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Today's episode takes us to a place that birthed one of your lovely hosts. We're not talking about hell, we're talking about the great state of West Virginia. That's right Jon was put forth into this world from good ol' West Virginia. In fact we're pretty sure Isaiah might be my grandpappy. For those of you that are from out of the country or from the US and don't know much about West Virginia, we're gonna talk about the history of West Virginia and then get into the creepy!
The area now known as West Virginia was a favorite hunting ground of numerous Native American peoples before the arrival of European settlers. Many ancient earthen mounds constructed by various mound builder cultures survive, especially in the areas of Moundsville, South Charleston, and Romney. The artifacts uncovered in these give evidence of a village society having a tribal trade system culture that practiced the cold working of copper to a limited extent. As of 2009, over 12,500 archaeological sites have been documented in West Virginia. The Adena provided the greatest cultural influence in the state. For practical purposes, the Adena is the Early Woodland period From the years of about 1000 B.C. to about 1 A.D. according to West Virginia University's Dr. Edward V. McMichael.
In 1671, General Abraham Wood, at the direction of Royal Governor William Berkeley of the Virginia Colony, sent the party of Thomas Batts and Robert Fallum into the West Virginia area. During this expedition the pair followed the New River and discovered Kanawha Falls.
The Treaty of Albany, 1722, designated the Blue Ridge Mountains as the western boundary of white settlement, and recognized Iroquois rights on the west side of the ridge, including all of West Virginia. The Iroquois made little effort to settle these parts, but nonetheless claimed them as their hunting ground, as did other tribes, notably the Shawnee and Cherokee. Soon after this, white settlers began moving into the Greater Shenandoah-Potomac Valley making up the entire eastern portion of the State and just fucking everything up for everyone one. They found it largely unoccupied, apart from Tuscaroras who had lately moved into the area around Martinsburg, WV, some Shawnee villages in the region around Moorefield, WV and Winchester, VA, and frequent passing bands of "Northern Indians" (Lenape from New Jersey) and "Southern Indians" (Catawba from South Carolina) who were engaged in a bitter long-distance war, using the Valley as a battleground.
Orange County, Virginia was formed in 1734. It included all areas west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, constituting all of present West Virginia. However, in 1736 the Iroquois Six Nations protested Virginia's colonization beyond the demarcated Blue Ridge, and a skirmish was fought in 1743. The Iroquois were on the point of threatening all-out war against the Virginia Colony over the "Cohongoruton lands", which would have been destructive and devastating, when Governor Gooch bought out their claim for 400 pounds at the Treaty of Lancaster (1744).
During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, a growing demand for beaver sent trappers up and down the Kanawha region's tributary creeks by canoe and raft. Trading posts were established at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers at Point Pleasant, West Virginia where, in the mid 1780s, Daniel Boone resided for several years. Likewise, St. Albans, West Virginia, at the confluence of the Kanawha and Coal Rivers, became a point of trade. In the late 18th century, the steel trap increased efficiency, and beaver became scarce. A shift to exporting the state's other natural resources began. Kanawha salt production followed by coal and timber could be seen on the waterways.The logging industry furthered the river shipping industry. A horse-drawn logging "tram" with a special block & tackle for hill-side harvesting was brought into use, allowing expansion of Crooked Creek and the opening of a wooden barrel plant at the creek's mouth. In the 1880s, this tram and other steam machinery were used for collecting timber used as railroad ties in the railway construction along the Kanawha river. Railroad spurs were built throughout West Virginia, connecting mines to the riverboats, barges and coal-tipples.
In 1861, as the United States itself became massively divided over slavery, leading to the American Civil War (1861–1865), the western regions of Virginia split with the eastern portion politically, and the two were never reconciled as a single state again. In 1863, the western region was admitted to the Union as a new separate state, initially planned to be called the State of Kanawha, but ultimately named West Virginia.
