Tag Archives: ghost story

The McChesney’s Ghost


apparition creepy dead death dress eerie female figure floating forest fright ghost

One of the scariest ghost stories ever–and it’s true.

Late Shenandoah Valley Historian and Author John Heatwole, much missed and a family friend, recorded a number of strange occurrences recounted by valley and mountain people in his fascinating book, Shenandoah Voices.  He says, “The beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is fertile and healthy ground for the sustenance of folktales…when they (the early settlers) filtered into the Valley from Pennsylvania and Maryland, they brought with them age-old traditions and superstitions. While the German-Swiss were considered to be greatly influenced by folk beliefs and superstitions, the Scot-Irish were not far behind.” Amen to that, but what if not all of these accounts are just stories? Some of them sound chillingly true and the valley and surrounding mountains are a hotspot of paranormal activity. Not every tale is imaginary, as I can attest.

The creepiest story is The McChesney’s Ghost, which I will relate from the book:

“In 1852, when Dr. John McChesney, his wife, family and their servants lived in pastoral tranquility near the village of Newport in southwestern Augusta County (***where my Scots-Irish ancestors settled–the McChesney’s among them.)

Dr. McChesney was esteemed and respected in the upper valley, and his reputation for honesty was beyond question. While deep in the winter months, the McChesneys were having supper one night, when a young slave girl named Maria burst into the house from the direction of the detached kitchen (our Augusta family home place, circa 1816, also had a detached kitchen). She was frightened and said an old woman had chased her in a threatening manner. The woman was described as having “her head tied up” which must have meant that she had her head bound with a scarf or cloth. The description did not fit anyone on the place, and the family passed off the incident as fancy.

In the next few days, however, Maria was seen to be fearful and easily startled. Dr. McChesney and the rest of the family began to take an intense interest in matters concerning the girl when stones started to fall from the roof from out of nowhere. This happened both day and night, and at times the stones were observed to be hot, as they scorched the dry grass when they fell from above.

The story of the strange happenings at the McChesneys’ became common knowledge in the surrounding countryside. It was said that hundreds of people would surround the house in the hope of witnessing a stone fall. It is not clear if they saw anything, for on some days nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Maria continued to be frightened and said that she was being chased by the old woman who remained unseen to others.

Dr. McChesney thought the girl might be tied to everything that was happening, so one day he sent her over to the home of his brother-in-law, Thomas Steele. Mrs. Steele and her children, a young white woman and a black washer woman were out in the yard doing chores that day, and Mr. Steele was away from home. Suddenly loud noises were heard from the house. It sounded like frightened horses were loose in the structure. The young woman ran to the door and called for Mrs. Steele to come look—all of the furniture was piled in a jumble in the center of the room. As if they weren’t startled enough already, stones then began to fall on the roof of the dwelling.

At that moment Maria was spotted coming toward them from over the hills. They ran to meet her and found the girl in terror of being pursued, although no one was to be seen behind her. Mrs. Steele immediately sent Maria back to the McChesneys.

Even after the girl was sent away, stones continued to fall at the Steele home. Some even entered the house and broke glass in the doors of a cupboard. Many plates and other dishes were broken, and some shards saved for many years as relics of the terrible incident.

Back at the McChesneys, strange things continued to occur as the weeks passed into early spring. One of the most singular episodes took place on a cool day as Dr. and Mrs. McChesney. Mrs. Mary Steele, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Steele and their young son, William, were sitting around a fireplace. All of the doors and windows were securely shut, when suddenly a stone seemed to fly from the upper corner of the room, hitting Mrs. Thomas Steele on the head. She was the only person struck. The wound was deep and bled profusely, and a lock of hair was cut cleanly off as if someone had used scissors. Her husband was enraged and took the invisible assailant to task by shouting that its spite should have been directed at him instead of a defenseless woman. He then sat in a chair near the door and was showered with missiles of sod and earth from within the room. His mother, Mary Steele, shouted that he would be killed and urged him to leave the room. He did so and was not followed by ‘the thing.’

