Reported by: Dave Benton

Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Dave Benton
Reported: Jun. 26, 2011 11:27 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 26, 2011 11:48 PM EDT


It's an historic landmark in Ceredo, the Z.D. Ramsdell House. Once part of the underground railroad, it became a safe haven for slaves before they escaped across the Ohio River to freedom.
Saturday night, Ghosthunters with WV Paranormal used the old home as a training ground to investigate the paranormal.

The team used equipment like flash lights, night vision cameras, digital recorder, motion detectors and non-contact thermometers.
The team says they aren't just trying to connect with spirits, their goal is to help folks understand what's spooking them.

For more information on the WV Paranormal just go to



Wayne County News Paper
From the Wayne County News Paper

Paranormal group studies Ramsdell House

 Ceredo – On the National Historical Register, the Z.D. Ramsdell House in Ceredo is considered to be the oldest standing stricter in the community.
After two businessmen, Floyd Stark and Dan Ferguson, rescued the house from demolition, visitors have made their way to the house to see what life was in the past.
But, it is not known if some of those visitors are from another astroplane.

Members of the Lincoln County Ghost Hunters and West Virginia paranormal groups have been investigating the possibility of paranormal phenomena at the house.
Dwayne Adkins of Hamlin, who is with the Lincoln County Ghost Hunters, said he was doing some online research looking for a new place to investigate when he discovered the Ramsdell House.
Adkins made contact with those who are in charge two years ago to gain permission to conduct an investigation
Vvisiting the Ramsdell House since 2008, Adkins and his team have gotten some readings but not the one they hoped to have, he said.
Later he visited a paranormal conference in Charleston where West Virginia Paranormal brought in Rob Henry, founder, to speak.
So, he thought they could team up and investigate the Ramsdell House.

After they teamed up, Adkins said there were unusual occurrences that had happened, such as hearing footsteps, voices over the tape recorders and some saying that they had been touched.
With the investigation continuing and shows such as “Ghost Hunters” have brought visitors from the outside to spend time in the house to see if it really is haunted.
The first time groups were brought in was during the Autumfest. Seeing the success, Councilman Joe Ratcliff, who is one of the organizers of the house, and others came up with a fundraising idea to offset the expenses by offering those visitors who are interested in the paranormal to pay a small fee to stay during the investigation.

Karen Ruggieri of Flatwoods, KY, said her first experience in the Ramsdell House was during her daughter’s birthday party in mid-November.
Saturday was her third visit to the house.
Ruggieri said she had experienced something and had seen shadows during her visits.
Henry was 15 years old when he had a personal experience.
“It piqued my curiosity.” He said. “I started like any other young investigator.”
He said that West Virginia Paranormal’s goal is to help people who are in need of an explanation as to what may be going on inside of their home.
The group has grown to 10 members in size and will travel all over the state to investigate.
Henry said he has a lot of skepticism when investigating as he thinks they are logical explanations to things.
“We don’t do this for money” he said. “Though we accept donations we just don’t want to commercialize this. We just enjoy doing it.”
He said investigating the paranormal is a lot of work but he is willing to help anyone who is interested in learning.

“God blessed us with good people who want too be here.” Henry said. “You learn fast (Off of page) and who has what it takes to do this. You have to have a desire to find the evidence. Paranormal activity is like lightening, you never know when it will strike.”


 The Independent. Sunday, June 26th 2011

 History and the Unknown
Paranormal investigators regularly offer tours of local house

By Scott Parsons

Ceredo: A cold damp spring night can chill anyone to the bone. Add to that a say in a purportedly haunted house and those chills can turn to genuine fear.

            This isn’t a haunted house with your neighbor dressed as a zombie. It’s a house where former residents may still walk the halls and interact with the living. It’s this notion, and the history that seeps from every inch of the home, that makes Zopher D Ramsdell House in Ceredo a special place to paranormal investigator and founder of The Original West Virginia Paranormal Rob Henry. Henry heads up a crew of history buffs, technical whizzes and hobbyists of all things weird. Together they make up The Original West Virginia Paranormal.

            “This place just oozes history” Henry said during a recent Night at the Ramsdell event. “It’s like you have literally stepped back in time when you come here.”

            The Night at the Ramsdell program is an effort by The Original West Virginia Paranormal to help raise money for the preservation of the Ramsdell House. A minimum donation of $20 is required for an intimate paranormal investigation.

