WV’s believe it or not: are these ghost tales true or tall tales?

Can you tell fact from fiction?

Here are 4 creepy stories from West Virginia. Some are true, and some are just holiday attractions. Can you figure out which is which? (Answers below!)

1. The Greenbrier Ghost

Ever hear of someone being convicted of murder… by a ghost? Elva Zona Heaster married a drifter in Greenbrier County in 1896. The next year, she was found dead, and Elva’s mother knew something was not right.

The spirit of Elva visited her mother, Mary Jane Heaster for 4 nights in a row and explained how her abusive husband broke her neck. An autopsy confirmed Elva did die from a broken neck. The trial included testimony from Mary Jane about her daughter’s ghostly visits. As a result of the testimony, Elva’s husband was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Rusting Ferris wheel at Lake Shawnee Abandoned Amusement Park, West Virginia

2. Lake Shawnee

Here is one story to curl your toes: The haunting of Lake Shawnee abandoned amusement park. In the 1780s, Native Americans killed several kids of the Clay family. In the late 1920s, it was an amusement park, complete with swings, a ferris wheel and a swimming pond. Soon after opening, blood poured again with several deaths, including one little girl who died on the swings. The park was shut down after the deaths, leaving the rides to rust.

People say they still see the ghost of the little girl, wearing her bloody dress. Or they hear 1 swing gliding back and forth without any wind. Or just rushes of cold and warm air as her spirit stalks the park.

3. Miller’s Nightmare Haunted Farm

Deep in the woods in Greenbrier County lies rural farmland with a terrifying backstory.

People say it’s got an infected crop and the forest is demented. Some believe it is a sacred Indian burial ground, now cursed. Other say that the large corn field was used for chemical testing, and that the people who used to live there morphed into frightening creatures with a thirst for blood.

Lots of mystery surrounds this place, but you can hear eerie sounds echoing from the trees at night. And some people say they’ve seen disfigured creatures watching them from the crop fields, even during the day.

Interior of Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, WV

4. Malice at the Asylum

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum has a dark, disturbing history full of stories of mental illness and violence.

When it was open, the hospital was forward-thinking and cutting-edge, but at the time, forward-thinking and cutting edge still meant some things we’d find horrifying today. Those treatments left their dark mark on the place.

As the place got more crowded, the staff couldn’t care for all the patients. Some people even say a doctor went insane and started experimenting on the them, and didn’t get caught for years.

These days, the once-impressive hospital is an eerie, maze-like abandoned building. Until night falls, and the spirits of the patients and their demented doctor roam the halls.

How’d you do?

Did you figure out which haunts are real? Let’s see:

  1. TRUE. As wild as it seems, this tale of a ghost’s testimony is completely true! It’s officially “on the books” and you can snap a photo with the historic marker in town.
  2. TRUE. Hear the real spine-tingling tales of this haunt during the October Dark Carnival, or at paranormal events and tours throughout the year.
  3. FALSE. Did this one trick you? No need to worry! Only folks in Halloween costumes haunt these farms. Others… who knows?
  4. BOTH! Trick question. There was never a doctor who did experiments. That’s just the theme of the annual haunted attraction. But locals do say the place is haunted. Really, really haunted.

For more spooky stops and stories, check out the WV Haunted Trail.

Find more haunts >

This post was last updated on March 16, 2022