Friday, January 25, 2019

Copy Ghost: A Friday Funny

I don't know what it is about this image, but every time I see it, it puts a smile on my face! I hope it adds a little humor to YOUR Friday as well!  And while it's light-hearted, it does kind of reflect how I've been feeling lately, in regards to Theresa's Haunted History blog and Facebook page. I feel like I'm just posting the same ol' thing, over and over again. This blog dates back to 2011 and my original website was started in 2006, so there is actually a fair bit of content to share...but I feel like its all already been done, lol.  

I'm constantly searching for new information and new ways to keep this site fresh and relevant.  However, I also think I'll be spending quite a bit of time this year polishing up, updating, and sharing some of that older content that newer readers may not have seen yet.  But let me know---what do YOU want to see more of in 2019? Are there any specific locations or topics you'd like to see me cover?  Hop on over to my Facebook page and share your ideas! 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Book Review: West Virginia Bigfoot by Dave Spinks

Title: West Virginia Bigfoot
Author: Dave Spinks
Published: 2018 by Leprechaun Press
Amazon Order Information

Long-time readers of this blog know I cannot say no to a new book for my personal paranormal library, especially when it deals with some spooky or strange topic relevant to West Virginia!  One of my latest acquisitions is West Virginia Bigfoot, authored by local paranormal researcher and investigator, Dave Spinks!

I picked up my autographed copy last November at the Flatwoods Monster Museum's Bazaare.  The Bazaare was a really cool event where various authors, film makers, and researchers of WV ghost and monster lore came together to meet and greet with paranormal enthusiasts, share and acquire new stories, and of course, sell some merch!

Since I go to quite a few paranormal-related events throughout the Mountain State, I was familiar with Dave's work, and excited to finally pick up a copy of his new book for myself.  West Virginia Bigfoot is a slender volume, coming in at 104 pages, but it is full absolutely fascinating case studies and personal experiences with the creature we've come to know as Bigfoot.

Admittedly, my interests in the paranormal lie within the realm of ghosts, hauntings, and afterlife studies.  However, I'm becoming more and more enamored with the study of cryptozoology and its connections, however tenuous, with other 'paranormal' phenomenon. This was a great, quick read to  incorporate into my study of this area.

After a brief introduction by researcher David Weatherly, West Virginia Bigfoot starts with Dave's own experience as a youngster with a Bigfoot creature.  Collected tales from friends, family, colleagues, and others fill out the majority of the book.  These tales come from all over the state and most occurred between the 1970's and 2016, with a few historical anecdotes thrown in as support.  Also included in the book are theories as to what Bigfoot might be, why West Virginia seems to be such a great habitat for such creatures, and some locations that seem to have a high concentration of sightings.

Obviously, there's a lot of value to scientifically examining the Bigfoot phenomena and presenting theories along with the evidence to support those theories. Dave takes an objective look at the various viewpoints of Bigfoot and includes information on historical perspectives, anthropological perspectives, and religious perspectives. Research from Rosemary Ellen Guiley is even presented as an overview to the theory of Bigfoot from a 'paraphysical' perspective.  These are all integral parts of a satisfying and complete Bigfoot book...but my favorite part was the stories!

I love to hear peoples' experiences.  Real people sharing their real stories in their own words is my favorite part of this book. Each experience is documented in just the right way as to be entertaining, yet still contain enough important detail to be useful to a serious researcher.  These stories read like stories...and not necessarily dry case studies armed with just the bare facts.  Further, these tales aren't ones you're going to come across over and over again.  Many of the experiences were submitted to Dave through family and friends who have never reported or published these stories anywhere else.

West Virginia Bigfoot is obviously a labor of love, and its apparent that quite a bit of time and research has gone into producing quite a comprehensive, yet entertaining and quick read concerning one of West Virginia's many mysteries.  If you're a Bigfoot enthusiast, or a just a fan of all things strange and spooky in the Mountain State, I'd recommend adding West Virginia Bigfoot by Dave Spinks to YOUR personal library!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Frozen Ghosts

You KNOW it's cold when your poor ghost freezes solid. Somebody let that poor specter inside to warm up!  So, what's the temperature where you live?  Are your ghosts in danger of ending up like this guy?  I hope you (and your spirits) stay warm and safe all throughout the day.  Have a wonderful Friday! 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Groaning Ghost of Kingwood

