Haunted Places index
New River/Greenbrier Valley
Apollo Theater, Martinsburg
The Apollo Theater was built in downtown Martinsburg in 1913. A collaboration between local architect Chapman E. Kent and nationally known Reginald Geare, the theater broke ground in April of that year and officially opened on January 19th, 1914. The Apollo is distinctly different from other theaters of the time period in the fact that although vaudeville shows were performed there regularly, the theater was specifically built in order to host the new motion picture craze sweeping the nation.
The first round of expansion and alterations came in 1920, and were overseen by Geare himself. Further improvements came in 1927, as the theater transitioned itself from the era of silent films into the era of the "talkies" by installing a sound system. Today, the theater hosts mainly stage productions.
It may also host a ghost...
During the 1920s, the theater was managed by a man by the name of Charlie. Many believe Charlie still sticks around. Visitors and actors alike often report smelling the strong scent of cigar smoke right before performances, especially during the autumn season.
Strangely, though, Charlie doesn't seem to be confined to the theater. A woman renting a nearby apartment noticed one day that while looking out the window, she could see the image of a man outside. The man was wearing a fedora pulled down low over his eyes, and had his jacket collar pulled up. Although the man was hunched over, she could still plainly see that he was smoking a cigar. Thinking that he was an actor from the Apollo's latest production, she was astonished to see him disappear before her eyes...prompting her to seek the advice of a local ghost hunter. She was informed that she had just witnessed the ghost of "Charlie," who in life, loved to stretch his legs by taking a quick stroll around the block from his beloved theater.
Frederick Hotel Building, Huntington
The Frederick Hotel was designed to be a showplace of opulence, issuing the Huntington area into the modern age. Ground was broken on March 1905, and construction officially started on June 22nd.
Opening to the public on November 12th, 1906, the hotel remained the premier place to stay until it closed in 1973. Built at a cost of $400,000 and furnished with the finest pieces available at an additional $100,000, it was definitely one of the most expensive hotels in the area. In 1907, rates ran $2.50 to $4.00 a day for a room. Notables such as Richard Nixon, Liberace, and Bob Hope all stayed at the hotel, as well as those coming to town to perform at the Keith Albee across the street.
Along with some famous names came some infamous as well, as rumors of organized crime came to the Frederick. Some believe that the rumored tunnel system of Huntington was used to ferry criminals and bootleg liquor around the city. Other rumors have a tunnel between the two buildings acting as a pathway for the Keith Albee performers. Unfortunately, despite adamant testimonials, there is no evidence of a tunnel connecting the Keith Albee and the Frederick Building.
There are, however, plenty of ghost stories attached to the building! The building, which now houses various offices and retail stores, has a wide variety of paranormal activity reported. Two children are said to be haunting the restaurant area, which during the early 60s served as the hotel's private men's club. The jangling of keys, footsteps, whispering voices, and even bloodcurdling screaming have been observed. There are even stories that have surfaced of a former resident of the hotel claiming that his room was haunted, and that the ghosts would keep him up at night arguing.
The most active areas do appear to be the restaurant area, and the sixth floor...a floor that renters quickly move back out of. With such a varied history and so many different experiences, this former grand hotel is still today a plethora of paranormal potential.
Keith Albee Theater, Huntington
Construction on 4th Avenue's Keith Albee Theater began in 1926 when A.B. Hyman consulted architect Thomas Lamb for plans to build a magnificent vaudeville theater for the people of Huntington. With the introduction of the the "talkie" "The Jazz Singer" in 1927, plans had to be tweaked, and the original budget of $250,000 was exhausted quickly.
The rococo style theater named for the Keith Albee vaudeville chain opened May 7, 1928 with vocalist Rae Samuels, several vaudeville acts, and a screening of "Good Morning Judge" with Reginald Denny. Opening day admission was 50 cents a person, and all 3000 original seats were filled.
Still in private operation despite financial difficulties, the 1937 flood, and various changes in the entertainment industry, the Keith Albee has also picked up the reputation of being one of the most haunted locations in the tri-state area. There have been a few verifable deaths in the building. Down in the basement, two electricians were electrocuted, and a maintenance man died in the modern projection room. There are also rumors that a homeless man taking shelter in the basement froze to death one winter under the stage area.
In fact, the areas of the deaths ARE reported to be some of the "hot spots" in the theater. Movement and shadows are often seen in the projection room where the maintenance man has died, and the basement, and its legends of the tunnel system have long been the source of ghostlore.
However, the most famous ghost in the theater is no doubt the Lady in Red. The Lady in Red is seen in the mezzanine level ladies' room. A mirrored parlour leading into the restroom is said to be her favorite locale, but she has also been seen wandering around the rest of the mezzanine. She is described as wearing a 1940s style red fancy dress and high heeled shoes. Another Keith Albee ghost tends to stay in the area of the basement level ladies' room. Visitors to this restroom often report the feelings of someone watching them, and following them down the stairs into the restroom. Unlike the Lady in Red, this resident ethereal is heard and felt, rather than seen.
HPIR investigated this location in the fall of 2007. Please see the logo for investigation details, and additional history!
Witch's Grave, Mannington
Located in Marion County, the small community of Mannington County hosts one of WV's most popular urban legends: The Witch's Grave at Highland Cemetery.
Highland Cemetery and its chapel sit off a rural road deep in Marion County. Abandoned for years, the chapel itself has its own legends. Locals tell of a Satanic cult that used the chapel for worship. Visitors and thrill seekers to the chapel noted a stark absence of crosses and Christian iconography throughout the chapel, in addition to a sense of creepiness and unease. An attendance bulletin board is rumored to read the same number as the number of people in the visiting party, changed with each new group by unseen, and possibly, unhuman hands.
Perhaps the abandoned chapel became a hub of alleged Satanic activity due to a much older urban legend surrounding one of the interred citizens of the cemetery. Highland Cemetery is reported to be the final resting spot of Fairmont's most famous witch.
The lady in question goes by many variations of name. Zelda, Sarah Jane, Serlinda Jane, and simply, the Witch of Highland, are among the many variations. Her tombstone, however, reads something to the affect of Serilda Jane Whetzel, date of death: May 29th, 1909.
Legend states that Ms. Whetzel's tombstone is upside down, and contains the imagery of a staircase descending down into the fiery mouth of a demon. Although buried in what was a Christian burial ground, Ms. Whetzel had her tombstone faced away from the rest of the flock in obvious defiance. The witch herself, along with a gentleman, often referred to as a warlock, have been seen in the vicinty of the grave, and quickly disappear when approached.
Although seemingly unbelievable, there is a grain of truth in these stories. The tombstone itself IS quite strange. Firstly, it DOES face away from the rest of the stones in the cemetery. However, it is obvious that the tombstone has been knocked down, and replaced in a new position. According to locals, any attempt to restore the stone to its original position is met with opposition from local vandals, quick to undo the work.
Secondly, there is a staircase motif carved on Ms. Whetzel's tomb. Generally, staircases in tombstone symbolism represent the passage into Heaven. These are often accompanied by weeping willow trees in the background, symbolizing mourning. Due to stone weathering and a slightly off-kilter perspective, it DOES give the illusion that the staircase is not ascending into Heaven, but DESCENDING into something not as pleasant! Today, services are once again being held in the small chapel, so please be respective and obey all laws if visiting the cemetery.
And please see the following video, shot by cemeterytan at YouTube! An excellent collection of images from the cemetery and chapel, including a close up of "The Witch's Grave."
Undisclosed Home, Putnam County
This 100+ year old farmhouse sits in the bend of one of Putnam County's darker, more dangerous roads. Uninhabited for many years, this house became the source of legends for many a young person out legend tripping.
When I was in middle school, a friend was telling my mom and I about the location and its many tales. According to anecdotal evidence, this home was once used by local kids dabbling into the occult and Satanism. Because of these activities, not only the house, but the road running in front of it is said to be haunted.
In one particularly disturbing tale, an acquaintance was traveling the road late at night, and has he approached the home, he saw something in the road. It was a little girl, no more than five years old, wearing a blue dress. He swerved to miss her and ended up crashing his car, completely totalling it against the rocky outcropping.
My mom, ever the skeptic, decided we'd go drive by the location and see what would happen. As we drove past the house, the perfectly clear evening produced a large ball of fog. The fog literally came up from the hill where the house was located, paused in front of the car, and did not dissipate until we (my friend and myself) started screaming for my mom to get the hell out of there, lol. The fog was dense, and only covered about a foot square area. It hung fairly low to the ground---about the height of a small child.
Several years after that, my grandma came to visit, and we got to talking ghost tales...and decided to take her out to the location to see if that same fog would emerge. It didn't...but in its place were the strangest lights I have ever seen. You could see the headlights of our car making a specific pattern as they hit the cliff on the opposite side of the road. However, these lights...which I kid you not, were shaped like SHOE PRINTS...came flying up over the embankment where the home was, across the road in front of our car, and up the cliff on the other side and into the woods. There was a line of about 10 or 12 of these cartoony shoe print shapes.
Flash forward to another several years past that, and my mom, an educational diagnostician, was testing a student at one of the local schools. Somehow, they started talking about ghostly legends, and this student told my mom another interesting tale from the immediate area.
The student's family lived nearby this particular home, but also old home, where an elderly couple resided. The family would often look in on the couple, and bring them food and supplies. One day, they went to check on them, and the husband was not there. The wife kept repeating that he was gone...out in the woods...with them. Thinking the statement odd, but figuring he was just out, the family waited a few days and came back to check on them again. This time, they found the woman to be missing. The incident was reported, but neither the man nor woman were ever seen again.
Guyandotte's Lady in Black
From the Huntington Quarterly Magazine:
Perhaps the earliest published local account of the supernatural is contained in the Huntington Advertiser for September 23, 1905 in an article titled "Guyandotte Inhabited by Ghost." At the time, Guyandotte, then nearly a century old, was a sleepy little river town located two to three miles east of Huntington.
The article reports that for the past few nights, Guyandotte residents "have been considerably worked up over the persistent and mysterious appearance of a ghost dressed in the black habit of a woman in mourning."
The story states that the ghost "frequents North Bridge and Short Streets where the shade is the thickest and the gloom and stillness give to the surroundings the appearance of a most desirable stop...selected by goblins and spirits to prowl."
The ghost is described as having "the appearance of a woman dressed in the deepest shade of black," and when pedestrians are passing along the above named streets, she walks up behind and keeps pace with them whether they walk fast or slow or, if they stop, she also will stop. It adds that the spirit continues this pace until the pedestrians reach better-lighted streets when she disappears. Most Guyandotte women avoided the area after several had encountered "the mysterious personage."
Several nights before, as a man was on his way home and was walking along one of the haunted streets, "the lady in black approached him from behind," says the story. It adds that the man thought it was someone wishing for him to stop, so he waited for her, but when she got close to him she also stopped. He tried to speak to her but she did not utter a word and kept her distance from him. He then resumed walking with the ghost following behind him. He walked faster and she followed. Then he stopped and so did she. At about this time, he began to get cold chills up his back and he tried to think of a way to escape from the apparition but it was useless. Finally he started to run for home and looking back, he found the woman pursuer close behind him. When he arrived within a block of his home, "the report goes that the neighbors were awakened by the loud yells in a masculine voice calling to his wife to open the door
Whether the ghost of "the lady in black" ever reappeared to stalk desolate Guyandotte streets is not known.
Morris Memorial, Milton
In 1928, Walter T. Morris, an unmarried farmer in the Milton area, had a life-changing experience. His beloved niece was diagnosed with infantile paralysis...otherwise known as polio. For many months, the family was emotionally exhausted. However, proper care allowed Morris' niece a chance at a normal life.
So impressed with her medical care, and recognizing a need for such in the Cabell County area, Morris deeded his 200 acre farm in 1930 for use as a facility for crippled children. At first, the Morris home was used to treat a handful of patients, until construction on the sandstone structure of today was begun in 1936.
Hundreds of children received care at this state of the art facility, complete with auditorium, full service kitchen, and even a school staffed by the Cabell County Board of Education. However, when Salk discovered the polio vaccine in 1955, the hospital was no longer needed. In 1958, John and Rose Green took ownership and opened up a nursing and convalescence home on site.
Today, the building is largely abandoned, and its fate sits in limbo. Possibly, the fate is not ALL that sits in limbo at this massive structure. The hospital is widely known to be haunted...a reputation it seemingly acquired during its time as a nursing home. Former staff members report eerie feelings and paranormal activity in the basement, the chapel, and the south wing in particular. Shadows have been seen out of the corner of one's eye, and apparitions of patients (or former patients) vanish in hallways.
During a brief visit to the hospital grounds, HPIR caught an interesting photo! Please follow the link found in our logo below to see the photo in question and decide for yourself...is Morris Memorial REALLY uninhabited.
Camden Park, West Huntington (Wayne Co.)
Camden Park officially opened in 1903 as a picnic and recreation area along the Camden Interstate Railway streetcar line. The rail line, owned and operated by Sen. Johnson Newlon Camden of Parkersburg, ran between Huntington and Ashland.
Camden got the idea that a picnic area would draw additional patronage to the rail line, and thus, Camden Park was born. By 1907, the park's first real ride was installed--the historic carousel, and by 1910, the number of rides had grown to seven, plus a community swimming pool. That year, Col. E.G. Via was hired to manage the facility.
Six years later, Via purchased the park from the streetcar company, and continued to operate it until his death in 1946. That year, the park was up to nine rides, and was purchased by John Boylin, Sr.
Boylin owned and managed the park until 1980, and made many improvements and additions. In 1958, the Big Dipper, one of the only wooden coasters left of its kind, was installed. That was also the year the Cabaret Room, which hosted dances and band performances burned to the ground, replaced a year later by the roller rink.
Unfortunately, the group of Virginia investors who took control of the park in 1980 let the park run into disrepair. The park was poorly managed, and the investors owed a lot of money, much of it to the Boylin family, who still owned the land. In 1995, the John Boylin, Jr., along with his wife and son, take over management of the park and begin to help clean things up. Today, the park is run by Jack Boylin, grandson of John Boylin, Sr.
Over the years, the park has picked up the reputation for being haunted. Located within the park property is an Adena Indian burial mound, which has never been excavated. The mound is the only one left of its kind in the area, and is the third largest in the state. Because of the location of the park, it is rumored to be haunted by Native American spirits. One witness reports seeing the apparition of one Native American chasing the apparition of another, while carrying a knife.
The Big Dipper also has had its share of reported apparitions. A woman's figure is sometimes reported seated in the last car of the wooden coaster.
Borland Springs Hotel, Borland
The former Borland Springs Hotel was built by John Wilbur (J.W.) Grimm in 1908. Grimm, who was born in Pennsylvania on September 22, 1866, built the hotel atop a 240 acre property straddling Wood and Pleasants Counties. When opened, the inn boasted 65 guest rooms, a dining room seating 90, and ample recreational opportunities. However, it was for the healing benefits of the mineral springs that led to its popularity, and at weekly rates of $12-14, including meals, it was affordable for the majority of the population. In addition to services as a resort, Borland Springs also sold its healing spring water through mail order and local stores.
Business did well until August 16, 1918. That year, Grimm's oldest son, Frank Chandis Grimm, shot and killed 20 year old John Maidens in the spring house. Allegedly the murder was over a love triangle involving a Miss Pearson. It is said that in the spring house, which often hosted dances and other social events, the blood stain of Mr. Maidens remained for years.
Shortly after the murder, guests began to report strange noises and other odd happenings around the hotel. Business also took a turn for the worse, and finally, Grimm sold the hotel in 1932 to C.T. Leavitt, a local from Parkersburg. Leavitt did extensive restorations on the declining hotel, including redoing the blood-stained spring house. He reopened the resort in 1934, and operated it until 1938. Hard times required the hotel to temporarily shut down, reopening in 1940-1941, when it was shut down permanently.
By the early 1950s, the former hotel served as a massive chicken coop before burning to the ground in 1967. Today, the property sits outside of the Mountwood Park campgrounds, and is still rumored to be haunted. Did the spirit of John Maidens "curse" the once prosperous hotel, now doomed to walk the property for an eternity, or does the spirit of former owner, J.W. Grimm (who died in 1955 at nearby Camden Clark Hospital) show up to express his displeasure at the fate of his former resort?
Dutch Hollow Wine Cellars, Dunbar
Prior to the Civil War, the state of West Virginia proved to be a profitable location for wine making. In 1860, Tom Friend took advantage of this opportunity, and started a vineyard on land reported to have once been owned by George Washington, off of what is today Dutch Hollow Road in Dunbar.
The wine was produced right on the property, and three wine cellars were constructed out of stone mountain to cool and age the wine. The wine was then taken to Charleston by ox cart, where it was then transported to Cincinnati by way of steamboat. The vineyards were first populated by the Catawba grapes, but it was soon afterward discovered that this particular variety did poorly in the climate, and was quickly replaced with Concords and Seedlings.
In three short years (six by some accounts, those same accounts stating that the wine cellars were actually carved out in 1855), the Civil War had put a damper on wine production in this part of the state. The cost of labor became too high to turn a profit, and the vineyard was shut down and abandoned. By 1870, ALL vineyards in the Kanawha County area were facing stiff competition from vineyards in Virginia and Ohio, and by 1904, only one vineyard, located in the Northern part of the state, was listed as operational.
However, even though it is fact that the wine making industry took a turn for the worse throughout the state of West Virginia, there is another theory as to why the Dutch Hollow Wine Cellars were in operation for such a short period of time. It is believed that they were instrumental in use as part of the Underground Railroad. This theory is further supported by the fact that the nearby town of Institute has a strong history of abolitionist ties and African-American history. Please see my Weird History page for the tale of Samuel Cabell.
The only thing that remains of this brief period in history are the three interconnected wine cellars. In 1970, the site, which was on property owned by the Robert Given family, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At that time, the wine cellars had been abandoned for over 100 years, and were largely grown up with weeds and brush. Although no pictures exist of the original wine cellars, it is believed that they had never been altered from their original state.
The cellars were restored in 1981 and today, the area is now a county park. Further restorations were performed by Paul Marshall, a local architect, in 1997. These restorations may have stirred up memories from the cellars' past. Perhaps it is because of some undocumented event in the unknown history of the cellars' use following the Civil War, but the area is reported to be haunted. Visitors to the cellars often report anomalies on their film, cold spots, mists, and feelings of unease.
Building on this atmosphere, the First Baptist Church of Dunbar would hold a "Haunted Hollow" attraction each Halloween season. In 2000, the city of Dunbar, which owns the park, was sued by two Wiccan residents over the issue of separation of church and state. The judge found in favor of the city, but afterward, they did place a disclaimer up at the attraction saying that the church's views did not necessarily represent those of the city.
Update-November 2010: I spoke with a visitor to the wine cellars who actually does have a set of two digital photographs from the cellars that shows a full bodied apparition anomaly, outlined against the stone. I have not seen the photos personally, but the first is said to show a woman appearing to be holding a baby or small child, accompanied by another small child to her side. The follow-up photo taken moments later again captures the image of the woman, in a different pose, but the child is missing. If you have any stories or pictures of a similar nature, I'd LOVE to hear them!
John Gamble's Ghost, Paden City
West Virginia is famous for not one, but TWO court cases involving testimony from beyond the grave. While most people are well aware of the story of the Greenbrier Ghost, many people are unfamiliar with this case...a case that had a VERY drastically different outcome!
John Gamble was a carpenter from Pennsylvania who came to the Paden City area around 1850, when he was thirty-six years old. He bought 50.5 acres and settled along the Ohio River. Being the great entrepreneur that he was, Paden quickly found a niche in the river trading industry, trading wagon parts, livestock, and many other goods.
That year, he sold a wagon to the Whiteman Brothers, who also lived along the Ohio River. He accepted a $20 IOU as payment, and then later, bought a calf from a Mr. Leb Mercer. Gamble paid the entire price of the calf, save for $2.
Autumn soon arrived, and it proved to be a great year for apples in that part of West Virginia. Again, banking on his entrepreneurial skills, Gamble got involved in the cider making business. Short on barrels one day, he took his skiff to nearby New Martinsville for more.
On his return trip from New Martinsburg, he stopped by the Whiteman farm to collect his IOU. The Whiteman brothers still could not pay, and at the time, were receiving another visitor---Leb Mercer. Since IOUs were being discussed, Mercer asked Gamble if he could pay him the $2 HE was owed. Gamble pulled out a $5 bill, but Mercer did not have any change, and asked Gamble if that was all the money he had. Gamble foolishly disclosed that he had over $200 cash on him, but no bills smaller than a $5.
Gamble left the farm, and pushed off down the river on his skiff. It was the last anyone would see him......until the following Fall. John Hindman, a citizen of New Martinsville, was in town attending a corn husking on Point Pleasant Ridge. When it was time to leave, he and his friends split up. It was their intent to each take a different route home to see which was the best way to go. Hindman took the path along the Ohio River, known as Gamble Run.
