Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Flatwoods Monster Postcard

This may look like an ordinary postcard of the original Flatwoods Monster drawing, but it is actually one of my most prized pieces in my paranormal collection.  While it's true that this is a normal postcard that can be purchased at the Flatwoods Monster Museum, if you look closely, you'll see that it is hand-signed by Freddie May!  Freddie May was one of the young boys, who along with his mother, brother, and some other fellas, were the original witnesses to the creature back in 1952!

Awhile back, I received a message from Andrew Smith, who runs the Flatwoods Monster Museum, asking me for my address.  And, a few weeks ago, I received this wonderful gift in the mail with a very nice letter.  I had been chosen to receive one of these autographed postcards for my work in promoting the museum and sharing the legend of the Flatwoods Monster.  I gotta say....I was quite humbled to be given such an honor!  If you follow this blog, or follow me over on Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page, you know that I love the Flatwoods Monster and I am so thrilled to have seen this huge surge in interest in this unique case in recent years.  To anyone with an interest in the paranormal, ufology, or just the weird side of history, the Flatwoods Monster case is just such a cool case to study, and it's awesome to see the museum acting as a localized center for collecting and sharing information. Mr. Smith has done an excellent job in curating a collection of artifacts, connecting with witnesses and researchers, organizing community events, and so much more.  If you're anywhere near the Braxton County area, I highly suggest popping in and checking it out! 

I'd also like to extend a huge thank you to Andrew Smith for sending me this treasured piece! It truly is an honor to have received it.  I'd also like to thank Freddie May for signing these postcards and choosing to talk about his experiences. And, I'd like to thank everyone else out there who is writing about, making videos or podcasts or art about, or is in any other way sharing the legend of the Flatwoods Monster and keeping it alive. West Virginia is lucky to have such a fascinating case in its strange history, and we're even luckier that there are so many people out there dedicated to sharing the story.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Krampus 2019

This past Saturday was a super busy day!  Luke was finishing up his first sleepover birthday party, then had to go to jiu-jitsu, and then had another birthday pool party later that afternoon!  Despite all that, we managed to make time for our annual family tradition: Pictures With Krampus!

This is our third year having our picture taken with Krampus at Mike Winland Studios in Charleston and every year we have a blast.  Mike is a wonderful photographer and his Krampus is the best I've seen!  Our pictures are always a great mix of creepy and hilarious and it really has become a fun, family holiday tradition to take Luke to see Krampus, who seems to remember him and is delighted to see him each year. I personally look forward to it even more than taking him to see Santa, lol.  This year, Luke showed some real bravery and even HUGGED Krampus before we left, which he talked about for days afterwards.  I'm proud of my boy, and I'm so happy that Mike and his staff have brought the opportunity to share a little spooky holiday culture with us, here in the tri-state!

Unfortunately, Krampusnacht 2019 is over...but if you missed pictures with Krampus at Mike's studio this past Saturday, you've still got a few other opportunities to meet Krampus!  Mike and Krampus will be at the Glade Springs Resort for the Fright Before Christmas haunted attraction on Friday the 13th!  Get tickets HERE.

There will also be pictures with a different Krampus available this Friday in Winfield, WV at Fear on the Farm's I'm Screaming of a Fright Christmas haunted attraction!

And lastly, Krampus will be making an appearance at the Sissonville branch public library on Thursday, December 19th from 6-8pm for photos! Check out their Facebook Event Page for more information. 

Krampus also made an appearance last Friday at Oddbird Gift Emporium in Charleston, but I had to miss it this year.  However, that was our very first Krampus experience back in 2016 and it was awesome.  Krampus and St. Nicholas arrived together and assured Luke that he had been a good boy that year, lol.  I'm really happy to see that so many locations throughout the Kanawha Valley are really embracing a little bit of history and culture, especially since I've got quite a bit of German ancestry myself. It's a nice change of pace from the usual Christmas activities and just a really fun tradition, at least in our family!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Making Spirits Bright: Paranormal Education Winter 2020

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!" I'm going to be completely honest: as a child, this cartoon is pretty close to what I imagined that line, 'making spirits bright' actually meant! I know better now, but I still like the visual of ghosts going to school. I plan on keeping MY spirits 'bright' this winter by going back to school myself and taking a few paranormal courses.

