The Times West Virginian

Local News

October 31, 2013

For true enthusiasts, stories turn from scary tale to quest

FAIRMONT — Halloween is a spooky time of year, filled with ghosts and hobgoblins, things that go “bump!” in the night, witches, skeletons and zombies.

Our fascination with the scary isn’t anything new. West Virginia is famous for its classic ghost stories and haunted places.

A 2007 AP-Ipsos poll found that a third of American adults believe in ghosts. Many people can think back to a time they heard a door slam when no one was in the room, or felt a room suddenly grow cold, and saw the lights flicker.

For many people though, ghost stories are seen as just that: stories. Fun for a thrill around the camp fire, or told with a flashlight under the sheets.

But for some, ghost stories turn from tale to quest, as they go from reading about ghosts on the page to seeking them out in the real world. These people are known as ghost hunters.

Fairmont local Daniel Bellay, a deputy circuit clerk for Marion County, started ghost hunting a few years ago with friends.

“I had a couple of friends who were really into it, especially because of the television shows,” Bellay said. “We started visiting different places in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and that’s pretty much how it began.”

To get started as a ghost hunter, Bellay said the two most important things are to read up on your local history and lore, and find some good friends to tag along with you.

“There are actually a lot of books and magazines and television shows that will show you how to do different techniques,” Bellay said.

Bellay knows his ghost hunting — he and his friends were once featured on the Travel Channel show “Paranormal Challenge.” They were on the Northeastern Spirit Society team and tried to beat their opposing team, West Virginia Paranormal, by braving out the night and documenting the most paranormal activity.

For the challenge, they were outfitted with top-of-the-line video camcorders, thermal camcorders to measure changes in temperature, audio recording devices and a Mel Meter, a standard paranormal hunter device that takes both electromagnetic field and temperature readings simultaneously.

Their team won the challenge, and he and his friends continued ghost hunting on their own for fun, usually on Friday or Saturday nights.

Bellay said he first became interested in ghosts when he was growing up.

“I think that from a young age I was just fascinated with the horror movies and the ghost stories,” he said. “Especially if you find out that there might be a place close to you that might be haunted, I think that sort of adds to the mystery and the appeal of it.”

For Bellay, the most interesting part of ghost hunting is learning about the history and architecture of the sites.

“I like the gothic style of everything, and the stories and the history, and the people in the area that were affected by these places,” he said.

Two of Bellay’s favorite places to ghost hunt are the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston.

“My friends and I have heard things,” he said. “One time at the West Virginia Penitentiary, we were walking and heard whispers and saw dark shadows.”

Bellay doesn’t have the time to ghost hunt often anymore, but if he ever sees a ghost up close, he knows exactly what he’d do.

“I would probably call the Ghostbusters,” Bellay said.

Email Colleen S. Good at cgood@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 041814 Fishing 2.jpg Fun, prizes mark annual event at Curtisville Lake

    An annual family fishing event begins at 9:30 a.m. today.
    The Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources are having the annual Family Fishing Day. The event will take place today at Curtisville Lake, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. and prizes being given away at 10:30 a.m.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police: Shooting of boy accidental

    A boy remains in critical condition after being shot more than a week ago, and police officials are now saying the incident was accidental in nature.
    On Wednesday, April 9, at 7:52 p.m., police were dispatched to a Fairmont residence after an 11-year-old boy sustained a gunshot wound inside the home.

    April 18, 2014

  • FGH oncology to benefit from cleanup

    Proceeds from this year’s town cleanup and recycling in White Hall will go toward comforting local cancer patients.
    During Monday’s council meeting, recorder Charlie Mason said the town will hold its annual cleanup from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 3, at Fabric and Foam in White Hall. He said only White Hall residents may bring their garbage to throw away, but any Marion County resident may bring metal (excluding computers, televisions and tires) to recycle.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pleasant Valley approves phase two of cemetery project

    Pleasant Valley City Council approved phase two of a project to fence in Samuel Linn Cemetery in Benton’s Ferry at the council meeting Tuesday.
    The cemetery was started in 1852, with the death of Samuel Linn.

    April 18, 2014

  • UPDATE: Police say 11-year-old shot in 'accidental discharge of a firearm'

    A boy remains in critical condition after being shot more than a week ago, and police officials are now saying the incident was accidental in nature.

    April 17, 2014

  • Attorney General - CB.jpg Morrisey wants to work with all to ‘help transform West Virginia’

    State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wants to work with citizens to “help transform West Virginia.”
    Morrisey was the guest speaker for the Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s “Lunch and Learn” event Wednesday at the Mon Power headquarters, located in the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont. His trip to the Friendly City followed a town hall meeting in Harrison County Tuesday night.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Behind-the-scenes emergency workers honored

    The Marion County Commission is recognizing the individuals who work behind the scenes when an emergency happens.
    During Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners signed a proclamation for National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week in Marion County. The proclamation recognizes individuals working at the Marion County 911 Center.

    April 17, 2014

  • Wallace residents plead guilty to fishing violations

    Two Wallace residents were cited for and pleaded guilty to trout fishing violations.
    Michael Earl Fetty, 70, and Tammy K. Fetty, 46, were issued citations for exceeding possession limit of trout and conspiracy to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code.

    April 17, 2014

  • Military Kids 1 - CB.jpg Military children honored for their sacrifices: PHOTOS

    Military children were honored for their sacrifices Tuesday at the Hershel “Woody” Williams Fairmont Armed Forces Reserve Center.
    The event was planned to coincide with Purple Up! Day, a nationwide initiative that encourages everyone to wear purple in honor of military children across the country.

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • Child health: ‘Room for improvement’

    Children living in Marion County are doing better in some respects than children in other counties in the state, according to a national study released Tuesday.
    “The 2013 West Virginia Kids Count Data Book,” published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, compares states and their counties to each other and to the national average of various areas of child health.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads