The Ohio Valley has many haunted locations for those who are interested in exploring the unknown. In fact, many paranormal investigation teams roam the Ohio Valley and beyond trying to catch a glimpse of this mystery. With a region steeped in so much history, there are clearly plenty of mysteries to uncover and stories to be told. Here are some places in and around Wheeling that you should visit this spooky season:
The Mount Wood Overlook
This secluded spot overlooking Downtown Wheeling offers breathtaking views and an air of mystery. The structure, built in 1925, was constructed by a doctor for his wife; however, was hauled away on drug trafficking charges before completion. Across from the Overlook is a cemetery that was built in the 1700s, which is one of the oldest in the area. This cemetery houses the graves of the first families in Wheeling. The history of the area provides no doubt of the spiritual activity at this location.
When thinking of haunted places around the Ohio Valley, of course, the West Virginia Penitentiary is a clear front-runner. This former prison was in operation from 1876 to 1955 and housed some of the most dangerous criminals from the region and beyond. During the Civil War, West Virginia separated from Virginia and the new state needed larger prisons to avoid the overcrowdedness of the previous smaller institutions. West Virginia Governor Arthur Boreman requested money for a new penitentiary, but was denied. That was until 1865, when 9 inmates escaped a smaller prison. This approved the purchase of land to build the penitentiary in February of 1866.
Throughout the years it was in operation, there were several riots, a fire, and nearly 100 prisoners were executed by either hanging or electrocution. With so much dismay, it makes sense why it has become known as a site of paranormal activity. In fact, the WV Penitentiary leans into its haunted history by offering ghost hunts, paranormal investigations, haunted house experiences, and more year-round! You can embark on your own adventure by visiting their website.
Built in 1857 by the Hempfield Railroad Company, this legendary tunnel has been a site of intrigue since before it was even built! Why, you ask? This is because the Peninsula Cemetery was moved from atop the hill where the tunnel was set to be located. This means that several bodies of early Wheeling residents were disenterred and relocated. If that’s not enough to send s shiver down your spine, there have also been documented accounts of murder taking place at the tunnel. As a result of all of these spooky occurrences, several bypasses have reported seeing ghosts when visiting the tunnel.
Today, the Wheeling Heritage Trail system runs through Tunnel Green, so you can easily go on your own ghost-hunting journey and experience it for yourself.
Head on over to East Wheeling to catch a glance at The Blue Church, an impressive pre-civil war Greek revival church located on the corner of 12th and Byron Streets. The prevailing legend of his historic church is that the former minister of St. Matthews Episcopalian congregation, Rev. John Armstrong, was buried beneath the front steps more than a century ago!
What was thought to be local lore turned out to have some truth behind it! An article published in The Wheeling Intelligencer on November 1, 1866, describes the relocation of the church and potentially the body:
“At the building of the new church at the head of Monroe Street [12 St.], his remains were removed to it, and now rest beneath the chancel.”
While The Blue Church is currently not open to the public, you can certainly take a stroll by this spooky site while checking out the rest of the old buildings from Wheeling’s past.
This haunted attraction is known for its acting reputation; however, this building has a haunting history. Built in 1836, the building was originally used to harbor the bodies of Civil War soldiers, which has definitely become a beacon for the paranormal. After interviewing the staff of this haunted house, I’ve received information about what happens behind the scenes, as well as having my own personal experiences! Some of these stories include an elderly woman talking and walking around, sounds of scratching or crawling in rooms, footsteps, legs with no bodies, and little girls and boys running around.
If you want to experience it for yourself, Wells Township offers paranormal overnight tours starting at $20. Tickets are still available for their “Lights Out” tours on Nov. 4 and 5. Visit their website to learn more.
Prepare For Your Ghost Hunting Adventure
If you want to take your ghost hunting to the next level, investing in some simple equipment can enhance your spooky season adventures. Some of these tools include an infrared camera, EMF detector, an EVP recorder to record electronic voice phenomena with help of white noise, and a spirit box that travels through hundreds of different radio stations and picks out certain words that spirits are using to communicate. Many of these products can be affordably purchased on Amazon.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re a fan of paranormal mysteries, I suggest adding these locations to your spooky season bucket list.
• Kaden Bednarek is a local paranormal fanatic, horror lover, haunted house actor, and aspiring journalist.