  Unfortunately, vandals have turned the once opulent statue into a desecrated mess of broken stone.

Close-up from Granny Sue's Blog

The Stocking Lady still stands guard over the graves of the Stocking family, but her arms have been broken off.  If you look closely at her face, you'll find it scratched and gouged, her eyes which were supposed to watch over the family in their eternal slumber now indistinguishable.  Because of the disrespect shown to her, local residents feel that the Stocking Lady is out for revenge!

The Stocking Lady is one of the tales collected and told by Appalachian story-teller, Granny Sue.  In a recent appearance at the WV Book Festival, she told the story of the Stocking Lady, and how at one local event, quite a few audience members came forward with personal knowledge of the statue's wrath!  It seems as if the gentleman responsible for breaking off the arms of the Stocking Lady soon after suffered a horrific accident in which he lost an arm.  The man accused of vandalizing the statue's face went blind.  In fact, it seems that if anyone just simply TOUCHES the statue, they will suffer bad luck, most likely in the form of health problems occurring in the part of their own body corresponding to what part of the statue's body they touched.

The cemetery is also alleged to be haunted by phantom moaning and white, wispy apparitions floating about.  Is this further evidence of the Stocking Lady or members of the Stocking family showing their displeasure for how their grave site was treated...or do the mysteries of Oakwood Cemetery extend even further?  If you find yourself in the Sistersville area, possibly staying at the historic and haunted Wells Inn, make sure you take a moment to stop at the cemetery and pay your respects to the Stocking family and the Stocking Lady.  Just...don't get too close!!

(This story can also be found in Rosemary E. Guiley's book, The Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories.  I've seen the cemetery in question be listed as both Greenwood AND Oakwood, but according to Find-a-Grave, the grave is officially listed in Oakwood.  If you have any clarification or corrections, please let me know!)

Happy Haunting, ya'll! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Appalachian Ghost Stories with Granny Sue!

I've always loved the work of Susanna 'Granny Sue' Holstein, the Appalachian story-teller and singer of traditional ballads!  Although I've followed her work online for quite some time, I'd never had the chance to see her in person...until last Saturday!

As part of the annual WV Book Festival in Charleston, Granny Sue presented a wonderful talk about some popular West Virginia ghost stories, some lesser-known spooky tales from our mountain hollers, and plenty of history and tradition.  She even sang several ballads to set the mood of an old-timey gathering.  Further, the stage was complete with some mood-setting chairs, tables, and some creepy old items that would later play a part in one of the stories told.

Among the many stories included in this particular program was the story of the Stocking Woman, a desecrated tombstone located in a Sistersville cemetery which is said to bring bad luck to all her touch her.  She relayed the story of Zona Heaster Shue, otherwise known as the Greenbrier Ghost.  She shared the saga of WV's last public hanging in Ripley. And, she told a couple of personal (and sometimes hilarious) 'ghost' stories, as well, which had me (and much of the audience) rolling.

Despite it being 9 am on a Saturday, and despite some of the controversy concerning a headlining guest of the festival, quite a few people made the trek out to the far end of the WV Coliseum and Convention Center to be a part of Granny Sue's audience.  Events like this warm my heart.  I absolutely love seeing so many people from so many different age groups and walks of life come together to appreciate a little dose of Appalachian culture.  Story-telling, especially the telling of ghost stories, is such an ingrained part of West Virginia's history and it is wonderful to not only see someone like Granny Sue working so hard to keep these traditions and folklore alive, but to see just how many people out there really appreciate this dying art form.  Over at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page, I recently posted an article from the UK Telegraph about how social media is causing folklore to die out.  As long as there are people like Granny Sue out there, telling the stories, I think we'll be okay!

Anyway, after her presentation, Granny Sue went back to her table on the main festival floor, where she sold CD's of her work.  I took a detour and took advantage of the HUGE used book sale going on, and bought a couple of books of ghost stories and one about some local history.

I had an awesome time, and am so glad that I decided to get up early and drive into Charleston to see Granny Sue.  This was a FREE event and I hope in the future, the organizers of the WV Book Festival will continue to incorporate folklore, particularly ghost lore, in its programming!  And, although the event has now passed, you still have a couple of more opportunities this month to see Granny Sue:

She will be giving ghost tours in the Ripley area this coming weekend, October 11th and 12th as part of the city's Shocktober.  The cost is $10 and tours leave from the Jackson County Courthouse at 8 pm.  You can call 304-514-2609 to register.

