Monday, April 29, 2013

The Ohio River Jellyfish

Photo by Myriah Richerson, USGS
Today's post really isn't paranormal, but its interesting, ALMOST falls under the cryptid category, and involves the tri-state area, so its fair game.  The topic:  The Ohio River Jellyfish.

I had honestly never heard about freshwater jellyfish until just recently when I read some comments on one of my Reddit posts.  My blog about the Freshwater Mountain Octopus was added to that website, and actually brings in a lot of traffic, so I was checking out some of the comments.  Someone had posted that they thought the idea of a freshwater octopus in this region was plausible as a newly discovered species because, after all, the Ohio River WAS home to a verified species of freshwater jellyfish!

These little guys are known as the craspedacusta sowerbii and they are actually indigenous to China's Yangtze River.  However since the late 1950s, there has been sporadic explosions of the species in various rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water throughout the United States and elsewhere in the world.  In 1978, the jellyfish were confirmed in four different sections of the Ohio River,  including an area nearby Gallipolis...right across the river from Mothman's Country--Pt. Pleasant, WV.

The Ohio River jellyfish are much tinier than other versions of the same species, and are only about the size of a penny.  It is theorized that they are transported with ornamental plants, and even with fish and water fowl  (and, possibly Mothman??).  What's strange about these Ohio River specimens is that these jellyfish usually prefer the calmer waters of lakes and quarries, not the turbulent and generally yucky Ohio River waters.

So now, not only can the Ohio River lay claim to catfish as big as Volkswagons and possibly larger, it can now lay claim to a teenie tiny strange little freshwater jellyfish.  Keep that in mind the next time you go boating....

USGS Fact Sheet
Ohio Journal of Science

NOTE:  If you wish to do further research on this topic beyond the links provided, you might want to search for the scientific name of this creature and avoid the term "Ohio River Jellyfish."  It seems that this is a local term that means something quite different that you're more likely to encounter in the Ohio River, lol.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Harpers Ferry KOA Campground

Civil War trench at KOA, by
I'd like to thank Melinda from the Theresa's Haunted History FaceBook page for the tip on today's location!

The location is the KOA campground in Harpers Ferry!  Over 30 years ago, this land operated as a Civil War Showcase Museum, which held different living history events throughout the season.  It eventually became a KOA campground, and then later The Holiday Travel Park.  After that, it was officially known as the Harpers Ferry Campsite, catering to many of the re-enactors and visitors to Harpers Ferry National Park.

In 1996, the family-run franchisee company, Recreational Adventures Co., took over the site and returned it to a KOA facility, complete with a host of improvements and amenities for the modern guest interested in the history of the area as well as the other recreational activities offered.  One offering that does NOT get published in the pamphlet is the haunted camp store.

According to Melinda, a local paranormal investigation team was called in to deal with a host of paranormal activity, mainly affecting the camp store.  The most disturbing activity that was witnessed was the apparition of a woman crawling and dragging herself across the floor.  She was missing the lower half of her body.

Colonel D.S. Miles
I honestly have no idea how this woman got to where she's been seen, or who she may possibly be, but I wouldn't completely rule out the turbulent Civil War history connection.  The site that now houses the KOA campground and where actual trenches can still be seen was the site of the last stand of Colonel Dixon Stansbury Miles.

There really isn't a ton of information available about this battle and its my theory that the cause of this is because the old adage of history being written by the winners.  Since the defeat of Colonel Miles and the surrender of Harpers Ferry on September 14, 1862 by the Federals happened with the culmination of this battle, sometimes known as the Sheraton Heights or the Boliver Heights battle, not much gets written about it.  Local historian, Dennis Frye, has written the most thorough account of the incident that I've found and that article can be found linked below.  However, just briefly:

Colonel Miles had taken up his headquarters at Harpers Ferry as commander of George McClellan's Railroad Brigade, protecting the railway from Confederate troops.  In mid September, as Stonewall Jackson's troops surrounded his position on Boliver Heights, things still looked promising.  However, things suddenly changed and by Sunday September 14th at 8am Miles had surrendered.  Jackson lost 289 men, but there was no mention of any Civilian/female casualties....

Still, with such a historic reputation, awesome activities for both history buffs and outdoorsy-types, AND the possibility of seeing a ghost, I know exactly where we're staying the next time we go to Harpers Ferry! With the demolition of Harpers Ferry's most haunted hotel, this is an awesome alternative.  As an added bonus, the campground is pet friendly!

