A ‘spirited’ lesson in history

By Kelsey Gerhardt kgerhardt@civitasmedia.com

August 2, 2014

Middlesboro was a hub of activity during Prohibition times from 1920 to 1933. It is well documented that alcohol, gambling and activity at brothels was common during that time.

Cumberland Manor Bed and Breakfast, built in 1890, was a central location where locals and visitors alike took part in these risky behaviors.

“Past owners, the Easton family, loved to entertain so they had a lot of big parties here and evidently Mr. Easton brought a spectrum of partiers around and they partied in the basement here,” said Cumberland Manor owner Jill West.

Fast forward 80 years and visitors to Cumberland Manor believe the Prohibition partiers spirits are still alive and well in Middlesboro’s Arthur Heights area.

“We did, at one point, have a woman who was a psychic or something of that nature think that there is still a spirit or female here who is mad at her husband for activity that took place in the basement,” said West.

This kind of activity peaks the interest of Tri-State Paranormal Investigators who search for spirits, ghosts, movement or any other type of paranormal activity they can document in the area.

Late Wednesday evening, under the leadership of co-founders Neal Williams and Lonnie Rhymer, the group met at Cumberland Manor to investigate the potential paranormal activity.

The group spends countless hours checking equipment, setting up equipment and planning and researching local places to investigate. Some of their recent investigations have led them to Cumberland Gap Inn, The Old Mill Bed and Breakfast, Angelo’s in the Gap, Pine Mountain State Resort Park and several area residences.

The team uses electromagnetic field detectors, temperature sensors, electronic voice phenomena recorders, video recorders and camera to catch or detect any activity.

Once inside a potentially ‘haunted’ room, the team sits or stands in the dark and asks questions to provoke or prompt a spirit or ghost. Their findings are documented using their professional equipment and played back on TSPI’s television show and YouTube channel.

Preliminary findings from TSPI indicate at least one spirit — a female — throughout Cumberland Manor.

TSPI’s show is aired on Friday evenings at 10:30 p.m. on MCTV22 and WLMU on Monday evenings at 11 p.m. The Cumberland Manor episode will air as the season finale in late August or early September.

More information can be found about Cumberland Manor Bed and Breakfast or the Tri-State Paranormal Investigators by searching for them on Facebook.

Kelsey Gerhardt may be reached at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.