MOST HAUNTED PLACES IN WEST VIRGINIA
The Mountain State boasts many paranormal anomalies, from horrific prisons and asylums to haunted hotels and amusement parks. Some of the spine-tingling history is not for the faint of heart. Any one of these places will leave you sleeping with the lights on at night. For a real fright this fall, head to some of the spooky places below.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Located in Weston, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was a sanctuary for the mentally-ill up until 1994. This National Historic Landmark was once an important military post in the Civil War. It was originally built to hold about 250 patients, but during its peak it held 2,400 patients in poor conditions. Ghost experts have flocked here to experience the paranormal for themselves. They’ve heard blood-curdling screams and seen mysterious shadowy figures. Many say the souls of the insane have never left the halls they once called home. Those brave enough can even choose to spend the night in the asylum.
The Wells Inn
Interested in staying the night at a haunted hotel? The Wells Inn is sure to give you a fright. The grandson of the founder of Sistersville, Ephraim Wells, built the hotel to cater to oil barons and upper class travelers in the late 1800’s. Many say that Mr. Wells never left his beloved hotel. A ghost walks the halls turning on lights, slamming doors and moving objects. The sound of writing can be heard from Mr. Wells old office.
Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
This abandoned amusement park will send a chill down your spine. When it opened in the 1920s, no one knew about its bloody past. The site housed a terrible skirmish between Mitchell Clay and the local Shawnee Indian tribe, after three of Clay’s children were brutally murdered by the tribe. Clay sought revenge and killed several of the Native Americans. After an entrepreneur stumbled upon the land and turned it into Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, things began to go wrong. A young girl died on the swings and a little boy is said to have drowned in the pond. Native American chants can be heard on some nights throughout the park. This attraction in Mercer County is open for haunted tours so you can explore the supernatural yourself.
A Haunting in Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry, one of the oldest towns in the state, is famous for its war time history. So it’s no surprise this town has Civil War soldiers performing marching drills and the ghost of John Brown walking the streets at night. Another ghost story is that of “Screaming Jenny,” a woman who caught fire and ran into an oncoming train. On the anniversary of her death, folks say they can see a ball of fire on the tracks that disappears when a train strikes her. Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry will take you on an evening stroll through the town’s spookiest sites.
On one fall night in 1952, a UFO fell from the sky and landed here in West Virginia. What happened next has been highly contradicted. A group of local children and neighbors went to where the UFO fell and found a mysterious being, with shiny eyes and a round red face, cloaked in a green drape-like material. The later-dubbed Flatwoods Monster hissed at the group and disappeared. The witnesses also reported a pungent smell that made them nauseous. The following day when investigators inspected the site, they found skid marks and an odd, gummy deposit, but no strange smell. Regardless of what had happened, today you can travel Braxton County in search of the Flatwoods Monster chairs that have been installed.
West Virginia Penitentiary
Widely regarded as one of the most haunted prisons in the United States, the West Virginia Penitentiary has seen several riots, fires and over 100 executions. The Gothic-style prison was built in 1876 from locally quarried hand-cut sandstone. The prisons’ hauntings date back to the 1930s when guards saw inmates roaming freely. However, when they sounded the alarms and searched the area, no one was ever found. If you have the courage to take a tour, you’ll be sure to see the “Shadow Man,” a dark silhouette that haunts the grounds. You might even hear whispering or arguing coming from the basement
Hidden in the hills of West Virginia lies a place that defies gravity. No one can say for certain what goes on at Mystery Hole. Folks have said that balls roll uphill. Others say that simply being there has cured their ailments. One thing’s certain – you have to experience this oddity for yourself.
Mysteries in Morgantown
Home of West Virginia University, Morgantown is known for more than their school spirit. Paranormal spirits haunt the hallowed grounds of this university. Long before the school existed, Elizabeth Moore was the principal of the Woodburn Female Seminary, a women’s education academy. After she passed, many still felt her presence on campus. Today, students have seen Ms. Moore hovering over the building that WVU named for her, E. Moore Hall. Just across the way at the Mountainlair, people have reported seeing a little girl in a yellow dress dancing through the student union. Sally, this spirit died of typhoid fever and was originally buried where Stewart Hall now stands. The bodies were moved to a different cemetery but some believe Sally never left.
North Bend Rail Trail
During the day, the North Bend Rail Trail in Parkersburg is a great place to hike, bike and horseback ride, but once night falls you might want to bring a lantern and a friend if you’re going exploring. Part of the trail around Tunnel No. 19 is known to be haunted by the spirit of a young woman. It’s not clear who she is, but many have seen a young woman in a flowing white dress in the area. Others have even found bones in an abandoned house near the tunnel. Be advised – if you venture into the tunnel, bring a flashlight. It’s over 1,300 feet long and even on the sunniest of days, you’ll be swallowed up in the darkness of Tunnel No. 19.
The Greenbrier Ghost
Arguably the most famous entity in the state is that of Zona Heaster Shue. Zona was a young, married and pregnant woman when she was found dead one January night in 1897 in Greenbrier County. The local newspaper said she had died in childbirth and was laid to rest a few days later. But Zona could not rest because she hadn’t died of natural causes. According to a local legend, Zona’s spirit visited her mother and told her how her abusive husband had murdered her. Zona’s mother visited the town’s prosecutor and demanded that her daughter’s body be exhumed. The autopsy revealed that Zona’s neck had been broken and her husband was ultimately found guilty. Today, a plaque commemorates the famous ghost that helped convict a murderer.