Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Fresh Seafood Company Haunted by an Apparition in Plaid

Fresh Seafood Company. Photo by Theresa

I cannot tell you how excited I get whenever I hear about a new-to-me haunted location, especially one so close!  Awhile back, one of my Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page members shared a newspaper article from September 2016 about a haunted seafood restaurant in Jefferson, WV...a location only about a 15 minute drive from me!  I was intrigued, but as I was bogged down with other things at the time, I just sort of put in on the back burner.  Until now...

The restaurant is The Fresh Seafood Company Restaurant and Market, owned by Tim Cerullo.  It is located in the St. Albans/Jefferson area at 6230 MacCorkle Avenue, beside the Venture Lanes bowling alley, sort of tucked behind it to the side, by the Kanawha River.  I don't come through Jefferson too often...and my family (besides me) really doesn't eat a lot of seafood, so I never really paid much attention to this location.  I had seen the sign, but it never really registered that there was such a quaint little HAUNTED restaurant back there.

According to an article by Ben Calwell in the Kanawha Metro, the ghost haunting the Fresh Seafood Company Restaurant and Market is a friendly one. Employees have reported seeing a gentleman in plaid pants and glasses who simply vanishes into thin air.  Cerullo himself experienced the spooky manifestations when he saw a seashell move on its own, actually flipping over a desk.

Photo by Theresa

The restaurant area is located in an old house, and Cerullo believes that the home's former occupants are still around.  The ghost (or ghosts) seems quite pleasant, and I definitely wanted to know more!  Since the worldwide unpleasantness won't let me get out to actually access documents at the library and courthouse, or to even go EAT at The Fresh Seafood Market's beautiful dining area, my research was limited...so expect a follow-up one of these days.  Anyway, I did find out a little about the history of the location...

The Beach House, as the restaurant area is known, gives a bit of its history on its own menu.  It simply states that George Washington once owned the land where the restaurant now sits and that the house dates back to before MacCorkle Avenue was built.  It was a lot harder than I thought it would be to figure out just when MacCorkle Avenue was built!  MacCorkle Avenue is named for William MacCorkle, former Governor of West Virginia and a state Senator.  He passed away in 1930, but I found newspaper references from the mid 1920's referring to MacCorkle Avenue addresses in the Kanawha City area.  The area of MacCorkle Avenue that runs through Jefferson is also still considered to be part of Route 60...so from that reason, I'm guessing the house was built possibly around the 1920's or 1930's.  That's PRETTY close to what I found through online property searches.

From what I can gather, Tom Cerullo purchased the property in December of 1996, a sale which can be found in Deed Book 2401, page 976.  There are actually several deeds associated with the property the restaurant is on and surrounding lots, all acquired by Cerullo in December of 1996. And, all the deeds were formerly held by the same family.

Two of the deeds were under the name of Edna Wood Carden, who acquired the property on Christmas Day, 1939. The two other deeds were both under the joint ownership of E.L. and F.E. Hadsell, who acquired the lots on April 18, 1944.  A little digging through the genealogy site, Family Search, provided some clarification.  Edna Wood Carden and Felix E. Hadsell were married on September 5, 1943, in Lawrence County, Ohio.  This was his first marriage, but Edna had been married before to a man by the name of Carden.  With no additional details on the marriage, it appears that Edna owned the property where the house now stands (and possibly the house itself) during or slightly after her first marriage, and then lived there with her new husband, Felix, acquiring adjoining property a year after they were married. Another frustrating thing to note is the property info online doesn't list any information about the house itself.  All those fields are left blank on the summary page, including year built.