You can also catch Granny Sue at Taylor Books in Charleston at 6 pm on Friday, October 25th.  She will be giving a presentation called These Haunted Hills: West Virginia Ghost Stories and Ballads. This event is FREE and open to the public!



Friday, October 4, 2019

Translucent Perished Being


I'm a little obsessed with Nathan Pyle's Strange Planet comics...and I especially love this one with a nod to paranormal activity! I think from now on, I shall refer to 'ghosts' as 'translucent perished beings.' Happy Friday, everyone!  I hope you have a wonderfully, spooky weekend! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Wheeling UFO?

AAAAHHHH!!! Is that an....unidentified flying object?  Back in mid-September of this year, this photo was making its rounds on Facebook, particularly among groups dealing with West Virginia-related paranormal phenomena.  It seems as if it was uploaded by a user named 'Phil T. Rich,' and was allegedly taken in the Highlands area of Wheeling, WV by the father of Phil's unnamed friend.  It ended up being shared by another person to the WV Mutual UFO Network Facebook page.

The photo was shared to my personal Facebook page by a friend and before I even had a chance to SEE it, the mystery had been solved!  Unfortunately for those in the ufology community, this picture IS too good to be true. 

Les O'Dell of WV Cryptids and Strange Encounters shared the photo on his page and almost immediately a sharp-eyed fan named Rebecca Slaughter Boyer was able to debunk it!  As it turns out, there wasn't a mother ship flying over Wheeling, WV.  Instead, the image of the giant UFO comes from a smart phone app called Camera 360.  The image featured here goes by the title of 'End of the War--Starship.' 

Same UFO
The semi-cloaked appearing UFO has been showing up in photographs since at least 2015 (according to this article on Above Top Secret) and can trace its origins back to a composite art piece by Jukka Korhonen called "V for Victory."

As we enter into the spooky season, be prepared to see a LOT more of these phone app hoaxes featuring ghosts, UFOs and other creepy critters flooding social media.  It seems like each October, people try to scare the crud out of their friends and family members with these smart phone apps and many of those photos ended up being posted under the assumption that they are the real deal.  If you are presented with a paranormal photo that seems too good to be true and you suspect it may be a ghost app, there's a couple of great sites featuring a database of ghost app images and information.  Two of my favorites are:  1. There's a (ghost) App For That and 2. Ghost App Ghosts

Hope you're having a wonderfully spooky week so far! Keep checking back for new blogs every day throughout October, and don't be afraid to keep your eyes on the skies---just because this particular image isn't an actual UFO doesn't mean that they aren't out there....

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Here We Go Again!

It's October!  Can you believe it?  This is my favorite month of the year....and the busiest month of the year for Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State!  If you haven't done so yet, you'll want to follow me on Facebook for 31 days full of spooky, Halloween goodness.

Each day will be a day full of posts dedicated to a new spooky topic, beginning with Edgar A. Poe today and followed by Appalachian Granny Witches tomorrow.  You'll wanna check back each day for articles, photos, discussions, and even a few giveaways!

You'll also want to check out the blog each day because once again, I've joined the Ultimate Blog Challenge!  For a whole month, I'll be posting fresh new content for your enjoyment.  New West Virginia hauntings, new paranormal photos, new book reviews, and so much more ghostly and Halloween articles are coming your way! I've failed miserably the last few times I've attempted this challenge, but October is MY month and I'm dedicated to seeing it through to the end this time.  I feel confident, but a little nervous because...

...I'm also going to be super busy this month!  I'll be attending The WV CASE Paranormal Expo in Morgantown on October 12th and I'll have a table set up at the Beckley Fall Oddities Fair on October 26th. There are a few haunted house attractions I'm planning to visit and a few ghost tours I've scheduled to attend.  I've got a few other paranormal and Halloween-related events lined up this month and I'm going to try my best to shove in as much spooky fun as possible. Of course, I'll be sharing all those experiences with YOU!

Halloween is my favorite holiday and autumn is my favorite time of the year.  I'm excited for another opportunity to spend it with you all.  Let me know down in the comments, or join the discussion over on Facebook and let me know what this October has in store for you!  Any investigations planned? Going on any ghost tours?  Seeing any spooky movies this season?  Feel free to share your plans and let us all know how YOU'RE making the most out of Spooky Season 2019.

Happy Haunting, ya'll!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Mothman Festival 2019


Another Mothman Festival is in the bag!  This year, instead of manning a vendor's table, Aaron, Luke, and I participated simply as spectators...and we had a blast.

