Ghost Stories

Jesse Wright/ WVPB

On this special Halloween episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re doing something a little bit out of the ordinary for us—we’re suspending our disbelief.

Telling and retelling stories is part of our Appalachian tradition. Long before TV or the Internet came along, a well-told tale was often how our ancestors entertained each other and kept the crisp chill at bay as the darkness of winter approached. 


Scotty White / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Appalachia has some of the best settings for scary stories, including dark underground coal mines and remote forests. There are hundreds of remarkably bizarre, mysterious ghost tales that take place here in West Virginia.

September 17, 1897: Folklorist Ruth Ann Musick Born in Missouri

Sep 17, 2015
Ruth Ann Musick
The University Press of Kentucky

Folklorist Ruth Ann Musick was born in Missouri on September 17, 1897. She earned a Ph.D. in English from the State University of Iowa, where she developed a lifelong interest in folklore. She first came to West Virginia in 1946 to teach mathematics and English at Fairmont State College, which is now Fairmont State University. Musick quickly made a big impact on the Mountain State by starting a folk literature class at Fairmont State and helping to revive the West Virginia Folklore Society. And in 1951, she founded the West Virginia Folklore Journal. She retired from both the journal and Fairmont State in 1967.

Published by Constructive Publishing (Scanned cover of pulp magazine) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This week, as we approach All Hallows Eve, we have dedicated the next hour to ghost tales and dark legends. Award winning writer, Scott McClanahan, remembers hearing scary tales while growing up in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

WVGhosts.com

WVGhosts.com is an archive of WV ghost stories, and they're looking for more submissions.

Jonathan Moore of Pax, W.Va. started collecting WV ghost stories nearly 15 years ago because, well, he kept hearing them.

“Neighbors would just be telling me about their stories, and stories within Pax and I decided to take those stories and gather more from other people around WV in order to develop an archive for WV, for other people to read and share their experiences,” said Moore.