CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Between West Virginia’s love of the paranormal and its rich history, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of local haunting legends that make for some fun destinations during spooky season.
The Eastern Pandhandle town is a National Historical Park because of its significance in the Civil War, and now visitors report seeing the ghosts of soldiers performing marching drills and abolitionist John Brown—the man whose raid of the armory is credited with igniting the Civil War—himself.
There are plenty of landmarks and museums for history lovers, but there are also evening Ghost Tours through the town’s spookiest sights for those who love the paranormal. Click here for more information.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Located in Weston, Lewis County, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was a military post in the Civil War before becoming an asylum. It was built to hold about 250 patients humanely, but at its peak, held 2,400 patients in poor conditions, according to the West Virginia Department of Tourism.
Professional ghost hunters have visited the building and reported getting readings on their instruments in several areas, including the Civil War section. WOWK sister station 12 News interviewed one of them.
The asylum offers paranormal tours and ghost hunts in the parts of the asylum that are the most “active” and some of the tours last all night. Click here to learn more.
Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
Visit Mercer County touts this as ”one of the world’s most haunted places.” The park was built in the 1920s on land that was settled by Mitchell Clay during the late 1700s. In 1783, two of his 14 children were killed by members of a Native American tribe while Clay was out hunting, so Clay retaliated, tracking down and killing several Native Americans with the help of other settlers.
Then, entrepreneur Conley Snidow established the amusement park, only for a series of tragic accidents—including a girl dying on the swings and a boy drowning in the pond—occurred, leading to six deaths. The park was abandoned in 1966.
Twenty years later, when another businessman bought the property and began tearing into the land, a Native American burial ground was unearthed.
Now, ghost hunters and paranormal tourists visit and report hearing footsteps, mysterious chants and children. Its owners offer paranormal tours throughout the year, and sometimes offer private tours by arrangement. In October, it hosts its Dark Carnival at dusk.
West Virginia Penitentiary
The West Virginia Department of Tourism says this is one of the most haunted prisons in the United States. There have been several riots, fires and more than 100 executions and reports of hauntings dating back to the 1930s. Those who take tours now report seeing the dark silhouette of the “Shadow Man” and hearing whispering or arguing in the basement.
It’s in Moundsville, Marshall County and it offers guided day tours, haunted tours, ghost hunts, an escape room and a haunted house. Click here for more information.
Droop Mountain Battlefield
Located in rural Hillsboro, Pocahontas County, this state park commemorates the last significant Civil War battle in West Virginia, according to the West Virginia Department of Tourism. The park includes a wooden observation tower, hiking trails and picnic tables that mark the grounds where Civil War soldiers fought and died. Some believe they still remain.
Visitors have reported hearing sounds of galloping horses and sightings of the ghosts of a headless Confederate soldier, as well as another soldier lying asleep against a tree. According to West Virginia State Parks, the Horse Heaven Trail takes hikers through series of small cliffs where horses that were killed in battle were disposed of and the Old Soldier Trail passes through the spot where Maj. Robert Augustus Bailey was shot while trying to rally his men around the Confederate Flag. Click here for more information.
The North Bend Rail Trail
In Cairo, Ritchie County, an old train tunnel on what is now the North Bend Rail Trail is said to be haunted by a woman in a white dress. Local legend has it that the woman was a bride on the train with her groom, and she either fell or was pushed off the train, which killed her.
Several rail engineers have believed they have seen her, some even stopping the train thinking they ran someone over.