Although the festival is a 3-day event, we decided to go down on Saturday.  That Saturday was also special for another reason:  not only was it a day to celebrate Mothman's unique history and contribution to the paranormal world, but it was Luke's 10th birthday!  Therefore, we sort of let HIM (Luke, not Mothman) call the shots.  We arrived in town around 11 am, and as soon as we crossed the bridge into Point Pleasant, we KNEW this festival was a big one---traffic to Krodel Park, where parking and shuttle service were available, was crazy.  But, it didn't take too long, and we made it to Krodel, found a parking spot, and after only a short wait, were on the shuttle to downtown 'Mothman City.'

Luckily, my family and I live about 40 minutes away from Point Pleasant (dubbed 'Mothman City' by Luke when he was little) and we enjoy visiting the area throughout the year.  So, we've seen the totally awesome Mothman Museum and have had our picture taken with the Mothman statue on non-festival days.  Therefore, we were able to skip the lines for those iconic activities and explore what else the festival had to offer.  Luke was hungry, so we decided to start off with some lunch.

Again, because we live so close and visit so often, we were able to skip some of the more sought after sit-down restaurants in the area and went straight for the fair fare.  I had my favorite, ribbon fries, Aaron had pizza, and Luke had a corn dog and fries, which he washed down with a purple alien full of lemonade. The guys also split an order of fried cookie dough with the clever moniker of 'Moth Balls.'

We took our food over to the riverfront amphitheater and caught about half of the costume contest.  I really wish we had gotten there a little earlier, because what we caught of the contest was absolutely awe-inspiring.  There were so many great costumes, many of which featured an interpretation of Mothman himself, and so many of the participants REALLY got into their characters.  All the costumes were wonderful, but I had a soft spot for the Yip Yaps of Sesame Street!



Since we were mainly doing stuff Luke wanted to do, I only got to catch one guest speaker at the haunted State Theater this year.  Brian Seech, a cryptozoologist, UFOlogist, and paranormal researcher with the Center for Unexplained Events, gave an interesting presentation on 'Winged Entities from Antiquity to Present Day.' While I was learning about different winged humanoids from different cultures and different time periods, Luke was mauling himself, as he does every year, on the Wipe Out-style inflatable.

Luke also won a stuffed animal playing a balloon darts game, threw food into Slimer's mouth over at the Ghost Busters tent, met some Star Wars characters, and picked up a few souvenirs.  I ran into Les from WV Cryptids and Strange Encounters and tried to say hi to the guys at Wild and Weird West Virginia, but they were so busy!  I was thrilled to see that Andrew Smith was in attendance, representing the Flatwoods Monster Museum and giving a talk about West Virginia's other favorite monster at the State Theater. As always, the festival was overrun with awesome vendors selling the absolute coolest UFO, cryptid, paranormal, and horror merch around, and there were so many cool authors, researchers, and organizations representing this community.  And what a great community it is!  Sometime I always note about the festival each year is just how freaking nice everyone is.  I have been to the annual Mothman Festival well over a dozen times and its eerie just how sweet, compassionate, and understanding everyone I've ever encountered there has been.  People from all walks of life and from all geographical locations (we were on a shuttle with families from New York, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Kentucky) come together for this shared glimpse into one little town's brush with the unexplained.  It really is heartwarming, but I don't wanna get too sappy, because I haven't yet mentioned our favorite part of the festival this year...

WE MET JACOB THE CARPETBAGGER!

So, several years ago I stumbled across a YouTube channel for a guy called The Carpetbagger who traveled the United States, visiting weird festivals, strange roadside attractions, haunted places, museums, and just all kinds of cool places.  As time progressed, Luke and Aaron also started watching with me, and it became the norm during family dinner time to flip on the television and see where The Carpetbagger had been to recently. 

Last year, The Carpetbagger was at the festival as a spectator, and Aaron got to meet him five freaking minutes after I had walked away from our table to see a speaker down at the State Theater.  I was super jealous, so when I heard that The Carpetbagger would be an actual guest this year, I knew that no matter what, I was meeting him.  Luke was super excited as well, talking about how he was going to get to meet a famous celebrity.