Once again, the Parapsychology Foundation will be offering their completely FREE online parapsychology MOOC.  Registration begins January 13th, with the first two lectures going live January 18th and 19th.  You can sign up and learn more about the course and scheduled speakers HERE. I've taken this course for the past few years and its always really interesting.  There are some wonderful speakers lined up, covering some fascinating topics pertaining to the field of parapsychology.

I'm also hoping to take the new paranormal investigation course offered by WVGhosts.  This course is open to Patreon subscribers, so make sure you check out the link for more information on how you can sign up! Additional courses will be offered in the future.   And as always, I'll be reading anything and everything I can get my hands on pertaining to the paranormal, watching documentaries and lectures online, listening to podcasts, and attending as many conferences, conventions, expos, and other events as time and budget allows!  I'm a huge supporter of lifelong learning, and with a field as dynamic and as diverse as the paranormal field, there is always something new to learn or something to delve into a little deeper.

In addition to doing a lil' learning myself, I'm hoping to share the paranormal knowledge with all of you!  There will be some more educational-type articles and information posted on this blog and I plan on having a few days a month on social media dedicated to scientific-based articles, lectures, and other more academic based content.  If that's not necessarily your thing....don't worry.  There will still be PLENTY of haunted places, folklore, ghost stories, weird history, and all sorts of fun stuff posted on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

So, are you planning on taking any courses this year to enhance your knowledge of the paranormal field?  Are you attending (or speaking at) any awesome events?  Got any cool paranormal non-fiction books you'll be reading or shows you'll be watching?  Is there a special ghost, cryptid, or UFO related topic that you're hoping to learn more about in 2020?  Let me know in the comments below, or join me over on Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State Facebook Page!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Monstrous Christmas: My Favorite WV Cryptid Etsy Stores

I'm sure a lot of people have most, if not ALL, of their holiday shopping already done.  But, if you're like me and haven't even STARTED yet, there's still plenty of time!  To help you out, I thought I'd share some of my favorite Etsy shops selling cryptid merchandise, many featuring West Virginia monsters and ghosts, made by West Virginia artists!  This is just a tiny list of the great selection of artists showcasing weird and wonderful handcrafted merchandise, so if you are a shop owner, or have a suggestion for this list, please feel free to comment below or head on over to Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State Facebook page and share your favorite shop with us!  Let's get started---maybe you'll even find some ideas for what to ask Santa for yourself this year!

1. Liz Pavlovic Design (Keep On Creepin' On):  If you've been to any of West Virginia's local festivals dedicated to the creepy and bizarre, you may have met Liz and seen her awesome stickers, pins, t-shirts and other goodies featuring iconic West Virginia figures, such as Mothman and the Flatwoods Monster.  She has a wonderful array of both spooky and non-spooky designs, which are all hilariously adorable and very affordably priced.  I own a couple of pins myself and every time I wear them out in public, I get a ton of compliments!  Pick up your seasonal greeting cards to send to your friends and family this holiday, include a fun Krampus sticker with them, and strut around in your Keep On Creepin' On tee at your next holiday party!  These items make great stocking stuffers and unique gifts for everyone on your list.

Holiday Cryptids Greeting Card, $4

2. Wild and Weird West Virginia:  I've been following Ron and Joe on Facebook for awhile and I love seeing their original jewelry, sculptures, and other artworks!  Like Liz, you may have seen the guys of Wild and Weird at various events throughout the year, and you can find their merchandise at both the Mothman Museum and at the Point Pleasant Trading Co. New for the holiday season is a handmade resin Mothman ornament and handmade resin Mothman figure! I'm personally asking Santa for one of the Bigfoot print-cast keychains!  Wild and Weird West Virginia has a nice range of products and some beautifully unique jewelry pieces at a wide range of price points, making it another shop where you can find something awesome for just about everyone on your list...including yourself of course!

