“Creep like a baby” (Ravenswood Devil)

Today we will examine evidence for the Ravenswood Devil’s Baby, a most excellent moniker bestowed upon a infant/monster hybrid who purportedly scurries about an Appalachian cemetery in the West Virginia town that bears his name.

In this cemetery stands a gravestone commemorating the brief life of George Elwood Sharp. The marker contains a ceramic photo that includes what was once a clear image of the deceased baby but which proponents believe has morphed into a demon child sporting fangs, horns, and hollow eyes. Some claim the plate releases a mysterious glow at night, while some go further and say the infant’s tortured wail can be heard at the same time.

Daniel Reed examined these assertions in a piece for Skeptical Inquirer. He learned that like many good legends, there are kernels of accuracy in this one. As stated earlier, there is a George Sharp gravestone with a ceramic photo plate. But as to whether it depicts Satanic spawn – especially one that can emit auditory and visual evidence of its existence – is another matter.

Reed explained that the child’s portrait appears devilish or vampiric because of discoloration and fading due to weathering. Additionally, a crack in the plate produces the illusion of fangs. Reed considers interpreting horns and fangs from the heavily-weathered image to be an instance of pareidolia.

Next, he tackled the claim that the ceramic plate emits an unearthly glimmer at night. Reed visited the cemetery and deduced that when the sun began to set on the western horizon, the glow proved to be merely light reflected off the plate’s relatively white surface. Also factoring in is a security light about 100 feet from the gravestone. This illumination hits directly on the plate, making for even more of a glow.

As to the putative crying, Reed wrote that considering the cemetery’s location in a residential area, one could expect to hear people talking, dogs barking, televisions running, animals running, leaves rustling, and more. That some of these could be misinterpreted as something ghostly is unsurprising, especially in a cemetery and by someone who is expecting or hoping to hear it. These are reasonable, albeit mundane, explanations, that make more sense than a disembodied spirit cavorting about.


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