West Virginia's popularity as a destination for ghost hunters continues to increase, according to the publisher of one of its leading paranormal websites, West Virginia Ghosts, now celebrating its 20th year of publication.
Paranormal destinations such as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum are attracting enthusiasts from across the globe, according to Jonathan Moore, and more than 500 first-hand accounts of paranormal encounters in the state have been submitted to the online collection.
"When I first launched West Virginia Ghosts in 1999, the paranormal was considered a taboo niche. There weren't many people who would openly admit to having paranormal experiences,' Moore said.
"As the years progressed, and with the help of popular paranormal television shows, people started becoming more interested and open to the paranormal.
"Anymore, just about everywhere I go, I am hearing people talk about paranormal activity. I love hearing about a good ghostly encounter and lending them a bit of advice along the way."
Toward those ends, Moore is publishing a series of online courses in paranormal research, the first of which, Paranormal Investigations, is now available.
"The course is a mixture of ghost hunting and investigation techniques and information that helps lead people to become serious ghost hunters and paranormal investigators. It includes the basics of equipment, techniques, types of hauntings, interviewing, and evaluating evidence," he said.
Visitors to the online guide at WVGhosts.com will find far more than the story collection as the site is being redeveloped, Moore said.
"West Virginia Ghosts is in the process of a transformation. Over the next few years, the site will feature new content, such as live or recorded investigations, haunted location reviews, equipment reviews, training, software, and perhaps even podcasts."
West Virginia Ghosts has seen an influx of visitors in recent years, and more than 26,000 people now follow the site, "and those numbers are climbing every single day," Moore says.
Five unsettling West Virginia ghost stories recounted
Nary a hill nor holler in West Virginia exists without a ghost around to haunt it, seemingly. Mountaineers love their lore and find plenty of places for restless spirits to walk. Many such tales based on real events, others on traditions handed down, and Susanna Connelly Holstein, of Jackson County, has collected as many as she’s been able. Read the full story here.