Frye's Historical Account

KOA Website

Other Harper's Ferry Haunts to check out while you're in the area.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Satanic Toast

Satanic Toast.

Would make a good name for a metal band, but actually, its the topic of today's Friday Night Funny!

In 2009, a video clip was posted to YouTube which showed the single greatest thing ever to be shown on television.  It was a clip from May of 1984 in which Richard Dominick of the Sun tabloid interviews June O'Brien about her demonically possessed toaster.  As you'll see in the video below, the toaster emits the voice of star Eli Wallach saying "I am the Devil," spontaneously catches fire, and of course, leaves satanic messages such as "Satan Lives" scratched onto burnt pieces of toast.  However, the absolute greatest moment from this clip comes when Dominick asks O'Brien why she keeps the toaster after all that.  Her reply?  "When its all said and done, it makes good toast!"

This absolute gem of investigative reporting aired on the Today Show, much to the delight of  a very young Bryant Gumbel.  Jerry Springer and Boyd Matson produced the segment, with producer Boyd Matson doing the voice narration.

Not long after, it was reported that this segment was actually just a part of a larger segment dealing with supermarket tabloids.  The piece goes on to also show Dominick interviewing a woman who sex with aliens and a man who was saved from drowning by his Howdy Doody doll.  The segment also featured interviews with Dominick himself, as well as others from the Sun.

Here's the ENTIRE clip, including not just the toast segment, but the previously unseen by modern Youtubers sections on Howdy Doody and alien hooker:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy Full Pink Moon!

Today is April 25, 2013 so tonight, when the sun goes down, hopefully it'll be clear enough to see our beautiful full moon, which, by the time WE see it, will already be waning, as it peaks at 3:57pm EST.  The full moon falling in the month of April is known as the Full Pink Moon, according to the Farmer's Almanac.

The habit of "naming" each full moon of the year is a practice that originated with the Algonquin tribes throughout the northern and eastern United States as a way to keep track of the seasons.  This month's Full Pink Moon gets its name from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

Unfortunately, the "pink" is in name only and the moon will not actually appear pink, lol. Well...PROBABLY not, anyway since sometimes under certain conditions, pollution can cause the moon to take on an eerie salmon glow.

Wild Ground Phlox, Weston Nurseries
Also, unfortunately for us here in WV and the rest of North America, we're going to miss out on the partial lunar eclipse that will accompany our Full Pink Moon!  Don't fret...even to those who will get to see it in Asia, and parts of Africa and Europe are expected to be disappointing at the underwhelming performance as over the course of almost 2 hours the moon's northern hemisphere pushes ever-so-gradually into the Earth's partial shadow, called the penumbra. The outer two-thirds of this are too subtle to detect; but then perhaps by 3:30 p.m. EST you may realize you are beginning to detect the ever-so-slight gradient of a soft grey darkening around the top of the moon.

Moon Names

UPDATE:  According to the local news, in a complete twist the fate, the Pink Moon actually DID take on a pinkish glow for awhile!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Hami, or "Dangerous Thing"

I thought I'd do a special Weird Wednesday post for you, and post this fascinating photograph that I ran across on one of my favorite websites,!  While the article was hilarious, not much was mentioned about the origins of the photo and I knew I had to learn more.

This photo IS a real photograph taken in 1914.  It was taken by a man named Edward S. Curtis, who around 1895, discovered that he had a passion for both photography AND documenting the Native tribes around the Pacific Northwest states and into Canada.  These tribes were some of the last "untouched" indigenous people in an increasingly modern world bent on cultural assimilation of these peoples.  In order to preserve their heritage, Edward Curtis secured money from none other than JP Morgan, and set off on a 20 year quest that would leave the world with some amazing photos.

In this shot, a Koskimo Native is dressed as a Hami, which literally translates to "dangerous thing."  One can't help but notice the similarities between the furry ape-like creature's appearance and the infamous Sasquatch, so known for "haunting" that section of the world.  While I haven't yet discovered if there IS in fact any connection with this creature and Sasquatch, I did find out a little more about the tribe, and what the costume was used for.

The Koskimos (or Gusgimukw) are part of the larger Kwakwaka'wakw tribe who lived around British Columbia and Vancouver Island areas.  The Kwakwaka'wakw are sometimes identified erroneously as a whole by a different sub-set, known as the Kwakiutl.  In any event, the Koskimos actually settled around the area of Quatsino Bay, located on the northern part of Vancouver Island.

