Monday, October 20, 2014

Haunted & Historic Guyandotte Tours 2014

We are just days away from the first tours of the season! We here at HPIR are super excited for our annual ghost tours and we have worked really hard to put this FREE event together for you. Below is the information for this years tours as well as a reminder of our guidelines while you, our guest, are participating in this spooky fun event.

 
GHOSTLY ENCOUNTERS – OCTOBER 24 & 25

Forget about going to the local haunted house where a costumed ghost will jump out from behind a dark curtain to give you a fright, how about spending your Halloween with some real ghosts instead? This after dark tour is not for the faint of heart. This tour takes place in the historic downtown district of Guyandotte and it will showcase a number of historic homes and buildings some of which are over two hundred years old.



 
 
 
 
 
CIVIL WAR HAUNTED HISTORY – OCTOBER 31 & NOVEMBER 1

This tour takes place during the Guyandotte Civil War Days, an annual event that will mark the 153rd anniversary of the Civil War Raid on Guyandotte by re-enacting the events of the November 10th & 11th 1861. This after dark tour takes the participants on a mile walk through the historic section of Guyandotte. The tour showcases Guyandotte’s pre Civil War era homes and passes through authentically re-created Civil War encampments. Participants will experience the peaceful night as it was on November 10th 1861, just hours before the Confederate Army would storm the town.
 
 
 

WHERE – Guyandotte Branch Library, 203 Richmond St. Huntington, West Virginia. The information tent is located in the parking lot.

TICKETS/COST – FREE, but you must have a ticket to participate. Ticket pickup begins at 6:30pm. First come, first serve until tickets are all gone. (Approximately 125 tickets per night)

TIME – Tours depart starting at 7:00pm and continue until 10:00pm.

DURATION – This is a walking tour and will last approximately 2 hours, the tour is under a mile in length.

GUIDELINES–

  • Remain with the group at all times during the tour. If you must leave you are welcome to exit at any time.
  • Please do not leave the tour to return to any homes, all homes on our tour are privately owned and are not staged just for tours.
  • Anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Children must be properly supervised during tours as well as around the information booth area by a parent or guardian.
  • Due to subject matter and length of the tour, our tours are not recommended for very young children.
  • No pets please
  • No smoking during the tour or in the immediate area around the information tent.
  • Please obey all pedestrian laws when crossing streets, your guide will safely escort your group across streets appropriately.
  • We reserve the right to refuse a tour to anyone for any reason.
  • Flashlights are highly recommended.
  • You may bring your camera for photos. No audio or video without seeking permission of your tour guide first.

WEATHER - We will generally run tours rain or shine, unless there is a threat of severe weather.

DONATIONS – Donations are always appreciated.
 
 
 

Have fun and we will see you at the tours!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Its Been 8 Years....

It’s been 8 years since the founding of Huntington Paranormal Investigations & Research and this week we celebrate our anniversary!

So much has changed these past 8 years since I decided to start a paranormal investigation group, we have experienced so much, been so many places and made some great friends. I don’t think I could have predicted that 8 years down the road HPIR would still be here, I of course hoped we would be and I am so thankful that we are still here. I have seen many groups fizzle out in 8 years, but I also have seen a few of the strong groups keep pushing forward. I know our members are the main reason we are still here, and for them I am so very thankful. We have seen members come and go over the years, some of them we still call our friends. Even those members who are no longer part of the team now have helped build a strong foundation for us to be here today celebrating this 8th year.

Our course if you follow our blog and our team, you will know that HPIR is so much more than just a group of ghost hunters. We love investigations, but our mission is much more than just chasing reports of ghosts. We want to keep the haunted history of our area alive and we want to give something back to our community too.

So here we are 8 years behind us, and hopefully many more ahead of us. I asked the group, members both old and new, to reflect on their time with HPIR. I wanted to hear from them about their favorite investigations, some fond memories and how they feel about being part of our team. Here is what some of our members had to say:

Carrie: My favorite investigations have been Bruce Chapel, Buffington House, Whipple Company Store, and the Campbell-Flannigan-Murrell House in Hinton. Each of these places we have gotten great pieces of evidence. My favorite moments are when we have had HPIR family time, getting to know each other and sharing laughs together, we have many inside jokes. I look forward to collecting more evidence, making more memories, and more inside jokes.

