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!