The Soul of a Company Store
This Halloween morning we conclude a three-part story about the haunted history of Whipple Company Store in Fayette County, W.Va. The spooky stories told there go beyond typical ghost tales and towards a horror that bleeds into reality. So far, we’ve heard two stories that point to forced sexual servitude on the part of women who lived in the coal camps around Whipple. Esau scrip was allegedly issued to women whose husbands were out of work - a kind of loan in which the women’s very bodies were the collateral. We also heard about a room in the store where women were supposedly forced to trade sexual favors for new pairs of shoes. Some historians are skeptical, citing, among other concerns, a lack of written documentation. Others say these stories have been buried, but are far from dead. Producer Catherine Moore visited the store one night with paranormal investigators and several other locals with ties to its history. The story picks up in an upstairs room known as Ellie’s Room, after a spirit that’s said to live there. Two ghost hunters speak of what they found there one night.
“This is a really tall figure that literally comes out of the wall. Jane Skeldon, ghost hunter
“I don’t know what it is. We think it’s an apparition of a woman. The way she comes out from the wall and turns to look at us it’s like she letting us know she’s here and then she’s gone.” Bonnie Hughes, ghost hunter
Wess Harris is the editor of "When Miners March" and "Dead Ringers: Why Miners March."