Event Place

Ghost Cause Terror in Lewis County Oil Camp

“The Vanceburg Sun says: For some days past excitement has prevailed at the Kinniconick Oil Camp, not saying that excitement is any unusual state of affairs since the oil boom struck Straight Fork some months ago, but a new feature somewhat more novel and interesting to the nonresidents of the camp is now disclosed.”

“We shall attempt to describe, if though vaguely and imperfectly, the maneuvers of what, for want of a more suitable name, must be called a ghost, and as writers of ghost stories have, it seems, acquired quite a reputation from the reckless manner in which they seem to deal with truth, we shall endeavor to give accurate details, which may be verified by any of the members of the said company, so begin.”

“The members of the company mentioned above occupied a house owned and occupied a few years ago by E W Bryant, who recently moved to Olive Hill.”

“Mr. Bryant and his family, with but little ado moved suddenly from the building which was then comparatively new into an old log house on the same place.”

“Shrewd enough he was in not allowing the fact that the building was haunted to become public and, so fortunately for him, disposed of it before the circumstances became generally known.”

“About a week ago the specter made its initial visit to the present occupants of the building while a protracted meeting was being held in the neighborhood.”

“One evening, just after dusk, several churchgoers were called in to hear the peculiar rapping is persisted in making, which must have been similar to the rapple familiar to the soldier. The noise at that time was made on the roof of the building at different points and at various intervals, and some of the boys were of the opinion that it was a sport of the neighborhood amusing himself at their expense and a search of the premises was made. Finally, forbearance ceasing to be a virtue, a repeating rifle was brought out with the remark, ‘I just dare you to do that again,’ but the word dare seemed only a signal for a recommencement of the proceedings instanter. The owner of the rifle was afterward seen very carefully removing evidence of its sudden immersion in a mud puddle, and some were of the opinion that a Bible might prove more defensive in such an emergency than a repeating rifle.”

“To relieve the monotony of rappings frequent falling as of some heavy weight on the second story floor would be accompanied by groanings which might be expressive of the feelings of the lost in the lower regions of eternal darkness, and now, as this nocturnal visitor which had been ordering dreams for the crew in serial form during a succession of nights, concluded that its presence had not been sufficiently manifested, made an effort the results of which was gratifying to such an extent that it was made final.”

“Messieurs Gottlisch and Frank Rowland, occupying the same room, seemed to be commanding the especial attention of this ghost, and on this last visit Mr. Gottlisch was awakened as by some thing or person walking over him, and at almost the same moment Frank Rowland jumped from his bed in another part of the room with a terrifying yell that ‘there it was’ and trying to catch the thing which had unmistakable weigh, but no material body was there to meet his clutches.”

“Little wonder it is that when the other occupants brought in a light on these subjects they found them with every individual hair on their heads still standing on tiptoe, and every possible color in their faces that had no business there, and an endless procession of lumps still chasing each other in hot haste up their throats.”

“Mr. Upton, one of the preachers, guest that night with them on one occasion, and although he does not testify to seeing the apparition, confirms the report that there is something extraordinary about the case, ‘as sure as God,’ and explained further that ‘it was not appointed for man to understand the workings of the spirit.”

“On two different occasions a ghost conducted Frank Rowland past the haunted house when he was returning from church up to the head of Cherry Camp when each time Wad Morgan’s timely appearance caused the ghost to release Mr. Rowland and influence him to return, and then favor Mr. Morgan with its attention.”

“It is reported by the older inhabitants that a tradition has been handed down that many years ago an Indian massacre was committed in this vicinity, and while it is not known exactly where the outrage was committed, it is thought probable that it occurred on the site of the present haunted building.”

In conclusion we will mention that James Bryant, an old resident of this place, a few years ago met, a short distance from this ghostly rendezvous, three headless women dressed in white sauntering along the road about midnight, and also that EW Bryant, one night last winter, while riding near the same place saw a monstrous frog following him along the road. From his description the creature resembled an enormous frog being subject to the X-Ray test. It being translucent with large, luminous eyes, which were constantly blinking at him.”

“The affair is a neighborhood topic and can be substantiated by many reputable persons in the community, and will be held in dread remembrance by the gentleman whose headquarters have been in the building. Mr. Gottlisch reformed to his home in the city this week, where ghosts and rumors of ghosts will not mar the even tenor of his everyday life.”1

  1. Ghost Cause Terror in Lewis County Oil Camp. (1902, December 21). The Courier-Journal, p. 29.
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