Ever since I was a kid I was always intrigued by all things unexplained. I was never interested in sports or other activities kids my age usually engaged in I spent most of my time reading mythology books or scouting for ancient tales about witched, ghouls, and other scary creatures. I was that weird relative telling spine-chilling stories at dinner tables instead of that boring chit-chat we all have to put up with I always the odd one out, but that was fine with me.
My family first thought I was going through a phase and would soon grow out of my love for the supernatural. Little did they know I wasn’t going to turn into a boring adult who gave up on their passion. I still firmly believe there’s more to this world than meets the eye. I firmly believe we’re not alone in the Universe, and I have a real reason to believe we, humans, are not alone on Earth either. I felt it! I want to share with you all that places that gave me the chills. I tell you, it’s a more frightening experience than practising most adrenaline-pumping sports!
Let me tell you about the most haunted places in West Virginia and why they’re so worth seeing. But be warned, you won’t be greeted by the ol’ friendly Casper!
If you want to enhance your trip then be sure to get a thermal camera for ghost hunting to see the unseen.
1. Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
In the late 1700s, an altercation between a settler and the Shawnee tribe resulted in what is now known as the Clay family massacre. Three of the Clay family died here, along with several of the Shawnee warriors. You’d think businessmen would have more sense than building a park on an old American Indian burial ground, right? Wrong! Sometime during the 20s, a businessman bought this land in Mercer County and opened up and amusement park. It was supposed to be a fun place for local families to enjoy themselves. Oh, little did he know!
In what should’ve been the park’s glory years, a number of people died in horrific accidents and the park ultimately closed down in 1966. Some believe it was the dead that caused the terrible accidents, and I do tend to agree with them. And I mustn’t be the only one, because even though the grounds changed hands since then, it remains abandoned to this day. The rusting Ferris wheel, the children’s swings, everything is being eaten up by the unkempt vegetation while the park continues to accumulate stories of vengeful ghosts.
2. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Abandoned asylums are some of my favorite places to go ghost-hunting. Scratch that; they’re definitely my favorite! I always feel like there’s something following me, embracing me with their coldness. I get the chills even thinking about those weird experiences.
The impressive asylum was finished in 1881, more than 20 years after work first began on this gigantic construction. It’s the largest hand-cut sandstone masonry building in North America, built to house about 250 patients. However, in the 1950s, over 2,500 patients were housed here in poor conditions. On top of that, it’s well-known they did not receive the proper care they needed, and the treatments were cruel, to say the least. Even today, the souls of the patients who died here remain restless. And if you’re silent enough, you can hear still the blood-curdling screams coming from within the asylum’s walls.
3. West Virginia Penitentiary
Walking through the gates of the penitentiary and coming back out a few hours later is a given today, but not for those who’ve been here before you This imposing stone structure created in the Gothic architectural style opened in 1876. The penitentiary was known as a place of paranormal activity even before closing down in 1995.
Behind its giant walls, there have been nearly 100 executions, numerous fires, and countless riots. There’ve been many deaths here, and not all those who’ve died here are happy to receive visitors. Even today, people frequently report coming face to face with the ghosts of previous inmates lurking through the corridors. Regular tours are held here, and brave visitors can even choose to book the midnight tour that gives them the chance to linger around inside the prison until 6 AM. Remember it’s okay to get into prison if it’s a haunted one!
4. Glen Ferris Inn
The Glen Ferris Inn was the first permanent structure built in Glen Ferris way back in 1810. Conveniently located on the Kanawha River, it was an important meeting place for notable personalities of that time The Glen Ferris Inn also hosted forces from both sides during the Civil War. Following the death of its owner, the inn became a private residence in 1905 and received some extensive remodeling. While not officially an inn since then, the structure continued to host various travellers, workers, and various officials over the years.
The Glen Ferris Inn is haunted by the spirit of a bearded man dubbed ‘The Colonel” who is believed to have been a Confederate officer. As opposed to other less friendly ghosts in our list, the Colonel is described by visitors as helpful and playful. He enjoys playing pranks around the inn, shutting doors on people, disembodied footsteps, and only appearing from the waist up. I don’t know about you, guys, but I’d sure like to get pranked by the Colonel. Sadly, it failed to play his tricks on me when I was there a while back, but I’m already planning my next visit.
5. Jenkins Plantation Museum
Now a museum, the house was originally the home of the Jenkins family and it was built in 1835. The most notable owner of this large brick house was General Albert Gallatin Jenkins, who owned more than 4,000 acres at Green Bottom. The general died during the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain at only 33. His remains were brought back to the plantation, where he was buried. And while he was later reinterred at the Confederate cemetery, he never truly heft the grounds on his estate.