When the First Wheeling Convention met, 425 delegates from 25 counties were present, but a division of sentiment soon arose. Some delegates favored the immediate formation of a new state, while others argued that, as Virginia's secession had not yet been ratified or become effective, such action would constitute revolution against the United States. It was decided that if the ordinance were adopted (of which there was little doubt) another convention including the members-elect of the legislature should meet at Wheeling in June 1861. Even before the American Civil War, counties in northwest Virginia had desired to break away from Virginia to form a new state. However, the federal Constitution did not allow a new state to be created out of an existing state unless the existing state gave its consent. Soon after the Union government declared that the Restored Government was the legitimate government of the Commonwealth, the Restored Government asserted its authority to give such approval. It authorized the creation of the State of Kanawha, consisting of most of the counties that now comprise West Virginia. A little over one month later, Kanawha was renamed West Virginia. The Wheeling Convention, which had taken a recess until August 6, 1861, reassembled on August 20, 1861, and called for a popular vote on the formation of a new state and for a convention to frame a constitution if the vote should be favorable. In the election held on October 24, 1861, 18,408 votes were cast for the new state and only 781 against. At this time, West Virginia had nearly 70,000 qualified voters, and the May 23, 1861 vote to secede had drawn nearly 54,000 voters. At first the Wheeling politicians controlled only a small part of West Virginia. However Federal forces soon drove the Confederates out of most of West Virginia. On May 13, 1862, the state legislature of the reorganized government approved the formation of the new state. An application for admission to the Union was made to Congress. On December 31, 1862, an enabling act was approved by President Lincoln, admitting West Virginia on the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be inserted in the Constitution. President Lincoln issued a proclamation admitting the state at the end of 60 days, on June 20, 1863. Meanwhile, officers for the new state were chosen, and Governor Pierpont moved the Restored Government to Alexandria from which he asserted jurisdiction over the counties of Virginia within the Federal lines.
In recent years, there has been serious talk about the possibility of certain counties in the Eastern Panhandle rejoining the Commonwealth of Virginia. Frustrated by bad economic conditions and what they perceive to be neglect from the Charleston government, this movement has gained at least some momentum. In 2011, West Virginia state delegate Larry Kump sponsored legislation to allow Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties to rejoin Virginia by popular vote.
So there's a somewhat abbreviated history of west Virginia and it's formation. I know it may not seem abbreviated but there's a long history to the area and we wanted to hit the big points to keep our passengers better informed! So with the history of the region told… Let's get into why we are all here… The creepy shit!!!
Our first stop on the creepy West Virginia tour starts at a place of much fun and enjoyment, an amusement park! Well, what used to be an amusement park anyway. We are heading to Mercer county and a visit to Lake Shawnee Amusement park. The southern West Virginia park was abandoned in 1966, after the accidental deaths of two of its young patrons. But it seems Lake Shawnee's haunted history reaches much farther back. Mercer County was home to a Native American tribe until 1783, when a European family's attempt to settle the land sparked a violent turf war. The patriarch of the family was a farmer named Mitchell Clay, according to the Wyoming County Report. While he was out hunting, a band of Native Americans reportedly killed his youngest son, Bartley Clay. A daughter, Tabitha, was knifed to death in the struggle. Eldest son Ezekial was kidnapped and burned at the stake. Mitchell Clay enlisted the help of other white settlers to seek vengeance for his family. After burying his children, he murdered several of the Native Americans. Centuries later, in the 1920s, a businessman named Conley T. Snidow purchased the site of the Clay farm and developed it into an amusement park. He built a swing set, a ferris wheel, a water slide, a dance hall, and a speakeasy. He also added a pond and swimming hole, complete with canoes.A little girl in a pink ruffled dress met her end after climbing into the circling swing set. She was killed after a truck backed into the path of the swing. Another little one, this time a boy, drowned in the amusement park's swimming pond. According to Visit West Virginia, the park's rides were responsible for a total of six deaths. The park eventually shut down, but its structures were left to rot and rust. After 20 years, another businessman approached Lake Shawnee. Gaylord White thought the sleepy meadows seemed ideal for future neighborhoods. But, as construction crews tore into grass and soil, they unearthed bones and Native American artifacts.
