A ghostly cow, a dancing child, shadowy beings in the night. Wild and wonderful West Virginia is home to several terrifying spirits. Here are seven places to find them.
West Virginia Penitentiary – Moundsville
The West Virginia Penitentiary is more than 140 years old and once housed 2,400 violent criminals. 85 executions took place on the property, along with suicides, murder, and rape. According to visitors, the prison’s paranormal hot spots include the chapel, the shower cages, death row, a recreational area known as the Sugar Shack, and the site of former hangings. Ghost hunters have also spotted faces in long-abandoned cells and shadowy figures in hallways.
Lowe Hotel – Point Pleasant
Legend has it a number of spirits call the historic Lowe Hotel home. The most famous is a beautiful young woman who dances on the mezzanine between the first and second floors. Other ghosts include a tricycle-riding child on the second floor, a maid and sea captain on the third, and ghostly string quartet in the fourth floor ballroom. Point Pleasant is also home to the infamous Mothman.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – Weston
Formerly known as the Weston State Hospital, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA) was designed to house 250 people but reached 2,400 at its peak. Now, the 150+-year-old hospital is home to more than a few ghosts, or so the stories go. Resident spirits include a lonely girl named Lily, soldiers from the Civil War, doctors, nurses, and countless patients. Just about every major paranormal investigation show has explored TALA, and most investigators believe the facility is haunted.
The Haunted Cottage/Booth House – Harpers Ferry
Now closed to the public, the historic Booth House was once a paranormal research training center. The house was built nearly 200 years ago and is plagued by phantom footsteps, disembodied voices, and shadowy figures. Perhaps some of the activity can be attributed to infamous actor and assassin John Wilkes Booth. Rumor has it he sometimes stayed at the home which now bears his name.
West Virginia University – Morgantown
Like many universities, WVU has its share of ghosts. Spirits at this 150-year-old university include a dancing child (Mountainlair), a book-loving cat (library), a former principal (E. More Hall), and a cow that died in the clock tower. The most famous is the former principal, Elizabeth More, who presided over a women’s seminary and now lurks around the hall named in her honor. Some students claimed to have seen her ghostly face staring down at them from the edge of the swimming pool.
Elk Garden Mine – Elk Garden
In 1911, an explosion rocked Mine Number 20 of the Elk Garden Mine. Twenty-three men lost their lives, and now the victims reportedly haunt the old site. Strange sounds in the area include disembodied screams, weeping, and distant booms. Some believe it’s the sounds of the disaster echoing throughout time.
Old Stone Presbyterian Church Cemetery – Lewisburg
This historic cemetery is home to a cursed statue, known by locals as The Angel of Death. Erected at the grave of an 11-year-old girl, the statue seems harmless enough. A hopeful inscription on the base reads:
“Love hath a lien nor time nor death can sever. Our own are ours forever and forever.”
But legend has it those who kiss or touch the statue will die within a year. Why? It seems the first girl who kissed the statue died from the flu, the second perished in a carriage accident, and so on. Some say the statue can also foretell people’s death.
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