Friday, March 16, 2018


In general, I  prefer clever, subtle, and even dry humor. But, sometimes I want something just totally sophomoric and hilarious. I'm pretty sure I have the brain of a 12 year old boy...and if you do too, then  you'll  probably enjoy today's Fright Night Funny as much as I did!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rejetos Jichancas: The Weird Women of West Virginia University

It's Weird Wednesday time and to celebrate March being Women's History Month, I wanted to share with you a collection of photos from the WV History on View website. These photos were recently posted on the awesome Facebook page, West Virginia Heritage, and show a group of female students at West Virginia University.

According to the WV History on View site, this all-female student group formed in 1908 and called themselves the Rejetos Jichancas. Translated as The Gypsy Rejects, membership into the group was highly prized, yet shrouded in mystery. Origins of how/why the group formed are unclear, very little information is known about them, and no group photos appeared in the West Virginia University yearbook past 1928. And, apparently, the group also chose to keep their individual identities a secret! At the very least, they sure knew how to take a creepy group photo!

I hope you enjoy this photo collection of West Virginia's Weird Women! If you'd like MORE vintage photography from the Mountain State, be sure to check out the links to WV History on View and West Virginia Heritage above. Stay Weird, ya'll!











Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Matrixing the Man in the Rock

Matrixing. If you've done any reading/research into the paranormal in the past 10-15 years, you've almost certainly heard this term being thrown around, especially when it comes to analyzing potentially paranormal faces/apparitions appearing on still photos and video. But what exactly IS matrixing?                                                                                                                                                         Matrixing is a term popularized by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, known more commonly as the stars of SyFy's Ghost Hunters.  However, I prefer to call the phenomenon by its slightly more scientific name:  'pareidolia.'

Pareidolia comes from the Greek words para (meaning faulty, wrong, instead of) and eidolon (meaning image, form, or shape). Merriam-Webster defines pareidolia as "the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern."  In laymen's terms, it means the tendency to see faces, animals, and other familiar images in random patterns. Have you ever gazed up at the clouds and thought they looked like bunny rabbits? You've experienced pareidolia. Have you ever sworn your bathtub has 'seen things, man?' You've experienced pareidolia. Have you ever taken a Rorschach inkblot test? Well, you get the picture. 

Many photographs that claim to contain evidence of ghostly or supernatural figures can be explained by pareidolia. If you're unsure whether or not a spooky face could be attributed to pareidolia, try to change up your perception. Turn the photograph upside down. Examine each half of the figure by itself and compare; are there any signs of symmetry (or lack thereof)? Does the image still make sense as a figure when looked at a piece at a time? What happens if you enlarge (or shrink) the photo? Does the image distort to the point where it is no longer recognizable as something familiar?

By definition and popular usage, the term pareidolia is used most often to describe visual phenomenon. However, any of the human senses can be perceptible to pareidolia. We might interpret two unrelated scents as being another scent altogether. As we listen to potential EVPs, we might take missing sounds and even whole syllables not heard by our ears and have our brain fill in to make recognizable words. As a result, a good tip when analyzing EVPs is to NOT tell others what YOU hear, at least at first, and let them listen without bias.

Pareidolia falls under the larger umbrella of the phenomenon of apophenia. Apophenia is defined as "the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena." It was coined by German neurologist and psychiatrist Klaus Conrad, whose research focused on the finding of abnormal meaning or significance in random experiences by psychotic people.                                                                                                                                                                                                The human brain is hard-wired to make sense out of stimuli. We want to find patterns and correlations in an otherwise chaotic world, and there's not too many things more confusing and chaotic than trying to make sense out of the paranormal! It may also be an evolutionary issue. If we can spot facial features of hidden predators, we have a greater chance of survival. Similarly, could we be applying that same principle to our interactions with the unknown?

Whatever the reasons behind the phenomena may be, apophenia and pareidolia are two issues that every paranormal investigator and researcher needs to be familiar with. Luckily, there is no shortage of articles and examples available out there to illustrate just how fascinating these concepts can be.

A great local example of matrixing, or pareidolia, is Fayette County's "Old Rock Head." This unique cliff face (pardon the pun) can be found on Route 21 at Honey Creek, right near the Chimney Corners area, where the Route 60 intersection is located. It doesn't take too much of a stretch of the imagination to see the outline of a man's face in profile, coming out of the rock.  Oddly enough, this isn't West Virginia's only rock face! While its much harder to access and, in my opinion, MUCH harder to see, there's a nearby cliff where, in 1901, railroad workers in the area claimed to see the image of President McKinley appear. Their superstitions of this death omen were realized when news that the President had been shot arrived shortly after. Please see President McKinley's Death Omen blog entry for more info! 

Photo from WV History on View

Photo by Robert W. McKinnon, courtesy of WV History on View

*Bonus Vocabulary Lesson!*

Simulacrum: "An image or representation of something." Simulacrum is sometimes confused with pareidolia, but unlike pareidolia, which happens naturally, simulacrum is when someone intentionally designs something to look like something else. While the rock formation above occurred accidentally, this example in Jackson County, WV, was carved to look that way by Otis Shinn. More information available in this Gazette article.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Madness and Mistaken Identity at the Weston State Hospital

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, also known as the Weston State Hospital, has been a fascination of mine for years. Obviously, I'm a sucker for the paranormal aspects of the old haunted hospital, but I enjoy the non-spooky history as well. I'm in the process of documenting as many former patients as I can find, and sharing their stories. Through this, I'm hoping to have a strong database of potential ghost suspects, but more importantly, I feel that these people deserve recognition. They deserve to have their lives remembered, and not just be a statistic. 

