Friday, March 27, 2020

Dying for Social Interaction?



Seriously, though...I hope everyone out there is staying safe and healthy during these trying times.  If you haven't already, please follow Theresa's Haunted History on Twitter or Facebook.  I'll be sharing tons of fun, spooky distractions to keep you informed and entertained throughout this period of social distancing.  I've got tons of stories, documentaries, books, podcasts, and articles to share with you, plus some upcoming ideas on how you can continue your own paranormal investigations and research from home until it becomes safer to get out in the field!  

Let's all do our part to help each other through the next couple of weeks and months. Stay positive, stay healthy, and stay spooky everyone! 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Do Ghosts Watch Me Shower?



Happy Friday, everyone!  I hope you've had a great week and are looking forward to an even greater weekend!  Today's post is one of those Friday Funnies with just a tad of more serious information thrown in, lol.  Recently, my son was asking me some questions about ghosts and one thing he was particularly concerned with was whether or not ghosts were waiting around the bathroom, ready to watch him take his bath.

I told him what I tell others with similar concerns.  The short answer: yes, it's possible...but not very likely.

To stretch this opinion out a bit further, we have to make a few assumptions.  To start, it would seem that the majority of hauntings are not intelligent, but residual in nature. Simply put, that means that there is not a sentient entity at the location. Rather, any paranormal activity that may be witnessed is more like an imprint on the environment, being played back much like a movie on analog tape. There is nothing there to interact with you, let alone stalk your bathroom activities. You can watch a movie being replayed; the movie cannot watch you.

But, let's say that you have been experiencing some intelligent, interactive activity.  There are a lot of theories out there as to whether or not an intelligent haunting is caused by the location being haunted, a person being haunted, or both.  If you have a ghost/spirit/entity that follows you around wherever you go, you MIGHT have them sneaking a peek every once in awhile during your shower.  But, if you believe that intelligent entities are nothing more than people who have died, you have to ask yourself:  would they actually want to see you naked? What's in it for them? If you have any concerns, you may just want to ask them aloud to respect your privacy.  Most people, dead or alive, are apt to comply.

Similarly, if your location itself is haunted and you're concerned that your ghost is hanging out in your tub, ask them politely but firmly to leave you alone.  However, if an entity is tied to a specific location, even as an intelligent entity, it is probably more concerned with its own issues than with your hygiene habits. One of the most popular theories about why ghosts are still here is that they have unfinished business---and YOUR business isn't high on their radar.

So, again, its possible but not likely that you'd have a creepy Peeping Tom ghost watching you take a shower.  Having said that, however...it does seem like quite a few bathrooms have paranormal activity!  You can read more about Haunted Bathrooms on Theresa's Haunted History!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Ghostly and the Ghastly: A Passel of WV Folk Tales

Like many paranormal enthusiasts in the Mountain State, part of my earliest exposure to West Virginia ghost stories came from the collected works of folklorist, Ruth Ann Musick!  I've read The Tell-Tale Lilac Bush and Coffin Hollow cover to cover multiple times, and both books are still a staple in my personal paranormal library.

Ruth Ann Musick taught mathematics and English at Fairmont State from 1946 until 1967 and during her time there, she started a folk literature class, helped revive the West Virginia Folklore Society, and founded the West Virginia Folklore Journal.  She also collected hundreds of ghost stories from around West Virginia, not all of which ever made it into publication!

Luckily, a handful of these forgotten tales has recently been brought to life by the students and staff of Fairmont State's theater department!  On Saturday, my husband and I attended a showing of The Ghostly and the Ghastly: A Passel of WV Folktales at Wallman Hall Theater.

The play takes a look at ten ghost stories through the eyes of a bored, chatty, and unprepared college folklore class. Their lecture on the preternatural takes on a spooky twist as their professor and fellow students share spooky stories such as Ida Crawford, The Witch and the Onion, and the Fate of Frank Collins.  Together, they learn the importance of folklore and oral tradition, and a little about the history of how their ancestors migrated to this area, bringing with them their own beliefs and culture, which helped to shape Appalachian culture (and ghost lore!) as a whole.

