Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Haunted Travels: Berea & Richmond, Kentucky

A nice weekend getaway is good for the soul, its a nice break from the every day stress of life. A little escape to a small town in Kentucky was on my agenda, and it was a much needed trip. My haunted travels have slowed down over the past few years but I had an opportunity for a short trip so I jumped right in and found just the right place. The location of my choice this time was Berea, Kentucky. We also visited nearby Richmond on our way home for some quick sightseeing, and by sight seeing, I mean haunted and historic locations.

Berea is a small town in Kentucky, just about 40 miles south of Lexington. I chose this town based on it's proximity to Huntington, only about a two hour drive from home and it looked absolutely charming in pictures. I did an internet search for haunted hotels in Kentucky, and a photo of the Boone Tavern Hotel came up. This hotel looked so elegant, it was small enough and seemed like the perfect choice for an overnight anniversary trip.

The Boone Tavern Hotel was built in 1909 and was named for Daniel Boone. According to the hotel's website some of the famous past guests of this hotel include: Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Eleanor Roosevelt, President Calvin Coolidge, Henry Ford and the Dalai Lama. The hotel is operated by Berea College. The Boone Tavern is pretty much located on campus
, buildings for the college are just across the street. The college itself has a number of hauntings, many of the buildings on campus seem to have a ghost story connected them. Berea college was founded in 1855, so there is over 150 years of potential for a few ghost stories to have accumulated over the years.

The hotel is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a young boy, the ghost is said to be shy and can usually be found in the basement area of the hotel. There is no general access to the basement for the average guest to check this out on their own. However, in recent years the hotel has teamed up with Lexington ghost hunter, Patti Starr (she hosts the annual Scarefest event in Lexington). Starr and her crew have offered public ghost hunts and classes at the hotel and other ghost hunting teams have explored the hotel for ghostly activity too.

If you look up a listed of most haunted hotels in the country, Boone Tavern Hotels seems to have landed on many lists of top haunted locations and top haunted hotels. Its rated as a top haunted location in the state of Kentucky too. Although if you look to find more haunting details about the ghosts of the Boone, you may come up short. I haven't been able to find many personal accounts of ghosts in the hotel. Perhaps it's one of those places where the hotel workers, residents and students in town are just so used to it, it's just like other thing that happens.

Our evening at the hotel was quiet, aside from the living beings walking though the hallways, opening and closing doors. We didn't have any personal encounters, or see or hear anything strange during our stay. There was a memorial service taking place in the event hall the evening we arrived, a sign outside of the door had the event listed. That was a rather somber thing to encounter. 

Overall the ambiance of the hotel was historic and charming, the rooms were nice and were a combination of modern amenities and glimpses of the past. The town is very much a hub of art culture and history. I feel like this may be one of those little areas where there is a lot of ghost stories In a small area, and for anyone who loves a good haunted town, Berea is probably worth exploring further.

On our way home I wanted to stop by an old cemetery we passed coming through Richmond on our way to Berea. The Richmond Cemetery stood out as were driving through, it looked old and I wanted to check it out. Upon entering there is a historical marker dedicated to Cassius Clay, he was a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia in the mid 1800s. I recognized the name after finding a photo of his home when I was searching for haunted places in the area. He is buried here, although I didn't spot his grave. The cemetery dates back to 1848 and the first burial in 1856. This cemetery was part of the Battle of Richmond, a Civil War battle that took place in 1862. Soldiers took cover behind the tombstones during the fight and there is a mass grave located in the cemetery where 174 Confederate casualties from the battle are buried.

The old weathered stones with intricate carvings, towering monuments and those old wrought iron fences and a war, a sacred place indeed. I find these old cemeteries to be fascinating and beautiful. Even though death is a dark and depressing thing, these people and their memories are literally etched in stone and hopefully will remain for hundreds of years to come.

From the cemetery we headed over to White Hall, the home of Cassius Marcellus Clay built by his father Green Clay in 1798. The home was remodeled and a new addition was added in the 1860's where very modern amenities for the time period were added such as central heat and indoor plumbing. The home was eventually abandoned and vandalized, but the State of Kentucky received the house from the family and a full restoration began. This home is open to the public for tours and as much as I would have loved to have taken a tour, I will have to go back at another time. The home is only open from April through October for visitors. I imagine this impressive 44-room mansion is as much a sight to behold inside as it is from the outside. This house also boasts a few ghosts, when the home was being restored there were reports of lights inside the home where no source could be found. There have also been reports of phantom smells inside the home. An annual historic ghost walk is done at the house every fall.