It was on this path by the light of the moon that Hindman saw a figure of a man step out in front of him. The man spoke to him, saying, "I am John Gamble. Leb Mercer killed me. Take him up and have justice done." The figure then disappeared, and Hindman ran all the way back into town. It wasn't until the next day that he told his story. He described the apparition, and even though he had never known or seen John Gamble while he was alive, was able to accurately describe his clothes, his speech, and other characteristics.
The townsfolk got to talking, and many believed the boy's story. It was also reported that Leb Mercer was seen "moving towards" Gamble as he left the Whiteman farm. Therefore, that year, a Wetzel County Grand Jury decided to investigate the case. It was further discovered that Leb had the missing IOU for the wagon on him. His own mother even testified that the night John Gamble went missing, her son arrived home at 2am, wet and covered with mud.
Leb Mercer was arrested on first degree murder charges, and the case went to trial in 1854. The defense attorney, desperate for a course of action, claimed that since the only witness to the crime was John Gamble, and that it was the ghost of John Gamble who pointed the finger at Mercer, then he should be called in to testify,
In a move that baffled everyone, the judge agreed. The ghost was called in to testify, and when he failed to appear, he was charged in contempt of court, and Leb Mercer was ultimately acquitted. He later moved to the town of St. Mary's, where he was often seen acting strangely and muttering to himself.
At least....that's the tale folklore has provided over the years, and which is recorded in The History of Wetzel County by John McEldowney. Unfortunately, the story cannot be verified, nor disproved, as many records, including the court transcripts from this case, were lost or destroyed before 1900. The ghost of John Gamble has never been seen again. However, he may still be out there, on Gamble's Run, waiting for a court summons that will never be delivered.
State Industrial School for Colored Girls, Huntington
Located directly behind the Route 60 Walmart in Huntington, the State Industrial School for Colored Girls was built in 1924 on property owned by the WV Colored Children's Home. The facility was the first in the state for African American girls. Previously, delinquent girls of color were sent to the state industrial school at Salem. However, this presented a problem, as at the time, white girls and black girls were required to be housed separately and attend classes at different times. Fannie Cobb Carter, Charleston native, and graduate of Storer College, was the school's first Superintendent.
In 1956, both the WV Colored Children's Home and the Industrial Home for Colored Girls were officially closed as a result of the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education court case, and many of the girls were transferred to other facilities in the state. By 1961, the entire property was sold to Marshall University. The Colored Children's Home was used as married student housing under the University Heights name, and the industrial school was used off and on for housing and other things.
There are plenty of legends surrounding both buildings, but most of the legends center on the Industrial School, as so little is actually known about its operation and history. Consequently, it is this building that gets the most haunted reputation. Locals tell tales of the building being used as a home for pregnant girls, where many abortions took place. While there were likely some pregnant girls who did attend the school, I have found nothing to verify that abortions were commonplace and conducted on the facility grounds. In any event, visitors to the now unoccupied building have reported hearing screaming, crying, and paranormal activity of nearly every type. Many people who believe they are sensitive to the paranormal report that there is an overwhelming sense of evil surrounding the building.
After hearing various reports, and a member of HPIR capturing a weird image on film from the location, we decided to head out to the property and do a mini-investigation of the outside only. It was uneventful, until a concerned neighbor called the authorities! However, it was a blessing in disguise, as one of the officers shared plenty of his own experiences with us, and even shared a little something strange that had happened earlier while on a call to a possible break-in at the facility, where a window seemingly shut itself.
I wouldn't advise anyone visiting this site, even during the day, without written permission from Marshall University. The inside is extremely unsafe, as the building is being allowed to fall into disrepair, and there is still a legal issue over the sale of the property.
Note: The Industrial School for Colored Boys was located in Lakin, near Pt. Pleasant. Read about the ghosts of Lakin, also at Theresa's Haunted History!
*This location has been torn down as of March 2010*
St. Joseph's Hospital, Parkersburg
St. Joseph's is West Virginia's second oldest Catholic hospital. It was established in 1900 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, out of Wheeling, WV. The sisters were asked to come to Parkersburg to set up the Catholic hospital by Father Hickey and Dr. John H. Kelley, of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.
Five years later, the sisters had set up a nursing school in the hospital, and by 1930, the building had expanded into the facility seen in the photo above.
With its 109 year history, the hospital has picked up a few ghost stories. The activity seems to concentrate on the 4-South section of the hospital, and usually at night. Trash cans over turning seem to be the most common activity reported, but the occasional scream coming from an empty room is also reported.
Staff have also witnessed objects being thrown at them in the boiler room, electrical disturbances, and other various types of paranormal activity.
Southside K-Mart, Parkersburg
The Southside K-Mart sits on Division Street in Parkersburg, and was built in the mid 1970s. Several years prior, a home stood close to the property. Two teenage boys, after a family squabble, were found guilty of setting the home ablaze, and killing several family members. The boys were tried, the property razed, and the new retail store was put in.
However, that's not where the story ends, allegedly...
Overnight stock crews and other graveyard shift personnel have reported a host of paranormal activity, which they seem to blame on the arson/murders. The store is home to poltergeist type of activity, such as merchandise waiting in carts ready to be stocked finding itself on the shelves when no one is around. On the other hand, merchandise is also sometimes pulled OFF shelves, and found stacked neatly in the center of aisles. Carts and other items move by themselves on a fairly regular basis, but the spookiest haunting tales come from the audio disturbances.
Workers routinely report hearing a phantom radio play. The radio plays a variety of music, news, and even ballgames, but they are always from many years ago. Even more eerie is the disembodied voice that comes over the intercom. It is the voice of a woman. Her voice, which is reported as sounding as if its coming from far away, or even under water, cannot be heard clearly, yet its apparent to witnesses that she seems pitiful, and almost as if in distress.
Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital, Huntington
Now known as the Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital (named for Dr. Mildred Mitchell Bateman and dedicated October 2, 1999), the massive psychiatric hospital on Norway Avenue began life in 1897 as the Home for Incurables. It would later be simply known as Huntington State Hospital.
In the 1950s, the hospital was under deep scrutiny for its overcrowding, under staffing, and lack of sanitary, modern equipment and facilities. Patients were segregated only by gender, and never by diagnosis. Two staff members were assigned to up to 80 patients at a time, and the children's ward was accessible only by a steep, twisting metal ladder. Resources were lacking, and patients had to share only a few washbasins between them.
However, nothing could prepare the hospital for the devastation that it would come to on November 26, 1952. That night around 7pm, fire broke out in the basement of Ward Four, which housed women and children. The fire burned for two hours before it was contained, and many of the children had to be carried by hand down the steep, twisted ladder.
When the fire was finally extinguished, many of the patients gathered in the kitchen, which was housed in a separate building. The staff had tripped the locks so that the patients could flee on their own, yet 14 souls were still lost that night. 9 women and 5 girls under the age of 14 perished in the fire, which led to further outcry for funding for the hospital.
Today, it is these unfortunate souls lost in the fire, plus many others who spent their last, pitiful days in the hospital's darker history, who are still believed to walk its halls. Many reports of apparitions come directly from staff members, including a man who is seen walking into room 306, a woman wearing distinct red shoes seen walking towards where the former morgue was kept, and the shadowy figure of someone hanging and swinging in the same spot where a patient took his life in the same manner. Shadowy figures have also been seen in the present kitchen area, and doors are known to slam shut on their own accord.
The hospital sits directly across from Springhill Cemetery, and it is believed that the cemetery is also haunted by the unfortunate souls of those who passed away at the hospital, unclaimed by family members, only to be buried in the pauper section of the cemetery.
Weirton Medical Center, Weirton
The Weirton Medical Center is located in Brooke County. Founded in 1953, the original hospital opened as Weirton General Hospital, and was located just north of town in the Weircrest area.
By 1978, the need for a new facility was met when the late Michael Starvaggi, President of Starvaggi Industries, donated 20 acres of land along the WV/Ohio border. Today, the Weirton Medical Center has expanded into a 23 acre campus with 238 beds. It is a not-for-profit acute care center serving families in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
It also seems to serve the needs of several ghosts...
The hospital is home to a host of various paranormal activities, including objects moving on their own accord, electronic disturbances, including electronic equipment being turned on by itself, and people reportedly being touched, poked, and slapped by unseen hands. Witnesses have also reported several apparitions, seen both on security cameras, and with the naked eye. One such apparition is a younger female wearing a pink gown. She is most often seen in Operating Rooms 5 and 6, but also in the surgery supply room.
A second apparition is that of the "Whistling Man." Seen in work boots, jeans, and a flannel shirt, this whistling apparition haunts the laundry area of the hospital, and is believed to be a former employee of the city dump, which sat on the land now occupied by the hospital.
Perhaps the most disturbing manifestation, however, is not of the apparitions, or even of the physical contact by the alleged entities...perhaps it comes from the EVP evidence collected in the morgue by a former security guard. Armed with a tape recorder, a guard captured a voice clearly saying "Help."
Info as reported by Rob Denham to WVGhosts
Thomas Memorial Hospital, South Charleston
Thomas Memorial Hospital officially opened on Monday, December 9, 1946 after a shortage of hospital space in the area led to the need for a new facility. At opening, the facility was still short-staffed, especially in regards to nurses, preventing the initial opening of the 2nd Floor North Wing. D.B. Benedict was elected president of the Board of Trustees, and A.L. Bailey, administrator for the hospital. The chief of staff was Dr. J. Ross Hunter, and Mrs. Mary B. Whitten was named superintendent of nurses.
Thomas Memorial was named in honor of Herbert J. Thomas, Jr. Thomas was a Marine killed in action in the Pacific Theater. He was the first West Virginian to be named a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (a title he received posthumously) for throwing himself atop a grenade in order to save his fellow soldiers. Thomas was a native of South Charleston, and is buried in nearby Sunset Memorial Park.
Today, Thomas Memorial has expanded exponentially from the original 35 beds made public in December 1946. It is a not-for-profit facility, which boasts many firsts, including the first hospital in WV to provide a nursery for premature babies, and the first in the state to allow fathers in the delivery room.
This family-friendly facility may also have a ghost. Nurses often report that the death of a patient is marked by a mysterious blue orb of light seen bouncing down the hall, and either into, or out of, the patient's room. And, as in many hospitals, there are also reports of call buttons being pressed in empty rooms, especially those where a patient has just died, and even the occasional report of an apparition of a recently deceased patient.
Are these the products of overworked, over-imaginative hospital staff...or the last goodbyes to them by the patients they so lovingly cared for in their final hours?
Ikie/Ike's Tomb, Arvilla
The tiny town of Arvilla is located in rural Pleasants County...and is home to one of the most bizarre cemetery legends in the state.
In 1896, Emma J. Gorrell and Kenneth Mooring were married, and that year, had a son, whom they named Ikie. Ikie passed away on March 4, 1904, when he was only seven years old. Originally, he was buried on property owned by Rollah Mahan, and then was later moved to Mount Welcome Cemetery. It is said the casket he was buried in on the Mahan Farm was converted into a water trough for the animals.
Ikie was interred in a 10x10 mausoleum, complete with a glass enclosure, and containing a glass door and glass windows. That much is fact...however, this is where the legends start cropping up. Ikie's mother apparently buried her son with his tricycle, and plenty of toys and school books to keep him occupied.
It is believed that two other children were buried in the vault, and their bodies preserved in stone jars. After dogs had busted the door down, and allegedly dragged the bodies out, they were reburied alongside the structure. Ikie's new, and presumably final, burial spot is clearly marked, but two other graves along side it are NOT of children, but of other members of the Gorrell family.
The legends continue to get even stranger...it is said that the mother would come to the mausoleum daily in order to be with her child. Eventually, she passed away...many believe she died of exposure as a result of sleeping over at the tomb overnight in inclement weather. It is also said that the mother would often come to the vault to clean it, and as she cleaned, she would hang the bodies of the three children from a nearby tree.
In any event, visitors to the rural cemetery believe that Emma Gorrell Mooring still walks the cemetery at night, visiting her child(ren).
Ike's Tomb was featured in a 2003 issue of GoldenSeal magazine, and this site offers some EXCELLENT history and photos!
Plum Orchard Lake
Plum Orchard Lake is a man-made lake located in the Plum Orchard Wildlife Management Area of Fayette County. The 202 acre lake with 6.5 miles of shoreline is nestled between Haystack and Packs Mountains. The lake has a maximum depth of 40 feet, with an average of only 15 feet. Created in 1962 by damming Plum Orchard Creek, the lake offers excellent fishing, even being called the best bluegill hole in the Eastern U.S.
However, the Wildlife Management area, established in 1960, offers more than just local flora and fauna...it offers the ghostly apparition of a woman known as "The Beech Bottom Lady."
The Beech Bottom Lady is seen roaming the area around the Beech Bottom campground section of the WMA. It is believed that this lady, dubbed Isabelle, is searching for her husband who drowned in the lake. When this story first hit the internet, the date given for the death of the husband was 1936, which didn't mesh with the fact that the lake was not in existence prior to 1962. However, since there hasn't been any incidents in the lake's 47 year history that support the story, it IS possible that the legend stems from when Plum Orchard Creek was the main body of water in the area.
Reese's Run Road, Lumberport
About four years (2005) ago I was dating a guy who lived in the small town of Lumberport, WV, located just outside of Bridgeport in Harrison County. One night while out driving, he took me to a local legend tripping spot called Reeses Run Road. Reese's Run Road is a small back hollow, located closer to the town of Robey, and branches off from the section of Rt. 19 called Crooked Run.
At the time, I didn't realize that this area of country had a sinister reputation, and thus, had become a popular hang out for the younger crowd in search of a good scare.
The story I was told was that a few years prior, a girl was beaten and abused at a Harrison County apartment, and then taken out to a specific spot off this road, assaulted some more, shot in the head, and then left for dead by her boyfriend and possibly at least two other people. We pulled into a small parking area near a large tree, and I was told this was where her body was found.
The area did give off a creepy vibe, and the entire time we were out there, all I wanted to do was get back to civilization! It really did feel like someone was out there watching our every move. A thick blanket of fog didn't help matters.
Busy with other things, and separating from this guy a few months later, I pretty much forgot about Reeses Run and moved on. Then, I happened to stumble upon a viewer submission of a haunted location on a popular website...and the location just happened to be Reeses Run Road!
My interest again sparked, I did some minor digging into the legend and found out some interesting things. I found about 5 different versions of the story I had been told, but they all basically followed the same format. In one legend, the girl was taken here and beaten, and then later murdered in an apartment in the Fairmont area. Another legend states that the girl was a teenager out on a date with her boyfriend, and was parked near a tree off this road--a popular make out spot in the mid-1990s. The boyfriend asked her if she wanted to see something cool...so she said yes, and he shot her in the face and dumped her body. The boyfriend called friends to confess, and then went to an apartment in Shinnston where he committed suicide.
Another common thread I've found in all these stories is that the girl's name seems to be Debbie Buck. Interestingly, I did manage to find a listing in the Lumberport directory for a Debbie Buck, aged 52. As of this date, however, I have not been able to find any documentation online about a murder in this area, or if there is a death certificate for another Debbie Buck in the county.
If you have any additional information, please pass it along!
Former Watt Powell Park, Kanawha City
Professional baseball has had a long, but rocky history in Charleston. In 1910, the first professional baseball team, the Statesmen, played two seasons at Werhele Park, which was located on the corner of Ruffner and Virginia Streets. After a two year period of no professional team, the newly formed Senators played another three seasons, also at Werhele Park.
Unfortunately, following this three season run, Charleston was without a professional baseball team for the next 14 years. However, in an effort to keep interest up in local sports, and to hopefully attract a new pro league, two local citizens joined forces. In 1917, Charles Beers and Watt Powell funded a new park to replace the aging Werhele Park, and make room for new urban development. The new wooden park was moved to Kanawha City and aptly named Kanawha Park. Seating 3500, it would eventually come to be known as Exhibition Park.
By 1931, pro ball was back in Charleston with a return of the Senators, who made their home at the Kanawha Park. In 1939, a fire at the wooden park destroyed the grandstands, forcing the team to play many of its home games out of town. This turn of events would be the start of another rocky period. By 1943, Charleston once again lost its professional league, and the following year, the entire Kanawha Park was consumed totally by a second fire. The fire and the effects of World War II would put things on hiatus.
It would be four years later before efforts were once again made to bring professional baseball back to Charleston. In August of 1948, Watt Powell once again took an active role, and with the help of a $350,000 government bond, financed the building of a new and improved park. The new ballpark held its opening night on April 28, 1949, and once again, saw the Senators as the home team, now under the Class A Central League. Sadly, Watt Powell passed away a mere two months before opening night, and the park was dedicated and named in his honor. The new park seated 4,474 when first built, and was renowned for its picturesque mountain backdrop.
The Senators would play at Watt Powell Park, both under the Class A Central League, and then the AAA American Association until 1960. In 1961, they were replaced by the Charleston Marlins under the AAA International League, followed by the Charleston Indians of the AAA Eastern League until 1964.
After 1964, Charleston was once again without a professional baseball league, until the franchise was purchased in 1971. Named the Charleston Charlies after the owner's father, the team played in the AAA International League until 1983. After another brief hiatus, pro ball once again returned in 1987 with the Charleston Wheelers, later named the Alley Cats, in the Class A South Atlantic League.
As early as 1993, the aging park was rumored to be replaced, and in 2005, the Alley Cats moved out of the old park, changed their name to the Charleston Power, and moved into their new park in downtown Charleston. By late 2005, the grandstands had already been demolished, and the entire park, save for the stadium lights, was gone by mid-2006. The land was sold to the University of Charleston, who then sold 2/3 of the property to Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC).
Before the grandstands were torn down, many visitors to the park were convinced the area was home to a ghost. Witnesses reported seeing an older man sitting alone in the stands. When they looked away, and then looked back, the man had vanished. With the stands gone, the identity of the spectator specter may never be known, but there are plenty of theories.
The most popular explanation is that the man was an elderly citizen who never missed a game. The man, who passed away in the late 1990s, continued his love of the game, well into his afterlife. Apparently he has been positively identified by witnesses who knew the man in life.
Another theory is that this is possibly the spirit of Watt Powell himself. Watt Powell was a dedicated baseball fan, putting his time and money into building a Charleston landmark, which he would never get to see finished. Has Mr. Powell returned to watch over his beloved park, a task he never got to complete in life? One last theory is that this entity is the ghost of someone killed on the bordering CSX train tracks. The train tracks, which ran right up against the field, were a popular spot for spectators to enjoy the game without purchasing a ticket. As late as 1995, there was a makeshift memorial set up near the tracks within sight of the baseball diamond.
Today, part of the property formerly housing the park is now home to the University of Charleston's softball team's field. Perhaps whoever the ghostly visitor to Watt Powell is will be drawn out by the love of the game, and begin attending softball games!
Dunlop Hollow, Charleston
Dunlop Hollow is a small, gravel trail/road off the main road running through Kanawha State Forest, coming from the Loudendale entrance. To get to this site, follow the signs towards Campsites 3-5 (not Campsite 35 as listed elsewhere), until you see the Dunlop Hollow sign on your right. Dunlop Hollow itself is gated off to vehicle traffic, and a large creek actually runs through the middle of the road. However, a small footbridge leads across the creek and into a small camping and picnic area at the mouth of the hollow.
Several years ago, several witnesses were in this area on June 17, when they saw a frightening apparition. Standing near the large boulder which sits on the side of the road was the apparition of a black woman, wearing all white. Local legend states that the woman, possibly a former school teacher, was hanged, or more accurately, lynched, at a nearby tree for crimes lost to history.
There are many gnarled old trees in the immediate camp area, so its unclear which is possibly this "Hanging Tree," but its possible the tree in question is the one pictured above on the right. I visited the site around 5:30pm on July 15, and found the area peaceful, albeit it slightly creepy. As I pulled into the parking area, I noticed another vehicle already parked there, with no one around. Presumably, the owner was taking advantage of the lovely nature trails that snake through the Kanawha State Forest.
However, not wanting to "interrupt" someone up to uh...something else, I exercised a bit of caution while exploring the site, and snapping some pictures. With keys and cellphone handy, I crossed the footbridge to get a better view of the boulder in question. My phone, which had full service when I got out of the car, dropped to no bars as soon as I crossed the stream. Standing directly in front of the men's restroom shack, I noticed a VERY pungent odor. I quickly snapped some pics, and got out of there.
I wouldn't recommend anyone going to this site alone, as it is fairly well concealed and private from the main road. If you do visit, please respect all posted Kanawha State Forest laws, and take advantage of the great hiking trails, picnic areas, and fishing ponds!