It was decided to send the children of both families out of harm’s way, and they went with their grandmother to her home near the hamlet of Midway. Their error was in also sending Maria.

Soon Mary Steele’s home was in turmoil with stones flying about and the furniture in the kitchen being moved by unseen hands. One day a bench in the kitchen bucked like a playful colt. Only the children were present, and they were at first amused. Young John Steele decided to ride the bench, but the effort was more than he bargained for. He fainted and was taken from the room by the rest of the children who had become scared of the out-of-control object.

During the time the children were with their grandmother, her farmhands complained that tools and food they had taken with them to the fields were stolen—but the missing goods turned up later back at the house.

The little slave girl, Maria, complained to Mrs. Steele that she was being beaten. The kind old lady drew the child toward her and wrapped her skirts around her while she struck out at the air with her cane. Marie still cried that she was being hit and stabbed with pins. Young William Steele remembered when he was an old man that the slaps could be heard by all who were present. The child was tormented for many weeks.

Dr. McChesney, at his wit’s end, finally sold Maria south. When the child left, everything returned to normal, and Maria was not tormented in her new home. William Steele related in later years that an old black woman who lived in their neighborhood was rumored to be a witch. He described her by saying that, “She walked with a stick and chewed tobacco,” and whenever he met her on the road, he always yielded to her the right of way. William said that Maria had once spoken to the old woman in an insulting manner and was told that she would be punished for her disrespectful tongue.”

I add, apparently this punishment went on without ceasing and encompassed all those associated with Maria and any who tried to protect her. Now this is an example of a very bad witch. Exorcist, anybody?

***Royalty free images

Ghostly Romance Novel Somewhere My Love .99 for the Holidays


NEW SOMEWHERE MY LOVE COVER2A Night Owl Top Pick“The story will draw a reader in and will not let go until the very last page. It is a novel that will live in the hearts of its readers for a very long time.”
I conceived the idea for my Somewhere in Time series years ago while watching one of my favorite British mysteries, Midsomer Murders.  I enjoy the historic setting of these modern day mysteries, but especially when the story flashes back to an earlier time period in an old manor house to get to the root of the mystery. So I thought, why not incorporate that with my love of romance and history.
Somewhere My Love Won the Clash of the Covers Contest at Embrace The Shadows!Moreover, I’m intrigued by ghost stories, and Virginia has more tales than any other state. I find myself asking if the folk who’ve gone before us are truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way?  Love conquers all, so I answer ‘yes.’  The theme behind ghostly, murder mystery romance Somewhere My Love, the first story in the series.
Julia's in love with a ghost

Julia’s in love with a ghost

Blurb For Somewhere My Love:
Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it’s too late?
 
Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole’s death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy.
The blade is about to fall.~
Ghostly night Sky
“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using the same deliciously eerie elements similar to that Gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.”
Illustrated Excerpts From Light Paranormal Romance Somewhere My Love
 ***Somewhere My Love is available in eBook and print at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The novel is reduced to .99 in kindle and nookbook for the holidays.

Paranormal Account from the Shenandoah Valley


The Blue Ridge Mountains

This fascinating story is taken from Shenandoah Voices, Folklore, Legends and Traditions of the Valley by late author and historian John Heatwole.

Brock’s Gap~

“Up in the Brock’s Gap region (of the Shenandoah Valley) the old resident’s referred to the rest of the world as “out.”  It was not uncommon to hear the phrase, “people would come along from out.”

In the old days, the rest of the country was well served by the Valley Pike and other well maintained thoroughfares, but the Gap and its scattered homesteads remained isolated beyond the first rise of the Allegheny Front (*Mountains).

The hamlets of Fulks Run, Criders, Bergton and Dovesville were oases of social contact, as were a few churches here and there, but the people in the Gap were pretty self-sufficient.  Before electricity came into the area, moonless nights smothered the hills, hollows and mountains…making the faint glimmer of candlelight in a window way off a welcome sight to a late-night traveler.

It’s not surprising that some wonderful ghost stories have come from this area.  Unusual happenings were woven into stories that were told and retold…long winter nights found rapt listeners gathered around a glowing fire or warm stove to be thrilled by a story-teller.”