I think this area deserves a future return trip, unfortunately both White Hall and Fort Boonsebourough, which is also located nearby, were all closed for the season. Our first day was cold and rainy so we didn't get to explore and our time was limited the day we had to head home. I would love to see White Hall up close, I want to explore some more of the battlefields between Richmond and Berea, and the Fort area too. It's a small area packed with a lot of history and the potential for a lot of ghost stories. I really feel I have only scratched the surface of the hauntings of this area.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Haunted Travels: New Orleans, Louisiana

Today's Haunted Travels post is in honor of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday always takes place the day before Ash Wednesday, it is a Christian celebration and involves eating rich or fatty foods before the fasting of Lent begins. I think that is something most of us can get on board with, sweets and good food you say? Yes please!

Traveling with two little boys is a new thing for me and it does mean some limitations to places we can go and the hours we spend exploring. I would have loved to soak up all the haunted and creepy sights like I typically do, take a ghost tour, walk around after hours, but we left the French Quarter just before dark. The party atmosphere isn't exactly toddler friendly, and I don't think they are quite old enough for some of the unique places New Orleans has to offer. Although hopefully one day, when they are older we will take them back and they can enjoy some of the creepier aspects of New Orleans.

What better time to write about some of the haunted locations in New Orleans than during Mardi Gras? I had my piece (or two) of king cake to aid in my participation of the celebrations and I may even try my hand at making my own beignets too. But all of this talk about Mardi Gras is making me hungry, wait no, actually...it's bringing back fond memories of my visit to New Orleans this past summer.

My daughter, who loves French culture picked this destination for our summer vacation. I was a bit hesitant to go, a fourteen hour car ride with teenagers and toddlers didn't seem like my idea of a vacation, but I have always wanted to go. We decided to visit New Orleans for only a few days, just long enough to take in the atmosphere, visit the French Quarter, cemeteries and a few other sights before headed on to Florida to the beach.

There is so much to New Orleans aside from just individual buildings and haunted hot spots. The entire city is so full of unusual characters and history, if you don't have much time or you have limitations to exploring some of the attractions, you still will get a great sense of the culture and the darker side by just being there. Mardi Gras beads are dripping from the rooftops, trees and fences. The narrow streets and architecture really take you back in time hundreds of years in the past. It's sweet southern charm, mixed with African and Creole French culture.

Voodoo Culture -

Voodoo is a huge part of the culture of New Orleans. Voodoo is a spiritual belief that originated in Africa and it is very alive and well in New Orleans today. There are voodoo shops scattered throughout the French Quarter. Voodoo has long been associated with witchcraft, black magic and devil worshipping. Many believe voodoo to be a dark, mysterious and dangerous practice, but for those who believe, it is a way of life, much like any other religion. The voodoo culture adds an element of ambiance and mystique to this city.

St. Louis Cathedral -

St. Louis Cathedral may be one of the first buildings you see upon entering the French Quarter. Located in Jackson Square, the first cathedral built at this location was erected in 1722, however the original was destroyed by a hurricane, the second by a fire and the third was replaced by a larger building. The current and fourth cathedral has been in place since the 1850s. It is open to the public and they do offer tours. Of course when entering such a sacred place, the utmost respect should always be given. The cathedral is awe inspiring, both inside and out. A quiet and peaceful place but grand and magnificent too.

The cathedral is also believed to be haunted, the church was actually built over one of the cities earliest cemeteries. A former priest was also laid to rest at the cathedral as well. This former priest is said to have been heard singing near the church many many years after his death and that his spirit has remained to watch over the city.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 -

New Orleans has many cemeteries but we learned on our first day there that most of them close and are locked up early in the day compared to the cemeteries in our area. We did not get to explore the famously haunted St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 as it had already been locked up for the day by the time we arrived. However, the next day while we were exploring the New Orleans famous Garden District, we happened upon Lafayette Cemetery No.1. The cemetery dates back to 1833 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's the main cemetery that has been used in films made in New Orleans such as Interview with the Vampire, author Anne Rice has used this cemetery in many of her books. Anne herself was once a resident of the Garden District. My daughter was excited to discover that one of her favorite TV shows, The Vampire Diaries has also had scenes filmed here.