Bessie Bartlett, Parkersburg
In the 1980s, a family with a couple of young daughters were traveling through Parkersburg, when they spotted an unassuming historic home on Ann Street. Falling in love with the home at first glance, they were delighted to see a For Sale sign up in the front yard, and immediately stopped to ask for a tour. Since the home was over 100 years old, it would mean massive renovations for the family, should they decide to purchase it. The father, camera in tow, decided to take a few snapshots throughout the property while touring, so he could further assess what needed to be done, and if the restorations would be worth it. Nobody would suspect that one fateful photograph taken that day of the home would be internationally known, even nearly 30 years later.
The photo in question is from the basement area of the home. When developed, the film clearly shows a young girl with her hair parted, standing slightly to the side. She appears to be wearing a white dress, and has her hands folded in front of her.
The current owners were notified of the photo, but had no idea what it could mean. Their house had previously had no discernible paranormal activity, especially none involving such a clear apparition of a little girl! They decided to investigate the history of their home, and what they found shocked them, but at the same time, gave the photo meaning.
The home was built in the 1870s by Dr. Charles Bartlett, and his wife, Margaret. The Bartletts had several young children, including a daughter named Bessie. Dr. Bartlett was a successful dentist, and ran his practice out of the family home. Unfortunately, another typhoid epidemic swept through Parkersburg in 1879, and Bessie, who was around ten at the time, caught the disease.
Dr. Bartlett was at a loss of what to do. He knew that if anyone found out that Bessie was ill, the home and the family would be quarantined, and his business would be ruined. He also couldn't bear the thought of sending his daughter away to a hospital, left alone to be cared for by strangers.
In a desperate decision, Dr. Bartlett arranged for the basement of the home to be turned into a hidden sickroom for Bessie. He had hoped the cool air of the basement would help break her fever, and that her recovery would be much swifter if she were cared for by family members. However, Bessie DID die alone. She succumbed to the fever, and was found dead in the basement. She was buried in the family plot in Odd Fellows Cemetery, off of Murdoch Avenue in Parkersburg.
So why did Bessie decide to show up in the photograph, making herself known for the first time in over 100 years after her death? Could the energy from the two little girls present have sparked her interest, or did she simply finally find an opportunity to make herself known after being hidden away?
After the photograph was discovered, the owners have reported an increase in activity around the home, especially in the basement where lights flicker, and odd balls of light have been witnessed. Still, the apparition of Bessie has never been seen. Tour guides on the Haunted Parkersburg Tour, however, often report that when the tour is stopped in front of this home, the porch light will brighten, then flicker down to dim as the tale of Bessie Bartlett is again told.
Pt. Pleasant River Museum, Pt. Pleasant
Now sporting a jaunty red coat of paint, the Pt. Pleasant River Museum officially opened in May of 2004. It is home to a large collection of archives and artifacts, showcasing the river industry and its impact on the Kanawha and Ohio Valley. Interactive displays, videos, a freshwater aquarium and more are just some of the great exhibits you'll find.
You might also find a ghost or two...
The River Museum is housed in a three story brick structure, which many locals still refer to as the "Old Nease" building. Built around 1854, the building served as the grocery and mercantile business for local, Robert Mitchell. Mitchell had been in the Pt. Pleasant mercantile business since at least 1852, and catered to both locals and the river traffic that would dock down from the store.
Around 1906, the HG Nease Company was issued a charter to open a grocery business in Pt. Pleasant. HG Nease, another local who had previously served as principal at Pt. Pleasant High School, and four other men,including J.S. Spencer of Lowe Hotel fame, comprised the stockholders issued this charter.
The Nease Company would be the last entity to run a mercantile business from the building. In the 1940s, the building was used by another local establishment simply as storage. Recent years had left the building nearly derelict, when in 1990, the firm of Hartley, Hartley, and Hartley donated the building to the city of Pt. Pleasant for the establishment of a river museum. After much hard work, the museum finally opened, nearly 15 years later.
Originally, the land the building was built upon was a popular spot for both the Native tribes, but also served as a battleground during the late 1700s. Across the street, Tu-Endie-Wei State Park stands as a testament to the frontiersmen and natives who lost their lives at the Battle of Pt. Pleasant.
With such a long history, and with such a collection of antique artifacts, some directly connected with the Silver Bridge Disaster, its only natural to assume the building may pick up a ghost or two. The most often witnessed event is simply movement caught out of the corner of one's eye, as if someone is in the building with you. However, a few witnesses have reported seeing a more substantial anomaly...the apparition of a worker wearing white coveralls. It is rumored that a previous worker in the building's history matches the description of the man seen.
Welch Community Hospital, Welch
Staff have reported that this small, community health center is home to a little ghost boy. The boy, dubbed "Georgie," is seen throughout the hospital at all times of day, but most often at night. He is seen most frequently on the OB floor, but has also been seen running and playing in the cafeteria, especially in the area of the vending machines. If anyone has any further information on Georgie, or other hauntings associated with the hospital, please send them to me!
Captain's House, Parkersburg
The Captain's House, located on Juliana Street in Parkersburg's historic district, was built by George Deming, prior to 1860. George was born in Connecticut in 1806, and was an accomplished Master Mariner. Shortly before the Civil War, Deming left New England, and took his young family to Parkersburg, where he built at least two homes.
This home, sometimes referred to as the "Markey House," is the oldest, and is built in a classic New England style, with a small front yard, and narrow halls and a low ceiling, reminiscent of a ship.
Deming passed away in 1861, possibly due to the typhoid epidemic which was sweeping the area. Deming's young son also passed away sometime during this time period. Both are buried two blocks from the house in the Riverview Cemetery. Deming's gravestone has an elaborate ship carving, and along with his birth and death dates bears the claim that he is a direct descendant of Myles Standish. Unfortunately, the son's stone is too worn to accurately see the dates or name.
It is believed that since Deming was in his 50s at his time of death, yet he had several young children, his wife was probably much younger. There are no records of any other Deming's in the cemetery, so it is believed that she moved away shortly after the death of her husband and son, and remarried.
The Captain's Home has since then acquired a reputation for being haunted. Rumors abound that subsequent owners have been driven mad while living in the home, which has undergone extensive renovations over the years. While these rumors seem largely unsubstantiated, the home still has paranormal activity associated with it. Workers restoring the home reported seeing a child's footprints in the dust in the attic, although no children lived in the home at the time. The dust was cleared, and several months later, the footsteps would reappear, although no children had even set foot in the closed off section.
Another strange anomaly seems to be the glow of a fire reflected in the home's windows. People looking at the window see the reflection of orange flames whipping about, and other weird light anomalies, which are attributed to the Captain's pipe burning.
Oddly enough, the Captain isn't confined to his former home. Residents have seen his apparition in various parts of town, often walking with his head down, and wearing a black overcoat. He is seen at times in Riverview Cemetery, and some claim, even in the Blennerhassett Hotel.
Today, the home is a private residence, but is featured on the Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours.
Camden Clark Hospital, Parkersburg
The land that Camden Clark Hospital currently sits atop has a long and full history in the realm of medicine. During the Civil War, the land was part of the Camden farm, and became the site of a makeshift Civil War Hospital.
In 1895, another establishment opened nearby under the name of City Hospital. This hospital was known for its nursing program, one of the oldest in the state. Classes began March 15, 1898 under the direction of Miss Mary Pendergast, who later married W.S. Link.
Pendergast held her position as director until 1903, when she was succeeded by Miss Elizabeth Williams. Around this time, the hospital was making some major changes. One founder, Dr. Andrew Clark, died in 1902, and bequeathed his estate, an estimated $26,000, to the hospital. In 1918, Anne Camden, widow of Senator Johnson Camden, passed away, and left the Camden family home to the city for hospital use. The mansion, located at 717 Ann Street was converted into an 104 bed facility, complete with two operating rooms and a laboratory. The expansion added a west wing on the right side of the mansion, which was completed in 1920. On April 16th, the new hospital building officially opened and was dedicated under the new name of Camden Clark.
Further expansion took place throughout the 1930s. In 1936, a new front entrance and three story patient wing was completed with funding from bonds and Public Works. This new and improved wing was named the East Wing.
The following year, a new nursing director took over the nursing school. Her name was Ella Bloomhart. Bloomhart held the position until 1944, but returned in 1949 and held the position until at LEAST 1957, when my records ended. Ella's years of dedication seem to have left a lasting imprint on the hospital, as staff and patients alike are convinced she is still there, tending to her nursing duties.
Ella is described as wearing a nursing uniform common throughout the late 1940s/early 1950s. However, those who recognize the apparition claim that although her uniform is characteristic of her later years in service, she looks much younger than they remember, at least as young as she was during her first tenure as Director. It is said that if you try to speak to Ella, she'll ignore you, but she won't dissipate or fade away. She stays focused on her rounds until she disappears by walking through a hospital wall. She is seen throughout the hospital, including the modern building, but is most often seen on the second and fifth stories and in the old section.
Another ghost is also said to make its home in the hospital. This entity is only seen in the "old section" of the hospital, or East Wing, which still occasionally houses patients. Nurses and staff claim that whenever the bed is the "haunted room" is made, ready for a new patient, an indentation appears shortly afterward. The indentation is said to be the same size and shape as a human's bottom, and appears as if someone is sitting on the edge of the bed.
Former Montgomery City Hall, Fayette County
Today, the former Montgomery City Hall is torn down and in its place sits a Go-Mart gas station. However, before this pre-WWI structure met with the wrecking ball, it was rumored to be haunted.
In the late 1970s, the former brick building was used to house both the fire department and the police department along with the town's government offices. While on duty one evening, two officers shared an experience that just isn't covered in police academy! Working the midnight shift, the two men heard footsteps walking across the wooden floorboards of the floor above them. They distinctly heard the footsteps walk into the kitchen area of that floor, where the footsteps paused. The men then heard the unmistakable sounds of water running in the kitchen sink, and rushing down the pipes past their floor. The water turned off, and the footsteps once again were heard, walking back to the other side of the room.
These fairly normal sounds wouldn't necessarily cause a disturbance...however, the two officers knew they were alone in the building. One officer, who had been with the force the longest, instantly recognized the sounds. They were the nightly ritual of the former Fireman-in-Charge of the midnight shift, who suffering from indigestion, would have to take a nightly pill, and would walk into the kitchen for a glass of water to wash it down. The only problem was that the Chief died ten years earlier, and the midnight shift for the fire department was disbanded.
Whether from the power of suggestion, or the security of knowing that they weren't crazy, other officers working on the night shift reported hearing the phantom sounds of the former Chief. One such officer attempted to get to the bottom of these manifestations one night. He personally cleared the offices, making sure no one was up there. He then inspected the sink, shutting off both faucets, wiping the sink out,and then lining the sink with paper towels. He then locked up, and waited for the ghost to appear.
The officer was not disappointed. Around three that morning, the footsteps and sounds of running water once again filled the lower level, and the officer jumped up and ran up the stairs. He found the door still locked, and when he opened it, no one was there. However, the paper towels he left in the sink were soaking wet.
Montescena, the home of Greenbrier Countian, David S. Creigh, is located along Davis-Stuart Road, formerly the Lewisburg-Ronceverte Road, about two miles southwest of town. The home, which draws from many architectural styles, including Georgian, was built around 1834, probably by local mason and architect, and family friend, John W. Dunn. The home is sometimes referred to as Boone Farm.
Creigh, who was from a prominent mercantile family in the county, was a beloved citizen. Marrying Emily Arbuckle in 1833, he left the mercantile business, and devoted his career to agriculture. However, he was still an active member of the community, serving as a magistrate, bank director, and church elder at the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg.
During the Civil War, Creigh was a Confederate sympathizer, although it is stated that he was a compassionate and caring man, who came to the aid of both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Lewisburg. However, Creigh reached his breaking point the following year, on November 8, 1863. According to different accounts, what exactly happened that fateful day is sketchy on details, but the basic story goes as follows:
While at work, Creigh was informed that there was a Union soldier causing a disturbance at his home. He rushed back to Montescena to find the soldier pillaging the home, verbally abusing Emily, and threatening her and the couple's daughter. Creigh attempted to remove the man from his home, when a fight broke out. Some say that the soldier was attempting to break into a locked trunk, and threatened Creigh with his gun. Some say the soldier, who was actually a straggler, or even a deserter, was trying to break into Creigh's youngest daughter's bedroom. Creigh pulled his own gun, and shots were fired from both men. Creigh was grazed slightly in the cheek.
Creigh tried to disarm the soldier, and the two men scuffled, falling down the stairs. Again, at the bottom of the stairs, Creigh tried to take the man's gun, but it accidentally discharged, hitting the soldier, severely wounding him, but not before he was able to stumble towards the front porch, and fire another shot at Creigh, this one lodging itself in the front door frame.
With the soldier lying in the portico area, fatally wounded, one of Creigh's slaves brought forth an axe, begging Creigh to finish the man off, for fear that he'd get up again. Several sources cite the identity of this slave as "Aunt Sallie," an elderly house slave, who after emancipation, would remain with the family, but would change her name to Sallie Woods. Creigh agreed, and the body was buried in a secret location. Word of the murder spread quickly among slaves in neighboring plantations, and one such slave, a young boy from a nearby plantation, tipped off a Union soldier at nearby Bunger's Mill.
Creigh was arrested by Gen. Averill that spring and taken to Bunger's Mill for trial. His wife, two daughters, mother in law, and friend John Dunn were also taken into custody, but not allowed to testify at the trial. Creigh was found guilty, and sentenced to death by hanging. Gen. Hunter approved the sentence.
Since the Union Army had orders to pack up to Staunton, Va., it was decided the hanging would take place there, and Creigh was forced to march with the army over 100 miles. On June 10, 1864, he was hanged in Rockbridge County and his body left. A minister's wife, and several other citizens removed the body, and temporarily buried it nearby. On July 28, one of Creigh's sons was given leave from his unit in order to bring the body home, where it was buried in the Old Stone Church Cemetery on July 31. The funeral procession was said to be over a mile long, as friends, family, and citizens from all over paid tribute to a man they refer to as the Greenbrier Martyr.
Recent visitors to the home have reported that there is an overwhelming feeling of being watched, and not being alone in the home, especially around the portico area. Strange occurrences and noises are not out of the ordinary, giving the home the reputation of being haunted. Is the fateful fight between the Union soldier and David Creigh doomed to repeat itself over and over...or are the spirits of the fallen soldier, Mrs. Creigh, who mourned for her husband, or even Creigh himself, still sticking around?
The wife of Gen. W.H. Smith, in honor of Creigh, wrote a poem, which along with additional information on this tale, can be found HERE.
Watoga State Park, Pocahontas County
This interesting little tidbit is taken straight from the WV Tourism Board, and reprinted here in Weekend Adventures Magazine:
Visitors to nearby Watoga State Park report seeing an exceptionally tall bald-headed man suddenly spring up along the fence row next to a cornfield. The tall, glowing figure appears on especially foggy nights about midnight and stares intensely, moving only his head and not his body as cars pass.
The man doesn’t stand up, as one would from a lying position, but rather springs straight up, without bending his knees in a perfect arch. The figure is at least 6-1/2 feet tall, bald and has an eerie halo-like glow around his entire body that almost illuminates the fog.
The Droop Mountain area near Seebert was home to the state’s largest Civil War battle, so it is possible this ghost is related to the violent events there. Or is it something else?
The Hutton House B&B, Huttonsville
The Hutton House Bed and Breakfast was built in 1898 by Eugene Elihu Hutton, the great-grandson of influential Huttonsville citizen, Jonathan Hutton. The Queen Anne Victorian home was built atop of the former site of Jonathan's two-story log cabin, built in 1805. In 1861, Union troops burned the structure in retaliation for the Huttons' Confederate sympathies, leaving the property empty until E.E. decided to build his beautiful home on the site.
Today, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and serves as a local bed and breakfast inn. It is also allegedly home to paranormal activity. One local legend states that fresh bread can be smelled baking early in the morning, usually around 5am. When investigated, it is found that no one is awake, and the ovens are cold. One story involves a guest to the inn. For whatever reason, this man decided to push his desk up against his door. When the man returned from a trip to his private restroom, he found the heavy desk had moved back to its original position. From room descriptions listed online, its possible that this room could be what is known as "Jonathan's Room," located on the third floor.
Today, the Trans-Allegheny Bookstore is home to the largest used bookstore in West Virginia. However, it started off as a library. Built in 1905 with a $34,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, the structure served as the Carnegie Library until 1976.
Plans to turn the structure into a restaurant fell through, and the building was auctioned off in 1978. Dr. Mel Okeon purchased the building, and successfully applied for, and received National Register status for the building.
Over its 100+ years, the building has also picked up a reputation for being haunted. Books have been observed flying off shelves, disembodied footsteps are often heard, shadows lurk around corners, and the lighting is only describable as erratic. The lights on the second floor are especially known for their erratic flickering, and overhead lamps throughout the mezzanine are known to sway and blink.
However, the most exciting ghost legends come from the actual apparitions that are seen, no less than five according to several sources. The first of these apparitions is that of a little girl wearing a white bonnet. The little girl, who appears to be about eight years old, is often seen either sitting on the third step of the wooden staircase between the first and second floors, or playing on the same staircase. More than one witness has embarrassingly tripped over what they describe as a small child sitting on the stair.
Another ghost seems to be that of an older gentleman. His dress, which consists of a derby hat and brown jacket, is described by witnesses as dapper. He's seen around the second story of the building, psychics have come up with the name Henry for him.
A third ghost may or may not be the same person. A middle aged man is often seen in the World History section, searching the shelves as if looking for a book.
Perhaps the most disturbing apparition is that of a local newspaper reporter by the name of Betty Samuels. Ms. Samuels was murdered in her home in 1989 by Janice Diers. Diers, who was dating Samuels' son, Hunter, became angry with her over interference with her relationship, and admitted to stabbing Samuels three times. Samuels, who lived a few blocks away from the library, often spent much of her time there.
Lastly, the building has its own ghost cat, or perhaps three. A black cat, and two tabbies have been known to slink around shelves, only to disappear when approached, or looked at full on.
If interested in learning more about these hauntings, the store is now offering ghost hunts for a fee of $250.
North Bend State Park, Cairo
Hauntings information from Cry of the Banshee, by Susan Sheppard:
Many years ago, a man by the name of Ed Koons lived near what is the park entrance. Ed was blind, which led to him being even MORE vulnerable to the verbal and even physical abuse he suffered from his wife and his mother-in-law. The only way Ed knew to escape the cruel taunting and abuse was to take his own life. Legend has it he hung himself from a large tree near his home.
For years, people have claimed that they've seen the apparition of Ed's lifeless body hanging from the tree, illuminated by their car's headlights. In the 1960s, a popular Lover's Lane legend was born out of the ghost stories. It is said that teens that would go to park near the entrance would hear banging on the car, only to find a man's hand prints in the dust when they checked.
Even today, the legend persists. Visitors on foot have reported hearing the spirit of Ed walking along the gravel path to the main lodge behind them, and some have reported only what can be described as a metal barrel on legs, wobbling through the trees in the area of the suicide.
Without getting the opportunity to visit Ritchie County, I haven't been able to find any historical sources to back these legends up. However, I was able to look at VERY limited genealogical information online. While I couldn't find any Koons families living in the area yet, I did find several families with the name of Kearns or Kearnes.
There's another ghost legend attached to this particular area of Ritchie County contained within park limits. Way before the park was built, around the turn of the century, the area was home to a small oil boom, with oil wells dotting the country side. Near the site of Jug Handle Campground, there was a horrible accident. An oil well exploded, killing one of the workers, and literally blowing him apart. His fellow workers gathered his body up to bury it, but they never found his head.
A few years after the death of the oil worker, the small dirt road called Park Road that led between Cairo and Harrisville, became a place of legend. A man named Furr was running the equivalent of a taxi service along this road. He'd pick up the oil workers at their camp, and drive them along in his buggy to the well sites. On one of these return trips, Furr stopped at a shallow creek to allow his horses a drink. As the horses were refreshing themselves, the back of the buggy bumped, as if someone was climbing in. Furr turned to see who was playing a trick or hitching a ride, and what he saw shocked him. Clinging to the back of the buggy was a figure of a man...a figure with no head, only a bloody stump visible below the shirt collar. In a panic, he drove the horses back to the campsite, all while the bloody figure clung to the back of the buggy. By the time Furr arrived back at the campsite, the figure was gone, leaving the shaken man sure that he had seen the ghost of the decapitated oil worker.
Today, the state park, named for a bend in the Hughes River, is most noted for its 72 miles of Rail Trails, a series of old railroad trails and tunnels that are now used for hiking and biking trails. It is in one of these nearby tunnels, tunnel 19 (more popularly known as Silver Run Tunnel), where Ritchie County's most popular ghost is said to roam.
Twistabout Ridge, Procious
Many years ago, a man settled in this area of Clay County, bringing with him a pregnant wife, and a servant girl, who cooked and cleaned for the family. Shortly after their arrival, it became quite apparent that the young girl who cooked and cleaned for them was also pregnant.
