Crisp fall air brings about a certain chill that many folks revel in during the last half of the season. Tales of spooky encounters, ghostly sightings make the weeks leading up to Halloween a popular time to experience some of the state’s spookiest spots.
Just by looking at the Gothic stone structure of the old Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum you can tell it’s bound to be haunted, so it’s no surprise there are ghost stories associated with this Civil War-era hospital in Weston. Witness reports of doors slamming, shadowy figures and bloodcurdling screams from within the building’s walls bring curious visitors here for ghost tours and history tours throughout the year, as well as a haunted house and other events for Halloween.
Head to the Northern Panhandle and you’ll come across Moundsville’s old West Virginia Penitentiary, a must-see for those seeking a spine-tingling experience. It’s said to be one of the most haunted prisons in the United States; 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.” In addition to regular tours year-round, the prison stages a haunted house every October.
Some might be surprised to learn that charming Parkersburg was once known as the “wickedest city along the Ohio River,” in Civil War times. Learn more about the city’s colorful collection of haunts on Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours, which meet at the historic Blennerhassett Hotel throughout each fall season. 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.
An hour south of Parkersburg along the Ohio River, the town of Point Pleasant relishes in its spooky yet quirky tale of the Mothman. Based on a reported sighting of a creature with glowing red eyes and a wingspan of 10-feet in the late 1960s, the legend of the Mothman has become a pop culture icon. 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.