Map Card-Kanawha County Assessor

And until I can find more information, this is where speculation REALLY comes into play.  WHO is the man in the plaid pants and glasses?  One guess could be that it is Felix Hadsell, who presumably lived in the home from the early 1940's until close to when the restaurant opened.  Felix was born on August 6, 1909 and passed away on July 22, 1995.  He is buried in South Charleston's Sunset Memorial Park, along with his wife, Edna, who passed away on December 27, 1992.  Could the apparition instead belong to Edna's other husband, Mr. Carden?  I haven't been able to find anything out about him, including whether or not he even LIVED on the property in question.  Or, is the ghost someone else entirely?  I found a newspaper article from 1970 about the winners of a horoscope contest.  One of the winners was Edna Hadsell, of 6230-A MacCorkle Avenue.  With the addition of the A to the address, does that mean that someone else owned or rented and lived in another section of the house/property and are now haunting it?

Questions like these are driving me crazy, and I can't wait until this unpleasantness is all over and I can get out in the real world again!  I'd love to do some additional research, perhaps interview the owner (the 2016 article states that the wholesale market was opened 29 years ago and the restaurant 22 years ago) and some employees, and of course EAT there myself!  I'll be coming for the ghost stories, but definitely staying for the delicious-looking fresh seafood!


Something Fishy Going On at Landmark Eatery Near St. Albans. Metro Kanawha article by Ben Calwell.  September 21, 2016

Fresh Seafood Company Facebook

Find-a-Grave Entries for Felix Hadsell and Edna L. Wood Carden Hadsell

Kanawha County Assessor Map Cards

Marriage Certificate for Felix Hadsell and Edna Wood Carden from Family Search

Friday, April 24, 2020

Big Chimney UFO Sighting (1975)

Artist rendition of Big Chimney UFO (Screenshot from In Search Of S1E21: In Search of UFOs)

It's no secret that my paranormal interests lie more with ghosts, spirits, and hauntings than they do UFOs, cryptids, conspiracy theories and other aspects of this huge and fascinating field.  Still, that's no excuse for not realizing that West Virginia is home to another quite famous UFO sighting!  The 1975 sighting in Big Chimney (Kanawha County) hasn't quite gotten the same attention as The Flatwoods Monster of 1952 or the Mothman/UFO flap of 1966-67, but the Center for UFO Studies based in Chicago once called it one of the top 5 best UFO reports of 1975.

As part of my stay-at-home activities, I've been binge watching the old Leonard Nimoy show, In Search Of, on YouTube.  Today, I was startled to see that in Season 1 Episode 21 entitled In Search of UFOs a man by the name of Carroll Crihfield of Big Chimney, WV was featured.  On June 12, 1975 around 9:30 pm, Crihfield and his wife allegedly saw a diamond shaped craft with bright red and white lights just off 119 North between Big Sandy and Clendenin. On the show, Carroll was given a lie detector test by Criswell Security of Wheeling.  And while it was admitted that a lie detector test wouldn't prove whether or not there actually WAS a UFO, it did show that Carroll at least believed he had seen a UFO.  No deception was detected.

I knew there had to be more to the story than just this 8 minute snippet, so it was off to the (online) newspaper archives for a better understanding of the story.  From what I can piece together from different newspaper articles, here's what happened.

On the evening of June 12, 1975, Carroll Crihfield, a chemist at the FMC plant in South Charleston, was driving along Route 119 from the family home at 4606 Marlin Drive in Big Chimney. He was with his pregnant wife, Betty, and his two sons, Jerry (16) and Jeff (12). The family was on their way to Roane County to visit Carroll's father on that clear evening.  Around 9:30 pm, Betty first spotted a flashing red light in the sky.  They thought it must be a plane, but the light seemed to hover in one spot.  They could see the light, still unmoving, for about four miles, when they lost sight of it behind the hills.  They saw or experienced nothing for another few miles before rounding a curve in the road and coming upon quite the sight!

To the left of the road, about 100 feet up (40 feet above the tree line) and only about 40 feet from the highway, they saw a 'split-diamond' shaped craft as big as a house and charcoal gray in color.  The family could see what looked like legs in the shape of a cross.  Startled, Carroll ran the car off the road slightly, but regained control.  They drove on about 500 feet down the road until they could find a place to turn around.  By the time they turned around and drove back to where the craft had hovered above the trees, it had vanished.

