Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween From Theresa's Haunted History!

I want to wish everyone out there a very Happy Halloween! And what image do you automatically think of for Halloween? I don't know about you, but for me, naked devil babies and cherubs dancing together in harmony around a lit candle is the first thing that comes to mind....

Seriously though, I hope you've enjoyed the spooky season so far. Tonight, as the veil between the worlds is said to be at its thinnest, take a moment to honor those who walk on the other side. Close your eyes and listen for what lies beneath the everyday noise and chaos. Keep an open mind and you might just catch a glimpse of....something.

If you'll be trick-or-treating or enjoying any other holiday related activities this evening, please keep safe and warm out there. And if you're like me and not ready for Halloween to be over, you can always check out my other blog, Theresa's Halloween Wonderland! It's a place for me to basically post Halloween stuff all year round so that I don't get too depressed come November 1st. Stay spooky everyone, and Happy Haunting! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Theresa Travels to Lewisburg, WV

Angel of Death?
When Aaron asked me if I wanted to come with him to Lewisburg  over Labor Day weekend to pick up some computer/vintage gaming stuff he had bought, of course I said YES! I love Lewisburg. Named the Coolest Small Town in America in 2011, Lewisburg is one of West Virginia's most historic (and HAUNTED!) places. We packed Luke up, made the 2 hour drive, and made a day of it.

After picking up Aaron's purchase, we started our tour of the town. We began with a trip to the Old Stone Church Cemetery. The entire cemetery is so full of history and stories, and its a beautiful memorial to the citizens of Lewisburg who have long been gone. However, we were there to see one stone in particular---that of the Lewisburg Angel of Death.

As the story goes, shortly after young Maud Matthews passed away, a beautiful stone angel statue was erected over her grave. Two of Maud's young female relations kissed the angel's cheeks in memory of their fallen friend...and then quickly died themselves afterward. Legend states that the statue is cursed and that anyone foolish enough to kiss the cheek of the angel will meet a similar fate as the two girls and will be dead within a year.

I'm a little superstitious, so I decided not to test fate. Others had, though! Upon closer look at the statue, both cheeks are very smooth and worn down. There also appeared to be a little hint of lipstick still visible!

After visiting the Old Stone Church Cemetery, we took the short drive up the hill to visit the Confederate Cemetery. This is another beautiful location, and a very unique one. Confederate dead from the Battle of Lewisburg and Droop Mountain are interred here in a mass earthen grave in the shape of a giant cross. We were sad to see that a historical sign had been defaced, but the site was otherwise pretty well taken care of. I was surprised at how interested my then 7-year-old son was in this location. He even requested that my boyfriend film him giving a small historical talk for his YouTube channel.
Confederate Cemetery
To round out our trip, we also made a quick stop at the haunted General Lewis Inn. We were hoping to grab some lunch there, but we were too late for lunch and too early for the dinner service, so we had to settle for some outside photos. After that, we decided to drive down to the Greenbrier to take a look around....but we got a little distracted by a side trip! We made an unplanned stop in at Organ Cave and took their awesome Civil War tour. I did ask our tour guide if there were any hauntings associated with the cave, especially given its use during the war, but he denied it. The family that owns the cave is extremely religious, so I'm not sure they would have admitted to any paranormal activity even if there had been reports. Still, we had a great time and learned a lot. We eventually did make it to the Greenbrier, but unfortunately we ran into ANOTHER food situation. We were going to eat at the Greenbrier, but the only restaurants that were open at that time had a dress code----and after that extensive cave tour, I had mud and dirt smeared down my side and nothing to change into. Luke and Aaron weren't much cleaner...so we had to settle for a few outside photographs and dinner at Applebee's.

Summer 2009
By this point, we were all pretty tired, but we needed to make one more stop. Since we were in the area, we HAD to pay our respects to West Virginia's most famous ghost girl, Zona Hester Shue, otherwise known as the Greenbrier Ghost.

Summer 2017
Zona is buried in the Soule Baptist Church Cemetery in the nearby town of Sam Black Church. This was the first time I had been to visit Zona since I was pregnant with Luke. He and I 'recreated' the photo I had taken eight years earlier when I stood behind Zona's grave to conceal my very large pregnant belly! It was a really cool experience to share with my son, and I'm glad Aaron got to be there as well. I've never really written much about Zona on here since her story has been covered so extensively elsewhere, but she's always held a special place in my heart. Seeing her final resting place being well cared for and still receiving visitors was a great end to a great day.

*If you'd like to see more photos from our Lewisburg trip, please join me over at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page and look for the Lewisburg album under Photos. And if you'd like to hear more of Theresa's adventures, subscribe to the blog! Thanks!*

Sunday, October 29, 2017

1877 Murder at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Luke at the hospital fountain during that spring tour
Since the current owners took over what is now referred to as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in 2007 and opened the building up to the public, I have been lucky enough to participate in several historic tours, and even two overnight investigations. The old building, which I still often refer to as the Weston State Hospital, has always fascinated me and drawn me in. Maybe its because I had an aunt who worked there. Maybe its because I had a great-aunt who was a patient there. Maybe its because I've dealt with my own mental health issues that I just simply relate---I often think about how if I were born 100 years...even 50 years...before I was, there would have been a good chance I would have ended up as a patient.

Whatever the reason for my fascination, I've always been really driven to find out as much as possible about the hospital, especially its patients. The spring before last, my boyfriend and I took my son up to the French Creek Wildlife Center. And since we were in the area, afterwards we decided to stop in at the old hospital and catch the last historic tour of the evening.

Our guide, dressed as an orderly, was a younger guy, but he was extremely knowledgeable and well-spoken. One of the stories he told us was of a murder that took place in the older section of the hospital, an area most people know as the Civil War section. He didn't give too many details that I can remember, but did relate the tale about how a patient calmly beat another patient to death with a piece of his own bed. (There's another similar murder that occurred years later, that I'll be discussing in another blog.)

I took note of the story because it was pretty interesting, but honestly, since there wasn't necessarily any 'ghostly activity' that was associated with the incident and this being the first and only time I'd hear this tale from a guide, I just kind of filed it away in the back of my mind. It wasn't a top research priority for me. Besides, I didn't have a whole lot of details to help me search.

But, research is totally an on-going project for me. As I discover new resources and become more adept at searching, I'm constantly finding new information. A few weeks ago, I tried out a free week-long subscription to an online newspaper archive service. As I was playing around with the program, learning how it works, I did a simple search for 'Weston Hospital.' Tons of articles came up from different newspapers, and I came across some pretty crazy stories. The story, however, that really caught my eye, was about a murder that took place at the hospital in 1877.

