5 spooky cemeteries you can explore
While you may not want to pile into a haunted house or take a guided tour this year, something else spooky awaits. Get your fill of frights at one of the historic cemeteries of our state, while staying easily socially distanced.
In many corners of our state, it’s not uncommon to see century-old headstones. Get a history lesson (and maybe see some spooky sights) at these 5 cemeteries:
1. Woodlawn Cemetery | Fairmont
In 1875, this rural cemetery started with the burial of a young boy, Joseph Hamilton, who was put to rest in the very spot his father found him shot to death. Since then, more than 10,000 people have joined Hamilton— including the “Father of West Virginia,” Francis Harrison Pierpont.
The cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its time-worn monuments create an eerie atmosphere. Stroll across the vast rolling hills and study graves of former senators, congressmen and Civil War veterans.
Be sure to also visit the nearby Woodlawn Abbey. This mausoleum, which was built in 1924, is home to 500 crypts. Fun fact: there are no crypts numbered 13 in any of the 8 sections, due to sinister superstitions. The Abbey is locked, but if you call ahead, the superintendent can open it for you.
2. Hatfield Cemetery | Logan County (near Sarah Ann)
If you’re from West Virginia, chances are you’ve heard of the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud. Did you know you can still visit one of the notorious family’s leaders, Capt. Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield?
If you’re willing to go off the beaten path— and maybe even get a little dirty— you’ll be rewarded by a life-size statue of Devil Anse standing eerily atop a steep knoll among lush overgrowth and towering trees. The statue was commissioned by his 13 children after his death in 1921, and erected in 1926. It is made entirely of Carrara marble from Italy, casting a spine-chilling shadow at nightfall.
3. Riverview Cemetery | Parkersburg
Like many cemeteries in the area, Riverview started as a family burial place and gradually evolved into public use.
This ancient cemetery (the first grave is marked 1801!) is crawling with history… and some spooky tales as well, including the story of the Weeping Woman. This statue was built to watch over the Jacksons, a well-known family who were cousins to the famous Civil War general, Stonewall Jackson. Many say she comes to life on nights when she’s bathed in the light of a full moon. Rumor also has it that she’s a great judge of character, ripping the shirts or tugging the hair of people she senses trouble with.
While you’re in town, you can also check out The Blennerhassett Hotel’s haunted tours and events.
4. Old Stone Presbyterian Church Cemetery | Lewisburg
Built in 1796, the Old Stone Presbyterian Church is the oldest church still in continuous use in the Alleghenies.
The plots adjacent to the limestone church are home to some of the area’s very earliest settlers. It’s also the final resting place for 11-year-old Maud Montague Mathews, whose plot is marked by an angel statue. She died from influenza. Local legend has it that each girl who attended her funeral placed a kiss on the angel’s cheek. Shortly after, several of the girls died and many think that otherworldly influences are to blame. The statue is now known as the “Angel of Death.”
5. Spring Hill Cemetery | Charleston
Spanning the length of the capital city, West Virginia’s largest cemetery provides a beautiful view of downtown. As the nightly fog begins to fall, this view turns a bit more mysterious.
The cemetery was started in 1869 and is still active today. Its 150 rolling acres are covered in diverse monuments that bridge centuries of families. The oldest section of the cemetery, known as Old Circle, is the resting place for a number of notable local lines, including Ruffner, Quarrier, Dickinson, Laidley and Summers.
Looking for more historic stops in Almost Heaven? Get a copy of our Travel Guide today!
Travelers visiting West Virginia are encouraged to check the status of individual businesses before taking a trip. A statewide indoor face-covering requirement is in effect and visitors are encouraged to maintain a safe social distance when traveling.
This post was last updated on October 30, 2020