            While the ghostly tales from the Ramsdell House are interesting, the actual history of the home and the man behind its creation is a remarkable tale.  Zopher D. Ramsdell moved to Ceredo in 1858 at the invitation of town founder Eli Thayer, who created Ceredo as an experiment to build an anti-slavery community in Virginia. Ramsdell was a shoemaker until the outbreak of the Civil War.

            During the war, he was a captain in the 5th Virginia regiment, renamed the 5th West Virginia when the western counties gained statehood. After the war, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Ramsdell a postal inspector. He also was a West Virginia Senator from 1868-1869 and is said to have written the state’s first school law.

            It is believed, prior to the Civil War, that both Ramsdell and his wife helped runaway slaves escape to the free land of Ohio and kept the slaves hidden in the basement of their home. The home was rumored to have a tunnel that went from the basement to the Ohio River bank.

            Take the history of a soldier and public servant. Add a dash of buried Civil War Soldiers and slaves in unmarked graves, mix in escaped slaves from the Underground Railroad and add the idea that the home was built upon an Adena burial mound and it’s a recipe for high-quality paranormal activity.

            “I’ve been investigating hauntings for 25 years and the Ramsdell House is the only place that myself or our team hasn’t been able to debunk what’s happening here,” Henry said

            In fact, in the dining room of the home are two certificates- one from The Original West Virginia Paranormal and another from Marshall University Paranormal Hunters – Testifying to the fact that there are strange things happening in the Ramsdell House. The house now serves as a museum and also is used for catered lunches and dinners, rehearsal dinners, showers and holiday gatherings.

            Mr. and Mrs. Ramsdell are supposedly still keeping watch over the house. A slave is said to wander the house. The spirit or a child is believed to be staying in the basement of the home. But the most talked about is the entity in the room that Henry and his crew have dubbed The Christmas Tree Room.

            “There’s something very evil in there and it doesn’t like us being here.” He said. “We’ve had doors slam, people scratched and shoved in that room.”

            The Original West Virginia Paranormal is fully equipped with some of the latest in high tech gadgetry used in the detection of, and communication with, ghosts.

            The investigators carry the standard equipment of any ghost hunter – Electromagnetic Field Meters, Digital Voice Recorders, Digital cameras and flashlights. But the group brings some serious firepower when it comes to trying to catch a ghost on camera.

            Among some of the more sophisticated items the group boasts are infrared cameras that can transmit an image in complete darkness. These cameras are wired to a custom-built computer where the team monitors all the activity throughout the house. If anything raises a question the team communicates using two-way radios on a closed channel.

            But don’t think The Original West Virginia Paranormal are in it just for the thrills. For them it’s a science. “I would like to see the paranormal treated like any other scientific field of study,” Henry said. “I’m a skeptic. I never go in to an investigation thinking it’s a haunting. I always feel there’s a reasonable explanation for everything. I wish it were taken seriously by more people.”

            When Henry and the rest of his team does personal investigations, they often find a haunting is caused by something other than disembodied spirits.

            “We had one person who said she would be visited by ghosts at night.” Henry said. “We have her out questionnaire, which has 48 questions. We do a phone interview and have the client fill out the questionnaire before we ever go to the house.”

            Through the phone interview and questionnaire, Henry’s team found the possibility of an interaction between two prescription drugs the person was taking. The client went to her doctor and had the medicines adjusted. After that, the haunting stopped.  

            “Often it’s something as simple as a drug interaction. Sometimes it’s faulty wiring in an old house causing strange occurrences. There’s usually an explanation.” Henry said.

            Henry said he hears a lot of people say that hauntings and ghosts are a myth and to those people he offers a challenge. “Prove it,” he said.  “Anyone is going to be a skeptic until something happens to them.”

            Henry said that while he and his team are able to debunk some of the alleged hauntings, he says he has been witness to things that he can’t explain. It’s not, however from lack of effort.

            “We will spend upwards of 120 hours of video, audio and photos after an investigation,” Henry said. “It feels like a full-time job. But I love it and wouldn’t miss it. I’ve gone on investigations while I was sick. You can ask my wife; it takes a lot to keep me away from an investigation.”

            A Night at the Ramsdell is available mostly on Saturday nights. If you would like to participate in an investigation of the Ramsdell House or would like an investigation of you house, contact The Original West Virginia Paranormal at