Poltergeists in Virginia

A few years before he died, Gaither Pratt was once again called to a scene of poltergeist activity.  It was 1974, and it involved a family in the small town of Powhatan, VA.  The police had been contacted just as they had been in Seaford in 1958 [another poltergeist case I wrote about], and after determining that a prowler hadn’t been involved they reached out to Gaither who was working at the University of Virginia.  Nothing much happened when Gaither first arrived. (More below …)

Then, on a Sunday evening, like the Reverend Schulze all those years ago [another case], Gaither found himself standing frozen while he watched a “chair tilt backward, gathering speed as it went, and slam its back against the wall.”  For the next three hours it was as if the house was enchanted.  A ghost-like hand was seen at a window.  A closet door opened with a loud bang when Gaither walked past, and a tobacco pouch, a book of matches, and a magazine flew through the air.  Members of the family ran back and forth to report other dreamlike flights of objects.  Two weeks later when the family called begging for someone to come to the house immediately Gaither’s colleague John Palmer was there to take the call.  The house had once again erupted. Among other things a stove was moving back and forth they told him, and doors to appliances and drawers were opening and closing by themselves.  Just before Palmer arrived a stool slid across the floor, “pinning the grandmother and granddaughter into a corner.”  They were able to escape and run outside.  As Palmer’s car came up the drive the grandmother “felt a hard slap” and then a voice saying, “Go away.  Go far away!”  By the time Palmer reached her she was in tears. 

Over the course of the investigation both Gaither and Palmer found evidence of intentional trickery on the part of the children, but the children said they did it to please the scientists, thinking they’d want to see even more things move unaided.  In any case, their admission didn’t weaken Gaither’s confidence about the events he had witnessed directly when the children weren’t around.  

When giving his opinion about the investigation Gaither spoke with greater conviction than he had in 1958.  This was a genuine case of psychokinesis, he said.  He later published a report saying that a large number of the disturbances happened under circumstances that made it possible for him to say, “with complete assurance that no normal explanation could be given.” John Palmer wasn’t so sure.  

The next year, in the small town of Pearisburg, VA, a nine year old boy was placed into foster care with Mrs. Beulah Wilson, a widow.  The two got along well, and the child was looking forward to having his first real Christmas.  The disturbances began on December 19th.  A neighbor ran over while everything was still happening and he was able to confirm with Mrs. Wilson that the boy was with them when things flew, fell or tipped over.  It wasn’t the child acting out, not consciously at least.  Mrs. Wilson said she thought the hand of the Lord was behind it, but she didn’t know why.  Things erupted again on Christmas Eve and the police were called to take the boy away.  Sadly, he spent Christmas Eve in a the police station and was picked up later by a social worker.  “I personally have no doubt that this case was paranormal in nature,” Gaither wrote, while noting that a dozen presents for the boy remained unopened under the tree.  Two days after Christmas the boy was placed in another foster home. 

This story broke my heart a little.  I just can’t get over the fact that this little boy thought he was going to have his first real Christmas and instead spent Christmas Eve in jail and Christmas right back wherever they put kids until another foster family took them.  He never got to open those Christmas presents for him, which he must have been so excited to see.

(The house in the picture is from the Seaford poltergeist case I wrote about.  I didn’t have any pictures from these stories.)

25 thoughts on “Poltergeists in Virginia

  1. That just breaks my heart. Poor lil guy. Wonder what happened to him… what kind of man he became…

  2. I know, right?? I was able to find out a little about him and it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t good. Also, I didn’t keep researching to confirm what I had learned, so I don’t want to say. It didn’t sound like a happy life though. But who’s to say? I didn’t talk to him to see how he felt about it.

  3. I agree. I don’t think I’ve come across a sadder tale.
    I have found several incidents where there seems to be trickery and actual (or non-aided) activity. Have you found that, as well?

  4. Mrs. Beulah Wilson or as I called her, Aunt Beulah, as she is my Aunt was a wonderful, loving and caring woman, and led a very good, decent & religious life.

    Very sad indeed. I often wondered what became of the boy, as I’ve heard so many stories.

  5. Kimberly, I’m so thrilled that you stopped by! Hi! Yes, your Aunt did seem like a very kind woman, it was a pretty impossible situation apparently.

    Did your Aunt ever talk to you about it? Can you tell us anything? What stories have you heard?

  6. My family knew Beulah Wilson and I remember visiting her with my cousins when I was little. My grandparents and my great grandmother lived nearby and sometimes we’d stop by to say hello. She was a very nice Christian woman. I had no idea about the poltergiest until my grandmother told me about it years later.

  7. I think people often approach the topic of poltergeists incorrectly. They are scared of them, which is what the poltergeist feeds off of. If you can suck up and overcome your fear, they will usually go bother someone else. I have had several bother me. Overcoming my fear sent them away. Dancers In The Dark , is a blog devoted to meeting and communicating with spirits. I think it is better to deal with them, than let them run you off from your own house!

  8. Today is the first time I have actually seen the story of Mrs. Wilson in print. I remember when this happened I was in 7th grade. My parents were friends with her son and daughter-in-law. I remember spending the night at her home when I was in 8th grade. I never use to really believe in this sort of thing until it happened to someone I knew. Trust me, I now believe. I knew these people and they would never have made this up. For some reason, and I could be wrong. I thought I remembered something about when they would cover the young boys eyes with their hand that things would quit. I could be wrong about this part though.

  9. I am very very excited to read someone who is a little closer to the story. Can you ask your parent about it, what they remember, etc?

  10. Well apperently some things caught on fire but my grandmother might of just gone off the deep end shes dead now unfortunately

  11. My cousin’s father was the minister of Mrs. Wilson’s church at the time. He was asked to come pray during all that. My cousin actually never heard the story from his dad, but from some other source later. I had no idea until my recent online search that the story had been so well-documented. I’m heartbroken for the boy. I wish he’d have at least been able to have his presents. He was as much a victim in all that as everyone else.

  12. Yes. There was a story in the Roanoke Times that profiled that situation. I have not any doubt it occurred. The boy in the story has grown up and still lives in Giles County. He is not a trouble maker and a decent fella from what I gather. A Virginia State Trooper and another law enforcement officer witnessed part of the event. The trooper is deceased and the other LEO is retired and were and are standup members of the community. There was a lot more activity than what is in print. Fairly credible events to me who is skeptical of the majority of what gets reported or mostly of what is on the television and internet.

  13. Beulah Wilson is my grandmother & I’m sick of this story! I live below the “haunted” house people shouldn’t write things until they know the whole story.

  14. I’m very sorry. Several relatives have posted here about what a good woman your grandmother was. Would you be willing to tell us the whole story? I was hoping someone would come along who knew more about what happened.

  15. Hi Lisa! I don’t know and my notes are all put away now. What I have that’s still out said the home was on Fletcher’s Mountain.

  16. I know Jimmy Neice he was good friends with my uncle and he told us he went to step on the porch and a whole case of glass bottles flew past his head. My grandmother was a good friend of Mrs. Wilson and never had a bad word to say about her.

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