These 3 West Virginia locations are some of the spookiest in America

Everyone loves a good ghost story. Something about us loves the terrifying idea of the supernatural, no matter how often it makes us check over our shoulder. However, in West Virginia, that shadow you saw in the corner of your eye might not be your imagination. West Virginia is home to some of the spookiest places in America, and if you’re brave enough, you can experience them first hand.

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

In the late 1700s, Mitchell Clay moved his family to what is now Mercer County, West Virginia. Clay moved onto land controlled by the Shawnee Native American tribe, and before long, conflict ensued. One day while Mitchell was hunting, his family was attacked, and several of his children were murdered. Clay exacted revenge with the help of several other local farmers, and many lives were lost. The land was passed around for many years until Conley T. Snidow purchased the land in the 1920s. Snidow erected a several rides, and he even opened the pond for swimming. He opened Lake Shawnee Amusment Park to the public, but an ominous aura still loomed over the land. A young girl was riding the swing when a park worker accidentally backed his truck into the swing’s path, ultimately killing the girl. Not long after, another child died while swimming in the pond. All in all, the park’s rides eventually amounted six deaths, and the park was closed in the mid-1900s. Today, the park still stands, overgrown with weeds and vines. The park has been closed for over 50 years, but some believe it still has its fair share of attendees. Many claim to have seen the spirit of the young girl who was killed on the swing set. Swings will begin to move even when there is no wind in the park. They claim the girl wears a pink dress covered in blood. Lake Shawnee has been the focus on many ghost-hunting television shows and documentaries, and you can even explore the park by tagging along on one of their tours throughout the year. Visit the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau for more information!

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Construction of the Weston State Hospital (present day Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum) began in the mid-1800s. The building is the largest hand cut stone masonry building in North America, and one of the largest in the world. It was originally designed to hold 250 patients, but in the 1950s it was home to over 2,400 residents. The Asylum closed in 1994 due to the deterioration of the building and the advancement and change of treatment in mental hospitals across the world. During its time, the hospital saw countless patients, experimentation, and even Civil War raids. Today, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is open to tours throughout much of the year, and many say the presence of the patients still lingers throughout the halls. Popular television shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures have visited the Asylum, and many believe it to be one of the most haunted locations in America.

West Virginia Penitentiary

The West Virginia Penitentiary is one of the more recognizable buildings in the state, and one of the creepiest, too. The prison was in operation from 1876 to 1995, and developed a reputation as one of the most violent prisons in the country. Over the course of the prison’s operation, more than 90 executions were conducted, including many by hanging and electrocution. Overpopulation led to the spread of disease, and many murders occurred within the prison’s walls. Today, the prison is a popular tourist attraction in the Northern Panhandle. Visitors are encouraged to tour the halls of the prison and get a glimpse of life inside the walls. Many claim that the walls still contain spirits trapped inside the building. Many paranormal television shows have visited the penitentiary and most believe it to be one of the most haunted prisons in the country.

Have you visited any of these terrifying West Virginia locations? Plan your trip today and take a step through history, but be wary because you never know what you’ll find.

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This post was last updated on March 17, 2022