One such person with a pretty strange story to be told is a Croatian immigrant named George Marzic. His story appeared in numerous newspapers at the time, but this transcription comes from the 29 December 1936 edition of the Charleston Daily Mail



Woman Finds Relative Is In Institution, Recovering; Dead Man Is Unknown; Records Found in Error

Benwood, Dec. 29 (UP)---Mrs. Amanda Kurl learned today that the "brother" she buried six years ago is alive and well.  

The almost incredible story of the "death" and the "burial" of George Marzic, 52, ended with the realization that Marzic still lives and that the identity of the man buried under his name in 1931 may never be known.

Marzic, a Croat, was sent to the state hospital at Weston, W.Va., in 1929.  On May 9, 1931, hospital officials notified Mrs. Kurl her brother had died.

The body was brought to Benwood for burial.

Marzic's friends went to his bier and wept.  Some were amazed because George did not "look like himself" but they dismissed it with "well, he has been sick a long time."

Did Not Doubt Identity
"I was sure it was George," said Mrs. Kurl.  "His face was a little thinner, I thought, but I had no doubt." 

Mrs. Kurl paid $237 to a Benwood mortician. And on the day of the funeral she went to St. John's Catholic church and wept while a priest celebrated requiem mass. 

Several days ago, Mrs. Kurl was notified by officials of the state hospital that her brother had recovered. She was dumbfounded as she read a letter from Dr. J.E. Offner, hospital superintendent, which said in part:

"Only recently this patient's mind has cleared and he now claims to be George Marzic. We are now almost thoroughly convinced that the man Marzic is living."

Mrs. Kurl disbelieved until friends investigated and proved beyond doubt that her brother still lives.

Tests Are Made
Nick Rumora wrote to George Marzic at the Weston State Hospital, asked him a number of personal questions in the Croatian language. Marzic replied---in the Croatian language.

Mrs. Kurl remained unconvinced. 

Police Chief Pat J. Scully, Rumora, Antone Fabyanic, lifelong friends of Marzic, went to Weston.  They walked into the hospital unannounced.

Someone called their name. It was Marzic.

When Scully informed Mrs. Kurl of this, she was convinced. 

Scully said hospital officials could not explain the error and could learn nothing of the identity of the man who was buried. Marzic, it is said, will remain in the hospital until doctors make sure his sudden recovery is not temporary.

Still Legally Dead
George Marzic is legally dead, according to reports in the division of vital statistics of the state health department.

A report that Marzic died May 9, 1931, is on file in the division's offices, but the bureau has a rule that detailed information cannot be given out except upon payment of a 50 cent fee for making out a certified copy.  For that reason, other details in the bureau's possession could not be learned.

"Never heard of it," said M.D. Carrico, member of the state board of control, when informed that Marzic is actually alive now, despite the reports. Dr. C. Denham was superintendent of the institution in 1931. 

Theresa's Note: What is even more interesting about this case, is that when you go to the WV State Archives' website, George Marzic still has his 9 May 1931 death certificate on file! It makes me wonder what actually happened to George...and whether or not he did die in 1931. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday Night Funny: Haunt Problems

We all get frustrated with our jobs sometimes...even ghosts! And I KNOW we all have felt like, one time or another, that whatever we did, we just were NOT getting through to someone! 

I hope this this little Friday Funny will bring a smile to your face---and possibly spark some interesting discussion. As a paranormal investigator, I've sometimes dealt with clients who experience the world in ways far differently than how I do. What sort of challenges and what sort of data can we benefit from when working with clients who may be sight or hearing impaired, or who may not be neurotypical?

Head on over to Theresa's Haunted History's Facebook and let me know your thoughts! 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Paranormal Inactivity

Hey, everyone! I hope you're having a fabulous March so far! I know today isn't a Friday Night Funny night, but I thought this little cartoon was an appropriate thing to share. I haven't been keeping up with this blog or my social media sites like I had planned, and I sincerely apologize for the lack of new content. Please bear with me as I try to get back in the swing of things. Once again, I'm going through a phase of motivation issues, lol. But, hope is on the horizon. I've got a couple of investigations coming up, and with nicer weather, I hope to get out of the house a little more and share some of my spookier travels with you. Take this post as a sign that I'm headed back in the right direction. Stay spooky, ya'll...and keep an eye out for plenty of new content coming soon!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friendship Goals: Paranormal Edition

To quote Homer Simpson, "It's funny 'cause its true." Well, obviously most paranormal investigation teams these days are NOT wearing unlicensed nuclear accelerators on their backs, but the sentiment does hold true. When you're out in the field, searching for the unknown, you want to know you can trust the people you're with! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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

Happy Valentine's Day from Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State! I love vintage greeting cards, especially Halloween cards. However, I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day adding the unexpected ghostly twist to these cards makes them so much cuter! I love adding a little spookiness into traditionally non-spooky holidays. It's like a little bit of Halloween all year round!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review for The Ghosts of London

Title: The Ghosts of London---A Collection of Ghost Stories from the British Capital
By: Sean McLachlan
Published by the Charles River Editors
Amazon Purchase Information

Every couple of weeks or so, the mood hits me to fill up my Kindle with FREE ebooks. I'll go to the Amazon website, click on the Kindle Store, and then search the last 30 days of new releases, priced low to high! Over the years, I've found quite a few free ebooks on my favorite subjects---ghosts and hauntings!

However, the old adage is usually true: you get what you pay for. More often than not, these free ebooks are poorly written, factually inaccurate, or at least just really, really short. There are gems to be had, though, and The Ghosts of London is one of those gems!

