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Demonic image appears on door in Dunbar home

DUNBAR, W.Va. -- Tom Burger said he's tried to remain skeptical, but there's a room in his mother's house in Dunbar that gives him the creeps.

"There's something about it," the 53-year-old former Dupont employee said. "The room doesn't hold paint, and just getting a night's sleep in there can be rough."

From time to time, there are little noises outside the window.

"Thumping sounds. It's like there's somebody out there, banging on the wall."

But when you look, there's no one at all.

And then there's the door to the closet. Burger swears he can see the devil coming out of the wood.

"I don't know what caused it, " he said. "I guess something has always been there. I remember when we were kids, you could see something, but over the last year or so, it's really come out. That's when I noticed the fangs."

Friends, he said, grown men, have refused to sleep in the room.

"It's like it's staring at you."

How the door became a vision of unspeakable evil is beyond Burger's ability to explain. His parents bought the place new more than 60 years ago. His mother, Hilda, still lives there. Burger looks after her.

As far as any of them knows, the house was just one of several built at roughly the same time in the neighborhood. He's never heard anything about the land being used previously as an Indian burial ground or a vacation spot for deranged cultists looking to bring forth some horrible creature from another dimension.

Dunbar is pretty quiet, actually. No real incidents of mass murders or serial killings, but the town is home to the Dutch Hollow Wine Cellars, a historic wine cellar built in 1855, consisting of three stone vaults, 14 feet high at center.

Burger said how the door might seem to channel the face of some wicked being was a mystery to him.

"I kind of want to get the picture of this thing out there," he said. "And find out."

Burger said he also wasn't against selling the door to some kind of collector or museum. He's heard there are people out there interested in that kind of thing.

Experts don't know precisely what might have caused the image. Tom Sloan works at Lowe's and said he's never seen anything like what's showing up in the door.

"I guess it could be in the wood grain," he said. "But I don't know what would bring that out of it."

He pointed to a row of unfinished wooden doors and explained, "If you applied a stain to ash or pine, maybe, I guess it could bring out a pattern in the wood."

Sloan considered for a moment, then added, "It could be moisture. But if the door has been there for a long, long time, I don't know why it would take until now to show up."

Tim Vickers and Pat Vance with Mountain State Paranormal Investigations, a group that looks into paranormal activity around West Virginia, agreed the door was creepy.

Vickers said, "My first thought is it's nothing more than an image that happens to be in a form of something that appears to be evil or demonlike. Some groups refer to this as 'matrixing,' or your mind making sense of patterns it sees.

"I really believe it's random."

Vance agreed. "Our mind has a tendency to identify/recognize things we see and hear within bizarre shapes, designs and sounds," he said.

Vance gave the example of finding shapes in clouds. Of course, he added, after the door was identified as having a demon or devil coming out of it, any unusual happenings in the area would tend to be attributed to the door.

Vickers said he probably would have gotten rid of the door a long time ago anyway, which Sloan at Lowe's agreed with.

"I guess you could try painting or re-staining the door," Sloan said. "But you'd have to sand the door down. If what you were dealing with was an actual evil spirit or demon or something, I'm not sure how they'd take to you doing something like that."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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