The article, which I've transcribed below, comes from the Saturday, February 24th, 1877 edition of the Weston Democrat. The article begins with a statement given by a local citizen about a recent death at the asylum and the writer is not very forgiving of the staff for allowing this murder to happen. They even go as far as to request that the Legislature form a committee to look into the incident and management of the hospital.  That paragraph is followed up by a retort claiming that no one is to blame for the death and it was unavoidable under the circumstances.

The names of the patient killed and the patient who did the killing were omitted, but their initials were given. Based on just that, I've been searching in vain trying to find out the name of at least the man killed. Currently, no such record is available online at the WV Death Index, and I haven't had much luck using other resources, either. I've searched through the Find-a-Grave index for the hospital cemetery in hopes that maybe he was buried there and there is record of it. I've even scoured the 1870 hospital census records, thinking that maybe the patient had been there long-term, but didn't really find a sure candidate. What complicates matters even further is that the deceased patient is at first referred to in the article as G.T., but then later as S.

I haven't given up hope yet, and I may end up actually taking a trip to the Lewis County Courthouse to take a look at their death index for 1877 to see if that can shed some light on the mystery. If I find out anything, I will be sure to update...but if YOU have any information that can put me on the right track, I'd love to hear from you!

Weston, Feb. 15
Editors Intelligencer:

Some days ago (according to the Clarksburg Telegram) a patient confined in the Asylum at this place was brutally murdered by another inmate. The attendants, watchful guardians, knew nothing of the matter until the head of the poor victim was beaten to a jelly. No inquest was held; and I presume the poor creature will be reported as "died," in the next annual report. This sort of thing may be all right, but a number of people here do not think so, and would thank the Legislature for a good committee to investigate the management of the Asylum.

The writer of the above evidently intended to create the impression that Dr. Camden had endeavored to conceal the unfortunate occurrence referred to, and the spirit of the writer is in full keeping with the malignant spirit manifested in several other letters from this place in the last few months in reference to the Asylum. Here are the full particulars:

On the 31st of January, 1877, soon after the attendants having charge of ward number eight in the Hospital, unlocked their sleeping rooms, and before the patient mentioned in the above paragraph had fully dressed himself, another patient, who had been more expeditious in putting on his clothes, slipped in upon him before he had left his room and struck him several blows with a bed-slat, from which he died. These patients occupied rooms in different parts of the ward; and, as set forth in the accompanying certificate, the one that inflicted the injury had not previously manifested homicidal proclivities. The attendants discovered the dead shortly after it was committed, and at once reported the fact to the physicians, but the patient was in a dying condition when the Doctor reached him.  The Superintendent then made known the facts to the proper authorities; but owing to the circumstance, a formal inquest was not thought to be necessary. But at the Doctor's solicitation, the Prosecuting Attorney and several physicians examined the remains and questioned all who knew anything relative to the case. The patient that perpetrated the act acknowledged that he did it; and in a very succinct manner entered into a full revelation. He said he did it by the command of God, who had Himself been trying to kill him, but not succeeding fast enough, had employed him to do it. He also said that if he had not killed him, deceased would have murdered him; all of which, of course, was the offspring of his disordered brain.  His victim was an epileptic in the lowest stages of insanity. He did not have mind enough to make any defense, nor to call for assistance, which he would have received had he done so, as there were others in the hall who would have noticed any unusual noise or commotion.

The following certificate was given on the same day that the accident occurred:
W.Va. Hospital for the Insane
January 31st, 1877

"We the undersigned, at the request of Dr. T.B. Camden, Supt., viewed the dead body of G.T. and find that he came to his death by the hands of J.M., an insane patient, by blows inflicted by him with a bed-slat, upon the head of said S., fracturing the bones of the skull. And  that the act was unavoidably committed by the said M. on a sudden impulse, and as far as we can learn, he has not heretofore evinced any homicidal tendency; and as far as we are able to ascertain no blame can be attached to any one. Given under our hands
Andrew Edmiston
Prosecuting Attorney for Lewis County
G.B. Simpson, M.D.
A.M. Dent, M.D.
C.M. Jackson, M.D.

We have omitted the full names of the two patients referred to in the certificate, and have used merely the initials for the sole reason of saving the feelings of their friends.

It will be readily seen by these facts that there was no disposition to conceal anything connected with the much to be regretted catastrophe.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Ghost Butts

I'm sure you could write a really thought-provoking and inspiring blog post about the theory behind the concept illustrated in this cartoon. Or...you could save the academia for another post and just appreciate how stinkin' cute these little ghost butts are!

Happy Friday Funny Everyone! We're almost to Halloween!

Friday, October 20, 2017

It was...Awiens

Awww....this isn't a Friday Night Funny; its a Friday Night 'omg that is too adorable for words.'  Hehehe, there are several different versions of this meme floating around the web, and aside from being adorable, it IS funny. Anyone who has ever watched the show Ancient Aliens, or anyone who has ever had an inkling of interest in UFOlogy for that matter, knows the man who made this all possible: Giorgio Tsoukalos. Giorgio's penchant for conveniently using the excuse of 'aliens' to explain unsolved mysteries, and his wild mane that seems to get higher ever season has made him quite the internet sensation, both in and out of the paranormal field. I've included a comparison shot just in case you aren't familiar with him, lol. Stay spooky...and silly! Also, if you're itching for more cute kitty paranormal memes, check out my blog, Ghost Story

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Review for The Black Eyed Children

Title: The Black Eyed Children
Author: David Weatherly
Published by Leprechaun Press 2011/2012
Amazon Purchase Info
Leprechaun Press Purchase Info (MUCH cheaper than Amazon!)

Every year, I try to take advantage of all the wonderful paranormal authors who visit and sell their work at the Mothman Festival. It's a great way to build up my paranormal library with titles I might not normally come across in local bookstores, and its always fun to actually get to MEET the author. This year, the book I chose was David Weatherly's The Black Eyed Children.

Waaaay back I had done a short little blog post on the phenomenon of the Black Eyed Kids (BEKs), which honestly, was pretty skeptical in nature. However, since my original writing, the interest in the BEKs had surged, and with it came a surge of sightings. That surge seemed to have died down a bit, and while you can still occasionally find mention of the phenomenon online, there just isn't a whole lot of actual information available. 

So, when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I'm glad I did. Like I said, thoughtful and/or insightful information or commentary is really hard to find. This book provides an excellent solution---it is a scholarly look at the various reports, theories, and even skeptical analysis of what this whole thing means. There is absolutely no stone left un-turned here. The author clearly lays out the similarities between most BEK sightings, shares stories of variant tales, and presents an absolutely exhaustive list of all the explanations for what these things could be.