Rumors began to spread in the small community that the man, who appeared quite wealthy, had fathered both these children. These rumors only worsened after the wife became ill, and the servant girl, very much with child herself, could no longer care for her.
The man turned to the local physician, who recommended a local girl with nursing experience. This young girl was hired immediately, much to the chagrin of the community. She moved in with the family in order to provide care full time, but soon after HER arrival, it was rumored that she was no longer caring for the ill patient. Instead, she was often seen around town with the husband.
She finally admitted that the woman she had been hired to care for had died, yet she would not be returning to her home. She and the man were married, and lived on the ridge, with their servant girl and her child.
Several months later, the newly married nurse also gave birth to a child...unfortunately this child was stillborn. Over the years this nurse and her husband had many pregnancies, but she was never able to fully carry a child to term. The local townspeople claim that this was her punishment for helping her husband murder his first wife.
There are several ghost stories attached to this area of Clay County, two being directly tied to this story. Shortly after the husband and the nurse married, locals began seeing the apparition of a woman in white who seemed to vanish before their eyes. The ghostly woman was noticeably pregnant, and her swollen tongue protruded from her mouth, giving her a deformed look.
The small, now abandoned cemetery located on the ridge is also said to be haunted. It is here where the nurse's stillborn and premature babies are laid to rest, among a grove of pine trees. The cries of infants can be heard throughout the cemetery, and the pregnant apparition is also seen here from time to time.
In addition to these stories, there are at least two others associated with the ridge. One involves an elderly lady who so angered her neighbors that they stoned her to death. Her cabin was sold, but the family that moved in would often find piles of stones throughout the home and property, many times propping open the front door in the mornings. Sometimes, the stones could actually be heard falling onto the roof. Needless to say, not many stayed in the cabin for any length of time.
Not far from the cabin, there is said to be a hanging tree, where criminals were hung in the early days of Clay County history. Balls of light have been seen hovering around the tree, which is in a swampy area, and the sound of a body falling to the ground can be heard. Are these balls of light just swamp gas, or the restless souls of those who lost their lives here? My Aaron owns a home in this area, so hopefully this summer I'll be able to answer those questions for myself!
Childers' Road, Barboursville
Originally, I began researching Childers' Road after several popular ghost sites reported that the apparition of a young boy on a bicycle could be seen here. Allegedly the boy drowned by riding his bicycle past the road's dead end, and into the river. He is said to be seen during the flooding season.
Without any names or dates, I wasn't able to verify this submission, but did run across some other interesting facts. A young boy DID die in this area of Barboursville...in a house fire.
Since my original research, the story of the boy on the bicycle has seemingly disappeared (update: has returned on several sites, lol)...and have been replaced instead with a different story! It seems that several of the area homes have reported paranormal activity.
According to one witness who moved to the area in 1993, paranormal disturbances plagued his family for many years. Sounds could be heard coming from the attic, and under the home, despite the fact that the foundation was nothing more than a concrete slab, making it impossible for anything to actually be there.
In one instance, this witness reports hearing his wife tell him to please do the dishes. He questioned her on why they couldn't just use the dishwasher, and she responded by not knowing what he was talking about! Upon entering the kitchen right after, the faucet to the sink was found running, with dish detergent already added to the water.
Later, the homeowners began seeing things out of the corner of their eye, including the misty form of a woman. An Ouija board session held in the home also yielded some interesting results. The board confirmed a spirit in the home, and gave the initials M.B. When the spirit was asked to make its presence known, a serving tray, followed by two glasses, fell from a shelf.
Shortly thereafter, the homeowner got a chance to speak with someone whose family once lived in his current home. The lady had told him that the family was named Bell, and that her aunt, Mary Bell, had gone missing at 18 years old. Mary Bell=M.B??
Lost River State Park, Mathias
Lost River State Park, located in Hardy County, sits on the land acquired in 1796 by "Light Horse" Henry Lee, a Revolutionary War hero and father to Gen. Robert E. Lee. Due to overwhelming debt and a busy lifestyle, Lee sold the land off in 1809.
By 1832, Lee's son Charles Carter Lee began re-acquiring his father's land with the intent to build a resort hotel, catering to visitors of the nearby mineral springs. Work on the hotel didn't officially begin until 1848, but it is rumored that Charles began building several cabins as early as 1840.
During this time period, a livestock trader from Virginia named Charles Sager was returning home to Moorefield when he was ambushed near what is today the park's entrance. He was dragged to what is known as the "Lee Cabin." For reasons unknown, the ambushers stabbed Charles to death, and left his body in the upper far left corner of the second floor of the cabin. Blood dripped down the wall, staining the floor below.
In 1879, Charles Carter Lee sold the property. It was later renovated into a posh retreat around 1897. By 1910, the resort had burned to the ground. The land was acquired by the government in the 1930s, and in 1940, the Civilian Conservation Corps restored much of the cabins, including the Lee Cabin.
It is highly debated whether or not Henry Lee, or his son Charles was the actual builder of the cabin, but what IS known is that the spirit of Charles Sager chose to remain there long after his brutal death. Before the CCC came in and restored the cabin, it was said that the blood stains that pooled on both the second and first floor, and dripped down the wall, could not be scrubbed off. Furthermore, many visitors to the posh retreat claimed to hear the eerie shrieks of a man in agony, coming from the cabin during warm nights.
There have been no recent reports of activity, but park rangers will be more than happy to tell you the stories, and try to give you a scare. It is claimed that the lights will not come on in the Lee Cabin until Charles Sager is asked politely to turn them on...visitors are often amazed to find out that as soon as they call out his name, the lights will flicker on...much to the amusement of park staff who are behind the prank.
Cole Mountain Light, Moorefield
In the early to mid 1800s, a wealthy landowner named Charles Jones lived in the Cole Mountain region of Moorefield, in Hardy County. Jones was an avid raccoon hunter, and often took his favorite, and most loyal slave hunting with him. One night, the two men were out on Cole Mountain, when the hunting dogs bayed as if they had treed a coon. Jones told the much younger slave to run along head with the lantern and find the dogs.
As the young slave reached the dogs, he noticed that his master was no longer behind him. He searched desperately until dawn, when he decided to go home and seek additional help. The slave himself organized a search party of local citizens and officials, and together they searched for over a week.
Jones' body was never found, but the slave, who was very fond of the master who always treated him with dignity and kindness, refused to give up hope. He continued searching long after the rest of the town had given up. Upon the one year anniversary of his master's death, the young slave took up his lantern one last time, and headed toward Cole Mountain to search for any sign of his master. The slave was never seen nor heard from again.
Shortly after the disappearance of the slave, locals began reporting a ball of light hovering up and down the side of the mountain at night. At first, the light was reported as being yellow, and then as orange, and finally, as being red in color.
Hundreds have witnessed this ghost, or spook light, but the light seems to display characteristics unlike any other spook light on record. The light, while being able to be viewed by anyone, seems to seek out raccoon hunters in particular. The light seems to also have a sentient quality; it has been known to follow, and even LUNGE at hunters in the area. Most peculiarly, the light is said to occasionally admit a loud screaming sound. One group of hunters who experienced the screaming and the light buzzing towards them actually fired three shots at the light before fleeing down off the mountain.
Today, the lights can still be seen, and are best viewed off of Highway 55. Numerous explanations have been brought for to account for this phenomenon, but those in the area truly know that the light comes from the lantern carried by the long lost slave who desperately searches in vain for his master.
King's Daughters Court, Martinsburg
King's Daughters Court was originally established in 1797, as a second prison for the Martinsburg area. In 1890, a group of women from the Sisters of the Holy Spirit banded together to bring an order of nurses to the area. During this time period, nursing was primarily taken care of in the home by family members, which left the sisters, who named themselves King's Daughters, to nurse primarily to the inmates at the prison.
Soon after the formation of King's Daughters, with the help of a Dr. McSherry, the nurses got a chance at their own hospital. The prison was becoming overcrowded, and by 1893, the order had purchased the building for a grand total of $2,610. After extensive remodeling, the new hospital, King's Daughters' Court, opened on May 15, 1896.
In 1913, the nurses applied for, and were granted a charter to open up a training school for nurses on the site. Classes officially began on September 14, 1914 under the direction of Miss Mary M. Hudson, with Mrs. Florence Knapp acting as Superintendent of Nurses.
Fifteen women were originally enrolled in the program, but due to a nasty rumor that the school was not chartered, and thus the students would not be allowed to take their state board exams, all but one of the first class of students left the program. The remaining student, Ms. Margaret Beard, was the first graduate of the school, and went on to nurse the wounded in WWI. Ms. Beard was killed in service in Europe in 1918.
Over the years, the hospital graduated 444 students before shutting down in 1973. The hospital later became office space, among other things, before being abandoned for many years after the three stories of flooring deteriorated.
Due to its long history, there are a number of ghost stories connected with the building. Several witnesses have reported picking up a young girl, around 8 years old, on a nearby road. The little girl is clearly distressed, and begs the driver to take her to the hospital to see her mother. When the driver lets the little girl out, she runs up to the door of the hospital, where she is greeted by a nurse in period clothing. The next time the good Samaritan drives by the hospital, it is obviously abandoned.
Other witnesses have reported hearing the scream and the thud of a woman jumping out of a third story window. Two people driving by actually saw the apparition of a woman in a red cape jumping out the window and landing on the ground. The story behind the legend is that an African American nurse had fallen in love with a white patient. The lovers knew their relationship would never be accepted, so the nurse killed herself in her grief by flinging herself from the top of the building.
Interestingly, the building is constructed of limestone blocks. A popular belief among students of the paranormal is that limestone acts almost as a battery cell and conductor for residual energies. There are many hauntings associated with limestone structures throughout the world.
Staten Chapel Cemetery, Hannan
The Staten Chapel Cemetery is located in a rural section of Mason County, near Hannan. The abandoned wooden chapel has a sign above its store signifying that it was built in 1918, but the adjoining cemetery is apparently still receiving burials.
I learned of this location through my other passion, which is geocaching, as there is a geocache located nearby on the property. Here's an excerpt from my own ghostly experience at Staten Chapel Cemetery:
I think my nephew and I had a paranormal experience...at any rate, it was somewhat touching, lol.
We were approaching the cache area, and were about 20ft away, according to the GPS. My nephew was slightly behind me, when a slight breeze picked up and I heard my nephew make a noise. I turned around to see what was up. Apparently, he had been smacked in the face with a small, hand-written note that had been blowing in the breeze. The note, which was addressed to a "Gracie," was a note from her mom or grandma Sherry, saying she loved and missed her, or something to that affect.
Since we figured it probably blew off a grave, my nephew decided he was going to go find Grace's grave, and return the note, while I finished searching for the cache. As he ran off to look for her grave, I looked down at the GPS. What had previously said 20ft pointing in the direction of the cache, now said GZ was 70 feet BEHIND me...back towards the cemetery.
Thinking there was definitely something wrong, and that the breeze must have messed up the GPS by blowing in additional cloud cover, I sat down, prepared to turn the device off, then on again to recalibrate. Then it kinda hit me...I followed the arrow back up towards the graves...and the GPS zeroed out at a certain grave...Grace's...an infant who died about two years ago.
Since my experience, several other people have come forward with their own experiences. It seems there is a distinct atmosphere to the place, and more than one person has been slightly creeped out while visiting.
God's Acre Cemetery, Bethany
The God's Acre Cemetery in Bethany goes by many common names, including The Campbell Cemetery, and simply, Bethany Cemetery. It is the final resting place of Alexander and Thomas Campbell, the first missionaries in the Bethany area.
A two and a half foot thick stone wall, erected from stones from taken from two local old flour mills, was added in 1866, after the death of Alexander. It is said that because of this wall, the souls of the those laid to rest are trapped in the cemetery, resulting in an eerie presence that permeates the entire place.
Peterkin Retreat, Romney
The Peterkin Camp and Conference center is a religious retreat located near the town of Romney, in Hampshire County. Dedicated in 1947, it has continually offered summer camps and retreats for religious and non-profit groups.
A popular legend states that in the early 1970s, a preacher and his wife were staying in the main lodge, Gravatt Hall. The preacher got up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, and had died of a heart attack in his room. His wife did not discover his body until the next day.
Since then, it is reported that disembodied voices are prevalent, and the preacher can be heard walking up and down the staircase, greeting visitors. Cold spots have been confirmed, and doors tend to open and close by themselves. Many visitors actually claim they can feel his presence, watching them. However, he will leave you alone if you ask him nicely.
Interestingly, the Peterkin website DOES acknowledge the presence of a ghost they call "Mr. Turley". However, the site claims that Mr. Turley has been around since the beginning of the camp, well over 20 years before the preacher allegedly passed away.
Here's a brief history of the retreat as found on the website:
"For many years the bishops of WV had encouraged a program of summer conferences with an emphasis on Christian Education. Many sites were explored before the property near Romney was considered. The trustees purchased outright 50 acres and leased approximately one thousand acres of adjoining farm and timberland to be used for the new Camp and Conference Center. There were abundant possibilities for nature trails, hiking routes, camping sites, and the erection of cottages.
In 1944, the Rev. Frank Rowley, rector of Grace Church, Elkins, took the first party of young people to the center. He wrote, “We started out in two cars in a blinding snowstorm, but the day cleared up and we enjoyed it very much. We hiked for over an hour up the trout stream and never did find the end of the property. We all felt quite pleased with the place and also with being the first Episcopal youth group to visit the new conference center. We enjoyed a picnic lunch in front of the fireplace in the main building.”
After much discussion with the Peterkin and Gravatt families, it was decided to name the center in honor of Bishop Peterkin and the main building after Bishop Gravatt. A group from the Southern Convocation came and slept in tents and cooked over an open fire while they built a foot bridge over the stream, replaced missing steps to the boathouse, and cleared 500 yards of trail. Between work sessions, they swam, played ball, fished, and hiked – truly the first ‘Friends of Peterkin’.
The first laymen’s conference was held in September 1945, with the Rev. W. C. Campbell as speaker. After he became bishop, Bishop Campbell became Peterkin’s chief supporter. Most of the buildings we enjoy today were remodeled or built under his leadership. He and his wife spent the entire summer there every year with the campers. The bishop’s cottage is named Campbell Cottage in his honor.
The first schedule of camps and conferences was held in the summer of 1946. Mrs. Mamie Kenny, for whom the camp and conference coordinator’s house is named today, was the new housekeeper.
Dedication Day for the camp was June 26, 1947. Over 400 people gathered as Bishop Strider led hymn singing and a procession all over the grounds. Sermons were preached and a blessing given to each building. Many of the plaques you still see at Peterkin were dedicated that day."
Old Hampshire County Jail, Romney
The Old Hampshire County Jail is located in Romney, in Hampshire County. It was built sometime in the late 1700s, and has seen continuous use as a government building. The building officially closed as the county jail in 2000, when the new regional jail, The Potomac Highlands Regional Jail, opened in Augusta. Today, it houses the Hampshire County Sheriff's Office, Law Enforcement Division.
The structure consists of a brick house in front where the jailer and family lived, with the prisoners being housed in the back block section. A steel vault-like door secured the entrance between the jail and the residence.
Legend states that in the late 1800s, a sheriff was murdered on the staircase leading between the jail and the home. He was gunned down by a group of bandits who were breaking an accomplice out of the jail. The sheriff was shot at the top of the stairs, and subsequently, tumbled to the bottom. It is said that the sounds of the sheriff tumbling down the stairs can still be heard late at night.
The old jail is open for tours by appointment and during the Heritage Days festival. Stop in for a tour and see for yourself if there is any truth to these legends!
Bruce Chapel, Apple Grove
Bruce Chapel is a small, abandoned church located near the Apple Grove/Gallipolis Ferry area, in rural Mason County. The church was built around 1842, and the small adjoining cemetery contains graves dating back to the early 1800s. The Moore Family of the Mai Moore Mansion fame are buried in the cemetery, which is now located on private property.
This site has been featured on many haunted places listings due to the reports of light anomalies, strange noises, and other paranormal occurrences.
Monroe County Courthouse, Union
The Monroe County courthouse, located in Union, was built 1882 in the Romanesque style. It sits atop the site of two previous courthouses. In 1774, the first white settlers came to the Monroe area. James Alexander is credited with being the first settler, and it was he who sat aside land in 1799 for the use of a courthouse and jail.
The structure, completed in 1800, was a simple log structure. It was replaced in 1820 with a stone Classical Revival style structure. The current courthouse, built in 1882, originally held the county jail in the basement area until it was replaced with a 2-story wing and adjoining jail in 1975.
Rumors of the building being haunted have long abounded...in the "old jail" area of the basement, voices have been heard, including a man who seems to be mumbling while no live human is in the area. During the basement's tenure as the county jail, there were several deaths, mostly suicides, recorded.
In the tax office, located in the basement, two witnesses saw a bucket of Halloween candy slide across the length of a counter and fall off the end, again, with no one near the bucket.
The courtroom area also has had some activity. When getting the room ready for court one day near Daylight Savings Time, a worker went to change the time on the clocks, only to find them already changed, with no one admitting to the deed. The nearby 911 call center also was monitoring the security cameras in the courtroom, when at least five witnesses saw the shadowy figure of a man standing in a corner, and then fleeing out to the hallway. When the hall camera was checked, the figure was no where to be seen. The courtroom camera was rechecked, and again the figure was seen, moving about, almost "peeking" at the camera.
Smoot Theater, Parkersburg
The Smoot Theater was built in 1926 by the Smoot Amusement Company as a vaudeville theater. In 1930, it was purchased by the Warner Brothers corporation, redecorated, and renovated into use as a movie theater.
The Smoot had been active as a movie theater for 56 years, when it was slated for demolition in 1986 and closed down. Mere days before it was to be destroyed in 1989, the theater was purchased on land grant by a group of volunteers who have restored the theater to its original state, and reopened it as a performing arts center.
Like many theaters of this era, the Smoot is said to be home to paranormal activity, including strange sounds and shadows coming from behind the curtain late at night, unexplained technical and electrical problems, and a cold spot. However, the current management denies these claims, which are already flimsy at best. If anyone has any additional information on this location, please contact me!
Greenbrier County Courthouse, Lewisburg
The Greenbrier County Courthouse sits on Lot 8, otherwise known as 200 N. Court Street, Lewisburg. The building was built in 1837 by stone mason John W. Dunn, and was one of the first county courthouses west of the Appalachian Mountains. The two story structure with basement was built using bricks fired locally, and boasts a belfry containing the bell that was rung to announce when court was in session.
The courthouse has been in continual use since it was built, with wings added to both sides in 1937 and in 1963. It is located beside the historic Lewis Spring, which brought many early settlers to this area in the 1700s, and was a key component in the decision to build the courthouse in Lewisburg.
Due to the fact that the courthouse once also served as the local jail, rumors of it being haunted by former criminals abound. It is said that from outside the courthouse, one can hear the moans and screams from former inmates coming from inside. In an isolated incident, two teenagers encountered a misty apparition outside the building. The apparition appeared to take on the form of a man holding a knife, who chased them down the sidewalk before disappearing.
The Hilltop Hotel was built in 1888 by Thomas S. Lovett, an African-American entrepreneur, and his wife, Lavonia. The first building burned down in 1912, then another fire in 1917 destroyed the second building. Today's building is a 65 guest room inn overlooking three states and the Shenandoah River....and its home to several ghosts.
While largely debated, several resident ghosts include that of a young boy who died in the 1917 fire. He is heard crying in Room 66, where there once was an alleged portrait of a young boy said to cry real tears. Another popular ghost sighting is that of various Civil War era soldiers, despite the hotel being built over 20 years after the battle. These soldiers are often seen wandering the halls, and its also said that a phantom regiment marches up and down the street leading to the Hilltop. A third ghost is that of a woman in 1800s period dress. She was seen walking through the lobby and into the dining room. When staff went to see if she needed anything, she was gone.
Update May 2009: It seems that the hotel might be closing for good. It has been shut down while new owners made much needed repairs, but the repairs proved to be not enough to save the highly unsound building, and it is slated to be torn down.
Although its guest list includes Mark Twain and Alexander Graham Bell, the 90-year-old Hilltop House Hotel in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., will have to be torn down and replaced. This month Leesburg-based developer SWaN Investors presented its new design, which will seek LEED certification, to the town council for approval.
"The Hilltop team initially hoped to renovate the hotel, but once we brought in the experts, we reluctantly came to the conclusion that the existing structure could not be made safe," said Mike Miller, SWaN project manager, in a May 13 statement.
Others who have toured the 90-year-old building all agree that it cannot be salvaged.
"The current building is so structurally unsound, it is pretty hopeless," Dennis Frye, chief historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, said in an e-mail. "The building is a wreck, based upon nearly 60 years of neglect and poor structural decisions."
SWaN Investors bought the Hilltop House for $10 million in 2007 and closed it for renovations in January 2008. Although the main building can't be saved, SWaN plans to restore six U.S. Armory structures on the nine-acre property as guesthouses.