****

Ghost story:  “One young girl of the Crider’s area was told that she could take the horse and go to meet her mother and sister who were returning from a trip to “out” late one night.  Her path took her to a neighbor’s farm gate where she dismounted, opened the gate, led the horse through and then re-latched it.  As she climbed back on the horse, she heard something coming from the direction she had just come.

“Someone come a runnin,’ was a man a comin’ up the road a runnin’.”

He was coming fast and she was scared.  She kicked her horse into a gallop.  As she looked back over her shoulder she saw the “man” run through the closed gate as if he were made of air.  “I flew out,” she said, but it seemed to make no difference—he was gaining on her.

“When I got to the top of the hill he was about two steps behind me.  He grabbed the horse by the tail, and she kicked up, and away she went as hard as she could run!”

That did the trick and the pursuer disappeared in their dust.

“I don’t know what it was.  It wasn’t no human; no human coulda kept up with that horse!”

The woman who was once the girl in the preceding story also related her father’s brush with a demon.

“My daddy seen one, one time.  He was comin’ home after dark from Casper Turner’s.  Saw what looked like a man layin’ on a fence; had eyes like fireballs!”  Her father had a gun with him, and he shot at the demon.  The thing fell off the fence and started making a noise that made the man think he should be getting away from there.  “Had run down from the mountain.  He was scared to death.”~

I would be totally freaked out.

Haunting Romance Novel Somewhere My Love .99 Thru May


SOMEWHERE MY LOVE RESIZEDA Night Owl Top Pick“The story will draw a reader in and will not let go until the very last page. It is a novel that will live in the hearts of its readers for a very long time.”
Volumes and volumes of books have been written about the ghosts of Virginia. Apparently, we have more ghost stories than any other state in the Union. And not because Virginians have a more fertile imagination (although we may) but sadly because the Old Dominion has seen more bloody battles over the centuries than any other. Before you differ with me, think back.
Jamestown (founded 1607) was the site of the oldest successful English settlement and its history is a violent one. It’s also kind of creepy. And on we go to the many heart-rending wars fought with the usurped Indians, a number of them waged on Virginia soil. Virginia used to be a lot bigger than it is now, too. It spanned states.
Ghostly night SkyAnd on we march to the Revolution. Anyone heard of Yorktown, to name just one famous battle? And let’s not forget that horrific most uncivil of wars, much of it fought in, you guessed it, Virginia. My ancestors took part in these wars, with the possible exception of James Town, although I’m thinking we came across a family account somewhere. Need to check.
Berkeley_plantation_harrison_homeBack to the ghosts: This plethora of paranormal activity doesn’t only feature soldiers caught in an endless fray who haven’t gotten word the war’s over–although some clairvoyant really should make the rounds of old battle fields and direct these poor souls to the light. Many tales center on the myriad of people who dwelt in our richly historic state. The old Virginia homes and plantations have accumulated a wealth of such stories. It was while touring some of these English styled manor homes with my dear mother that the kernel of a story first came to me for Somewhere My Love (Somewhere in Time Series).  
Added to this meld of vintage Virginia is my own heritage. On my father’s side, I descend from old Southern gentry, impoverished after the Civil WarGreat Depression, and other misfortunes, including the untimely death of my brilliant grandfather. But the gracious Georgian home his ancestor built (circa 1816) still stands in the countryside near historic Staunton. My ghostly Christmas novella, Somewhere the Bells Ring (Somewhere in Time Series), was inspired by this wonderful old home.
Chapel Hill - old VA family home place
Since childhood, I felt the family home place was haunted and wove stories through my fevered mind, along with my continual search for Narnia which entailed frequent treks into the old wardrobe. But I digress. Frequently. The magnificent ancestral portraits in my family and on display in other Virginia homes held me transfixed, wondering. And it was just such a portrait of a striking dark-haired gentleman who embedded himself in my thoughts. Who was he? Why did he die so young? That other painting of the fair young lady…did she love him?
Shirley PlantationOften, the guides at these old homes are brimming with tales. But other times we are left to wonder…and ask ourselves are these folk who’ve gone before us truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way? Love conquers all, and so I answer ‘yes.’
 
