It looks like an old beaver-skin hat. Nothing extraordinary.
It appears worn, and battered; dirty and stained.
But look again.
Notice the stains on the front of the hat? They are dark. A very dark stain. Look again, and at the apex of the crown you will see a small hole. See it?
The stains are blood stains. The hole you see? A bullet hole.
This hat is the one that William M. Bean had on that fateful January 1st 1864 when he rode up to a cabin in Wiseman’s Hollow in Monroe County, WV to apprehend renegade soldiers who had stolen some clothing off of a washline.
As he approached the cabin, one of the renegades’s shot from the loft of the cabin. The bullet went through the edge of the crown of his hat. It stopped in his brain.
William was killed. His body was taken back to the house on Potts Creek that he’d built for his wife, who had died in 1856 from a fever. [ See our post on the William Bean house here.]
Laid out on planks in the parlor, that served as a funeral bier, his wound seeped fluid onto the floor. It is said that still today, nearly 150 years later, those blood stains remain on the floor.
The family legend so goes that when an individual tries the hat on…. They die shortly thereafter.
No one has tried it on in over 100 years.