The next day Carroll made a report to the Air National Guard and to the Federal Aviation Commission, but nothing really came of it.  Six weeks later, however, Carroll was on vacation from work and sitting around idle at home.  He decided to hop in the car and drive out to the location of the sighting to see if there were any sheared tree tops or any other evidence of what he and his family saw that evening.  When arriving at the location (located near the Little Sandy Creek Bridge) he was shocked to find four large patches of blackened/burned grass and a burned log.  It was then that Carroll realized that this craft must have actually landed!  I assume that's when a state trooper learned of the case and made a report to the Center for UFO Studies in Chicago, founded in 1973 by J. Allen Hynek.

By April of 1976, a film crew from Alan Landsburg Productions was sent out to Big Chimney to interview the family.  Carroll himself insisted on taking a lie detector test, which was shown on the In Search Of program.  Carroll's two sons also took the lie detector test with the same results:  no deception detected.  In one of the newspaper articles I read, it states that Dr. Edward Zeller of the University of Kansas was sent to collect and examine soil samples from the landing site, a site that Crihfield days that over a year later won't grow grass and is avoided by dogs. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything about the results of the soil tests, and really, that's about all I could find out about this case.  I would like to point out, however, that despite the spin of the program on UFOs and his insistence to take a lie detector test, Carroll Crihfield did not believe that he saw an alien craft that summer evening.  Rather, he states in a newspaper article that he believes what he saw belonged to the US government and was a new, stealth aircraft of some sort.  What do YOU think the Crihfield family saw?


In Search Of: UFOS's Season 1 Episode 21 on YouTube

In Research Of Podcast March 9, 2020

'Big Chimney Resident Featured on TV Show.' Charleston Daily Mail, November 4, 1976

'Seeing is Believing' Says Chemist: Big Chimney Man Cited for 1975 UFO Report.  Charleston Daily Mail. October 1, 1976

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Flat Mountain Beast

This vintage newspaper article comes from a November 26, 1920 edition of the Greenbrier Independent, a paper based in Lewisburg, WV.  It seems as if many believe the 'beast' is an escaped circus gorilla...but could it be something more?  The size and reddish coloring suggest that it could be a Bigfoot, and although I'm not a zoologist, I would think that even with our mountains, a journey from Wheeling to the Lewisburg area would result in a few more reported sightings.  I'll let you decide for yourself, though!  Here's the text as it appears in the original article:


A strange beast is said to have been seen roaming around on Flat Mountain within the past week.  It is said to stand about 6 feet high, apparently weighs 350 pounds, and is of a reddish and blackish color.  The beast, which resembles a gorilla, is said to have a broken chain around its neck.

It is reported that among those who have seen the beast are Opie Wikle and Wm. Hedrick, who live near Broad Run, and that the beast gave him a chase one night about a week ago.  The report of a strange beast of the description noted above has thrown a scare into some of the residents of Flat Mountain and 'Old Betsy' has been greased up in a number of homes and made ready for business.

Several weeks ago a strange beast whose description was not unlike that of the above animal was reported to be roaming one of the mountains of Pocahontas county was neither killed nor captured. The beast seen on Flat Mountain may be the same.  It is reported to have two long upper and and three long lower teeth.

Others are said to have seen the "critter," and have coupled it with a circus wreck said to have happened near Wheeling about three months ago, when a gorilla 5 1-2 feet tall is said to have escaped into Pennsylvania. The beast may have taken to the mountains and started South, which would account for its presence in Pocahontas county and later in this section.  Such explanation is better than none at least, for it is claimed firmly that the animal is not a product of either a vivid or a disordered imagination.---Alderson Advertiser

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Ghosts of Six Flags: Magic Mountain

One of the many ways I'm staying distracted from what's going on in the real world during this stay-at-home order is by re-watching old Shane Dawson videos.  Shane's back-catalog covers a pretty wide variety of topics, but my favorites (of course) are his conspiracy theory videos and any videos related to ghost hunting, haunted places, or other weird and spooky topics.  The other day I watched the HAUNTED AMUSEMENT PARK video from back in September of 2017 in which Shane, Ryland, Drew, and Garrett visit Six Flags: Magic Mountain in Valencia, California for the park's annual Halloween celebration, Fright Fest!

