The WVU Parkersburg Chronicle Presents...
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Trans Alleghany Lunatic Asylum
Table of Contents
Top 13 Movies to Frighten You into the Halloween Spirit By Tyler Malm Sleepy Hollow (1990) Dir. Tim Burton Heavily inspired by horror films Burton grew up loving, Sleepy Hollow pays homage to several Hammer horror films, his biggest inspiration. Around the Halloween season Sleepy Hollow is a great movie to satisfy your gothic horror needs, full of the mystery and the macabre. Sleepy Hollow revolves around Ichabod Crane(Johnny Depp), a city detective sent on a mission to the small town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of murders. Initially skeptical of the supernatural elements involved, Ichabod soon learns there is more to this town than meets the eye. Sleepy Hollow is a great film to put you in the mood of the season, with a good balance of humor and the other elements found often in Burton’s films. Re-Animator (1985) Dir. Stuart Gordon Re-Animator falls under the Horror-Comedy genre, which is known for it’s over-the-top gore and absurd levels of campiness. The movie introduces us to the mysterious character known as Herbert West, a medical student who shows up at Miskatonic University in New England shortly after fleeing from a college in Switzerland. Herbert West is looked down upon for playing god and reanimating dead corpses and soon pulls fellow student Dan Cain into his deadly experiments.
Evil Dead (2013) Dir. Fede Alvarez This directorial debut of Fede Alvarez is one of the most effective remakes of all times, surprising many fans of the original and new comers to the series alike. The film takes a beloved story that is watched by many and gives it a fresh twist. This movie is everything an Evil Dead fan need it to be, with over the top gruesome violence and 70,000 gallons of fake blood. The Orphanage (2007) Dir. J.A. Bayona The Orphanage isn’t necessarily a horror film; it’s better described as a deeply emotional Spanish supernatural film. The film is produced by Guillermo del Toro and is the directorial debut of J.A. Bayona. The journey begins with a family, Laura, Carlos and their son Simón moving to the orphanage Laura grew up in where she hopes to reopen the grounds to help disabled children. Simón soon after begins communicate with his new imaginary friend. The Orphanage is a good thriller and above all it is a rich emotional story of love and tragedy. The Thing (1982) Dir. John Carpenter Secluded in Antarctic, a US research Station’s crew is confronted by an alien life form. They soon learn it duplicates anything it touches after a grotesque confrontation of it morphing into and devouring a sled dog. The crew becomes suspicious of one another, as the alien has taken the shape of one of them. The Thing is one of Carpenter’s best films and is a remake of the 1951 film ‘The Thing from Another World.’ Halloween (1978) Dir. John Carpenter Halloween is one of the most successful independent films of all time and is an obvious movie choice for the Halloween season. The film revolves around two baby sitters who are plagued by “the boogie man” Michael Myers, an escaped patient from a mental hospi-
tal. Dr. Loomis is from the hospital and is on the hunt, trying to find Myers before it’s too late. This is a classic horror film and is considered by many to be the greatest slasher film of all time.
An American Werewolf in London (1981) Dir. John Landis Two American college students, David and Jack go vacationing in the mountains of Britain when they come across a strange town that is defensive about their arrival. Soon after leaving a bar where the locals force them to leave they are attacked by a werewolf, leaving Jack dead and the David in the hospital. David begins feeling strange shortly after and starts disappearing at night, waking up in strange places. An American Werewolf in London is considered by many to be one of the greatest werewolf films. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) Dir. Tobe Hooper The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a film that fills you with absolute terror as you are sucked into the gritty backwoods of Texas with a family of cannibal psychopaths. Two siblings and their group of friends are traveling into Texas to visit their grandfather’s grave when they go too far off the beaten path. The find a seemingly abandoned house that they soon find isn’t quite uninhabited.
Shawn of the Dead (2004) Dir. Edgar Wright Shawn of the Dead is a British comedy in which the zombie apocalypse has fallen across Earth and our main character Shaun fights to take back his ex-girlfriend and forgive his step dad Philip bashing a few heads along the way. Edgar Wright’s zombie comedy is a satire of all zombie movies before it and is perhaps more relevant now than ever with the current over saturation of zombie movies and TV shows.
Suspiria (1977) Dir. Dario Argento Suspiria is a dream-like supernatural mystery in which a ballet student travels to Germany to study ballet at a pristine ballet academy. She soon finds that not everything is as it seems and that there is much more to the school than what meets the eye. Suspiria is a visually stunning Italian horror film by Giallo master Dario Argento, filled with surreal vivid lighting that creates a dream-like atmosphere, there is truly nothing else quite like Suspiria. The Shining (1980) Dir. Stanley Kubrick Directed by master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, The shining is an adaptation of a Stephen King story of the same name. The movie is about the Torrance family who decide to become the winter caretakers of the Lookout Hotel. Jack Torrance hopes that the time he is secluded in the hotel will give him the perfect opportunity to write. Soon after settling into the hotel strange occurrences begin and cabin fever sets in. The Evil Dead (1981) Dir. Sam Raimi With the 80’s came a number of gore flicks, but the Evil Dead achieved more success than most. The movie is one of the most influential cult classics and spawned a number of equally good (arguably even better) sequels. Five friends go on a vacation to a cabin in the woods when they stumble upon a recording of an incantation from the Necronomicon. The recording of the book unleashes evil onto them and the friends become possessed by evil.
Trick ‘r Treat (2007) Dir. Michael Dougherty For me Trick ‘r Treat is the ultimate Halloween movie, showcasing a little bit of everything, from creepy children and serial killers to vampires and werewolves. Its nonlinear plot serves the story very well and the movie is just fun and creepy.
Disney’s Hocus Pocus (1993) Dir. Kenny Ortega Two teenagers moved to Salem, Mass. with their family. The two kids, Max and Dani Dennison, explore an old, abandoned home with their new friend, Allison. After Max dismisses Allison’s superstitious-sounding story, he accidently frees a coven of three evil witches with the go to becoming immortal. A magical cat comes along, and with its help, the three kids must find and steal the witches’ spell book before it’s too late.