To create a new Hilltop House, architects studied drawings of the building as it appeared prior to a fire in 1912. (The hotel was plagued by fires; a second blaze destroyed the structure in 1919.)
SWaN also bought an eight-acre island, Byrnes Island, located in the Potomac River just below the hotel. In the early 1900s, the B&O Railroad built a park, complete with a carousel, on Byrnes Island; it was later abandoned and washed away. Today development of the island would be difficult.
"It is in the floodplain, so [SWaN] would face significant and costly obstacles," Frye says. "The National Park Service has informed them that we prefer the island as it is, in its natural state."
retold by S. E. Schlosser
The old storage sheds along the tracks were abandoned shortly after the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was built, and it wasn't long before the poor folk of the area moved in. The sheds provided shelter - of a sort - although the winter wind still pierced through every crevice, and the small fireplaces that the poor constructed did little to keep the cold at bay.
A gentle, kindly woman named Jenny lived alone in one of the smaller sheds. She had fallen on hard times, and with no family to protect her, she was forced to find work where she could and take whatever shelter was available to someone with little money. Jenny never had enough to eat and in winter her tiny fire barely kept her alive during the cold months. Still, she kept her spirits up and tried to help other folks when they took sick or needed food, sometimes going without herself so that another could eat.
One cold evening in late autumn, Jenny sat shivering over her fire, drinking broth out of a wooden bowl, when a spark flew from the fire and lit her skirts on fire. Intent on filling her aching stomach, Jenny did not notice her flaming clothes until the fire had burnt through the heavy wool of her skirt and began to scorch her skin. Leaping up in terror, Jenny threw her broth over the licking flames but the fluid did nothing to douse the fire. In terror, Jenny fled from the shack and ran along the tracks, screaming for help as the flames engulfed her body.
The station was not far away, and instinctively Jenny made for it, hoping to find someone to aid her. Within moments, her body was a glowing inferno and Jenny was overwhelmed by pain. Her screams grew more horrible as her steps slowed. She staggered blindly onto the tracks just west of the station, a ball of fire that barely looked human. In her agony, she did not see the glowing headlight of the train rounding the curve, or hear the screech of the breaks as the engineer spotted her fire-eaten figure and tried to stop. A moment later, her terrible screams broke off as the train mowed her down.
Alerted by the whistle, the crew from the station came running as the engineer halted the train and ran back down the tracks toward poor dead Jenny, who was still burning. The men doused the fire and carried her body back to the station. She was given a pauper's funeral and buried in an unmarked grave in the local churchyard. Within a few days, another poverty-stricken family had moved into her shack, and Jenny was forgotten.
Forgotten that is, until a month later when a train rounding the bend west of the station was confronted by a screaming ball of fire. Too late to stop, the engineer plowed over the glowing figure before he could bring the train to a screeching halt. Leaping from the engine, he ran back down the tracks to search for a mangled, burning body, but there was nothing there. Shaken, he brought his train into the station and reported the incident to the stationmaster. After hearing his tale, the stationmaster remembered poor, dead Jenny and realized that her ghost had returned to haunt the tracks where she had died.
To this day, the phantom of Screaming Jenny still appears on the tracks on the anniversary of the day she died. Many an engineer has rounded the curve just west of the station and found himself face to face with the burning ghost of Screaming Jenny, as once more she makes her deadly run towards the Harpers Ferry station, seeking in vain for someone to save her.
Dangerfield Newby at Hog Alley
From Ghosts of Harpers Ferry by Stephen D. Brown
Hog Alley didn't get its name in a very pretty way.
During the John Brown raid, the first raider killed was a black man by the name of Dangerfield Newby. Dangerfield had been freed by his white father, but he had a wife and seven children held in slavery in Warrenton, Virginia. His wife's master had told him that for the sum of $1,500 he could buy his wife and his youngest baby, who had just started to crawl. Dangerfield earned that amount of money and went back to Warrenton to purchase his wife and baby, only to have his wife's master raise the price. The free black man then joined John Brown in the hope of freeing not only his wife and youngest baby, but his entire family.
There were a lot of guns in Harpers Ferry, since they were made in the town and stored in the 22 building armory complex near the train tracks. There was little ammunition for the guns, however, and townspeople would fire anything they could find for their guns. One man was shooting 6 inch spikes from his powder loaded gun.
When John Brown raided the town in October of 1859, it was one of those spikes that hit the throat of Dangerfield Newby. He was killed instantly.
The people of Harpers Ferry, frustrated and angered by John Brown and his raiders, took the body of Dangerfield Newby and stabbed it repeatedly with their rusty knives. They left the mutilated body in the alley to be eaten by the hungry hogs.
Some night, if you are walking down Hog Alley and see a man dressed in baggy trousers and an old slouched hat with a terrible scar across his throat, you will know you have met Dangerfield Newby. He is still roaming our streets, trying to free his family.
The Harper House is the oldest still standing structure in the town of Harper's Ferry. Due to issues involving the Civil War, it took a period of over six years to complete, with construction beginning in 1775 and ending in 1781.
This home was the second Harper's Ferry area home, and last home EVER for town founder, Robert Harper. Harper passed away in 1782, and shortly thereafter, his home was used as the only tavern in town, hosting many historical guests including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Today, the Park Service owns the home.
Over the years, the home has gotten a reputation for having at least one, and possibly two ghosts. A friend of Harper's named Hamilton is reported to have died in the home after an accidental fall, causing many to believe his spirit still lingers. Still, others believe that the main ghost is that of Rachel Harper, Robert's wife. Rachel allegedly died from complications after falling from a ladder. She is sometimes seen looking out from the uppermost window of the home, gazing down toward the garden. Local lore states that Robert may have buried treasure somewhere in the garden, and Rachel is looking after it.
The Wager House is located right beside the Harper House, and the property once belonged to Robert and Rachel Harper. The Harpers, who were childless, deeded the adjoining property to their niece, Sarah Wager. The property passed onto Sarah's children, and then on to three of her grandchildren, one of whom built the home.
Due to bankruptcy, the Wager family auctioned off the home to a man named Dr. Nicholas Marmion. The home stayed in the Marmion family for many years, until it was acquired by Park Services for use as a guest home for visiting officials and researchers.
During this time, many visiting researchers and officials claimed to have seen at least three distinct apparitions in the home. The first is said to be a very handsome man, wearing a brocade vest. This gentleman has been seen by several witnesses at the top of the servants' stairs. He is said to have a menacing glare, and one woman claims as she was fleeing his sight, she felt someone shove her violently from behind.
The second apparition is also seen on the staircase. She appears as a woman wearing an 18th century style gray hooded dress. Several witnesses have claimed to see this apparition holding the hand of a small girl, around eight years old.
The third apparition has been spotted in the living room of the home. A 19th century laborer has been observed walking across the living room with what appears to be a dead body slung over his shoulder. Due to the frequency of these apparitions, the home is no longer being used as a guest house. Now, it houses the park library.
Ramsdell House, Ceredo
The town of Ceredo was founded in 1857 by Eli Thayer, a strong abolitionist who was determined to prove that a town could be prosperous without the use of slave labor. The following year, he personally invited another abolitionist from the Boston area, Zopher D. Ramsdell, to join him.
Z.D. Ramsdell was a businessman who soon settled in the area and opened a boot and shoe factory. In 1858, Ramsdell completed his home at 1108 B Street, Ceredo, a lot he purchased from the Jordan family. This brick building was the first of its kind in Ceredo, and was built by Mr. Denney Shine, a mason with the Chase Brothers Contractors. The home was built atop a mound, rumored to be an Adena Indian burial mound, and also contained a "hidden" basement.
According to local legend, this hidden basement was used as part of the Underground Railroad. Slaves would be sheltered there before being ferried out during the night across the Ohio River into Lawrence County, Ohio.
During the outbreak of the Civil War, Ramsdell enlisted with the Union Army as a member of the Quarter Master Corp in the Fifth Regiment Virginia Volunteer Infantry. He was later promoted to Captain. After the war, he returned to Ceredo, where he was appointed as a special agent of the post office, elected to the WV State Senate (1869-1870) and sat on the board of commissioners for the Ceredo Independent School District. He was also instrumental in writing legislation establishing the area's first "free schools" for ex-slaves.
Ramsdell lived in the home until his death in 1886, and the home remained in the family until 1977. By 1982, the city had appointed a Historical Landmark Commission and together with the American Legion, restored the building. Visitors to today's museum may notice a big steel "S" on the side of the house, supporting a bar that stabilizes the structure.
Due to its involvement with the Underground Railroad and its location atop an Adena Mound, many ghost stories arise from the Ramsdell Home, and men seem to be most susceptible to the activity. Poltergeist activity such as doors opening and closing and lights switching on and off on their own accord are commonplace. In addition, it is rumored that you can hear the moans of slaves and chains rattling in the "hidden" basement. Apparitions of slaves have also been seen, as it is rumored that there are several who are buried on the property. Several Civil War veteran's graves are also said to be located on the property.
Vandergrift's Vancroft, Wellsburg
In 1901, plans were drawn up for a lavish vacation home for Joseph B. Vandergrift, a wealthy steel heir from Pittsburg. The home, known as Vancroft, was designed by Alden and Harlow architects, and was built atop the William Miller and Saunders' farms.
The home was called the playground for the rich. It offered swimming pools, hunting, horse racing, gambling, prostitution, alcohol, and all sorts of entertainment activities. Each room has an international theme, decorated with pieces from all over the world. After Vandergrift, the home was purchased by the Brinker family, who allowed a silent film to be shot on the property. The Knights of St. George, followed by the William Penn Society both owned the home, before the present owners, the Catholic Knights, took over in 1991. At one point, they operated an assisted living nursing home on the property.
The house also has a ghost. A young lady is rumored to have hung herself out in the stables after her husband discovered that she was having an affair. She has been seen wandering about the property, doomed to forever roam the place where she took her own life.
Update November 2009: Skeletal remains unearthed at Vancroft!
McCausland Manor, Pliney
This 19 room sandstone structure along old route 35 was built in 1885 from native materials. It was built by Jesse Lewis, a local black teamster, and designed by Gen. "Tiger" John McCausland. Interesting features include an actual elevator, dumbwaiter, and fireplaces in every room that each emptied into a common ash pit in the basement. The 18 inch thick walls are continuous, as the two stories and basement all share the same floor plan. Wiring is exposed since drilling through the thick sandstone walls would be unfeasible. McCausland named the home "Grape Hill" because of the abundance of wild grapes in the area.
McCausland was born in St. Louis in 1836, and came to Mason County to live with his uncle after the death of his parents. He attended nearby Buffalo Academy, and then later went on to the Virginia Military Institute. At the onset of the Civil War, he offered his engineering services to the Confederacy.
After the controversial burning of Chambersburg, McCausland was run out of Mason County. He eventually ended up in Europe to escape those who felt as if he should be indicted for war crimes for his actions. He returned in 1867 after family friend, Ulysses S. Grant, in a sense pardoned him. He married Charlotte in 1878, had four children, then settled back in the Mason County area where he built his grand home.
It is rumored that the home was funded by gold looted at Chambersburg, but in reality, it came from a combination of money inherited in St. Louis from his parents' estate, and cheap labor. It is also rumored that the home was built in such a way that McCausland could be on the lookout for anyone that entered the property. While cleared of any war crimes, he still never signed an oath of allegiance, and thus was paranoid that someone would come after him.
McCausland died in 1927, the second to last living Confederate general. The property is still in the family, and is listed as a National Register site. Visitors to the home have reported feelings of being watched, and not being alone. Phantom footsteps have also been reported. Are these signs that Gen. McCausland is still in his beloved home, on the look out for Union supporters...or just a product of the high EMF coming from the unshielded wiring? You decide.
The home had been in the Causland Family for many years, and has recently be acquired by the WV Department of Transportation. As always, please seek permission before entering the property.
Lake Shawnee, Princeton area
The Lake Shawnee Amusement Park gained notoriety after being featured on a 2005 episode of Scariest Places on Earth.
The amusement park opened in 1926 by C.T. Snidow, who ran the park until its closing in1966. The site of the park is located atop of the Mitchell Clay family massacre, which occurred around 1781. There are several different stories as to what happened that faithful day, but we do know that two of the Clay children, Tabitha and Bartley, were killed by a local Indian tribe. Today, a memorial for the massacre stands on the park property.
In 1985, a man by the name of Gaylord White bought the property, and reopened the park. White had worked at the park as a young man in the 1950s. Unfortunately, due to insurance concerns, the park was closed three years later, and now only operates as a fishing lake and campground.
In 1988, a team of archaeologists from Marshall University excavated the area, and found evidence of two different Native American settlements. They uncovered several tools, artifacts, and at least two bodies, those of an infant and an adult male.
Aside from the Clay massacre, there have been several deaths associated with the park. When the park first opened, the property contained a saloon, complete with prostitution, illegal gambling, and a speak-easy. A man was allegedly murdered over a large sum of money.
In the 1950s, a little girl died on the swing ride when a soft drink truck accidentally parked too close to the ride, causing her to slam into the side of it. Mr. White has personally witnessed the apparition of this little girl, who he describes as wearing a pink dress with ruffled sleeves. People also say that you can witness a cold spot and see orbs floating above the swing seats.
The third death was that of a little boy who drowned in the lake. The lake has now been largely drained for "mud bogging," and what remains is a small pond that hosts catfish tournaments every Saturday night. A later witness once claimed that she almost drowned in the lake as well. She said she was swimming, and it felt as if something was trying to pull her under and hold her down.
Another possible death is from a man falling from the Ferris Wheel. While this may or may not be just legend, people have reported seeing a man in the seat located at the 9 o' clock position. The apparitions of Indians have also been seen, especially in the area of the concession stand.
Grasslick Rd., Ripley
Grasslick Road is the site of the 1897 Pfost-Greene murders.
On the night of November 4th, a man named John Morgan stopped by to visit the Pfost-Greene family. Mrs. Chloe Pfost Greene, then 70 years old, was at home with her daughters Alice and Matilda from her first marriage, and son James Greene from her second marriage.
John Morgan was a local boy who Mrs. Pfost-Greene took into her home and treated like a son. He had moved out three years prior, but remained friends with the family, doing odd jobs and farm work for them. Therefore, John knew that Mrs. Pfost-Greene had a promissory note due to her for the sum of $100 for selling a horse.
On the night in question, John Morgan stopped by, and was invited to spend the night. Around 4am, he and James went out to feed the hogs, and John Morgan brained James with an axe he had secured there. He went into the house, where the women were getting breakfast ready, and struck Matilda twice, killing her. He then struck Alice, and thinking he killed her, went after Mrs. Pfost-Greene. In the meantime, Alice had managed to run out, half-conscious and sounded the alarm. John Morgan was arrested and confessed the next day, and was hung on December 16, 1897 (See photo above). His hanging, which took place on the present day Ripley High School football field, was the last public hanging in West Virginia due to the large spectacle it became.
Today, the house where the murders took place is gone, but before it was demolished, it was said there was a blood stain on the floor that could not be removed. The field surrounding the property is also rumored to be haunted. Witnesses say they see a young woman running and can hear her screaming. It is also said that if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of an axe. This apparition is said to be that of Alice, who did survive the attack, but left a residual imprint on the environment.
Shelton College, St. Albans
In September of 1871, the Guyandotte Baptist Association began plans for establishing a school of higher learning. The association decided that the best place to put the school would be along the Kanawha River in the town of Coalsmouth, now St. Albans. While funding was being secured for a site and construction , the school opened inside the Town Hall Building as the Baptist Coalsmouth High School. Classes began October 1, 1872 and led by Prof. H.W. Hovey, assistant teacher, and Rev. P.B. Reynolds, principal.
In 1873, the foundation was laid, but money issues caused a halt in construction. Mr. T.M. Shelton gave a loan of several thousand dollars, allowing construction to be completed by 1875. Over the following years, the school still struggled financially. In 1878, the name of the school was changed to Shelton College, in honor of T.M. Shelton, who continued to offer financial assistance.
By 1883, the school was still struggling financially and had a low enrollment, despite the efforts of staff and the Baptist Association to turn the academy into a respectable college. That year, a joint stock company was organized to purchase the school and pay off the debt. Under private control, Rev. Baylus Cade, followed by W.G. Miller, acted as principal. By 1887, there were 52 students taking regular English and classical courses, plus music and "special normal courses." The following year boasted an enrollment of 70 students, both male and female, and by 1889, the school was debt free.
However, low enrollment coupled with financial stress led to the closing of the school in the early 1900s, and by 1911, it was converted into a private residence. Over the years, many families living in the house have encountered the "pink lady." The pink lady is seen in a flowing gown, long hair, and enshrouded in a glowing pink light. It is rumored that this lady is the first mistress of the home. She is also seen in a local cemetery where her baby is allegedly buried.
Spring Hill Cemetery, Huntington
The year Huntington was established, the city set aside almost 30 acres for use as a public cemetery. The land was purchased from Collis P. Huntington's Central Land Company and named after the Old Spring House nearby.
The first official burial was for Josephine Webb, which took place in 1873. However, the 1838 grave of Elizabeth Prosser was already erected in a field included in the acreage, so its listed as the "unofficial" first burial for the cemetery.
The original cemetery included a potter's field, although today, all such burials are reserved for the Highland Cemetery. Over the years, as the city grew, small family cemeteries were relocated to the grounds of Spring Hill. Gen. Albert Jenkins was moved here in the 1920s, and is buried among 300 civil war soldiers. A brick chapel on the grounds now serves as a sales office, but originally held funeral services. A yellow sexton's house is located near the side entrance. The last sexton was Arden Ross, who retired in 1998. The superintendent now looks over the cemetery, but does not live on the grounds.
During the 1903 smallpox and the 1918 flu epidemics, many victims were buried here, some in the potter's field section. Rumor has it that some of these were buried in mass graves. What is known is that many of these flu victims did not have any funeral service due to the widespread contagious nature of the illness. One such family had a grandfather (William Alfred Bias) who passed away during the 1903 smallpox epidemic, and was buried one day along with dozens of others. Several of his sons sneaked out and waited outside the fence near the family plot for his burial to take place. When he was placed in the ground, the boys said a few prayers, but then noticed a ball of light hovering above the grandfather's grave, which slowly lifted up and floated away. The boys followed it all the way home, where it went through the front door of the house with a thud.
Today, there are still rumors of the cemetery being haunted. There is some belief that the hauntings are connected to the many flu/smallpox epidemic victims, or even with the old Huntington State Hospital across the street.
Glen Ferris Inn, Glen Ferris/Gauley Bridge
The Glen Ferris Inn began its life in 1839 when Andrew Stockton received a license to operate a "common room" to cater to the stagecoach traffic through the area. Prior to that year, the site probably contained a home as early as 1810, which at some point partially burned, and was reconstructed as Stockton's Inn.
In 1853, the common room expanded into what is now the Glen Ferris Inn. During the Civil War, soldiers from both sides stayed at the inn, as did two future presidents of the United States. It is rumored that the home even served as a makeshift Civil War hospital between 1863 and 1865.
After the war, aluminum production began in the area, and Union Carbide purchased the inn, expanding it with a 10 room wing in 1929. Additions were built in the 1960s and again in the 1980s, before a local family purchased the inn from Elkem Metals in 1996.
The inn is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Confederate officer dubbed "The Colonel." The ghost is described as being helpful and playful, shutting doors behind people, frothing up the water in the birdbath, and causing disembodied footsteps. The long-bearded Colonel is often only seen from the waist up, and often in the hallway outside the kitchen.
Blume Haven Inn, Fayetteville
The Blume Haven Inn is located in Fayetteville and has been owned by Karen Campbell for at least ten years. This bed and breakfast was the former of Dr. M. Malcolm and his son. Dr. Malcolm died in the home in 1919 from esophageal cancer. He breathed his last breath in Room 7 of the inn.
In 1932, Malcolm's son also passed away in the home. He died in the home's basement of tuberculosis.
Dr. Malcolm is said to be the resident ghost. He is blamed for stealing items from guests and staff, and hiding them under the bed in Room 7. Karen Campbell has also heard a man singing Rock of Ages, and has heard the rapping of a cane throughout the house.
Hale House, Malden
The Hale House was built in 1838 and served as home to Dr. John P. Hale, who became one of the area's leading salt industrialists. Dr. Hale was also the mayor of Charleston, and in 1871, was instrumental in bringing the state capitol here. He also financed the world's first brick paved street, Summers Street.
Before the Civil War, the area of Malden was known as Kanawha Salines, and since the early 1800s had been the area's leading producer in salt brine. The Hale House was built on land owned by the Ruffner Family, in what was known as the "Saltborough" Subdivision, now referred to as "Old Malden." In 1991, the house was restored for use by the Cabin Creek Quilt Co-Op. Today it is owned by West Virginia State College University, who host tours of the home.