Overall, the play was really good.  Any date night with my hubby is special, but it is extra special when when I can share my love of West Virginia history and ghost stories with him!  The entire cast and crew did a wonderful job in recreating each story and although they were given a more modern context, you could absolutely still just FEEL that same vibe you get when reading one of Ruth Ann Musick's books.  Lighting and music combined with the acting to evoke a spooky Appalachian atmosphere---perfect for a 'passel of WV folktales!' It was apparent that the cast and crew really had fun with this project, and although the atmosphere was a ghostly one, there was plenty of humor thrown in to break up the tension.  I think Ms. Musick would have been pleased at how her (mostly) unpublished stories were portrayed.  According to a recent post by the theater department, over 677 people got to experience this portrayal for themselves through the public performances.

Unfortunately, Sunday was the last day of the play's four-day run, so if you missed it, you may be out of luck.  However, you can always follow me on Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State Facebook and Twitter---I try to share all the wonderful paranormal events held throughout the tri-state that I think my readers would have an interest in.  You can also follow the School of Fine Arts' Facebook page for articles, behind-the scenes photos, and more about this play and others!  Maybe if there is enough interest, we could see an encore of The Ghostly and the Ghastly or similar such works in the future!

Any chance you get, please come out and support events such as this that highlight West Virginia's paranormal history and heritage!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Spirit Box Funnies



Have you had any really amazing successes with a spirit box?  Let me know down in the comments, or head over to Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State Facebook page to share your story! 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The 'Ghost' of McMillion Church

Photo by Find-a-Grave user, Old Hokie

This story was found in the Fall 1997 edition of Goldenseal. In a special Halloween article, author Ruth Zicafoose tells the tale of a long forgotten ghost encounter at McMillion Church on Friar's Hill.  The church was built around 1889 and is located in Greenbrier County, about 6 miles from the town of Renick/Falling Spring. 

Ghost in the Church
By Ruth Zicafoose

This is a true story of an event that happened long ago in our community.

Near Renick, there is an area known as Friar's Hill.  In this vicinity there was, and still is, a place of worship known as the McMillion Church.

The area around there was sparsely settled with several miles between families, although not considered far apart according to the way we think of distances today.  There was a family of Knights who lived not too far from the church and several families of McMillions, from whom the church got its name.

It was in the summer time when a young gentleman of the community was courting a girl who lived three or four miles away.  In those days folks either walked, rode horseback, or drove a horse and buggy.  This young fellow had a fine saddle horse which he used for transportation in all of his romantic endeavors.

On this particular Sunday he was spending the afternoon with the object of his affections when about 4 o'clock the sky suddenly turned dark, signifying that a severe thunderstorm with heavy rain was fast approaching.  Desiring to reach his home before the rain started, he bid his beloved adieu, hurriedly mounted his horse, and galloped away.

By the time he reached the McMillion Church, which was right beside the road to his home, the rain was increasing rapidly.  Rather than risk ruining his Sunday-best clothes he decided to dismount and seek shelter inside the church.

The church doors were never locked and it was only one step from the ground over the threshold of the church door and into the shelter of the building.  He stepped far enough inside to escape the rain, but not too far so that he could hold his horse's bridle reins, leaving the horse standing outside in the terrible storm.

It was really pouring rain by this time and the sky had turned so black that one would have needed a lantern to see his way around the inside of the dark church.  Occasionally, when the lightning flashed, the inside of the church would be bright as day, just for an instant, then even harder to see than it had been, or as we used to say, dark as pitch.

After standing there and listening to the rain for a bit, he happened to be looking toward the pulpit when the lightning flashed another time.  He saw something that made the hair on the back of his neck start to crawl!  He caught a glimpse of a figure, dressed in white, rising from behind the lectern.  Then it was all dark again.  His eyes were riveted in the direction of the front of the church and he could not move!  

At the next lightning flash he could see it had not been his imagination playing tricks on him---it really was a tall human-like figure with long black hair.  The apparition, if that is what it was, had moved over from behind the lectern and had taken a step down from the pulpit.

At the next flash the figure had taken a few steps down the aisle toward the front door--it was coming toward him! He was frozen to the spot and scared speechless.  In another minute there was a big clap of thunder followed by an unusually bright flash of lightning.  The tall white figure was moving slowly, but surely, in his direction.  Each time there was a flash of lightning the figure was a little nearer.  If ever a heart was tested for failure that was the time.

The tall white figure seemingly floated past the middle of the church, then an arm on the side of the figure started rising.  In one of the flashes the young man could see a hand outstretched as though it would grab him!  He tried too run but he could not move.  Then he felt the hand on his shoulder!  It is a wonder he didn't collapse in a dead faint.

Then he heard his name, "Willis!" His heart seemed to stop!  He thought his feet had been nailed to the floor.  Then he recognized the figure.  It was a lady in the community who had lost her mind.  In her long white nightgown she had slipped from her bed and out of the house the night before, without any of her family knowing about it.  Her folks had searched all day Sunday and had not found her.

Since there were worship services only once a month at the church in those days, the lady had had the church all to herself.  

I do not know if the young man married the girl he had been courting that day, but I do know that he never forgot the time when he thought a ghost had captured him for sure!  All the rest of his life he would repeat the story for anyone who would listen.
Happy Halloween from GOLDENSEAL!


Theresa's Note:  Some of the spookiest ghost stories aren't really ghost stories at all!  This tale is another example of how things aren't always what they seem...an important thing to keep in mind when researching and investigating hauntings for yourself.  Having said that, I think I would MUCH rather run into a real ghost than a mentally unstable woman hanging out in the local church during a thunderstorm!  The description of her in her white nightgown and long, black hair, moving slowly up the church aisle, closer with every flash, is straight up out of a modern day horror movie! I hope she was taken back to her family and compassionately cared for...and I hope Willis wasn't too emotionally scarred after the whole ordeal! 

Renick, WV ca 1910 from WV History on View





Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day 2020!



Happy Valentine's Day from Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State...and the Krampus!  Yes, our favorite winter holiday demon has also enjoyed a legacy of love with images like the one above.  I hope this Valentine's Day is spent with a partner who looks at you the same way Krampus is looking at this lovely lady!  Also, join me over on Facebook for plenty of ghost stories of ill-fated lovers and unrequited love, perfect for your spooky Valentine's Day reading! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Book Review: West Virginia Ghost Stories, Legends, Haunts, and Folklore

Title: West Virginia Ghost Stories, Legends, Haunts, and Folklore
Author: Janette Quackenbush
Published: 2018 by 21 Crows Dusk to Dawn Publishing, 21 Crows, LLC
Amazon Purchase Information
Author's Website

I don't mean to go all fan-girl, but I've been following Jannette Quackenbush's awesome Facebook page, Haunted West Virginia for quite some time and I try to share her wonderfully researched stories of West Virginia ghosts and haunted locations whenever I can. 

Therefore, I was ecstatic when I finally got to meet her in person during the Beckley Oddities Fair last October!  In addition to having a wonderful chat where she deeply inspired me to get off my butt and finish up my own book, I was able to purchase a signed copy of West Virginia Ghost Stories, Legends, Haunts, and Folklore, which includes the Legend of Seneca Rocks.  Jannette had several books for sale (which can also be purchased through Amazon and through her website), and I kind of chose this particular title somewhat at random.  I chose wisely!

Ya'll know I LOVE collecting books on West Virginia hauntings, ghost stories, cryptozoology, UFOlogy, and just anything weird pertaining to the Mountain State, and so I've amassed quite a few volumes over the years.  And I have to say, this one is definitely one of my favorites!  What really stands out to me is that not only are each of the stories that perfect mix of history and legend, but that Jannette and her family actually VISITED each and every location listed!

