13 spooky places that’ll make your spine tingle
The Mountain State harbors its share of ghostly entities, from Civil War soldiers to extraterrestrial beings to murder victims seeking justice.
Here are just a few spooky places to visit that will set your spine tingling and your heart thumping. Before you set off on your explorations, don’t forget to pack your flashlight, voice recorder and EMF meter!
1. Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
In the late 1700s in present-day Mercer County, a bloody skirmish between white settler Mitchell Clay and the local Shawnee Indian tribe ended in the deaths of 3 of Clay’s children and several Shawnee warriors. In the 1920s a local businessman purchased the land and turned it into an amusement park. But some say the land is cursed.
Over the next few decades, several people died at the park, which was finally abandoned in 1966. Weeds choke the rusted-out remains of the Ferris wheel and swings, where visitors have reported seeing the ghosts of a man and a little girl in a pink dress. In a field near the park, an archaeological dig has uncovered Native American bones and a marker memorializes the place where 2 of Clay’s children died.
Is the land cursed? You be the judge. Lake Shawnee Amusement Park is open for paranormal tours and the park also hosts a Dark Carnival in October.
2. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The Gothic stone structure of the old Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum just looks haunted, so it’s no surprise there are ghost stories associated with this Civil War-era hospital in Weston.
Construction began on the asylum in 1858 but was disrupted for a few years when the grounds were used as a camp for Union soldiers. Originally built to house 250 patients and at one time known as Weston State Hospital, the facility reached its peak in the 1950s with 2,400 patients jammed into overcrowded, poor conditions.
The hospital closed permanently to patients in 1994 but eventually was reopened as a tourist destination. Witnesses have reported doors slamming, shadowy figures and bloodcurdling screams from within the building’s walls. The asylum offers ghost tours and history tours throughout the year as well as a haunted house and other events for Halloween.
3. Blennerhassett Hotel
The historic Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg is said to be haunted by the ghost of William Chancellor, the man who built this Queen Anne-style hotel in the late 1800s. Guests have also reported run-ins with ghostly children playing tag in the hallways and a man in a tuxedo who appears in the hotel’s mirrors. Mysterious noises have been reported as well, including knocking on doors and music coming from the empty ballroom late at night. The Haunted Parkersburg ghost tour begins in the lobby of the Blennerhassett Hotel, and you can stay there with their special “Haunted Parkersburg” overnight package.
4. Haunted Harpers Ferry
Home to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, the Eastern Panhandle town of Harpers Ferry is said to house a number of restless spirits dating back hundreds of years.
Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry guides visitors on an evening walking tour of some of the town’s most haunted sites. Learn the stories of a woman clad in 18th century fashion, peering from the window of Harper House. At St. Peter’s Catholic Church, which served as a hospital during the Civil War, visitors have spotted the ghost of a wounded soldier and an old priest.
While on your tour, if you hear the distant strains of fife and drum, don’t worry– that’s just the phantom army performing one of its marching drills.
5. West Virginia Penitentiary
Opened in 1875, the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville is said to be one of the most haunted prisons in the United States. It’s no wonder, as the prison was the setting for riots, fires and nearly 100 executions during its time in operation. Visitors have reported sightings of phantom inmates and a “shadow man” wandering the premises, as well as unexplained noises, voices and cold spots.
Today you can tour the lockup areas and prison yard and view the electric chair dubbed “Old Sparky.” For the bravest souls, stay for an overnight session, and bring your own flashlight and ghost-hunting equipment to explore the prison after dark. In addition to regular tours year round, the prison stages a haunted house every October.
6. North Bend Rail Trail Tunnel No. 19
Hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders traversing the 72-mile-long North Bend Rail Trail in Ritchie County might want to proceed with caution around Tunnel No. 19, also known as the Silver Run Tunnel. It was here on a foggy evening in 1910 that an engineer spied a young woman in a flowing white dress standing on the tracks. He brought his train to a screeching halt but when he went to look for the woman she had vanished. His predecessors also spotted the same woman on the tracks, and each time she vanished.
No one knows the origin of the mystery woman, although some bones were said to have been found under a house near the tunnel.Some say you can still spot her. Those who wish to explore the tunnel are advised to bring a flashlight, even during the day. The curved, damp tunnel is 1,376 feet long– beyond sunlight’s reach.
7. Droop Mountain Battlefield
Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park in Pocahontas County commemorates the site of West Virginia’s last significant Civil War battle. On November 6, 1863, a crushing advance by Brigadier General William Averell’s Union troops drove Brigadier General John Echols’s Confederate troops south into present-day Virginia.
