Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Not-so-Ghostly Ghost of Mammoth Cave (KY)

Martha Washington's Statue Postcard
Mammoth Cave has sometimes been referred to as America's LARGEST haunted location. Covering 52,830 acres with over 400 miles of mapped passages, there is definitely room for plenty of ghosts! There is also plenty of historical precedent for a spooky past. For example, part of the cave was used as a tuberculosis hospital in the 1800s! Mummified human remains also seem to have a habit of popping up within the interior of the cave. And yes, over the years there have been plenty of personal experiences of ghostly noises and apparitions by both staff and visitors to the cave.

However, the cave's most famous ghost is not really a ghost at all!

According to the book, Scary Stories of Mammoth Cave, the ghostly apparition now commonly referred to as Martha Washington's Statue, was first spotted by tour guide William Garvin in the 1880s. While walking down a cave passage known as 'Broadway,' Garvin saw the glowing apparition of a woman FLOATING above the ground in front of him. He witnessed the apparition for several moments before it blinked out of existence. Bravely approaching the location where the ghostly woman had been seen, Garvin raised his cane with the idea that he might possibly have to defend himself against some spooky entity. He then realized his mistake.

Garvin had assumed he was alone in the cave at the time, but there was actually a tour group nearby. The apparition he had spotted was caused by a Bengal Light (a type of flare used before the cave was rigged for electricity) turned on by the tour group and shining through the rocks.

Over 100 years later, visitors to Mammoth Cave, especially those taking the historic tour, can still spot Martha Washington's Statue and even purchase a 1912 postcard with her glowing image, photographed by Benjamin Hains. If you've been to Mammoth Cave and have a spooky story to share, or a photograph of the famous Martha Washington, I'd love to hear from you! Share below in the comments and as always...stay spooky my friends!

Further Reading:
Mammoth Cave--The World's Largest Haunted Place, by Troy Taylor

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Harpers Ferry Crazy House---Weird Wednesday

From WV History On View
Usually if you say you're headed to the 'Crazy House,' it means you've finally lost ALL of your marbles and you're on your way to be committed. However, if you say you're going to visit the Harpers Ferry Crazy House, it doesn't mean you're off on a vacation to a room with padded walls---it means you're visiting one of the town's most quirky attractions!

The Crazy House, more politely known as the Curio House, can be found at 844 E. Ridge Road, overlooking the Potomac River. It was built between 1914 and 1915 by Eugene Shugart and his wife, Maggie. Shugart, born in nearby Charles Town in 1867, bought the land around 1910 and as his family and political career (he was elected for 7 terms as mayor of Harpers Ferry beginning in 1902) continued to change, constructed his unique domicile.

There's nothing super weird about the basic architecture of the home; its a classic Craftsman design of the period, although it was known as being the first 'modern' home built in that area of Harpers Ferry. Construction materials came were recycled from the old Federal Armory, made famous in 1859 by John Brown---which is an interesting little tidbit, but not what makes the house so one-of-a-kind. That honor goes to how the eccentric collector, Eugene Shugart, chose to decorate his abode.

From Goldenseal (Summer 2009)

Shugart liked to collect Civil War relics. He also had a soft spot for collecting fire-damaged pieces. In fact, in 1904, he contacted the mayor of Baltimore, asking for a 'souvenir' rescued from that city's recent major fire tragedy. He displayed these items by literally embedding them into the walls of the home, over doorways and windows, and even lining pillars and columns with them.It's not uncommon to see baby doll faces, pieces of China, seashells, you name it. In the free spaces, he tacked up various odd quotes, many dealing with worry. Shugart was especially worried about worry and even went as far as to bury "The Remains of Old Worry" in a coffin impression in the sidewalk in front of the home.

Photo from Unpopped Collar
But maybe he DID have something to worry about...Shugart only got to enjoy his Crazy House for a few short years before dying in 1919. In 2001, Chris Craig and Ed Wheeless bought the home. They were only the third owners of the property they would soon call Laurel Lodge. After renovations, the two opened up a Bed and Breakfast at the home in 2007. Unfortunately, it looks as if the B&B has just recently closed it doors to the public. If you're local to that area and have any insight as to the fate of Laurel Lodge, please let me know down below in the comments! I'd hate to see Eugen Shugart's strange legacy no longer be available to visit. (Further reading: Herald Mail Media)

May the weirdness live on. Stay spooky, ya'll!

Friday, November 10, 2017

What Ghost is Haunting YOUR House?

So, what ghost is haunting YOUR house? Apparently I have a naked little league coach with a battery-powered miner's helmet at my house. I guess I could do worse...

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wayne County's Weird Chicken

Happy Weird Wednesday! It's been a long time since I shared some just plain strangeness. Luckily, as I was researching a completely different topic, I came across this news article from the August 9th, 1923 edition of the Wayne County  (West Virginia) News.


Send for Sherlock Holmes.