Monster House (2006) Dir. Gil Kenan A living, breathing house is snatching up innocent children and their toys. Three neighborhood kids are certain that the house must and can be stopped before more lives are taken, but no adults will stand to listen. With Halloween slithering closer and closer, the trio must exorcise the home of the evil lying within before trick-or-treaters come and meet a treacherous end.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Dir. Henry Selick Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, Jack Skellington, becomes bored of the every day preparation for spooking people in the “real world.” Jack gets a new look on life when he stumbles into a portal for Christmastown, filled will warm colors and spirits. As he plots out a way to control Christmas, by kidnapping the one and only Santa Claus and taking his role, he realizes that even the best of plans can go askew. Corpse Bride (2005) Dir. Tim Burton, Mike Johnson Victor and Victoria have been arranged to marry each other. Although they like each other, Victor is still set on edge and worries senselessly. As he traipses through the woods, rehearsing his lines for the wedding, a tree branch turned hand grasps him and pulls him to the land of the dead. The hand belongs to Emily, a murder victim of love, and she demands that he marry her. Victor must reach aboveground before Victoria is forced to marry the evil Barkis Bittern.
Scooby-Doo! And the Goblin King (2008) Dir. Joe Sichta Velma, Fred and Daphne are threatened by The Amazing Krudsky who wants to attain all the power he can. Scooby-Doo and Shaggy must dive into the underworld ruled by the Goblin King to stop the power hungry mortal, The Amazing Krudsky.
It’s the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) Dir. Bill Melendez Linus is convinced that the Great Pumpkin will rise again for Halloween. As he sits and waits for it to arrive, the rest of the Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) Dir. Robert Stevenson A dexterous witch-in-training is determined to use her powers to take down the Nazi menaces. With the help of three inventive children and her training school master, she uses an enchanted bed to travel into a land of fantasy and foils encroaching German troops.
Disney’s Twitches (2005) Dir. Staurt Gillard Two teen witches were separated at birth in a distant dimension (Coventry) and adopted out to two different families on Earth. Forced to meet by their protectors, the twins join together and return to Coventry to fight the Darkness and save their kingdom.
Coraline (2009) Dir. Henry Selick The young Coraline begins exploring her new home and finds a secret door, which opens to an alternate world that closely mimics her own, but seems wonderfully better. She is ecstatic about this discovery, until Other Mother and the rest of her parallel family try to make her stay there for eternity. Coraline must use all her wits to make it back to own life and family.
Halloweentown (1998) Dir. Duwayne Dunham Teens Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie Piper go on their first adventure after Marnie discovers she is a witch. On Halloween evening, grandmother Aggie comes to visit as Marnie is arguing with her mother, Gwen. Aggie demands that Marnie start her witch training before she turns 13, or else she will lose her powers for all of eternity. Casper (1995) Dir. Brad Silberling, Phil Nibbelink Casper is a sweet, young ghost peacefully haunting a Maine mansion. A specialist, James Harvey, and his teenage daughter arrive at the mansion to converse with Casper and his unruly uncles. Casper soon falls in love with Harvey’s daughter, Kat, but their relationship stalls as because of his transparent appearance and his mischievous apparition uncles.
13 Spooky Family Movies for the Best Halloween! by Kyleigh Hawes
Beetlejuice (1988) Dir. Tim Burton A couple dies in a car accident, and their spirits find themselves haunting their countryside residence, unable to leave their home. When an unbearable Deetze family buys the home, the haunting couple tries to frighten them away, but failure strikes them hard. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice, a boisterous spirit that, while attempting to “help” the spirit couple, quickly endangers the couple and the young Lydia Deetze.
Frankenweenie (2012) Dir. Tim Burton Outsider and science nerd, Victor Frankenstein, has only one friend he can truly rely on: his dog, Sparky. However, tragedy strikes, and Sparky is left spark-less. Victor’s science teacher gives him an idea of how to bring Sparky back to life, and the experiment is successful until students from Victor’s school steal his secret and use it to resurrect other animals, with terrifying results.
Trans Allegheny Insane Asylum
by Sheena Cox
Hidden in the mountains of West Virginia in the remote city of Weston, is America’s largest hand-cut stone masonry building, the former home of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. The asylum depicted the treatment patients received in places like Trans-Allegheny with a fair amount of accuracy. Practices such as hydrotherapy, electroshock therapy and lobotomies were commonly used the real problem was overcrowding of patients. It was designed to house 250 patients, but during its peak Trans-Alleghany houses 2,400 patients. The inability to handle a population of that size would have led to an increase in violence which would be reported or some just swept under the rug. There were a lot of in house injuries and some which caused death of other patient in Trans-Allegheny. Two patients attendees grouped together to attempt to hang another patient. The hanging was unsuccessful and when it didn’t kill the patient instantly the two patients attendees continued to hit the patient, who was recently struggling, over the head with a metal bed frame crushing his skull. As an employee or staff member at Trans-Alleghany Asylum you were not immune to the violence. There were several incidents of staff being attacked while on duty. According to tales, one evening a nurse went missing and it wasn’t until months lat-
er her body was found hidden under an unused staircase. It’s been repor ted that investigators, paranor mal groups and pupils of the public have seen figures walking in the hallway at nights as well as objects moving about on their own accord. Maranda McClaskey resident of Ritchie County s h a re d , “ I h ave b e e n t o Trans-Allegheny Asylum three different times within four years and each time I have had experiences causing the hair to raise all over my body and to not being able to bring myself to enter the darkened room.” While McClaskey was on her first visit to the Trans-Allegheny Asylum she participated in the four-hour night tour of the building. The group was given strict instructions to stay with your group and not to roam off. In a building so large with no lighting, besides your flashlight, it would be very easy to enter the wrong hallway for the tour. McClaskey and a few wanderers of the group entered a hallway with the group and as the tour guide shared the story about how it was reported that doors in the hallway would open and shut without assistance of any living soul. The wanderers of the group stayed in the back so they could, in her words, “test the waters.” The tour guide and the remainder of the group kept going forward as the wanderers stayed in the hallway to see if they would experience anything throughout the tour. “I decided if I was going to
have an experience on this tour then what would be a better time than now,” McClaskey said. The wanderers continued to pass through the hallway when a door opened with force and slammed shut directly in front of the few individuals who departed from the group. The wanderers were definitely scared and with no one else around what could it have been? “Although I do believe in paranormal, I like to try to de bunk things as well,” McClaskey said. This story was actually televised with McClaskey sharing her story with the owners and staff. The encounter from the first visit led McClaskey to participate in the overnight tour conducted at Trans-Alleghany Asylum. McClaskey explains, there were different floors where a certain number of people would tour at once and the groups sat quietly with provided spirit finding equipment to try to make contacts via evp devices, dowsing rods and emf detectors. Upon entering a room, the tour guide began to share a story of an event that happened in the room where they were presently located and with dowsing rods in McClaskey’s hand along with the remainder of the group we found a seat quietly in a circle on the floor. “I was fully aware that they would open myself up to paranormal activity, but didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into,” McClaskey
said. While witnessing rods crossing and different paranormal devices alarming activity the tour guide began to go into depth with her story. The story was introduced by explaining the brutal murder between three patients in the known room. The story was the exact story, which was shared during the beginning of this article with the
two patients hanging another, and when it wasn’t successful the two patients beat the patient to death with a metal bed frame and died immediately. “It wasn’t until the next day that I would truly understand how powerful and risky these devices are because the following day I was taken to the hospital for “ice-pick” like headaches, McClaskey
shared. The owner and tour guide visited McClaskey the following evening and explained the “ice-pick” headaches were believed to be from being seated exactly where the man died. There were thousands of patients who walked the halls of Trans-Allegheny Asylum before it closed; perhaps a few stayed behind.
