Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Face on the Wall

Here’s a classic West Virginia ghost tale.

After working for the railroad for 5 years Nick Yelchick was laid off in 1927. He looked for another job but found none. Discouraged he started to drink. To his wife’s chagrin he would come home drunk, tear up the house and then beat her.

Coke ovens Grant Town, WV
circa 1916
Eventually Nick did find work in the coal mines. But after his first week his need for a drink overwhelmed him. He asked a buddy if he would punch his timecard so he could get to the liquor store before it closed.

After Nick ate his lunch he decided to explore the “played out” parts of the mine. Within a short time he knew he was lost. The more he tried to find his way to the main line the more lost he became.

He walked for hours. At one point when he stopped to rest he realized that no one would know he was missing since he had asked his friend to punch out for him.

No one knew he was still in the mine; no one would come looking for him. Even his wife would probably just think he had gone off on one of his weekend drunks.

When 10 hours had passed his light burned out. He was now in worse trouble. He stumbled around for 2 more hours and then exhausted he sat down and fell asleep.

While he slept he dreamed. He saw his wife’s face on the wall of the mine. She was beckoning to him and she kept saying, “Follow me.”

He woke up with a start and saw his wife’s face was still on the wall near where he sat. As he approached-- it moved further down the wall. He chased his wife’s face for several hours until he reached the main line. Now he could find his way out of the mine.

As he exited the mine’s main entrance a night watchman approached him and told him his wife had been looking for him yesterday. “We told her you had gone home.”

Coal Camp at Grant Town
When he reached his home he found his wife had killed herself. He found her note, it said, “I thought you would stop drinking when you got this job, but now I know different.”

After this, Nick stopped drinking. He lived in Grant Town the rest of his life and remained sober until he died in 1947.

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