Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Independence Day 2020


Happy Independence Day from Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State!  If you're staying in this year, celebrate with a virtual tour of the United States...the HAUNTED United States...with my Haunted America page, featuring ghost stories from all around the country. You can also join me on Facebook and Twitter for more patriotic-themed paranormal goodies all day long.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend, everyone. 

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Bee Gee Board


A friend recently sent this to me and I thought it was perfect for today's Friday Funny! It reminded me of a recent incident with my son. He has his moments of fleeting interest, but for the most part he absolutely does not follow in my footsteps with a love of all things spooky.

After watching the paranormal episode of Brain Games on Disney+, which featured a segment on how the Ouija Board operates using the ideamotor principle (and is NOT controlled by spirits) I thought it would be funny to pull out our own Ouija Board for Family Game Night!  My child was NOT impressed and refused to play. I asked him what he was afraid of, given that we just watched an explanation on how it wasn't paranormal.  His reply was that the Brain Games show was only ONE opinion, and he had seen plenty of other videos that to him, proved Ouija Boards were portals to the spirit world, and he wasn't about to take any chances. I guess I should be happy that my son is overly cautious when it comes to things like that.

I hope you stay overly cautious this weekend as well!  Have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend. Practice social distancing, don't drink and drive, watch your fingers around fireworks, and as always...

STAY SPOOKY!

For more Ouija Board information, including an explanation of the ideomotor principle, see my article, Ouija Boards ARE Dangerous.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

1973 UFO Flap Comes to Southern West Virginia

It's July 2nd, otherwise known as WORLD UFO DAY!!!  World UFO Day was started back in 2001 as a way for UFO researchers and enthusiasts to bring awareness to the field of UFO research, share information and evidence, and to celebrate this fascinating field of study!

In honor of World UFO Day 2020, I wanted to share an article from The Raleigh Register, dated 17 October 1973. Around this time, the local paper, based out of Beckley, WV was publishing numerous articles about area residents reporting some pretty strange things in the skies...and even LANDING close by.

While other sightings had been reported earlier in the year this wave of the 1973 UFO flap seemed to originate on October 11th, when Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker, Jr. reported being abducted by aliens while fishing down by the river in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  Both men passed lie detector tests and the case immediately garnered mass national attention.  Soon after, people in other parts of the country started reporting their own UFO sightings. These reports came from all over, but most notably from the Deep South, Ohio, and...southern West Virginia.

Pascagoula Abduction.  Source

Skeptics were quick to dismiss the majority of these sightings as an alignment of Mars, Jupiter, and Venus, which appeared very bright in the night sky, misidentified aircraft, and of course weather balloons.  Some were deemed outright hoaxes, others simply the result of people getting caught up in the UFO hype.  But, could so many witnesses be wrong about what they were reporting? There were some pretty credible witnesses to various events, including Ohio's governor at the time! Either way, I found it really interesting that West Virginia, which has a pretty fascinating track record when it comes to UFO history, was right there in the middle of the 1973 events.

STATE POLICE REPORT MORE UFO SIGHTINGS
Beckley State Police say they received numerous reports Tuesday night of 'unidentified flying objects, flying saucers, and lights in the sky' from all over Raleigh County.

One trooper estimated 20 calls came into state police headquarters here over a period stretching from 8:30 pm to 11:30 pm. Reports came from Bradley, Mount Tabor, Daniels, and Shady Spring.

The trooper said the callers spoke of lights in the sky, 200 to 300 feet off the ground.

Trooper B.A. Vaughn reported that one man called from Bradley and said, "one of these flying things was out on the ground."

"He was scared to death and breathing hard---too serious to be lying," Vaughn said and he went with the man to investigate, but found nothing.

Vaughn said the man told him he couldn't describe "it,"---"but it looked like it had diamonds all over it."

A UFO sighting was reported Monday night by several people at the Raleigh County Airport. One man chased "it" in a small plane toward Bolt Mountain. Residents of that area have reported seeing a similar "something" in the sky that night.