I highly encourage anyone who works in or has an interest in the paranormal field to add this book to his/her own library. It's a well written work with only minor editing errors, and honestly, you're not going to find anything else like it. If you want to know more about what the Black Eyed Children/Kids are, then you NEED to own this book!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ohio's Ghostly Grub

Ohio has a TON of haunted restaurants! Below I've curated a short list of spooky places to eat throughout the Buckeye State. Any of these would be a great place to have a nice Halloween-season meal this month...or to just enjoy year-round. I know that whenever we go out of town, I'm frantically searching for local restaurants with a haunted reputation! If you've been to any of these places, or if you have a favorite haunted restaurant in Ohio, comment down below or hit me up on Theresa's Haunted History Facebook

Drawing by Suck2Day

1. The Galley Restaurant: Marietta---The building in which the Galley restaurant and Hackett Hotel now resides was built in the late 1800s. Many believe it is haunted by a 'working girl' by the name of Charlotte who tends to interact mostly with men. Charlotte has been known to throw glasses and chairs around the room and exude a general feeling of unease. Hackett Hotel and Galley Restaurant Website

2. Crosskeys Tavern: Chillicothe---Crosskeys has been open since the early 1970s, but there has been some sort of tavern or food establishment on the premises for many years prior to that. Somewhere in the history, a ghost dubbed 'Harold' decided to join the permanent staff. Harold behaves much like Charlotte, breaking glasses and moving items around. Unlike Charlotte, however, Harold's poltergeist behavior does not discriminate based on gender. Crosskeys Tavern Facebook 

3. The Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus: Columbus---This beautiful restaurant is my favorite place to eat while in Columbus; they make a darn fine burger! It doesn't hurt that the historic building is also believed to be haunted by a man who was shot and killed in the doorway. His name was Colonel Randolph Pritchard and it is claimed that he and his unknown murderer are seen and heard in the area. The Elevator Website

4. The Amber Rose: Dayton---Located just a short drive from the Air Force Museum, this restaurant is a must-see if you're in the Dayton area. The food is excellent and you might even catch a glimpse of the resident ghost. Staff report seeing a young woman with long dark hair, sometimes peering out the upper floor windows. The ghost MAY be a woman named Chickee who was one of the daughters of the family who originally owned the building and ran a grocery/deli there. During the Halloween season, the restaurant will hold special ghost events to share the history and the haunts. Amber Rose Website

Do you know of any other haunted restaurants in Ohio that you'd like to see added to the list?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Fright Bite: WV's Haunted House Photos

Good Sunday evening! Last night was another long night of Halloween fun (we went to a Halloween-themed wrestling show and met Papa Shango!). So, needless to say, I was too tired to post a longer blog for today. Instead, I thought I would share some spooky vintage photographs from right here in West Virginia. I found both of these photos several years ago on the awesome website, WV History on View. This site is filled with a searchable database of vintage West Virginia photos. I did a search for 'haunted' and found these two images. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did...and if you have ANY information on them, especially whether or not they are standing, please let me know. 

Stay spooky!

This photo came from the WV History on View website with the description:  The "haunted house" along Highway 5 west of Glenville, referred to by Virgil and Ernest Danley in their ghost stories. By Thomas Brown (1975). Anyone know if this house is still standing or what the story behind it is? I did find that Virgil and Ernest Danley are folk musician brothers. 

Here's another awesome photo from the WV History on View website. The only description for it is: Haunted House near Aurora, Preston County, W. Va. (1889).

Saturday, October 14, 2017

TNT Area Graves

If you're familiar with the Mothman legend of Point Pleasant, WV, then chances are you at least have some knowledge of his connection to the area commonly referred to as the TNT area. The TNT area, which is now mostly a maze of concrete igloos set within the McClintic Wildlife Area, began life in 1942 as the WV Ordnance Works at Pt. Pleasant. Until 1945, this sprawling complex employed thousands of people in the manufacture of TNT.

Construction began in March of 1942, several miles north of the city of Pt. Pleasant. Most of the land used for the plant consisted of land sold to the government by local farmers. By May of that year, that would pose a slight problem...

During the early 1800s, it was common for settlers in the area to bury their dead on their property in small family cemeteries. There were about seven of these small family burial plots that stood in way of various plant construction projects. Local papers ran announcements asking for any relatives of those buried within these small family cemeteries to contact a local office.

This is an on-going research project for me, but I wanted to go ahead and share one of those newspaper announcements that appeared in the Jackson Herald on Friday May 15, 1942. This is a very interesting topic for me because for some reason, it just never occurred to me that cemeteries would have to have been moved/disturbed during construction. It makes perfect sense, though. This type of thing happened ALL the time with new construction, especially for a project as large as the Ordnance Works! It makes me wonder, though. Many of the burials were unmarked. Many of the descendants of those buried had since long moved on and could not be located. Could this disruption of their original burial site upset the souls of Pt. Pleasant's earliest citizens? Could it account for some of the non-related Mothman 'ghost' stories, such as MY EXPERIENCE several years ago? Was Mothman, although he wasn't sighted until over 20 years after the plant closed its doors be somehow connected to those disturbed souls, watching over them? The concept of graveyard guardians, which stems largely from England, is a traditional belief that many of the early settlers may have carried over with them, and weirdly enough, Mothman could have fit the bill. Or was he maybe a thought-form manifestation of the pain, anger, and all the other emotions associated with having one's eternal slumber disrupted? I'm probably REALLY reaching here, but its kind of fun to think about!

*I'd love to hear from anyone who has had a spooky experience out in the TNT area, or anyone who has any knowledge about the re-burial process for the 200 souls who were moved. You can comment down below, or find me over at Theresa's Haunted History's Facebook. Thanks!*

(Jackson Herald, Friday, 15 May 1942)
"An estimated 200 hundred graves, many of them covered with tall grasses, and forgotten, will be moved at government expense to make way for the $55,000,000 TNT plant being constructed north of Point Pleasant. The graves lie in seven old cemeteries scattered over the 8,000 acre tract for the plant which will be known as the West Virginia Ordnance works, situated in the Robinson district. All will be moved to a single new burial ground on Lock Lane road, off West Virginia State Route 62.

The site includes the old BENNETT-KNOB cemetery, which is of historical interest by reason of the interment of Dr. Jesse BENNETT, a pioneer surgeon credited with performing the first cesarean operation in America.

The cemeteries include:

Eva RICE cemetery: A burial ground near the Oldtown-Dixie road. It holds three unmarked graves, and there may be others, as there is no known record of when it was established or when the last interment occurred.

The STEWART cemetery: Established about 1800, it contains approximately 75 graves of which only 17 have headstones. This cemetery is located on Musgrave road.

The SOMERVILLE cemetery: Located on the Oldtown road, on the Effie SOMERVILLE farm. Established in 1874, it holds 15 graves, 11 of them marked. The last interment occurred in 1913.

The VANMETER cemetery: Also situated on the Dixie road. Established in 1850, it is estimated to hold 20 graves, of which only seven have headstones.

The Cherry cemetery: Oldtown-Dixie road on the C. B. Thompson farm. This, apparently a family cemetery, was established in 1873 and contains only two graves, only one of them marked.