It's time for another Throwback Thursday vintage newspaper article! In the late 1880s, the West Virginia town of Kingwood, located in Preston County, was under siege by a phantom!  It is rumored that several local citizens tried to engage this spirit, but refused to admit it...well, except for this local lawyer! The following piece is from the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, and is dated 28 February 1884.  The digitized article is available online through one of MY favorite websites, Chronicling America.  Just a quick side note: The article references the idea that the original story was found in the Argus.  The West Virginia Argus was a weekly publication from Kingwood, WV that ran between 1877 and 1945. After 1908, its offices were located in the basement of the historic Martin Building. 

A Dizzy Ghost Story

For some weeks past Kingwood has been torn up over a spook, which it is alleged roams the streets at its own sweet will, during the witching hours when graves do yawn.

Several persons are reported as having spoken to it. But when approached on the subject they denied it.  Lately, however, a prominent lawyer has been holding interviews with the "goblin damned," and the Argus gives his story as follows:  For the past two or three weeks he has been employed at his office late at night. About a week ago he was seated at his table writing when all at once he heard a deep groan.  He listened and in about two minutes it was repeated more distinctly.  The noise seemed to emanate from something back of the office.  He went on the outside, but could see or hear nothing, nor was the noise repeated again that evening.  Since that time the same thing has been heard every evening about the same hour, 11 o'clock, and on one or two occasions, the gentleman freely acknowledged, his hair assumed a perpendicular position on his head. The most notable occasion of this kind was Friday evening.  He worked till 10:30 and then prepared himself to listen attentively, and  learn, if possible, the origin and cause of the strange and uncommon noise. Promptly at 11, the doleful, wierd, and melancholy groan was heard.  He walked to the window and looked out, but nothing was visible that could produce the noise.  He walked to his door and was just in the act of opening it, when the groan was repeated with such severity that the whole building seemed to tremble and his tables and chairs danced about the room like partners in a cotillion.  This maneuver only lasted a few seconds, and then everything was still as a graveyard.  The origin of this strange noise seems to be enveiled in an impenetrable mystery, as the gentleman is unable to give the remotest idea as to the cause.   

The photo below shows the scene from Kingwood's Main Street.  Is this the street the ghost was said to roam on its own sweet will?  And just what WAS this thing?  Was there a ghost...or was there a natural explanation for the nightly moans and groans heard by the local lawyer?  Let me know YOUR thoughts...and if you're looking for MORE spooky stories from Kingwood, check out my blog post on the haunted Kingwood Public Library.  Perhaps there is a connection to the noisy poltergeist who haunts the library and our noisy, groaning ghost of this vintage article! 

Kingwood Main Street ca. 1905 (Source: WV History on View)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mason County's Mysterious Skeletons

The idea that giants once roamed the Kanawha and Ohio Valleys is always a fascinating and popular topic within the mysterious history of West Virginia.  Time and time again, we hear stories of Adena burial mounds throughout the state and surrounding areas having once held the skeletal remains of a people who averaged over 7 feet in height. 

Today, the area of West Virginia where I live is still dotted with some of the larger burial mounds, such as the Criel Mound in South Charleston and the Shawnee Mound in Dunbar.  The May Moore Mound, located on private property in Mason County, WV is another large mound, but it is believed to be largely intact---never properly excavated.  What many don't realize, though, is that at one time, there were many, many more (usually much smaller) mounds throughout this area!  I've always heard stories that farmers along the Ohio River in what is now Mason County, WV would constantly come across small burial mounds in their fields, and simply plow them over.  Supporting that claim is an old newspaper article I ran across from the Niles Register (Ohio paper), dated October 20, 1821.  I haven't been able to locate a copy of the original article, but the text can be found in West Virginia Heritage: Volume One, a collection of books compiled and edited in the late 1960's by the West Virginia Heritage Foundation.  The article is as follows:

Mason County's Mysterious Skeletons
From Niles Register
October 21, 1821

From the Kenhawa Spectator.  A gentleman from Mason County, Va. has very obligingly furnished the following singular facts:  On the 19th ult. four very large skeletons were found in a field which had for twenty-four years past been cultivated in corn. They were deposited in a mound apparently very ancient.  The first was discovered by the owner of the field, having ploughed it up, which induced him to make a further examination, when three others were found.  The bones are perfectly sound, and much larger than common, and more especially the skulls, which can be very easily slipped over the largest man's head.  The upper jaw bone has one row of double teeth all round, and the under jaw two teeth only on the left side, and no sockets whatever in the rest of the bone were provided by nature for more.  Considerable quantities of broken crockery ware, with buck horns and bones, bear's bones and muscle (mussel?) shells, etc. were found with the skeletons, and the whole buried in line two feet deep.