I have several other ebooks from the Charles River Editors, mostly quick-history type books, and they've all been a great deal. They are well written, interesting, and long enough to actually be considered a book, lol. But The Ghosts of London, written by Sean McLachlan, is the best I've found so far.

This book isn't super long, but its got a great sampling of London's haunted history. You'll find some standby classics such as 50 Berkeley Square, which many know as the Most Haunted House in London. Of course, a few hauntings associated with the London Underground (subway system) are included, as are plenty of haunted pubs, churches, and other places of interest. There are also a few really strange stories included, namely the ghost of Sir Francis Bacon's FROZEN CHICKEN!!

Chapters are enhanced with photographs and illustrations, and there's a great bibliography at the end of the book. It's a quick, fun read, but its not overwhelmingly short like so many similar books tend to be. I'm not as up-to-date on my British hauntings as I'd like to be, so this was a great collection of stories to become familiar with.

Unfortunately, at the time of this review, the FREE promotion for this book has ended, and the price is up to $2.99. That's still a respectable price for the quality and quantity of information packed into this ebook. And, if you don't care for the ebook format, you can get this title in paperback as well, for about $10.

However, just keep your eyes open! Charles River Editors often offers their ebook titles for free during limited times, and they cover some really great subjects. I also managed to pick up a free copy of The Weird and Mysterious United States at the same time as The Ghosts of London! It's been added to the To-Be-Read pile and may end up as a future Book Review!

Happy reading, and happy haunting, everyone. Stay spooky!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Legislation Could Shut Down Tourism at the WV State Penitentiary in Moundsville

I am sickened by recent news. As you all know, I choose to stay as far away from politics as I can on Theresa's Haunted History. However, our West Virginia legislature has made that impossible this term. Not only have bills been introduced that would allow commercial logging to destroy the history and natural beauty of our state parks, but now, they're attacking tourism at the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville!

Back when the prison shut down in 1995, it could have easily taken on the same fate as so many other old buildings. It could have been left just an empty hull in the middle of Moundsville, waiting for vandals and the elements to finish it off. However, it was saved from that fate when a group of citizens under the name of the Moundsville Economic Development Council secured a lease for the property. That lease was renewed in 2004, and under its provisions, would have lasted through 2029.

However, a small clause was found embedded in House Bill 43-28.

In section 15A-2-23 it states: “All current leases for or involving the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville…are hereby abolished immediately. The commissioner is authorized, as lessor, to lease the West Virginia penitentiary in Moundsville, for a term of not more than five years.”

So, our lawmaker are planning on using a bill, which is otherwise a good thing, to shut down tourism at the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville. The bill is currently for review with the House Finance Committee.

What I need for every one of you reading this is to share, share, share! Get this information out to the citizens of West Virginia and to the paranormal research community! Follow the WV State Pen on Facebook for updates and easily shareable information. More importantly, I need you to make calls/send emails to members of the House Finance Committee and your local representatives and/or Governor Justice and let them know that we will not let them take this community asset away from us.

As a paranormal investigator and researcher, the West Virginia State Penitentiary holds a special place in my heart. They offer both private and public ghost hunts, which are top-notch. If you're not ready to go for a full investigation, you can choose a shortened version. There are also various guided tours available, usually given by a former CO of the prison!

These history tours are outstanding. For an extremely reasonable price, you get an excellent look at the prison, a comprehensive overview of its history, and a peek at what life was like for inmates and staff alike. These tours are not only educational, but they're FUN, and each guide has his/her own personality and spin on things so each tour is a little different and can be tailored to the group's interests. I have an 8 year old son who has already learned so much about local history, social history, and the history of corrections in general, and its all because of the WV State Penitentiary.

But the old prison offers so much more! Television shows and movies often use the location for filming. During the Halloween season, they offer a top-notch haunted dungeon attraction. When Escape Rooms started emerging on the scene, they added that element as well! People rent out areas of the property for parties, weddings, and other festivities. Community events are held, including plenty of family-friendly and kid-oriented entertainment.

My son enjoying a tour
Like many visitors, some who come from out of state and even out of country to visit the prison, we tend to sink plenty of money into the local economy on our trips to Moundsville! We eat at local restaurants and stay at local hotels. We purchase fuel from local gas stations and pick up forgotten travel items at local stores. And of course, we make sure to take home plenty of souvenirs from the prison's gift shop!

But that's still not all! We visit other local attractions while in the area! If we weren't drawn to the area to see the prison, we'd probably never stop in across the street and see the burial mound and its museum (and spend money in THEIR gift shop as well!). We might not have visited the Golden Palace, or the former Castle Halloween Museum, or any of the great locations of historical interest in the Wheeling area.

For over 100 years, the West Virginia State Penitentiary did its job housing the state's worst offenders. It was seen a place of violence, a place of sickness, a piece of dark, yet necessary history. Now, it has the opportunity to educate, to entertain, and to provide a safe place for the community to come together. Don't let a few lines stuck in a bill destroy that legacy.

*A petition has been started on to Save the West Virginia Penitentiary.*

Beckley's Shape-Shifting Ghost

This newspaper story was published in the February 25, 1889 edition of the Wheeling Intelligencer. The story originally came from the Raleigh County Index, a short-lived weekly newspaper out of Beckley, WV. It was only published between 1880 and 1893. I found this copy on my current favorite website, Chronicling America! 