I was not disappointed.  We met Jacob and his wife, and they were both just as nice and down to earth as they appear in their videos.  Luke was shy, but Jacob shook his hand and wished him a happy birthday.  We bought t-shirts, a Carpetbagger pressed penny, and a button.  Of course, Luke and I had to have our picture taken with him, since Aaron had received that honor the previous year.  Since then, we've had a blast watching the videos The Carpetbagger has uploaded from his Mothman Festival trip.  He got to stay in the super haunted, super creepy Lowe Hotel and proudly completed Hillbilly Hotdog's Homewrecker Challenge.

As always, I walked away from the Mothman Festival feeling so happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of this annual gathering.  So much work goes into providing this FREE festival, and Jeff Wamsley and his crew do such a great job keeping this festival growing and evolving from year to year.  If you can make it to the Mothman Festival (it takes place the third weekend of September), I highly encourage you to do so.  It's a great resource to see top-notch researchers and authors share their knowledge on stage in a haunted theater, to meet members of the paranormal community in person, and to have access to a huge variety of artwork, books, movies, and other souvenirs, all in one spot. If you can't make it to a festival, I still encourage you to visit Pt. Pleasant any time of year!  The museum is open year round and the famous Mothman statue is available any time for photos.  The Lowe Hotel is an affordable place to spend a night and possibly see a ghost, and if asked, most locals in town will give you directions on how to get to the TNT area to see the open bunkers!

There's no way I could cover ALL the activities, speakers, vendors and guests that make The Mothman Festival one of the most unique in the country, so if you're interested in learning more about it, beyond my very narrow view point, please visit the Mothman Festival's Facebook page and website.  Stay spooky, my friends! 


Mothman Festival 2018

Mothman Festival 2017

Mothman Festival 2016

Mothman Festival 2015

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday Funny Featuring The Flatwoods Monster!



In honor of yesterday being the anniversary of the Flatwoods Monster sighting, I bring you this alternate scenario.  Instead of meeting a group of local children and mother to two of the group, what would have happened if a moonshiner was the first person to make contact with The Flatwoods Monster??

This Crypto-Toons is by Robert A. Howell. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Cat or Ghost?



As someone who has lived with both cats AND ghosts...I can attest to the validity of today's Friday Funny!  And as a person with a skeptical nature, I can also attest to the idea that cats make a great scapegoat for paranormal activity.  Any time I hear an unexplained noise, or have small items go missing/move on their own, its pretty likely there's a cat to blame.  My black cat, Ichabod, has a habit of slinking around in the dark, making most peripheral vision shadows and movement also the result of a cat. 

If the idea of living with a ghost scares you, I'd highly suggest adopting a cat! 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Weekend Plans: A Friday Funny



We've finally made it to the weekend!  For me, September is the official start of the Halloween season, which means my weekends for the next two months are going to be SUPER BUSY!  Do you have anything ghostly coming up this weekend, such as tours, investigations, festivals, etc.? Planning on staying in and watching ghost hunting shows or spooky movies?  Lemme know what you've got planned...and if you're looking for something fun to do and are in the Beckley, WV area, check out Haunted Beckley's Wildwood Cemetery Tour, this Saturday (August 31st)! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Vintage Mine Ghost of Pennsylvania


This story is from the March 10, 1913 edition of the Pittsburgh Daily Post and it reads almost like an episode of Scooby Doo!  What was this horrific half-man, half-beast that was seen in the mines and why was it so intent on getting the miners to leave?  Was it a warning of a potential mine accident...or just someone playing a prank?  I absolutely love mine folklore and ghost stories and will be delving more into that area in the next few months, so make sure you keep checking back here and on Facebook at Theresa's Haunted History

KITTANNING, Pa., March9,--Tales of a ghost having been seen in the Chickasaw coal mines were rife a few days ago.  Scoffs at first greeted the story when it was told in the little mining town on the Pittsburgh & Shawmut railroad in Madison township.  Later men rushed from the mines with terrifying stories of an apparition, half-man, half-beast, carrying a luminous dinner pail and going from room to room, ordering them to quit work.  The men did not need a second warning, but are reported to have dropped tools and fled.  It is said the wraith took possession of the motor, ordered its driver to depart and then took the trip of loaded cars to the pit mouth.  On arriving outside, however, the trip was discovered by the tipple crew to be without its motorman, and it was taken in charge by the crew.  The miners refused to work for several nights but tomorrow all are expected to return. 