Wall painting by patient in asylum.
Do It Yourself...
amel Pumpkin Recipe: *1 cup of your choice pumpkin flavored coffee *1 cup white sugar *1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil * 5 dry tea bags of your choice (I used BIGELO Salted Caramel Black Tea) - Use scissors to cut the tea bags and pour into mixture *Pour contents into a large mixing bowl and stir with a spoon * Spoon contents into 8 oz. mason jar until full - keep lid on to avoid drying out * This recipe should make approximately 8oz. of coffee scrub
Take a Walk Through Parkersburg by Leah Carpenter For over 20 years, Parkersburg Haunted Ghost Tours are given throughout Parkersburg, West Virginia. The ghost tours begins in the widely known Blennerhassett Hotel. In 1889, William Chancellor built and designed the hotel and was allegedly seen throughout the hotel after the reopening in 1986 according to Susan Sheppard, the creator and lead tour guide. Within the hotel’s library is Chancellor’s portrait, which is how he haunts today. Susan said guests have reported smelling cigar smoke in the library and throughout the hotel. Other reportings of the architect have been of guests being awakened in the night by a man standing over their bed and then fading away in a three piece gray suit. Four other spirits are reported throughout the hotel as well according to Susan. In the main elevator, a white woman is seen riding to various floors. A sea captain appears in the mirrors in the several rooms as well. A paper boy is seen delivering his daily papers while a bellboy is seen in the lobby.
Susan told visitors that according to MSNBC, the Blennerhassett Hotel is the sixth most haunted hotel in North America. From the hotel, the tour moved down the street to one of the several Civil War hospitals located inside the city. The building which is now vacant but was once a vision Care Center, was used for multiple medical emergencies. The hospital was used as a central area for transporting patients as well as an amputation center for soldiers of the Civil War. Susan tells the background of how soldiers are given alcohol to become drunk to ease the pain. To this day, reports of Civil War veterans are seen walking through the building’s second floor as well as in the filing room of the vision care center. A house sits beside the hospital called the Boreman House. Spirits have become attached to the house, and employees have seen angry veterans standing at the top of the staircase Susan said. The alcohol allegedly has gone missing from the Boreman House throughout the years. As the tour progresses further into town,
Susan included the legend of Silver Run Tunnel. The happenings did not begin at 4th Street B&O Depot, but they did end there. The depot was shut down in 1970, but not before the ghost of Silver Run Tunnel came to be. Susan told tour goers of the legend which began and still exists in Ritchie County. A conductor was approaching the tunnel when he saw a woman with long dark hair wearing a white dress and gold flats standing in the middle of the tracks. Before the train came to a halt, the train smashed into the woman as she flew into the air. When the conductor went searching, there was no evidence of human blood or remains to be found. During a full moon, an engineer by the name of O’Flannery was passing through Ritchie County to stop at Parkersburg. He had heard of the mysterious woman and decided he would not stop. When he saw the spirit, O’Flannery drove right through her as she yelled and flew into the air. As he approached the depot, the men inside were in a panic. As O’Flannery went inside he was informed that since Silver Run Tunnel a woman has been riding in
the cow scoop on the train. He never went through the tunnel again. The woman behind the ghost has yet to be determined, but legend says a woman on her way to met her future husband in Parkersburg and did not make it. Susan said the woman is still seen from the house above the tunnel at dusk. As the tour enters deeper into the historical district of Parkersburg, Susan stops to tell the legend of Quincy Hill. The hill was used as a lookout and hospital for soldiers during the Civil War. According to Susan, in 1907 there was a water tower accident which knocked all standing houses off of the hill. No houses from the Civil War were left, but the spirits of veterans were. The legend said a woman bought a house on Quincy Hill in 1970. She was said to hear footsteps on the floor she was not on and loud steps from the basement. By the fireplace she had a favorite chair and everyday when she came home from work it was moved to overlook the city. Susan said one night the lady was awakened by noises downstairs, but was startled by seeing all of her candles in the house lit on her dresser. As she made her way downstairs she saw her chair had been moved once again, but this time, a man with red hair and a beard dressed in a Civil War uniform sitting in it. He stood up walked towards her and shook her hand before fading away. Later when the woman moved her fiance into her house, he experienced the same man according to Susan. He was reading in the chair by the fireplace as he heard bellowing footsteps coming from the basement. As he opened the door to the basement steps he saw a man in a Civil War uniform with red hair and a beard waving a pistol in his hand. Susan said the couple left the house and did not move back. It is also not the only house near Quincy Hill haunted by Civil War veterans. The homeâ€™s current owner will hear the name Jennie as well as find candles lit on the staircase. As the tour enters the historical district of Parkersburg, Susan stops and tells the story of the Masonic Temple. Inside the temple costume balls were held and Chancellor was seen dressed as a sorcerer. Susan tells of an experience which happens inside the Blennerhassett Hotel library. A book would constantly fall off of a shelf to a poem which talked about men being witches and and wizards. The tour will take visitors to Chancellorâ€™s house. Susan included history of him being the mayor of Parkersburg and of an older lady who lived in the house years ago and being seen in the doorway waving
to tourists months after she passed away. Sitting tourists on the front steps of a building, Susan told the legend of the Martown Banshee. She begins to explain how fairies are from Irish legends and associated with demons and hauntings. A banshee is a fairy woman who alerts an individual and their family that death is near according to Susan. The legend of the Martown Banshee comes from Thomas Marr who worked at a local security company. As he was walking home and crossed the bridge he saw a black figure on a black horse on the bridge crossing the Little Kanawha River. According to Susan, the same figure visited his wife Mary Marr at their house. She described the figure of a woman with a rag over her face which was wrinkled with red eyes. The figure told M. Marr her husband
was dead as it sat on a dark horse. Later she was told T. Marr fell to his death from the bridge. The next stop is The Bartlett House which once belonged Dr. Charles Bartlett. Susan tells her tourists how he was held his dentistry practice inside the home. His daughter, Bessie Bartlett became very ill at one point of her life. Dr. Bartlett placed her sick bed in the basement of the house, which is where Bessie passed away. According to Susan, the spirit of the little girl is seen in the basement, and residents of the house can hear a little girl calling for her mother. On the corner of 1st and Ann Street stands the house where a nanny suffocated in the attic Susan said. When the outside temperature reaches 100 degrees, the window in the attic will open by itself. Residents of the house