Transcript: The Raleigh County Index gives the following ghost story: For some time past some of our townsmen and citizens of the vicinity have been alarmed at the sight of a ghost that makes its appearance at a coal bank about two miles from the village. Sometimes the apparition assumes the shape of a man's head with eyes as large as a saucer, while at others it is pleased to masquerade as a young female, so unlike the balance of the feminine persuasion that it refuses to speak even when addressed. A crowd recently went to the coal bank, determined to make the personal acquaintance of this supernatural being, but spooks never appearing to a multitude, they were, of course, disappointed.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Mary Loves Dick - A Most Haunted Friday Funny

I'm just going to go ahead and apologize for today's blog straight up, as it is both a little R-rated AND a little sophomoric at the same time! But, it fits in with the LOVE/Valentine's Day theme this month! Anyway...

On New Year's Eve 2003, the television show, Most Haunted, broadcast its Most Haunted LIVE episode, featuring a hunt for the ghost of Dick Turpin, an English highwayman who was executed in 1739 for his crimes. Now, Most Haunted, and its resident psychic, Derek Acorah, aren't noted for their integrity in the field of paranormal investigation and research. In fact, in many cases, they've been proven to be deceitful and fraudulent. And sometimes, they're just really, really funny. In the clip below, Derek is temporary overtaken by spirit (you can tell by the retching sound that emits from him), and starts screaming "Mary loves Dick! Mary loves Dick! Mary loves Dick!" It's clear that Yvette is trying her best to stifle a giggle...and when the live cameras stop rolling, it gets worse. The whole team bursts into laughter and someone makes the remark as to whether Derek has won his 20 pounds.

I'm going to have to give this clip the honor of being the absolute funniest thing I've seen on Most Haunted, and I'm not the only one who has derived more pleasure than was necessary at this display. Derek took part in the 2017 season of Celebrity Big Brother, and has he was making his way into the house on opening day, a heckler in the crowd shouted the now infamous phrase at him, which puzzled a lot of people who had never seen the episode. Derek handled it like a champ, though!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sir Francis Bacon and the Ghost Chicken

Would you consider this a 'poultrygeist?' 

I write about a lot of weird stuff here at Theresa's Haunted History. I've written about so many weird things over the years that I had to add a whole page dedicated to these freaky, strange, and unusual pieces of history. Mummies, people being buried alive (on purpose!), curses...its all here at the Weird History section of the blog. But today, I'm adding a story that is weird even for me! What could be weirder than being haunted by a frozen chicken?

I recently came across this story while reading The Ghosts of London: A Collection of Ghost Stories from the British Capital, by Charles River Editors.

Back in March of 1626, Sir Francis Bacon decided to test out a theory he had been toying with. He believed that meat could be preserved without the use of salt by simply keeping it at a cold temperature. In order to test this out, however, he had to have some meat---and he chose a chicken from a farm near the Highgate area of London. The chicken was plucked and slaughtered, and then Bacon stuffed it full of ice to see if his theory was correct.

Unfortunately, Bacon never got to see the full results of his experiment. During this process, he came down with a cold, which turned into the pneumonia that would take his life on April 9, 1626. That should have been the end of the story. But it wasn't.

Pond Square Stock Photo from Alamy
Visitors to Highgate's Pond Square have been terrorized for centuries by the apparition of a headless, featherless chicken. The bird has been seen running around in circles, flapping its bare wings madly before disappearing from sight. Recent sightings have occurred in 1943, when a man named Terrence Long heard the sounds of what he thought was a phantom carriage, but when he turned around to see where the noise was coming from, he witnessed the chicken, and again in the 1970s when the chicken made its most horrifying appearance ever.

During that time, there was a young couple out on a date in Pond Square. As they sat on a bench, their make out session becoming more and more risque, the chicken carcass allegedly fell (or jumped) from a tree branch above them, right into the middle of their laps. I guess there's no better birth control than a dead, yet sentient, frozen headless chicken falling from the sky. Unfortunately for us, that was the last time the chicken was seen. Perhaps it had fulfilled its purpose?

*If you want MORE weird chicken stories, I've got a blog about a strange chicken from Wayne County, West Virginia! *

Monday, February 5, 2018

Shadows From the Past in the Luna Park Historic District: Charleston

Theresa's Note: I've got another Guest Blog submission for you today, and I think it's going to be one you're absolutely going to love. Kimberly Taylor, a local law librarian and paranormal enthusiast, has shared these experiences from her residence in Charleston's West Side. Possibly stirred up by some local construction projects, her formerly tranquil apartment became a passageway for citizens of another time. Kimberly then looked into the history of the area, and may have found the cause of these spooky disturbances!  A HUGE 'thank you!' to Kimberly for sharing this well-written, well-researched account of local activity!

Luna Park Entrance Sign Postcard
Source: Wikipedia, courtesy of My WV Home

I live on the West Side of Charleston, West Virginia in an apartment building that includes a nice view of the Kanawha River.  The location's tranquility drew us in; then the construction on Kanawha Boulevard began.

In an attempt to make the West Side more inviting, the City Council decided to expand the riverside walking path and add a bicycle lane.  This meant reducing the four-lane Boulevard to three.

Soon surveyors and heavy equipment showed up.  Monster size machinery ripped layers of concrete and rebar up like they were peeling an onion of its layers.  Backhoes exposed decade's old oil and river residue and deposited it in neat piles in front the apartment building.

Other than the inconvenience of road construction in my front yard nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Washing dishes is mundane so I like to pass the time daydreaming or staring into the living room at the television.  I'd been in our small kitchen for a while one particular afternoon and staring mindlessly at the television set for quite a while.  Then, what the hell was that?  A guy just casually strolled through the living room followed by another!  I rushed into the living room thinking the worst of the West Side had finally intruded into our quiet space only to find no one there. 