Meanwhile in central and southern Ohio, reports of UFOs poured in from residents and law officers, according to United Press International. The sightings, which started in the Dayton area last Thursday, were reported in seven counties Tuesday night.

Three Greenfield, Ohio police officers reported separate sightings in Highland County.

"The one I chased was about 100 feet in diameter and glowed with a real bright white light," said Patrolman Mike Conklin.

"There were about 20 people out there looking at it at the same time I was, so I know I'm not crazy," he said.

Sgt. Raymond Davis said the Cincinnati Police Department received so many calls Tuesday night they asked people to refrain from reporting sightings because jammed switchboards waylaid emergency calls.

UFOs were first reported sighted in the Raleigh County area 26 years ago, with some nine sightings since that time reported in the newspaper.

Numerous sightings have been reported from around the nation in recent weeks.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

My Weirdest Personal Experience

Illustration by Arthur Rackman
Can you believe it's already July 1st?! 2020 is half over (thank goodness) and to celebrate a new month and a new Ultimate Blog Challenge, I thought I'd start off with sharing a personal experience that I've never shared before. I'm usually pretty open about sharing my potential paranormal experiences, but this one is so weird that I've had a lot of trouble wrapping my head around it...

So, several years ago I was awake at the literal ass-crack of dawn. I had gone to bed early the previous night, so by 5 am I was up and ready to go. It was a school day so I decided to go ahead and get everything ready to send Luke off to school. But, I had left his backpack, with his student planner that needed signed daily and his lunchbox in it, in my car.

I opened my front door and walked out on my porch stoop, but before I could step down off the stoop and onto the short, paved sidewalk leading to the driveway, I was startled by some movement. I looked down, fully expecting to see one of the dozens of rabbits that live around my yard, scurrying away.

What I saw DID scurry away, but as hard as my skeptical brain tries to rationalize it, I'm not so sure it was a bunny.

Running from the direction of my house, across the sidewalk, and disappearing around the back of my car, was a small creature. It was a light brown/tan color, very similar to our local rabbits. It stood a little under a foot tall, from my estimation. Being a late Spring morning sometime between 5 am and 6 am, there wasn't full sunshine, but it certainly wasn't super dark out, either. Plus, the porch light, while not super bright, was still turned on.

Everything about this encounter screams RABBIT to my rational side. It was about the same color and size as a rabbit, which are especially plentiful in my area around that time of year. It ran away, like you'd expect a rabbit to do when a human suddenly pops up, and it can be argued that in the early morning light, I couldn't get that good a look at the thing.

But...I did. I was standing only about 8 feet away from the creature when it stopped and looked directly at me for what seemed like much longer than it actually was. I wasn't looking into the eyes of any rabbit species I've ever seen. What I saw was a fully formed little man. He was nude, except for what looked like a tattered loincloth-type garment that was approximately the same color as his skin tone. He was barefoot. He had a somewhat stocky, not quite muscular, build. While he didn't seem dirty, per se, he just seemed sort of...weathered.

I couldn't see what color his eyes were, although for a brief second, he did look me directly in the eye before running off, on two feet, obviously. He didn't have a beard, and he wasn't bald, but his hair seemed very sparse, very light, and very wispy. His face reminded me of a combination of Dobby the House Elf from Harry Potter, Hoggle from Labyrinth and the Russ troll dolls from my childhood. It was heavily lined and creased, giving the creature a very old and wizened appearance. He seemed as shocked to see me as I was to see him. I also remember that his nose, while not huge, seemed to be his most prominent facial feature.

Dobby is a great example of a Brownie

Honestly, the description of it reminds me of a type of house spirit known as a Brownie, or sometimes called a Robin Goodfellow. According to Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns and Goblins, by Carol Rose, a brownie is defined as:

"A household spirit of northern English and Scottish folklore; in southern England goes by the name of Robin Goodfellow. The Brownie is described as being like a very small, brown, shaggy human, sometimes naked and sometimes wearing ragged brown clothes. Families were proud of their Brownies as they brought good fortune; to lose one was disastrous. Outside of the family, a Brownie was viewed with caution, as they were prone to mischief when annoyed.