The Nanny B. HOGG cemetery: Oldtown-Dixie and Musgrave roads. Established in 1837, it holds approximately 75 graves. Among the headstones, six are very old but in unusually good condition and probably will be moved to the new burial ground.

The HAWKINS cemetery: On Morning Star road, on the E. J. and C. G. Somerville farm. Established about 1878, it contains 12 graves, 8 of which are marked, the last burial occurred in 1901.

Besides these, there are several cemeteries on the TNT plant site, but will not be in the way of buildings and will not be moved. All these will be fenced. The land acquisition section of the War department, which has charge of moving the graves, has requested that descendants or relatives of those buried in the seven cemeteries get in touch with the office."

Friday, October 13, 2017

Happy Friday the 13th from Miss Rose Cade!

Happy Friday the 13th ya'll! Today is the second and last Friday the 13th we'll see in 2017, so let's make it a good one. Today is usually a day filled with superstition and bad luck, but it can also be a day of fun and silliness. So, as today's Friday Night Funny Post, I wanted to share with you this rather absurd photograph of a woman in a lemon suit, standing under a calendar marked Friday the 13th!

Being so close to Halloween, I guess one could imagine that a giant lemon costume might make for some interesting party or trick-or-treat attire...but this weird get-up is no Halloween costume.  This is Miss Rose Cade, Queen of the Lemons, 1920. I assume this was some type of pageant, because in the Library of Congress description for this photo, it makes note that Miss Cade was also nominated as Southern California's 'Swat the Jinx' Girl. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fairview Grade School

Tomorrow (October 13th, 2017) is a rather special day for Halloween enthusiasts! Not only is it Friday the 13th...but it is also National Haunted House Day! National Haunted House Day falls on the second Friday in October and is held to celebrate the artistry and hard work associated with the Haunted House attraction industry. Each year, all over the country, dedicated volunteers and employees work to transform their spaces from the mundane to the macabre. I'm a huge fan of these attractions and being a paranormal investigator in addition to a Halloween enthusiast, I've noticed something over the years---a HUGE number of these 'fake' haunted houses can actually be found within buildings and locations with a REAL haunted history!

One example of such is the Scareview Grave School, located on High Street in St. Albans, WV. 


The Scareview Grave School began life as the Fairview Grade School. When the original 1877 school (located near where the West Side Volunteer Fire Department is now located) had outlived its usefulness, a new brick school was built in the Virginia Heights area. Construction began in 1926 and the school was opened to students around 1927. Fairview continued educating the youth of St. Albans West until the mid 1990s.

After that, the school largely sat unused. The West Side Volunteer Fire department would use it for training, but it would be several years until that same fire department would breathe new life into the aging building---by turning it into the Scareview Grave School! Scareview is one of the premier haunted house attractions in this area, and is my absolute favorite! The price is extremely reasonable, and you're going to see and experience things that are just as, if not more, scary than you'd see in the big dollar haunts. The staff is entirely volunteer and you can tell everyone there loves doing what they do. Oh, and the profits go to help benefit the fire department and local food banks, so its a total win. If you'd like to know more about the haunted house itself, you can check out my REVIEW and/or the official Facebook page for Scareview Grave School.

But, like I said earlier, this particular haunted house is especially awesome because it may actually be haunted! Over the years, several psychics and paranormal investigation teams have scoured the halls of the former elementary school in search of things that go bump in the night. Unexplained noises and sightings of actual apparitions are among the reported activity. According to a Topix post on the old school, it is claimed that a little boy who died by falling down the basement stairs is the main ghost on site, but there may also be the spirit of a little girl.

If you haven't made the trip to see Scareview yet, I REALLY recommend it! It's an excellent haunted house, made even spookier by the fact that there may be more than just volunteers and props ready to jump out at you as you travel the multiple floors!

*If you have any additional information on the history or the hauntings at this location, please let me know below, or head over to Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State Facebook page! I'd love to know more about the real ghosts of the Scareview Grave School!*

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Haunted Las Vegas Academy

Las Vegas Academy, located at South Seventh Street in Las Vegas, is a premier performing and visual arts school, graduating students since the early 1990s. However, before the art deco building was used as the academy, it was built as the first Las Vegas High School.

Back in 1930, workers building the nearby Hoover Dam (then called the Boulder Dam) largely lived in the Boulder City area. However, many found the rules and regulations of the city too restrictive, and families began settling in the Las Vegas area. This influx of residents resulted in the need for a local high school. Construction began that year and by the 1931 the school opened as Las Vegas High School.

The main building of the high school was built on land deeded to the city by the Union Pacific Railroad, but in the 1950s, a separate performing arts center was added. It would be this building that would gain a reputation for being haunted, long before Las Vegas High graduated its last student and was taken over by Las Vegas Academy.

Students and staff have affectionately named the ghost that haunts the performing arts center (PAC) "Mr. Petrie." Mr. Petrie has been seen in the PAC as an older man wearing a suit and tie. He is blamed for such things as flickering lights, icy cold drafts, misplaced items, and slamming doors that interrupt performances. It is even rumored that there is a picture of Mr. Petrie in the school's 1968 yearbook!

But who WAS Mr. Petrie? No one can quite agree on who Mr. Petrie was and how he came to haunt the school's PAC. Some believe he was a former teacher. One lady in particular who had witnessed the apparition while a student strongly believes this to be the case. As she and her friends were talking and laughing loudly, they were approached by the apparition of the older man in a suit and tie who looked at them sternly, and even put his finger to his lips as if to shush them.

Others believe Mr. Petrie was an elderly man who died in a house fire on or around the property where the school was built. Believers do like to point out that there WAS a man with a similar name associated with the property. In 1933 a Frank Partie and his wife, Sylvia sold a plot of land to E.A. Clark. This land would later be the land that the PAC was built upon.

Frank died in 1964 at the age of 77, but I cannot confirm nor deny that it was due to a house fire---but instinct tells me it wasn't. For years, he was the city electrician for Las Vegas, and you can find several newspaper articles mentioning his work in this capacity, especially during the Christmas season when he supervised the stringing of the city's Christmas lights. He is buried at Palm Desert Memorial in Las Vegas.

Whether or not Frank is the "Mr. Petrie" who haunts the Las Vegas Academy is unknown, but to scores of students and staff, SOMEONE OR SOMETHING otherworldly is keeping an eye on the old school!

Haunted Las Vegas: Famous Phantoms, Creepy Casinos, and Gambling Ghosts by Paul W. Papa
The Haunting of Las Vegas by Janice Oberding

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Top 10 Tuesday: Ghost Walks

Its that time of year again---Ghost Tour Season! 