It is hoped that the curiosity of the intelligent public may excite them to examine the skeletons, and furnish us with some interesting speculations on the subject. 

May Moore Mound. Image from Todd Bledsoe

I've seen this particular case mentioned on a few websites, mostly in passing, but haven't been able to really find any more substantial information about who the farmer was, where the property is located, and just what the heck happened to these giant skeletons with their strange double row of teeth.  However, with stories such as these, it makes me wonder why the nearby May Moore Mound was never excavated...and if it ever is, just what will we find inside?

Craving MORE Giant Skeletons in Burial Mounds stories?  Check out my post about another small mound, complete with giant skeleton found in the Central City area of Huntington, WV.  People drive over the site every day, and very few realize that the road was once blocked off by an ancient burial mound!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Winter Fun with Monsters!

Happy Friday! It is officially winter here in West Virginia, and even our out-of-this-world monsters are ready for some snowy fun! This piece is called Fun in the Snow (2011) and its by artist John Meszaros.  Check out his DeviantArt profile, NocturnalSea, for more awesome artwork. How many of these extraterrestrial visitors can you name?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Book Review: The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations

Title: The Unexplained Presents---The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations
Authors: Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk
Published by Unexplained Research LLC, 2007
Amazon Purchase Information

One of my favorite things about the annual Mothman Festival is the abundance of paranormal non-fiction books available for purchase!  I always walk away with a least a few, most of which whose authors are actually at the festival, ready to chat and sign copies of their work!

This year, I showed an extreme amount of self-control with the purchase of only two books.  I picked up The Unexplained Presents: The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations and also the South Dakota Road Guide to Haunted Places.  That second one will be reviewed at a later date; for this blog post, I want to concentrate on the Iowa book.

So, admittedly I picked out the Iowa book from quite a few available selections because I honestly thought I did not have any books on Iowa hauntings.  As part of my personal paranormal library goals, I'm trying to collect at least one book of regional ghost stories/hauntings from each state.  However, like most people who have too many books, I totally forgot I already had an Iowa book.  But, it was no big deal, because this book was totally different...and a lot of fun to read!

The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations was inspired by the authors' own ghost hunting exploits throughout the state.  During their quest to visit certain locations with a haunted location, they found that a lot of the directions they were given were pretty much useless, causing them to waste hours driving around in circles.  So, they created a handy lil' guide for future legend trippers. This book is packed full of easily accessible haunted hot spots from every corner of the state.  That means that you're going to find a LOT of cemeteries, highways, bridges and parks. There are a few public buildings, such as museums and retail locations, added in as well. 

Each chapter features detailed directions to the location, including any admission and/or contact information where applicable.  There is a Ghost Lore section that gives a quick overview of the alleged hauntings, followed by a timeline of important historical events related to that location.  The basics are followed up with an Investigation section where the authors expand on the legends and ghost stories, talk to witnesses, and explore the authenticity of the claims.  Where applicable, there is also a small 'Dare' section, sharing urban legends you can try for yourself, such as kissing cursed cemetery statuary.

Chapters generally run just a few pages long, so at a total length of 262 pages, you're really getting a TON of different locations.  That format also makes this a fairly quick read, which you can read straight through, skip around, or use as an actual road guide out on road.

I really enjoyed the fluff-free style of this book and think its perfect for anyone who just wants to go out legend tripping---exploring spooky areas and testing out the silly stories passed down generation after generation.  As someone who has never even been to Iowa, I also still found value in this book as a fun introduction to Iowa's many cemetery legends, some of which get right down WEIRD.  However, I'm not entirely sure how useful this format would be for a seasoned investigator working in Iowa.  Each entry, while offering an adequate overview, didn't go too deep into the historical research of the featured location, nor did much evidence was explored or collected.  In fact, for the majority of featured locations, it was pretty clear that there was far more fiction than fact behind the alleged paranormal associations.