Lynne: In my 3+ years with our group, I have to say that my favorite part has been the comradery I have found with my HPIR family. We work together, laugh together, and sometimes disagree together, but we still are a solid group, with solid principles. My favorite investigations, would probably be Bruce Chapel, as although we froze to death, we did get some astounding pictures, and Dr. Grimes’ office, in that we all experienced some type of activity, and it is a fabulous blend of potential for the paranormal. Some of my fondest memories have been our group picnics, bonfires and just spending time with my HPIR family. They are a great group of people, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Mike: I've wanted to be a part of a real ghost investigation team. We loved volunteering with the tours and look forward to investigating. Thank you for asking us to join HPIR.

Tracie: I learned about HPIR during one of the many tours in Guyandotte. I came to like 3 tours and brought different friends. I actually followed Theresa on her blogs before I moved to WV, so it was destiny that I became part of HPIR. Mike and I volunteered for the tours and hinted that we would love to part of a real ghost hunting group. Then we were asked to join and jumped to the chance. I'm looking forward to ghost hunts. Thank you again for letting us join the team.


Thank you all and here is to many more years of the HPIR team!

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 2014 Updates

Hey all, just checking in with all of our readers for our bi-monthly update for June 2014!

Anniversary – HPIR will be celebrating our 8th year at the end of July, wow! It is hard to believe that it has been 8 years since we started our group. Although this has probably been our slowest year on record, I think we all need a little down time. By no means are we “taking a break”, it’s just going to be a much slower paced year than the past seven for us. I’ve said it in previous blogs, I am so thankful to have the wonderful people who make up HPIR; they are like an extended family. Here is to a great, yet slower 8th year!

New Members – It has been three years since we have introduced any new members to our team, but this month our team made a great decision to add two new wonderful people to join HPIR. We met Mike & Tracie back in the fall during tour season. They offered to help us by volunteering with our ghost tours. Through their volunteering, we saw their dedication to us and their desire to not only help with tours but to investigate with us also. During a meeting earlier this month, the team voted to invite them to become full members of our group, and they happily accepted our offer! We welcome to the HPIR family, Tracie & Mike – we look forward to years of investigating with you!

Joining HPIR – I regularly get e-mails from people looking to join our group, and I wanted to address this inquiry for those who have come to us looking to become a part of our team, however I am going to be addressing this in a separate blog post which you can read here: Answering Your Questions About HPIR Membership

Team Toni 5K – Once again this year we volunteered for the Team Toni 5K walk/run. We did not have any participants in the race this year, but we did setup a water station for the other 5K participants.

Tour Season – It is hard to believe that tour season is about four months away! We are looking forward to yet another busy tour season coming up. I also have another blog post up that will be addressing some of the issues we encountered last season because I feel we should stand up for ourselves against those who have went out of their way to try to perhaps, shut us down or at least have been spiteful toward us. I blogged about some issues last year, you can read that post here. And my new blog post for 2014: Guyandotte Ghost Tours 2014

We hope you guys have a great summer, we will update again in a few months!





Photos: top, post meeting bonfire, bottom, Team Toni 5K

Ghost Tours 2014 - Disclaimer

The 2014 Tour Season is rapidly approaching and I am taking a proactive approach to addressing any potential issues that might arise over the next several months as have in the past few years with other organizations in Guyandotte that may decide to offer their own ghost tours this year.
 
This information is being offered to our loyal tour guests who deserve to have the best tour experience we can provide to them.

Please see: Haunted & Historic Guyandotte Tours - Spooky Fun Awaits for some of the backstory on why I am posting this information for our 2014 tour season. There will be a link back to this page so that you may continue reading here.

It is June 23, 2014 and while I have no known information about what other organizations in the Guyandotte area are planning as of today but based off of the issues we have encountered the past two years, I am posting this as a disclaimer of sorts. Huntington Paranormal Investigations & Research which operates the Haunted & Historic Guyandotte Tours is in no way affiliated with any pay to participate tour that may be offered in the Guyandotte area this year. Huntington Paranormal Investigations & Research as Haunted & Historic Guyandotte Tours maintains our tours as free of monetary charge or donation requirement to the general public, furthermore we are not planning any tours to act as a fundraiser for any entity in the 2014 season.