Sometime during its long history, the house is said to have picked up a ghost or two. A lady was living there with her abusive husband and her husband's uncle, when the husband was murdered. The murder was never solved, and the murdered man's restless spirit remains, searching for justice.
Darkish Knob, Parsons
The following was written by Troy Taylor:
Near the town of Parsons is a tall, steep hill that is almost entirely covered with loose rock. It is a dangerous place and only one path leads over this hill and it is nearly impassable. The hill is called Darkish Knob and among local residents, it has long had a reputation for being haunted.
In the years before the Civil War, the Underground Railroad was busy bringing as many slaves as possible to the north. These escaped slaves had to travel at night, hiding and sleeping in the daytime, so that they wouldn't be seen. One trip through an area had to be different from the next for the guides that led these slaves. They had to sleep in different houses and use different trails to avoid the authorities who might be waiting for them along the familiar routes.
One of the best routes north wound through the mountains of West Virginia (although is was still part of the state of Virginia at that time). There were many places to hide out here but traveling at night through the deadly passes could be treacherous. To the slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad though, only death and despair awaited them if they went back, so these men and women would often travel along trails that most people wouldn't even attempt in the day time.
Such was the trail over Darkish Knob. It was here that a small house was hidden near the base of the hill that offered rest and safety for the slaves. The house was so well hidden that many travelers passed it by because they couldn't find it in the darkness. This made it the perfect place to hide out.
One night, a young girl was trying to locate the house. She was being chased by slave-catchers, men who had been hired to find runaway slaves, and missed the house and started up the trail over Darkish Knob instead.
She rode her horse to the top of the hill and along the path that drops down into the Cheat River. As she reached the top, she turned and looked back. The horse lost his footing and plunged over the edge of the hill. As the girl fell to the rocks below, she let out a bellowing scream that was heard for nearly a mile.
The ghost of this young girl is said to return to the top of the hill every year on the eve of the date of her death. The ghost moans and cries for several minutes and then lets out a terrifying scream as the moment of her death approaches.
Parsons, West Virginia is located in the north central part of the state, north of Elkins and along Highway 219.
Man Community Hospital
Man is a small community located in Logan County, WV.
In 1954, construction began on the Man Community Hospital. While breaking ground for the new hospital, a major Indian village dating from about 1450-1550 A.D. was unearthed.
It was later discovered that this village spanned throughout the property of the hospital, and nearby Man High School on East MacDonald Avenue.
The hospital closed in 2001 due to budget cuts. Details on the haunting phenomenon have been scarce, but there are tales of phantom ambulances pulling up, electrical disturbances, and the general symptoms of unexplained noises, etc. If anyone has any stories or details, please let me know!
Solitude Farm, Cashmere
Solitude Farm is located in Monroe County, and was built in the 1840s by William Peck. It is rumored that William Peck had sent one of his slaves to England to study architecture and brick-laying, and thus he built L-shaped, two story home. Additions were made in the 1880s, and again after the turn of the century.
The house has only seen five owners in its existence...the Lowe family of Lowe's Hardware, Sean Mann and his family (1967-1998), a cattle rancher who never lived in the home, and then in 1999, Bill Gadd.
Voices, doors slamming, and footsteps are commonplace in this home, but there are several apparitions experienced as well. The first is a Confederate soldier, often seen on the staircase. He is in full regalia, and will often bow to women who spot him.
The second ghost is that of a crying infant. Legend states that Mrs. Peck became pregnant, and when she gave birth, it was obvious the child was racially mixed. Mr. Peck is said to have hunted down the suspected father and hanged him from an oak tree on the property. The infant was allowed to live in the home, but before its first birthday, it was either pushed or fell down the stairs to its death.
The suspected father of the child is also said to haunt the home, especially the area around the stairs. Witnesses have reported seeing a black man standing on the staircase or the landing with a red brick in his hand. This man is rumored to have been both the slave who was sent to England, AND the father of the child.
An upstairs bedroom called the "Pink Bedroom" is home to another ghost, experienced by Sean Mann among others. As Sean was in the bed, he saw the apparition of a young teenage girl wearing a white summer dress edged in lace. She asked him what he was doing in her bed. Legend states that a relative of the Peck family was staying in the home, when she fell in love with a black man. They had made plans to meet at a church picnic, but the girl's father found out. He attempted to shoot the man, but missed and killed his daughter instead.
Troy Taylor Article
General Lewis Inn, Lewisburg
The General Lewis Inn opened in 1929 by Randolph K. and Mary Milton Hock. The Hocks purchased the historic John Withrow home, and actually built the rest of the inn around the existing structure. The Withrow home was built in 1834, and was home to James Withrow's son. James was a prominent early citizen who built the first brick home in the area, which is still standing.
The Withrow home is now the east wing of the inn, the wing which holds the current dining room. The inn was named after General Andrew Lewis, as was the town of Lewisburg.
There are at least three ghosts who inhabit the Gen. Lewis Inn. The first is a slave named Reuben. Reuben is said to have been hanged in the are that is now the dining room, and he can be seen sitting at one of the dining room tables. It is in the dining room that a paranormal investigator reported seeing a napkin rise and fall to the floor.
The second ghost is that of a little girl. Guests and staff have reported the sounds of a little girl both crying and laughing coming from either room 206 or 208.
Room 208 has another ghost, who is probably the most well-known ghost at the inn. She is the "lady in white," whose portrait hangs in the room. However, no one knows where the portrait came from, or who its subject is. While known as the "lady in white," an apparition of a woman wearing a gray Civil War era dress has been spotted floating slightly above the ground.
Update May 2009: Some HPIR acquaintances recently spent the night in Suite 202, and each had a ghostly experience with who they believe is the little girl ghost. Two women both report waking up at various times in the night to see a figure standing by their respective beds. Both independently described the figure as being thin, a little taller than the back of a rocking chair, and wearing brown. The figure appeared to be facing away from the bed, and disappeared shortly thereafter. A third woman awoke in the night to her bed shaking, as if someone was trying to rouse her from sleep.
The staff at the inn keep record of the paranormal experiences of guests, and these women were told that Suite 202 had also been a site of activity for the little girl ghost.
Raleigh County Courthouse, Beckley
The current Raleigh County Courthouse is located on Main Street in Beckley. It was built in in 1936-37 around the old brick courthouse, built in 1894. Evidence of such can still be seen in the elevator shaft. The WPA project used locally quarried sandstone, and was designed by L.T. Bengston and built under general contractor J.O. Freeman.
The courthouse is home to a phantom woman who wears a red dress. She is often seen in the courtroom or jury room. The identity of this apparition is unknown, but it is theorized that she was a former employee, or a family member of someone who was tried and convicted at the courthouse.
St. Colman Catholic Church, Hinton
St. Colman Catholic Church is located about 15 miles away from Hinton, in an area of Irish Mountain named Sullivan's Knob. Maurice Sullivan was the first settler in the area, purchasing 435 acres of land from the Gwinn Family in 1855. The following year he was joined by the Quinlan family, and then several other Irish families. Together, they turned the small, isolated community into a thriving Irish farm settlement.
The community was largely of the Roman Catholic faith, and church services were held in private homes, provided once a month by a traveling preacher from St. Patrick's in Hinton. The community pushed for a church of their own, and in 1876, Sullivan deeded over 1 acre of land to Bishop Joseph J. Kain for use as a church and a cemetery. The cemetery unfortunately came first, as in that same year, John Quinlan passed away and was buried on the grounds.
The church was built the following year and consisted of a hewn log structure. The cemetery is unique in that it has a "Lost Souls" corner for unbaptized babies. The name St. Colman comes from a Gaelic saint, and the church became known as the "little Catholic church on Irish Mountain."
The church never did gain its own preacher, and continued to receive services through St. Patrick's in Hinton. In 1928, the church was refurbished. Clapboard painted white was erected over the hewed logs. In 1983 it became a registered historical site.
Visitors to the church in recent years have reported unexplained cold spots and cold mists that are actually seen. Some have reported these cold mists will take an almost human shape, and that sometimes they will stop and pause on pews by visitors, as if sitting beside them.
Berkeley County Poorhouse Farm, Martinsburg
The Poor House Farm is now located on the grounds of Poor House Farm Park, owned and maintained by the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Board.
In August of 1766, 400 acres west of Martinsburg were granted to David and Elizabeth Crochett by Lord Fairfax. In 1776, the Crochetts sold part of the land to John Snodgrass, and when he died in 1788, his portion went to his sons. This would later be the land for the Poor House Farm.
Around the year 1844, John and Elizabeth Emert owned the property, and built a log cabin, which would later be converted into the stone building standing today. The Emerts also added a wash house and a smoke house before selling the property in 1850 for use as a county poor farm. They received a sum of $5,626 from the county for the property.
In 1881, a frame sick house was added. During this time, the house also suffered from overcrowding. An 1882 census report showed that there were 49 people living in the home, and there were six deaths/three births that year.
By 1906, the term poor house or alms house was considered politically incorrect, and the property became known as the "county farm." Ten years later, a brick steward's house was added by JP Talhem. By the 1950s, the welfare system had replaced the need for poor farms, and the buildings were leased to private individuals and for the use of group homes. The Kester family rented the brick steward's building until 2002, and the main stone house was used by the Eastern Panhandle Mental Health organization until 2001.
The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Board has owned and operated the farm lands since 1994. The frame infirmary house built in 1881 was razed, and the stone house received a new roof. There are at least three graveyards on the area, and two potters' fields. The Emert family is buried behind the brick steward's house.
The original stone house is said by many to be haunted. The area near the fireplace has a heavy feeling, and there are several spots in the house where there is a heavy, hard to breathe feeling. The apparition of a soldier is also said to be seen on the grounds.
Hammond Mansion and Grist Mill, Hedgesville
The Hammond Mansion was built between 1838 and 1845, and was home to Dr. Allen C. Hammond and his family. It was an L-shaped brick federal style building. It is rumored that another family lived on the property in the 1700s, but was attacked by bears.
The Hammonds were among the few Confederate supporters in an area which was largely under Union occupation. While Dr. Hammond and his sons were off fighting in the War (his son George was with Company B 1st Virginia Confederate Calvary and died during the war), the ladies remained in the home.
Legend states that during this time, the ladies shot, sniper-style, several Union soldiers. As a result, the ladies were captured and locked into the brick, windowless slave shack on the property. The order was given to get rid of the women, meaning to take them out of the area, but the order was misinterpreted, and indeed, the women were gotten rid of. Fire was set to the slave shack, killing them all.
Also during this era, the home served as a Civil War hospital. When a typhoid epidemic broke out, victims were sent here, and quarantined on the summer porch.
In 1978, a fire gutted the home, leaving little more than a brick shell. In its state of disrepair, the home became a favorite shelter for the homeless population, and one vagrant did freeze to death in the area of the summer kitchen.
It is this homeless man, and the women who tragically died in the fire, who are said to still roam the grounds of the mansion.
The house WAS eventually restored, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Spring Mills Historic District, listed as for sale. Also in the district is another haunted location, the Stephens-Hammond Mill at Falling Waters. It is said that the mill, once used by Gen. Jackson, was home to ghostly lights and sounds coming from the second and third stories of the mill, even though the floors of the upper levels were rotted away. The mill is now torn down.
Eddy Chapel Cemetery, Leon
Eddy Chapel and Eddy Chapel Cemetery are located in Leon, WV...in Mason County.
The cemetery is located in a bend in the road, and at midnight during clear nights, a baby is sometimes seen or heard crying in the bend. The baby is said to have been killed in the area.
The cemetery itself has graves dating back to the early 1800s. One grave is that of a Confederate soldier, who was buried outside the cemetery property due to the area being largely Union supporters. Locals sometimes leave flowers for him.
Another story involves this same area (Beech Hill), but the house is torn down now. Many decades ago a local woman was dying of typhoid fever, and not expected to live through the night. As per custom, the family and neighbors set up with the sick woman that night. A group was out on the front porch having a smoke, when they claimed that a woman wearing all white walked up onto the porch, and wordlessly touched the doorknob before walking back off. The woman who was not expected to live through the night miraculously and completely recovered.
Thanks to Travis for the information!
Spring Hill Cemetery, Charleston
The city of Charleston was incorporated in 1794, with its original town cemetery being a small plot near the Kanawha River. By 1869, the cemetery was overcrowded, prompting officials to find a new location to bury the town's dead. In that same year, land was purchased for a sum of $2118.02, surveyed by Thomas Matthius, and laid out by A.J. Vosburg. The new cemetery was named Spring Hill after the "Chalybeate" spring nearby.
The oldest section is known as the "Old Circle." An original 20 acres has grown to over 172 acres, as Jewish, Roman Catholic, and other subdivisions have been added overlooking the state capitol building and downtown Charleston. In 1905, the city of Charleston demolished a "contagious hospital" no longer in use, and sold the land to the cemetery.
In the Potters' Field section, it is said there is a large, gnarled oak tree which was used for hangings and lynchings. Allegedly, one can hear strange strangling noises, said to come from the spirits of those who were hanged from the tree's thick, sturdy branch.
Greenbottom Cemetery, LeSage
The Greenbottom Cemetery is located off Rt. 2, outside of LeSage. According to reports, the cemetery is home to paranormal activity, including unexplainable cold spots, and dense fog. Several HPIR training exercises, and an HPIR training video have taken place in the cemetery, but no activity has been witnessed.
A recent story has come to the attention of the group, involving a group who were at the cemetery one day. When one member of the group went to her car, the others observed a man approach the vehicle. When asked who the man was, the girl he approached had claimed not to have seen him. This incident reminds me of my own somewhat creepy experience several years ago. My second time meeting the group was for a training/meeting at the cemetery. I was there a little early, and was parked in the cemetery. I saw a man come down off the hill toward the parking lot, get in an old vehicle, and drive up the path. Before driving up the path, the elderly man looked me straight in the eye, staring me down. When the next member showed up, I asked if they had seen the man or the car, and if that was someone in our group who I hadn't met. That member did not see the man...or the car...and I never saw it leave the cemetery.
Photo and Transcription property of Barry Huffstutler
Monument Place, Wheeling
Monument Place, otherwise known as "Shepherd's Hall," was built in 1798 atop the site of Fort Shepherd. It was built by Moses Shepherd, and was home to his wife, Lydia, and himself. Moses and Lydia were instrumental in getting the National Road directed through the Wheeling area.
According to legend, Monument Place is haunted by the previous "lady of the house," presumably Lydia, who is seen often in various parts of the building. The sounds of music and dancing are also heard on the second floor by many of the house's cleaning staff. The home hosted such people as Gen. Lafayette, James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Clay. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was renamed "Monument Place" by resident Lucie Loring Milton.
Second John North House, Lewisburg
There are actually two John North Houses in Lewisburg. The Second John North House is located at 200 S. Lafayette St., and was built in 1835, on one of the original 64 lots that made up Lewisburg. It was a "Traveler's Inn" in the 1920s, and is now owned by Paul and Aimee Hanna.
The following story is from the WV Tourism Board:
A story of a romance ending in tragedy makes a perfect ghost story. The John North Second House in Lewisburg is home to such a story. Legend has it that a young lady was sent to live with her aunt and uncle to keep her away from a soldier with whom she had fallen in love. She spent much time in her room, sinking into a depression. During a Christmas visit to her parent's house, she met her true love and he vowed to come to Lewisburg to visit her. He kept his promise, but was only allowed to speak to her from the corner of the street next to the house. After his departure, he paid children to deliver spring flowers to her each day. He was never able to visit again, and in despair, the young woman hanged herself in the only closet in the house. Since then, owners of the house report smelling flowers, even in the winter, and seeing a female apparition. One owner grew tired of hearing the sounds coming from the closet, so he boarded it up, even though it was the only closet in the house.
It is also said that around that same time a soldier, who was on his second visit to Lewisburg, was shot in the stomach and died within sight of the John North Second House.
Was this the young woman's long, lost love? No one knows for sure, but many think it is. Visit Lewisburg and decide for yourself.
National Road, Ohio County
The National Road is the nation's first federally funded interstate highway, conceived in 1806. Construction began in Maryland in 1811, and today, the road stretches over 800 miles across six states.
The road reached Wheeling in 1818, and it is this area which is reputedly haunted. Near the Pennsylvania border, the sounds of cannons firing can be heard coming from the surrounding woods. During the Civil War, the road was used to transport troops, and several minor skirmishes did take place along the route
Maslin-Gamble Mansion, Moorefield
The Maslin House was built in 1848 by Thomas Maslin. Maslin was born in 1808 to William and Ann Maslin of Berkeley County. The home was built by two Baltimore builders from local timber and brick. From 1850 to 1865, Maslin was a justice of the county court, among other political activities.
It is also said that Maslin was a strong Confederate sympathizer, and southern gentleman, despite the strong Union loyalties of Hardy County during the war. One legend states that Confederate soldiers were hidden in a secret cellar room during a Union raid.
Maslin died in 1878, and is buried in Olivet Cemetery. The home remained in the family for a few years before being sold to Mortimer Gamble, a lawyer and House of Delegates member.
According to haunted history, there are willow trees on the property that bear markings showing where slaves were tied up to them. The home is also said to be haunted by the cries of children. It is said that Maslin's daughter had multiple children fathered by slaves, whom he murdered and burned their bodies.
Colonial Lanes, Huntington
Colonial Lanes was built in 1959 on Huntington's West Side. Shortly after it was built, ten additional lanes were constructed, along with a connected beer tavern known as the Taproom.
In 1967, the Taproom received its liquor license and was officially renamed Rebels and Redcoats Tavern. It became a 4-star restaurant in 1969 and served food up until 2004, when it reverted back to a tavern.
The hauntings at Colonial Lanes seem concentrated on only the tavern area of the complex, with the upstairs stockroom, kitchen, and wine room being the most paranormally active. According to several seasoned employees interviewed for a Marshall University Parthenon article, the activity began shortly after the death of Mr. Frankel, one of the owners. Mr. Frankel is said to have been a friendly and compassionate man who always went out of his way for his staff and patrons. Incidentally, employees say activity has decreased significantly over the past 15-20 years, ever since Mr. Frankel's son stepped in. HPIR has received an update from the Frankel family stating that the activity did not, nor ever concentrate on Frankel's presence, or lack thereof.
Nevertheless, the tavern is still believed by many to be one of the most haunted locations in the tri-state area. Here's a sampling of activity reported over the years:
1. The smell of cherry pipe tobacco and the sound of heavy footsteps coming from the stockroom.
2. People hearing their name being whispered or called out.
3. The door to the kitchen opening, then slamming shut.
4. A swinging door near the bar swings open wide as if someone is going through.
5. Employees leave the room, only to return to the chairs stacked on top of the tables, and other things moved or out of place.
6. Opening employees find things like the radio turned on, even though they know it was turned off the night before at closing.
7. One man heard a knock at the bathroom door when no one was around except for one other person who was no where near the bathroom at the time.
Spencer State Hospital, Spencer
In 1885, crowding at the state mental institution at Weston became so great, that the need for a new facility was a top priority.
Two years later, a task force was able to pass legislation to build a second hospital, located in Spencer, Roane County, WV. The land was bought from William P. Goff for a sum of $9,200 and when built, the Kirkbride building measured in at 1/4 of a mile long. It was billed as the longest continuous brick structure in America, built from native stone.
The hospital opened for patients on July 18, 1893. Named the Second Hospital for the Insane, the doors opened to 54 patients...an number that would increase to 696 over the next ten years.
In the early 1920s, the name was changed to Spencer State Hospital. Several years later a 5 bed hospital clinic was added. The renovations didn't stop there, though. Starting in 1959, the roof was replaced, drastically altering the facade of the building. In 1972 Opportunity Hall, a section for teenagers, was added, followed the next year by a new administration and food service building.
1989 saw the closure of this massive monument, and in October of 1993 everything in the building was auctioned off, including patient x-rays. Before the building was torn down, strange events were often reported, including apparitions, moaning, chain rattling, etc. Rumor has it that doctors buried patients under the dirt floor and when you enter those rooms, you can feel people breathing on your neck.
Like many similar institutions, this one hosted Dr. James Freeman, who is known as the father of frontal lobotomies. It is said that on one visit, Dr. Freeman forgot or misplaced his hammer used in the procedure. A wooden mallet was found in the kitchen and used in its place. Between 1949 and 1952 Dr. Freeman performed lobotomies on over 200 patients, one dying when an out of place artery was severed.
The property does have several cemeteries, dating back to 1902. A total of 750 unmarked and 107 marked graves are memorialized by a white historical sign.
Mountaineer Opry House, Milton
The Mountaineer Opry House was opened in July of 1971 by Paul King, and his wife Rebecca. William "Paul" King was born on September 30th, 1921. He was a Shriner, a Mason, and a thirty year employee of Union Carbide, where he worked as a chemical truck driver. He was the son of William and Lessie King.