It turned out the amusement park sat atop an ancient burial ground. And most of the skeletons belonged to children. Archaeologists believe the remains had been there long before settlers moved west. So with that history in mind is it any wonder Lake Shawnee ranks as one of the Travel Channel’s “Most Terrifying Places in America.” ABC goes even further. Their experts declared the property one of the “10 Most Haunted Places in the World.” So what kind of stuff happens here? Well, let's find out. There is no shortage of strange stories coming from visitors like people getting horrible vibes, seeing ghosts, or feeling the presence of evil spirits. Scariest Places on Earth filmed there in 2005. However, none of the psychics would work on the property at night, claiming that the energy was so dark it was making them sick. Swimming is no longer allowed on the property but, of course, there are still those idiots that try it anyways. Many reports day that while attempting to swim it felt as if someone, or something, was trying to pull the people down into the water and drown them. There are tons of reports of seeing the ghost of a little girl playing on the old swings. Most people agree that it must be the ghost of the little girl in the pink dress. There are also reports of people seeing ghostly children playing by the ferris wheel. Some report the sounds of children laughing or Natives chanting. And then there Moody's favorite, the conversion stand food! Well not exactly, there's no conversion stand anymore but people have stated that they can still smell the concession stand foods aroma in the air. Then there are the shadowy figures that many will say they are on the old ferris wheel and swing rides still adorning the park. When the Discovery Channel filmed, Chris White, descendant of Gaylord White, says one of its investigators got stuck in the old ticket booth and went into such a panic she had to go to the hospital in Princeton. “She couldn’t get out and she was yelling for help,” he said.
“It was a push door and she was pushing.”
White won’t speak of any personal “creepy” Lake Shawnee experiences. He does, however, say his father had an encounter with the little girl who lost her life on the swings 49 years ago.
“Dad was on the tractor mowing the field and he kept feeling a weight on his shoulders,” White said. “He didn’t know what it was, so one day he felt the weight and he turned around and the little girl from the swings was there. She was in a ruffled dress and she just appeared. He wasn’t scared, but the only thing he could think of was, ‘Well, if you like this tractor so much, I’m going to give it to you.’
“So he got off of it and left it sitting there. It’s still sitting where he left it in the late ‘90s.”
Creepy shit for sure!
So where to next you ask? Well, how about the Silver Run Tunnel #19 near Cairo WV. Silver Run Tunnel is located along the North Bend Rail Trail. Before the Civil War, the Rail Trail was–as the name implies–a railroad. According to West Virginia State Parks, the railroad was sold in the ’80s, and construction of the recreation trail as it now began. The trail stretches 72 miles and has 10 tunnels. The tunnel in this legend is also known as Tunnel #19. According to BridgeHunter.com, the tunnel is 1,376 feet long. Locals say that the tunnel is almost permanently damp and foggy. The tunnel is home to the legend of the lady in the white dress. The legend of the lady in the white dress goes that she was a bride who was riding on a train with her groom, and either she was pushed or fell from the train and died.
One early account guess as follows: In 1910, a young engineer was making the 169 mile midnight westbound express run along the Baltimore and Ohio tracks starting in Grafton and heading toward Clarksburg and then, Parkersburg. When the engineer came upon the short stretch of railway at the entrance to Tunnel #19, in the light of the moon and headlights, he saw a woman in a pale dress with raven-colored hair and golden slippers walking along the tracks. Horrified he would hit her, he tried desperately to stop the train by throwing the brakes into emergency. He could not stop in time.
The engineer would later report to watchmen at the Smithburg Tunnel about 36 miles west that he and the fireman jumped from the train, but a layer of fog on the tracks seemed to swallow up the pale lady. Crazy shit!
