Haunted Appalachia: The eerie tale of the Shadow Man on the Hill
I’ve seen him only one time but have felt his presence on several occasions in our home. Our property is situated on a series of rolling hills with about a hundred acres around us and a great view of the valley from up on top of the ridge. It’s a bit remote to some of my city friends and I guess it is when you think that our closest neighbors are a quarter of a mile away. It gets dark most nights-very dark. In the evening with the darkness and shadows forming across the valley, your imagination can run wild with what could be lurking outside in the woods. I never thought I would ever experience what many would call a ghost … a full-fledged apparition … in my own home.
It all began in the early summer of 2009. I had recently married and moved into my husband’s home in Nicholas County, West Virginia. I had been living here for a short time and it was late on one quiet, country night that something odd woke me up. There was an icy coldness on the left side of my body. I lay in bed trying to understand why one side of me was freezing cold when I was completely under the covers. It was at that instance that I saw something-or someone- standing at the foot of our bed. Actually, it was not “something” quite yet. It was more of man-sized shadow that filled in quickly and blocked out the moonlight that shone through our bedroom window blinds. I could see that it was a tall man and a rather thin one at that. He had on grayish colored clothing and was gaunt looking in the face. Almost as soon as he completely formed, he faded away into the night and left me analyzing the situation and his 10-second appearance. I woke my husband up to tell him what I just experienced and as I described the man’s clothing and gauntness, he calmly said, “You saw Mr. Thomas”.
You can imagine my surprise that my husband was as calm as he could be and he had a name for the entity I had just experienced! “Who’s Mr. Thomas?” I asked. My husband then told me that the exact spot where our house was standing was where a scale house once stood for the old strip mine. I knew that we lived on an old mine property and that there were some miners who had worked on our land many years ago. This was old news to me but the fact that we lived exactly where a scale house had once stood was new information. He then casually mentioned that seven men had died on our property- most from mining accidents. I asked my husband for more facts on Mr. Thomas and I learned that he worked for the mine company and had died on our property just a few feet from where we were sleeping. Mr. Thomas was coupling railroad cars back in the 1970s and had been pinned between two cars that did not line up correctly. They had slipped and smashed him between the heavy steel cars. I told my husband that he must be wrong and that my shadow person did not have a light on his helmet like miners wore. It was then that my husband told me Mr. Thomas worked above ground and would not have worn a helmet with a light on it as I had expected. I understood then that I did indeed see Mr. Thomas.
It has been nearly eight years since I saw him standing at the foot of our bed. On many occasions, when the lights flutter on and off in our home, the cats run frightened or I see the shadows move out of the corner of my eye, I just smile and acknowledge his presence. I guess he still thinks he is continuing with his earthly job at the strip mine. Perhaps one day, he will clock out and get some rest.
Sherri Brake is a paranormal researcher, author and Haunted Heartland Tour owner. You may email her at SherriBrake@gmail.com or visit her website at www.HauntedHistory.net