I wasn't frightened by the occurrence because shades have been a part of my life experience since childhood.  Startled, yes.

The next construction phase brought in more equipment including earth movers as tall as the apartment building that churned up soil and river residue so old it smelled like swamp and sickness.  Sometimes it burned my eyes.

Workers showed up before dawn and frequently stayed well past dusk.  Glaring spot lights became the norm and quiet time was pushed later and later into the evening.  Eventually I took to wandering the apartment in the middle of the night, peering out windows.

During one late night roam, I lingered in the office looking at a friend's painting, getting lost in the swirl of colors and, then got further distracted by the pages of a familiar book.  Reminding myself that it is a work night, I move toward the living room for one last glance out the windows.

Except between me and that last glance is a man leisurely sitting on the couch eating his lunch from a tin pail.  What the hell?!  Now he's looking around and unscrewing the lid to his thermos!  I slowly move into the living room barely stifling a shout to my sleeping husband, when the man stands up in a fluid motion and heads toward Kanawha Boulevard disappearing through the corner wall.

Heart pounding and palms sweating I quick step it back to bed, pulling the blankets close for comfort sure that the morning will bring clarity.  Sleep didn't come and dawn's light certainly didn't make the night's event any clearer.

An old building such as ours probably has a secret or two and, I intended to uncover those secrets with some property research.  There was even a date etched into one of the basement walls that would provide a good starting point.  Though it was faded from time, I could make out the 193 and part of the last digit as either a 1 or 9, 1931 or 1939.

The property searches turned up nothing.  Nothing except an old building with a perfectly normal history of tenants moving in and out.

So I smudged the apartment with sage and put the lunching and strolling shadows behind me.

Driving home from work one evening I noticed a new sign on Park Avenue.  The sign read, Luna Park Historic District.  Luna Park?

Once home I raced to do an internet search on Luna Park, Charleston, West Virginia.

Frank Ingersoll invented, designed, and commissioned the construction of a series of amusements to house the roller coasters his company manufactured.  These parks became known as Luna Parks. 

Crowds at Luna Park, circa 1915. Photo from WV History on View

Charelston's Luna Park opened to the public in 1912 and was owned and operated by John Crowley and Sam Moore of Moore Books.  By 1913, thousands of people were visiting Luna Park.  They came by street car and steamboat.  A local newspaper reported that street cars sometimes delivered people to the Park's entrance at a rate of 1,200 per hour.

The more I read the more curious I became about the grand entrance that supposedly could be seen from the decks of the steamboats chucking up the Kanawha River.

At last, I found a trove of Luna Park pictures and among them one of the entrance.  It was indeed grand for the time period.  The arched gateway spanned more than a city block and was flanked by two tall towers covered in colorful flags and bunting.

I continued looking through the pictures, marveling at the sheer number of visitors depicted and just how sad and kind of creepy the Park's clowns and other entertainers appeared.  Most of all I was in awe of the massive public swimming pool made of timber and sheet of tin.

In 1923 Typhoid was rampant.  The City's response to the epidemic was to pump the pool so full of chlorine that it is said a single welder's spark set the pool afire and ultimately devastated the whole park.

Plans were made after the fire to rebuild Luna Park to its' original glory but the funds fell short.  And in 1925 the swollen Kanawha River rushed the banks leaving ten feet of water covering what was once Luna Park.

The water eventually receded but, the City decided to parcel the land into private land plots and through streets.  The last photo I found showed a map of those plots of land and streets superimposed on Luna Park's grid.  The answer to the mysterious lunching and strolling shadows was right there.  The apartment building was built alongside Park Avenue and on top of the once grand entrance to Luna Park.

If you'd like to learn more about Luna Park and see some excellent photographs from its short time as a Charleston landmark, then please check out the My WV Home website. And, if you'd like to read about and see some current photographs from the Luna Park Historic District, its National Register application is available online at the WV State Archives site.  Again, I cannot thank Kim enough for sharing these experiences with us and allowing me to publish them on my blog. Please make sure to share this with all your spooky friends on social media and if you have a story you'd like to share, please contact me at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook. Stay spooky! 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Links I Love: February 2018

It's February, a month for love! In honor of Valentine's Day, this month I'll be sharing a lot of love-related stuff---including this list of links I love! Go show these sites some of YOUR love and check 'em out!

1. Chronicling America---I have been obsessed lately with Chronicling America's FREE newspaper archive, which is a component of the Library of Congress' online database! Although I wrote about this site some time ago in my Newspaper Research blog, I've only just now taken the time to really start going through it. I've found so many wonderful 'ghost' stories and of course, many articles of note concerning historical events related to famous haunted locations. In the coming months, look for more blogs featuring research gleaned from this site.

2. My WV Home---This is another site that I've shared before, but love so much I wanted to share it again! If you're looking for information and/or photographs from West Virginia's past, especially from the Charleston area, then this is your go-to spot.

3. WV Heritage, History, and Memories Facebook---This is a fairly new Facebook group, but already I have 'LIKED' so many of the historic images that are posted here! There's a great geographical variety of content and the owner posts very regularly.

4. WVGhosts---WV Ghosts is a staple in the paranormal history and culture of West Virginia. For years, owner J. Moore has been collecting and archiving the ghost stories that make up WV's haunted history.

5. Ghost Blog UK---I've recently joined the forum over at Ghost Blog UK, and while its in its earlier stages, there's lot of interesting information and some great networking. I try to check it out at least once a week, and contribute as often as possible.