“And there’s a saying that goes along with the tunnel. If you watch the trains, and the train slows down, they see the ghost, and the engineer has never seen the white lady before, but if the engineer just barrels on through the tunnel, he has had an experience with the ghost, and he’s not going to take it anymore,” explained Jason Burns, a West Virginia storyteller, “Because the ghost has a habit of standing in the tracks, and when the train stops to check if it has run over somebody, there is no one there. So the engineer gets ticked off that he has stopped his train for this person who is obviously a ghost, and so they would just barrel through the tunnel as fast as they can next time, so they don’t have to worry about it.” In one particular instance, an engineer stopped his train a few times, thinking he might have run over somebody. Like the other engineers, the man decided to go quickly through the tunnel to avoid falling for her trick again.
“Well, on the way to the next town, usually there’s people waving at the trains along the tracks anyways at this time period, but he starts noticing that there was an inordinately large amount of people following his train, and some of them are on horseback, and some of them were yelling and waving crazily,” said Burns, “When he finally gets to the town, Proper, and stops his train, there’s this group of people that has literally followed him most of the way down the train tracks, and they’re like, ‘Where is she?’ and he’s like, ‘Where is who?’ and they said, ‘The lady,’ and he was like, ‘What lady?’ and they said, ‘The lady in the white dress,’ and he said, ‘you mean the ghost back in the tunnel?’ They said, ‘No, the ghost that was riding your cow catcher for the past two and a half miles.’ Apparently, the ghost had a sense of humor because she was allegedly sitting on the cowcatcher of the train, and if people were standing by watching the train go past, she was waving at them.”
And now for something completely different… Except for not! We're gonna stick with tunnels and head to Dingess tunnel! Dingess is an unincorporated community in Mingo County, West Virginia. The community was named after William Anderson Dingess, a pioneer settler. As of 1894, Dingess contained two hotels, eight boarding houses, four restaurants, four groceries, four sawmills, and a school with two teachers and about 100 students. 133 coal miners lived in Dingess. The community once garnered a reputation for being a lawless land. From 1900 to 1972, approximately seventeen lawmen were shot to death in the area which stretches fifteen miles along Twelve Pole Creek. The Dingess Tunnel was built in 1892 for the Norfolk and Western Railroad, largely by African American and Chinese immigrant workers. Legend has it that residents of Dingess, who didn't take kindly to outsiders, used to hide in the hills just outside the tunnel and shoot any dark skinned passengers aboard the train, according to internet reports. No records were kept but it’s estimated that hundreds of black and Chinese workers died. In addition to the murders, workers also died during construction, and at least two trains collided on the tracks there, causing more deaths. These crimes and accidents still haunt the area and earned the tunnel its terrible nickname: "Bloody Mingo." The dark history of the tunnel loaned itself well to macabre tales told during Halloween. Eventually, the stories grew, and the celebrations turned horrific. Almost as if the area proved once again to be untamable, the youths of the town took to mischief. They would spend Halloween night building bonfires in the middle of the tunnel. With the smoke pouring out, the town itself was virtually blocked off from outside assistance. The tunnel served to keep the residents locked in for the night. From there, the nightmare continued. There would be rocks thrown through windows, buildings and vehicles set on fire, and other acts of damaging mischief. The dirty deeds would carry on throughout the night, but by the following day, things returned to normal. It was like a real life “Purge” movie. In recent years this activity has for the most part gone away, but many of the locals still tell stories of those horrific nights. Sabrina Daniels, known locally as the “Mountain Medium,” and a host of others interested in the paranormal happenings at the tunnel including the “Relate with Nate” television crew, a local news show, hoped to make contact with that energy during a recent investigation at the infamous 3,327-foot tunnel. Countless times they entered in, both on foot and in vehicles, to the dark, dank, stone tube cut through the hill. Countless times they called on the spirits within to make them aware of their presence as they dealt with leaking water and enhanced echoing of even the quietest voice. And, if the evidence is any indication, countless times they were successful. “I can feel the emotions of the souls here,” Daniels said while taking a break between one of the many trips in and out of the tunnel on the night of the ghost hunt. “I feel sadness, but I felt peace with them. I didn’t feel any doom or anything, except in the middle (of the tunnel). What I felt there wasn’t anything that has tasted life. There’s a difference there. I’ve always felt the negative energy through the middle.” since things went down that they claim were paranormal. A light flickered, then came on and shut off, seemingly by itself here. Strange audio picked up through the wireless mics there. The sound of a train whistle, although no railroad line is anywhere in the immediate vicinity, echoed through its expanse. Eerie images caught on photos taken within the tunnel’s claustrophobic walls showing what appear to be flames rising up from beneath. What appeared to be shadows of workmen, perhaps even the image of a lantern in what could be construed as the window of a train show up in the far distance. As the crew nears the tunnel’s midsection, all notice an extreme and sudden drop in temperature, a tell-tale sign of the presence of poltergeists, or what the locals refer to as “haints.” So yea another creepy tunnel. I guess it makes sense there are a bunch of creepy haunted tunnels given the fact that there are mountains everywhere in WV.