During the group's VIP experience, their tour guide tells them that the park actually IS haunted.  The ghost is a young boy with dark hair, wearing a blue shirt.  His name is Jacob and before he passed away from a terminal blood disease, he loved visiting the park.  Unfortunately, he was confined to a wheelchair during the last few months of his life, making riding most of the park's rides impossible. 

However, in death, Jacob is free to ride whatever he chooses.  Ride operators have reported seeing Jacob out of their corner of their eye during closing, so they always make sure to run the ride empty, one last time for him, before shutting it down for the night.  The guide also told the group that security guards at the park have seen the young boy in blue well after the park has been closed for the night.

Obviously, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about this ghost haunting Six Flags: Magic Mountain!

Jacob/The Boy in the Striped Shirt

Colossus, From LA Times

Magic Mountain, located just north of Los Angeles, opened for business on May 29, 1971 and was sold to Six Flags in 1979 who has operated the park ever since.  And, in its nearly 50 years of operation, Magic Mountain has amassed more than a few ghost stories aside from Jacob's.  One such ghost that is repeatedly featured in articles about the hauntings of Magic Mountain is a little boy in a striped shirt.  I assume that this is actually Jacob, although I've never seen a name mentioned outside of Shane's video.

This boy, whether or not the same boy as Jacob, has been spotted running and playing among the support beams under the track for Magic Mountain's wooden coaster, Colossus. Witnesses to the boy's apparition near the coaster also claim that whenever he is seen under Colossus, he's also HEARD. The sound of the lift chain, pulling the coaster up, seems to accompany the boy's apparition, despite the ride already being closed for the evening.  

Colossus originally opened in 1978 and unfortunately was the site of one of the park's approximate eight deaths.  A young woman named Carol Flores was at the park the day after Christmas that year with family members.  Her restraints didn't fit properly, and her lap bar failed to lock, leading to her untimely and tragic death from being thrown from the car. (I've seen this death also associated erroneously with the former Psyclone coaster. I think this connection may come from the fact that during Fright Fest, one track of Colossus is run backwards, using a train that belonged to Psyclone.)  The ride did undergo renovations shortly after that, and in 2015, the track was converted to steel, with the coaster opening under the new name, Twisted Colossus. Despite the death associated with the ride, the only ghost reportedly connected to it is the young boy/Jacob.

Cyclone Bay Game Area by InMapz

And Jacob certainly gets around the park!  Aside from his penchant for roller coasters, he seems to love games as well, and another spot he frequents is the old Cyclone Bay area.  This area, which is home to all the carnival games, is another favorite spot of the young boy, and he has been seen multiple times underneath the tarp to the basketball game. Staff have reported seeing the boy in the striped shirt, reaching under the tarp area, as if trying to get his basketball.  At times, the boy isn't seen, but instead, staff will find a lone basketball left out, knowing that they had just put everything away and cleaned up for the evening.  In a BackpackVerse article entitled the Nightly Visitors of Magic Mountain, there's a story from a security guard who encountered the young boy late one night.  He yelled out to the kid, but when he didn't respond, the security guard approached him to tell him that the park was closed and he needed to leave.  However, before the security guard could crouch down and lecture the boy, the boy had disappeared!  He asked a Games Attendant who was shutting down for the evening where the boy had gone, and the attendant had to break it to him that the boy was not just a ghost, but one that was seen in the area quite often!