6. Find a Grave---In most cases, to have a ghost you must have a death. Find-a-Grave is a great resource for finding information on the deceased. And, its a great resource for directions and other information to cemeteries that may have a haunted reputation.

7. Southern Spirit Guide---The Southern Spirit Guide is another site that I have often talked about on this blog and my Facebook page. It's a wonderful collection of haunted locations from throughout the southern United States.

8. Hayley is a Ghost---This blog is filled with all kinds of great advice on paranormal investigating and related topics. Well-written, well-researched, and entertaining to read, Hayley is a Ghost is one of my favorite blogs for information on the paranormal.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Spooky Valentine's Day Gifts

It's less than two weeks away from Valentine's Day! Can you believe how fast this year is going by? Hopefully, you've already got your Valentine's gifts out of the way, but...if you're looking for a last-minute getaway or token of your love for your spooky sweetheart, here are a few options to consider.

1. Valentine's Vampire Masquerade---February 10th at the Archive of the Afterlife/Sanford Center in Moundsville, WV. Come alone, or bring your partner...but come dressed as your favorite vampire and get ready for music, food, and all sorts of spooky fun. Admission: $10 single or $15 couple.

2. Valentine's Weekend Ghost Hunt at the Hotel Conneaut---February 9-10. If you're in the PA area, this sounds like an awesome weekend! Your ticket gets you access to a guided ghost hunt of the haunted hotel, buffet dinner, your room for two for the night, breakfast the following morning, and more! Admission: $95-170.

3. Love Never Dies Valentine's Ghost Tour of Philadelphia---Here's another option for those in the PA area! Take a romantic, candlelight walk through Philly, taking in the city's most haunted locations. Tour dates are available on February 9, 10, and 14 and admission is $22 per person.

4. Plenty of other hotels and Bed & Breakfasts throughout the country offer some outstanding Valentine's specials and many of those places have a haunted reputation! Just check your favorite haunted accommodations in your area and see what's available!  There's no other motivation to get up close and cozy with your partner than sheer terror!

5. Plush Ghost Valentine---If you're looking for something a little more tangible as a Valentine's gift, the Etsy seller, Kiraslilshopofhorrors, has you covered! These small, plush ghosts, complete with Valentine sentiment, can be yours for $16 each.

6. Ghost Jewelry---Sometimes, its best to go the old fashioned Valentine's Day Gift route and express your love with jewelry! Etsy has so many wonderful examples of jewelry, ranging from cute to sophisticated, and coming in at a variety of price ranges. My personal favorite is this bracelet from Artlysian!

7. Ghost Chocolates---Keeping with a traditional theme, there's something inherently romantic with chocolate covered strawberries! Dip your own for your sweetheart...but use white chocolate and draw a little ghost face on them for an added spooky twist.  Make sure to wash it down with some spooky spirits!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Muffin Top Ghost: A Friday Night Funny

Happy Friday Night Funny Day! Maybe this ghosts needs a little 'exorcise' in the afterlife!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Haunted History of the Oahu Community Correctional Center

Source: Haunted Rooms

When I think of haunted prisons, I think of the WV State Penitentiary at Moundsville. I think of Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. I think of the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. The state of Hawaii does not, however, come to mind. Yet, it probably should, as even this island paradise is not without its history of haunted correctional facilities!

When I decided to find a new place in Hawaii to add to my Haunted America page, I did a simple Google search for 'haunted Hawaii.' I noticed that the Oahu Community Correctional Center consistently made the 'top haunted lists.' Unfortunately, in each article that I came across, the same information was presented---sometimes word for word.

It seems as if the current facility, which is equipped to hold 950 pre-trial detainees, as well as offering various educational and social outreach programs for offenders, sits atop the site of the old Oahu Prison. Historical information regarding the history of the center has been difficult to ascertain. At best, information is lacking. At worst, it is downright confusing and in some cases, conflicting reports come from different sources.  However, according to a government document, dated 19 May 2017 and entitled 'Future of the Oahu Community Correctional Center,' there has been some type of correctional facility on the site since the early 1900s. In the mid-1970s, an annex was added to one of the original buildings, and by 1982, a new jail building was added to the complex. Some sources say that at least one of the buildings on the campus of today's center go back to 1916, and early photographs from an 1888 magazine publication denote that the Oahu Prison was located on that site even further back.

Prisoners Eating Poi: Hawaii State Archives
No matter what the actual history of the site entails, it is common knowledge among both inmates and staff that the facility is haunted. Inmates often report that they can hear cell doors creaking open and slamming shut, even though no one is around at the time.

It is stated that 47 prisoners were hanged at the site between 1909 and 1944. When the new building was constructed, the offices were built atop the site of the former gallows. Because of this, staff members tend to avoid the squad room, refusing to sleep there while not on active duty. They say the room has an eerie, uncomfortable feeling and unexplained disturbances are common.

Since the actual Oahu Community Correctional Center opened up in the late 1970s/early 1980s, it has been subjected to habitual overcrowding, despite the construction of new facilities. Over time, the buildings themselves are also becoming outdated. So, recently, the Oahu Community Correctional Center has been hunting for a new home. What is extremely interesting about all that (at least to me!) is that according to a Honolulu Star article from November 14, 2017, the main candidate for the new facility is the current site of the animal quarantine facility. The article makes sure to mention that this facility is ALSO haunted! Part of the facility was built atop the old Halawa Naval Cemetery. It is believed that those buried in the cemetery, along with the traditional Hawaii Night Marchers who use this area as a route, haunt the quarantine station!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Witchy Wednesday: Blue Moon Edition

Today is a special day for lunar lovers! It is a rare Blue Moon AND Blood Moon/Total Lunar Eclipse rolled into one! And, since its Wednesday, I wanted to share this stunning picture. It's been shared around the internet so much that I cannot find its original source in order to give credit. If you know who created this beautiful representation of a full moon, let me know!