*Article found on Ghost Hunt and Paranormal Research

Friday, August 16, 2019

Paranormal Vision: Cat Vs. Ghost



Tomorrow (August 17th) is Black Cat Appreciation Day, so I thought this would be perfect for today's post! This adorable lil' comic is by Cody Stone Stowe at WEFLAPSCOMICS and it reminds me so much of my own black kitty girl, Ichabod.  I've seen her 'fight' something that I certainly couldn't see and now it makes me wonder if she was taking down ghosts, lol.  Do you have a kitty that does weird things or seemingly sees things that aren't there? Let me know about it in the comments below, or head on over to Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page

Friday, August 2, 2019

Baby Ghost, Do-Do-Do-Do


Is it just me, or does this thing look like a newly discovered Pokemon?  Anyway, if you'd like to learn more about pyrosomes, Wikipedia has you covered!  Have a spooky weekend, everyone! 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Fabric on Fleek: A Friday Funny



Chalk this up to one of those things that I laughed at harder than I should have...and had to share with you all so you could laugh, too!  While visually goofy, I really like the idea that a soul reaper, Death, or whatever you want to label this creepy creature can be distracted from his job by a beautiful and expensive garment!  Happy Friday, everyone...hope your weekend is on fleek!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Remembering Rosemary

On Monday, July 22, 2019 I woke up, and decided to peruse Facebook.  I was startled to see several posts sharing a terrible bit of news to the paranormal community:  Author and researcher, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, had passed away.

As of this writing, the family has not released a cause of death, but from my understanding, Rosemary had been suffering from illness recently, and passed away on July 18th.  She had just celebrated her 69th birthday on July 8th.

This is a major blow to the paranormal research community, especially to those of us here in West Virginia and throughout the tri-state.  To call Rosemary a PROLIFIC author and researcher would be an understatement. She wrote over 65 books on a huge variety of paranormal topics, was a regular in FATE Magazine, on Coast to Coast AM, and an almost yearly guest at the annual Mothman Festival!

It was at the Mothman Festival where I first got the opportunity to really talk with Rosemary.  Like many in this field, I was already quite familiar with her work, and my personal paranormal library contains quite a few of her titles.  Needless to say, I was a little apprehensive when I approached her table. I bought a ton of back issues of FATE Magazine from her (actually, I did that for a couple of years, lol) and chatted with her a bit.  To be such a big name in the paranormal field, she was so sweet and down to earth.  She was really easy to talk to and was such a knowledgeable individual on such a broad spectrum of topics.  In addition to having a table at the Mothman Festival, she would usually speak at the historic State Theater as well.  As a moving tribute, at this year's Mothman Festival, the 2 pm time slot on Saturday (in which Rosemary usually spoke) will be dedicated to a tribute to her life and work.



Oddly enough, even though the Mothman Festival was my first opportunity to chat with Rosemary, I had met her briefly years before.  Years and years ago, a friend I had met through a paranormal message board had started a group and invited me to join them in an investigation at Ohio's haunted Prospect Place.  Rosemary was also invited, and while I got to MEET her, I didn't get the chance to actually investigate with her.  I really regret that now.  I regret that my shyness has stopped me from making the effort to really get to know so many people at a deeper level and now, in the case of Rosemary, it's too late.

Anyway, her spirit will live on in the many lives she did touch, as well as her huge contributions to the paranormal field.  Among her many written works are the Monsters of West Virginia and The Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories, which I was thrilled to see my blog mentioned in!   You can learn more about Rosemary Ellen Guiley  and her huge body of work at her website, Visionary Living.  May you rest in peace, Rosemary. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Daemon: A Friday Funny


The concept of a daemon, or daimon, has always fascinated me. According to Wikipedia, the ancient Greeks viewed daemons as lesser deities, or intermediaries between man and the divine.  However, this entity can also be interpreted as more of a spirit guide, or speaking strictly psychologically, a part of one's own conscience.  In Plato's Apology of Socrates, Socrates claimed to have a daimonion (literally, a "divine something") that frequently warned him—in the form of a "voice"—against mistakes but never told him what to do. 

So tell me...do you have a daimon, a little voice that guides you and gives you advice?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Ghost in the Closet: A Friday Night Funny



There is something absolutely unsettling about the idea of a child ghost...as this hilarious cartoon from Channelate, by Ryan Hudson, illustrates! I love how the classic trope of a child being afraid of something in their closet is given a Twilight Zone twist!  If you're loving the weekly dose of paranormal humor, check back each Friday at Theresa's Haunted History for more spooky fun! Happy Haunting, y'all! 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Martinsburg Beast



WILD BEAST SCARES PEOPLE
Martinsburg, W.Va., April 9.