I don't like to air our grievances so publically, but this has been so ongoing that I feel the need to stand up and say something. So to expand on what happened specifically last year: I realize there are two sides to every story and I can't say I know their side but will share the facts I do know.

Last year Swinefest teamed up with the Madie Carroll House to plan some events. In previous years we have worked with the MCH during tour season and they were wonderful in allowing us to bring in tour guests, use their property for some tour setups and even provided us with some “ghosts” inside the house during the tours. We have offered a Guyandotte Cemetery Tour for Swinefest since 2009.

What happened last year was not what we expected. The short story is that before Swinefest announced the dates of their event publically, they along with the MCH quietly reserved use of the cemetery for that weekend to do their own ghost tour for a fee. Once Swinefest announces their event dates, we have always planned our Guyandotte Cemetery Ghost Tour to go on simultaneously that weekend. What we found was that when we went to make our reservation for the cemetery space, they had already made the reservation in another person’s name. However, the person who made the reservation put it in our organization’s name, phone number and home address. So essentially they fraudulently used our organization and info to reserve the area for themselves knowing we use that area yearly for tours. It ended up backfiring on them and ultimately we got to use the space for our event.

Some of the members of those two organizations exploded on us verbally, they were extremely upset. They wanted to do their own tour without us, they wanted to draw in the crowds we do and charge them to take a tour we have offered for years for no charge. They wanted to use the tour as a fundraiser for their organization. They even asked us to remove some properties from our tour out of spite after this.
 
The thing is both Swinefest and the Madie Carroll House receive thousands of dollars in grant money and funding yearly for their events and property needs. Haunted & Historic Guyandotte Tours receives no type of funding, we do this on our own time, out of our own pocket and because we love to do it, nothing more. We have no required donations, although we do get small donations from tour guests, those small donations go back into our tours and even to other local organizations.

We will not be associated with the kind of people who act in this manner. We have only tried to provide something nice for the members of our community to do for free, but year after year we run into people who see the crowd we bring in and want to profit from it. This has been an ongoing thing for years now. Again, we don’t know what events other organizations are planning this year, but we just want to make our guests aware that if there are other ghost tour type events going on in Guyandotte this year for a fee, we are not involved.

All of our tours will be posted on our website and Facebook page, so please visit those pages for all the dates and information!

Answering Your Questions About HPIR Membership

If you visit our website and you are seeking to find a way to join our team, you hit the link to go to our contact page you will see a list of things to the left that you may want to contact us about. Within that list you will see a section that says joining our team and reads like this:

Joining Our Team - Currently we are not seeking to add any new members to our group. If in the future we have openings, we will make an announcement on our website and Facebook pages.
 
I want to talk a bit more in detail about our reasons we are not accepting any new members to our team because I still get lots of emails from people wanting to join. It's difficult to say no to someone who has a passion to become a paranormal investigator, and I try to reply back to everyone who contacts us and sometimes I offer them some alternatives. But here are the reasons why you may get an e-mail reply from us saying we are not seeking new members:

 
For starters, let me say we don't want to discourage anyone by telling you we are not looking for new members. We want you to be able to go out and learn about and experience paranormal investigation in one way or another (legally). But if I invited in everyone I received an email from wanting to join our team, our membership would be up to around 100+ or so by now, I would imagine. It is what it is, we unfortunately can't add everyone who wants to join us.

Currently we have 11 members, and that includes the addition of our two newest members as of June 2014. Before June 2014, our last member we added to the team was in June 2011. At our highest member count, I believe we had somewhere around 18-20 members and that was in 2007. I quickly learned that even in a very large location, that many people is entirely too many. We have had many people come and go over the years for various reasons, and it is difficult having a constant shift due to changing members and the number of people on the team. It took going through so many members to find out who and what will work for us. We wanted dedicated members, long term members and not thrill seeker types. I used an application process when we were open to new members and that helped me get a better idea of why people wanted to join. And when we did invite people to join, if our team was not for them or paranormal investigation was not for them, they moved on.

