I know not everyone believes that there are people on the other side who visit us but I do. You see, if you work in Harpers Ferry or Charles Town, W.Va. then you know what is really out there…or at least, you know of people who know and you know that you get an eery feeling when you go near certain places. I am an Official Ghostie of the Charles Town Ghost Tours and as a group, we ghosties have acquired a certain amount of personal experiences, stories, and evidence that our little towns have a population a little higher than published because we’ve got some friends on the other side (Well, mostly friends).
The one that seemed to start is all is William Bailey. Bill is also known as the Shadow Man because he only appears as a shadow when he is seen as him (My daddy and I saw a shadow man at this location but we are not certain it was him or another man we know is hanging around). He also shows his presence by making the lights and bells go off on the train track when there is no train actually coming. Yes, we have thought about it being a electrical malfunction and all that stuff but I think after 50 years of the town trying to fix the problem, we can safely assume that there is nothing going wrong in the electrical department of the train tracks. The story is that on September 23, 1924, Mr. Bill Bailey walked on to the train tracks only to be hit by the cow catcher on the front of the train. It dragged him 600 feet down the tracks and brought him through a painful death. It is believed that he committed suicide because things were just not going well in the Bailey household. He’d lost two of his children and was facing bankruptcy. It’s the only thing that I think could be true unless he was drinking and just walked onto the tracks and was too drunk to move (Something we’ve seen many people coming from the bar up the street almost doing as we are ghost hunting). We don’t know the exactly why he was on the tracks but I can tell you that William does not like to talk about it because I have tried many nights to get him to come across on the voice recorder and I’ve never gotten an answer (We’re pretty sure he doesn’t like me very much). However, I have seen the lights and bell go off multiple times and so have many of my friends and family, including my used-to-be-nonbeliever boyfriend, and we’ve gotten his shadow in a few pictures.
Over a few streets in the same graveyard where Mr. Bailey is buried, we’ve made a new friend that we don’t really know much about but we sure have evidence of his existence. He is a young boy named Nathan and unlike Bill, he loves me (Theory is that I remind him of his mama). At the beginning of the tour season, we walked to the far corner of the cemetery, past the place where all the children who died during an outbreak of what I think was diphtheria are buried. Once you’ve gone past a certain tree, the temperature always seems to drop a good bit and it’s just cold and a little spooky feeling. The first night we learned of Nathan, we got a friend of his looking for him on the voice recorder. There was who we assume based on the sound of his voice to be a young boy asking, “Nathan, where you at?” We returned to the place on another tour to capture another EVP saying, “I’m Nathan. I’m here,” when I asked about him. During one tour, we began talking to a man who got a picture of a drummer boy down the way near the tree. His daughter and he tried to debunk the photo, finding a gravestone with the name Nathan on it. We have yet to find it during our trips but I know he’s there somewhere. The last voice we caught (We haven’t listened to the most recent trip) was during Halloween. The tour took candles to the cemetery in honor of the dead. Devin and I wanted to place ours on Nathan’s grave and as we looked for it, we realized Devin was dripping wax all over himself. As we talked about this, we have little Nathan saying, “Mommy! He’s going to get burned!” I know that he is a sweetheart and I hate not going to visit him every once in a while. We left him a ball on one of our last trips in the road where we know he likes to play so I hope he knows that we really care about him.
The last place where we’ve gotten a lot of evidence is the basement of the Zion Episcopal Church. Now, I know that some of the sickness I feel is due to the EMF but there are times when I know that me being sensitive is not the blame (Well, sensitive to EMF isn’t to blame). We took a board down one night (My mama and I refused to touch it but we watched intrigued). We had a man coming through to begin with but we didn’t learn much about him because a woman pushed him out. She was not too happy with us because we thought it was still the man until we listened to the recorder later on. She is looking for her son but that’s the most that we could really understand. They’ve been making their presence known through the loud boiler lately. We’ve also gotten a face in the mirror once (And, yes, we know all about matrixing and all that stuff but it is a face. A really creepy face).
The most recent activity in the basement was a phantom smell. On the Halloween tour, my mama and I were sitting on the hay bales when we started smelling a really strong cigarette smoke smell. We knew people had been wandering away from the group and smoking but this was like someone was right next to you lit up. We asked two of our fellow ghosties and they smelled it, too. It went away as quickly as it came when we began to ask others. The theories are that it was one of the soldiers who had camped there during the Civil War or it was actually the smoke from one of the times that the church had been burned down (It’s happened twice in the history of the property). Out in the graveyard, there are supposed to be more spirits but the only one I care about is the grave of Miss Annie Rice. After debunking a figure as moss on the back of her stone, I’ve adopted her and go visit her, talk to her, and bring her flowers. We don’t know for sure but I like to think that all the orbs we suddenly get around her grave when I’m there is her ghost thanking me or her way of telling me she appreciates the attention. We need to do some research about who she really is but I like thinking she was a very nice lady.
In the Ferry itself, I haven’t had any experiences but almost every other employee I’ve talked to has. Even my parents when they were teenagers had an experience with the preacher who is said to roam around near the Catholic church. Our bathroom at The Vintage Lady, my co-worker once told me, has a lady who will appear in the mirror. I haven’t seen her…probably because I pray every time I go in that she won’t show up because I think it would be a really inconvenient time for me to have my first face to face interaction with a ghost. I haven’t been on The Ferry’s tour since the new people took over but I can assure you that whether you are in Harpers Ferry or Charles Town, the place is shrouded in history and certainly has some unseen residents (And some of them are awful cute, if we are talking about dear little Nathan). But if you want to experience it for yourself or hear some more of the stories around the towns, I’d suggest you take the time to take both tours (Or at least Charles Town’s but I might be a little partial 😉 ).