Julia from Somewhere My LoveBlurb For Somewhere My Love:
Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it’s too late?
 
Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole’s death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy. The blade is about to fall.~
“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using the same deliciously eerie elements similar to that Gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.”~joysann for Publisher’s Weekly
Illustrated Excerpts From Light Paranormal Romance Somewhere My Love
 ***Somewhere My Love is available in kindle and print at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and in eBook at Kobo.  

 

*Homes most prominent behind the inspiration for Somewhere My Love:

Berkely Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)
Family home place called Chapel Hill (Not open to the public)
Shirley Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)

The Ghosts Behind Haunting Mystery Romance Somewhere My Love


SOMEWHERE MY LOVE RESIZEDA Night Owl Top Pick: “The story will draw a reader in and will not let go until the very last page. It is a novel that will live in the hearts of its readers for a very long time.”

Volumes and volumes of books have been written about the ghosts of Virginia. Apparently, we have more ghost stories than any other state in the Union. And not because Virginians have a more fertile imagination (although we may) but sadly because the Old Dominion has seen more bloody battles over the centuries than any other. Before you differ with me, think back. Jamestown (founded 1607) was the site of the oldest successful English settlement and its history is a violent one. It’s also kind of creepy. And on we go to the many heart-rending wars fought with the usurped Indians, a number of them waged on Virginia soil.
Civil War, American Civil War, War, Ghost, Armed Forces,Virginia used to be a lot bigger than it is now, too. It spanned states.
And on we march to the Revolution. Anyone heard of Yorktown, to name just one famous battle? And let’s not forget that horrific most uncivil of wars, much of it fought in, you guessed it, Virginia. My ancestors took part in these wars, with the possible exception of James Town, although I’m thinking we came across a family account somewhere. Need to check.
Berkeley_plantation_harrison_homeBack to the ghosts: This plethora of paranormal activity doesn’t only feature soldiers caught in an endless fray who haven’t gotten word the war’s over–although some clairvoyant really should make the rounds of old battle fields and direct these poor souls to the light. Many tales center on the myriad of people who dwelt in our richly historic state. The old Virginia homes and plantations have accumulated a wealth of such stories. It was while touring some of these English styled manor homes with my dear mother that the kernel of a story first came to me for Somewhere My Love (Somewhere in Time Series).
Chapel Hill black and white imageAdded to this meld of vintage Virginia is my own heritage. On my father’s side, I descend from old Southern gentry, impoverished after the Civil WarGreat Depression, and other misfortunes, including the untimely death of my brilliant grandfather. But the gracious Georgian home his ancestor built (circa 1816) still stands in the countryside near historic Staunton. My ghostly Christmas novella,Somewhere the Bells Ring (Somewhere in Time Series), was inspired by this wonderful old home.
Chapel_HillsmSince childhood, I felt the family home place was haunted and wove stories through my fevered mind, along with my continual search for Narnia which entailed frequent treks into the old wardrobe. But I digress. Frequently. The magnificent ancestral portraits in my family and on display in other Virginia homes held me transfixed, wondering. And it was just such a portrait of a striking dark-haired gentleman who embedded himself in my thoughts. Who was he? Why did he die so young? That other painting of the fair young lady…did she love him?
ShirleyOften, the guides at these old homes are brimming with tales. But other times we are left to wonder…and ask ourselves are these folk who’ve gone before us truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way? Love conquers all, and so I answer ‘yes.’
*Homes most prominent behind the inspiration for Somewhere My Love:
Berkely Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)
Family home place called Chapel Hill (Not open to the public)
Shirley Plantation (On the James River & well worth a visit)

P&E Logo thingBlurb For Somewhere My Love
:
Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it’s too late?
Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole’s death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy. The blade is about to fall.~
Somewhere My Love Won the Clash of the Covers Contest at Embrace The Shadows!“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using the same deliciously eerie elements similar to that Gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.”~joysann for Publisher’s Weekly
 
***Somewhere My Love is available in kindle and print at Amazon and  Barnes & Noble and in eBook at Kobo!

Paranormal Account from The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia–Beth Trissel



This fascinating story is taken from Shenandoah Voices, Folklore, Legends and Traditions of the Valley by late author and historian John Heatwole.