By Arthur Levine

While Jacob/The Boy in the Striped Shirt is probably the most well-known ghost at Magic Mountain, he certainly isn't the only specter haunting the park. The roller coaster Goliath also has its fair share of spooky stories.  Goliath is an extreme steel coaster with an opening drop of 255 feet.  The coaster opened for the 2000 season, but a year later it would be the location of another untimely death.  On June 2, 2001, 28 year old Pearl Santos suffered an aneurysm while riding Goliath.  Since her death, staff members have reported weird issues with Goliath's phone system.  Security guards monitoring the park from the security office will receive phone calls coming from Goliath's line, well after the last visitor and ride operator have left for the day. When they answer, there is nothing but static on the other end.  This happened so often, that a group of officers set out one night to investigate who was playing around and trying to scare them.  To their surprise, nothing out of the ordinary was found, aside from an eerie sense of dread, leading many to believe that Pearl haunts the place where she died, getting people's attention by interfering with the phone lines.


Revolution 1976 by montezooma
The Revolution coaster originally opened in 1976 and then underwent a major renovation in 2016, which added things such as a VR experience to the ride.  Riders of the looping coaster have reported hearing a woman's hysterical screams shortly before arriving back at the station after their ride.  This may be a residual haunting associated with another tragic death that happened in 1996.  On May 30, a part-time employee named Cherie La Motte was crossing the tracks in order to switch positions with another employee. Unfortunately, as she stepped onto the tracks, she was hit by a car coming into the station and thrown below the ride, succumbing to her injuries.  Could these screams belong to Cherie, or perhaps one of the many visitors/staff who witnessed the tragic event? 

Other Ghosts of Magic Mountain

The three stories above seem to be the three more well-known, most frequently occurring hauntings at Magic Mountain, but the internet is FULL of other brief-yet-terrifying-encounters associated with this Californian amusement park.  Here are just a few I came across:

*A UFO being seen from one of the park's tower rides (2010?) YouTube Link

*An apparition known as the Grey Man is seen near Jet Stream, the boat ride.  People also report having their hair pulled while on the ride or waiting in line.

*Indians seen around Samurai Summit

*Woman in a white dress seen at night in the area around the former Magic Pagoda

*Apparitions/Unexplained Noises seen in the Magic Moments Theater

*A former female employee returns to haunt Center Ring Games

*More stories can be found in the Comments Section of Haunted Places: Magic Mountain

*Disclaimer: I love haunted amusement park stories and I love sharing them with my readers!  But, haunted amusement parks seem to have an even higher rate of well...inaccuracy...to them even greater than your average spooky tale. As the stories are passed down from staff member to staff member, shared with visitors, or posted online, details tend to get a little muddled.  New information may be added to fill in the gaps and to help explain spooky experiences, and that information may not always be true.  Amusement parks are fun, thrilling places...but they can also be home to tragic deaths as well. Those deaths may be wrongly associated with perceived paranormal activity just because they are either a convenient way to explain what someone has experienced...or because it makes an interesting story. In addition, amusement parks are always changing, with old rides being renovated, renamed, or torn down completely and replaced with new ones.  I've tried to present these stories as they are told and shared, but also to add as much verifiable detail as I can find. Names of the deceased are added for accuracy, not disrespect and I've tried to make sense out of conflicting reports.  Please see the bibliography below for where the information in this article came from.  Thanks, and happy haunting!*


1. Haunted Amusement Park YouTube Video by Shane Dawson. Uploaded  9-27-17

2. Six Flags Magic Mountain: Tragic Events YouTube video by Mighty Ride Junkies. Uploaded 5-31-17

3. The Nightly Visitors of Magic Mountain by Backpackverse. Updated 2-20-20

5. Haunted Honeymoon Blog: Haunted Places-Magic Mountain.  Summer 2006

7. Roller Coaster Worker Broke Rule, Officials Say. LA TIMES article. Published June 1, 1996 by David Wharton. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Top 3 Binge-Worthy YouTube Paranormal Shows

I don't know about you, but I've turned to binge-watching as a coping mechanism to escape from what's going on in the world.  And while many are turning to Netflix's Tiger King as their binge of choice, I'm not QUITE there yet.  I'd rather spend my free time catching up on some paranormal goodies!  Since not everyone has access to popular streaming services, I wanted to instead focus on fun stuff to watch that is completely FREE.  YouTube is a great resource for free material and it was hard narrowing down a top three.  These are the shows that I'm currently watching on YouTube, but if you have any suggestions for shows or channels, please feel free to comment down below, or head on over to Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State Facebook page to share what YOU'RE watching.  Stay safe, stay indoors, stay spooky! 