The battlefield site was established as a state park in 1929 as a memorial to the casualties of the battle. A wooden observation tower, hiking trails and picnic tables mark the grounds where Civil War soldiers fought, died– and some say, still remain. Visitors have reported sounds of galloping horses and sightings of the ghosts of a headless Confederate soldier and another soldier lying asleep against a tree.
8. Haunted Parkersburg
Known in Civil War times as the “wickedest city along the Ohio River,” Parkersburg now houses a colorful collection of haunts. Learn more about these spirits during Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours, which meet at the historic Blennerhassett Hotel.
Famous ghosts of Parkersburg include Margaret Blennerhassett, who is said to walk the rooms of her beloved mansion on Blennerhassett Island, while at Riverview Cemetery the ghost of a sea captain has been sighted on several occasions. On Quincy Hill, where a hospital tent was located during the Civil War, you might encounter the ghosts of Confederate soldiers.
9. Point Pleasant – Mothman
In 1966, residents of Point Pleasant first reported seeing a tall, winged creature with glowing red eyes. As with the case of the Braxton County Monster, it was believed that this creature– dubbed Mothman– was an extraterrestrial being. The appearance of mysterious men in black around the same time further solidified the belief that government agents were in town investigating UFO sightings. Others sought to link the creature to the tragedy of the Silver Bridge, which collapsed on December 15, 1967.
Today, Mothman has become a pop culture icon in Point Pleasant, where a 12-foot-tall metallic statue bears his likeness and the town hosts a Mothman Festival every September. At the Mothman Museum, you can study newspaper clippings and other exhibits or book a bus tour of the TNT area, the old World War II munitions plant outside of town where Mothman was first sighted.
10. Flatwoods – the Braxton County Monster
In 1952, 3 boys in Flatwoods spotted a glowing object cross the night sky and come to rest on a neighbor’s farmland. They ran to the UFO landing site, where they were met by a pulsating ball of fire and a pungent mist that made their eyes burn. It was then that they saw a creature at least 7 feet tall with glowing eyes. It emitted a shrill hissing noise and the witnesses fled in terror.
The next day the county sheriff and a reporter from the Braxton Democrat newspaper visited the site but found no trace of the encounter, other than the odd smell. Several other residents have reported seeing the Braxton County Monster (also known as the Flatwoods Monster or the Green Monster), but no one has been able to identify exactly what it was or where it came from.
Today, you can get your photo sitting in one of several oversized Braxton County Monster chairs that have been installed throughout the county.
11. Whipple Company Store
West Virginia’s coal mining heritage is a rich and sometimes tragic one. Whipple Company Store in Fayette County pays tribute to the stories, legends and lore that made up this hardworking way of life. This unique architectural structure once served as the center of coal camp life, selling everything from candy to caskets.
During October, Whipple Company Store offers a special after-dark flashlight tour of the creepiest areas of the 100-year-old building, including the elevator shaft, ballroom, walk-in safe, hidden floor, embalming room and basement. The unexplainable sights and sounds reported have made the old store a popular destination for ghost hunters.
12. Haunted Lewisburg
Lewisburg Ghost Tours guides guests on a candlelit walk through Lewisburg Historic District— a hotbed of paranormal activity, some say. Late at night, you might hear the cries and moans of injured soldiers coming from the Old Stone Church, which served as a hospital during the Civil War. Meanwhile, at the historic General Lewis Inn, guests have reported encounters with as many as 3 mischievous spirits.
The area also is home to arguably the state’s most famous entity: the Greenbrier Ghost, also known as Zona Heaster Shue, the murdered woman whose ghostly appearance helped convict her killer husband in court. A historical marker commemorating the famous ghost is located on U.S. 60 in Sam Black Church near the I-64 entrance ramp.
13. 22 Mine Road, Logan – the Ghost of Mamie Thurman
During the prohibition years, Logan resident Mamie Thurman lived the life of a carefree flapper. On June 21, 1932, her murdered body was found along remote 22 Mine Road. A handyman was charged with her murder, but many suspect it was his employer – a prominent banker with whom Mamie was said to be having an affair – who actually killed her.
Adding to the mystery is that her body seems to have disappeared and no record of her interment has been found. Mamie’s restless spirit is said to haunt the area seeking justice and a place of rest. It’s rumored that if you drive your car to the place where Mamie’s body was found and put it in neutral, the vehicle will roll uphill.
What ghostly encounters have you had in West Virginia?See more spooky spots
This post was last updated on July 21, 2020