Mothman Ornament, $9.99

3. Burrito Princess (Pixels & Stitches): If you (or someone on your gift list) love pixel art, Burrito Princess has you covered.  This shop has headbands, magnets, picture frames, and just about anything you could think of that can be made in this medium available in a huge variety of themes, including of course...West Virginia's favorite monsters!  My absolute personal favorite item in this shop has to be the Mothman Christmas tree topper!  I have never seen such a unique piece before.  It's a little on the pricier side at $40, but where else are you going to find a hand-crafted MOTHMAN CHRISTMAS TREE TOPPER?!? This would go great with the Mothman ornament from Wild and Weird West Virginia!  You could probably do a whole Mothman themed tree.  Hmm...I think I just got an idea for next year, lol.

Mothman Tree Topper, $40

4. EgertronPuckArt (Fantastical Illustrations and Handmade Gifts):  Artist Kristen Puckett offters tons of prints featuring creatures from folklore, legend, and West Virginia/KY history, including some pretty obscure (well, obscure when going up against guys like Mothman and Braxxie) critters such as the Fireco Varmint. These prints, which are reasonably priced for the awesome pieces of art they are, would look fabulous gracing the walls of any researcher's office or den!  There are also t-shirts, coloring books, mugs, stickers, pillows, and just all sorts of things. The shop's unique 'anatomy prints' offer quite a different and fascinating look at some well-known and well-loved creatures.  Trust me: anyone receiving one under the Christmas tree this year will have never received anything like it before!  It was hard for me to pick one favorite item from this shop, but I have to say that I love the West Virginia Cryptozoology Map!

WV Cryptids Map, $17.50

Happy Holidays from Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State!  If you're looking for more gift-giving ideas, please check out my past blogs:

*Gifts for Your Favorite Squatcher
*Holiday Gift Guide: Fallout 76 Edition

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Point Pleasant's Phantom Black Dog

I love finding vintage ghost stories in old West Virginia newspapers! Today's discovery comes from the May 9th, 1883 edition of the Pt. Pleasant newspaper, The Weekly Register, which can be found online at Chronicling America.  I wasn't able to find a 'Clarksburg road' anywhere on modern maps, but I was able to find the small, unincorporated community of Hickory Chapel located near Pt. Pleasant in Mason County.

GHOST---The people living along the Clarksburg road, in the neighborhood of Hickory Chapel, are very much exercised by the re-appearance of a ghost in the shape of a big black dog.  They all assert that it is a veritable ghost, and it has been seen time and again by numbers of people.  Men have met it in the road, while riding home on horse-back, and have put spurs to their horses, and have tried to out-run it, but never could; it has been shot at time and again by good marksmen, but without effect.  Sometimes when people are walking along the road it follows along by the side of them, and neither clubs, stones, or scolding will drive it from its position

Theresa's Note:  Stories of phantom black dogs have always been fascinating to me and they are certainly an integral part of ghost lore.  Known by many names, including the Black Shuck, phantom black dogs are a popular motif in the ghost stories of England, and undoubtedly, settlers from the British Isles brought these legends and superstitions with them to America...and even to the small, rural community in Mason County.  Tales of black dogs, especially those with glowing red eyes and of enormous size, are generally associated with the demonic, but I've found another aspect of the phantom black dog mystery.  Here in America, especially in the rural south, these phantom black dogs have become associated with being cemetery guardians, especially in cemeteries where there are many slave/former slave burials.  These beliefs may stem from stories of the Church Grim, another English tale of a black dog who protects churches and church burial grounds. The whole Pt. Pleasant area has such a history of strange and unusual activity that it just seems natural to add a phantom black dog into the annals of its haunted history! 