The three-legged chicken, the nine-days wonder of Dock's Creek, has mysteriously disappeared and left behind not a clue, not even a track.

Wayne county once again strutted its stuff by producing a chicken in a million--a three-legged one. This chick which disappeared last week belonged to Wiley Irons of Dock's Creek. It was a Plymouth Rock and was about six or eight weeks old. . . .

This short little news article was transcribed and submitted to the WV Archives by June White. And for me, it raises a lot of questions! So, Dock's Creek is an area in Kenova, WV and Wiley Irons WAS a citizen of this small community. Born in 1869, Wiley passed away on September 17, 1947. He was buried among many other relations in the Dock's Creek Cemetery. His life can be verified, but what about that of the chicken?

As of this writing, I have yet to find any other sources that confirm the freakish chicken's existence, but that's not really the mystery, here. Chickens born with extra legs aren't super rare, so I have no doubt that such a creature was born in Wayne County. However, I want to know what happened to the unfortunate bird! Did it just wander off? Was it eaten by a wild animal? Was it kidnapped? And just what does the title of the article mean: "among the missing?" Had an entire group of chickens gone rogue? During my next trip to the library, I plan to search the newspapers from around this time to see if there were any follow up articles claiming the chicken made its way back home...but I'm not holding my breath! 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Book Review for The Little Book of the Paranormal

Title: The Little Book of the Paranormal
Author: Rupert Matthews
Published: 2010 by The History Press
Amazon Order Information

Rupert Matthews' The Little Book of the Paranormal is just that! This under-sized hardback edition only measures in at 5 inches by 8 inches and only contains about 144 pages of information...but for such a small package it packs a hefty punch.

This probably isn't a book specifically aimed at the reader who is well-educated on a variety of paranormal topics. Rather, its a great little introduction to the novice student of the paranormal, or for someone who just wants a quick sampling of stories without delving into too much history or analysis.

The topics covered in this book range from cryptids to UFOs to ghosts and hauntings. Whatever your niche interest in the paranormal field is, there's sure to be something here to interest you. Historic illustrations help break up the well-written text and serve as visual interest to the information presented.

I really enjoy books like this; each story is short, concise, and to the point. It's a quick read that you can put down and pick up again any time without losing any context. It's an entertaining read, and one that has inspired me to do additional research on topics such as the British WWI pilot whose spirit arrived back at his the very moment he died in a plane crash.

The Little Book of the Paranormal was included in the pile of books I purchased this year at ScareFest, but you can find both a physical copy and the Kindle edition on Amazon. With such a wide appeal, I think this book would be a great read for anyone with any level of interest in the paranormal.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

2017 Ghost Tour Photo

Original Photo by Melissa Stanley, HPIR
Last Saturday, Huntington Paranormal hosted Haunted and Historic Guyandotte's Cemetery, River and Rail Tour. Despite the bad weather, we had a great turnout! Plenty of people braved the cold and the rain for a chance to learn a little about Guyandotte's haunted history and to possibly see a ghost!

Unfortunately, I don't believe anyone saw anything paranormal that least with the naked eye. However, when our President and Tour Creator, Melissa Stanley checked through her photos from that night, one in particular caused her to do a double take! Behind one of our historic re-enactors there appears to be a hazy white humanoid shape. If you look closely, the shape seems to be walking behind our 'soldier,' almost in the same posture even. 

Below the original, (which is property of Melissa Stanley and may not be used without express written permission!) is a more zoomed in view. We're pretty sure our anomaly is nothing more than a combination of pareidolia and a light reflection from a nearby streetlamp....but I'd love to hear YOUR opinion!  Let me know down in the comments what you think. Is this photo easily explained away, or do you think it may actually show an otherworldly being wanting to be a part of the show?

This isn't the first strange photo that has been captured on our tours---and hopefully it won't be our last either! If you're interested in the chance to experience your own ghost and potentially capture some photographic evidence, make sure you keep up with the Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours Facebook page!
Cropped version, property of Melissa Stanley, HPIR

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Funny: Another Spooky Kitty

There is no shortage of paranormal cat memes. I hope this one brings a smile to your face today. Happy Friday! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Haunted Home

I don't think I would ever classify the house I live in now as haunted. Having grown up in my mom's current home in Winfield, where it was a strange day when you DIDN'T see an apparition walking down the hall, pretty much any sort of suspected paranormal activity happening here would pale in comparison.

I can't deny it, though. Over the years since we've owned the house, there have been a few things going on that we were never able to fully explain away.

It first started before we even moved in. My son and I were still at my mom's house, but Aaron was ready to move out of his house in Charleston. Before he could, the house needed some major work. Aside from desperately needing a new roof, we also had to clear out the rest of the previous owners' belongings, tear up all the old carpet, lay a new kitchen and family room floor, and paint. Aaron, often accompanied by my dad, would come over to the house in the evenings after work to get as much done as possible.