The next Blue Moon (second full moon within a calendar month) will occur on March 31, 2018. If you're interested in reading more about Blue Moons, check out this awesome article from EarthSky

Friday, January 26, 2018

Pt. Pleasant's Unlucky 13th Street

This local fright-bite comes from a March 13, 1895 edition of the Pt. Pleasant Weekly Register. The archived article can be found through the Chronicling America website, and tells quite a tale of a very extravagantly accessorized ghost, roaming around 13th Street, in the Third Ward area of Pt. Pleasant, WV. As an added side note to spooky history: Two of the original Mothman witnesses, Roger and Linda Scarberry, lived on 13th Street during the Mothman flap. About a month after seeing the creature in the TNT area, Linda reports that she saw it again on the roof of her home.

From Mothman Wikipedia

A man up in the Third Ward has seen a ghost, and no ordinary ghost either.  It was a woman, of course, and wore silk raiment and razzle-dazzle jewelry. Some time in the morning before dawn during last week an up-town citizen was passing through an alley ostensibly for a near-cut.  When he came near the crossing over Thirteenth Street he saw just a short distance ahead of him, an elegantly dressed woman, her clothing bedecked with silver bangles set with dazzling brilliants.  The apparition would not allow a near approach, as it faded out of sight before he got to it.  

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Fake News: A Weird Wednesday Collection

Fake News---This term has become quite the buzz word over the past year or so, almost to the point where you can't read the comment section of any news article without seeing it shouted at least once or twice. But, 'fake news' isn' I once read, many years ago, that newspapers would often publish completely fictitious news, under the guise of REAL news, to help drum up readership. I'm sure that most readers at the time had a pretty good understanding of what was real and what wasn't, just as contemporary readers can usually discern between actual news and the sensational stuff found in grocery store tabloids. They knew the difference between entertainment and what was actually going on in their community.  However, as modern readers go back and look at these vintage archives, it can be a tad confusing. WAS this actual news? Did the people of the time BELIEVE it to be real?  Just what the heck was going on?!?

I love looking through old newspaper archives, and many times, I find some really strange little gems! And while newspaper articles featuring fantastical stories can be found year round, even in our local publications, I recently noticed that quite a few were published in the month of January. January of 1914 was an especially weird month for some reason. 

I won't come out and say that any of these news stories are actually 'fake news,' but I will venture to assume that January has, historically, been a slow month for reporters here in the tri-state!

1. The Mountain Octopus:  The story of the Mountain Octopus appeared in local papers on January 11, 1946. A group of students in Thomas, WV, discovered several of the creatures in a local stream, and brought two back to school with them to show to staff/students. No one was ever quite sure how and why an ocean creature got (and survived) in our cold, freshwater streams of West Virginia.

2. Hungarian Woman Sought Murder Clue from Spirits: This strange story appeared in a Huntington, WV newspaper on January 23, 1914. A widow from Thurmond, WV made a stop in Huntington after traveling to Ohio to seek the services of a well-known medium. The woman was seeking information from the spirits concerning her husband's recent murder.

3. Meteor, or Bad Omen Over Huntington?:  Here's another weird story from Huntington, WV that appeared in the local paper on January 13, 1914. Around that time, a meteor was seen streaking over the skies of Huntington. However, a group of kids playing near the old C&O Hospital claimed that they saw the meteor then spell out a name in fire, and then morph into the image of a woman's face in the sky! 

4. Women in Hysterics as Ghost Runs Down Street: Although the account was published in a local paper on January 8, 1914, this tale actually comes from New York and is a humorous telling of how a prisoner on the loose with a sheet flung over his head terrorized some church ladies leaving a service. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Another FREE Online Parapsychology Course!

Once again, I am taking advantage of the awesome FREE online parapsychology courses offered in conjunction with the AZIRE Academy and the Parapsychology Foundation. This year's course, which is available through the WizIQ platform, is titled: Parapsychology: Research and Investigation (ParaMOOC2018).

The live class sessions started on January 22nd and opened with a wonderful overview of the program and how to use the WizIQ platform and additional resources. This live presentation, complete with a very active live chat, was presented by Dr. Nancy Zingrone and Dr. Carlos Alvarado.

Today, another live presentation was given by Robert McLuhan concerning a wonderful resource---The Psi Encyclopedia. The Psi Encyclopedia began in 2014 as an accurate and non-biased collection of articles and data concerning psychic research/parapsychology. It is maintained by the Society for Psychical Research and now boasts over 200 articles. There's even some information on poltergeists, ghosts, and hauntings that will be of interest to most readers here!

The next live lecture isn't until Thursday, and if you're interested in taking part, there is plenty of time to still join! All the live lectures are recorded, and the recordings are usually available within a few hours of the end of the live session. The organizers of this course also provide downloadable Powerpoint presentations to accompany the lectures, as well as additional readings and resources.  Recorded talks from previous courses are also available to watch at any time.

Needless to say, I am once again stoked to have this information available for free! There's a wonderful lineup of guest presenters and topics coming up within the next several weeks and I'll try to share as much information as I can, both here and over at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook. I'm also supplementing my studies with some reading from my personal library AND plenty of YouTube videos/lectures. I'll try to share some of those as well, too. Stay spooky ya'll...and come join me on this journey of learning!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Theresa and Bree Take on the Grave City Haunted Relic Expo!