Church Grim, by Ines Lee

Saturday, November 16, 2019

On the Trail of a Ghost

I love a good West Virginia ghost story!  This vintage tale comes from the December 2, 1913 edition of the Fairmont West Virginian newspaper and is a good reminder that not everything is what it seems...

Party of First Warders Make Search of White Rock

A real ghost is believed to exist by residents living in the vicinity of White Rock about four or five miles from this city.  Residents of that section report that frequently after the shadows of night fall, a ghost resembling a woman carrying an infant child and crying aloud, is seen in that vicinity and has caused a few of the fearful minded to stick close to their homes and firesides and has been the cause of careful investigation on the part of the less fearful. 

The fact that the ghost had been seen, was circulated in this city and caused a squad of brave minded parties, who had from infancy desired to see a real ghost, to band together last evening and explore that region in hopes of finding said ghost.

Consequently a band of 25 or 30 citizens of the First Ward, employees of the Monongah Glass plant and others started on the quest last night.  The trip was made overland through the mud and clay to the spot the ghost was said to frequent.

As the party neared the haunted spot, what appeared to be a ghost hove into view. Careful investigation disclosed and abandoned old white lime kiln near which a dummy had been strung across the road.

Sorely disappointed over the fact that the ghost had proved a fallacy, the party, tired, muddy, and foot sore limped back into town, with their desire to see a ghost unsatisfied and much the worse for their harrowing experience.

While the local party was thoroughly satisfied that no ghost exists a number of the citizens of that place still hail from Missouri and refuse to accept the theory and be comforted, but are still watching for the nightly appearance of the ghost. 

Theresa's Note:  This newspaper article can be found on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America site. I personally found it interesting that employees from the Monongah Glass plant in Fairmont, WV were cited as making up a portion of the search party!  From what sources I could find, it seems as if the Monongah Glass plant was only in operation from 1904 to 1933...and it was known for using child labor.  The photo below, from WV History on View, shows some of the child workers at the Fairmont plant.  Could some of these young boys have been hunting ghosts that night in 1913?

Child workers at Monongah Glass-WV History on View 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Beckley Fall Oddities Fair

For many years, I've let my anxiety, fear of failure, and lack of motivation sabotage many opportunities I've been given in regards to the paranormal field.  I've turned down book offers, television appearances, and so much more...and it has hurt my work, both as an investigator and as a writer.  So, I recently made up my mind that I was going to just go for it and stop saying 'NO' all the time.  I had an opportunity this October with the BEX  Fall Oddities Fair in Beckley, WV!

The BEX Oddities Fair is a really cool event.  A similar event was held earlier in the year, but unfortunately I was unable to attend that one.  Therefore, when Scott of Haunted Beckley asked me if I wanted to secure a vending space at the October 26th event, I jumped on the chance!  The Oddities Fair featured tons of vendors selling all sorts of cool and spooky stuff, ghost tours and ghost hunts of downtown Beckley, meet-and-greets with local authors, live music, a costume contest, psychic/tarot readings and talks with paranormal researchers....along with plenty of other fun things to see and do in the Beckley Underground and surrounding areas.

Since the weather was supposed to get rainy and windy later on in the night, I was with a group of vendors who were set up inside Sir Walter's Tavern.Sir Walter's Tavern is a cozy, beautiful space with some of the nicest staff you'll ever meet.  My dad went with me to help out and I was surprised to see what a great time HE had checking out other vendors and chatting with those who stopped by our table. I think he loved the people-watching best, though, lol.  We were in a bar, so in addition to those who came specifically for the festival, many dressed in elaborate (and sometimes hilarious) costumes, we had a front-row seat to the weekend bar traffic.
My Vendor's Table

Talking with people about the paranormal and selling the few trinkets I made to help bring traffic to my table took up most of my evening, but I was able to sneak away for a bit to see Les O'Dell of West Virginia Cryptids and Strange Encounters give a very interactive talk in the Raleigh Theater. Les discussed his work in researching and investigating cryptids and ghosts, and a few of his clients were there sharing their personal stories.  It was a laid-back, informative and fun look at some of the unique investigative methods used by Les and his team, and stories of strange things he and others have experienced. It's always a pleasure to talk to him and see him present.

