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08Aug

The Incident on Gamble’s Creek – Wetzel County

08 August, 2013, 11:25

incidentCreek

      It was in the early autumn of the year 1850. Wetzel County farmer John Gamble had harvested an abundant apple crop once again and was in the process of making apple cider when he realized he had run out of barrels. John was very proud of his product and planned a trip to New Martinsville to purchase a few containers. It was on the way back home when the terrible incident would occur. John would become the victim of a horrific crime.

History tells us that John Gamble did indeed purchase several barrels as he had planned. He then stopped to see the Whitmore brothers on the trip home to see if they could cash a twenty dollar note that he had on his person. The brothers said that they could not as they did not have enough change on hand. A man by the name of Leb Mercer was also at the home and he mentioned to John that he still needed payment from him for the balance of two dollars regarding the calf that John had recently bought from him. Gamble mentioned that he had two hundred dollars on him but only in big bills and that perhaps Leb could stop by and see him later that week when he was home and had the correct change.

Gamble left the Whitmore home and continued his trip. As darkness fell, he made his way to the river and the small skiff he had left along the bank. Witnesses saw they saw him get in the boat. That was the last time he was seen alive. The next morning, witnesses say that they came across Leb Mercer soaking wet and the body of John Gamble murdered and robbed. Gamble’s body was on the banks of the river he would soon lend his name to with his upturned boat nearby. No money was found. Suspicions ran as high as the river water but Leb had a pretty solid alibi as he had been seen at the Whitmore home the night before. He was questioned and let go.

Weeks passed and a cornhusking event on nearby Point Pleasant Ridge brought together many folks, one of them being a man by the name of John Hindman. On his way home along Gamble’s Run, he saw a sight he would carry with him the rest of his life. A ghostly specter appeared. The apparition stood eerily still and glared at him while stating plainly “I am John Gamble. I was murdered by Leb Mercer. Take him in and have justice done.” The form dissipated and Hindman was headed quickly back to town.

Leb was arrested and charged with 1st degree murder. The future looked dim for Leb until he finally found an attorney who convinced the court that the testimony of a ghost could not be entered into court evidence. Leb was free, but not completely. You see, Leb was seen wandering later around the streets of his new home in St. Mary’s. He often wandered aimlessly and muttered to himself as if he had lost his senses. Some say he was tortured by the ghost of the man he ruthlessly murdered and robbed.

Regardless, the incident at Gambles Run left its mark on many. The ghost of John Gamble was never seen again. Let us hope he rests in peace.

    Sherri is a paranormal investigator and author. Visit her online at  HauntedHistory.net.

19Jul

The Hatfield Ghost Procession

19 July, 2013, 17:37

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Murders, feuds and ghost stories seem to be entwined in the very fabric of Logan County history.

The Hatfield-McCoy feud is possibly the most well-known feud in American history with recent documentaries and books still being written about the event. With all violent feuds, it unfortunately may seem, comes bloodshed. The Hatfield-McCoy battle of the clans is proof enough.

The Hatfield-McCoy feud takes its place not only in the annals of history books, but in the papers of many paranormal researchers’ files. According to various reports, the unusual activity takes place in the Hatfield cemetery about 7 miles from Sarah Ann in Logan County. The earliest marked grave in this cemetery is that of a child named Captain S. Hatfield who perished at age 7 in the year of 1898. The cemetery holds the grave of the Hatfield Patriarch, Devil Anse. Anse passed away at the age of 82 years in 1921.

The cemetery bears a life size statue of Captain Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield which is quite impressive and may catch you off guard if you are not expecting to see something like this. It was erected by his children in 1926 and was made of Carrera Marble in Italy. The sculptor used actual photographs and physical descriptions of Anse to make his creation which adds a bit to the errieness as the sun begins to set on his likeness.

The reports of ghostly activity claim that on foggy nights the specters of Devil Anse and six of his sons rise up from their graves and begin a supernatural march down the hillside to Island Creek. The apparitions are said to halt at the river as the ghost of William Garrett baptizes them, washing their sins away in the river water.

Those who have witnessed the spooky procession say it proceeds quietly and that as the fog rises up from the river, it can make the scene appear almost dream-like. Paranormal investigators and those who research the phenomena call this type of occurrence a residual haunting or imprinted energy. It tends to play like an old broken LP record repeating itself over and over. The apparitions have never tried to interact with those who have seen the activity occur, at least to my knowledge and through my research. This leads further evidence that it is residual.