1. In Search Of---In Search Of, hosted by Leonard Nimoy, is one of those iconic shows in the paranormal field that gave many investigators their first glimpse into  the world of the strange and unknown. The weekly show ran from 1977 to 1982 and luckily, ALL SIX SEASONS are available for streaming on YouTube!  Each episode is only about 23 minutes long, so it's the perfect show for binge-watching or to simply watch one or two when you have a little extra time.  As this show was a bit before my time, I'm just now getting to experience classic favorites such as the Bermuda Triangle, ancient aliens, and the search for DB Cooper.  The official YouTube channel also has the three hour-long movies that sparked the beginning of the series, as well as a few humorous extras.

2. Hellier---Planet Weird's YouTube channel has made Hellier Seasons 1 and 2 available for free!  This docu-series which starts with a quest for answers in a remote Kentucky town, leads an investigation team on a wild journey full of synchronicity and high strangeness. If you haven't watched it yet, it is definitely worth it.  Once you make it a few episodes in, you'll more than likely find yourself NEEDING to find out what happens next!

3. Doc Spot---Doc Spot is one of my top channel picks for documentaries.  Among its history, science, and other documentaries, the channel offers a huge selection of titles pertaining to UFOs, cryptids, hauntings, ESP, and other paranormal topics.  My favorites are definitely the large collection of Haunted History Of..., an older History Channel show that would devote a whole show to the history and ghost stories of a particular location.  To get you started, here's the link to the Haunted History Of playlist, beginning with The Haunted History of London.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Paranormal Social Distancing: Part 1 Education

It's difficult being a paranormal investigator and not being able to actually go out and investigate!  As world events are forcing many of us to lock down, stay-at-home, and even quarantine ourselves until further notice, how do we paranormal enthusiasts, researchers, and investigators get our spooky fix?  Here are just a few suggestions for activities you can try during these trying times.


1. Read Books:  I read a ton of paranormal nonfiction, and always have quite the TBR pile waiting for me to find the time to get to it.  You've probably got some books at home you've been meaning to read, or re-read, and now is the perfect time to do so. These books can focus more on the academic and technical side of paranormal research, or you can simply have fun with a collection of local ghost stories!

If your bookshelves are bare, don't worry; you still have plenty of options.  As of this writing, many retailers, including Amazon and The West Virginia Book Company are still shipping books.  If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app on any of your devices, you can download e-books from Amazon and other locations, sometimes for FREE.  Project Gutenberg has some really interesting free titles from the late 1800's and early 1900's (as does Amazon) and can easily be read online as well as downloaded. Also check with your local library system; many are offering a variety of online services, including access to journals and databases, and of course, checking out ebooks. If you're looking for suggestions on new reading material, you can always check out Theresa's Book Reviews.

2. Read Articles and Blogs: There are plenty of things besides books to read!  Catch up on your favorite paranormal blogs (I'm a huge fan of The Southern Spirit Guide, Spook-Eats, and many others!). Or, read articles from your favorite paranormal websites about specific topics in the field that interest you.  You can always check out my posts on Theresa's Haunted History Facebook for inspiration.

3. Watch Documentaries and/or Ghost Hunting Series:  If you have any of the popular streaming services, you have a wealth of entertaining and interesting paranormal shows at your disposal.  Small Town Monsters has released quite a bit of its collection on Amazon Prime and Ghost Adventures can be found on Hulu.  YouTube also offers a great selection of FREE documentaries, network shows, lectures/conferences, and other video content to keep you occupied indefinitely.  Look for my suggestions of what to watch on Facebook and in an upcoming blog!

