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Beyond Science, History, Ghosts and the Appalachian Supernatural: The Sibold Effect


There are some places in the world that just speak to you. For one Virginia man it’s a place tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains where an old house overlooks a creek that flows into the New River.  

During a remodeling project on the place, he says supernatural events began to occur that were beyond explanation.  He thought no one would believe him about what he saw there. So he wrote a book that aims to document it.  

Some people believe there are no coincidences. That everything happens for a reason.

“I just thought I had bought a house and when I showed up I just knew at that moment that it was meant to be.”

Dave Miller bought the Newport, Virginia house, sight unseen while half a world away on a scuba diving trip. The first sign of something strange was seeing his own family name, ‘Sibold’ on the deed. Miller grew up in West Virginia, but had no idea the family had lived here more than 200 years ago after emigrating from Germany. A coincidence perhaps, but it wasn’t long before he started noticing what he calls in the book, energetic entities that may be manifesting themselves as ghosts, Indian spirits or some other supernatural phenomena.

Beeps from a Tesslameter

Miller holds a small device that measures electromagnetic fields. They’re generated around electric currents.

“When you take this and you come near the railings, it’s raising up here. Now it’s up to 90, 80. 90, go along the railing until I get to the center post and it (beeps) goes up to 200, 300 something like that.”

But this iron railing beeping off the charts has no wires.  It’s anchored to the limestone that leads down to the water, which flows through a dramatic gap below Clover Hollow Mountain.

“The limestone has a very strong residual spiritual effect because it’s ancient organisms that were once alive, so they think there’s a spiritual essence to rock that limestone. The narrative here I believe (is) that this was an ancient civilization of some sort.  In fact I think it was probably way before the Indian tribes here. It probably was their ancestors of place, spirit and blood just like mine were here.”

Miller has come to believe this place was sacred to early travelers and that a bit of their energy remains here, showing up as otherworldly looking orbs of light, strange sensations and coincidences. To him, the rocks that dominate this rugged, mostly wooded landscape tell stories.

“It could be one big coincidence, but why would all these rocks be aligned; Coincidence, random, maybe.  But it fits my narrative better.”

Which includes the feeling that he was being compelled by the strange energies to learn more, to find things they wanted him to see, but he says it was never scary.

“It was exactly the opposite it was exhilaration it was thrilling it never did seem like a haunting.”

Miller explains, he’s not trying to prove anything.  He just wants to get the story out there.

“It came over me that nobody’s going to believe me.  The only way anybody was going to believe me was to document it and publish it myself. I talked to National Geographic and contacted the Smithsonian.  They were all interested, nice but not interested enough to pursue.

...Or, they didn’t believe me.”

The book he wrote is called The Sibold Effect: Beyond Science, History, Ghosts and the Appalachian Supernatural named for his family, whom he believes, brought him here to write it.