---The vicinity of Hodgesville has been terrorized by a strange animal, which has chased many residents to their homes.  The fierce beast has been described as a wolf, panther, wildcat, hyena, and bear.

John Richard, mayor of Hodgesville, has measured the animal's tracks, which are 7 inches long and wolf-like in shape.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today's Throwback Thursday vintage newspaper article comes from the April 9th, 1914 edition of the Fairmont West Virginian newspaper, and tells of an interesting beast, sighted in the state's eastern panhandle. I assume that the 'Hodgesville' mentioned is actually Hedgesville, WV, which is located about 15 miles from Martinsburg.  

The description of the beast is interesting to me.  Different people described it quite differently, although all descriptions, save for the hyena, are of natural animals that any West Virginian would be familiar with.  It is also interesting to note the size of the animal's tracks.  They are described as being wolf-like in shape, but quite a bit larger than a normal adult wolf's paw.  What do YOU think the people of Hedgesville were seeing that spring, over 100 years ago?  Do you believe it was a shape-shifting beast, a series of different animals, or was the whole thing a hoax to sell newspapers?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Monster Monday: Gator Edition


It's Monster Monday!

Okay, so I'm taking some liberties with the 'monster' part of this post, but I love this photo and wanted to share it here on my blog in honor of the July Ultimate Blog Challenge! You may have already seen me post it on Theresa's Haunted History Facebook, but I thought it was cool enough to deserve a more permanent tribute.

The couple in the photo is Harvey and Narcissus Trail who lived in the Raleigh/Summers County, West Virginia area. The photo shows the couple on vacation in Jacksonville, Florida around the turn of the last century, posing with some stuffed gators. Narcissus doesn't seem all too pleased with the choice of photo props, but I think its a wonderful souvenir! The photo can be found on the WV History on View website.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

On The Job Ghosts

I wouldn't necessarily say I'm the type of person that has ghosts follow her wherever I go...but over the years, I've worked at numerous locations that have had a reputation for being haunted!

In my late teens and early 20's, I had a bit of wanderlust, and never wanted to stay in one location very long.  Therefore, that led me to try various career fields and job titles over the years.  Maybe its just the sheer number of jobs I've held  giving me a statistical advantage for 'haunted' workplaces, because it certainly cannot be the locations themselves!  I haven't worked in any old, historical mansions, creepy cemeteries, or even hospitals.  In fact, most of the locations I'll be discussing are fairly modern retail/food service establishments!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to tell you about a few of my haunted job experiences!

1. Private Nursing Home Facility---Buffalo, WV:  When I was in high school, my slightly older boyfriend got a job working the night shift at a local nursing home facility.  This was simply a large, modern house in a residential neighborhood where about a dozen elderly patients, most with dementia, resided. I volunteered at the home a few hours every week, and by the time I graduated, I had been offered a job, also on night shift.  The work was fairly easy; since I wasn't a nurse or CNA, my main responsibilities were cooking, cleaning, and just making sure everyone was safe and as comfortable as possible.  Before I even started volunteering there, my boyfriend had told me that he and a few others had witnessed an apparition in the sitting room!  There was a certain blue recliner where, when caught out of the corner of one's eye, it appeared as if a man was sitting there.  However, when you looked at the chair straight on, there would be nothing there.  Over the few months that I worked/volunteered there, I did experience this two or three times, but the eeriest thing I experienced was the shadow figure.  The office for the facility was added on after the original home was built and was connected to the main house via a short, narrow hall, which stepped down into the office.  Often at night when I was in the office filling out my paperwork, I could hear footsteps.  Thinking that it was one of our more mobile residents coming to find me, I'd turn around...only to see an inky black figure walking towards me.  As soon as this figure, which had the shape of a huge, imposing man, would cross the line between the original house and the addition, it would vanish without a trace.  Sometimes this would happen more than once a night, and I'd have to call my boyfriend, who lived close by, and have him come sit with me until I was calm enough to finish my duties.

