WELLSBURG - A Wellsburg home whose owner has reported strange and eerie incidents will appear on a nationally broadcast television cable show.
John Collins said he hopes sharing his tale through the Biography Channel's "My Ghost Story" will help people to understand what he has experienced.
"I just want my neighbors not to think I'm crazy," said Collins, who has lived at 70 28th St. since 1995 but said he didn't experience anything unusual until 2007.
John Collins of Wellsburg shows the headstone he found buried near his home, and he believes it is linked to strange incidents there. Collins and his home have been filmed for an upcoming episode of the Biography Channel's 'My Ghost Story.' -- Warren Scott
The show is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Friday. The date has been changed from an earlier one announced in the Brooke Scene.
The series features stories of supernatural phenomena reported by people throughout the U.S.
Collins said he was working on his sport utility vehicle in his garage when the lights began flashing on and off at various times during that winter. Thinking an underground power line to the garage had been damaged, he dug into the ground and discovered an old headstone.
The stone is well worn, with no name visible.
"That's when spooky stuff started to happen," he said.
Collins said one night he heard the kitchen door open, followed by footsteps and then a glowing blue ball of light floated into his young daughter's bedroom and then his while he was reading in bed.
It stopped at the foot of his bed, then disappeared, he said.
Collins said the next night he heard a crash in the room of his daughter, who wasn't home. When he entered it, he found her sack of toys had been emptied onto her bed, and the cloth bag was standing upright.
Collins said his mother, who also lives at the home, told him the strange sights were his imagination until she returned from the bathroom one night to ask who was trying to enter. She said the door handle was shaking as if someone was trying to open the door, but no one in the family had gone to the door, he said.
Another time his mother reported hearing someone in heavy boots pass her in the kitchen and feeling a chill in the air, Collins said.
He said at one point he considered burying the stone and he discovered a small stone block bearing the letters "YCUL" carved in it and learned it was likely used to engrave the name "Lucy" on a grave.
Collins said he's been told his house and others sit on the former site of a cemetery that was part of Lazearville, a community that was incorporated into Wellsburg years ago.
He said he and members of area groups interested in paranormal activity have shot photos and videos of ghost-like figures that have appeared in the house.
On one occasion a visiting nephew reported seeing a man in the laundry room, he said. Collins said he didn't see the man but took a photo anyway.
When he downloaded the digital picture, the outline of a figure, with dark spots that appear to be eyes and a nose, appeared.
As a fan of shows involving the supernatural, his nephew suggested he approach a local group of paranormal investigators.
A few have since been to the home, and one captured footage of what appears to be two figures speaking to each other, with one referring to the other as Lucy.
Collins said when he saw a request for stories from "My Ghost Story" on television, he decided to contact the show's producers, Mark Phillips Philms and Television of Los Angeles.
At the company's request, he sent photos and information early this year. By June, he was flying to Los Angeles to be interviewed at a television studio.
Collins said he was a little nervous about being filmed but the crews were very patient as he repeated his experiences when needed.
Last week a filmmaker from the company visited him in Wellsburg to videotape Collins relating his experiences in various areas of his home. Members of Paranormal Haven and Demonology of Weirton assisted him in recreating some of the strange incidents, he said.
Asked if anything odd happened during filming, Collins said they were in the kitchen when they heard a knock at the door. When the filmmaker looked around outside, he found nothing, Collins said.
He added a cabinet door also appeared to open by itself and footsteps were heard in the basement.
Asked if he was paid by the company, Collins said the company paid for his flight to Los Angeles and lodging and food while there but not for telling his story.
Asked if he's considered moving from the house, Collins said he's not able to because it was used as collateral on a loan that hasn't been paid off.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)