The cemetery is a well known haunted location in New Orleans. I found it to be completely mesmerizing and hauntingly beautiful. I could have spent all day inside those stone walls just walking around and taking photos. This is one of my favorite photos I took that day, it had rained the previous day and getting around in the soggy cemetery proved to be a bit of a challenge, but it made for a particularly pretty photo. I always have my camera with me but I happened to snap this one on my phone.

New Orleans Garden District -

The Garden District is as charming as anything could be in the deep south, but of course that New Orleans flair really adds a little something special to this area. There are picturesque mansions and small cottages throughout the district, gardens and of course those beautiful cemeteries like Lafayette No. 1.

This area is part of the parade route for Mardi Gras and it's evident that the Mardi Gras festivities don't just take place in the French Quarter. Mardi Gras beads hang from the old wrought iron fences that line the old brick sidewalks of these quaint cottages. The history is abundant here, many celebrities call this district home as well as quite a few spirits too.

Like the French Quarter, the Garden Distinct has haunted history tours as well. While we did not take a tour during our trip, we did explore as many of these places on our own as we could during our short stay.

During our time in New Orleans we visited the famous Sucré for gelato and macarons, had lunch at a restaurant on Bourbon Street, browsed countless shops, listened to locals perform some amazing jazz music, toured a few buildings and grabbed some beignets at Café Du Monde before we left. My daughter had her fortune read by a psychic and she and her friend explored the New Orleans Museum of Death. Overall I think we really got the essence of New Orleans, and a little taste of the haunted history that I was seeking.

Haunted Travels: Huntington,West Virginia

Looking back at how long it has been since I posted my last Haunted Travels blog, I am really sort of taken back that it has been 5 years. There have been times in my life when my passion for paranormal things were front and center, but that hasn’t been the case over the past several years. I had more time back then to participate in and to do things like travel to haunted and historic locations. But as the years pass, changes come along and often your priorities change too. I still have a deep-rooted love for the paranormal world, namely ghosts, cemeteries, old houses and buildings and the ghost stories and sightings attached to them. I also love to travel, to see new places and towns and to explore. There is so much out there and so much to see and do and so many places to go.

A big life change came with me having two little boys just twenty-five months apart, in addition to already having a teenage daughter. Two boys in two years, yep, I really have had my hands full, and things like doing investigations and travelling went down on my list of priorities. We have not travelled with the boys a whole lot yet, they are still little and they need naps and snacks and have the occasional melt downs and such. But I do look forward to the day they are old enough to really enjoy traveling and hopefully they will have an appreciation for historic locations. While I enjoy Disney World as much as anyone, I am much more likely to seek out a smaller town with some serious history and spooky haunted places.

With having travelled less in the last few years, sometimes it’s easier to just stay in our own area to enjoy things. My town may be fairly small compared to others out there, but there is no lack of haunted locations here. In fact, Huntington, West Virginia seems be right in the middle of many other very haunted Appalachian towns and cities. When you can't travel hundreds of miles away to visit a new place, then why not look in your own backyard for some local haunted history?

Today I am reviving my Haunted Travels posts and I am starting in my own backyard, my town of Huntington, West Virginia.

Huntington, West Virginia sits on the banks of the Ohio River, it was founded by railroad magnate, Collis P. Huntington in 1871. Huntington has abundant history and many locations that are purported to be haunted. Spend a day or two in this little town and you can explore lots of amazing places and you may just get a glimpse of the supernatural side of this city.

Keith Albee Theater –

The Keith Albee Theater is a breathtaking historic landmark in Huntington’s history. The Keith Albee opened in 1928 as a vaudeville theater with beautiful architecture and details. Today the theater is still in operation and has undergone extensive restoration in recent years. The theater hosts a variety of events throughout the year. While it is not open for paranormal investigators, you can attend theater events or even book a private tour.

The Keith Albee may have a long history in theater performances, but it also has a darker side that everyone may not know about. At least two men have died on this property and there have been reports of a female ghost, a Lady in Red, who has been spotted inside the building. Theater patrons have also discussed feeling uneasy in the women’s restroom in the basement.

To learn more about the theater you can visit the website for further information.