On at least one occasion, both Aaron and my dad swear they saw a UFO. They were taking a break out on the front stoop. Our neighborhood is pretty high up on a hill, so we have a fair view of the Hurricane Walmart out our front door. It was in the sky above this area where they noticed the glowing orb. Inside the house, things were a little spookier...

My dad was working alone one evening, after the carpets had been pulled up. He was in one of the bedrooms painting and heard the distinct sounds of kids running through the living room, laughing. He assumed that we had brought Luke over and that it was he who was causing the commotion. However, when he stepped out to meet us, he discovered that he was still alone and had been the entire time. I have yet to hear the sounds of the children in the house, but later on, I'd have my own experiences.

Living Room, where the sounds of phantom children running were heard
After the house was in livable condition, Aaron moved in. Luke and I came about a year and a half later. We moved in the summer before Luke started preschool. That winter, Aaron got a new job. As part of his training, he had to be out of town for a week at a time several times over the course of a few months. That left me and Luke home alone....but not entirely alone.  Around this time, Luke had been having trouble sleeping. He's always had night terrors, but they seemed to have gotten worse. This is also around the time when he started wanting to sleep in our bedroom. Or, he would wake up at night, turn on all the lights, and shut his door. The logical part of me tried to explain his behavior by the changes that were going on. We hadn't lived in this house all that long, plus Aaron was away a lot.

But then I started seeing things. When Aaron was away, I would sleep in my office/bedroom. I usually kept the door partly open so that I could hear Luke if he got up in the night. And, of course, we were keeping the hall light on for Luke as well. Lying in bed on several occasions, I could see movement in the hallway through the crack of my door. It looked as if there was a person standing in the hall, peeking in at me through the crack. Even though this shadowy figure was much taller than Luke, and Aaron was out of town, I'd still always get up and check...never finding anything.

Things reached a peak one weekend while Luke was spending the night at my mom's house and I was alone. As I walked past his room and peeked in, I nearly had a heart attack. I saw what appeared to be a dark, shadowy figure standing beside his bed. That night, I grabbed the sage. As I saged every inch of the bedroom and the hallway, I firmly told whatever it was in there that we were going to come to a compromise. It was welcome to stay in the house if it wished, but under no circumstances would it EVER show itself to my son or invade his personal space (the bedroom) again. If it did, I would do everything in my power to make sure it was banished from here.

That seemed to work, lol. Luke's sleeping habits started to get back to normal, and I never saw the dark figure again. Every now and again I'll hear a noise I can't account for, or something will go missing, only to reappear nearly right in front of me. Many times as I'm sitting on the couch in the family room, I'll swear I'll catch movement coming from the living room in my peripheral vision...but I can never get a close enough glimpse to see if it is anything. I honestly don't know if there is anything in this house and if there is, where it came from. However, I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open and letting you all know of any potential activity that may occur in the future.  Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November is Serial Killer Month

Well, its November 1st. Halloween is unfortunately gone for another year...but the spookiness continues all year here at Theresa's Haunted History!

I'd like to start this new month by wishing all those November babies a very big 'Happy Birthday!' I'd like to follow that up with the hope that none of you November babies reading this blog are associated in any way with that graphic to the left, lol.

A couple of years ago, I came across this photo, or at least, one very similar to it, on Facebook. Since then, I've seen other graphics and even articles posted all claiming the same thing. That thing is this:


Apparently there was a study done back in 2006 by Jan Ruis. When Ruis compared the birth dates for 100 serial killers, it was discovered that 17 of the subjects were born in November. That's almost twice as many as the average of 9 serial killers per every other month. But why are so many serial killers being born in November?  Perhaps it has less to do with the month itself, and more with the astrological sign.

Many of these November babies that grew up to be monsters fall under the sign of Scorpio. The astrological sign for Scorpio covers the dates of October 23 through November 21. And, according to a website on horoscopes, Scorpios have the following strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths: Resourceful, brave, passionate, stubborn, a true friend

Weaknesses: Distrusting, jealous, secretive, violent

So, yeah. I can see where those tendencies may be conducive to the behavior of a serial killer. Obviously, most Scorpios and/or people born in November never end up as serial killers, and instead are well-adjusted, productive members of society. But, its still an interesting topic to discuss...which is what we'll be doing all month long over at Theresa's Haunted History! Throughout November, I'll be posting some stuff on the supernatural side of serial killers and some additional resources about the astrology aspect. Over my years of research, I've discovered that there are a TON of people out there interested in the paranormal who are also very interested in serial killers and true crime. The correlation is huge.That fact, in and of itself, is worthy of study one day. But first, here's a very short list of some November-born serial killers you may have heard of. Sword and Scale lists the profiles of a few of them! 

Ted Bundy: November 24th
Charles Manson: November 12th
David Ray Parker: November 6th
Dennis Nilsen: November 23rd
Derrick Bird: November 27th