In general, the Brownie was the most industrious of the household spirits, ploughing, reaping, grinding grain, cleaning the house and barns, churning butter-in fact, most of the tedious jobs he would gladly do. In return, the Brownie was entitled to a bowl of the best cream and new baked cake or bread, to be put within his reach. To offer the Brownie any form of payment other than this, especially to take pity and to give him new clothes, was an insult, and he would vanish immediately."


After standing there a few seconds in shock, I walked over behind my car where he had run off to, and couldn't find anything. No little man, no little bunny, nothing. I quickly grabbed Luke's school stuff out of the car and headed back in, telling myself I had just seen a rabbit, nothing more.

But, rabbits don't usually run on two feet and they certainly don't wear little loincloths. For several years, I've tried to convince myself that I must not have been completely awake, and simply imagined seeing what I saw, but on the off-chance I DID see something, I wanted to finally document and share it.

After all, its not the first time I've had something fae-related happen at this house! We owned the house for about 6 months before we could even move in. It needed a LOT of work, both inside and out, but as the renovations neared completion, we were staying much more often. One day, we noticed a very distinct fairy ring had popped up in the front yard. It wasn't huge, only about 4-5 feet across. If you've never heard of a fairy ring or fairy circle, it's basically a naturally occurring ring of mushrooms that take on a circle shape thanks to how the spores are released. But, they have quite a folkloric connection with the fae.

Fairy Ring, Source


It is said that anyone who enters a fairy ring may disappear, only to be lost among the fae world forever. Or in a scarier alternative, a child entering into the fairy world through such a fairy ring would be replaced by a changeling. So, when Luke saw the fairy ring and started running towards it like he was going to jump in the middle, the superstitious side of me overpowered the skeptical side and I plucked that kid out of air, mid-jump, and ushered him back into the house!

Those are the only two things I've personally noticed around here and I'm sure both have a perfectly natural explanation. However, I like to keep my mind open to the possibility of things surrounding our world that we don't quite fully understand. Let me know down in the comments, or join me over on Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State Facebook page if YOU'VE ever had an encounter with the fae!

Stay Spooky!

For more info on the folklore of fairy circles, check out the article 

Monday, June 1, 2020

#BlackLivesMATTER

I normally keep this blog and its social media pages completely free of any topic not related to the paranormal or weird history.  I especially try my hardest to keep any political views from interfering with my sharing of information related to the paranormal.

However, in light of recent world events, I would like to publicly state that Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State is a proud ally of the Black Lives Matter movement! I support any organization, group, or individual who continues to peacefully fight for equality  and justice for all. I will not stand for racism in any form.  I will not stand for police brutality against anyone, especially POC. And I will not stand for the ignorance and complacency that has led to the state of our country. 

I care about each and every one of you out there and I will stand by your side in loving and peaceful solidarity until we truly make this country a better place for ALL who live here. 


For anyone wanting more information:

Sojourners' article: For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies

75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Harrison County Railroad Ghost

Railroad Through Wallace. Source
Happy Throw Back Thursday!  Today's vintage newspaper article is from the February 9, 1915 edition of the Clarksburg Daily Telegram.  The story takes place in the small oil boom town of Wallace, WV, located in Harrison County, about 18 miles northwest of Clarksburg, and close to the small town of Bristol, WV.

BRISTOL, Feb. 9--It has been authentically reported here that a real, sure-enough "ghost" has been seen at Wallace, a little town on the New Martinsville branch of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, 18 miles northwest of Clarksburg, during the last fortnight. The entire populace of the town is very much excited over the apparition. It has been declared by several who have seen the "ghost" that it resembles the wife of a resident of Wallace, who died two years ago.

