One woman remembers her encounter with the supernatural all too well.
The teenager recalled a large, lobster-like alien that attempted to pull her through her Greene County home's bedroom window as she slept one night. Luckily, she was able to fight the creature off and break free. The next morning, she awoke on her bedroom floor, covered in black and blue bruises from where the clawed bipedal crustacean grabbed her arm the night before.
This mysterious abduction attempt and other supernatural occurrences are detailed in a newly-released book that names Greene County as the most haunted county in America.
To many, the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania is a sleepy place where nothing ever happens. But it's more than initially meets the eye, according to paranormal researcher Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Greene County native Kevin Paul, who collaborated on investigations and co-wrote the resulting book.
"Haunted Hills and Hollows: What Lurks in Greene County Pennsylvania" explores a range of hauntings, ghosts, unidentified objects, shadow people, Bigfoot, dogmen, lizard people and other unknown entities, " a collection of eyewitness accounts of strange and unusual occurrences in Greene County," Paul said. Anecdotes are accompanied with photos and drawings.
"Paranormally speaking, Greene County could hold its own with other hotspots," Paul said.
Though the title of "most haunted" is subjective, Guiley has been investigating paranormal activity since 1983 across the country and world. She has written over 65 books on the subject and said much of the activity comes from the area's bloody past. It's also home to many UFO sightings.
"Far more goes on here than we were able to document," she said.
Skirmishes between settlers and natives leave a residue of energy on the landscape that encourages activity, Guiley claims.
"We need to know more about the history of the county, all of us," Paul said.
He added that some happenings have been repeated several years apart from each other, such as a UFO sighting on opposite sides of a hill 20 years apart and reptilian humanoid documented in the 1890s and a similar being in the same area in the '70s.
It's a relatively small geographic area "brimming from border to border with unusual activity that has been brimming for a long time" that's hard to find elsewhere, Guiley said. Of course, ghosts, ghouls and other creatures don't really care about geographic boundaries.
She compares Greene County to nearby West Virginia, which has a similar terrain with hills, valleys and remote, wooded areas home to bizarre phenomenon.
West Virginia's most famous haunt of all, Mothman, is also what started Paul's fascinations with cryptids. He remembers reading headlines about the legendary creature said to have been spotted near Point Pleasant in the 1960s.
Some have been skeptical, but much of the feedback and reception so far has been positive.
"There are people that have real experiences that are literally life changing and they don't want to talk about them because they're afraid they'll be ridiculed," Paul said.
That's partially why the book employs the use of pseudonyms to protect storytellers' privacy. Some specific locations, like homes, are kept ambiguous to protect people from any curiosity-seekers.
As for connecting with Guiley, Paul recalls listening to "Coast to Coast AM," a popular late-night talk radio show that covers paranormal topics where Guiley is a frequent guest. Paul sent off an email one evening, suggesting Guiley make a trip to Greene County.
"Rosemary, in the paranormal world, has celebrity status," he said.
Paul was pleasantly surprised when he heard back. Guiley said she receives many emails like this, and she normally doesn't take the time to respond. But something about this one gave her a gut feeling that she should write back, resulting in an eight-hour drive to Pennsylvania from her home in Connecticut. The partnership grew from there.
Paul knew several residents with experiences. The research process combines interviews, fieldwork and historical documents. Guiley said she likes to feel the energy of a place. Paul helped track people down for interviews, and historical documents can help provide context, like abandoned mine shafts or significant events like mass killings.
Guiley said mines, oil and gas wells and rivers are conduits for spiritual energy, all of which Greene County has in bounds.