would put the window down, but in hot weather it would reopen Susan said. One of the last stops on the tour is the Riverview Cemetery, the oldest cemetery of Parkersburg. According to Susan, Stonewall Jackson’s mother and his family are all buried within the cemetery. By the fence of the cemetery is the Parkersburg resident, George Deming with his six year old son buried next to him. Susan said that a man in a black coat is seen leaning over the grave moaning. T h r o u g h o u t t h e g r a v e y a r d , shadow ghosts are seen walking around according to Susan. There is also a weeping woman statue that sits over the Jackson family’s graves. The spirit of the weeping woman is known to grant unselfish wishes and walk through the cemetery at night Susan said. During the day, visitors claim they can take photos of her hands in different positions and of the statue twitching. Next to the cemetery, Susan shared a young family’s experience with the paranormal. The wedding and engagement rings of the woman went missing the night she was visited by an angry spirit by the name of Pierpont demanding her husband back. Susan tells the couple contacted the spirit by praying and telling her she was confused because her husband was dead and to please return the rings. The next day the rings showed up on the table and the spirit did not return to the house. The last house on the tour is the Sea Captain George Deming’s house. Past residents are said to go insane when they stay in the house according to Susan. In the attic of the house little child footsteps can be seen in the dust on the floor continually. It can be dusted and cleaned and the next time it is looked at, there are the same footsteps through the attic floor Susan said. As the two hour tour ends, the tourist leave with a newfound knowledge of historic Parkersburg, W. Va. and how natural the supernatural can be according to Susan. “The supernatural is just natural happenings that science can’t explain yet.”
by: Tyler Bennett
From 1876 to 1995, the worst criminals in the Mountaineer State served their sentence in the West Virginia state penitentiary in Moundsville. Seceding from Virginia during the Civil War, the young state needed to control the criminal population. That was the main concern for people in power. Governor Arthur Boreman went to West Virginia’s legislature in 1863 stating the need for a penitentiary for the state, but legislature rejected the request in 1864. The legislature told Boreman to continue the use of county jails, while placing convicted felons in the Ohio County Jail in Wheeling-the capital at the time. Even with capacity close to full in 1865, nine inmates were able to escape thanks to the jails overcrowding, Boreman’s request was once again denied for a penitentiary. “At the rate at which rogues have lately made good their escape from the Ohio County jail, it will soon become vacant.” Boreman said.
Boreman’s plea was finally granted by legislature in 1866, and the bill was passed on February 7 to purchase land, for a place to house the penitentiary. Wheeling, Charlestown, Grafton and Moundsville were chosen, with Moundsville winning with 26 of 51 votes. An appropriation of $50,000 was allotted in 1866 and again in 1867 and 1868. A board of directors and a warden were later chosen-all from the Northern Panhandle. A site of roughly ten acres outside Moundsville city limits was selected by the state’s Board of Control, and purchased on June 1, 1866 for $3,000, raised by Moundsville citizens. After the land and the funds were taken care of, the next step was the penitentiary design. In Joliet, Illinois. The penitentiary was built using convict labor between 1857-1859 at a cost of $75,000. The prison at Joliet became the model the for West Virginia Penitentiary. The structure of the prison featured Gothic Revival architecture. At both Joliet and Moundsville, the type
of Gothic Revival used was termed “castellated,” meaning castle-like with the battlements and turrets of a medieval fortress. Two structures (300’ by 52’) known as North and South halls flanked a four-story administrative and staff residential unit (75’ by 75’) which included cells for female inmates. South Hall was designed for 240 cells (7’ by 4’), each with cast iron floors and walls of stone pegged together with iron rods. North Hall housed the dining hall, kitchen, hospital and chapel. When completed in 1870, South Hall would contain 224 cells. Inmate contract labor program begun in 1877, using the program that Joliet used. Performing under civilian supervision, inmates could earn extra pay through overtime work. Opening with 16 inmates on August 23, 1866, the numbers raised to 108 by 1872. Thanks to the Panic of 1873, a financial crisis that triggered a depression, caused the population to jump to 240 by 1879. African-Americans were often a third of the count. Female inmates were housed in the third
floor of the administration unit, with in two in 1870, seven in 1872 and five in 1879. An 1880 inmate demographic report revealed that the prison’s 265 inmates ranged in age from 12 to 80 with slightly over half in their twenties. Teenagers accounted for 11%, almost 24% were in their thirties, and roughly 15% were from 40 to 80. Non-whites accounted, a figure much higher than the non-white cohort in the state’s general population. The female population continued at five; two of them non-white. Even at the opening of the penitentiary, there were reports outside the state talking about the lifestyle the prisoners were living. Media in the state were praising the conditions to counter with the negative. According to the April 11, 1886 edition of the Wheeling Register, “Everything in and about the prison is kept clean and fresh. There is none of that prison smell, which is so sickening to the olfactory of even stalwart men. Tormenting punishments such as the paddling wheel, weighing machine, kicking jenny, and shoo fly were elegated to the past. However, the dark solitary cell with its impenetrable, stygian darkness is here as in other prisons.” Said the Wheeling Register. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Enquirer was more vocal of the brutality of the prisoners. “Fiendish cruelty and brutal outrages... brutality which would put an Apache to shame. The whistle-blowing former assistant warden was quoted at length about the frequent use of the very same torture implements said to have been retired, as well as the misery and death inflicted upon the inmates.” Said the Cincinnati Enquirer. “For fourteen months at least two died every month, and every one of them had been brutally treated and punished.” Said the Cincinnati Enquirer. A majority of the families of dead prisoners wanted nothing to do with their bodies. Legislature purchased a ten-acre prison cemetery in 1898 on Tom’s Run, a short distance from the penitentiary. Whitegate’s first burials were in 1902 and over 240 were buried since. In 1899, it was mandate that all executions be held at West Virginia Penitentiary, than in the counties. Public hangings had become massive ticketed events. Sometimes prices reached much as $12 ($344.64 today). Spectators were allowed to view hangings until June 19, 1931 when a hanging resulted in a decapitation startling those in attendance. After that incident, only officers, clergy and the press were admitted to hangings.