4. Listen to Podcasts: I'd love to be able to share all the awesome podcasts that I listen to, but that'd take FOREVER.  There are so many great podcasts covering the paranormal field and a simple internet search should help you discover something awesome to listen to in whatever paranormal topic you choose.  I'm always posting suggestions on my Facebook page, but a few of my favorites to get you started:  The Haunted Halls of WVU, Southern Ghost Stories, and LORE.

5. Take an Online Class:  Ghost hunting is a multidisciplinary approach.  Just about any topic you could have an interest in can be applied to paranormal research and investigation!  And, just about any topic you could have an interest in, probably has an online class available for it!  Sites such as Coursera and FutureLearn offer a variety of FREE college-level classes, or you could do a search for a topic and see what is available elsewhere in your price range.  I personally gravitate towards classes in history and genealogy, but photography classes and classes in ANY of the sciences (including psychology) are also good picks.  Plus, you can sometimes find classes devoted specifically to the paranormal and paranormal topics! 

That'll do it for Part One of this multi-part series devoted to giving you some ideas on how to stay connected with the paranormal world even if you can't get out and investigate right now.  Check back tomorrow for Part 2: Research and Investigating While NOT Investigating!  Stay safe.  Stay spooky. And if you have any suggestions for books, shows, channels, podcasts, websites or other resources, please comment down below! 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Fun Cat Activities: Paranormal Edition

It's time for a Friday Funny!  Does your cute little kitty or doggie seem to commune with something only it can see?  Either my house is the least haunted house in the world, or I have two cats who absolutely don't care about things that go bump in the night.  Six years of sharing space with those two, and I've never seen them act like they could see beyond the veil. 

But, speaking of shadow people...with all the craziness going on in the world over the past few months, I've been trying to keep an eye on paranormal trends.  What I've noticed is that quite a few people have reported a recent increase in paranormal activity, mainly experiences with shadow beings.  I hope to explore that topic a little deeper within the next few weeks, but if YOU have noticed an uptick in activity or have had a recent experience with a shadow being, I'd love to hear from you!  Please let me know your story below, or feel free to contact me via Facebook or Twitter to share your story.  Stay safe and stay spooky everyone, and have a wonderful weekend! 

Theresa's Haunted History FACEBOOK
Theresa's Haunted History TWITTER

Thursday, April 2, 2020

'Ghost' Haunts Grafton's Consolidated Manufacturing Company

It's time for another Throwback Thursday vintage newspaper article!  Today's selection comes from the February 22, 1916 edition of The Daily Telegram, a newspaper based in Clarksburg, WV.  The article mentions that for some time, the Consolidated Manufacturing Company in nearby Grafton had been the site of a haunting.  However, one brave watchman confronted the 'ghost' and found it was none other than a former employee of the plant who had been stealing items, including a typewriter, from his former place of employment.  The story has a happy ending, though, as the ghost wasn't prosecuted, but instead was simply allowed to return the stolen items!

I absolutely love these old ghost stories that remind us that not everything is what it seems!  I'm glad the company regained its stolen property and that the ghostly thief, probably someone fairly down on his luck, was spared a prison sentence in lieu of doing the right thing.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a whole lot about the Consolidated Manufacturing Company.  From a website devoted to Carr China, it appears that the Consolidated Manufacturing Company of Grafton was built along the Tygart River around 1913, but would go bankrupt in 1916. Later that year, it would become known as 'the pottery,' or the home for Carr China until its closure in 1952.  The building caught on fire in July of 1966, and its burned out remains quickly became a haven for vandals and vagrants.  It was eventually torn down, taking its 'haunted' past with it to the grave. 

Carr China 1934

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Family Death Omen

Like many people throughout the United States and elsewhere in the world, current events have left me with more than the usual free time lately!  I've gotten back into genealogy as a way to fill the time and escape the anxiety.  But, being the paranormal enthusiast that I am, of course I have to throw some family ghost stories into my work as well!