Dr. Grimes Dental Office –

Dr. Grimes Dental Office is housed in a former early 1900’s duplex home. Dr. Grimes has kept a detailed journal of unexplained events that he and others have experienced since he acquired the building in the 1970’s. Dr. Grimes office is believe to be the home of several spirits, but most prominently the ghost of Lavina Wall, who died at age 21 under some rather suspicious circumstances. Dr. Grimes office was featured on an episode of the Travel Channel’s – The Dead Files. Dr. Grimes has since reported that after the show, based on the advice he was given, he believes the ghost of the Lavina has moved on. However, there is believed to be several other spirits that haunt this location.

Dr. Grimes has even written a book about the experiences at his office.

You can read the full story of Dr. Grimes Office here as researched by our Research Manager Theresa (she also runs Theresa’s Haunted History of the Tri-State).

Central City -

Central City is located within Huntington’s west end neighborhood and is known as the “Antiques Capitol of the Tri-State”. Here you can shop or browse through many of the antique shops or grab a bite to eat at one of the old diners. Most of these buildings date back to the early 1900’s when Central City was established and became a prosperous manufacturing town. Our paranormal group has spoken with many the shop owners and many have confirmed that they have encountered strange and unusual occurrences within their shops they could not explain.

Ritter Park Historic District –

Ritter Park opened in 1913 and the general area surrounding the park known as the Ritter Park Historic District was designated a national historic district in 1990. The park boasts many features such as a water fountain, tennis facilities, amphitheater, walking trails and much more. Today you can walk around this lush greenspace on Huntington’s quaint south side. But like with many other locations in the area, the park also has been a site of several deaths.

The park once had a small man-made lake, however after a child died from drowning in the lake it was drained. Today the park’s playground sits on the edge of the old drained lake. Cabell County’s first and only public execution took place in the area that is now Ritter Park. A man was hanged for the murder of a Barboursville teenager in 1892. There was a reported crowd of five thousand people who gathered to witness the execution. Sitting at what is probably the highest point of Ritter Park just above the amphitheater area is a hill called Gobbler’s Knob. In early times there was a Native American burial mound located here, but much like the other burial mounds that were scattered throughout Huntington, this mound was leveled to build a road. If you take the walking path at Ritter Park and head toward the 5th Street bridge, you will come to the sight of Huntington’s notorious hitchhiker ghost – The Ghost of 5th Street Hill. Several versions of this story exist but a young woman was killed in a car accident on her way to get married, the accident happened at the bottom of the hill and many believe that her ghost has been hailing local cabs for many years, but she will always disappear before she reaches her destination.

Historic Guyandotte -

Guyandotte is a little neighborhood of Huntington, located on the city’s east end. Back in 1810, Guyandotte was its own little town and was for almost 100 years before being incorporated by the city of Huntington. Guyandotte has some of the oldest homes still standing in the city as well as having the oldest church cemetery in the county. Guyandotte’s Main Street was the site of a Civil War raid that took place in 1861 where many soldiers, both Union and Confederate lost their lives. The town was almost destroyed when it was torched by Union forces.

Today you can take a walking tour of Main Street and Richmond Street where homes and buildings dating back to 1810s through the early 1900s still stand. The old cemetery has graves dating back to the early 1800’s and includes reinterred remains of Revolutionary War veterans too. Many the old homes on Main Street are haunted by ghosts from the past 200 years. Our group offers guided ghost tours of this area in the fall, and there is an annual re-enactment of the Civil War raid on Guyandotte every November.

Spring Hill Cemetery -

Huntington’s largest cemetery was established in 1871. Many of Huntington’s prominent families are buried here and many others were re-interred to Spring Hill from other smaller cemeteries. Several Civil War Generals and US Congressmen are buried here. The names you see throughout this cemetery are names that remain on our public buildings and even our streets.

Spring Hill also holds a very important memorial to our city, the Marshall University Plane Crash Memorial stone sits at the top of the hill which overlooks the city and Marshall University. The plane carrying 75 team members, coaches and fans crashed in November of 1970, there were no survivors. Many were buried at Spring Hill. The movie “We Are Marshall” was filmed in parts of Huntington, and Spring Hill and the memorial were featured in the movie. This tragedy has left a lasting mark on our community.

While there are not specific accounts of ghost stories associated with the cemetery, the deep history,beauty and peacefulness of this location is worth stopping by for a drive or even a walk-though.

Camden Park –

Camden Park is a small amusement park located in Huntington. A park opened in 1902 that was used as a picnic area for passengers who were traveling the rail line or on the riverboats. The first ride was the carousel added in 1903 and over the years more rides and attractions were added.

