Monday, April 23, 2018

If I Were a Ghost



I don't WANT to come back as a ghost. But, knowing me, I will. I'm one of those people who fear, and even resist, change. The thought of what lies beyond this world terrifies the heck out of me...so I'll probably be too scared to follow any white light and thus, get stuck here on Earth for who knows how long.

I'm not entirely sure how I would spend my time as a ghost, though. Maybe I'll try to watch over my loved ones, especially my son.  Maybe I'll haunt someplace that makes me happy, such as a library, museum, amusement park or zoo.  Or, maybe I'll just float around, wailing, and occasionally screwing with the pictures on peoples' walls!

If YOU found yourself "living" as a ghost, how would you spend your time? Let me know in the comments, or hop over to Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page and join the discussion there! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Eleanor Cooper's Ghost



On January 28, 2012, Stuart Cheveralls and his partner Natalie visited London's Dominion Theater. They were there to see the We Will Rock You show, and after settling into their seats to wait for the show to start, Stuart used his iPhone 4 to snap a quick selfie of himself and Natalie.

While going over the pictures the next day, Stuart noticed that he and Natalie weren't alone! At the time of the photo, the couple was sitting at the end of a row of seats. The two seats directly behind them were unoccupied---they'd be filled later on by two men who arrived late to the show. But what showed up in the photo was definitely not an empty seat, nor was it a dude arriving late to the show!

What Stuart saw made the hair on his arms stand up. What showed up directly between him and Natalie was the ghostly pale image of a young girl! Intrigued, Stuart began doing some research on the theater, and found that it had a haunted reputation.

The Dominion Theater was built atop the site of the old Meux Brewery. On October 17, 1814, tragedy struck when a vat of beer burst. Over 3500 barrels of liquid were released, collapsing a wall and part of the roof, and reigning terror among the nearby citizens.  One of those citizens was a 14 year old girl named Eleanor Cooper who was a servant of Richard Hawes.

According to the British Library's Untold Lives Blog, "Richard Hawes gave evidence at the coroner’s inquest held on Wednesday19 October that he was in the tap room of the Tavistock Arms at 5.30pm on the previous Monday when he heard a crash. The back part of his house was beaten in and everything in his cellar destroyed. Beer was pouring into his pub and across the street. Eleanor Cooper was in the yard washing pots and her body was dug out from the ruins nearly three hours later. She was found standing by the water butt."

In total, 8 people lost their lives, many of them children. It's no wonder that staff and visitors to the Dominion Theater have reported the phantom sounds of a giggling child and the apparition of a brew-master! But the big question is...

Does this photo really show a ghost and if so, is it the ghost of Eleanor Cooper? Although Stuart claims that there was no trickery involved, many people don't agree. What about you? Do you think this is the real deal, or not?


Source:
Matthew Tucker: 'Theatre Ghost Picture Is Real' Insists Photographer Stuart Cheveralls - Are You Convinced?  (HuffPost, 31 October 2012)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Death and the Dancer



This spooky aquatint engraving was done by illustrator Joshua Gleadah, around 1822. According to the Oxford Index, "Joshua Gleadah executed a few engravings for A Treatise on the Principles of Landscape Design; with General Observations and Instructions to Young Artist by John Varley (1778-1842); and Journey Through Part of the Russian Empire by R. Johnston; and Album of the Spirit."  He was active between the years of 1815 and 1836.  

Aside from Death and the Dancer, Gleadah is responsible for two similar works, Death and the Industrious Wife, and Death and the Warrior. All three images are presumably from the same time frame and same publication.  They can be found on the Wellcome Collection's online database. 



Friday, April 20, 2018

Demons for Sale

If I managed this produce department, I'd FIRE the writer of this sign. Not only is it really weird that he/she chose to randomly use a cursive 'L' for lemons when all other letters are printed...but this sign contains one of my biggest pet peeves in the whole demon-infested world. If you are writing that something costs x amount of cents, and you use the cents sign, then you do NOT need to add the decimal!!! By adding the decimal, you're actually stating that the price of the lemons shown here are less than 4 tenths of a penny. Every time I see a sign like this, I want to challenge the cashier and refuse to pay anything but what is stated right there on the sign.  Wow, this sign really is demonic, lol. It has brought out a terribly ugly side of my personality, lol. 


Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Stinky Streak



Don't let the silly title of today's blog post fool you! This vintage West Virginia ghost? creature? oddity? story was reported in Cooper's Clarksburg Register on Wednesday, August 8, 1853 and sounds pretty horrifying! It appears that the original tale appeared in the Buckhannon Observer, so I would imagine that the strange events took place in that area.  However, I'm not EXACTLY sure what those strange events were!

While out riding, a group of men noticed movement in the distance. It streaked past them at remarkable speed, sounding like a buggy. It was dark brown in color, and smelled strongly of tar. The horses were spooked and a couple of men were even knocked to the ground. Upon returning to town, the men found that the THING, whatever it was, had passed through there as well, much to the puzzlement of the local citizenry. It was headed west, leading the people to surmise that this thing would show up in Weston and Parkersburg as well.

This is definitely one of the weirder articles I've come across, and much like the citizens of Buckhannon back in 1853, I couldn't even fathom a guess as to what it was that was experienced by such a large number of people. It certainly doesn't sound like a classic ghost story. Could it have been a Bigfoot? Were the sable garments actually dark brown fur? Bigfoot experiences are often reported as being accompanied by a foul odor.  However, I've never known such a creature to move that fast, nor sound like buggy. Perhaps it was some sort of demonic or other non-human entity.

I hope you enjoyed today's Throwback Thursday post as much as I did!  Join me over on Theresa's Haunted History Facebook and let me know YOUR theories!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

White Gate Cemetery

Photo by Beth--Grave Addiction

Travelers driving down Tom's Run Road in Moundsville, WV will notice a quaint, white gate with no fence, just on the other side of a small creek. Above the gate is a sign reading "White Gate Cemetery."  Beyond that gate are rows and rows of small metal signs, each marking the final resting place of a former inmate of the West Virginia State Penitentiary. 

The West Virginia Penitentiary, located in Moundsville, officially opened in 1876. Deceased prisoners whose bodies were not claimed by friends or family were first buried along a narrow strip of land on the south side of the penitentiary wall. However, drainage issues resulted in the need to remove the bodies and place them in a 5 acre area just outside the prison set aside for a cemetery.  This arrangement lasted until 1897. Around that time, Moundsville citizens had started complaining about convicts being buried within cemetery limits.  Therefore, during the 1897 Legislative Session, House of Delegates member John J. Leach proposed House Bill 255. The bill was "to prohibit the burial in the cemetery at Moundsville of the bodies of convicts who may die in the penitentiary." The bill passed, spurring the prison on a search for a proper burial site outside of city limits.

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer February 9, 1897

In November of that year, they would find a suitable location. Prison officials purchased 10 acres of land from David Levi along Tom's Run Road.  The location chosen was about 3-4 miles from the prison, fell outside of city limits, and cost the state $600. 

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer November 24, 1897

For half a century, the cemetery didn't really have a name. On death certificates, it was usually listed as 'prison cemetery' or Tom's Run. It wasn't until the 1950s that it came to be called White Gate Cemetery when the wife of a warden (I haven't confirmed it, but I think its Rilla Skeen, wife of Orel J. Skeen, 1947-1955) took interest in improving the cemetery and had the gate and sign installed. 

There are close to 300 known burials at White Gate, most of which are marked with a simple metal sign made at the prison. The majority of burials are the result of natural causes and many come from the era of the Great Depression when families simply didn't have the money to have their convict kin shipped home and buried.  

Photo by Beth--Grave Addiction

Unfortunately for many of those buried on this little plot of land, their stories are lost to history. In some cases, their names are lost to history---a blank sign being the only tangible proof of their existence. Others buried at White Gate are a little more notorious...