By actually visiting the locations discussed in the book, the author is able to share updated photographs of the area, personal paranormal experiences, interviews and information from locals, and first-hand knowledge (complete with GPS coordinates) of where exactly to find these places so you can visit for yourself.  The stories are arranged according to geographical location, making it even easier to find specific stories for a specific area.

There's also a great mix of classic, well-known stories from West Virginia ghost lore that most people will be familiar with AND stuff that is a little more obscure.  Historic haunts are plucked from newspaper archives and more recent hauntings are told by those who have experienced them. West Virginia's strong connections with both the Civil War and the history of the railroad industry are prominently featured and explored through their ghostly heritage, making this an especially interesting read for me personally from a historic viewpoint. Overall, it's just a really well-written, super entertaining read.  It's packed FULL of stories coming in at 300+ pages, but its a quick read as each location ranges from a few sentences to a few pages in length, and generally comes with lots of historical and current photos.

Obviously, I highly recommend making West Virginia Ghost Stories, Legends, Haunts, and Folklore (and the author's other books) a part of your own paranormal library!  You can purchase them online, or meet Jannette at upcoming events, including the Morgantown ParaCon on March 14th 2020  and at Wild and Weird Con on April 4th 2020!


Friday, January 17, 2020

Pressing Questions: Familiars



If I were a witch and had my own familiar, I'd totally be the type of witch who'd baby-talk my little demonic helper!  In fact, my son once told me that our black cat, Ichabod, was my familiar and I baby-talk to her all the time.  I'm not sure where he learned what a familiar is...but it makes sense to me!

Anyway, according to a Wikipedia article on familiars, the image above is of a witch and her familiar spirits, taken from a publication that dealt with the witch trials of Elizabeth Stile, Mother Dutten, Mother Devell and Mother Margaret in Windsor, 1579.

Happy Friday, everyone! 

Friday, January 3, 2020

Cold Hands: My Experience at the Ridges (Athens, Ohio)



Are your hands ALWAYS cold?  Mystery solved! Personally, this is one issue I don't have to deal with, although I do have a fitting story about holding hands with a ghost!  Way back in the spring of 2002, my friend and I went to visit another friend at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.  The entire TOWN of Athens seems to have a spooky past, with plenty of ghost stories associated with the campus itself.  While visiting, we went to check out The Ridges, a former asylum complex that the school had taken over.  A local guy who our friend had met while at school was showing us around the outside of some of the buildings and giving us a little history lesson on the area. When we got to the area where the former children's building was, my two friends decided to stay in the car, while I went up the hill with this local guy to where the building was located.  We were only up there a few minutes when we heard screaming coming from the car, so we started back off down the hill.  As I walked away from the building, I felt something cold touch my hand, causing me to just sort of freeze in place.  I'm thinking this dude is getting a little too handsy, but I look and he's already halfway down the hill, way too far away from me to have touched me.  After I realized that I was alone, I realized that the touch really did feel like a small child slipping his or her hand into my hand.  I took a second to look back at the building, and gently tell whoever or whatever had touched me that I had to go now and that it needed to stay there.

As far as I know, nothing followed me home that evening.  As for the screaming coming from the car---my friends had been trying to operate the micro-cassette recorder I had borrowed from my mom for ghost hunting purposes, lol.  Somehow, the recorder got put into fast-forward mode, and they were startled at the crazed, chipmunk-like voices of one of my mom's meetings being played back! The next morning, my friend and I returned to the area for some day-time photos.  This one is of me on the stairway to the building where the incident occurred. My little visitor who held my hand the night before was nowhere to be found, but I walked away from the experience grateful that I had had the opportunity for such an interaction.

 Anyway, if you suffer from constantly cold hands, just make sure to mention it to your doctor in order to rule out any circulatory or other issues.  Also, this cute lil' graphic comes from In Your Face Cake. You can check them out on Twitter and Instagram for more comics!

