Mines, both mysterious and treacherous are believed by the men that work there to be haunted. Sometimes these apparitions try to give a warning of pending disaster, other times they lure the living to their doom. In Grant Town, West Virginia the Federal No. 1 mine operated from 1901 until 1985 and was said to be haunted by a Russian miner.
In 1901, the Federal Coal and Coke Company built a coal mine in Grant Town. With its promise of work immigrants came from across the world to make a living, where they could find death from explosions or rock falls. They brought their customs and their ghostlore.
In 1961, Jimmy Dean performed a song "Big, Bad John" based on this character. In the song he was described as a very tall and muscular man. A quiet man, rumors were that he left New Orleans after killing a man over a Cajun Queen. He scarified himself when a timber cracked inside the mine, and he held it aloft so his coworkers could escape, however it collapsed before he could get out.
The other story is that he was a Russian, and lived closed to the mine in a little shack. One day he became careless with explosives, and blew his head off.
A few days later, a miner descending into the mine early one morning, heard someone breathe heavily next to him. When he turned around the light from his helmet shone on a terrible sight. It was a headless man, holding his head with a big smile on it under one arm. With nowhere to go, the miner just shut his eyes. He opened them when the cage landed, but the apparition had disappeared.
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