Since the early 1900s, new arrivals were given plaid uniforms of the second grade, if they maintained a good recorded for six months; they received the cadet grey uniform of first class. If their behavior was unsatisfactory they were place in the stripes of third class. After serving their sentence, inmates were provided civilian clothes, transportation to the sending county, a cash allowance of $3 and arrangements were made for a residence and employment if none were made prior to departing. During World War I, the penitentiary was once in again in the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons. Moundsville attorney J. Howard Holt’s 1918 book, Crime and Its Punishment, cite filthy living conditions, over-crowding and the lengthy solitary confinement as commonplace at the Penitentiary. In 1919, Eugene V. Debs, labor leader, socialist and later presidential candidate, spent a short spell at the Penitentiary. Debs was quoted that he was treated very well, but was moved to the federal prison at Atlanta only because officials were worried that the coal miners from southern part of the state might free him. Debs was arrested under the WWI Espionage Act for expressing his revulsion and was sentenced to ten years
in prison. Brutality of prisoners was always a problem at the Penitentiary. The 1927 edition of the Souvenir of the West Virginia Penitentiary, went into detail of the tortures that went on inside the Penitentiary. “In looking over the old police records of the prison it is found that paddling and gagging. Inmates were handcuffed with hands in front of knees, mouths stuffed with cork or wood, and was left in this condition until life is almost extinct were used daily in punishing men and women for such petty offenses as laughing, talking, short task [not completing work], impudence, not keeping step in line, looking at visitors. Various whips and flogging techniques as well as other punishments were described along with the inhumane effects of these punishments, including death.” The Souvenir later said, “These tortures of almost Gothic proportions were contrasted, of course, with “modern” practices such as taking away good time earned, loss of privileges, and sometimes in the worst cases, locking in a dark cell or handcuffed to cell bars for a few hours.” The Souvenir said. The reasoning the more trust placed in a man and the more like a human being he is treated, the better he becomes and the further he can be trusted. The Great Depression extracted
several tolls from the prison. The population continued to increase to about 2,500 in 1935, and topped out at an alltime high of roughly 2,700 by 1937. The final hanging was on February 24, 1949. The West Virginia legislature approved the use of the electric chair. Nicknamed “Old Sparky,” an inmate made the chair, this did not make him very popular once others found out. On March 26, 1951, with then State Senator Robert C Byrd in attendance, the first two electrocutions took place. The last electrocution happened on April 3, 1959; a deputy Warden said there was a feeling that something off about the event. “We had everything down to a fine point, everyone hurried to get it over with,” The Warden said “It was strange, eerie but I quite frankly did not have a second thought about performing my duty there. That was the law and I was paid to do my part and we did it.” The House of Delegates tried to abolished the death penalty in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1963. Governor Hulett Smith finally abolished it on St. Patrick’s Day of 1965. Once doing away with the death penalty, escapes were common. From 1960 to 1995 there was 510 successful attempts with 238 just
during the 1970â€™s. Inmates were tired of filthy conditions, close to zero visitation policies, raw sewage from pipes and the presence of rats in cells and maggot-infested food. Inmates had enough and wanted change. New Yearâ€™s Day 1986, sixteen hostages were taken, fifteen guards and one food service employee. Up to 125 to 200 inmates out of a report population took part in the riot, and rioters killed three inmates. Time was catching up to the Penitentiary, the Penitentiary was going to improve in early, but the West Virginia Supreme Court in 1988 ordered that the Penitentiary was to be closed by July 1, 1992. It was not until March 27,1995 that the final inmate was transferred to the new maximum security Mount Olive Penitentiary in Fayette County-a mile away from the Penitentiary. The Penitentiary is a tourist attraction-offering general daily tours from April 1-November 30. Tourists can even test their sanity by staying the night and explore the Penitentiary by themselves during ghost adventures. All things considered, the Penitentiary was the hall of infamy for some in the state, and the thought of living there with the conditions and the horror stories made a great scare tactic for the population of the state to keep the majority of them not choosing a life of crime.
Never Vacant- The Lafayette Hotel
by Callie Lyons A riverboat era hotel – one of the oldest still standing along the Ohio River – is never truly vacant. Lingering mists, shadowy followers, and friendly pranks are the hallmarks of the ghosts of the historic Lafayette Hotel in Marietta. It makes sense that the oldest town in
Ohio is also the most haunted. The property has been the site of fires and floods, tragedy and celebrations of life. In 1892, the Bellevue Hotel was built on the site. When it burned to the ground, the Lafayette Hotel was built in 1918 from the basement and foundations of the lost Victorian hotel. “I personally believe the basement is the
most haunted part of the hotel,” said Melisa Farris, front desk attendee and ghost-hunting enthusiast. The ladies who work the front desk are very intrigued by the atmosphere and enjoy investigating unexplained incidents. With its long, dark halls, unexplored rooms and doors that lead nowhere, Lafayette staff members past and present are hesitant to go downstairs. “I don’t know what is behind this door,” Farris explained during a recent tour of the hotel basement. “There are a few that go down to the tunnels.” Farris said early downtown Marietta was built about a story lower than modern-day Front Street but was raised and Melisa Farris, reconstructed to keep floodGhost-Hunting Enthusiast waters at bay. Remains of the tunnels can be observed in the alley between Front and Second Street behind Tiber Way. Perhaps the most famous character still wandering the halls of the Lafayette is S. Durward Hoag – former owner, operator and occupant. Hoag’s presence can be felt throughout the hotel. He had a life-long connection to the famous inn that did not end with his death in 1982. Paranormal investigators believe he likes to haunt his back corner table in the Gun Room Restaurant where he would oversee the dining room. “It’s often called the mafia booth,” Farris said. “It’s the perfect spot for him.” Some investigators claim to have picked up a ghostly voice from the corner booth. However, hotel employees have grown accustomed to Hoag’s friendly antics. “He is definitely still here,” Farris said. “I think he likes to prank me all the time.“Farris said Hoag was a known prankster and a good time guy. “I feel like in the spirit world he still has that same mentality,” Farris said. “I don’t think we have anything here malicious, trying to attack or
“As far as Marietta goes it’s an old town. There’s so much history here - so many deaths, suicides. All of that energy just gets trapped. They stay here in Marietta or in the hotel because they get stuck.”