Next up is a bird… It's a plane...it's a uh...UFO? We are talking about the Flatwoods monster! The encounter made the local and national news, scaring a wider swath of people. Then it prompted a U.S. Air Force UFO inquiry, part of a project called Project Blue Book that dispatched a handful of investigators around the country to look into such claims. The May brothers Ed, 13, and Freddie, 12, had been playing in their schoolyard with their 10-year-old friend Tommy Hyer. After noticing a pulsing red light streak across the sky and crash on a nearby farm, the three youngsters ran to grab the Mays boys’ mother, then high-tailed it up that hill to check out where the light had landed. A few other boys, one with a dog, showed up too.
They ran back down—in sheer and credible terror.
“Seven Braxton County residents on Saturday reported seeing a 10-foot Frankenstein-like monster in the hills above Flatwoods,” a local newspaper reported afterward. “A National Guard member, [17-year-old] Gene Lemon, was leading the group when he saw what appeared to be a pair of bright eyes in a tree.”
Lemon screamed and fell backward, the news account said, “when he saw a 10-foot monster with a blood-red body and a green face that seemed to glow.” It may have had claws for hands. It was hard to tell because of the dense mist. Lemon said he aimed a flashlight in that direction and momentarily saw a tall "man-like figure with a round, red face surrounded by a pointed, hood-like shape". The group said they had smelled a "pungent mist" and some later said they were nauseated.
“Those people were the most scared people I’ve ever seen,” said local newspaper publisher A. Lee Stewart, in that 1952 news story. Stewart himself had marched up that hill with a shotgun after witnesses told what they saw. “People don’t make up that kind of story that quickly,” Stewart said then.
According to UFO writer Gray Barker's account, the next day, A. Lee Stewart, Jr. of the Braxton Democrat claimed to discover "skid marks" in the field and an "odd, gummy deposit" which were subsequently attributed by UFO enthusiast groups as evidence of a "saucer" landing.
After investigating the case in 2000, Joe Nickell of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry concluded that the bright light in the sky reported by the witnesses on September 12 was most likely a meteor, that the pulsating red light was likely an aircraft navigation/hazard beacon, and that the creature described by witnesses closely resembled an owl. Nickell suggested that witnesses' perceptions were distorted by their heightened state of anxiety. Nickell's conclusions are shared by a number of other investigators, including those of the Air Force.
Fuck that… It was a UFO and an alien. We all know this! In celebration of the legend, the Braxton County Convention and Visitors Bureau built a series of five tall chairs in the shape of the monster to serve as landmarks and visitor attractions. The town of Sutton also houses a museum dedicated to the monster legend and offers promotional merchandise.
Now you're gonna need some place to stay while checking out all these creepy things… So why not a creepy hotel? How about the Glen Ferris Inn? 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 thought to be haunted by a ghost of a Confederate soldier with a long beard, nicknamed The Colonel. He is a friendly and playful ghost, known to close doors behind people, make the birdbath water bubbly and frothy, and walk around with audible footsteps. His apparition has been seen from the waist up.