Don’t be surprised on one of these foggy nights in the Mountain State, that you may see me headed through Logan County and down route 44 with my camera at my side. I’ll be seeking out the hillside cemetery with a good overlook of the Island Creek. Just in case!

    Sherri is a paranormal investigator and author. Visit her online at  HauntedHistory.net.

20Jun

The White Wolf of French Creek

20 June, 2013, 16:48

Dating back to pioneer days, Western Virginia has had more than its share of weird and unusual creatures seen in hollers, up in the mountains, and deep in the green expanse of forests. One such unusual creature is the white werewolf -like creature that appears in folklore. This tale comes to us from Upshur County in the area of French Creek.

During the mid 1800′s there was an unusual sighting of a white creature that roamed around the outskirts of French Creek. Townspeople were frightened as the last wolf sighting had been quite a few years prior to the sighting of this albino colored animal.

One farmer said that the white beast had killed several of his sheep and escaped after being shot three times. Later in the same month, this phantom creature stalked the French Creek area and this time, was shot at very close range by his hunters. The wolf had succeeded in killing various farm animals and pets while evading death itself. People were beginning to whisper that the creature was a supernatural entity and feared that a human may fall victim to its gnashing fangs.

Bill Williams was a local in the French Creek area and had been a well known wolf hunter in earlier years when wolves dominated the countryside. He had killed hundreds of wolves in the past and became wealthy due to the bounties paid upon presentation of a wolf carcass. He had also sworn to never take up a rifle to kill a wolf again but his view was soon to change.

The wolf’s latest kill was one of Bill’s cows and Bill  set out with his trusted rifle to track the murderous animal and put an end to the towns apprehension. Using a lamb tied to a stake in an area where he figured the wolf would attack, Bill waited in the darkness figuring a quick kill. The next morning, to the horror of local townspeople, Bill Williams, the great wolf hunter was found dead. The lamb was unharmed, alive and still tied to the wooden stake.  Bill had suffered greatly and lay dead and cold.

Apparently, the corpse had been the victim of a grisly death. His neck had been ripped and mostly torn from the stiff body with no traces of blood, or paw tracks anywhere.

Many believed the White Wolf was a ghostly avenging entity that struck Bill down because he broke a vow to never hunt wolves again. Others believed the wolf was a demon of sorts, exacting death at will again and again. Across the state of West Virginia, white wolves continue to be seen again and again and always escape death or capture by simply seeming to disappear into the night air.

Elkins has also had its share of white wolf sightings. These sightings always occur on full moons, just like on television and in folklore. All attempts to catch or kill the white predator are in vain. The evasive carnivore returns full moon after full moon, filling its stomach with its prey time and time again.

As you sit outside on these beautiful West Virginia nights next to the campfire, try not to think of the bloodthirsty white wolves that may be lurking just beyond the tree line. Or maybe you tend to roll your eyes at stories such as this. As the shadows around your campfire move to and fro, believer of this tale or not… better throw another log on the fire. Just in case!

Sherri Brake is a paranormal investigator and published author. Contact Sherri@HauntedHistory.net  visit  www.HauntedHistory.net.

13May

Barbour County Buried Treasure

13 May, 2013, 19:03

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      What does Mother’s Day, the first land battle of the Civil War, a spooky TV show character and a bunch of buried treasure have in common? The answer is Barbour County. Surprised? This county is located in the north central area of the Mountain State and has plenty of history and mystery.  Mother’s Day was founded by county residents Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis and her daughter. Did you know that Ted Cassidy who played Lurch from the 1960s TV show, The Addams Family, hailed from this county? The very first land battle of the War Between the States took place in Philippi on June 3rd 1861. And what about that buried treasure? I thought you’d never ask.

A very wealthy man by the name of Earl Booth owned a large farm in the county. He also operated a profitable sawmill and raised many cattle on his farm. In the late 1880s, he had accumulated a small fortune and was well known for his aversion to banks and due to this aversion, was known to bury his money in the ground. It would eventually be his downfall.