2. Former Chevron Gas Station---Winfield, WV: When I was a freshman in college, I began working at Subway.  This Subway was located within the former Chevron gas station in Winfield, which is now a pizza restaurant.  I started noticing small stuff happening at first.  When I was back in the cooler area, I'd feel as if someone had tugged my ponytail or brushed up against me.  At first, I'd think it was a gas station employee, but when I would look, no one would ever be there.  So, I thought maybe it was a temperature thing since I was walking into the cooler.  I tried to use that as an excuse until I started actually SEEING the figure of a person walking around the office/prep areas.  Again, I'd immediately think it was the gas station employee on duty, but as I would walk out, I'd see them behind the counter, helping a customer or doing some other task.  Some of the weirder things that happened were one time I was at the sink washing dishes when I felt someone come up behind me.  I could feel their breath on my neck, their chest pushing into my back, and I even saw hands come around me and rest on the sink on either side of me.  I thought it was one gas station employee in particular being flirty, so I turned around quickly to playfully swat at them...and swatted at air.  Another weird thing that happened frequently affected my car, parked outside.  Even though it was locked and I had the only key, often I'd come out after my shift to find my radio turned to a country station that I would never have listened to, and my seat pushed all the way back.  The car itself had some weird activity, but that's for another blog!  Anyway, I finally asked some of the gas station employees if they had ever had anything happen to THEM, and was pleased to know that I wasn't alone.  They reported that gas pumps would 'ding' as if alerting them to authorize them for a customer, but no one would be there.  A few had even seen the figure flitting around the office area.  We were never sure if the suspected ghost was connected with the land, or even possibly related to one of the fatal accidents that occurred over the years at the intersection where the building stands. Here's my original blog on my experiences:  Haunted Chevron Station

Source


3. Former Dollar Tree---Teays Valley, WV:  Nothing really too significant happened during my time as a third key holder at the former Dollar Tree in Teays Valley, but there were a few things of note.  In this particular store, the aisles weren't really aisles, per se.  There were only a few actual shelves, with most aisles being separated by wire basket-type units.  Therefore, you could see through them and see who or what was in the aisle next to you.  And, of course, my luck---I would often see a man walking in a white T-shirt walking down the aisle next to me as I was cleaning up toward the end of the night shift.  Merchandise would also just 'jump' off the shelves/hooks/baskets in front of me as I was walking down an aisle and a few times, the vacuum would come unplugged from the wall, even though there was plenty of cord left to prevent it from pulling.  There was really only one other employee who was experiencing similar things, one of my managers who had recently lost her husband.  The strange thing was, her husband was my dad's cousin!  I had never met her before, but we figured out quickly how we were related since we both had a fairly uncommon last name.  She believed that it was her husband that was 'haunting' her at work, and we surmised that since I was family, maybe that's why I was experiencing things as well.

4. Walmart---Hurricane, WV: This is another location that I didn't experience a TON of activity, but enough to take note!  I was hired on at the new Hurricane Walmart before the store was even finished being built, so my first few weeks on the job actually included such tasks as stocking the shelves and putting together the checkout lanes.  During this time, there was a lot of controversy with the building of the Walmart and one local resident in particular, and at times things got pretty ugly.  There were also some weird plumbing issues and other problems that kept pushing the opening date back further and further.  With all this stuff going on, I remember jokingly saying that this building must be cursed.  But, we eventually opened, and I learned to hate my job as a CSS, lol.  So, eventually I moved to the overnight shift, and that's when things got weird. Just like at Dollar Tree, I'd see customers come in that would mysteriously vanish.  Weird electrical disturbances were commonplace, with one night in particular, my manager and I spending over an hour trying to figure out why the security shoplifting alarm was going off every 10 minutes or so with no one near it. It is interesting to note that at least one small cemetery had to be removed when the Walmart was put in, but whether a real-life Poltergeist scenario was in play or not is unknown.

Well, that's a sampling of my haunted resume...but I want to hear from YOU!  Have you ever worked somewhere that was haunted?  How did you deal with the activity? Were your employees open about the location's haunted reputation?  Let me know in the comments below, and if you're itching for some more haunted retail locations, check out my blogs on the haunted Toys 'R Us in Sunnyvale California or the haunted cash register located in a KMart in Idaho.  Happy Haunting!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Will-O' The-Wisp of Clarksburg's Quality Hill


WILL-O' THE WISP ON QUALITY HILL
Strange being Appears on Main Street and Maiden's Lane and Disturbs Society's Foundations

A will-o'-the-wisp, it is believed, haunts Quality Hill, and there is surmising and guessing galore in that neighborhood.  The residents are busy talking about it, and that is about the only topic of conversation these days.  Various stories are told about the discovery and more or less fright exists among the lady members of society.  That they beheld an apparition they are all firmly convinced and that there is a degree of dread they all confess.