“He is definitely still here ...”
Shadowy Followers Among Reports from Hotel Guests possess anybody.” Hoag was only 18 when he began working at the hotel his father managed in 1922. The father-son duo eventually entered into a partnership to own the hotel. Durward took over the operation in 1944. He personally supervised the business until his retirement in 1971. Many improvements were made under his direction to make the Lafayette a landmark hotel. The Hoag family resided on the third floor. “Hoag did also have a drinking problem,” Farris said. “There used to be a room his wife would put him in as a drunk tank room. I guess he would get a little bit too drunk and she couldn’t take it.” Simply put, she would lock him in a room and let him work it out. That room – on the third floor – is a hub of supernatural activity. “We get a lot of reports from Room 312 (the drunk tank),” Farris said. “The television goes off and on in the middle of the night. Lights go off and on.” Some guests report seeing a ball of light in the room. Figures are often spotted in the hallway – to the extent that housekeepers demanded a full-length mirror be relocated to the lobby. “This mirror used to be on the third floor,” Farris said. They had to move it down here because housekeeping kept complaining about walking down the hallway and catching a glimpse of a man watching them. They would see him behind them. So they demanded it come down.” Hoag was known for holding the establishment to a high standard. It appears that his passion for the hotel followed him into the afterlife. Recently there has been an uptake in ghostly experiences. Farris explained one incident in which a rack of water glasses in the kitchen suddenly fell onto the floor. A review of the video surveillance tape revealed that no one was near the tray of glasses when it lifted and crashed to the ground. Also within the past few weeks, an older couple staying on the third floor had what Farris calls one of the creepiest occurrences. While in the freshly cleaned
shower, the wife was washing her short, gray hair. Her hands became full of long, black hair that was obviously not hers. Long strands were observed in the shower. The pair was freaked out and decided to go to bed. She woke up in the night to the sound of giggling and footsteps running up and down the hallway. Waking her husband, they both heard the noise so she went out in the hall to investigate. She believed her grandkids were playing in the halls. In the morning she asked about the kids checked into the hotel – there were only a few and none on her floor. Farris believes that people respond to the wayward spirits in ways that impact their perception of the manifestations. “Some people see a ball of light,” Farris said. Some see a mist or some sort of ectoplasm. Some see a full-bodied solid apparition and some see it as an apparition you can actually see through so it seems like a dream. Everybody experiences it differently. I think it depends on your willingness to
see something. People who are more sensitive see the full figure because the spirit senses they are more open to it.” As interest in the paranormal activity at the hotel increases, so do reports of incidents. Investigators and ghost-hunters love to visit to try to catch sight of something extraordinary. Farris believes the spirits are attracted to the hotel because of their life experiences. “I think the reason they are still here is because they had a tie to this place in life,” she said. “As far as Marietta goes it’s an old town. There’s so much history here so many deaths, suicides. All of that energy just gets trapped. They stay here in Marietta or in the hotel because they get stuck.” Even in recent years, the Lafayette has been at the center of tragedies. A woman threw herself off the roof and plunged to her death within the past decade. In another incident, a Navy officer on leave checked in to the hotel before his mysterious disappearance. He was later found in the Ohio River. “People feel sad in that room,” Farris said of the room that became a crime scene. “His stuff was still in the room. He went in, sat on the bed, got back up and left. We don’t really know why, but he didn’t use anything in the room. He didn’t touch anything other than just sitting on the bed.” Later that night he went missing - a suspected case of suicide. Farris has had many paranormal experiences during her years at the hotel. She always tries to find a reasonable explanation for the activity. “Some people completely psych themselves out,” Farris said. “I try to rationalize things. Some things are unexplainable, but some things you have to chalk up to common sense.” Some guests are not down with spending the night in a haunted hotel, while others are eager for a ghostly experience. Paranormal experience (see Lafayette, page 27)
The Origin of Halloween by Rebecca Rhodes Little witches and superheroes heaving pounds of AirHeads and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are far from what the Halloween originators celebrated on Oct. 31. Halloween is the time of superstition, the time between fall and winter and the celebration of the time between life and death. According to history, Halloween is believed to originate from the Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain marked the end of the harvest season (Oct. 31). At this time, people were convinced the dead spread disease to their crops. To ward off roaming spirits, druids built massive bonfires and gathered together to burn crops and sacrifice animals to the Celtic gods. Celts also wore frightening costumes so
that the spirits would mistake them for fellow ghosts. Fast forward to the year 43 A.D. The Roman Empire conquered Celtic land and combined its two festivals, Feralia and Pomona with the traditions of Samhain. Pomona honored the Roman goddess of fruit, and her symbol was the apple. Hence, “bobbing” for apples is a common party game played on Halloween along with serving carmel apples. In 1000 A.D., the church would observe the Catholic feast of All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2 to honor the dead and overshadow the pagan festival, Samhain. All Souls’ Day was also called All Hallows Eve, and eventually shortened to Halloween. Before the night of trick or
Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.
treating came to America, Europeans made All Souls’ Day a three day event in which “souling” was practiced. Peasants walked door to door asking for food in return for prayers. It wasn’t until the 1800s that the U.S. moved to make Halloween into a holiday focused on community and child-like fun. Before then, New England colonials told ghost stories, carved faces into turnips and played practical jokes. Halloween is once again becoming an adult holiday. Disguised men and women masquerade past grinning jack o'lanterns to mock and tease the dead. If anything, All Hallows Eve confirms one thing, death has a set place as a part of life, and it is to be celebrated in one magical evening.
Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
The Lake By Rachael Green It had been a cold and dreary day in the town of Silkford. Jackson Dean, a lonely and quiet writer sat in his tiny log cabin along the lake. Jackson sat struggling to find the courage to start his latest piece, a novel about a girl he knew during his teen years who tragically drowned in the lake right outside his window. He had been putting off this novel for twenty-six long, miserable years. Unlike Jackson’s other works, which all seemed to come so easily to him, this one was a great challenge. Jackson glanced up at the antique grandfather clock that sat in his study. It was 9:07 P.M. and time was ticking fast. He took the few remaining sips from the bottle of scotch on his desk and began writing. Almost instantly, Jackson felt a deep wave of emotions surge through him as he remembered that cold, damp October day twenty-six years ago. “What are you staring at, Jack?” A sweet sing-song voice woke me from my daze. “Oh sorry, nothing, just out of it today,” I replied, breaking my gaze at the ground. “Do you feel like going for a dip in the lake today Cheryl Ann?” While awaiting her response, I admired how much of a delight she was. Her straight sandy-blonde hair was done in two neat braids that scraped the sides of her freckled cheeks. She always seemed to have a slight twinkle in her chocolate eyes, and a smile that could make me feel warm on even the coldest winter days. Her face and shoulders were always sun-kissed, and she had a voice so sweet and soft that reminded me of Snow White. “On a day as cold as this, you’ve got to be insane!” She exclaimed. I shrugged and smirked at her. “I like the way your mind works, Jackson Dean,” she said with her head tilted to the side and a shy smile. We climbed into my beat up Ford pick-up and headed down to the lake. As soon as we arrived, Cheryl Ann jumped out the passenger side and ran behind the giant willow tree that stood in front of the lake. She knew I would try to sneak a peek at her changing into her bikini, as I always did. I took my shirt off and jumped into the lake. Shortly after, Cheryl Ann followed. The water was freezing, but neither of us really cared. We were young, happy, and high on each other. After about a half hour into our swim, I had a bad feeling come over me. I didn’t know why, but I couldn’t help but to feel like someone else was there. The thought came across my mind to tell Cheryl Ann about the terrible feeling in my
gut, but she was having a great time and I didn’t want to ruin it for her. I must have turned as white as a ghost during this time because I remember Cheryl Ann repeatedly asking me if I was feeling alright and that I should get out of the water for a few and warm up. I decided she was probably right and got out of the lake. After I was dressed, I went back to my truck and turned on the heat. Since the windows were foggy from the cold, I rolled the passenger side down so I could keep an eye on Cheryl Ann. I don’t remember feeling even a bit tired, but somehow I started to doze off while sitting in my truck. When I came to I didn’t know where I was or what time it was. It was starting to get dark, and when I finally realized where I was, my mind immediately went into panic mode. “Cheryl Ann! Where are you?” I frantically shouted and searched for her but I got no response. Fearing the worst, I dove into the lake searching for her. It felt like I had swam the whole lake a hundred times over before I stopped. I crawled out of the water onto a nearby bank and just sat there feeling defeated. How could I have let this happen? Where could she have gone? Did someone take her? Is she okay? Will she ever forgive me? The worries and fears flooded my mind, I felt like I was going insane. I lost it. I shouted as loud as I possibly could, and started to cry. I sat there for hours feeling so low and hopeless with my head in my hands, bawling like a baby. Suddenly I got the same frightening feeling I felt when we first got here. “Nicely done, Jack.” I heard an echoing, monotone voice say. Instantly I was on my feet, trying to find the source of the voice. I saw no one.
“Who are you, what do you want?” I screamed out. “Where is Cheryl Ann?” The voice mockingly laughed at my anguished screams. “You should know the answer to that question, Jack.” I was petrified. I was never one to believe in ghosts or spirits of any kind. What was happening? “Who are you?” I asked again, my voice shaking. “I am you, Jack. I am the deepest and darkest part of you, and you let me out to play.” The voice said as I turned my head back to the lake. In the distance, I saw my girlfriend’s lifeless body floating on top the water. I fell to my knees and watched my tears hit the ground. “No, I didn’t do this. I could never…” I stated weakly.
“Oh yes you can, and you did, Jack. You murdered her. You didn’t fall asleep in your truck, Jack… You blacked out, you let me take control of your body, your mind… And I acted out your most dark, horrible, act.” “No! No, this isn’t real!” I screamed, praying to wake up from this hellish nightmare. I sit there, totally helpless and crying. All I hear is sadistic laughter from the voice inside my head. Slowly I stand, emotionlessly walking over to the lake. I dive in and retrieve Cheryl Ann’s corpse, dragging her pale, cold body deep into the woods. I somehow know exactly where I was going, and I continued walking until I found an empty hole dug into the ground. Beside it was a shovel, but not just any shovel. It was the same shovel that was in my father’s garage. As gently as I can, I lay Cheryl Ann down into the shallow grave. Tears roll off my cheeks and fall onto hers, as I kiss her one last time on the lips, and bury her. Slowly and solemnly, I walk back to my truck and go home. After revisiting this memory, Jackson finds himself unable to write his novel. He catches a few tears that roll off his cheeks, and takes another sip of his newly opened bottle of scotch. Nonchalantly, he opens the second drawer down on his desk, and takes out a revolver. He puts the gun to his head and without hesitation, pulls the trigger. His handwritten paper that was supposed to hold the words of his novel falls into the pool of Jackson’s blood on the floor. On the paper are only these words: Nicely done, Jack.
Continued from pg. 23 at the hotel often play out something like this: An unsuspecting guest will observe a mist, a shadow or a form that dissolves into the ether. In February, would be ghost-hunters will have an opportunity to explore the hotel by candlelight. The lights-out, lock-in paranormal investigation includes a stay in a room on the third floor, midnight pizza, and breakfast for the intrepid ghost hunters. The event is scheduled for Sunday, February 12 from 9:30 pm to 4 am. “You get to explore the historic hotel in its purest form,” Farris said. But, she warns that while they tend to like the attention, apparitions don’t exactly perform on cue. Farris is part of a team of local historians dedicated to the investigation of paranormal activity in and around Marietta. The Marietta Mystery Seekers can be located at hiddenmarietta.com. Reservations for the Overnight Ghost Hunt at the Lafayette Hotel can be made by calling 740-3735522.
WITCH FINGER COOKIES Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis Ingredients: Vegetable oil cooking spray 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon fine salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 large egg, at room temperature 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 28 large sliced almonds 1/2 cup raspberry jam
Place an oven rach in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, spray a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil, cooking spray, or line with a silicone baking mat. Set aside In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until a dough forms. Using about 1/2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough between your palms into 5-inch long finers about 1/2 inch long, in the center of each finder to make knuckles. Press the dough on either side of the cuts to shape the knuckles. Arrange the fingers on the prepared baking sheet and bake until light golden. 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the fingers to a wire rack and cool completely. In a small sauscepan, heat the jam over low heat until warm, about 2 minutes. Dip the blunt ends of the fingers in the warm jam and arrange on a platter.