Two strangers had appeared in town and while shopping at the local general store, has heard of Booth and his buried stashes of cash. By the time they left the store, they had concocted an evil plan. That evening as Booth slept soundly, the two scallywags broke into his home and rudely awoke him with threats of death unless he did their bidding. The thieves threatened to take his life unless Booth gave up the locations of his buried treasures. After describing one spot to dig, one man held him at bay while the other left into the darkness with a shovel and a sack to get the buried goods. The thief was pleased when his digging exposed a small chest filled with silver and gold coins. He returned to Booth’s home and demanded to know more locations for the other treasure boxes. Booth refused as was his stubborn and defiant nature and the thieves turned vicious. They beat the old man until death gripped his body and as his last breath came forth he uttered a curse upon them. He vowed that his ghost would return to guard his earthly treasures.

The men left Booth’s body in the farmhouse and hurriedly left the next morning but promised themselves they would come back in time and search for the rest of the buried money. Fearing they would be caught and possibly lynched, they left the area and returned 3 years later. As they began to dig and search for the money, one man dug around under a large boulder which looked promising as a good “hidey hole”. The large rock shifted and rolled upon him taking his life as it crushed him. The thief that was left standing decided that perhaps the curse Booth had thrown upon him was indeed true and tried to ride away on his horse. On the trail across Booths land, a neighbor recognized him as a suspicious sort and approached to question him. The killer eventually confessed to the murder. No trial was ever held as just two days later he was found stone cold dead in his jail cell, apparently killed by a massive heart attack. His face was frozen into the look of terror as is he had seen a ghost. Some speculated that he had seen the ghost of old man Booth.

The legend still survives and to this day, some say the buried treasure is still there on the old home place. They also say the ghost of old man Booth still guards it from his spirited home in the afterlife. As the old timers say, don’t go looking for what ain’t yours.

    Sherri is a paranormal investigator and author. Visit her online at  HauntedHistory.net.

15Apr

The Morris Massacre and the Peggy Apple

15 April, 2013, 9:09

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The pioneers were a sturdy bunch. They had to be…they had no choice. Death, starvation and sickness were common. Fear of the Native American Indians caused many a sleepless night.

Henry Morris had married himself a young girl from Virginia. Mary Bird came from Bath County where she and her sister had been captured during an Indian raid. They lived seven years with their captors before escaping. Mary well knew the dangers of the pioneering live but none the less, followed Henry into what is now Nicholas County. To this union were born seven daughters and one son.

One fall day in 1790, a man appeared at the cabin appearing to be a friendly Indian. The man and Henry became friends and they spent the winter hunting together. In the spring of 1791, Henry made a solo trip to nearby Fort Clendenin where he spoke to others about his native friend back at Peters Creek. Some cautioned Henry that the stranger could be the renegade, Simon Girty. Girty was a dangerous man to be around and Henry knew this. He was told that Girty had a deep scar across the forehead and that he should look close for this telltale sign which would alert him to his dangerous house guest.

Henry returned home and upon arriving, grabbed his friend while pushing his long hair back from his face. Indeed, a scar was present and  Henry realized the danger he had exposed his family to. Girty had murdered many men and when he was told to leave immediately he did so with great anger.

Things were peaceful enough for a few months after that. In the summer of 1791, Henry killed a bear and when he was walking back thru the forest. He noticed his dogs acting very strangely. He returned home and was asked by his wife if two of their daughters could go get the cows. The girls, Margaret (Peggy) and Betsy went up the path towards Conrad Young’s cabin. It was there that they met danger. Their parents heard the screams and within seconds, Henry had his gun and was making tracks.

He found Peggy lying in the path almost within sight of the cabin. She had been tomahawked and her back appeared broken. She died before he could get her back to the cabin and to her grieving mother. She named a “mysterious stranger” and two Indians as her assailants.

Henry hurried out to find Betsy and saw an Indian crossing the creek. He attempted to shoot but his gun failed to fire. Seeing nothing of Betsy and believing she had been carried away, he went back to the cabin. Peggy died after uttering “Father, I am killed.”

They found Betsy’s body scalped and thrown into the underbrush when day broke. A rude coffin was shaped from slab wood and the two little sisters were buried in a solo grave. Henry planted an apple tree where Peggy had fallen. Grafts from this tree in orchards of local neighbors preserved the “Peggy Apple” for many years to come.

Several years later while Henry visited Fort Clendenin, he saw some of his friends. Among them was an old Native American, who was heavily intoxicated and was bragging about the scalping of Peggy and Betsy. No one knows who this man was but legend says it could have been Simon Girty of one of his accomplices. After he left, Henry Morris followed into the darkness. A shot was heard and no one ever saw the old Indian again.