Still, this was a really fun read and I definitely recommend it becoming a part of YOUR own paranormal library.  However, if you just have no interest in the ghosts of Iowa, there are plenty of other books in the Unexplained series; check out their website at Unexplained Research for more titles! 


Friday, January 4, 2019

Cemetery Scare: A Friday Night Funny

This is one of those things that I laughed harder than necessary at...and I hope you get a good chuckle out of it as well!  The next time you're lurking around a cemetery at night and see a couple of scared kids, give them something to tell they're grandchildren (or therapist) some day!  Happy Friday, everyone!  I'm still working through my January Ultimate Blog Challenge; I hope you'll join me here and at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook every day this month for plenty of ghost stories, haunted places, weird history, and of course...a weekly dose of spooky humor. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

How Far Chief Cornstalk's Curse REALLY Goes

When conducting some research for a blog on Chief Cornstalk's curse on Pt. Pleasant, WV and how that curse may tie in with Mothman and/or the fall of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967, I came across an interesting little article from the Weekly Register, dated December 4, 1873. 

"A singular fate, which is said to issue from "Cornstalk's Curse" of Point Pleasant! seems to hang over our fair daughters in the city.  No sooner is one engaged (and that is not often enough considering the great number of marriageable girls) to marry than something intervenes to break off the match.  An instance of this kind happened a few evenings since, when a young man was parting from his adored at the gate, slipped on the pavement, and cut himself quite badly on a tin-type of his love, on which he hit in a sitting posture.  When the "love" discovered where he carried her picture, she was so enraged that she spoke her mind and abruptly said she would not wed him.  They parted---she to her room to cry, and he to Dr. Barbee, to have the pieces picked out."

So yeah.  It appears that this dude cut his butt cheeks (at least I hope that's where the area of the body they were hinting at) and had to go to the doctor to get pieces of a tin-type photograph plucked out of him because he kept his love's visage in his pants pocket as opposed to the breast pocket of his coat.  I think that's what they're getting at, right?  I would think if the Curse of Chief Cornstalk was really affecting the ability of eligible young ladies to find a husband, this girl might want to go ahead and overlook where her beau carries her photo.  Although...I'm not sure if I could personally overlook this whole debacle being published in the local newspaper!  I guess that would be a fun story to tell the grandchildren one day!

Just a quick bit of background information---Chief Cornstalk was a Shawnee leader in the area around what is today the Kanawha and the Ohio River Valleys.  In the 1770s, white settlers began reaching the area, and area tribes formed a coalition to keep them out.  Unfortunately, a battle for the land that took place in 1774 led to a number of colonists being killed, but twice as many Native peoples being wiped out.  Those who were left moved westward into Ohio to avoid further confrontation, and a fort was built at Pt. Pleasant, near the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers.  Eventually, however, Chief Cornstalk attempted to make peace with the white settlers in the area, and relations were going well until 1777.  Late that year, the British were coaxing Native Americans to side with them in the American Revolution, and local tribes began making plans to attack the American colonists in the area.  Chief Cornstalk went to the fort to warn the colonists that an attack was imminent and that he would not stop his own men from joining in.

Cornstalk, as well as two other Natives were 'taken hostage' and kept in the fort. It is believed that this arrangement was voluntary, at least at first, as Chief Cornstalk's presence at the fort might cause the other tribes not to attack.  And when Cornstalk's son, Ellinipisco came to visit, he was also detained.  Unfortunately, just a few days later, two soldiers stationed at the fort were ambushed by Indians while out hunting.  In retaliation for the deaths of these two soldiers, fellow colonists at the fort massacred Cornstalk and the others in a brutal attack.  It is legend that with his dying breath, Chief Cornstalk cursed the people who settled the area for 100 years.

Throughout the 1800s, many people in Pt. Pleasant DID believe in the curse, at least to some extent.  The curse was quoted multiple times in area newspapers any time something actually bad happened, but also in a more tongue-in-cheek manner, as you can see in the article, transcribed above! And although the curse was only supposed to last 100 years, there are some who tie in both the appearance of Mothman and the fall of the Silver Bridge with the curse...both far cries from slicing open a young man's cheeks with a metal photograph!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

David Morgan's Vision

Source: WV History on View
I absolutely love when a little supernatural lore makes its way into mainstream history! One such example can be found in the Marion County community of Rivesville. Along US 19 there is a unique historical marker, dedicated to an early pioneer in the region that is today West Virginia, David Morgan.  