In 2018, a young couple stayed several days there and planned to have breakfast with the day manager when they were departing. The manager was told by the desk clerk that the couple departed in haste at 4:30 that morning and left an apology for missing the planned breakfast. The reason?
They had awakened in the night and saw a man with a long beard who was wearing what appeared to be a uniform sitting in a chair across the room.
Another story we found goes as follows: " I have worked there in the past (2002) and it was one of the experiences that I had that caused me to quit on the spot. I was a waitress in the dining room and it was around 7:30pm. There was no one in the dining area when I first looked but all of a sudden a little boy in a grey civil war type suit was sitting at one of the tables. I walked over to him and asked him if he was waiting for someone and he shook his head no. I asked if I could get him something and he said in almost a whisper "chocolate milk, ma'am" I walked into the kitchen and got his milk, brought it back to the table and he was gone. I asked the cook if he had seen anyone come in and he said that he didn't, so I then went up front and asked the desk clerk if she seen anyone and she said no as well. I realized that it was a ghost kid. I told my manager that I was done, I couldn't deal with ghosts, grabbed my stuff, and high-tailed it out of there as fast as I could."
Creepy! Sounds like a place you should check out. Apparently their rolls are fucking fantastic.. So there is that too.
What creepy place would be complete without a Creepy road! Well West Virginia has route 901. West Virginia Route 901 is a 5.5 mile stretch through farmland in Berkeley County. Formerly known as County Route 3, locals are familiar with this short state highway. However, it has been immortalized in publications like Haunted West Virginia: Ghosts & Strange Phenomena of the Mountain State as a destination full of ghostly activity. The area wasn’t a battle site, but may have been a campsite for soldiers during the Civil War.
In the recent past a couple was driving Route 901 near Spring Mills Plantation late one evening in October. Near Harlan Run the couple entered a bank of fog and the interior of the car became quite cold. The fog began to take on a greenish hue and suddenly, the car came to a stop; the engine went dead and the headlights shut off. The couple was left in cold, silent darkness.
From out of the darkness the couple was stunned to see the form of a bedraggled Confederate soldier appear. He held his back as if he’d been wounded and he appeared to notice the couple as he neared the front of their car. With a thump he laid his hands on the hood and peered pleadingly before collapsing leaving bloody handprints on the car. The husband opened his door and walked to the front of the car to help the pathetic figure who now lay prone in the roadway. When he reached out to the poor soldier the figure disappeared along with the bloody handprints. The couple quickly left vowing never to drive that stretch of road in the dark. Another plus about this road is the fact that the Hammond Mansion is located there. 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. So there you get a nice little 2 for 1!
We're gonna throw some quick hitters in here for ya now!
Legend, has it that Jenny, a poor woman with no family, lived in a shed along the B&O Railroad in Harpers Ferry. She barely had enough money to eat, and the shed stayed cold during the winter months. One day in late autumn Jenny was drinking broth over a fire and trying to stay warm. She was so focused on the broth that she didn't notice a spark had flown up from the fire and caught her skirt on fire. Her skin started to burn, she leapt up and threw the rest of the broth onto the flames, but it did little to put it out. She began to run along the train tracks to Harpers Ferry station, trying to find someone to help her, but it wasn’t long until her entire body was alight with fire. Overwhelmed and screaming in pain, she mistakenly rushed onto the tracks, when a train came around the corner and ran her over. To this day, every year on the anniversary of her death, an engineer has rounded the corner to the station and seen a women completely on fire and seems to be hit by the train. When the train stops, there's nobody there! It’s now one of the most haunted places in West Virginia!
The Red House is an imposing 2.5 story brick structure located in Eleanor, WV. The original structure was built around 1840 by the Ruffner family, but there is reason to believe that the house may have actually been built as early as 1825. The house, with its converted slave quarters and North and South Wings added by the Federal Government during the 1930s, now is home to the Eleanor Town Hall offices. The right (North) wing, serves as the town hall section, while the left wing (South) serves as the Homestead Room, available for rent for parties, meetings, etc. The original middle section of the house is being readied for a future museum dedicated to its New Deal Homestead history.
