Twelvepole Manor and the Terror Out Wayne
Written by: Sarah Mace, Gothic Literature and Regional Folklore Enthusiast – Marshall University Graduate Student
Every October, my friends and I find ourselves traveling through old farmlands and winding mountain backroads in search of the best-haunted houses in the tri-state. It sounds like the beginning of a horror movie, but it’s actually one of our most beloved Halloween traditions – one that has led us to the Haunted Barn, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, and the Fallsburg Fearplex among other favorites. But in 2018, after hearing a lot of buzz about Twelvepole Manor, we finally drove “out Wayne” on a whim – and what we found was one of the most thrilling, interactive haunted attractions we’ve ever visited.
Located on Hall Street near the Wayne County Courthouse, Twelvepole Manor is an old, two-story house with reddish-brown siding, boarded up windows and a jagged, dilapidated wooden fence. From a distance, it probably wouldn’t look too out of the ordinary – that is, if it weren’t for the eerie green lights, the echo of screams and members of the deranged Deadwood family stalking the premises. When I first visited on a cool, dreary autumn night, I remember thinking that the house was even more sinister up close. But it wasn’t until later in the evening that I realized that the grisly sets and the sadistic Deadwoods aren’t the only unsetting things about Twelvepole Manor.
Without revealing too many details about the horrors lurking inside the haunt, rest assured that it provides a genuinely frightening experience with its gruesome monsters, elaborate movie-grade sets and immersive sounds. Additionally, just when you think you’re finally free from the Deadwoods, the horror twists and turns through the upper floor and the backyard cemetery.
As a lifelong horror fan and a notorious thrill-seeker, I don’t scare easily, so I lingered in the back of the group that night to let my nephew, sister, and our best friend Katie take the lead. At one point, during a brief period of unnerving quietude, we made our way down a long, narrow hallway, which was brighter than most of the other rooms. But what I felt in that hallway was something much darker – something that sent a chill down my spine and had me looking over my shoulder every few seconds, half-expecting something to jump out of the walls at any moment.
And that’s when I felt the hand on my shoulder, the slight breath against the back of my neck that made my stomach twist. I turned around expecting to see a monster sneaking up behind me, but to my surprise, there was no one there – no actors, no loose props to brush against, no panels in the wall and certainly nothing within breathing distance of my neck. I hadn’t felt anything quite like that since touring the morgue of The Asylum, so of course, I found myself thinking back to it for weeks on end.
Later that month, Twelvepole Manor was #1 on our list of must-see haunts, so of course I was thrilled to hear about a screening of the film Twelve Pole in Huntington. I attended with my film professor and stuck around afterwards for a Q&A with director Sam Hodge. Most of the questions involved the special effects and cinematography, Hodge’s original film score and one of the film’s most shocking scenes, in which a character is hanged. But with my own experience still fresh in my mind, I asked Hodge if he or any of the film crew had experienced anything strange in the house.
Without hesitation, he looked me dead in the eye and said “constantly” before going on to explain how, for a while, the film crew couldn’t stay on the property for more than a few hours without feeling ill and having throbbing headaches – something that may be linked to the house’s dark past. Before it was restored as a haunted attraction, it had been left empty for a while, leaving it open to illegal activity and occult rituals. Apparently, the film crew uncovered several occult artifacts on the property, so some of the Satanic memorabilia featured in the film is real.
Twelvepole Manor in 2020
The last time I spoke with Hodge, he said the paranormal activity at Twelvepole has become less frequent since the house was cleansed — but after my experience, I still find myself wondering if Twelvepole Manor might be more than just a haunted attraction. Although the house itself is closed this year, you can still experience Twelvepole’s haunted trail for $10 a head if you’re feeling brave.
Living in West Virginia, Sarah Mace is a graduate student of English at Marshall University. With a passion for gothic literature, horror film and regional folklore, Sarah has integrated these themes into her professional studies. As a folklore enthusiast, Sarah has had the opportunity to mingle with prominent regional figures… living and beyond.
This post was last updated on October 30, 2020