The general is believed to haunt the Jenkins Plantation Museum, with many visitors claiming to have seen Jenkins making an appearance. The fact that the former plantation has been long abandoned also helps cultivate the superstition surrounding it But if you’re lucky enough, you may even hear the sound of his boots walking through the halls of the building.
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6. Blennerhassett Hotel
The Blennerhassett Hotel was built by a wealthy businessman named William Chancellor, and it opened its doors in 1889. The 5-floor hotel originally held 50 guestrooms over four floors, the 5th floor contained the kitchen, while the lower level was partially occupied by the First National Bank of Virginia. It seems that William Chancellor loved his hotel so much he decided to stay even after he passed on.
There have been numerous reports of suspicious noises, knocking, and people claiming to see the reflection of a well-dressed man in the mirrors of the hotel. And that’s not all! The elevators seem to have a habit of always stopping on the second floor for no reason. Some guests have even been woken up at 4 AM by a phantom knocker. Now, this is what I call a nice stay! Book me a room because I’m in!
7. Keith Albee Theater
Construction on Huntington’s Keith Albee Theater began in 1926 and on May 7, 1928, the vaudeville theatre opened its doors for the first time Unfortunately, this magnificent theatre was constructed during the time when talking pictures were taking over vaudeville acts. Nonetheless, it survived financial difficulties and the 1937 flood, and two years later it became the home of the Marshall Artists Series. Even so, it continued to lose its appeal, and it was ultimately modified to house five movie theatres.
Over the years, at least four people died in the theatre, two electricians, a maintenance man, a homeless man, and a woman. The female, known as the Lady in Red, is described as wearing a 1940s dress paired with high heels. Most often she’s seen wandering the mezzanine, but she sometimes appears in the mirrors too. Visitors claim they often get the feeling of being touched, and cold spots occasionally show up in the areas where the four men lost their lives. I get the chills just thinking about this, but I wouldn’t mind catching a glimpse at the stunning Lady in Red on my next visit to Huntington.
8. Lewisburg Historic District
One thing West Virginia surely doesn’t lack is haunted towns! One town that is proof of this is Lewisburg. We’re not talking about just one building or park, the whole historic district seems to be haunted here. Following the tragic deaths that occurred throughout the Lewisburg’s history, there seems to be some major paranormal activity in this otherwise charming little place.
If you dare go out at night, you may hear moans and cries that seem to come from the Old Stone Presbyterian Church. People here believe they are the cries of wounded soldiers who fought in the Civil War and were housed in the church when the building served as a hospital. There’s also General Lewis’ Inn, which people say is haunted by three mischievous spirits. However, the most popular unexplainable appearance here is what people refer to as “The Greenbrier Ghost,” which is believed to be the spirit of Zona Hester Shue. Zona was killed by her husband, but she came back as a ghost to help convict him.
9. North Bend Rail Trail
Extending for a total of 72 miles, the trail is popular among cyclists, hikers, and horseback riders. But everyone who passes by needs to make sure they navigate the tunnel number 19 carefully. Local tales say the Silver Run tunnel began being hunted sometime in the 1910s. Witnesses report seeing a young woman, or the lady in white” because of her long white dress, simply standing still on the tracks.
The young lady was first noticed by a railroad engineer who has to abruptly stop the train thinking he was going to hit a real person. When he got out in search of her, she simply disappeared into thin air. As years passed, others experienced the same the same encounter. Nobody knows exactly who she is, but it appears that human bones were found on a property near the tunnel. Take my advice and bring a flashlight if you’re going in search of the lady in white because you can hardly see anything inside this 1376 feet-long tunnel.
10. Droop Mountain Battlefield
This State Park is a memorial place commemorating the Battle of Droop Mountain, which was the states’ last significant Civil War battle that took place on November 6, 1863. On that historical day, General William Averell’s Union troops drove the Confederates south into the current-day state of Virginia. In 1929, the ground became a national park in memory of the brave soldiers that lost their lives in the battle.
Visitors report paranormal activity like sounds galloping horses, screams, and the spirits of the soldiers making an appearance. But the spookiest thing to occur here is the sighting of the ghost of a headless soldier. One of the first to come face to face with the headless ghost was a retired logged who camped on the grounds in 1920. The man was preparing a fire when he heard a sound; looking up, he was nearly startled to death at the sight of a headless soldier from the Confederate Army floating past. I’ve seen my share of ghosts, but I have net to come across a headless on. I might just stop by the Droop Mountain Battlefield myself.
Go Out and Explore
West Virginia is known for its rich history and breathtaking scenery. We usually think of it as the perfect state for outdoorsy individuals in search of wilderness and picture-perfect little towns to visit. But we often forget that it’s these beautiful places that usually have the darkest past. As you can see, West Virginia is one of those places. I’ve gone through the best haunted places in the state where you have the best chances to experience a thrilling paranormal encounter. Dare you hit the road in search of these spirits?