It is said that Edward Trout Shue, the infamous "Man Who Wanted Seven Wives" is buried at the prison cemetery. You might know him better as the man who took the life of Zona Heaster Shue, the Greenbrier Ghost. Also among the burials are Herman Drenth, better known as Harry F. Powers. Powers is responsible for at LEAST 5 murders in the Quiet Dell area of WV. This "Bluebeard of Quiet Dell" is believed to be West Virginia's first serial killer.  He was executed by hanging on March 18, 1932. Then, there's William Holly Griffith, the "Bestial Murderer" who kept escaping! He died July 10, 1971 from prostrate cancer. 

In the paranormal world, there's a debate as to whether or not cemeteries are likely to be haunted. The theory is that a ghost would more likely haunt the place where he/she died, or where he/she had spent the most time while living, as opposed to just the location where the earthly body lies.  I'll save that debate for another blog, but I wanted to touch upon the haunted history of the White Gate Cemetery.  Surprisingly, there really isn't much of one! Those who have investigated the cemetery haven't really collected any data to show that it might be haunted, and there really aren't any stories about its ghosts, either, that I could find.  I did find one thing, though. Visitors to the cemetery don't find the little spit of wooded land peaceful. Rather, the whole area seems to give off a very heavy, even negative feeling. 

Last January, my friend Bree and I set up a vendor's table at the Grave City Haunted Relic Expo, held at the old Sanford School. We arrived in town a little early to explore and the number one spot we wanted to see was White Gate Cemetery. We found it easily enough. It's just a short drive from the prison and my GPS took us right to it.  The problem was, we couldn't get to it! There had been recent snowstorms throughout West Virginia earlier that week, and Tom's Run Road wasn't entirely free from snow and ice just yet. The parking area was covered in snow, and since I wasn't sure what was under it (I was thinking lots and lots of mud), and didn't want to get my car stuck, we chose not to stop.  That wasn't the only issue though; even if we had parked, there was NO bridge over the creek to the cemetery. And, since the snow was starting to melt, the creek was running pretty high. You can watch the video I took of me panicking about where to stop below, but it begs the question: why is this cemetery so isolated?

A really sweet lady named Tammylynn whom we met at the Expo shared some insight.  She said the cemetery was built across the water to keep negative energies at bay! It is a popular belief in folklore that a ghost cannot cross running water (for example, the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow), so it makes sense. And, if that negative energy is all trapped in that small, little space, that could explain why so many people can pick up on it so strongly.  She also let us know that the cemetery grounds aren't regularly mowed, and there's an issue with snakes, so be careful if you plan on visiting! 

If you have any additional information on this cemetery, or have had your own personal paranormal experience there, I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below, join me at Theresa's Haunted History Facebook, or email me at theresarhps@yahoo.com.  Stay spooky, ya'll!

For a list of burials, check out Find-a-Grave
For more photos and info, visit Grave Addiction
You can find a little bit of info on early burials at the WV Pen on its National Register application


Here's the video of me panicking, trying to figure out how to get over to the cemetery without A. Getting my car stuck, and B. Drowning while trying to cross the creek on foot. We will be returning in the Spring! You can also watch it on YouTube


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tax Season is Ghost Hunting Season



Happy Tax Day! Today is the last day to file your taxes, although the date seems a little later than usual this year.  The reason that Tax Day isn't April 15th this year is because the 15th falls on a Sunday and the following Monday is Emancipation Day, a recognized holiday in D.C. So, today is your last chance to turn over all your paperwork to the IRS and hope for the best!

Hopefully, this year you'll have (or have already received) a hefty tax return to spend on what else: new ghost hunting gadgets! The last leftover remnants of winter seem to be finally leaving the tri-state area and many paranormal investigators and ghost enthusiasts are experiencing a renewed interest in some hands-on field work!

While it may be fun to start a new season of ghost hunting/paranormal investigation with a few new high-tech goodies, remember that quality over quantity is key when it comes to equipment. Much of what is marketed towards the paranormal community is not based on good science, and is often downright useless, especially if you're not using it correctly. Do your research, make good choices, and of course, have fun! Get out there and collect some data. 

Let me know if YOU plan on spending your tax return on anything ghost related! Feel free to post down in the comments, or join us over on Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State Facebook with your ideas!