A Ghost That Will Not Down
(Cincinnati _Enquirer_, Sept. 30, 1884)
GRANTSVILLE, W. VA., September 30.--The ghost of Betts' farm will not
lay. Something over a year ago the _Enquirer_ contained an account or an
occult influence or manifestation at the farm house of Mr. Collins
Betts, about three miles below this town, in which story were delineated
a number of weird, strange instances of ghostly manifestations, all of
which were verified by the testimony of honest, brave and reliable
citizens, the names of many of whom were mentioned. That story went the
rounds of newspapers all over the country and resulted in the proprietor
of the place receiving hundreds of letters from all over the country.
Since then the old house has been torn down, the family of Mr. Betts
rebuilding a home place on a different portion of the farm. This act, it
was believed, would lay or forever quiet the ramblings and queer doings
of the inexplicable mystery. But such has not been the case. Since the
building has been razed the mysterious manifestation has made itself
visible at places sometimes quite a distance from the scene of its
At a distance of several hundred yards from the old Betts place a
neighboring farmer had erected a house in which he intended to reside,
and in fact did reside a short time, but the "Cale Betts ghost," as the
manifestation is commonly called for a distance of many miles, was no
respecter of persons and oblivious of distance, and it so annoyed and
frightened the farmer and his family at untoward times that he has
removed his house to the opposite end of the farm, leaving his garden,
orchard and all the improvements usually made about a farm-house to take
care of themselves.
This in itself was considered strange enough, but the ghostly visitant
did not stop there. The high road, running some distance away, has been
the theater of almost numberless scenes of frights and frightful
appearances. Among those who have lately seen the ghost is a young man
named Vandevener, whose father had once been frightened nearly to death,
as related in a former letter. Young Vandevener had frequently made
sport of the old man's fright, but he does so no more--in fact, the
young man is willing to make affidavit that the old man's story was
The young man was driving along quietly one night about half a mile from
the Betts place, when he saw a strange being, which, in the pale light
of the moon, he took to be a man walking at the head of his horses. A
few minutes later the man, or whatever it was, glided, without making a
particle of noise, around the horses' heads and got into the wagon and
took a seat by his side.
Young Vandevener says it rode along with him several hundred yards, and
spoke to him. It first told him not to be afraid, as it did not intend
to injure him in the least. What it said he will not tell, except that
it admonished him not to say anything about it until a certain time.
After it had spoken to him Vandevener says it got up and glided off into
the woods and disappeared. He says the shape was that of a headless man,
and that while it was with him he felt a cold chill run over him,
although it was a warm evening, and this chilly feeling did not leave
him until the disappearance of the shape.
Since then Vandevener can not be induced to go over the ground after
night. He still persists in the same story, and as he is a truthful
young fellow, the people who know him are satisfied that he really saw
what he claims to have seen.
Only one day last week another young man, Henry Stephens I believe, on
his way past the same place, saw a peculiar shape rise out of the brush
by the side of the road and glide along by the side of the wagon.
Stephens got out of his wagon and gathered together a handful of rocks,
which he threw at the object. Some of the stones appeared to go through
it, but did not seem to affect it in the least. It still continued to
float along at a short distance away until Stephens became frightened
and whipped up his horses until they flew at a two-minute gait down the
road, the object following at some distance until quite away from the
scene of its first appearance, when it disappeared like a cloud of
vapor. There are dozens of authentic stories of the ghostly
peculiarities of the Betts ghost which are new and peculiar.
It appears, since the destruction of the Betts homestead, to have taken
up its quarters near the highway, and here it appears to people who have
generally scoffed and laughed at the former stories. That it is
bullet-proof does not need testimony, located, as it is, in a section of
country which has for years been noted for its fearless men--such as the
Duskys, Downs and others of national fame as sharp-shooters, scouts,
etc., during the late war. None of these men have succeeded in "laying"
or putting a quietus to it. There is a story that a couple of men had
been murdered or disappeared in this vicinity, and that the ghost is the
uneasy spirit of one of these men, but there is no real evidence that
anybody was ever killed there.
There is no doubt that Calhoun County has a mystery which neither time,
bullets, courage nor philosophy can either drive away or explain. It has
come to stay. If you meet a Calhouner just mention it, and he will tell
you that the "Betts ghost" is a county possession which it will gladly
dispose of at any price.
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