Henry Morris was the son of William Morris, the first permanent settler of the greater Kanawha County area of West Virginia.

Sherri is a paranormal investigator and author. Visit her online at  HauntedHistory.net. To purchase her most recent book from Amazon, follow the link below.

06Mar

Screaming Like A Banshee

06 March, 2013, 11:30

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 I first heard the term “screaming like a banshee” when I was a young girl. I remember thinking that this must be a sound that no one wants to hear and oh, how right I was. The word Banshee comes from the Gaelic language and bears several definitions mostly identifying with a female messenger or spirit alerting us of death.

Other phrases describe the entity as the Lady of Death or the Woman of Sorrow. In Scottish mythology, she is known as the bean nighe or the “little washerwoman” or bain seade meaning “woman of the hills or mound”. Sounds kind of cute and harmless, right? Think again. This is one creature you don’t want to encounter.

Banshees are frequently described as being dressed in white or grey and often having long hair which they brush with a silver comb. Their hair can be copper colored, white as a ghost, dark blood red or even raven black. As a rule, however, most Banshees are only heard and not seen. These wraith-like spirits can wail, moan or scream. Occasionally, tales are told of Banshees clapping their hands or tapping and scratching at windows. Some Banshees kneel and wail while others sit astride white horses with their long locks blowing in the wind as they gallop past. One old timer told me years ago that if she is washing a shroud along a creek or river when you see her, she may merely signal a major life changing event in your future. The way to determine this is to go home and burn a homemade beeswax candle after seeing her. If it burns in the shape of a shroud, her appearance foretells death. I’m not sure if I would want to know this or not but I do keep some beeswax candles around…just in case. Hey, you never know!

According to many old Celtic sources, there are particular families who are believed to have banshees attached to them, and whose cries herald the death of a member of that certain family. Most, though not all, surnames associated with banshees have an Ó or Mac in them. In other words, if your ancestors lived in Ireland for a couple of generations, your family has its own banshee. The following is a list of surnames I have compiled while researching.

Adamson, Ahren, Barry, Bowe, Brady, Brennan, Browne, Caldwell, Carrol, Cartwright, Carey, Cassidy, Coady, Colahan, Conroy, Conway, Cooney, Coughlin, Cox, Cullen, Culleton, Cuskelly, Daly, Dawson, Dempsey, Dewan, Dillon, Doyle, Dowd, Duggan, Dwyer, English, Ennis, Fallon, Faris, Flanagan, Flynn, Fogarty, Fox, Gaffney, Gallagher, Galligan, Gannon, Gavigan, Geoghan, Geraghty, Gill, Glennon, Griffin, Griffith, Halton, Hanley, Hannon, Hayden, Hayes, Hegarty, Higgins, Holohan, Jennings, Jordon Keane, Keany, Keating, Keegan, Kehoe, Kenny, Kirwin, Lacey, Lawrence, Lee, Lonergan, Lynch, Lyster, Madden, Malone, Manning, Martin, Meehan, Miller, Monohan, Moran, Morrissey, Mullen, Mulligan, Murphy, Murry, MacBride, MacCarthy, MacCormack, Mac Dermott, MacDonnell, MacEntee, MacGoldrick, MacGovern, Mac Grath, Mac Guinness, MacGuire, MacKenna, MacMahon, Mac Manamon, MacNally, Mac Namara, MacNiff, MacPartlan, MacQuaide, Naughton, O’Brien, O’Byrne, O’Connor, O’Donnell, O’Donovan, O’Gready, O’Hanlon, O’Keefe, O’Leary, O’Malley, O’Neill, O’Reilly, O’Rourke, O’Sullivan, Peters, Potterton, Power, Quin, Roche, Roe, Rehill, Ryan, Rynne, Scott, Shanahey, Sherlock, Sinnot, Smith, Stafford, Steward, Strong, Sullivan, Sutton, Sweeney, Tully, Wall, and Walsh.

Keep in mind this is not a complete list of names. If you head home tonight and pass by the river, watch for a woman along the banks. If she is kneeling and washing a shroud, count your blessings and continue on. A major life change is just around the bend and you will live to see the sun rise again.

  Sherri is a paranormal investigator and author. Visit her online at  HauntedHistory.net.

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