The festivities of Halloween bring about tales of ghosts, goblins, witches, and of course the Devil himself. Year after year, we engage in the transmitting of horror stories, done solely to entertain ourselves and others. However, Halloween season 2015, I had an encounter with the undead; one I will never forget.
I’ve long believed there is more out there than we can see. It is said, Sam Hein was celebrated by Celtics with the belief a realm existed between the living and the dead, and during this time of year, that realm was at its thinnest. If you would have told me this before, I wouldn’t have believed it. I do now.
Institute, West Virginia, once called “Piney Grove,” is a tiny town with a hidden history. Its origin was born out of the ashes of a love story between slaveholder Samuel I. Cabell and his slave wife Mary Barnes. The land on which WVSU rests was once home to a plantation. Slaves worked local salt mines for Cabell, and many died in captivity. Samuel did write wills setting said slaves free upon his death, though he later recanted those wishes. Taking this into consideration, I believe those spirits I encountered there to be of dead slaves.
For reasons I cannot explain, I felt their presence at night. In fact, I once awoke to a tall, pudgy man standing on the side of my bed. As I shifted my position, he walked to the bed’s foot and disappeared. I was in shock. A second encounter occurred when I took the trash out one evening. As I made my way back to my front door, I felt the presence of several men around me. I could feel their eyes watching me, though I was the only person outside. I could feel their anger as they watched me make my way back into my house. I assume, because I am black and light-skinned, they mistook me for a house slave. I’ve felt the slaves inside my home, strolling the hallway at night. I’ve felt them in my kitchen. I’ve also seen the spirits of a small, Caucasian girl wandering my home. She took to my son, following his birth, visiting him in his room time and again. She skipped to and fro, splitting her time between his room and mine. There is also the spirit of an old man. I’ve smelled his cigarettes early in the morning, and his whiskey late at night. I have no clue who these people were, minus the angry slaves I’ve encountered. I can honestly say for sure I believe spirits are real, and the dead don’t always rest peacefully.