I also got to meet Jannette Quackenbush, one of my favorite authors and researchers of West Virginia ghost lore.  Jannette runs the Haunted West Virginia Facebook page, and also has a website entitled West Virginia Ghost Stories, Legends, and Haunts.  Jannette has authored a number of books chronicling West Virginia's spooky history, so of course I had to buy one! She's such a sweet and knowledgeable person and talking with her really motivated me to finish my own book.  I'm also looking forward to teaming up with her in the future for an investigation!
Les O'Dell-WV CASE

As the night drew to a close, I had one more memorable experience at Sir Walter's Tavern.  We had packed up the table and were just getting ready for the trek back to Winfield. I decided it would be a good idea to go use the bathroom before the long drive back down the WV Turnpike (also haunted, by the way!). Just as I was about to exit the stall, the stall door flew open towards me with such force that I thought for sure someone had come in and shoved it.  I sort of jumped out of the way as much as I could in a bathroom stall, put my hand out to stop the door, and said 'excuse me.' But, of course...I said it to thin air.  There was no one else in the bathroom with me. The palm of my hand actually stung a little from catching the door, so it was swung open with a good bit of pressure.  Was it a ghostly happening, or was there a natural explanation?  The next time I'm in town for one of Haunted Beckley's ghost tours, I'll have to remember to ask if there are any spirits hanging out in the ladies' room at Sir Walter's Tavern!

Anyway, the whole experience was awesome.  I got to spend some time with my dad in a town where I spent much of childhood, staying summers and multiple weekends with my grandparents.  I got to meet with fellow paranormal enthusiasts and talk about my favorite subject.  Hopefully, I introduced a few new people to my blog along the way.  And, to top it all off, I may have had my own paranormal experience! 

Friday, November 8, 2019

You're Doing Better Than You Think: A Spooky (and Motivational!) Funny

I came across this cute little cartoon from earlier this week and knew it was one of those motivational Friday Funnies that I just had to share with all of you.  I get discouraged a lot, both with my work in the paranormal field and with life in I really needed to hear this message this week!  

I hope you've had a wonderful first full week of November and continue to have a safe and happy weekend ahead!  Stay spooky, my friends.  

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Theresa and JR Visit Pt. Pleasant!

As difficult as my October proved to be, I still tried to have as much fun and cram in as many Halloween and spooky events as possible, and I think I did okay!  I never get to do everything that I want around the Halloween season, as there is just so much to do and I'm usually so busy...this year more than ever.  But, as long as I get in a few events and try something new, I'm happy!  October 2019 was a somewhat special year for me as it was mine and my husband's first October together as a married couple.  He really got a dose of my Halloween and spooky obsessions!  Earlier in the month, I took him to his first visit to the Flatwoods Monster Museum in Sutton.  A couple of weeks later, we took a spur of the moment trip to Point Pleasant----home of the Mothman!

Same as with the Flatwoods Monster Museum, JR had never been to the Mothman Museum, seen the Mothman statue, or visited the notorious TNT bunker area!  I was determined that a sunny, temperate afternoon to ourselves was the perfect time to remedy that.  We had eaten a late lunch at Steak N Shake in Barboursville, so we hopped on over to Route 2 for a scenic drive into Pt. Pleasant. 

I love seeing people experience things for the first time, which is one reason why I LOVE blogging about my son's haunted travels with me.  It's the same way with my husband. Before meeting me, he wasn't really into ghosts, cryptids, and all things spooky.  However, he is a wonderful husband, and is always willing to indulge me of my interests.  As an added bonus, I think my ghostly tastes are starting to rub off on him a little...