Each year, Huntington Paranormal Investigations and Research hosts special walking tours of the downtown Guyandotte, featuring the neighborhood's haunted history. This year, you can join us on Saturday, October 28th for our Cemetery, River and Rail Trail and learn all about some of the town's most famous ghost stories and historic tragedies. And, if you're brave enough to come back, you can join us during the annual Guyandotte Civil War Days on Saturday, November 4th for our Ghostly Encounters of 1861 tour. This tour will feature an extensive walk-through of the town, pointing out all the hauntings and history associated with the 1861 skirmish that occurred here. As always, tours are FREE and open to the public, but this year we will be accepting pre-order online ticket "sales" through EventBrite. Please see below for details!

Cemetery, River and Rail Trail Tours (October 28th)
Ghostly Encounters of 1861 (November 4th)
Facebook page for HPIR's Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours

Obviously, I'm a little biased when it comes to ghost tours, lol. Even if I wasn't a tour guide for Haunted and Historic Guyandotte Tours, I'd still highly recommend taking one of these tours. The cost is FREE, yet the research and stories you're presented with are comparable to way more expensive tours around the country. We strive to make sure we share the folklore---but balance it out with plenty of historic fact, often presented by costumed interpreters. You're not going to get a bunch of made-up stories and evidence, but you MAY get a little spooked! Each year, we have visitors to the tours report personal experiences and strange photographs they've captured while joining us. It's a really fun experience and I sincerely hope you'll be able to attend, but if not, I've got a few more suggestions for ya close to the tri-state area!

Fall, especially October, is prime ghost walk season. It gives cities and towns an opportunity to showcase their history...and their haunts! This list of nine additional ghost tours are walking tours only---tours where you are led around town by a guide and that feature many locations, not just a single building. Of course there are plenty of historic homes and other buildings also featuring special tours this time of year, but I thought for this post I'd just focus on walking tours covering a broader area. And while most of the tours listed below are seasonal, some actually operate year-round! So let's get started, shall we?

1. Ghosts, Lofts, and History Tour of Downtown Ashland, KY. (October 14th)  If you're looking for something fun to do in the Ashland, KY area this weekend, check out this tour! It's being hosted by the Ashland Society for Paranormal Study and costs $20.

2. Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours with Susan Sheppard. Renowned author, Susan Sheppard, offers these wonderful tours of Parkersburg, WV's haunted history throughout the fall season, and during other times of the year by request. I've been a few times and have always learned something new about such places as the Blennerhassett Hotel and the Riverview Cemetery. Adult tickets costs $12 which is a great value since this season seems pretty darn active! If you follow Susan on Facebook, there's been some really crazy experiences and photos emerging from the tours this year!

3. Haunted History and Legends Tour of Martinsburg, WV. These tours are being offered every Saturday night through October. You'll be taken into both a haunted cemetery AND a haunted house as you're told spooky tales about this historic WV town. There's also an historic Old Town Ghost Walk coming up on Friday, October 13th. At $12 a person, this tour will especially appeal to Civil War history buffs!

Susan Sheppard, Haunted Parkersburg
4. Shepherdstown Ghost Tours, WV. Another tour featuring another one of West Virginia's historic Panhandle towns. These tours are offered at various times throughout the month and beyond, and cost $15. See their Facebook page (linked above) for more information.

5. Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry, WV.  These ghost tours claim to be the oldest of their kind in the country, and are based off the original ghost walks by Shirley Dougherty. I HIGHLY recommend taking these tours if you're in the area. Harpers Ferry is one of West Virginia's most haunted (and historic!) towns and the ghost stories associated with it are fascinating. This tour company operates year-round, but is its busiest during the Halloween season.

6. Charles Town Ghost Tours, WV. Are you sensing a pattern here? West Virginia's eastern panhandle is extremely haunted...and its citizens know how to capitalize off that reputation, lol! This tour company offers two different tours March through December and the cost is $12 for adults.

7. Woodland Cemetery Ghost Walk (Ironton, Ohio). Each year, the Lawrence County Ohio Museum and Historical Society, along with scores of volunteers, put on an excellent event at the huge historic (and haunted!) Woodland Cemetery. The self-guided walk through the cemetery is FREE and focuses on the history of the city and the lives of its most prominent citizens buried within the cemetery walls. The ghost stories surrounding the haunted graves are definitely a part of the walk, but the main focus is history. Unfortunately, the walk is only held one day a year, usually in late September...so this year has already gone by.

8. Hidden Marietta Ohio. Located across the river from Parkersburg, Marietta is quite the historic and haunted little city, and Hidden Marietta offers a variety of year-round tours showcasing the history, the haunts, and sometimes, just the plain strange. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page to see what events are available and when.

9. Bardstown (KY) Ghost Trek. Ghost hunter Patti Starr offers these tours June through October. Featuring such places as the historic Old Talbott Inn, the tours have been around for 20 years. Visitors are encouraged to bring their ghost hunting equipment in order to help collect evidence of the town's many hauntings.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday Meme: Equipment--How Much is Too Much?

This is another one of those, "It's funny because it's true" memes, lol. I seriously think that some of these tech guys I've met over the years have little to no actual interest in the paranormal, but rather are thrilled with a field that incorporates the potential for so many unique gadgets. I can't make fun, though. I legit have four different voice recorders that I bring along on investigations.

It's a real struggle, though. One part of me wants to be completely and utterly prepared for anything. Too much data is way better than not enough, and you never know what is going to happen while you're out on an investigation. The other part of me tries to be more realistic. I'm at a point physically where I just can't carry a whole lot on me anymore...and honestly, I don't end up using half of it when I do. I feel like I spend more time trying to keep track of equipment than really observing and experiencing the location. Still...all those gadgets ARE just so much fun!

What do YOU think? How much equipment do you bring on an investigation? Join me over at Facebook and share your thoughts!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Suspicious Deaths at the Weston State Hospital (1992)

September of 1992 was a bad year for the Weston State Hospital, known today as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Overcrowding, poor conditions, and staff issues had led to a call for the hospital to be closed by 1996, and construction on a new state hospital nearby was already in the works. These problems were intensified when two suspicious deaths happened within a month of each other.

The following article is from the 29 September 1992 issue of the Charleston Gazette newspaper:

By Dawn Miller
Staff Writer

A patient at Weston State Hospital died Sunday night after a fight with another patient who was charged with murder five years ago, according to state police in Lewis County.

This was the second death at the mental hospital within a month.

George Edward Bodie, 46, of Parkersburg received several injuries during a late-night fight and died, apparently as a result of those injuries, said Sgt. B.B. Flanagan of the Weston detachment of the state police.  There were no weapons involved in the fight, he said.

According to police, David Michael Mason, 29, of Moundsville, also a patient at the mental hospital, tried to choke Bodie with his hands during a fight at about 11:30 p.m. on a third-floor ward.

Charges against Mason were pending until an autopsy is done and police talk to the Lewis County prosecutor, said Trooper R.W. Hyre of the Sutton detachment.

