Wyoming County Report

Local News

October 22, 2012

Is the courthouse haunted?

Ghost hunters claim to have photographic evidence of apparition

Tom Moseley, founder of West Virginia Paranormal, believes he has photographic evidence of something not of this world frequenting the Wyoming County Courthouse, at least the courtroom.

During the 2011 Autumn Fest in Pineville, Moseley’s group of paranormal detectives conducted an investigation into the unexplainable things that have occurred in the courtroom through the years.

Doors open and close for no apparent reason, according to witnesses. There are crashing noises with no explanation, and loud footsteps when no one else is around.

West Virginia Paranormal conducted the second such investigation in the courtroom. Several years ago, another ghost hunt took place without any feedback — positive or negative — provided to officials afterward.

It was well after everyone had left, Moseley said.

“There wasn’t a soul in the courtroom when we caught this,” Moseley explained.

On video, Moseley’s team caught lighted footsteps moving in a staggering pattern. Then a large orb descends and transforms into what Moseley believes is a person in a “period coat.”

“You can see the profile of someone’s face and the period coat,” he said.

Some believe this may be the manifestation of what is believed to be a tragic murder that occurred in the courtroom decades before when a circuit clerk drank what he may have thought to be moonshine, but it turned out to be carbolic acid.

 “The difficult thing about looking into these stories is there are a lot of similar stories told everywhere on the planet,” explained David “Bugs” Stover, a well-known area storyteller and author.

Stover has written a series of books, sharing the ghost stories of Wyoming County he has collected over the years.

One of the most requested of Stover’s stories is that of the courthouse ghost.

“In the mid-1930s, the circuit clerk of Wyoming County was an extremely well-liked man named Virgil Cook,” Stover’s story goes. “Folks with courthouse business often dropped into the clerk’s office with cider, or ‘shine, or some baked cookies to share as they chatted with Mr. Cook.

“One day, as court was in session, the people in the courtroom heard a scream and loud crashing sounds tearing down the hall toward the courtroom. Suddenly, the side-doors tore open and Mr. Cook came tearing into the room. The judge’s recorder rushed to Mr. Cook and caught her husband as he fell. He died there, in her arms.

“A jar half-full of some liquid was found on Mr. Cook’s desk. Virgil had drunk half-a-pint of carbolic acid, which had no doubt dissolved his insides.”

This is the ghost still blamed for the opening doors and crashing sounds, when no one else could be responsible, in the courthouse.

Cook’s family believed the acid was an attempt to keep him from sharing what he knew about some missing highway funds at that time.

Stover, ironically, now serves as circuit clerk of Wyoming County.

“Without a doubt there is a face in the photo,” Stover said of the most recent investigation. “I have zero doubt about that. Now maybe it could be a reflection or there is some other explanation, but there is definitely a face there.

“I also see the possibility of other images there,” Stover said of the photograph.

Moseley said his job is to first try to find a logical explanation for any unusual occurrences the team may find in hours upon hours of recorded images. It often takes months to go through the recordings from various devices used in a single “ghost hunt,” he explained.

In all the investigations Moseley has conducted, he has only found what he believes to be actual evidence of spirits in three of those cases. One is a floating orb that circles a room for nearly 20 minutes. Another is a shadowy figure that walks through a wall. The third is the Wyoming County Courthouse manifestation.

There are numerous other places in the county believed to haunted by restless spirits, including Twin Falls Resort State Park.

West Virginia Paranormal will conduct “Ghost Hunting 101” for those interested Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. at the campfire circle in Twin Falls Resort State Park. Following one hour of instruction, participants will break up into groups, travel to various cemeteries in the park, and get a hands-on lesson in equipment used in paranormal investigations. Cost is $5.

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