After Rebecca's death in 1991, Paul decided he didn't want to run the Opry House full time anymore, so he asked two of his regular patrons, Larry and Mary Stephens, if they were willing to take over. They agreed, and Paul stayed on temporarily to help out.
Paul passed away in July of 2002, and is buried in the Chestnut Grove Baptist Church Cemetery. Larry and Mary still own and operate the venue, and have upgraded the sound system significantly. The Mountaineer Opry house offers world-renowned bluegrass acts every Saturday, and has continuously since 1971.
The Mountaineer Opry House is listed on several sites as being haunted. It is said that when one is on the stage, the sound of a banjo playing in one of the rehearsal rooms can be heard...even though no one else is in the building. HPIR has contacted the owners, who disputed this claim and have no idea how the tale got started.
Woodmere Cemetery, Huntington
Woodmere Cemetery was established in 1918, and is located on Washington Blvd. Woodmere has several legends attached to it, and the entire cemetery is said to be haunted. Witnesses have reported seeing shadowy apparitions at night, and have captured photographic anomalies.
The most well-known legend of Woodmere Cemetery is that of Mother Blood. There is a tombstone near the road of the cemetery inscribed with the words Mother Blood. It is said that at midnight on a full moon (or Halloween, depending on who is telling the story) the light hits the stone in just the right way to make it look as if the stone is actually bleeding. The legend further goes on to say that Mother Blood was a mid-wife who murdered babies...in reality, Mother Blood was Edith Blood, who died in 1939 at the age of 60. There are reddish stains dripping down the back of the stone, which can be attributed to the natural weathering process of the stone. In fact, several nearby graves also have similar stains.
There are a few famous burials in Woodmere, including actress Virginia Egnor, WV governor Henry Hatfield, and baseball player "Salt Rock" Midkiff. However, Woodmere is the final resting place to another sort of infamous family...the Patterson family.
The Patterson Murders/Suicide
From an article in Huntington Quarterly by Joseph Platania
Tuesday morning, October 25, 1932, a few weeks before the presidential election that would send FDR to the White House in the depths of the Depression, Huntington residents awoke to read front page headlines about the murders of coal executive S.W. Patterson and his wife at the hands of their 27-year-old son, Thomas C. Patterson, who then took his own life. The annihilation of this prominent Huntington family occurred at about 11 p.m. Sunday, "in the palatial Patterson residence on Staunton Road," in the Highlawn section of town. Evidence at the scene of the double murder/suicide showed that Mrs. Patterson had been shot twice in the head as she listened to a radio program in the living room. Mr. Patterson was killed as he sat reading in his study at the other end of the hall. He was shot once in the head and there was a gash in his forehead, presumably from the blow of a hatchet that was later found in his son's room.
After the murders of his parents, the son, Thomas, locked himself in his bedroom where he slashed his wrists with a large butcher knife and bled to death. An article reports that a note found in his bathroom read: "`I have been murdered by a ghost - a devil. I wish to be cremated. Homicidal maniac. I'm sorry.' The note was signed by the young man's initials - T.C.P.," says the story.
The bathroom was described as "a shambles" with blood-smeared walls where the younger Patterson had tried to write on the wall with his own blood and with hatchet marks where he had hacked the wall. The bathtub and basin also were smeared with blood.
Inside the son's room and bathroom were found a Colt revolver, two hatchets and a large butcher knife.
An article states that Thomas Patterson was "a writer and poet" who had graduated from Yale University in 1926 and had returned to Huntington to live. After his graduation, Patterson had pursued a literary career. It adds that Patterson had had a slim volume of poetry privately published and he had completed a biography of Edgar Allan Poe that was in the hands of a publisher.
The official investigation of the double murder/suicide case revealed that the younger Patterson had suffered from a mental condition for several years and had been under the care of a Baltimore psychiatrist who had recommended that he be institutionalized.
The Pattersons had moved to Huntington from Williamson, W.Va. in 1923. S.W. Patterson was in business with his brother, Col. G.S. Patterson, of Huntington, in the Sycamore Coal Company.
An article reports that the inability of servants to enter the Patterson home on Monday morning led to the gruesome discovery of the bodies by Col. Patterson and his wife.
Following a joint funeral service on October 26, 1932, the S.W. Patterson family were buried in three identical gray caskets in Woodmere Cemetery.
The Patterson home is also said to plagued by paranormal activity. However, the current owners are not willing to discuss such matters, so please respect their privacy.
Swann Cemetery, Barboursville
Swann Cemetery, located in Barboursville, has long had a reputation of being haunted. According to a popular index of haunted places, Swann Cemetery gives off a feeling of not being alone, and photographs taken there often show anomalies.
I emailed Mr. George Swann about the claims, who informed me that there are actually seven Swann Cemeteries in Cabell County, and at least three in Barboursville, two of which are within miles of each other near Ousley's Gap, off Malcolm Rd. These two are the Leven C. Swann Cemetery, and the Hezekiah Swann Cemetery. The "haunted" cemetery is most likely the Leven C. Swann Cemetery.
Mr. Swann could tell me nothing of either cemetery being haunted, but was able to tell me that the area around the cemetery was the original homestead, and had been in the family since 1869. The family before had owned the property since around 1810.
In addition, Mr. Swann also informed me that his grandfather did share a "ghost" story that happened in the area. Apparently, when the grandfather was a boy, he was walking home one night, and saw a coffin floating through the woods. It is possible that due to the proximity of the original homestead to the cemetery, that the coffin incident DID take place in the woods surrounding the cemetery.
If you visit either of these cemeteries, please be respectful, and only visit during the day, unless given prior permission. Special thanks to George Swann for his help in researching this location.
Western Regional Jail, Barboursville
The Western Regional Jail was officially opened on December 13, 2003. It was built to house a capacity of 400 inmates from Cabell, Putnam, Mason, Lincoln, and Wayne Counties.
The proposed land for the construction site required the removal of one of the oldest cemeteries in the area, the Merritt Cemetery, which held many of the descendants of William Merritt, a prominent early citizen, as well as Malchor Strupe, a Revolutionary War veteran.
In 1999, as ground was broken, it became clear that the building site also was of Native American significance. Two different archeology groups were brought in, but it was declared that plowing and road construction had disrupted the site to the point where it did not qualify for historical preservation. Still, tools and pottery shards, and even remnants of a fire pit were discovered, and attributed to the Woodland Indians. The bulk of artifacts put the date at anywhere between 700A.D. and 1200A.D., but there is reason to believe that the area was used as a temporary campground way before that.
The HRC, an archaeological and historical preservation group from Morgantown also began "Phase II" in 1999, which consisted of surveying and relocating the Merritt Cemetery. In October of that year, the graves were officially moved to a new location a short distance away, and still on the original homestead property.
The team found 25 visible stones, and 15 buried bases or fragments. They also found at least 28 unmarked graves. There were 52 total burials that were found, and 19 of those were outside the fence.
The soil in the area was so acidic that not much was left of the remains. A few teeth, a button or two, soles of shoes, and coffin hardware were all that were left. These artifacts, along with the darker dirt (indicating organic matter) were put into pine boxes and re interred in the new location.
This is really the stuff that breeds ghost stories...of course, the Woodland campground became an "Indian burial ground." Also, it is a fairly accepted theory that spirits are unhappy whenever their earthly remains are undisturbed. Unfortunately, there is an added element. It would have been impossible to scoop up all the organic matter which was so decomposed, so technically there would still be bodies buried under the jail.
Almost immediately upon opening, staff and inmates alike began reporting strange phenomena. Voices and footsteps are heard when no one should be around. One inmate claims that he was shoved down, and someone caught him. He turned to see who had saved him from falling, and no one was there. In another incident, an employee was asked by an inmate to bring him a shave kit. Upon returning with the kit, the guard realized that no one was assigned to that cell. Cold AND hot spots have been reported within feet of each other, and people have said there is a negative vibe in the whole place, even more so than what one would expect in a jail. Interestingly enough, there have also been several deaths...a little more than what you'd expect in a jail less than five years old...one man allegedly committed suicide while being held for a minor charge, and at least two others died of apparent overdoses.
Lowe Hotel, Point Pleasant
The Lowe Hotel was originally opened in 1901 under the name of Spencer Hotel. It was owned and operated by two brothers, Homer and Griff Smith, and was named for J.S. Spencer, a friend of the brothers, financial backer for the hotel, and local lawyer/judge.
Homer Smith was born in 1868 and made his career in the hotel business. By the age of 23, he had been promoted to manager of the local Phoenix Hotel. In 1901, he decided to open his own hotel. Also in that year, he married Vausa Beal. Vausa and Homer had three children, who grew up in the hotel.
Griff Thomas Smith was born in 1867 and was a socialite and ladies' man. He served under the WV Secretary of State for the duration of two governors before taking a position as a private secretary for the IRS commissioner. He left Washington, D.C. to return home and join his younger brother in the hotel business.
The four story hotel was built on land originally owned by Col. Andrew Lewis. Construction cost $65,000 and another $10,00 was used to furnish the hotel. The ground floor had a bank, barber shop, bar and grill, sample rooms, billiards room, and a ladies' reception. A mezzazine between the first and second floor contained the original kitchen and dining facility, floors two and three served as guest rooms, and the fourth housed a grand ballroom.
The hotel was built in order to serve the heavy river traffic that stopped in at Point Pleasant, with rooms on the third floor set aside especially for tradesmen and river men. When Homer Smith and J.S. Spencer launched the Security Steamboat Company in 1914, the hotel became a popular spot for its passengers, but also its crew during repairs and inclement weather.
The Smiths owned the building until it was purchased in 1929 by Homer D. Lowe, who renamed it the Lowe Hotel. Lowe was the son of hotel owners in Spencer, WV, and grew up in the hotel business. When Lowe acquired the building, he changed more than the name. He put a stop to the back room gambling and prostitution that was previously allowed, and opened up portions of the hotel for the use of civic and church groups.
Lowe passed the hotel down to his son, Homer Lowe Jr. in 1945. Homer Jr. finally retired in 1987 and put the hotel up for sale. It was purchased by Rush and Mary Ruth Finley in 1990, and is still owned by them today.
*No ghosts are reported on the first floor.
*The mezzanine between the first and second floors is home to one of the most famous of the Lowe ghosts. A beautiful, but disheveled young woman is seen dancing to music only she can hear. She is barefoot, wearing a nightgown, and has long, flowing hair. It is rumored that she is the ghost of Juliette Smith, Homer Smith's middle child, and only daughter. As a young woman, Juliette loved music, and she loved to dance. She had fallen in love with a local boy, but her father disapproved of the marriage. The boy went on to marry another, while Juliette never did marry. During the taping of a Sci-Fi Investigates special on MothMan, the cast and crew stayed at the hotel, where the token skeptic, Boston Rob, claims to have seen her. Some say you can lure her out by leaving a single long-stemmed rose out on the mezzanine.
*On the second floor, a small child between two to three years old is seen riding a tricycle. Most often the child is seen as solid as a real person, and is so concentrated on her ride that she makes no eye contact or interaction with witnesses. Other times, only the sounds of laughter or the squeak of tricycle wheels is heard. It is generally felt that the child is a residual imprint of one of the Lowe children who lived and grew up in the hotel.
*The third floor is perhaps the most active. The first of such is perhaps that of a former maid. Guests and employees have heard someone whistling when no one is around, and report a sudden chill and sense that someone is watching them. Transoms over the doors are often found in the opposite position than that in which they were left, and cleaning supplies are found lying around where no employee has been to clean. Further, the cleaning products and supplies are never the brand or type that is used by the hotel staff.
*The next third floor ghost is that of Captain Jim, who resides in a three room suite, probably 316. Captain Jim was first reported in 2005 by a woman staying at the hotel during a local festival. She had returned to her room to find a man standing, looking out the river towards the river. She asked him his name and what he was doing. He replied that his name was Captain Jim and that he was waiting for a boat. At this time, the woman noticed the man had no legs, and quickly fled the room. Research shows that a man by the name of Captain James (Jimmy) O'Brien was a captain for the Homer Smith steamboat in 1915.
*Also on the third floor is a man with a beard and wearing 1930s style clothing. He is seen frequently in room 314. A witness later brought back a postcard bearing the picture of Sid Hatfield, the Matewan police chief who was gunned down in McDowell County in 1921, and claimed he was the man she saw. There is no record that Sid Hatfield ever stayed at the hotel.
*In the fourth floor ballroom, it is said that the sounds of a string-quartet can be heard playing, day or night. It is best heard at the center of the room, about three feet away from the stairs.
*In addition to the ballroom, the fourth floor also houses storage rooms. In one of these storage rooms is the rocking chair belonging to Mr. Lowe's widowed mother. At one point, one of the Finley daughters, Marcia, sneaked up there for a cigarette, and experienced the chair start rocking on its own.
Wells Inn, Sistersville
The Wells Hotel was opened on January 15, 1895 by Ephraim Wells, the grandson of the founder of Sistersville, Charles Wells. In 1894, oil was discovered in the area, making Sistersville an oil boom town. The grand hotel was built to cater to the oil barons and the upper class citizens and travelers.
The mostly prosperous hotel passed through many owners over the years, opening and closing several times. It was almost shut down in 1994 after a hard winter caused massive damage to the structure. Luckily, the Boyd family purchased the inn, restored it, and added modern amenities, such as a pool and exercise area. Walt Boyd, the current owner, is said to look eerily like Mr. Wells.
The ghost is said to be that of Ephraim Wells himself, whose portrait hangs proudly in the hotel. The ghost likes to move things around when no one is present, and strange noises are heard at night. Doors slam on their own and an elevator frequently comes down from the third floor when no one is around.
Room #324 is said to be home to at least one strange incident. A maid went to clean the room, but found the door stuck shut. She said the door literally "sucked itself shut" with the exact same results for all three tries at opening the door. On the fourth try, it opened normally.
It is also said that the sounds of writing can be heard coming from Mr. Wells' former office on the second floor, and footsteps are heard walking down halls and passageways.
Bower Cemetery and Pioneer Farm, Twin Falls State Park
Hamilton (Ham) Bower (b.1817) and his second wife, Virginia (Jennie) Ray Bower, moved into a house built circa 1835 (which is now the Pioneer Farm in the Twin Falls State Park) in the year 1866.
Originally from Ashe County, North Carolina, Ham and his oldest son, Charles from a previous marriage, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. After the war, Charles was never heard from again, but Ham made it home to North Carolina only to find himself in poor health and his farm in badly need of major repair. So...he and Jennie packed up their children and set off for the newly formed state of West Virginia.
In addition to Charles, Ham had another son from his previous marriage named James Frank, who went by Frank. Jennie, having also been previously married, brought with them her youngest daughter, Clarissa (Clara/Kate). The family was also comprised of two other children shared by both Ham and Jennie, Jefferson David (David) and Robert Lee (Lee).
In West Virginia, they bought some land from whom it is believed to be Peter Belcher, which quickly became known as Bower’s Ridge. While in WV, two more children were born to the couple, Wiley Columbus and Cynthia.
Ham’s health never did improve, and in 1869 cousins came and took him back to North Carolina where he died and was buried. Jennie and the rest of the family stayed in West Virginia. Jennie died in 1902. With the exception of only one son, the rest of the couple’s children are buried in the family cemetery.
In 1895, Wiley married Christina (Teenie/Tina) Belcher and took over the house and the farm. In 1915, presumably to make room for the couple’s 10+ children, Wiley expanded the original house, building a 7 room frame structure around the cabin. Wiley died in 1959, and when the state began clearing land for the new state park, plans were to demolish the house. As demolition began around 1965, the original house was discovered and it was decided that it should be preserved. Today, it boasts the title of one of the county’s oldest standing structures.
Today, both the cabin and the Bower family cemetery are rumored to be haunted.
The Ghost of Fifth Street Hill, Huntington
Brief synopsis of the story from the Lavalette Nursery website:
As you travel the hill to and from the nursery this fall, keep an eye peeled for our local phantom, especially on those rainy nights. She has been making midnight rounds in our neighborhood for a half dozen decades now.
And don't offer her your coat -- she doesn't need one, even on the coldest of evenings.
The Ghost Girl of Fifth Street Hill has been here at least five years longer than Lavalette has.
It all began at Halloween in 1942, when the first published account of the ghostly sighting appeared in a Huntington newspaper. A Black & White Cab driver told a reporter he had left off a fare at a dance hall on Fifth Street Road at about 4:30 one morning and had started toward Huntington.
"When I got to the top of Fifth Street Hill," the driver said, "a girl hailed me from the roadside. I stopped, opened the door, and she got into the rear seat. It was pretty cold, but she did not have any coat or hat on, just a skirt and thin blouse. I thought that was funny and said, 'It's pretty cold without a coat, isn't it?' and she replied, 'I haven't worn a coat for nine or ten years!'"
The driver asked the mysterious girl where she wanted to go, got an address at the bottom of the hill and took her there. But when they arrived, she had vanished!
It turns out that cab drivers and bus drivers have been seeing The Fifth Street Hill Girl for years.
In 1958, a newspaper story expanded on the legend, saying that quite a few years ago, a Huntington couple took their daughter and her fiance to Wayne to be married. It was the early spring. On the way back, rain started falling, making the road slippery.
"At the foot of the hill," said the paper, "just before coming to the bridge at the corner of 5th Street and the boulevard, the car overturned and the bride was killed." Ever since then, goes the legend, the girl appears, especially on rainy nights, and even in cold weather, always dressed for spring.
As recently as 1977, a Marshall University folklore class quoted a retired cab driver as saying he encountered the ghostly girl on a memorable rainy night. "Where to?" he asked her.She gave him an address in the West End. Of course, when he arrived at the location, the girl had disappeared from the back seat.
The driver knocked on the door at that house and told the old woman who answered the door, "Lady, I've had a terrible experience." He told her what had happened. And the woman said: "That's my daughter. Ever since she died, she comes back every four years."
The driver returned to the cab headquarters and quit his job.
Joseph Platania's article from Huntington Quarterly
Parthenon Article by Heather Berry
Marshall University, Huntington
There are various places around campus and off which are said to be haunted. Here's a brief listing of those places from a Parthenon article by Kelly Donahue:
Old Main While tales abound from each part of this structure, Old Main is most noted for its ghost(s) of the stage. A large, well-dressed man has been seen sitting backstage during performances who quickly disappears. This man is believed to possibly be the ghost of a 1920s theater director. This director disappeared after he was discovered to have been embezzling money from the college. However, in the late 1980s, a set of invoices and bills from the 1920s began arriving, signed by the missing director. Old Main history.
Morrow Library Morrow Library is now home to special collections and much of it is off limits with the new Drinko Library opening up. However, at the time of this article, the library was still a largely functioning building...and a spooky one at that. Several students admitted to have heard loud arguments while no one was around, and one student claims to have seen books fall off the shelf for no apparent reason.
Twin Towers East In room 1218 of Twin Towers East (the male dorm) Jason Ranson had an experience that he said still haunted him. While lying in bed one night, Ranson claims to have seen the image of a young man sitting in his room, looking at him and his roommate. In fear, Ranson pulled his blanket up over his head momentarily and when he looked again, the young man had disappeared and the door was still locked. Ranson later learned from friends that a young man had in fact committed suicide in that room.
Sigma Phi Epsilon House The Sigma Phi Epsilon House is located at 1401 Fifth Avenue. In the late 1960s or early 1970s it is rumored that a woman named Gail and her twin sons died in a basement fire of the home. Reports of hearing sobbing and seeing unexplained images are just a few of the things that are attributed to the ghosts. According to Chris Neusbaum, a junior and resident at the time of the article, the ghost of Gail takes care of the fraternity house and is a welcome addition.
Alpha Chi Omega House At the Alpha Chi Omega house (located directly across from Corbly Hall on Fifth Avenue) is the ghost of another little boy who died in a fire. Unexplainable gusts of cool air, flickering basement lights that electricians cannot explain, and disappearing/reappearing objects are just some of the occurrences attributed to the little ghost boy.
Monongalia County Cemetery, Morgantown
This cemetery, located on West Run Rd. in Morgantown, was once known as Potter's Field, the local pauper cemetery. Today, renamed as Monongalia County Cemetery, the property is maintained by the County Commission.
Most of the graves are unmarked, but there a few, more recent markers in addition to the marker at the front of the cemetery (now riddled with bullet holes). This property and the surrounding woods have long had a reputation of being haunted. It is also rumored that local witches use the area for ceremonial events.
I got to visit this cemetery late last year, and indeed it is a creepy place. Nothing concrete showed up on camera or on audio, but my partner and I did have a few personal experiences. There is an overwhelming sense of paranoia about the place...like someone is watching you the whole time you're there. Going back down the path, we could hear what sounded like footsteps a few paces behind us. Turning sharply around to try to catch the "phantom" stalker...we both saw three shadows illuminated on the hillside...yet there were only two of us present.
It very well could have been the wind in the trees, or a far off echo that sounded like footsteps...and the triple shadow could have been nothing more than a mere common light phenomena...but I'd definitely like to go back and do a proper investigation.
