Historic Riverview Cemetery is full of (the after) life
There are quite a few cemeteries across West Virginia that boast of ghosts or unexplained occurrences. One such location is Riverview Cemetery in the historic city of Parkersburg. In the years preceding the Civil War, a gentleman came to town by the name of Captain George Deming. Captain Deming was born Sept. 10, 1806 in New Haven, Connecticut and was said to have been an excellent mariner. He decided to make Parkersburg his home after leaving life on the high seas behind. Captain Deming decided to seek his fortune in gas and oil and did so proving to be quite the entrepreneur and as his success mounted, he built a grand home in the now historic Julia-Ann Square Historic District. He departed this life in April of 1861 at the age of 54, leaving behind a grieving wife and children. The cemetery where the Captain lies, is visited occasionally by various spectral images. Some claim one of those to be Captain Deming himself.
Ghosts can haunt homes for various reasons. Jobs that are left unfinished, sudden traumatic deaths and even the fear of crossing over are reasons said to hold souls trapped here. Many who have investigated the Captain’s story claim his home is plagued by strange happenings. Unexplained footprints, unusual shadows and orange glowing embers from the captain’s pipe have been observed from the bay window facing the street. The Deming family lost a child and while the death of a child is traumatic to the parents no doubt, it is also a reason why many believe the Captain’s previous home is active with energy. In the 1990s, during renovations, workers discovered child-sized footprints across the attic’s dusty floor. Apparently, as soon as the prints were wiped away, they mysteriously returned.
Various oddities occur nearby at the cemetery where the good Captain was laid to rest. Historic Riverview cemetery is just a few blocks from his grand home. Next to him in the cemetery lies his young child who passed away in 1862, just one year after the Captain’s death.
In the cemetery where the two Demings are buried, a man with a long dark coat is allegedly seen leaning over the Captain’s marker. There are some who claim to have actually smelled the unmistakable scent of saltwater while visiting his graveside. The marker itself is beautifully carved and features a ship with its sails blowing in the wind at sea. The marker is more than 150 years old and is showing the ravages of time and exposure. Towards the bottom of the upright marker, one can read the faded words “a Descendant of Miles Standish, the Puritan”. The grave of Deming’s child has a much smaller marker and is less grand as it stands in the shadow of his father’s stone. It is not known how the child died but one can speculate it may have been due to disease. In the Parkersburg area in the 1860s, there were various epidemics such as Typhoid Fever and Small Pox. Either disease could very well have been the demise of the young Deming.
If you get a chance to travel to Parkersburg and visit Riverview Cemetery, take time to visit the graves of this beautiful cemetery and spend a few minutes near the Captain’s marker. You too may smell the salty air of the sea and observe the man in the long coat as he leans over the graves protectively.
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