Around 2009-2010 our membership began to really stabilize and we picked up the majority of our current long term members during that time. I found people who not only wanted to investigate the paranormal passionately, but also were willing to step up and be a part of our (at the time) new ghost tours we were building. Our current membership works, we all are different but everyone is dedicated. We have a family-like relationship with one another, and each member has gone above and beyond to make HPIR the best it can be. At 9 members (up until June 2014) we felt that we were strong, stable and adding any more would make our group too large.

You are probably wondering since we are not seeking new members, why did we add two new members in 2014? - Well our two new members came to us during a time we were not looking to add anyone to our team. They had contacted us about membership and we told them that our membership was full. However, come tour time they offered to help us. During tour season we always need extra helpers and although we need that extra help badly we can't take on extra members to get that help. We allowed them to help us, and by helping us they showed us something they were willing to go above and beyond, be there when we needed them and they were there for every event we needed help with. We saw they were paranormal enthusiasts, they investigated the paranormal on their own before they became members. We enjoyed their company, talking paranormal with them and they became our friends. They were a natural fit for our team, so we invited them to join us. It came to be not because we were looking, but became they found their way to us and their persistence paid off for them. I can't say that the next person who comes along and who is persistent will automatically be added to our team, because we are at 11 members and well I thought 9 was plenty before we added 2 more.

Sometimes I get e-mails from people who don't necessarily want to join our team but just want to go investigate with us, and unfortunately the answer is no to that too. We offer public events that give people a chance to visit some haunted places, and even have allowed them to do a little bit of ghost hunting too. But in a general sense, we can't allow just anyone to come with us. Privacy of the people we investigate for is a big issue, so is liability issues as well. Our members must provide us with personal identification, sign disclaimers, sign safety forms and I keep a file on all our members in case we ever have a legal issue with any of them. Not every paranormal group is going to be quite so strict, but we are and we take what we do very serious.

But with all of that being said, right now there are so many places that are open to allow people to come in and ghost hunt for a fee, there are almost limitless opportunities to experience the paranormal world in some way. There are other groups in the area that are probably looking for members (if you are one of those groups, feel free to contact us for membership referrals), or if you don't want to join an existing group start one of your own, there is always room for more! I even have a blog post on forming your own group!

I hope this gives you a little insight as to why we are not planning to add any more new members to our team anytime soon, but hopefully you will find a way to experience your desire to investigate the paranormal!

Melissa - HPIR Founder

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 2014 Updates


April Updates:

 
So I have been a total slacker over the past few months with updating the blog, website and even keeping up with our Facebook page, but I have a good excuse! I had a baby boy at the end of March! So I have been obviously pre-occupied a bit and pretty tired having been pregnant and now keeping up with a newborn.

After being so busy these last few years, I think the whole HPIR team has needed a bit of a break. But, just because we have been quiet online does not mean we have not been active. Here is what we have been up to and what we have planned for later this year:

Investigation: Back in February we had our first investigation of the New Year, it was a private residential house with an awesome history, which has some direct connections to another investigation we have done. The house was amazing and just beautiful, but unfortunately we did not get any conclusive evidence of a haunting the night we were there. We are planning to visit the house again in the future to get a good look in the daylight, and hopefully dig a little deeper into the homes history.

Ghost Tour: We had a small private tour that was given at the beginning of April for some boy scouts and their parents. The boys needed to take a local guided tour in order to earn a new badge. We were happy to lead the boys around Guyandotte and teach them some history and tell them about local hauntings in order for them to earn their badge. The boys and their parents enjoyed themselves and we always love giving tours like this!

Team Toni 5K: For the third year we are planning to have some involvement in the Team Toni 5K coming up in June. Once again we will be setting up a water table for the runners/walkers and may even have a few members participate in the 5k again too.

Buffington House Investigations: I have been getting several inquiries from groups about investigating the Buffington House. We hosted a number of teams last summer, and at the start of our tour season we stopped the investigations for the season. We will plan to host more groups later this year, so if your team is interested, just keep an eye out on our Facebook page and website for an announcement.