The apparition, or whatever it is, appears along the railroad not far from the depot. A few of the most fearless men of the town--two of them armed with Winchesters--went one night to "see" the ghost and demand an explanation; thinking it to be a "ghost incarnate."  They saw it alright. It was coming toward them. They commanded it to halt, but it did not. They fired at random, several times, again commanding it to halt.  It did not halt, but kept coming. Seeing that it gave no sign of obeying their command, they fired point blank at the "thing", which was then quite near and still advancing despite the flying lead. Then the men showed their heels in fine style.

An engineer has stated firmly that he thought he ran over a woman at the same place one night.  He felt his engine strike something. He stopped and went back but could find nothing. An examination of the wheels and rails disclosed no sign that they had run over anything. The railroad crosses a creek near at hand and the engineer thought it might have been while crossing the bridge that he struck whatever it was---supposedly a woman---and he searched the creek but nothing could be found. A few nights ago, about fifty people congregated to see the apparition but nothing rewarded them for their trouble.

Notice the small railroad bridge in the background. Could this be the location? Source




Monday, May 11, 2020

The Witch of Wyoming County

Castle Rock 1916 Source
Shirley Donnelly was a native of Jackson County, WV.  A local historian, Donnelly spent 27 years writing a column for the Beckley Post-Herald, called Yesterday and Today. Each column featured tales of local folklore, mountain superstitions, and my favorite: West Virginia ghost stories!

For his December 21, 1964 column, Donnelly rehashes a ghost story from the Sizemore Gap area near Pineville, WV. The story comes from another West Virginia historian, Barty Wyatt.  Barty tells of a dark and rainy night in the 1870's when a man named Saul Clay encountered a phantom black dog!

Today, the area of Sizemore Gap (named for the George Sizemore family) is more commonly referred to as Jackson Hill, and is located near the small community of Rock View, named for its close proximity to Castle Rock. The area was first settled around 1840 and is known today for its natural beauty.  But, in the 1870's it was better known for being haunted by what some thought was a witch!

The ghost (or witch) was said to appear to travelers on the road through Sizemore Gap, and even those who WEREN'T necessarily believers still avoided the area at night...just in case.  Saul Clay was not one of these people.  Saul was a fearless man, standing close to 7 feet tall, and he wasn't going to let any phantom scare him off.  At least, that was his mindset when he set off through the gap one dark and rainy night. His confidence was further bolstered by the American Bulldog pistol and hunting knife he carried with him.

Somewhere between the old Missionary Baptist Church and the school house (Barty believes it was the vicinity in which the home of Rev. Harry S. Stevens would later be built) the ghostly apparition appeared.  This wasn't a normal apparition, however.  What Saul Clay saw was a giant black dog, the size of a calf! Startled by the creature, Saul yelled at it to leave, but when it refused and started coming towards it, Saul fired his gun.

Beckly Post-Herald, 21 December 1964

The shot either missed or went through the creature (it being a witch or a ghost, obviously), but Saul's braveness still prevailed.  He started up the hill towards the old Rock View post office with the phantom black dog trotting alongside him.  It didn't take long before Saul's courage returned, full-force, and he decided that he was done with this creature once and for all.  Again, he gave the dog a rather stern verbal warning to get lost.  When it failed to do so, Saul LUNGED at it, rammed his pistol into its side, and fired off five shots.

Once again, the shots had no affect and Saul resorted to trying to out-flee the creature. In his haste to get away, he abandoned his hat and his gun and literally ran for the hills towards Rock Castle Creek. All the while, the phantom black dog was still right on his heels. Luckily for Saul, as soon as he reached the creek and began to cross, the creature disappeared.  Local folklore tells us that a witch's power cannot cross running water, confirming the suspicion that the phantom black dog must surely be the product of witchcraft!

If you're interested in MORE phantom black dog stories from West Virginia, check out my blog post on the Phantom Black Dog of Point Pleasant!

Map of the Area Today