Now, I have been to the wonderful Mothman Museum many times, but I still enjoy seeing the new stuff, reading the articles, and browsing around the gift shop For a relatively small space, there's a LOT to see and do.  I was thrilled that JR seemed so impressed with the museum, especially the movie props. He asked me a ton of questions, which I was happy to answer and eagerly took in all that the museum had to offer.  I'm pretty sure he even went straight to Reddit with his newfound knowledge of one of West Virginia's most unique museums.  My favorite part, however, was snuggling up in the Harris' Steakhouse Diner room, watching part of a Mothman documentary together.  I almost didn't want to leave, but I wanted to make sure that he experienced ALL the Mothman goodness in Pt. Pleasant!

Obviously, that included the requisite photos with the Mothman statue.  Of course, I being the 10 year old boy that I am, made sure that JR got to see back side of the statue, featuring a well-formed metal buttocks!  He was bemused, but not nearly as delighted as I always am at Mothman's rump. He was, however, much more interested in the TNT area.

The weather was perfect for the walk out to the open igloos of the TNT area, once believed to be Mothman's stomping grounds. JR probably thought I was taking him out in the woods to kill him, especially as I led him through a thicket of branches and vines and past a heavy metal door into darkness.  As our eyes adjusted, I couldn't help but sneak in a kiss, because you know...there's no place more romantic than the TNT igloos, lol.  We talked about the graffiti on the walls, how the TNT area was significant to the Mothman story, took some pictures, and played with the unique acoustics of the igloo.  Again, I almost didn't want to leave.  Sharing one of my favorite spooky locations and my passion for the paranormal for the first time with the person I love is a memory I want to live on as long as the story of Mothman himself!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Historical Halloween!

So far, my Halloween isn't going too great.  Not only was trick-or-treat rescheduled for Saturday due to the weather, but I just found out that Facebook is not allowing me, or anyone else, to share my blog content due to a 'violation of community standards.'  Not only does my blog contain NOTHING that would violate community standards, but I never got any notification of what exactly is in violation and who/when/why it was reported.  A good chunk of my blog traffic comes from Facebook, so this is really gonna hurt until it is resolved!  Plus, I failed miserably at the October Ultimate Blog Challenge---my mother-in-law was re-admitted to the hospital and my mom had to have a minor procedure done that still managed to knock her down for I've been pulled in about a hundred directions. Blogging has had to be put aside for awhile, which always gets me down.  So while I'm sitting here trying not to cry, I thought I would try to be productive and at least start publishing some content to share through other channels! 

Halloween is my absolute all-time favorite holiday, and last year I discovered a handful of historic photographs on the WV History on View website depicting Halloween festivities in West Virginia!  These are my favorites!  I hope you're having a much better Halloween than I am.  Stay safe out there...and stay spooky!

This photo dates to 1919 and shows a group of young people in Nitro, WV headed to a masquerade party!  Nitro was a WWI boom town, named by the federal government after nitrocellulose, the main ingredient used in the ammunitions that were manufactured there during the war.  This picture comes from a little less than a year after the war's end, when hopefully there was much to celebrate that Halloween!

Is this a Halloween parade? Maybe a New Year's belsnickeling/mumming parade? The description from the WV History on View website only denotes that it is from Beechurst Avenue in Morgantown, West Virginia. I love these costumes, especially the masks!  There is something so magical about vintage, homemade costumes that really evokes a sense of Halloween for me!  Let me know in the comments below what YOUR favorite costume was growing up, and if it was store-bought or homemade!

Okay, so I'm not entirely sure this is a Halloween picture (or maybe a picture from a theatrical production's cast), but this OMA group portrait in Front of St. John's, Martinsburg, W. Va., shows some awesome costumes!  I absolutely LOVE the OMA owl and moon banner...but, uh, what's with the goats???  Anyway, once again...

Happy Halloween from Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State!

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.  

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 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 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....