One unique feature of Camden Park is that an Adena Indian Mound is located on its grounds, it can be seen while visiting the park. While the great majority of the burial mounds in Huntington were leveled to build the city streets, this is the only one I am aware of that still is standing within Huntington area. There have been reports over the years of the park being haunted, possibly by the spirits of the Native Americans who buried their people there.

So, if you are visiting the area, or even live in town and are looking for some haunted attractions or beautiful cemeteries to visit, Huntington has an abundance of both. This list of haunted and historic locations could be longer but most of these locations are open and accessible in some form or fashion. Enjoy the town, stop for a bite to eat a one of our local restaurants and go explore the mysterious side of Huntington you may not knew exists!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Group Updates: February 2018

Hey friends, we are again in the process of adding to our blog, transferring content from our old website which we decided to shut down over a year ago and use just our blog and Facebook sites. I now have the majority of our old content moved here to our blog site but I still have some work to do in it. All of our investigation listings will soon be fully updated to add links for audio and video as needed. I will also be adding photos for most listings as well, just as our old website once had. It's going to take a little bit more time to update each entry, but it's coming along pretty well so far.

This has been a slow process for me, I have my hands full with other obligations in my life and the blog has been neglected. The group has not been active with the exception of our annual ghost tours in the fall. But it's a new year and hopefully you will see some more content from us in 2018. It's time to get back to it!

I am also hoping to revive my haunted travels posts this year! I have added a page just for the haunted travels section. Not only do I love everything paranormal, but I also love to travel. I have been on many weekend trips around the Tri-State area, checking out various haunted locations. In some cases I may only stop and take photos and be on my way, but just to be there, a moment in time to see with my own eyes these locations that often hold so much history, is an enormous fascination for me. So look for some new haunted travels posts coming over the next several weeks and months.

Thanks for stopping by our blog, leaving comments and reading all about our haunted experiences.

HPIR Founder -

Investigation - Sharkey's Fins Café

Investigation Location:
Sharkey's Fin Café

Huntington, WV

November 2012


Historic Info provided by Theresa, courtesy of Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State.:

We were called in to this popular night spot after multiple witnesses had experienced different types of paranormal activity at the bar. Reports range from a shadowy figure being seen darting about, an upstairs door that refused to stay shut on its own, and even poltergeist-like activity---one employee had straws thrown at her while working at the bar, and another had something smack him on the head while upstairs.

From talking to the clients that met us onsite, it does appear that there's a very good possibility, as they believe, that there are two separate entities who make their presence known. One entity is believed to be almost a "pervy" sort of prankster, who enjoys giving the ladies' an occasional smack on the rear. This prankster is believed to be connected with a tragic event that occurred in recent years, tied with the bar. While "fresh," this entity is usually seen as kind of playful, and fairly harmless.

It is the black, shadowy entity that tends to give off a more negative vibe, and we believe that it may be more connected with the history of the building, although at this point, there is nothing obvious that is popping up, giving a clue as to WHO this entity might be. However, from what we do know of the history, there are plenty of possibilities!

The building itself actually encompasses three different addresses: 410, 412, and 414 10th St. Sharkey's currently occupies addresses 410 and 414, while 412 in the middle is a staircase that leads to an upstairs apartment complex, known as Vicker's Apartments. The building, collectively known as the Vicker's Apartment Building, was built by a prominent WV architect, Levi Dean, who was known for many, many beautiful churches, hospitals, government buildings, schools, etc. around Huntington and throughout the state. The first mention of the Vicker's Apartments available to us at this time is in the 1916 Polk City Directory. 412 is listed for the apartments, while 410 and 414 are listed as vacant. However, it is possible that the building is slightly older...

The more visible J.W. Valentine building, which would later become the Day and Night Bank, sits just to the 4th Avenue side of the building. It was constructed by architect Sidney Logan Day in 1908, with an addition in 1910, meaning that this apartment complex could have been built shortly thereafter. Afterall, Levi Dean came to Huntington around 1904, which would put him at the right time period.

In any event, 412 would remain the Vicker's Apartments, even up through today, but the businesses that occupied the first floor were extremely varied. By 1917, the left side of the building was occupied by a piano store, Steinway and Sons, with Thomas Newberne as the manager, while the other side was a ladies' clothing store, named Woman's Exchange. By 1920, the New System Bakery was on the left, while the ladies' clothing store had a name change, and was now known as Eva E. Suiter Company. In 1924, the bakery was replaced by Kearney-Weiler Sporting Goods.