BONUS
My experience at the Ridges wasn't the only time in my life where I believe I physically interacted with a ghost!  As I was rushing down the hallway of my mom's house, I think I may have crashed right into (or through) our disembodied roommate!  You can read all about that experience here:  The Day I Walked Through a Ghost

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Bellaire's Sheeted Apparition



It's time for a Throwback Thursday vintage newspaper article!  Today's historic ghost story comes from the December 7, 1892 edition of the Wheeling Register.  It seems that the town of Bellaire, Ohio, located right across the river from Wheeling, WV, was being haunted by your classic sheet-wearing ghost.  But, was it really the spirit of William Barnard...or someone playing a prank? This article can be found on the Chronicling America website.


Bellaire
A ghost had been bothering some of the people of the Fifth ward for some time. The white apparition would appear after nightfall and flit around frightening nervous people and creating great excitement in that usually quite neighborhood. Three or four young men who did not believe in ghosts thought they would run down the spook.  Hiding in the barn on the premises of the late Wm. Barnard, about eight o'clock p.m., they had not long to wait until his ghostship made his appearance.  The young men, now badly frightened themselves, waited until the spook got within easy reach of them and made a grab for it.  This frightened the ghost, and while the young men with hair on end stood holding the white sheet which they had torn from the ghost, the thing which had eluded their grasp bounded away at a 2:40 gait toward the Bellaire Nail Works, and has not been seen since.  The young men are positive, however, that the thing they failed to capture resembled a man. 


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Goodbye, 2019....Hello 2020!



Happy New Year!  It's time to say goodbye to 2019...and hello to 2020.  This has been a crazy year. I met my husband in January and got married in March.  My mom battled (and won!) against breast cancer. My tiny boy turned DOUBLE DIGITS! I've spent many a day traveling between Hurricane and Grafton, and many a night sitting in hospital rooms. 

With all the craziness going on, this blog has suffered, and to my regular readers, I apologize.  As life is settling back into a routine, I'm ready to get back to bringing you all the coolest ghost stories, haunted locations, urban legends, and just anything and everything spooky related to West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and beyond!  To kick start a new year of new content, I'll once again be doing the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  That means there will be a new blog post every day throughout January.  I have failed miserably during the last few challenges, so I'm hoping the motivation of a new year will give me the boost I need to make it through this time. 

If you don't already, please follow me on Facebook for lots of fun and spooky articles, photos, and much more!  It's also the best place to contact me with your questions, comments, and suggestions for haunted locations. Pop on over and let me know if you have any paranormal-related New Year's resolutions, or if you have any awesome investigations, trips to haunted locations, conferences/events, books, podcasts, or anything else spooky coming up in 2020 that'd you'd like to share! You can also find me on Twitter and on Instagram. 

I hope you and yours have a safe and happy New Year, and that 2020 is a great year for you.  Thank you so much for continuing this journey with me as my blog and my involvement in the paranormal community has evolved, shifted, be put on hold, etc.!  I appreciate all the support and kind words you've shown me over the years.  In a few weeks, this blog will be celebrating its NINTH anniversary!  

BONUS

Curious as to what the Top 3 blog posts of 2019 were?  Here's what people were reading and sharing the most this year!

3. David Morgan's Vision---Early West Virginia pioneer, David Morgan, had a sickbed vision that saved the lives of his children from an Indian attack. This tale of supernatural intervention has been passed down from generation to generation, and there is even a historical marker documenting the prophetic dream.

2. Mason County's Mysterious Skeletons---A newspaper from 1821 shares the news of four giant skeletons found in a burial mound, located on a Mason County, WV farm. Folklore is full of claims that West Virginia's Adena burial mounds contain giant skeletal remains of a race of people long forgotten.

1. The Sistersville Stocking Lady---There's a tombstone in Sistersville, WV with a highly damaged carving of an angelic woman atop.  Local legend states than anyone foolish enough to touch the 'Stocking Lady' will meet a horrible fate.