Ghost Or Hoax?
Trail cameras have been known to capture many interesting displays of nature; recently however, a trail camera on Whiteman Hill supposedly took footage that appears to be a bit out of this world.
Kelly Morgan recently submitted some brow-raising photos from her brother’s deer cam. These photographs depict a ghostly figure roaming about the area in front of the camera.
Morgan says that legend has it a young 17-year-old girl was murdered on her wedding day. Morgan says her aunt told her this story but was unable to elaborate further on the old legend as it is “just hearsay.”
Inquiries she made for ghost tales suggest that around the year 1882, a 17-year-old girl was taken to a right of way in the area by three men. “They apparently raped her and hung her,” Morgan says. She adds that a nearby cemetery perhaps may be related to the girl.
Susan Doll, co-author of the locally placed book “Haunted Tales from the Holler,” states she has not heard of the story about the ghost bride of Whiteman Hill, but adds that while conducting research for her book, she and her co-author became aware that brides are prevalent in ghost stories.
“There was a ghost bride story in my book but it was about the ghost at a train tunnel near Cairo, W.Va. I remember when we were researching the story that we discovered just how prevalent ghost stories about brides are. They are so common you could call them a bona-fide sub-category or sub-genre of ghost stories,” Doll states.
Doll is a “little suspicious” of the Whiteman Hill photos, based on the research she has done on ghost photos. Doll says the figure seems too solid in one of the photos. “In most photos, the entities are transparent or translucent. Of course, I’m no expert, but with all of the digital cameras nowadays and their capabilities for special effects, it is easy to fake photos.” She adds, “Still, a ghost bride story is always interesting if you are only looking for a reader to come forward with what they know. You don’t need the story or the ghost to be real to have a good story that offers a look back at another time.”
The author says that ghost stories, like all folklore, are narratives that “reflect the anxieties and issues of a culture group.” She says ghost bride stories seem to share in common the fact the bride is jilted, killed, or commits murder before she is married. “As a bride, she is doomed to search for a fiance who abandoned her or to spend eternity as a virgin.” Doll explains that these stories perhaps reflect women’s fears of never being married, never being a mother, and thus, never having a place in their society.
“We all know how low on the social ladder spinsters were back in the day,” she adds.
Doll and Grace Morrow, co-author of Haunted Tales from the Holler, researched each of the short stories in their book to find some sort of historical context or explanation for them.
“I don’t have any personal experiences, but I remember family members on both sides of my family telling uncanny tales handed down to them from older generations. I feel these kinds of stories are important for that reason alone. Who cares if they are true or not? They reveal some sort of local and personal history that is significant and needs preserving. That was our position as writers.”
So despite whether one believes in the ghost of Whiteman Hill or not, something, or someone, was caught on the deer cam. You be the judge.