In 1930, the sports store was still in operation, but the 414 address belonged to the Medical Arts Pharmacy and Supply, under the management of Harry Carnahan. There is a gap in records until 1936, but we know by that year, the medical supply store had expanded, now occupying the entire bottom floor (410/414).

The medical supply store stayed at this location until 1945, when it was replaced by Dunfee Boot Shop, under Chester H. Dunfee. Dunfee's had a 30 year run at this location, before the bottom level became vacant in 1974. It stayed vacant until 1976, when the short-lived Elbow Room Club would spend two years, before finally becoming Verb's Tenth Inning Restaurant in 1978.

In 1983, the entire building, apartments included, was listed as vacant, with a brief period in 1987 when the apartments only were occupied. This streak was broken in 1990 when Tom Cyrus and Rebecca Richardson opened up the Academy of Ballroom Dance. In 1993, the building was once again vacant, but would return in 1994 as Sharkey's!

I would have never guessed that this little brick building would hold as much history as it does, and I've been methodically examining those who have lived in the apartments, and who owned/managed businesses downstairs for anyone who could be a candidate for the ghost! Unfortunately (for our purposes), most lived normal, everyday lives and died normal, everyday deaths, so we're hoping when we get our audio, etc. fully analyzed, that there might contain some clue to lead us in the right direction.

Also unfortunately for us, it doesn't seem like the ghosts really wanted to come out to play while we were there. Aside from a member seeing a shadowy form in front of her and some strange Ovilus hits, not many personal experiences were recorded. We were told that the ideal time to witness the paranormal activity was when the bar was closed and when no one was supposed to be there...making our investigation time right on target. But, it seems that the spirits of Sharkey's share a familiarity with those who know share their space on an everyday basis, making the only spirits available to the casual observer the ones in bottle form! 


Our investigation took place on a Sunday night, and due to most of our work schedules we didn't get to spend as much time investigating as we would have liked, but we did spend our time we had working to get the spirits of the bar to come out. Most of the night was quiet, we attempted the Singapore theory right off hand by having a few members of the group go behind the bar and mock a bartending and waitressing, serving those at the bar and in the booth lemon slices. One claim an employee reported was that while she cutting lemons some straws came flying at her. So our investigator "served" some lemon slices in hopes to stir up some activity. That activity didn't seem to do much so we all spilt up in different areas of the bar for quiet observation and/or EVP sessions. One of our investigators came upstairs and as she walked by one of the pool tables she believed she saw a shadow figure, a short time later, another investigator saw what she believed was  a shadow figure in the same general area. Toward the end of our evening one of the employees and some friends came in and did a pretty long EVP session with us. With some familiar faces we hoped that maybe some of the resident spirits may come out or at least talk to us on audio.  

Results: No conclusive evidence was found to determine that Sharkeys is haunted.  


Investigation - Whipple Company Store

Investigation Location:

Whipple Company Store

Scarboro, WV

May 2012


Information provided by Theresa: Last February, I contacted the owners of the Whipple Company Store in Fayette County, WV about setting up a possible investigation of the 100+ year old coal company store. I cannot pinpoint just how or when I became aware of this structure, but I've had in the back of my mind for over a year, hoping to find more information on the alleged haunting. The website mentioned that they held a haunted history tour each fall, but details were scant about just exactly WHAT those tales involved. There also wasn't a lot of information online about actual investigations that took place there...

I soon found out why! Despite multiple investigation requests a month, in order to preserve the integrity of the location as a historic landmark (and not simply a haunted fun house) no more than four teams are allowed in per year. Fortunately, HPIR's strong commitment to and reverence of historic preservation landed us the opportunity to be one of the few lucky enough to investigate the location in an official capacity.

There is no possible way that I could do the history of this location justice within the confines of a simple blog post, but I would like to briefly go over some of the major points of interest. The company store was built between 1890 and 1893 by the P.M. Snyder Construction Co. for Justus Collins. Collins, who ran several mines, built four identical stores, but the store at Whipple is the only one standing today.

During its tenure as a coal company store, the building was the life blood of the community. All shopping was done at the store, through the use of company scrip, and most of the socializing occurred there as well. Like most other company stores, this one contained a doctor's office, a post office, and even an upstairs ballroom for the prominent company owners and their families. What should have been a location of much happiness and community unity, unfortunately also had a prominent dark side.. In addition to the many miners who lost their lives in the mines, including the 16 taken in the 1907 explosion, there are plenty of deaths associated directly with the company store property itself, some by illness and some by more violent means.