If you've read similar blog posts of mine, you may remember that I credit my grandparents as being a huge influence on my love of the paranormal growing up.  They would often tell me family ghost stories and personal experiences to entertain me during the many overnight visits to their home in Beckley, West Virginia.  Some of my favorite stories came from grandmother's younger days.  One such story is the tale of a bloody pillow and a calendar that refused to stay on the wall from East Beckley, which I've previously written about.  Another favorite is the story of the Woman in White.

Before moving into Raleigh County around the Beckley area, my grandmother and her family originally lived in Summers County, around the Hinton and Talcott areas.  Being your average Appalachian, the family could trace its ancestry back to Ireland and England, with a strong mix of Native American blood thrown in. In fact, most of the extended family lived in an area of Summers County known as Irish Mountain.  I believe that it was partly due to this lineage that led to such a strong belief system in the supernatural.  Anyway, I was fairly young when this tale was told to me, and when I recently asked other family members what they could remember, they didn't know a ton about it.  Apparently, I was the spooky kid in the family who begged for these ghost stories! 

So, piecing together what I can remember and what others could confirm, I believe these sightings did happen mostly around the Irish Mountain area prior to 1940, with at least one case happening during World War II in Beckley.  My grandmother would tell me that members of her family were known to witness the apparition of a woman in white along the road, while coming home after dark.  This woman would sometimes be seen standing by the side of the road.  Other times, she would be directly in front of their vehicle.  In at least one case, a witness believed he had hit the woman with his car and jumped out to find no one.

The witnesses all reported that it was a woman in a flowing white gown who was seen after dark out on the road, but other details seemed to change from person to person. Those who got a good look said she had no face.  Others said she emitted a strange wail or cry. To some, she seemed vaporous and ghostly, while to others she seemed as flesh and blood as you or I.  But no matter how she manifested, one thing was for sure:  seeing this woman was a bad omen, often heralding the early death of whomever came across her on that lonely, dark road.

My grandmother came from a family of ten children, raised alone by my great-grandma after my great-grandfather died when my grandmother was just a toddler.  She was the second to youngest child, and the family relied heavily on help from the older girls to support the family.  One of the older girls was Thelma.

My grandmother was not quite five years old when Thelma died, but she must have made an impression on her.  She always told me that not only did I look like her, but I reminded her so much of the strong-willed, vivacious Thelma.  As a side bar, a few years ago I started researching Thelma and found the greatest newspaper article of all time.  Thelma and her sister, Goldie, were apparently party girls who said to hell with Prohibition.  After being picked up several times for drinking, both girls were thrown in jail!  Anyway, my grandmother's recollection was that Thelma passed away from tuberculosis shortly after giving birth to a baby girl out of wedlock, who was raised as my grandmother's sister.  The father was said to have been a traveling salesman who left shortly after he found out she was pregnant.

Again, during my research, I tracked down Thelma's death certificate.  We were surprised to see that even though we couldn't find her marriage certificate, she was listed as being married.  And, she didn't pass away from tuberculosis---her cause of death was listed as diabetes! The facts remain, however, that she died at the young age of 21 years, and did leave behind a baby girl to be raised by my great-grandmother. It was also common knowledge within the family that shortly before her death, Thelma had seen the Woman in White and KNEW that her time on this earth would be cut short.

One other sibling was also said to have been the victim of the apparition.  My grandmother's brother, Paul, mysteriously vanished and was presumed dead after the Normandy Invasion.  Prior to getting the news no mother ever wants to get, my great-grandmother reportedly witnessed the faceless Woman in White.  However, unlike all the other stories, she saw the apparition not on the road, but in her own home this time!  The family had since moved from Irish Mountain and was living in Beckley at the time. Did the ghostly woman follow the family to its new home in order to resume her role as bad omen?

I've often wondered if there was a chance that my family's Irish ancestry was key here.  There are some similarities to the Banshee and this Woman in White, especially in the versions of the story where she was heard wailing before someone died.  As far as I know, Paul was the last victim of woman, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that other branches of the family who still live in Summers County still tell tales about a ghostly apparition heralding bad news.