The town of Eleanor took possession of the Red House, or Ruffner House as it is commonly called, in January of 2001. Earliest records from the Eleanor town website say that the structure was home to the Samuel Earl Gibeaut family in the 1890s. In the 1920s, it was owned by Frank Fitzsimmons, then passed to his brother Chris and family. While Chris and his family briefly moved out of state, a family of Boldens lived in the Red House. Chris returned to the home, and then sometime it was acquired by the C.H. King family. C.H. King and his wife Ruth had a large family and farmed the land. The King family was living on the property at the time of the New Deal, and the home was acquired by the Federal Government. In 1946, the government deeded the title over to the Washington Homesteads for use as an administration building, and later, it came into possession of Dr. Lyle Moser.
With a long and somewhat incomplete history as to ownership of the house, legends of this structure abound. One legend states that a slave was murdered on the uppermost staircase landing. Another legend states that tunnels run from the house to the nearby Kanawha River, as part of an Underground Railroad stop. To date, evidence of such tunnels has never been found. However, one legend DOES seem to make itself known to employees and visitors. That legend is the ghostly overseer, protector, or guardian angel of the Red House. Employees have dubbed him "Sam," and say that Sam likes to be heard, but not seen.
In recent years, however, it appears as if Sam, or perhaps some other resident ghost, DOES like to be seen! Eleanor citizens walking along the town's sidewalks past dusk have been reporting seeing a man standing in one of the upper windows of the Red House.
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.
Gotta have a bridge story right? The town of Wheeling, among other attributes, boasts the longest single span stone bridge in the United States. The famous bridge: The Main Street Bridge, constructed between 1890 and 1892. Some sources say that bridge was constructed to replace an earlier bridge, one built in the 1840s. There isn't much there to confirm this though.
In any event, the building or rebuilding in the late 1800s was quite a spectacle for the townspeople. In an effort to enforce safety, a sign was erected which read "Danger! No one is allowed to loaf on this bridge by order of the Board of Public Works." Pat Weir, the city's watchman, was giving the task of policing the bridge, and dealt with more than one smart-alec who insisted that they were loafing on their own free will, and not by order of the Board of Public Works, thus, it was okay for them to be there.
Whatever diligence was taken to ensure safety unfortunately couldn't prevent at least one fatal accident from occurring. Dominick Carey, a contractor from the Paige, Carey & Co. of New York apparently fell from the bridge while heavy stones were being moved. It has been theorized that the scaffolding gave way, and Carey fell into the icy Wheeling Creek, which feeds the Ohio River, being swept away.
Carey's body was never found, but that doesn't mean he was never heard from again...Witnesses say they encounter the apparition of the unlucky contractor on the bridge, as well as another possible spirit.
Allegedly, either the new bridge or the bridge it supposedly replaced, saw another tragic accident. A gentleman leading a team of horses across the bridge stopped to fix a loosened hitch. When he dismounted, he spooked his own horses, and they trampled him to death. Witnesses have reported being approached by a man who asks "Have you seen my horses?"
Ok one more for you and we'll wrap this up! This next one is a little church with some cool stories. 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.
Paranormal groups have investigated and found numerous things. There are stories of small children's ghosts in the lost souls area of the graveyard. They also report sounds of children crying or laughing. There are stories of objects like balls being moved. Again stories of figures sitting in the pews. Sounds like a cool creepy little place.
So with all those stories you may be wondering why we didn't talk about the more well known haunts like Harpers Ferry or the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic asylum and others like that. Well if you've listened to our other creepy episodes you'll know we like to find less talked about stuff to explore. With the history of this state going back as far as it does and all the strife and hotties of the civil war in the area, it's no wonder there are tons and tons of creepy and supposedly haunted places in west Virginia. We are definitely coming back for seconds here and we actually have a couple of the spots in this state on our actual list of episodes, so we'll definitely be back to West Virginia.
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