Only a night or so ago they saw a tall person, dressed in female attire and wearing a man's hat.  The actions of the figure were strange and the figure itself just as strange. East Main street and Maiden's lane afforded the scene for the mysterious appearance and actions of the this strange being, mythical or real.  Gliding around in the neighborhood and standing silent as a ghost in the shadows of the darkness of night, the unknown figure aroused the suspicions of the citizens and shudders and chills crept over those who beheld it.

Some think it is a mythical being, others that it is a man dressed in woman's clothes, and still others have no definite idea.

It is surmised that it may be a society man, and yet it may be "Jack the Peeper."

It is needless to say that the appearance of the strange visitor has had a depressing effect along Maiden's lane, as well as the other street, and society is stirred to its foundations in that section.

Watches of the night will doubtless be established, as the strain is becoming intense and curiosity and fear have the upper hand.The mystery must be solved and that quickly, if the equilibrium of that community is to be restored.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This vintage article is from the July 22, 1903 edition of the Daily Telegram, a Clarksburg, WV based newspaper.  Apparently, either a ghost or a cross-dresser was haunting the rich, well-to-do neighborhood of Quality Hill in Clarksburg.  The largely residential neighborhood, with houses dating back to the mid-1800's, is now a recognized historic district and can be found on the WV's Register of Historic Places.   If you're looking for MORE historic haunts in Clarksburg, WV....please check out my blog on the Waldomore Mansion.  This historic mansion is not only haunted...but its home to the Gray Barker UFO files!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Imaginary Friend: A Friday Funny


Having a kid with an imaginary friend can be creepy...really creepy.  How do you know if your child's invisible buddy is simply a product of an overactive imagination...or if your kid is seeing ghosts?  While this is technically a Friday Funny post, I wanted to include a few tips for helping distinguish the two.  You know, just in case!

1. Is your child an only child or lacks siblings/playmates close to their age?  If your child doesn't have many kids his/her age around to play with, they might make up an imaginary friend to keep them occupied.

2. Have there been any major life changes happening to your family, such as a new baby on the way, a change in schools, moving to a new house, etc.?  Sometimes kids use imaginary friends to process change.

3. Is your child aged 3 to 5 years?  That's the most common age bracket for imaginary friends to show up.  While imaginary friends can stick around past that window, it's rare for a child to have an imaginary friend after the age of nine. 

4. Is your child showing bad behavior and blaming it on the imaginary friend?  Is the child claiming that the imaginary friend is telling them to do bad things or violent things, such as hurting themselves or others?

5. Has your child become afraid of the imaginary friend?  While the issues brought up in #4 and #5 don't necessarily mean that you're dealing with a supernatural interference, it does raise some red flags that something isn't right. At this point, I would contact the child's pediatrician immediately.  He or she can help point you in the right direction, including providing referral services if further intervention should be required.  If the child is in school or goes to a daycare/babysitter for a large portion of the day, also speak with the teacher/caregiver.  He or she needs to be aware of what is going on, and can give you updates if the child is experiencing anything outside the home that could be contributing to the issue.

So when is an imaginary friend MORE than an imaginary friend??

I honestly don't have an answer. As with other aspects of the paranormal, you can't really prove its existence either way.  However, I would be willing to believe there may be more than just the child's imagination if....

. You are absolutely positive that the child is receiving verified information that they could not have known otherwise.  This is sometimes hard to distinguish, as kids pick up on waaaay more than we give them credit for.  They can take an idea they see briefly on television, hear on the radio, or just experience anywhere out there in the world and morph it based on their limited life experience and developmental perceptions. 

Try to ask the child non-leading questions about their imaginary friend.  Try to get a name and any other information that can be verified. In addition to not asking leading questions, you want to try to remain neutral when speaking about the imaginary friend.  Don't get excitable.  Listen to the child and be supportive, but don't appear as if their answers to your questions are right or wrong.  

Based on the child's age, they can describe the physical appearance of the imaginary friend to you, or you can have them draw their friend.  Keep these drawings and a log documenting the activities of your child's imaginary friend.  Keeping a log will help you spot patterns, such as if the imaginary friend makes an appearance at certain times, and if the behavior changes over the course of time.

Obviously, if the imaginary friend is manifesting physical activity that the child isn't capable of...such as illustrated in the comic above...or if other members of the family are seeing/hearing/experiencing unnatural phenomena, you MIGHT want to seek out the counsel of an experienced paranormal investigation team in your area.  Your log of activity will be an invaluable resource to them, as they help research the history of your property, interview you and and your child, and help you get to the bottom of the mystery.   

Have a Happy Friday, Ya'll!