The Hami costume was just one of many costumes used by the tribe and was worn during the Nunhlim Dance.  The Nunhlim Dance depicted the young man of the house returning home, magically restored, after being abducted by some type of spirit.  This dance takes place on the last night of Tlu'wulahu, which is a four-day ceremony held prior to the Winter Dance.

In a serendipitous twist, a few days before I saw this photo, I learned of a very interesting book by David Paulides titled Missing 411-Western United States and Canada.  I have yet to read this book for myself, but apparently the theory behind so many missing persons cases of this area is that people are being abducted by Sasquatches!  The Sasquatches tend to return children most of the time, but according to the author, see older members of our species as food...perhaps this Hami creatures is a definite nod into the fact that it IS a dangerous thing that will eat you, but if you're lucky, as is the young man in the Nunhlim Dance, you might just be returned, magically restored.

Original Article--May contain offensive language and material

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nashville's St. Mary's Catholic Church

From the St. Mary's website
The Haunted America section of this blog is almost full and today's entry of the St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows Catholic Church brings us one step closer!

This church was built between 1844 and 1847 and today, stands as the state's oldest standing Catholic Church.  The original architect was Adolphus Heiman, a German immigrant, and construction was overseen by Bishop Richard Pius Miles.  Miles had been appointed as the first bishop of the new Diocese of Nashville in 1837.  Born in 1791, Miles died on February 21, 1860.  He was buried underneath St. Mary's.

In 1926, the church went through extensive renovations under the firm of Asmus and Clark which must have stirred things up, because shortly thereafter, a ghostly priest began appearing to staff and clergy.

Allegedly, the first sighting of this ghostly priest was in the 1930s by a housekeeper.  In 1937 Monsignor John Morgan experienced this ghost, but not in apparition form.  Instead, the ghost made its presence known by knocking loudly on the Monsignor's door, awakening him from a deep sleep.  After finding no one at the door, he eventually got back to sleep, only to be awakened again by knocking...this time coming directly from his bed's headboard!

There is some speculation as to who this ghost actually is.  Some believe that a priest died during the construction of the church, and that's who is haunting St. Mary's.  Others say that when the church was used as a hospital during the Civil War, 300 men lost their lives within its walls, including a Confederate Catholic chaplain who was shot.  Still others say its none other than Richard Pius Miles himself.

Miles does seem the most likely candidate.  Not only did he oversee the construction of the church and was most likely there during the Civil War, stories may have gotten mixed up.  However, the strongest "evidence" of the ghost identity is the fact that Miles is definitely buried at the church.

Again, there is some speculation involved.  Some sources say that the Bishop's remains were actually re-discovered during the 1926 renovations, which is why sightings began shortly after.  Others say that it wasn't until 1969 that the Bishop's remains were uncovered in the church basement.

Whichever scenario is correct, it does seem that something happened to stir up the presence of a ghostly priest during the Great Depression, and sightings continued all the way up until 1972.  It was that year that Bishop Richard Miles' remains were reinterred in a small chapel in the northwest corner of St. Mary's.

Church website
The Spirits of St. Mary's

Monday, April 15, 2013

Kentucky's Van Lear Coal Miner's Museum

Photo Courtesy of the Van Lear Historical Society
It all started when a teacher from Pike County Kentucky, John Caldwell Calhoun Mayo, purchased coal rights to several areas in Johnson County, including an area along Millers Creek.  He then sold these rights to Northern Coal and Coke, which would be absorbed by the Consolidated Coal Company.

When the Consolidated Coal Company decided to open several mines along Millers Creek, they needed a company headquarters...but first they needed a town!  The town of Van Lear was created in 1912 when a director for the coal company, Van Lear Black, gave the money to build 5 miles of railroad track into the new property.  The following year the office building for the Consolidated Coal Company was built.  Over the years, it would house the directors' offices, the post office, the company store, the company doctor's office, and many other town offices and small businesses.  For years, it was the official hub of the town.

But, like many coal towns, Van Lear was soon in decline.  Consolidated Coal operated the mine at Van Lear between 1910 and 1946 before absolving those assets, and giving the option for the residents to buy their own residences.  Unfortunately, many of the other buildings in the town were torn down.  Still, the old office building withstood the progress of time.  In 1984, Citizens National Bank gave it to the Van Lear Historical Society, who turned around and transformed the structure into the Van Lear Coal Miner's Museum, showcasing the town's history with a variety of displays.

As the long standing hub of life for the tiny community of Van Lear, it only makes sense that the 100 year old building has also become a hub for paranormal activity.  According to the official website, common activity involves apparitions, shadow people, unexplained noises including footsteps and the sounds of talking, and even direct communication.