I make it a New Year's Resolution every year to keep improving my knowledge and experience of the paranormal. To make that work, I try to read as much as I can, take classes--both online and in person, watch interesting documentaries, and my favorite: attend lectures, conferences, and other public events!  January has started off great, with a wonderful opportunity to network with other people in this field, get my website's name out there a little more, and to hear some wonderful speakers share their expertise. 

That opportunity came in the form of the Grave City Haunted Relic Expo!

The first annual Grave City Haunted Relic Expo was a three-hour event held on Saturday, January 20th, 2018 at the Sanford Center in Moundsville, WV. The expo was put on by Steve Hummel. Steve is a paranormal investigator, a member of Paranormal Quest, and the owner/curator of the Archive of the Afterlife Museum. You might remember that this past summer, Luke, Aaron, and I took a mini-vacation to Moundsville and visited the museum (located on the 2nd floor of the Sanford Center) for the first time. It was a really cool place, filled to the brim with haunted/possessed/cursed objects, funerary antiques, and much more. Read about our experience HERE

Anyway, I decided that it would be a great start to 2018 to attend this expo. I then took it a step further and signed up as a vendor! My main goal was simply to promote Theresa's Haunted History, but I made a few stationary sets, coasters, and other goodies to sell in hopes of breaking even on my table fee.
Dave Spinks

Luckily, my friend Bree was able to make the 3+ hour drive up to Moundsville with me, and was even nice enough to craft some beautiful hand-made dowsing rods to sell at our table. We left around lunchtime on Saturday and made the long trek up north. Once we got past Parkersburg, we had to leave the interstate and travel the rest of the way on two-lane roads. However, it was a beautiful drive, and we passed through a ton of quaint little historic towns.

Since we arrived before set-up time, we wanted to explore the city a little. We knew that the prison was closed for the season, so unfortunately we couldn't take a guided tour, but we did drive around it a few times. I love visiting the penitentiary and I love investigating the penitentiary even more. We have plans on returning in the near future for another investigation of this wonderful location. But, since we couldn't actually get in, we decided to drive out to the prison cemetery.

Doug Waller
The cemetery was surprisingly easy to find, but we were disappointed that we couldn't actually get to it! Last week, West Virginia got hit hard with winter weather and despite this weekend warming up considerably, the parking area for the cemetery was completely covered in a thick layer of snow, and the path to it across the stream was fully washed out. I just have a little Nissan Sentra, so there was no way I was going to attempt to park and wade across the ice cold water, lol.  But, at least when we come back next time, we'll know exactly where to go. 

But back to the expo itself!  The weather had thwarted our plans of exploration, so we got to the Sanford Center a little earlier than expected and went ahead in. We first went upstairs to take a peek around the Archive of the Afterlife Museum, which had undergone a few display changes since I had been there last. We then got the go-ahead to start setting up downstairs in the gym for the event. There were plenty of other paranormal teams/investigators and even lots of tables selling non-paranormal related merchandise to browse through. After getting set up and waiting for the speakers to start, we got in a few excellent minutes to talk with some of the other vendors/presenters/guests. 

The guest speaker line-up started right on time, at 6pm, kicking off with a talk by investigator Dave Spinks. Dave was followed by Doug Waller, a Bigfoot researcher with the Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation. Following Doug was Bill Baker of Mountain State Paranormal. A young man known only as The Mothman Historian then gave a talk on the history of Mothman and recent sightings before we broke for a brief intermission.
Bill Baker

During intermission, we had another chance to talk with so many wonderful people who were able to share their stories and experiences with us, learn a little about Theresa's Haunted History, and luckily, buy a little of our merch! Since this was a Haunted Relic expo, I brought two of my own haunted items for display, a Bible from 1816 and a locket of hair, sold to me as a memento mori. My mom is convinced the locket is haunted, and shortly after purchasing the Bible, we had a rash of unexplained occurrences in my home. No one picked up anything from the Bible, but several people who examined the locket were a little unnerved about its energy. 

The evening wrapped up with one last presentation. Steve and another member of his team gave a talk about their paranormal investigation experiences...but then also gave a really fascinating presentation on some of the museum's recent haunted acquisitions. By the time their talk had ended, it was 9pm and time to start packing up!

Overall, this was a great experience for me and a great way to start off a new year of paranormal fun. I enjoyed the speakers and their wide range of topics. I appreciated the fact that everything was right there in the same room---the vendors were set up around the perimeter of the gym, with chairs for guests in the middle, and a small stage upfront for speakers. One of the things I dislike about the Mothman Festival, is that if I'm there at my table, I cannot easily go down and watch the presentations. With this set-up, I could watch my booth AND watch the presentations. 
The Mothman Historian

Unfortunately, that did have a downside as couldn't really hear the speakers if the vendors were trying to talk. And, with only 3 hours of expo time, most of which was filled with back-to-back speakers, we vendors really didn't get a lot of free time to interact with visitors to the expo. For the next event, I would love to see a little more downtime between presentations, or even a little more time before or after the event, but other than that, it went surprisingly well, especially for a first-year event. Everyone was very nice and professional. I love talking to other paranormal enthusiasts about my favorite topic, and was thrilled that some people there were familiar already with my work. I was even more thrilled that we sold enough to pay for our table fee AND gas money to the event!

I would definitely recommend checking out any further events hosted by Steve, and hopefully, I'll be able to attend additional events as well. To keep up-to-date on future events, or if you want more information on the museum, which is open year round, you can follow the Archive of the Afterlife on Facebook.   

Stay Spooky, ya'll...and I'll catch ya again real soon.

Paranormal Quest