Chris and I decided that we’d spend our Friday night in Parkersburg going on a Ghost Tour. Okay, mostly me….frankly, most of this weekend was me doing what I wanted to do…hey, i’m going with them to Disney in a few months, so that should cover it.
I don’t really believe in ghosts…and tend to be a cynic (at best) about most stuff anyway. I warned Chris before we went that I would going to have to be really careful to not get too loud with my sarcasm, as there would likely be some VERY serious people on this tour that would not appreciate my comments. He scoffed a little, saying that most people would be just like us. Skeptics, just looking for something to do. Wanting to hear some stories and learn some history.
That idea was blown out of the water just minutes into the tour. The guide started into a story and stopped to ask ‘how many of you have been on a ghost hunt at such and such a place’. The hands just shot up all around us. It wasn’t hard to miss that most people came fully equipped with special cameras and meters to see, hear, or otherwise sense the ghosts.
Chris didn’t want to be left out of all that fun, so he found a ghost hunting app for his iphone and downloaded it right away.
Sure enough, a little green blip popped right up on his ghost radar. Always hovering slightly to the right of Chris.
It was me. I was the only ghost on this tour.
I did get to hear some good history though. We got to walk through the ghetto at night (a first for Chris). We got to see the Julia Ann Historic District, which I wouldn’t have even known about otherwise.
Most of the tour consisted of the guide, standing in parking lots on a stool, telling us what used to be there.
My favorite story was the explanation of the train system in WV and how that factored into our state. WV is a pretty uniquely shaped state, and I’ve never given much thought into it. During the Civil War, when WV succeeded from VA, great effort was made to keep the railroad in the Union….which is how WV ended up with the eastern panhandle. The B&O railroad was deeming necessary to the survival of the Union, and much fought over. Even earlier than that, the railroad hit a big stumbling block in Parkersburg. First the city, then the Ohio River. The railroad needed a huge investor and found it in Hetty Green, aka The Witch of Wall Street. She wasn’t known as a witch because she had any kind of supernatural powers, she just dressed in all black and was a rather stingy and miserly old woman. So nothing ‘ghostly’ about the story at all, but the train trussel in Parkersburg is really something to behold. It kind of starts in the middle of town, then just keeps going, and finally goes over the river.
Without Hetty Green and her investment, the B&O Railroad would just be…well, the B. Would might have never made it to Ohio.
Despite some of the other abandoned tracks and trains in town:
This one is still active. I could hear a train whistle and the low rumble of it’s approach as I was walking around the track taking pictures. Trains aren’t exactly known for their speed (at least here in WV, with all the mountains and turns) or stealth, but I was still worried it might someone sneak up on me and run me down. I made Chris watch for it.
He did a great job, until we were leaving. As we approached the tracks in the car, the lights were flashing and you could see the train coming, and he asked “Do I really have to stop?”
In his defense, we didn’t have to cross the tracks…just turn the corner dangerously close to them.
I also made him come back to the ghetto with me to take some pictures of the old furniture factory. At night, all the windows were glittery and beautiful. During the day, not so glittery. He didn’t get it.
He humored me though and I got my photo of all those windows.