People have felt as if unseen children are sitting on their laps and Tina Webb, museum volunteer, has felt what is perceived as a hand that grabs people by the arm.  She has also seen a gentleman in the kitchen wearing a ball cap.  There's even a story that a 2 year old little girl wandered off one day.  She was found in the library talking to someone that no one else could see.

These events prompted Webb to call in investigator Joe Clark, who claims to have a photo of a man's face and agrees that this location is one of the most haunted he's ever investigated.  There is also another incident where a paranormal investigator was told by a phantom female voice to be careful while climbing a ladder!

The museum does hold haunted tours during certain times of the year, and there is information on the website for how you can set up your own investigation for a nominal fee.  Please see the links below for more information!

Official Website
Mystery Monday Interview with Tina Webb and Joe Clark

Fun Fact:  The museum's gift shop is named Icky's in honor of Richard "Icky" Wetzel who ran a restaurant/shop in the basement from the late 1940s up through the 1960s.  Apparently the name "Icky" was a moniker bestowed to Richard by his siblings after hearing a reading of the famous Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  The tale was said to have scared Richard literally to tears, and thus, he was dubbed "Icky" after Ichabod Crane and the name stuck his entire life.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Headless Horseman In Winfield

 I've completed the full blog post for this location. Check it out at:
Hey everyone!  Just wanted to drop a quick note to those looking for information on the Bowyer House in Winfield, WV, featured this evening on Haunted Collector.  I've noticed from my stats that similar searches have pointed many in the direction of my humble blog.

Just so you know...I am working on a VERY large blog about this location, as we speak, lol.

I missed the episode tonight, and didn't even know until a little while ago that John Zaffis and crew were literally in my backyard...seriously, I live on the original Bowyer property, lol.

Fortunately, while I've lived here in Winfield for nearly 20 years and never once heard about this house being haunted, I have been quite interested in it from an historical standpoint, and have compiled some history on the family and the Shady Dell home.  Right now, I'm waiting until I can catch the show or get some more information on the alleged hauntings to complete the blog.

I will update on my FaceBook and Twitter pages when the entry is complete.  Thanks for your patience, and please feel free to check out some of my other great featured locations throughout West Virginia and beyond!


Above photo from Reel-Scout

Monday, April 1, 2013

Give Them a LIKE!

FaceBook is the KING of social media and nearly every paranormal group/business/website also maintains a page in order to inform and interact with their fans.  Therefore, I thought I'd compile a list of some of my favorite, and most updated, paranormally-related FB fan pages.  I've refrained from listing actual investigation groups (other than my OWN) at this time....those will be for another blog.  Check these sites out, and give 'em a LIKE to stay informed on tri-state area haunts!


*Top 11 Tri-State Area Paranormal Fan Pages*

Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State:  *Self-promotion alert*  This is my personal FB fan page for this site.  All new entries to the blog will be updated there, but I also try to post a ton of interesting extras, as well.  Keep updated on paranormal shows, paranormal events in and around the tri-state, paranormal news, quotes, links, fun facts, photos, recommendations, and of course, info on Huntington Paranormal and Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours.

Huntington Paranormal Investigations and Research:  Keep up-to-date and informed with HPIR events and investigations!  You can also interact with the team and share your opinions and recommendations for US!

Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours:  This is the official fan page of the popular ghost tours ran by HPIR!  Give us a LIKE and keep tabs on upcoming tours and information.

West Virginia Urban Legends: Awesome information on Mothman, UFOs, and other urban legends that permeate the Mountain State.

West Virginia's Spectral Heritage:  The official FB page of the Spectral Heritage site, and information on storyteller Jason Burns.  Lots of information on WV folklore/ghostlore.

Haunted West Virginia: This site shares the YouTube episodes of Paranormal Quest, featuring investigations of WV's most haunted locations.

Haunted Emmitt House:  Information and history on Waverly, Ohio's haunted hotel!

Vintage Huntington: Shares historic photos from Huntington's past.  GREAT research resource!

West Virginia's Most Haunted Places:  Another compilation of haunted locations throughout West Virginia!

Hidden Marietta: TONS of photos and history on the very haunted and historic town of Marietta, OH.  There is also a haunted tour held in the fall so look for updates on that as well.

Whipple Company Store: Not only does this site share information on the very haunted and historic former coal company store in Fayette County, WV, but it also shares information on the history of coal mining in general, making it another great research tool.