The Whipple mine closed in the mid-1950s and a year later, the building was bought and ran as a trading post by a lady named Madge. During Madge's time at the building is when the ghost stories began to circulate. In fact, Madge was so spooked by sounds of children in the upstairs ballroom, that the entire floor was shut off until after her death in 1988. By 1992, a man from Charleston took ownership of the building, turning it into a restaurant and community theater. Unfortunately, restoration efforts would prove to be too much for him, and he sought a buyer for the aging former company store.

Luckily, a wonderful couple took ownership of the building, turning it into a hands-on museum experience. Joy and Chuck have worked tirelessly in order to preserve the wonderful history of this location. They ensure that the stories of those associated with the company store are not lost to history. There IS happiness associated with this building...but there is also a darker side of history that cannot be forgotten. This darker side of the museum's history is discussed in detail during the haunted history tours, but not for pure entertainment value. Rather, these tales are shared as a way to remember those who have passed and to help us learn and understand our own history, lest we be doomed to repeat it.

There is much more about the history of this location that we've chosen not to disclose online, so we STRONGLY encourage interested parties to visit the museum and take a tour.  


Our trip to the Whipple Company Store started off with a small sightseeing tour of several of the small surrounding former coal towns. We visited the town of Thurmond, stopped at the former Scarboro Company Store, and paid a visit to the local cemetery and old Chapel before the investigation got underway.

We got an initial small tour of the museum before we setup our equipment but it was not long before we were setup; the Whipple Company Store is located at a very busy intersection. Traffic noise was almost constant and due to the shape of the building and its acoustics, the traffic sounds really carried. A common report of the building is seeing shadows, but with so much traffic passing by shadows seem inevitable.

Once we were settled in and fairly acquainted with the noises and lights from the road a number of our team members began having some small personal experiences. These personal experiences were scattered among the members and throughout the evening. Our investigators made notes on paper of the things they were hearing, seeing, smelling and feeling and most experiences were not shared with anyone else until the end of the investigation. Common experiences were seeing shadows and several investigators felt as though something had lightly touched them. The experiences escalated toward the end of the evening with several team members feeling extreme discomfort in one particular section of the building. One investigator was so shaken that she became quite emotional from her encounter.

This investigation was very emotional at times, other times it was comfortable and quiet. I have to rate this as one of our top 10 investigations, but I won’t give out every little detail because of such personal connections with the whole coal mining industry. I think those of us who had ancestors who had to live in coal camps really got a sense of just how overwhelming it was. This was one of the most incredible places we have ever been, the history is amazing and like with many things even a great place like this can have a dark past.  
Investigation Results:


Investigation - Ramsdell House Return

Investigation Location:.

Z.D. Ramsdell House

Ceredo, WV

January 2011


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.

Due to its involvement with the Underground Railroad and its location atop an Adena Mound, many ghost stories arise from the Ramsdell Home. 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.


During our second investigation of the Ramsdell House we tried our hands at a new piece of equipment, a ghost box. This new instrument is pretty neat but is most certainly a questionable tool to use during a serious investigation. While it claimed to be used as a communication tool, it seems more of a tool of coincidence.

During the night the ghost box seemed to answer many questions that was asked, for example our investigators asked how many babies had been born in the birthing room when they received an answer of 17. However we can not conclude the ghost box answers were actual spirits communicating with us.

Late in the evening as we were finishing up ghost box and EVP sessions we were sitting very still and quiet in an upstairs bedroom when several other investigators just below us in the main room began to hear a loud thumping sound. They contacted us on two way radio to ask where the banging was coming from, and those who were upstairs sitting quietly had heard no noises whatsoever. After searching for the source of the noise, the investigators could not pinpoint where the sound came from.

Investigation Results:  

Our second Ramsdell House investigation was not a disappointment, in fact this investigation yielded numerous EVP's. Below we have chosen to publish our best EVP from this investigation. A little information on this EVP: This recorder was left sitting in an upstairs room while we were in other rooms downstairs talking, you will be able to hear the team talking in the background when a voice much closer to the recorder pops in about 10 seconds into the audio clip below. This EVP was captured in the room that was used by the children as a playroom.