The Haunting of the West Virginia State Penitentiary
West Virginia State Penitentiary is considered by many to be the scariest haunted prison in America. Given the ghost stories and history of the prison inmates obvious why. West Virginia State Penitentiary was opened in 1876 with 250 inmates going straight into the cells. If you look at any picture of the prison you will see a Gothic and very spooky building. Even if the prison wasn’t haunted it would still spook most people.
It was decided that the prison would be extended in 1929; however, the construction was not completed until 1959. In these 20 years the prison was grossly overcrowded with some cells having three inmates each.
West Virginia State Penitentiary has been the scene of many executions over the years it was operated as prison, either by hanging or electric chair. Yet, executions were not the only deaths in the prison: illness, overcrowding and riots killed many inmates.
Over the years visitors and paranormal investigators have reported being touched or feeling ‘something’ close to them, many have also felt that someone is watching them. Not only does this prison give most people the spooks because of the Gothic construction, but also sightings of three different ghosts are frequently reported.
The Maintenance Man
This is the most popular of the three haunting to come up. The time West Virginia State Penitentiary was a jail a prisoner working as maintenance man used to spy on the inmates and reported the other inmates bad behavior to the guards. One day when he was in the bathroom the maintenance manager was attacked by several inmates and killed. He is said to be lurking in the bathroom where he was savagely murdered, but he makes no contact with the living.
Robert the Inmate
Robert was an inmate who was violently murdered by the prison guards who were known to be physically abusive towards the worse inmates. They would beat them to ‘near’ death, but this time ‘near’ was too far and they killed Robert. His remains are said to be buried behind one of the walls in the prison. Robert’s spirit walks the prison to this day terrifying anyone he comes into contact.
Last, but certainly not least, is the story behind Avril Adkins. He was sentenced to hang by the neck until death. He was taken to the gallows for hanging but something went wrong during the execution process and Avril fell through trap door and landed on his head having serious head injuries. The guards picked him up, took him back up the stairs and hung him again. This time he died. Many visitors to the prison say they have seen him walking around the gallows where he died.
West Virginia State Penitentiary is now closed as prison, but operated as tourist attraction.