Get Ghostly: 6 Ways to Celebrate National Paranormal Day in the Ohio Valley

If you’ve ever experienced anything a little bizarre or simply love all things paranormal, you’re in luck! May 3 is National Paranormal Day, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate with some West Virginia flair—even for those who are a bit skeptical. From sharing spooky stories to watching scary movies or even going on local ghost tours, commemorating the unexplained happens all year round. So, check out some of these stories and upcoming experiences! 

Celebrate from Home

It may not always be easy to travel somewhere or spend the night in a haunted location, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate National Paranormal Day from home. In fact, you can discover a lot about local paranormal activity at the click of a button.

Listen to the Wheeling Haunts Podcast

If you want to learn more about the city and hear spooky tales from Wheelingites themselves, listen in on Weelunk’s Wheeling Haunts Podcast. In the debut season last fall, hosts Alex and Cassie followed the stories of Wheeling locals across five spooky locations and five episodes. Do you believe the haunted tales? Click here to start listening now!

Read Some Paranormal-Inspired Articles

Weelunk writers like Kaden Bednarek, Rosemary Ketchum, and others have also done some digging into Wheeling’s paranormal activity. Check out their articles that highlight some presumably haunted places in the city:

5 Haunted Ohio Valley Locations to Explore on Your Next Ghost Hunt” by Kaden Bednarek

Myth or Legend? Rev. John Armstrong’s Final Resting Place” by Rosemary Ketchum

Haunting Tales from a Local Paranormal Investigator” by Miranda Tharp

Myth or Legend? The Haunting of Tunnel Green Lives On” by Cassie Bendel

Watch Some West Virginia Horror Movies

Ask your friends about their favorite scary movies and host a watch party! If you’re unsure of where to start, consider some of these films and shows that feature West Virginia and some of its cryptid lore: 

Mothman (2000), The Mothman Prophecies (2002), The Mothman of Point Pleasant (2017)

The Flatwoods Monster: A Legacy of Fear (2018)

Silent Hill (2006), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)

Explore the Ohio Valley’s Paranormal Sites

If you are really invested in history and ghost hunting and want to take your National Paranormal Day celebration to the next level, then take your adventure out of the house! The Ohio Valley has several hotspots for paranormal activity, so schedule a tour at these locations and find out if seeing really is believing:

West Virginia Penitentiary

The West Virginia Penitentiary is perhaps the most popular paranormal place to visit in the area. Although many thrill-seekers plan their visits around the fall and Halloween, you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy a spooky experience. The history of the penitentiary is there to celebrate and investigate during plenty of other months out of the year, so consider these events for your next paranormal outing:

Guided Tour Days (April 1–December 1)  –  All ages, 90-minute Historical Tour

Escape the Pen: The Execution  –  12+ y/o, 1-hour Escape Game

Public Ghost Hunt  –  18+ y/o, 6-hour Paranormal Tour 

Para-Con (September 9, 2023)

Learn more and schedule a tour by visiting wvpentours.com.

The Bellaire House

In Bellaire, Ohio, just across the river, the notoriously paranormal Bellaire House welcomes overnight investigations as well! Not for the faint of heart, perhaps a sleepover here will turn paranormal skeptics into believers.

Weeknight and Weekend Private Investigations  –  Up to 8 people per investigation, 5:30 p.m. – 11 a.m.

Visit bellairehousetours.com to learn more. 

Wheeling’s Many Cemeteries

Considering their purpose, it’s often believed that cemeteries are prime places for paranormal activity to happen. Although visiting them for a nighttime ghost hunt isn’t advised without permission, some cemeteries like Wheeling’s Greenwood Cemetery and Mount Wood Cemetery offer other interesting ways to respectfully explore. 

Mount Wood Cemetery.

Visiting cemeteries can be a fascinating way to explore the intersection of history and the paranormal. These sites contain the final resting places of countless individuals whose lives and experiences can provide insight into the past. Additionally, the peaceful and quiet atmosphere of cemeteries can create an eerie and haunting atmosphere that allows visitors to connect with the stories and experiences of those who have passed on. Whether you’re interested in genealogy, ghost stories, or simply enjoy exploring unique historical sites, visiting cemeteries can be a cool and educational experience.

Although not everyone is a believer in paranormal activity, perhaps this National Paranormal Day will offer more reasons to question what’s truly out there. The world is full of tales surrounding the paranormal, and digging a little deeper into some of them can lead to exciting discoveries!

• Alexis (Alex) Walton was raised across the Ohio River in Martins Ferry, OH. She is currently a senior at West Liberty University with majors in professional writing and literature and a minor in creative writing. She has worked as a writing consultant, proofreader, and bookseller, and is currently interning with Wheeling Heritage and Weelunk. When she’s not busy with academics, she can be found playing video games, watching slasher films, and cuddling with her cat and ball python, Marcy and Jasper.