In 1987, Mason and another man were charged with first degree murder in the death of Dean Metheny, 49, and with the malicious wounding of Raymond Diller at the same time.  They were declared incompetent to stand trial in 1988.

Dr. Carole Boyd, a medical examiner in Morgantown, examined the body, but would not answer questions Tuesday afternoon, a secretary said.

Hyre said he had talked to Mason, but still didn't know what the fight was about or how it started. Mason remained at the mental hospital and was being watched Sunday night, Hyre said.

"I'm not so sure it was too much of a fight, really," Hyre said.  "There was a struggle, but they weren't standing fist to fist, fighting."

Weston Administrator Rein Valdov did not return phone calls to his office Monday.

Earlier this month, a guard found the badly decomposed boy of Brian Scott Bee, a 21-year-old patient who had disappeared eight days before.  Authorities at the time suspected the death was a suicide.

In September 1987, another patient at the 250-bed hospital was killed. 

Mental health advocate David Gettys said he and his consumer group are concerned about so many deaths. 

"What does the state plan to do about this," said Gettys, director of the West Virginia Mental Health Consumers Association. 

That group planned to meet today with Don Weston, state secretary for health and human resources.

The state has been arguing with mental health advocates and lawyers for years over whether to rebuild the Weston facility, a 19th-century building that is under court order to close by 1996.

The state is continuing with plans to build a new central mental health hospital, a major employer in Lewis County, although a court ruled that the hospital should be replaced with a network of community facilities. 

*Theresa's Note*
I don't remember either of these deaths being discussed much, if at all, during the tours and ghost hunts at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, and I don't believe there are any specific hauntings related to them. However, it is extremely interesting to note that the article mentions David Michael Mason. As the article states, David Michael Mason took part in the killing of Dean Metheny back in 1987. Although he and James Woods, his accomplice, tried to blame the death on a ghost in the room, both were charged in the murder.

"Dean's Room" is one of the haunted hot spots on the third floor. Witnesses claim that Dean, a deaf-mute in life, is known to 'speak' to investigators through the process of electronic voice phenomenon. He also enjoys communicating through other ghost hunting gadgets, turning flashlights on and off, and giving gentle hugs to visitors. I'll be posting more information about Dean's murder in a later blog, so look for that soon!*

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Book Review for Tracking the Stone Man

Title: Tracking the Stone Man: West Virginia's Bigfoot
Author: Dr. Russell L. Jones
Published: 2016 by Willamette City Press
Amazon Purchase Info

Awhile back, I saw a newspaper article talking about how a local chiropractor had written a book about the Bigfoot phenomena here in West Virginia. I immediately hopped over to Amazon and added the book to my wishlist. My boyfriend saw it on there, and I received my copy as a Mother's Day present this past May!

I don't read nearly as much about Bigfoot as I should, so I was thrilled that this book not only filled a need in that niche, but was also a West Virginia title. As readers of this blog know by now---I LOVE books about West Virginia's weird side.

And, there's definitely an element of weird to it---I don't think you can have a book about Bigfoot and Bigfoot investigation without a little weirdness involved---but there's a lot more substance than you'd normally expect in such a book.  Dr. Russell Jones, a highly qualified and educated researcher, has done an excellent job in presenting facts that support the idea of a large bipedal creature roaming our Appalachian hills and explaining why West Virginia makes an ideal home.

Tracking the Stone Man (Stone Man being the name given to Bigfoot by the native peoples in the area) is a well-written book that explores various case studies collected and investigated by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO), an organization to which the author belongs. It also explores the author's own experiences and thoughts as to why this is a very real phenomenon. For those interested, the book also contains information on the equipment used and the procedures necessary to a successful Bigfoot investigation. An extensive list of websites and books for further information is also provided.

Even if you're not from West Virginia or familiar with our beautiful state, don't shy away from this book. While the case studies do come from WV, there is more than enough general Bigfoot information packed into this book to make it a worthwhile read no matter where you are from. But, if you ARE from West Virginia, I'm sure you'll instantly recognize many of the locations discussed and can easily see how a Bigfoot could hide out.

*Want more spooky Book Reviews from Theresa's Haunted History?*

Friday, October 6, 2017

Food and Drink and Ghosts

Well, yeah. That's about accurate. I could even do without the food and the drink (I'd gladly accept them, though)...but give me the ghosts! I will choose a haunted restaurant, theater, hotel, etc. over a non-haunted establishment any day. 

On another note, I absolutely love the 1959 version of The House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price! This classic tale of horror can be found pretty easily, but here's one YouTube link where you can watch it for free! There'll be food and drink and ghosts...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Mothman Festival 2017

The third weekend in September is always my favorite time of the year! Not only do we celebrate my son's birthday...but that's the weekend of the annual Mothman Festival in downtown Point Pleasant, WV!

This year, the festival celebrated its sixteenth anniversary, and took place September 16th-17th.  And, once again, the family and I were there for both days. However, it was in a slightly different capacity this year. I decided not to do my own table, but my mother-in-law and her sister-in-law DID decide to do a table! Aunt Betty, a renowned local potter, made several beautiful Mothman dishes, car coasters, and key chains. Gayla, my mother-in-law, an excellent artist and crafter, designed a variety of hats, bags, fans and other small items adorned with hand-drawn Mothmans (Mothmen?) on each piece. I was even able to sneak a few of my own items (used books, treat bags, pins and magnets) onto their table and sold enough to pay for parking and and a few souvenirs...but more on that later, lol.

Anyway, my boyfriend and I helped man the family vendor booth Saturday. We were located in a prime spot, nearly right across from the world's only Mothman Museum. Not only did our location allow plenty of visitors to walk right past us without being too squished...it also allowed us a first look at Mothman, Batman, and Sasquatch. Yes, this unholy trio was using the cafe directly behind us as a staging area. Several times throughout the day, we'd watch them enter the cafe for a quick break, and then reemerge. The greatest part of all of this was seeing Batman carry out Mothman's wings through the narrow door, and then placing them on his back for him when they made it safely to the sidewalk. It was a very surreal experience.  Later on in the day, a fourth character emerged from the cafe and I immediately ran over and accosted him! It was none other than Mothman's Braxton County cousin, the Flatwoods Monster! I did have to laugh, however. The Braxton County/Flatwoods Monster costume contains a wide hoop skirt-like bottom. When going up and down the narrow staircase to the cafe, his handlers had to lift his skirt and turn it sideways, revealing a pair of work boots and hairy people-legs underneath. It kinda killed the magic, lol.