Mai Moore Mansion, Henderson
The Mai Moore mansion was once the home to Charles Page Thomas Moore, his wife Urilla Kline, and four daughters, Ida, Rebecca, Lauretta Mai, and Elizabeth.
Charles was born in February of 1831 in Greenbrier County. After his parents died when he was 14, he was adopted by his uncle George Moore and moved to Mason county.
While at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, PA, Charles co-founded the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in 1852. He went on to become a justice of the WV Supreme Court of Appeals and died on July 7, 1904. He is buried in nearby Bruce Chapel Cemetery.
The mansion is located near the Adena Indian mound, named the Mai Moore Mound after Charles' daughter, Lauretta Mai, and thus the mansion became known as the Mai Moore Mansion. It was gutted by fire in 1968 and not much remains as of today.
The area of the ruins are said to give off an unexplainable vibe, and unaccountable noises have been reported.
Capitol Plaza Theater, Charleston
The Capitol Plaza Theater is located on Summers Street in downtown Charleston, WV. Built around 1909 atop of the former Welch Mansion, the theater is now owned and operated by WV State College University.
Originally opened in 1912 as a vaudeville venue, the theater suffered extensive fire damage in the early 1920s. It was then renovated and reopened as a movie theater which operated until the 1970s.
In the mid-80s a private organization again renovated the theater, but due to lack of financial success, donated the building to WV State College as a tax write-off.
Two ghosts are said to make their home here. The first is John Welch, the protective prankster of the building. He is often seen by performers, sitting in the front row of the balcony, stage left, during performances. It is John's spirit who is also claimed to be the cause of a foreboding feeling often felt when going through the doors to the projection booth.
The second ghost here is his daughter, Molly, who died in 1840 from pneumonia. She is the shy one, but can sometimes be seen sitting in the theater's balcony, or playing backstage. Although considered the shy one, Molly is also considered to be the more helpful and friendly of the two, even attempting to help a performer with a costume change!
River Park Hospital, Huntington
This comes straight from a Parthenon article by Sarah Altmeyer
"River Park Hospital, located at 1230 Sixth Ave., has not always been a psychiatric hospital. The building started as an orthopedics hospital in 1923, then it became the Huntington Hospital before finally becoming the River Park Hospital.
"I was walking down the hallway on the fifth floor and the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up and I had the most overwhelming feeling shoot straight through my body," Donna Swiger, a registered nurse who has worked at River Park Hospital for 10 years, said. "My shift supervisor turned to me and said I just had my first experience with Edith."
Jennifer McVey-Holley, director of community relations at River Park Hospital, said the employees have reported strange sightings at the hospital. McVey-Holley said the staff is convinced a ghost named Edith haunts the hospital.
Edith Miller, a registered nurse, helped start the hospital in 1923.
Employees at the hospital said Edith is a friendly ghost and she is just checking to see if everything is running smoothly.
Some of the employees said they find it eerie when the elevator doors open when no one is in sight.
McVey-Holley said she hears various reports from employees about cold spots in the hospital, which often feel like a human presence. She said other reports, such as hearing someone walk down the hallway only to find no one is there and lights turning on and off have mysteriously occurred.
McVey-Holley said most employees report incidents on the fifth floor, where Edith's office was located.
Swiger said Edith's office is now where the record room is located. The nurse supervisors used to use Edith's room as their office, Swiger said. The supervisors did not stay in the room for long. They moved into a different room because they reported that they could feel Edith's presence.
McVey-Holley said Edith is not interested in hurting anyone. Edith is a positive spirit because she is looking out for all the employees.
McVey-Holley said, in a joking manner, everyone knows about Edith. She said the hospital should have an orientation program for the new employees to prepare them for their first experience with the ghost."
The Empty Glass, Charleston
The Empty Glass is an allegedly haunted bar in Charleston, WV. The main entity appears to be the ghost of a former bartender killed in a car crash who likes to play harmless pranks on staff and patrons. One instance in particular involves a jukebox. Apparently this bartender, while alive, enjoyed a particular brand of rock and roll. The bar was empty, but employees noticed a jukebox turned on, with songs selected that were some of the bartender's favorites. As they went to unplug the jukebox, they saw a shadow of a man cross by.
The second floor also seems to be active with entities who came WITH the building. Disappearing objects and restroom doors that get stuck are just some of the occurrences that plague employees taking their break.
Info from: Susan Sheppard's Cry of the Banshee.
The Red House, Eleanor
Taken from the website: http://eleanorwv.20m.com/p8.htm
Take a look at the website for more information and contact details...The property is now owned by the town of Eleanor (located just across the river from me) and is used as the Eleanor Town Hall.
Anyway, here's the story of "Sam":
"The Red House has a protector, overseer, or guardian angel (which ever you choose to call him) that the employees have named Sam. Sam pays a visit from time to time, but unlike the most of us, who like to be seen, but not heard, he likes to be heard, but not seen. Sam's presence adds to the historical folklore of this 1800's home. Old stories about the magnificent Red House with it's connecting slave quarters still surface from time to time, days when slavery was common and slaves were disciplined in a harsh manner.
Rumors or stories include the existence of a tunnel to smuggle slaves from the river to the big house. After much searching, the employees have found no evidence a tunnel exists. Did it ever, it's possible, but it will probably remain a legend and not a proven fact."
Also according to the website, there is a legend of a slave being murdered on the third floor landing, as well as talks of hidden tunnels connecting not only the main house to the slave quarters, but connecting the slave quarters to the river. There is also talk of it later being used as a stop on the Underground railroad.
Soldier's Memorial Theater, Beckley
The Soldier's Memorial Theater was built around 1931-32. A celebration was held on November 15, 1931 to commemorate the laying of the cornerstone. There was a temporary floor set up that was holding some of the construction materials, and people climbed up on it to get a better view of the festivities. Right before the invocation was to be given by a local reverend, the temporary flooring gave out, causing those standing on it, plus heavy construction stones, to drop 12 feet down into the basement. At least six people were injured, three requiring hospitalization...but to my knowledge, no one died as a direct result from their injuries, although it kinda seems as if that were a bad omen.
The building officially was dedicated on Memorial Day of 1932. It has served as a temporary courthouse, county library, YMCA, and community center. It was closed in the 1970s, and reopened in 1993. Productions are still being held there as far as I've seen, but there are still some offices and such in the basement.
It's rumored that the building is located on or very close to a Civil War era graveyard, due to its proximity to the old Civil War Hospital in the area. Nearby MSU, formerly Beckley Junior High, and a radio station are also rumored to be haunted.
Some of the sightings at SMT include: 1. A man in his 60s wearing 1930s style clothing, seen throughout the building, including in the balcony, 2. children have been heard and seen playing inside the auditorium, and 3. a saxophone has been heard playing.
Newspaper Article about a ghost investigation
Soldier's Memorial Haunted
Team confirms it with high tech investigation
FROM STAFF REPORTS
BECKLEY -- The results are in -- according to World Paranormal Investigations, the Soldiers Memorial Theatre & Arts Centre is, in fact, haunted.
The seven member investigative team traveled from northern Ohio to visit the SMT building and perform an extensive investigation utilizing digital cameras, 35mm cameras, DVRs (digital voice recorders), video cameras, security cameras, EMF (electromagnetic field) meters, as well as several audio devices.
World Paranormal Investigations was founded six years ago and now has a division in the UK as well as the USA team. Different members of the team specialize in different areas of paranormal investigation. Upon their arrival at the SMT building, they were given a complete tour and told some of the history of the building.
"Although I have heard stories of some strange things happening in the building -- reports of that weird sensation of being watched, noises, doors closing on their own, orbs, and even some video footage that appears to show an apparition -- I was careful not to share too much of this information with the WPI people," said SMT director Kathy Zirckel.
"I'm more of a skeptic than some, and I wanted to see if they would come up with any of the same things others had found. Oddly enough, they did."
Several members of the team felt strong sensations in a studio on the lowest level of the building, and also in the dressing room area under the stage. After the SMT investigation, WPI returned to Ohio to begin the long, often tedious procedure of analyzing hours and hours of data for evidence of anything unusual. This process took almost a month.
WPI sent photos to SMT that were taken from the balcony, in the auditorium, in the upstairs dance studio, and in the upstairs hallway that show the phenomena known to ghost hunters as 'orbs.' There were some unusual spikes on the EMF meter in some areas. But the most important piece of evidence, according to WPI director John Brugge, is the sighting of an apparition captured on video. This took place on the stairs leading to the area below the stage.
"In all my years of doing investigations, I've never seen anything like this," Brugge said. "We actually got a ghost figure on video. This is the biggest thing there is for our type of group. In our line of work, this is something everyone hopes for but very few ever see. This confirms for us that this place is haunted. This is a big deal for everybody at WPI! I haven't been this excited since we began doing this. This is a first for us; we've never found anything like this ever before."
Appalachian Paranormal Investigators, a local group, have also performed investigations at SMT on several occasions. Like WPI and most modern day "ghost hunters," API utilizes scientific equipment to gather evidence of paranormal activity.
API members Tim Vickers said, "I'm probably far more skeptical than most people. I almost go into it with the attitude, 'This place isn't haunted. What's going on here to make this person think it's haunted?'"
Still, API has had some strange experiences in the SMT building, ranging from EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) to unexplained temperature differences to actual physical items, such as a balloon and flowers, turning up in some very odd circumstances. In their last investigation of the site, two team members clearly heard footsteps going down the dressing room stairs, at the exact place WPI later filmed the apparition.
The members of Appalachian Paranormal Investigators and World Paranormal Investigations stress that Hollywood has portrayed the paranormal in an unrealistic way.
Bea Brugge, co-founder, said, "It attracts a lot of thrill seekers because of that, but if you're in it for that reason, you can get disappointed."
John added, "If they did a movie about the way a haunting really is, no one would be interested. It can be tedious. It requires enormous patience."
Both groups also point out that paranormal investigation is not Satanic or evil. Vickers said, "Our aim is always to help the person. We just look at it like, 'This person's having this experience -- why?'"
For more information on WPI and API, see the October issue of WV South.
Source: The Post-Report - The Register-Herald
Colored TB Hospital, Denmar
In February of 1917, the WV Legislature approved the building of a TB sanitarium in Pocahontas County for African Americans. The site was chosen for its high altitude, and thus healthy, fresh air. Several buildings and a tract of land were purchased from the Maryland Lumber Company, and in January of 1919, the hospital admitted its first patients.
However, the hospital only admitted those who could afford to pay for their own care, leaving many to suffer without medical attention. Soon after, though...patients began being sent to the hospital by court order in an effort to control the disease...and even the WV State Penitentiary in Moundsville sent infected prisoners to the Denmar site.
Therefore, by 1937, the population had increased so substantially that the state was forced to add a children's school and dormitories, and fund a new building to alleviate overflow.
As medical science improved, the need for TB sanitariums became less and less, and in 1957 the sanitarium was converted into a home for the chronically ill, with the remaining TB patients being sent to the Hopemont Sanitarium, which had just begun admitting black patients. It too was was shut down 8 years later and also turned into a hospital for the chronically ill.
Denmar formally closed in 1990, and by 1993 was turned into a correctional facility, so access today is prohibited.
According to the WV Ghosts website:
Nearly 1000 African-American women and men spent their last days suffering with Tuberculosis at this isolated location in Pocahontas County and nearly 300 of them are permanently laid to rest here. This is a very isolated and active paranormal location. In the mid 1990's the location was renovated and turned into a correctional facility and is not available for the public to visit.
In 2006, another ghost story began making its rounds on the internet. Workers at the current prison will often see the apparition of a short, African American doctor wearing a white lab coat and stethoscope stepping out of the elevator in the morning. The doctor looks up, acknowledges the witness, then disappears.
Scary Creek Battle Field, Scott Depot
The site of the 1861 Battle of Scary Creek is along the Kanawha River near St. Albans...where old Teays Valley Road meets US Route 35, just inside the Putnam County border.
In short, this brief skirmish, led under George Patton (and then by Gen. Albert Jenkins after Patton was wounded) was a great and needed victory for the Confederates' morale.
However, the battle was not without its fatalities, and the people in the area were left to hastily bury the fallen soldiers before the summer heat took over.
Three weeks after the battle, the first signs of the area being haunted were reported. Local residents reported hearing the telltale sounds of a battle, so lifelike, that they rushed to the scene, thinking another battle was taking place.
Such sounds were reported for years, accompanied by reports of seeing strange lights hovering over the battlefield, and sightings of a Confederate soldier off in the distance. Today, these reports are scant, as the area has grown up considerably in population and commerce.
An account of this battle can also be found in the book The Battle of Scary Creek : Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, April-July 1861 by Terry Lowry.
Kate's Mountain, White Sulpher Springs
Kate's Mountain is located in White Sulpher Springs, WV. In the 1700s, a couple came to the mountain, which was then still part of Virginia, in order to build a better life for them and their son. According to local legend, the woman's name was Kate Carpenter, and her husband was Nathan.
During this time, attacks on white settlers by Shawnee and other tribes were commonplace, and one day, the inevitable attack came on Kate and her family. Kate's husband grabbed an axe and ordered Kate to grab their son and run.
While fleeing through the woods, Kate was overcome by her attackers, and her son savagely ripped from her hands. Both were scalped, beheaded, and mutilated. A similar fate befell Kate's husband back at their modest cabin.
Shortly after the attack, other locals began reporting seeing a headless woman running through the woods. A woman's scream and the cries of a small child cut short were also heard.
Even today, odd occurrences still are reported...weird lights and an odd humming sound that is associated with causing problems with a car's electrical system.
Kate's Mountain is located off Rt. 60 on the road by the Greenbrier Hotel. The hum is sometimes blamed in connection with the formerly secret underground government facilities at the Greenbrier, that extend up the mountain.
Old Beckley Junior High, Beckley
The old Beckley Junior High School was built in 1918 on Kanawha Street in Beckley, WV. Today it houses part of Mountain State College (University).
The site it was built on was once used as a Civil War era hospital during the occupation of Beckley in 1861. Legend has it that during this time, a young nurse named Hannah worked at the hospital, and was murdered by slaves on the 2nd floor. It is said that Hannah still haunts the building.
My mom actually went to this school in the mid-late 1950s before the new junior high was built, and often spoke of her experiences there. She was in the band, and whenever she'd find herself staying late for band practice, walking down the hall alone locker doors would slam and she'd hear footsteps behind her.
West Virginia Turnpike, Mossy
The WV Turnpike between Princeton and Charleston is plagued with many ghostly happenings. Phantom hitchhikers, strange lights, and UFOs are just some of the things that have been reported since construction of the highway began in 1952.
Although the whole stretch of road is known for its haunts just as much as its known for its treacherous terrain, most of the activity seems concentrated on a 15 mile stretch between Beckley and Mossy.
Along this area, there are numerous reports of activity, many coming from state troopers. In two separate incidents involving two different troopers, a phantom hitchhiker has been picked up, only to disappear in the back seat of the cruiser. One hitchhiker, a young man, was arrested and put into the back of the trooper's car. When the trooper turned around, the man was gone and his handcuffs were lying on the seat. The other hitchhiker was a little girl who also disappeared. She was found wandering the side of the road, not talking.
Besides the actual road itself, the old Morton Truck Stop and Glass House restaurant (now torn down) were reported to be haunted, as well as a highway maintenance building and offices.
Many old family cemeteries were paved over or moved in the building of the highway, and at least 5 workers died in its construction. The highway runs along the sites of several major floods and mine disasters, not to mention countless murders, so perhaps this has something to do with the activity. Not many reports have surfaced since the highway upgraded in the 1970s, yet a few strange things have recently happened.
My mom and I had our own phantom hitchhiker story along this road a few years back. We were visiting my grandmother in Beckley and passed a scraggly looking young man wearing dark clothing and carrying an olive green army-like sack. This was an area where there were no exits for many miles in either direction, and we never saw a broken down car or anything in the area. We both looked in the rearview mirror as we passed him, but he had mysteriously vanished. We turned around at the nearest spot in the road and went back, but we never did find him again and saw no place where he could have been, nor no cars which could have picked him up.
For complete hauntings info, check out Dennis Dietz's The Greenbrier Ghost, or A Guide to Haunted WV by Walter Gavenda and Michael T. Shoemaker.
Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys, Lakin
Not to be confused with Lakin State Hospital (or as it was formerly known...The WV Hospital for the Colored Insane which was located across the street).
Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys was built in 1924 as a home for delinquent, but not violent, juvenile offenders. It was established by three African American legislators, T.G Nutter, Harry Capehart, and T.J. Coleman, as a state funded institution. It was the first of several institutions of its kind, built just outside Pt. Pleasant in Lakin, WV.
For over thirty years, the boys and staff worked the surrounding farm, making them almost completely self-sufficient. In the 1940s, a gymnasium and several smaller buildings were added to the property. In 1956, the school shut down as Brown v. Board of Education led to the gradual desegregation of public schools, and the boys were sent to the industrial school in Pruntytown, WV.
The property was then acquired by the WV Department of Health and Human Services, who then incorporated it into the WV Hospital for the Colored Insane, located just across the road. Today that hospital is mostly torn down, and what is left is now part of a nursing home.
In 1976, the property was transferred over to WV Department of Agriculture and operated as a state farm until the early 1990s. Today the property is owned by AEP. The original Lakin Industrial School and several surrounding buildings were torn down in November, 2006 to make room for AEP's River Operations.
Reports of ghostly activity include people being pushed down the stairs, EVPs, light anomalies, and apparitions.
Hawks Nest State Park, Ansted
Hawks Nest State Park is located in Ansted, WV...in Fayette County. In the paranormal community, it is known for its long legacy of tragedy, and the subsequent hauntings that tend to follow such.
Hawks Nest is home to a popular "Lovers' Leap" cliff, that has a tradition going all the way back to the 1800s. The first pair of lovers to take this suicidal plunge is debatable, however. Some stories tell of an Indian Princess and her lover from an enemy tribe who jump together. Other tales say the Princess jumped on her own because a white man killed her lover.
However, since there is no such thing as an Indian Princess, and these stories have become a quite popular way to romanticize Native American culture...it probably isn't true.
More likely, the first pair of Lover's to take the plunge were a pair of pioneers from Lewisburg...then known as Fort Union...who fled because the girl's parents did not approve of the relationship. It is said the girl became dizzy and fell...and her anguished lover jumped on after her. More info can be found in George Atkinson's History of Kanawha County.
There is still no real evidence for this story either...but what IS verifiable is that the cliffs of Hawks Nest have had a long tradition of attracting suicides. Such suicides include a pregnant school teacher, a woman from Beckley, and a 17 year old boy named Robert Caldwell from New River State College (now WV Institute of Technology).
The tour guides and park personnel are hesitant to speak of the suicides, but will admit that the park is a favorite spot...with emphasis leaving the original Lover's Leap, and the new cliff of choice being the more secluded Hawk's Nest Overlook.
Hawks Nest is also famous for its Death Tunnel. During the 1930s, a tunnel was constructed, intending to divert water for electicity production. Over 500 men died from silicosis, a disease acquired by inhaling the high amounts of silica found in the rock. A smaller, but still notable tragedy happened on January 30, 1908 when an explosion at the Bachman Mine killed 9 men.
Because of all this tragedy, it is said that the park may be "haunted" by a genius loci...or guardian spirit of a location. (Click here for Genius Loci Information)
Other supernatural tales include a glowing white horse being seen by either a family or a group of campers...or both...that mysteriously ascended into the sky, leaving a glow, after it rampaged through the house/campsite. White horses are seen as a death omen to some cultures.
Also, it is said that if you stand on Lover's Leap, you can hear screams...and the sound of a body falling and landing on the rocks below.
Sunrise Carriage Trail, Charleston
The Sunrise carriage trail is a trail connecting the C&O Train Depot with the mansion home of the 9th governor of WV, William MacCorkle. During construction of the mansion, what is now Bridge Road proved too steep for the oxen to carry materials, so a trail was cut especially for that use.
The mansion, generally known as Sunrise Mansion for the Sunrise Museum that was housed there for nearly 40 years, is now owned by a local law firm, Danny Cline, being one of its most famous partners. It was built in 1905 and is said to be haunted by Mr. MacCorkle himself.
The trail is also said to be haunted. There once was a statue about halfway down that supposedly cries blood every Halloween at midnight. This statue is actually a memorial erected by MacCorkle commemorating the death of his daughter Isabel in 1926 by automobile accident. The monument has since been removed due to vandalism, but the outer pedestal is still there, and is said to contain the ashes of Gov. MacCorkle. There is also said to be a cold spot along the trail.
During the Civil War, two females were accused of being Confederate spies, and their bodies were buried along what is now the trail. During construction of the trail in 1905, the bodies were discovered removed to a nearby location. At the base of the trail is also a memorial for these two women, both of whom's names have been lost to history.
©2009 Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State
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