Brock’s Gap~

“Up in the Brock’s Gap region (of the Shenandoah Valley) the old resident’s referred to the rest of the world as “out.”  It was not uncommon to hear the phrase, “people would come along from out.”

In the old days, the rest of the country was well served by the Valley Pike and other well maintained thoroughfares, but the Gap and its scattered homesteads remained isolated beyond the first rise of the Allegheny Front (*Mountains).

The hamlets of Fulks Run, Criders, Bergton and Dovesville were oases of social contact, as were a few churches here and there, but the people in the Gap were pretty self-sufficient.  Before electricity came into the area, moonless nights smothered the hills, hollows and mountains…making the faint glimmer of candlelight in a window way off a welcome sight to a late-night traveler.

It’s not surprising that some wonderful ghost stories have come from this area.  Unusual happenings were woven into stories that were told and retold…long winter nights found rapt listeners gathered around a glowing fire or warm stove to be thrilled by a story-teller.”

****

Ghost story:  “One young girl of the Crider’s area was told that she could take the horse and go to meet her mother and sister who were returning from a trip to “out” late one night.  Her path took her to a neighbor’s farm gate where she dismounted, opened the gate, led the horse through and then re-latched it.  As she climbed back on the horse, she heard something coming from the direction she had just come.

“Someone come a runnin,’ was a man a comin’ up the road a runnin’.”

He was coming fast and she was scared.  She kicked her horse into a gallop.  As she looked back over her shoulder she saw the “man” run through the closed gate as if he were made of air.  “I flew out,” she said, but it seemed to make no difference—he was gaining on her.

“When I got to the top of the hill he was about two steps behind me.  He grabbed the horse by the tail, and she kicked up, and away she went as hard as she could run!”

That did the trick and the pursuer disappeared in their dust.

“I don’t know what it was.  It wasn’t no human; no human coulda kept up with that horse!”

The woman who was once the girl in the preceding story also related her father’s brush with a demon.

“My daddy seen one one time.  He was comin’ home after dark from Casper Turner’s.  Saw what looked like a man layin’ on a fence; had eyes like fireballs!”  Her father had a gun with him, and he shot at the demon.  The thing fell off the fence and started making a noise that made the man think he should be getting away from there.  “Had run down from the mountain.  He was scared to death.”~

Paranormal Account From The Shenandoah Valley–Beth Trissel


ghostly imageThis account is from ‘Shenandoah Voices by late Valley Author/Historian John Heatwole:

Dark Being:

“Between Dayton and Bridgewater (not far from where I live) around Christmas 1901 there were reports of a dark being standing by the road in the dead of night. Apparently, it threatened no one, but it was not considered human, and for a few weeks there was a general uneasiness in that part of Rockingham County. (The not human part would get my attention)

In Harrisonburg one night, a stranger stopped by C. L. Jordan’s livery stable on German Street and requested to be driven out to Bridgewater. Mr. Jordan harnessed a team and carriage and asked Follinsbe Welcher to accompany them, so he’d have a companion on the return trip.

Dark ForestThe three men drove along quietly for some time. They passed Dayton and were on the upgrade toward Herrings Hill when they beheld the dark form that had terrified the countryside by its mere silent presence. It stood close by the road, featureless. Mr. Jordan was a brave soul, and he sprang from the carriage to investigate. He grabbed the creature, but was overpowered by an unnatural strength and could do no more than call for help. Mr. Welcher rushed to his aid, only to find his added strength to be insufficient in contending with this entity. The unequal contest lasted for several minutes, and the two liverymen were left sprawled on the ground. The creature, the dark, unyielding form, had melted away into the night.~

What was it and where did it go? Nobody seems to know.  But I’m creeped out and hope it stays gone. I don’t want to see the dark being while driving by that spot at night.