For a couple of hours on Saturday, we were also joined by my Mom and my son, Luke. I have yet to figure it out, but Luke absolutely loves the Mothman Festival and insists on coming every year. This year, his big highlight of the festival was going to his very first haunted house! This 'haunted house' was just an inflatable maze you could walk through for $5, but it was actually quite well done. There were a few spooky props set up along the path, but what surprised me was that there were a few actual scare actors hiding in there, waiting to jump out at you. At one point, we had to squeeze past a butcher knife-waving maniac to exit the maze, much to Luke's chagrin. It did scare him a bit, but he took it like a champ and I'm really proud of him. He had seen this maze on the way into the festival and had made up his mind that he was going to go through it. It was an excellent introduction to 'real' haunted house attractions, but given that he just turned 8, I think we'll wait a couple more years before moving him up to the next step!

With all of this going on, my boyfriend and I still managed to catch one of the speakers on Saturday. The lectures were once again being held in the historic (and haunted!) State Theater and once again, covered a diverse array of paranormal topics. The speakers are absolutely my favorite part of the Mothman Festival! I cannot stress how awesome this aspect of the festival really is. The festival is technically free (this year there was a fee for parking), but the quality of the lectures and lecturers is outstanding. You'd pay a lot of money to see the same or similar speakers and topics at other festivals. Anyway, the lecture we chose for Saturday was 'The History of the Infamous TNT Area' with Tad Greathouse. 

Obviously, I love lectures that are of a paranormal nature, but ones that are history-based are even better! Tad had done a ton of research into the early years of the WV Ordnance Works, later known as the infamous TNT area, where Mothman was originally sighted and believed to have lived. It was an interesting talk, and inspired me to start doing some additional research of my own on the area.

We were back Sunday, but this time, my boyfriend and I were by ourselves. We volunteered to take over the table so that his mom and aunt could rest up after sitting there all day Saturday. Since Sunday was kind of a slow day, we decided to pack up a little early and enjoy the last few hours of the festival. We caught another speaker, Bill Brock, who gave a talk on portals. We also took advantage of the smaller crowd to get some shopping done. We both bought a Mothman t-shirt at the museum. We found Luke the greatest hoodie of all time---complete with leather Mothman wings and studs. And of course, I chose a book to take home. This year I went with David Weatherly's Black Eyed Children. I'll be posting a review soon, so keep an eye out for that!

Finally, we rounded out our evening with a stop at the Mountain Monsters tent. This was the second year the AIMS team attended the Mothman Festival, but last year, they were so busy you couldn't get anywhere near them. We got some autographs and chatted for a few. All the guys seemed like really sweet, down-to-earth people, but Buck and Willie seemed especially kind and humble. They were really taking the time to meet with and talk on a personal level with all the fans. It was actually kinda touching, and I'm so glad we decided to go over there this year.

Overall, it was another fabulous event. Parking is always a pain, and this year, the shuttle service was convenient, but at $10 was still a little overpriced in my opinion. Aside from that, though, it was wonderful. There seemed to be more food vendors this year, and they were spaced out a little better, so the wait for food was significantly shorter than last year. As far as vendors in general, there was an excellent mix and everyone had such creative and clever merchandise. I could have easily spent thousands of dollars on all the handmade jewelry, print art, sculpture, etc. And, everyone we encountered was so incredibly nice. I don't know what it is about this festival, but it seems to bring out the best in people, lol. People from so many walks of life come out, many in awesome costumes, and just for a few hours, get along with everyone, lol. It really is my favorite festival and I'm already making plans for next year!

My boyfriend shot some video of the festival. Please check it out below!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Perfect Paranormal Investigation Website

I feel like I'm writing this blog ten years too late, lol.  With the popularity of Facebook and other social media sites, it seems like more and more paranormal investigation teams are going away from the traditional website and relying solely on social media sites.  While I agree that its important to integrate social media as an easy way to interact with people in your community and to network and share information, a well-built website is still an important part of a group's online presence.

Luckily, there are plenty of FREE and easy-to-use website builders for those of us who are less than savvy when it comes to such matters. Unfortunately, despite the ease of such programs, I'm still constantly running across REALLY bad paranormal websites and websites that have a lot of potential, but that could improve drastically with just a few tweaks. So what are those tweaks? What does a good paranormal investigation team website need to be successful? Here are my suggestions, broken down into two categories: 1. how the page actually looks and 2. what you have on it.

* Pick a background color and font color that are easy to read and don't strain the eyes.

*Make sure your font is legible. Avoid fancy lettering and stick with something simple and easy to read. Don't make the font too small or overly large.

*Avoid clutter. You want a streamlined appearance to your website to allow your visitors to easily find the information they are looking for.

*Avoid distracting music or animated clipart

*Keep it professional. Avoid any gory or scary-looking graphics. People are coming to your site for information and for help on issues that they may find unnerving. Scary graphics are just going to turn them away, or confuse them as to what the true purpose of your page represents.

*Proofread. Make sure your text is spelled correctly and that you use proper grammar and sentence structure. Also, make sure that the layout looks okay. I know from editing my own blog/website that pictures can get kinda wonky, text can get off-center, and any number of other weird things can happen, making the visuals of your site off-putting, lol.

*If you are an investigation team, make it VERY clear where you are located and what your coverage area is. Even if your name incorporates your geographical location, don't assume that there aren't OTHER areas of the country with towns, regions, and counties with the same or similar names. I can't count the number of times I've come across a group's website and based on their name, I assume they are local. After looking for the information FOREVER, I discover that they live in a county with the same name as my county...but they are located in a completely different state.

*Make your contact information readily available and easy to find, and make sure that you check your messages often. If you want people to contact you for investigations, you need to make sure your information is up-to-date, that all links are working properly, and that you actually check your correspondence on a regular basis.

*Provide some examples of your investigation work. People are interested in where you've been, what you've found, and how you've come to your conclusions. Just make sure you NEVER post a client's personal information/address, and that you receive permission to share  where applicable. I'm not normally a huge fan of the pay-to-play locations (locations that you pay to investigate), but these are actually great locations to help you build up a public resume, so to speak.

*Clearly state your mission and what type of services you offer. Do you conduct residential investigations, or do you just investigate public spaces in your spare time? Do you take a more scientific or a more spiritual approach? Do you offer house cleansings/blessings or other such services? Do you charge for services? Do you specialize in a certain aspect of the paranormal? Let people know what they can expect from you.

*Update Often! Even if its just a little blurb now and then, make sure you keep your website updated and make sure any links are working and current. If a website appears 'dead,' then it may be assumed that you are no longer active and people will pass over you. You'll also lose rankings in search engines if you fail to update your site.

*Members Bios. If your team feels comfortable with it, consider adding some member bios. Let people know who you are, what your specialty is within the group, and what your qualifications are. I like to think of an investigation website being like one big resume, especially if you're actively seeking clients.

*If you aren't posting original content, please, please, please make sure you have permission to share and that you give credit where credit is due.