Ghost Hunting & Pregnancy: A number of our female investigators have been pregnant over the years, and none of us have stopped investigating during that time. Some people may feel pregnant women should not investigate, but I think as long as you are comfortable to do so, go for it. Theresa wrote a blog a while back about her personal experiences and the general idea of investigating while pregnant. I wanted to share her blog for all of the mommy-to-be investigators out there: Theresa’s Haunted History of the Tri-State, The Pregnant Investigator.
 

That is all I have for now, but be sure to check back soon to see what we are up to over the summer!
 
The above photo is a little late, but this is part of the team during our Christmas party.
 
Melissa - HPIR Founder 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - January 2014 Updates!


Happy New Year! I have been neglecting the blog a bit in the past few months, but since it is a brand new year I thought I’d wait and just start the year off right and let everyone out there know what we have been up to and what 2014 has in store for HPIR.

So I left off back in September with our last update blog telling you all about our summer investigations and our upcoming ghost tours and ghost hunts. Well now that all of that is over with for the year, let’s take a look back at HPIR’s fall season and look ahead into the new year:

Ghost Hunts 2013– This spring and summer we held ghost hunts at the Buffington House for private paranormal groups,  we hosted a number of teams during that time and it was great for us to give the opportunity to ghost hunt this location to other teams. As summer grew to a close, so did the private hunts and over the fall we decided to give the general public their chance to hunt there too. Through the month of October we hosted several public guided ghost hunts. Our ghost hunts were extremely successful, in fact one night we filled up all open spaces for the night in just a matter of 20 minutes! Unfortunately due to the large turnout of people we could only spend a short time at each location ghost hunting, but luckily some of our guests were able to capture some rather spooky evidence while on the hunt.

Ghost Tours 2013 – For our 5th year we brought back our Haunted & Historic Guyandotte Tours. This year we had a great tour season, the weather with very cooperative unlike last season. We had a large turnout of tour guests once again and this year we saw many new faces in addition to our tour regulars. October was a super busy month with both Ghost Hunts and Ghost Tours, and we finished up our last round of tours for the season the first weekend of November. Overall the tour season went fairly smooth with the exception of some issues with had with another local organization over tours (see our August blog for details). Unfortunately things ended on a very sour note with them, but in the end we stood up to the people who were trying to do us wrong. But to that I say one of my favorite new quotes: May the bridges we burn light the way!

Holiday Season 2013 – We decided to lay low for the months of November and December after tour season this year. I think a break was much needed by all, and besides with all the holiday activities going on among our members it was difficult to get together all at once. We did have our annual holiday party after Christmas, hosted at our favorite haunted hot spot – The Buffington House. We had some good food and great company, and our sweet member Lynne got us all some really awesome HPIR logo sweatshirts. We just can’t thank her enough for our gifts, we love, love, love them so much!

Upcoming Investigations 2014 – While we have been on a break, we still have been planning a few upcoming investigations for 2014. We will be scheduling these investigations probably in the months of January and February. One investigation is a historic private home that we are thrilled to have the opportunity to investigate, and the other is an antique store in another local city. We of course will post updates on the website as those investigations have been completed.

Another Year in 2014- This coming summer, HPIR will be celebrating our 8th year as a group! We hope to spend our 8th year much like our previous ones, staying active in the community and giving others an opportunity to explore our areas haunted history in one form or the other whether it be through our ghost hunts, ghost tours, website information or other events we may do throughout the year. We hope our 7th year into our 8th will be our best one yet!

Ghost Hunts 2014 – We hope to start up the ghost hunts again this year for private groups to have the opportunity to investigate the Buffington House, however right now I don’t anticipate this to start until maybe May or June. Be sure to check our website for updates as to when we will begin the private hunts again.

Ghost Tours & Hunts 2014 – We are always planning in advance for the next season of ghost tours. We have already established a few dates already for next October including one date that falls on an anniversary of the death of one of the ghosts that haunt one property and the other falls on Halloween (also another tour stop ghost’s birthday). However, if for some reason trick or treat night falls on Halloween this year, we will end up rescheduling that tour. We will also plan out a few public ghost hunts too since last season we had such a good turnout for those hunts.

Group Member Birthdays – I also want to shout out to our team members HAPPY BIRTHDAY, because it seems the majority of our members (minus 2) celebrate another year of life from October to January.