T here are many bone-chilling stories regarding hauntings
in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The Blennerhassett hotel is no exception. The hotel has been around for over a century, as it was opened in 1889. A full restoration of the hotel took place in 1986 in order to maintain the historic Queen Anne style building. Guests and staff of the hotel have seen spirits wandering the halls for many years. Head of these spirits is said to be an older bearded gentleman with slicked back hair, wearing an
old-fashioned three-piece grey suit. There have been sightings of the gentleman with a cane and top hat as well. The most popular attribute of this particular spirit is the cigar smoke that travels with him wherever he goes. The scent of cigar smoke will randomly fill the air in different parts of the hotel. This particular ghost is believed to be the founder of the hotel, William Chancellor. In one of the front lobbies of the hotel, there is a photo of him on the wall. It is said that when people pass by his photo, they will see thin a cloud smoke of in front of it, smelling of cigar smoke. William Chancellor was famous for smoking cigars in his hotel, as he enjoyed the hobby. He was a relaxed man, who wanted happiness and fulfillment to all of his guests. This is most likely why the spirit of William Chancellor never bothers anyone in particular. He merely wanders the halls on the second floor, or quietly smokes a cigar in the library. Also on the second floor, spirits of children are said to play in the hallways. One bellhop said he heard a whistling noise on more than one occasion, like someone was trying to get his attention. When he checked, nobody was there. Another bellhop stated that he saw a little girl in a fancy white dress appear out of the corner of his eye, but then disappear around the corner. With this many sightings from the staff and guests, the hotel is well known as one of the most haunted places in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The Blennerhassett hotel has a rich history which makes them more suseptable to paranormal entities and the people of West Virginia love to tell the ghost stories of the hotelâ€™s past.
assett Haunting By: Ariana Boyce
was not always called Blennerhassett Island. It used to be called Backus Island, named after Elijah Backus, who purchased the island in 1792. In 1795, Harmen Blennerhassett and his wife, Margaret, came to the United States from Ireland. They were a very wealthy family. They first came to New York, but decided to purchace Backus Island just outside of Parkersburg in the middle of the Ohio River. They built a mansion on the island and lived happily. A few years later, they had a baby girl who was named Margaret after her mother. Their little girl died before the age of two, and was believed to have been buried behind the mansion in one of the gardens. In 1806, the couple was believed to have been associated with activities invloving treason with a man named Aaron Burr. He was secrelty trying to build a new empire in what is now in the Louisiana and Texas area. When Thomas Jefferson figured out their
plan, Harman was thrown in jail along with Aaron Burr. Harman was eventually released. This act of treason had a major impact on the coupleâ€™s finances. The couple never returned to Blennerhassett Island. In 1811, the mansion was accidentally burned to the ground. Harman died in 1831 off the coast of Ireland. After her husbands death, Margaret returned to the United States in 1940. She ended up in New York City and died shortly after her arrival. In 1984, the mansion was discovered and reconstructed by the state of West Virginia. Blennerhassett Island is now a tourist attraction and people can explore the island. The Island is said to be haunted by the ghost of Margaret Blennerhasset in search of her two year old daughterâ€™s grave. The grave has been such lost into the earth and the ramains of her daughter have never been found. Margaret appears as a slender young woman dressed in white with chesnut colored hair. She has been said to smell of purfume and horses, since she was a frequent horse rider during her life time. She has also been seen standing at the shore line, looking out onto the river. She used to wait on her husband for long periods of time, watching the shore until he came home, so people believe this is why she still loves to stand by the shore. Blennerhassett Island is now a beloved historical state park and a museum devoted to the Blennerhassett family.
The Legend of Mothman by Kyleigh Hawes Black wings beat heavily in the night air. Blood-red eyes glow in the brown chest of a humanoid creature. The nearly seven-foot tall beast rips its iron-like claws into the metal roof of a vehicle with a grinding snap. There is only one explanation for the events unfolding: Mothman. Mothman was first sighted in Clendenin, W.Va. in early November 1966. Several men were preparing a grave for burial when they witnessed a gray-brown humanoid figure fly just over their heads from the nearby trees. More sightings lit up the region shortly after. Another sighting happened just days later in Point Pleasant, W.Va. Roger Scarberry and three other passengers were driving near the McClintic Wildlife Management Area, when everyone in the car noticed something odd at the gate of the West Virginia Ordnance Works, also known as the “TNT area” to locals, a hidden TNT
factory from World War II. Wide set, red glowing lights materialized, and as the car neared the gate, its passengers realized they were gazing not into a red light, but into glowing eyes. Scarberry sped away from the scene, and each passenger claimed that the creature kept up with the car, even as it reached near 100 miles per hour. Deputy Millard Halstead believed the youths immediately, stating, “I’ve known these kids all their lives. They’d never been in any trouble and they were really scared that night. I took them seriously.” News of the “flying man” spread quickly through the community, and many locals took up arms to comb the TNT area for the nearly seven-foot-tall creature. However, the hunters would not find Mothman. The creature would come to frighten a young mother by the name of Marcella Bennett. Bennett was visiting the Thomas family, who lived close to the TNT area. She approached her car late
that evening, when a large, grey humanoid creature with those same glowing eyes rose from the ground. Bennett reportedly dropped her infant daughter on the ground and cowered over her, paralyzed with fear. She would eventually grab her child and run back into her friends’ home to call the police, but by the time they responded, the creature had vanished again. As more and more sightings were reported, sketch artists would begin to compile a general drawing of the mysterious Mothman. Each witness described it as large, up to seven feet tall, with glowing red eyes at chest height, and that when it flew into the air, its wings did not flap as a bird’s would. The final sighting and connection made to the Mothman arrived on December 15,1967. The collapse of the Silver Bridge, one connecting West Virginia and Ohio, brought destruction and loss to the families of Point Pleasant. Forty-six people
died during rush hour. Investigators blame a single faulty link, while others correlate the collapse to the Mothman. Some claimed to see the Mothman on the bridge when it collapsed on that fatal day. Many theories arose from the Point Pleasant locals and from exports nationwide. One theory being that the Mothman was a prophetic creature, there to warn the locals of oncoming tragedies, while others believe that the Mothman carries darkness and destruction everywhere it goes.Others believe that the Mothman is born from a curse that Chief Cornstalk, an old Native American chief, had placed on the land in revenge for his brutal murder over 200 years ago. The murderer is still unknown. No matter the theory, the legend of the Mothman dissipated after the collapse of the Silver Bridge, and no more sightings have been reported since. If you are interested in Mothman, take a short road trip to Point Pleasant,
W.Va., and visit the worldâ€™s only Mothman Museum, where you can learn about the legend, and the movie â€œThe Mothman Prophecies.â€?