David Morgan, known as The Great Indian Fighter, was the son of Colonel Morgan ap Morgan and brother to Zackquill Morgan, who founded Morgantown, WV. Born in 1721, David was a surveyor with George Washington in 1746 when the Fairfax Stone was laid, and fought in the French and Indian War.

In the late 1770's, David and his family had retired to the Prickett's Fort area near Fairmont. And, that's where legend and history collide.  It is said that in April of 1779, David Morgan, just shy of his 58th birthday, had taken ill.  As he lay in his sick bed, he had a feverish dream that two of his children had been attacked and were scalped and bleeding.  David awoke from this strange dream to find that his children had in fact, wandered away from the security of the cabin in search of a lost cow. He jumped from his sick bed, and yelled for his children to hurry back up the path to the home.

The children had just made it back when two Indians appeared from out of the woods and attacked.  David, though ill, managed to fight off and even kill one of the Indians. However, as he was fleeing, the other Indian threw a tomahawk directly at David's head.  David's life was spared as the quick-thinking frontiersman threw his hand up to shield himself, severing at least one finger in the process.

1995 David Morgan portrait by Kelley Ward
Prophetic dreams (also known as Veridical Dreams) are not uncommon among the superstitious Appalachian Mountain folk, and I know that certainly in my family, dreams foretelling the future were taken pretty seriously.  In the wild frontier that would become the state of West Virginia, sometimes that intuition and/or divine intervention...whichever you want to call it...was all that stood between you and death. 

David Morgan's prophetic vision may have saved his life as well as those of his children, and it certainly makes for a wonderful bit of folklore.  Unfortunately, some scholars don't believe this sick-bed vision ever actually happened.  Nevertheless, visitors to Rivesville near where the incident occurred, have been treated to this wonderful informational sign.  The sign is part of the West Virginia Highways Historical Markers Program, which was initiated in 1937.  Based on the photograph above, found at the WV History on View website, it looks like this sign was one of the originals placed in the 1930's and 1940's.  And, at least as recently as 2011, the sign still appears to be standing, as seen here in this Waymarking entry

David Morgan passed away on May 19, 1813.  He is buried in a private cemetery in Marion County. The Morgan Family was instrumental in shaping the history of what would become the great state of West Virginia, and thanks to a dire warning that came to him in a dream, David Morgan and two of his children were able to survive long enough to see some major changes come to the area. 

Further Reading:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Welcome to a Spooky 2019!

Another year has gone by and while we say goodbye to 2018, we're charging full steam ahead into 2019! And...

Oh. My. Gosh.  Why do I keep doing this to myself?  Once again, I have signed up to participate in the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  That means that once again, I will be pushing myself to publish a brand new blog post EVERY single day throughout the month of January.  That's starting the year off with thirty-one new blog posts! 

It's not totally out of reach, though.  Although I nearly finished last April and totally bombed out last July, I rocked the October challenge, successfully publishing a new blog every day for the entire month.  Given that my favorite holiday, Halloween, awaited me at the end of the challenge made the whole thing a little easier.  There's just a lot to write about that time of year on a blog like this one!

I'm hoping that this challenge will just as easy as October's...and just as rewarding as well.  I think it's going to be an excellent way to kick off 2019!  Like always, I have tons of plans in store for where I want to take this blog, as well as where I want to take my work in the paranormal research field.  I'm not going to bother with any New Year's Resolutions or goals this year, other than I want to push my own comfort levels and make this year better than last.  I truly want those who read and/or follow my work to walk away informed, entertained, and maybe even a little bit inspired.

But what about you?  Do you have any paranormal related goals you're hoping to accomplish this year?  Are you starting or expanding a YouTube Channel, blog or social media group?  Are you starting or joining a new investigation group?  Do you have any really cool investigations coming up this year, or any haunted places you really want to hit up?  Any awesome books on your to-be-read list that deal with the paranormal?  Let me know how you plan on making 2019 your spookiest year yet!