CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Have you ever felt like visiting all of West Virginia’s most haunted destinations in one go?
12 News is no stranger to covering the spooky lore and ghost stories unique to the Mountain State. Whether you’re a true believer or just enjoy the Halloween “spirit,” West Virginia has plenty of ghost stories to enjoy.
Here are the most well-known haunted places, and a route you could take to see all of them.
No haunted West Virginia road trip would be complete without Harpers Ferry. Some studies have found it’s the most haunted place in West Virginia. Some visitors have reported 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.
As a National Historic Site, it’s managed by the National Park Service.
West Virginia University
West Virginia’s Department of Tourism lists the state’s most well-known university as one of its most haunted places as well. Urban legends tell of the spirit of a little girl named Sally who can be seen dancing in the halls of the Mountainlair, as well as the ghost of Elizabeth Moore walking through E. Moore Hall, which was named after her.
West Virginia Penitentiary
The former prison in Moundsville is “widely regarded as one of the most haunted” in the country, according to WV Tourism. It’s seen several riots, fires and more than 100 executions. Now, visitors say they see a “Shadow Man” haunting the grounds or whispering or arguing coming from the basement.
The penitentiary is open to the public for various types of paid tours, ranging from guided day tours to public ghost hunts or private paranormal investigations.
In Parkersburg, Blennerhassett Island is known for its history, but locals believe it’s haunted by Native American and Irish aristocratic spirits. Back in 2021, a tour guide told 12 News about how archaeological evidence suggests that there was a Delaware Nation village where the mansion was built and that Native Americans inhabited the island as late as 1767, meaning there are burial grounds on the island.
A note: To get to the island, you will have to park your car and get ferry tickets at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History located at 137 Juliana St. in Parkersburg.
The island is a State Park and is only open between May and October.
Silver Run Tunnel
Located on the North Bend Rail Trail just outside of Cairo, The Silver Run Tunnel is the most well-known rail trail tunnel that is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman wearing a white dress who was abandoned at the alter by her lover and then killed by a passing train.
This stop will also require a short hike along the rail trail to the haunted tunnel.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The old asylum in Weston is believed to be haunted due to the number of people who died there while it was in operation. In the 1950s, it was believed to have held more than 2,000 patients, even though it was only supposed to hold 250.
It now offers ghost tours and October haunts.
Lake Shawnee Abandoned Amusement Park
In Mercer County, Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was built in the 1920s. But Visit Mercer County says six visitors ended up dying during the park’s brief time in operation, including a little girl who died on the swings and a boy who drowned in the pond. It was abandoned in 1966, and when a developer bought it 20 years later, construction crews began work only to find bones and Native American artifacts.
The abandoned park is now open for paid tours, both during the day and overnight.
WV Tourism describes the Lewisburg Historic District as a “hotbed of paranormal activity.” The Old Stone Church served as a hospital during the Civil War, and visitors have heard cries and moans like those of injured soldiers coming from it late at night. Those who have stayed at the General Lewis Inn have reported run-ins with spirits.
The area is also home to the Greenbrier Ghost, or the spirit of Elva Zona Heaster Shue. Elva was found dead in her home, presumably of natural causes, but in the weeks following her death, her mother claimed that she had a vision from the spirit of her daughter, telling her that “her neck was squeezed off at the first joint.” When Elva’s body was exhumed, the medical examiner found she had a crushed windpipe and a broken neck, likely caused by strangulation, according to greenbrierwv.com. The case is known as the “only known case in which testimony from a ghost helped convict a murder.”
Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park
This state park in Pocahontas County is home to one of West Virginia’s most prominent and historic Civil War battlefields. Some visitors report smelling gunpowder, hearing galloping horses or even seeing the spirit of a headless Confederate soldier and another soldier sleeping against a tree.
Seneca Rocks and Seneca Caverns
Seneca Rocks was named for the Seneca tribe that once lived in the area. Near Seneca Rocks, the “Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories,” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, details reports of “time and dimension slips.”
Seneca Caverns nearby has also been reported to be haunted, with guests and employees claiming to see phantom voices and footsteps as well as floating lights, often close to the Council Room where the tribe held meetings and rituals.
West Virginia has so many haunted destinations that this is actually the maximum amount of stops that Google Maps will provide directions for. Visiting all of the top haunted destinations would take you 14 hours and 13 minutes of driving, and you’d traverse 765 miles.