Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Haunted West Virginia Penitentiary

Opened in 1875, the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville is said to be one of the most haunted prisons in the United States. It’s no wonder, as the prison was the setting for riots, fires and nearly 100 executions during its time in operation. Visitors have reported sightings of phantom inmates and a “shadow man” wandering the premises, as well as unexplained noises, voices and cold spots.
Today you can tour the lockup areas and prison yard and view the electric chair dubbed “Old Sparky.” For the bravest souls, stay for an overnight session, and bring your own flashlight and ghost-hunting equipment to explore the prison after dark. In addition to regular tours year round, the prison stages a haunted house every October.

For fun ghost stories for middle readers and teens, see my ghost story collection, Scary Ghosts and Playful Ghosts: Children's Tales of Fright and Delight.

Purchase the book via     

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Helping Children Keep their Fears inCheck and Just Have Fun

My children’s books are entertaining and educational for children. Each of my four books has a blog associated with the theme or subject matter of my books.

This period of time in our country can be a very scary for children and adults. Because of the increase of gun violence, racism, home-grown terrorist attacks, ICE raids that sadly separate immigrant families, devastating storms and natural disasters, daunting bullying, and all sorts of safety concerns that frighten children, it is important to call on parents  and teachers to take extra precaution to keep our young ones safe and to teach them how to be safe when they are not with their parents or other caregivers.

It is equally important that we do whatever we can to help children still be children, to try to have fun and enjoy themselves despite the fears that can tend to be overwhelming. It is an unfortunate circumstance that our children have more to fear today than just the fun chills they can get from ghost stories, such as those in Scary Ghosts and Playful Ghosts: Children's Tales of Fright and Delight.

For this reason, I am introducing two gentlemen, Troy Harrington and Brian Thomas who have formed a small music production company called Bubba Yum Beatz. The company creates fun songs and music videos for children that will help them relax, enjoy life, and just have fun. They have also created a video that is a song for children that teaches about anti-bullying.
I am posting links to those Bubba Yum songs for your pleasure and to share with your children.

Troy Harrington and Brian Thomas of Bubble Yum Beatz   –  “Happy Dance”     –  Bubble Yum Beatz!  (YouTube

Educate and Enjoy! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Ghost Cow Haunting of WVU Woodburn Hall

My book, Scary Ghosts and Playful Ghosts: Children’s Tales of Fright and Delight, was written to entertain children, teens and even adults with fun ghost stories. The purpose of my blog for this book also is  to entertain its readers by sharing tales of hauntings. The anecdote of a haunting of Woodburn Hall on the West Virginia University campus is an interesting one.

There are apparently several ghost stories that take place at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.  One such story is of a ghost cow. In the early days of the school, when it was still called the Agricultural College of West Virginia, a group of students heard the saying that you can lead a cow upstairs but you can't lead it back down again. They decided to try it out, according to Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State. They stole a cow and took it up the steps to the building's bell tower, where it mooed like crazy. The cow would not come back down so it actually  had to be shot to death and removed in pieces. Visitors today say they hear ghostly mooing coming from the tower.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Spooky: Setting the Scene and Mood in a Good Ghost Story

Children love a good ghost story - one that is scary, but not too scary. Half the fun and fright in a good ghost story is setting a scary scene and establishing a spooky tone or mood.
The following is a brief excerpt from the very first story in my book, Scary Ghosts and Playful Ghosts: Children’s Tales of Fright and Delight. 

“Their house had many gables and a castle-like attic tower that traced an eerie outline in the black night against the orange-n-golden glow of the moon. The house almost seemed to have a life of its own – its tell-tale heart strangely seeming to beat rhythmically – “thump, thump, thump”- from high atop the hill where it sat, sad and sullen. Its many stained  glass windows were like piercing, glistening, multi-colored eyes that kept wary watch over the valley below.”

Who do you suppose lived in this spooky looking house? What kinds of scary things do you think could have happened in the house? Were there monsters? Were there ghosts? I hope that you are intrigued and want to find out the answers to these questions.

The story that takes place in the  house described in the excerpt is called “The Haunted Toy Chest” and you can read it and many other stories about scary and playful ghosts in my book, Scary Ghosts and Playful Ghosts: Children’s Tales of Fright and Delight, published by Crimson Cloak Publishing. 

It is available through thousands of retailers, libraries, and Internet commerce companies in North America, Europe, the U.K. and Australia, including, but not limited to, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and Apple.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ghosts from West Virginia: The Greenbrier Ghost

In keeping with the ghostly theme of my new children’s book, Scary Ghosts and Playful Ghosts: Children’s Tales of Fright and Delight, published by Crimson Cloak Publishing and available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon, and in print and Nook through Barnes & Noble, and through Books-a-Million, as well, I enjoy posting occasional famous ghost anecdotes on my book’s blog. I think you will find this one fascinating. 

If you have ever been to the Greenbrier Inn in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, you will immediately find yourself immersed, not only in its magnificent grandeur and beauty, but also in its history. Many people don’t know, however, that the Greenbrier has one of West Virginia’s most famous ghosts as a spirit resident.

She is Zona Heaster Shue,  better known as the Greenbrier Ghost. Ms Shue was killed by her husband, Edward. The man initially covered up Zona’s death by dressing her body himself and not allowing a coroner to get a close look at her. Her cause of death was at first ruled “everlasting faint” and then “childbirth.”

Not long after her burial, Zona’s ghost appeared to her mother and told her that Edward had killed her. The mother was eventually able convince the prosecutor of this, and he had her body exhumed. When they looked more closely at the body, they found that her neck was broken and her windpipe crushed. Edward was eventually found guilty of Zona’s murder and sent to prison. Supposedly Zona Heaster Shue’s restless spirit has roamed the beautiful halls and rooms of the Greenbrier ever since. R.I.P Zona.

Melissa Harker Ridenour - Author of award-winning What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers - published by Headline Books Incorporated – - and Scary Ghosts and Playful Ghosts: Children’s Tale of Fright and Delight, published by Crimson Cloak Publishing, and The Bully and The Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale - Melissa Harker Ridenour Books – -  Write Solution Ink – Freelance writing business - Child Safety Blog – – The Bully and the Booger Baby Blog Buzz – - Ghosts with Blogs Blog Spot - -