Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 63

Want More Spooky West Virginia Desitinations?
These pieces are excerpted and adapted from Tony Urban's book, "West Virginia's Dark Tourism" (Schiffer Publishing, 2016; hardback $24.99). The book contains 61 recountings of Urban's
visits to strange places all across the Mountain State. For more information or to order a copy:
schifferbooks.com/west-virginias-dark-tourism-6023.html

As I strolled down the onetime midway, I was immediately
struck by the emptiness. It's only a
few miles outside of town but the
area feels completely cut off. As I
passed by the pond where the boy
drowned decades early, a heavy
mist wafted up from the muddy
waters. To my side, I heard a loud
splash. It was probably a fish, but
as I looked back, I saw none of the
tell-tale ripples you should see after
a fish jumps out of, and flops back
into the water.
My wife, Sharon, explored the
rides and as she walked through
the swings, she heard an eerie
screech of old metal moving. The
swings ahead of her began to sway
back and forth, very slowly at first.
So slow that she initially wrote
it off as her imagination. But the
looping oscillation increased to
the point that two of the swings
were making circles several feet in
diameter. She later heard the kind
of shrill laugh that only comes
from a young girl, echoing from
behind the old ticket booth.
As we returned to the Jeep to
compare notes, Sharon glanced
toward the top of the ferris wheel
and yelled at me to look up. I followed her gaze, saw nothing, and
asked her what she'd seen. High
atop the wheel, she had spotted
two boys watching her from the
gondola. As soon as she saw them,
they disappeared. All the shows
had promised that the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was one of
the most haunted places around
and after seeing it in person, I'd
have to agree.

Whipple Company Store, Scarbro
Designed and built in 1890 by coal
baron Justus Collins, the Whipple
Company Store in Scarbro is a
one-of-kind building said to be
the oldest remaining coal company store in the U.S. If you've
ever heard the line in the song
"Sixteen Tons"- "I owe my soul
to the company store"-it was
written about places like Whipple.
Coal mining, especially in the Appalachians, turned the workers
into indentured slaves.
That might sound harsh, but
look at the situation in which the
workers found themselves. They
lived in houses owned by the coal
mines and their rent was automatically deducted from their pay. The
company provided their tools, and
also deducted this charge from
their pay. What money that was
left was paid in "scrip," which had
no value outside of the company
store. This store sold the men their
food, clothing, household supplies, etc., and oftentimes these
items were marked up well above
the normal retail rate because there
was no other place the miners and
their families could shop.
Along with selling all of life's
necessities, the Whipple Company
Store also housed the local post
office, doctor's office and even a
ballroom where the mine owners
and their wealthy friends could
host lavish parties and galas. The
basement of the store served as a
makeshift morgue, and more than
5,000 miners were embalmed in
the building. Some were even buried on the property.

Coal mines in that time were a
dangerous place to earn a living.
In 1907, 16 men died in the Whipple mine alone and 124 men died
in a 15-month period in Whipple
and the surrounding mines due to
explosions. When the mines faced
criminal charges due to the deadly
conditions, the mine owner personally selected the jury members.
Not surprisingly, every single jury
member selected was a mine official. Also not surprisingly, the "juries" declared the mine companies
were not at fault. When miners refused to go back to work until the
safety hazards were addressed, the
company responded by changing
the names of the mines to deflect
attention.
When the mine closed in the
1950s, the Whipple Company
Store first became a general store,
then later a restaurant and theater, and is now a museum. Like
many buildings with that much
dark history, the Whipple Company Store has its share of hauntings. They host historical and
ghost hunting tours and both are
absolutely fascinating.
Visitors have reported hearing
sounds of children playing in the
one time ballroom, of coughing
sounds in the upper floor. In the
basement, many feel the air suddenly turn ice cold and people
have even been pushed and had
their hair and clothing grasped
by unseen hands. Whether
you're there for the history or the
haunts, the museum is a must see
site when you're in southern West
Virginia. ī†
September/October 2017 63


http://www.schifferbooks.com/west-virginias-dark-tourism-6023.html

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017

Features
Romance, Reunions and Family Fun for Summe
Mountain Summer: A Photo Essay
When Asheville Took over the 1970sā€™ Paper Dress Fad
Bateaux along the James River
On the Appalachian Trail, the Easy Way
BBQ!
Departments
Letters / Worth a Click
Contributors
From the Editor
Mill Creek Stories
Creature Feature
Mountain Report
The Good Walk
Country Roads
Singing in the Garden
Festivals & Events
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Letters / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Contributors
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - The Good Walk
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Romance, Reunions and Family Fun for Summe
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Mountain Summer: A Photo Essay
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - When Asheville Took over the 1970sā€™ Paper Dress Fad
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Bateaux along the James River
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - On the Appalachian Trail, the Easy Way
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - BBQ!
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Singing in the Garden
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - Cover4
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