To be honest, there really ISN'T a 'perfect' paranormal investigation website. Each team, individual investigator, and non-investigator paranormal enthusiast with a website has their own goals and their own purpose in having a site. What works for one person or team may not work or even be applicable to another. However, there are a few things that everyone should keep in mind no matter what:  Make sure your site looks nice and has good plenty of good content. It's that simple!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Theresa Travels Back to the WV State Penitentiary

View of the prison from atop Grave Creek Mound

Instead of taking one big vacation this summer, my family and I decided to do something a little different and take several mini-vacation getaways. One of those trips was an overnight stay to Moundsville, West Virginia, home of the infamously haunted former West Virginia State Penitentiary.

I had been to the penitentiary twice before, once with my friend Carrie as part of girl's day trip where we toured the Castle Halloween (a Halloween museum that used to be located in nearby Benwood, WV), took a historical tour of the prison, and then topped the day off with a trip to The Palace of Gold. The other time I had been was an actual overnight investigation of the prison with several members of HPIR.  However, Aaron and Luke had never been to Moundsville, and I'm always up for a trip to a haunted prison, so we decided to make a weekend out of it.

Mason-Dixon Line
The fun started on the way there. We took Route 2 for a big chunk of the trip, which allowed us to drive through some beautifully historic little towns, some of which are known for their own ghost stories. We even got to stop and examine a marker for the Mason-Dixon Line, which was REALLY unexpected.

Anyway, we arrived at the prison shortly thereafter. As we approached the parking area, Luke and Aaron were already in awe of the massive structure. Luke kept exclaiming how much it resembled a castle. We walked into the lobby area, and just caught the next tour leading out. Our tour guide was Chuck Ghent, a former correctional officer for the prison while it was in operation.

Now, I love Maggie Gray, another tour guide and former CO, to death and I think she's an excellent tour guide and resource. However, Chuck was absolutely awesome in his own right. He had a really dry, even sort of dark, sense of humor that I love, and that I'm sure he had to develop to cope with his work at the prison, especially his years in North Hall. He was extremely knowledgeable and had a great laid-back personality. In several areas of the prison, he'd give us the tour spiel, and then give the group plenty of time to explore the area on our own. There were even a few areas he let us in that weren't technically supposed to be on the tour, but are big areas of interest (such as the haunted boiler room where R.D. Wall's ghost is said to linger). He said that since many people traveled a long way to take these tours and might never again get the chance to visit, especially on the designated dates and times where those areas were accessible, then it didn't seem fair to not let us see them.
Where the 'Shadowman' was photographed

I am SO glad he had that attitude, because those extra touches really made the tour special for my son Luke, who was still 7 years old at the time. Luke is a great kid, and he's definitely his mother's son. We drag him to so many weird places its not even funny. He's been to more haunted locations than most adults, and he genuinely seems to enjoy visiting these spooky, yet historic locations. He was having a pretty good time, but his fun really started in the kitchen area.

Chuck had allowed the group to explore the dining hall and kitchen areas on our own, and its pretty damn dark back in some corners of the kitchen. That's the area where my team and I also saw and experienced some pretty weird stuff during our investigation. Even during the first historical tour that Carrie and I took, DURING the tour, while no one was back there AT ALL, we all heard noises like someone walking and a meal being prepared. Anyway, it was dark back there, yet Luke wanted to explore every nook and cranny and tiny room he could find. Being the ever-prepared investigator I am, I had put new batteries in my flashlight that morning, and had thrown the flashlight in my purse. I fished it out and gave it to Luke, but it refused to turn on. This was a well-made, fairly new flashlight and actual name-brand batteries, so I thought that maybe it had turned on while in my purse, and the batteries had drained. Luke gave the flashlight back to me, I put it in my pocket, and we continued with the tour. While walking down the hall to our next tour stop, Luke noticed that there was a light shining IN my pocket; that darn flashlight had turned on and was working perfectly. I switched it off, put it back in my pocket and we continued on.

Boiler Room Area
As I stated earlier, Chuck let us go down into the old boiler room and for some reason, Luke was super excited for this part of the tour, even though Chuck plainly told us about the murder and the rumors of the area being haunted. Luke, who sleeps with a nightlight on that is brighter than the sun, barged down the steps and started prowling around in complete darkness. Again, I fished the flashlight out and gave it to him. Again, IT DID NOT TURN ON. This did not stop my son, lol. A lot of people were down in the boiler area, so we could see fairly well thanks to their camera flashes and cell-phone flashlights. However, we ended up in some far away corner as everyone was leaving, and only by the grace of some woman who happened to walk by with a light did we make it out of there.

I thought Luke would be terrified, but he had no qualms with being in a pitch-black haunted boiler room. I don't think I had ever been as proud as I was at that moment.

We're locked in!
The tour continued with another highlight being the part where you can get 'locked in' one of the old cells. There are only a few cells available for the lock-in, so it takes a couple of rounds to get everyone through that wants to experience a few moments behind bars. And, like they do on a lot of tours, the guide pretended that one of the cell doors got stuck, and that the people inside would have to wait awhile until they got it fixed. It didn't happen to Luke and I, but he thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world that it happened to this other family that was on the tour. He talked about that for days afterwards, lol.

When it was finally time to end the tour, we spent some time in the museum area and gift shop. I think Luke's favorite part of the tour might have been learning about all the weapons the prisoners handcrafted out of various materials. That was another thing he talked about for days afterward. He picked out a souvenir fidget spinner and a t-shirt, and I bought a couple of books, including C.J. Plogger's The Tour at the West Virginia Penitentiary, which is largely about Chuck and his time at the prison. As I was at the counter paying for our goodies, the best part of the whole visit happened. After the last time my flashlight failed us, I just threw it in my purse. I had to open up my purse to get my wallet out, and lo and behold, that damn flashlight was in there, turned on full blast. I showed it to Luke, who was flabbergasted. He then begin to loudly theorize, much to the amusement of those around us, that this place was haunted and that a ghost had been messing with our flashlight all day long. He was sure of it...and, to be honest, the places where the flashlight refused to work were some of the haunted hot spots, so who knows.
Luke in North Hall cell

Each time I visit the West Virginia State Penitentiary, I have a great time and learn something new. This visit was no exception, except I think that most of my enjoyment stemmed from seeing my son have such a great time. Oh, and Aaron seemed to enjoy himself, too, lol.

The penitentiary was definitely a high point of our trip, but it wasn't the only wonderful place we were able to visit during our trip. We also visited the Archive of the Afterlife museum (which will be a blog all its own), the Grave Creek Mound and museum, and of course, we had to spend a huge chunk of time at New Vrindaban and the Palace of Gold. We had a lot of fun adventures this past summer, so keep an eye on the blog, as I try to get caught up with sharing them all with you!

*Want more prison ghost stories? Check out my blog about the true facts concerning the penitentiary's most infamous ghost, Red Snyder!*