Friday, February 16, 2018

Friendship Goals: Paranormal Edition

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

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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

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

Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review for The Ghosts of London

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beckley's Shape-Shifting Ghost

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

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

Friday, February 9, 2018

Mary Loves Dick - A Most Haunted Friday Funny

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

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

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

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sir Francis Bacon and the Ghost Chicken

Would you consider this a 'poultrygeist?' 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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