Haunted Journeys

West Virginia State Penitentiary (Moundsville Penn)

West Virginia State Penitentiary (Moundsville Penn)

818 Jefferson Avenue
Moundsville, West Virginia
26041 United States

Add to Favorites

Our Badges


Moundsville, WV is home to one of the most haunted places in the state, West Virginia Penitentiary. Come Explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.

The History

Opening in 1876, The West Virginia Penitentiary, (aka "Moundsville Prison"), has a striking Gothic-Like stone facade resembling a medieval castle. Originally built to only hold 480 inmates, this property swelled to 2400 prisoners by the 1930s. To accommodate this, sometimes as many as three prisoners would be assigned to one of the tiny five by seven cells. Due to this, construction to expand the prison began in 1929. Unfortunately due to the war, there was a shortage of iron and was not completed until 1959.

In the late 1800s, Moundsville was selected to perform all executions for the state of West Virginia. A total of 85 men were hung and nine were electrocuted. This was only a small part of the violence in Moundsville. The executions were accompanied by desperate acts of suicide, murder, and horrific punishments, contributing to the death of hundreds of prisoners.

In the early years, prison officials hid whips and horrible items used to punish the “tougher” prisoners from state inspectors. But after one of the prison superintendents resigned, he exposed all the atrocities in a whistle-blowing interview with the local paper. Finally, the violence and torture of inmates by prison officials were exposed to the world.

The conditions continued to be catastrophic and inhumane, forcing the West Virginia Supreme Court to rule the small cells as cruel and unusual punishment. In 1995, the prison was ordered to be closed permanently, transferring all the remaining prisoners to other locations. This property was featured on Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel.

The Hauntings

With the deplorable conditions, the violent deaths, and two major prison riots, there is no doubt that Moundsville Penitentiary is well known for its haunted activity. In fact, it's considered one of the most haunted properties on the planet!

These are not your typical prison haunts! The spectral activity here is aggravated with the energy and souls that lurk in the grave-filled mounds surrounding this intimidating property. Many have experienced hearing disembodied voices, seeing black shadows, and even full apparitions. You will hear clanks of cell gates in areas that are isolated from living persons and the moans of those that suffered their living hell within these walls.

Several areas in the prison have been labeled as "hot spots" for more concentrated paranormal activity. These include the Chapel, shower cages, Death Row, and the recreational area referred to as the "Sugar Shack." Without a doubt, the North Wagon Gate is known to have one of the most intense reported ghostly activity, for this is where death row inmates were taken to be hung in the years before the facility used the electric chair.

One other area known for strange occurrences is the circular entrance gate, which was used to separate arriving inmates from the warden's living quarters. According to reports, the circular cage turns periodically by itself, giving the impression that the spirits of criminals are still arriving at the prison.

This premiere supernatural habitat has been featured on Ghost Adventures, Ghost Lab, Ghost Hunters, and Mind Hunters on Netflix.



Go with us on a supernatural tour of haunted countries.  Realize your fantasy 8-Nights spectral vacation. 

Mysterious Adventures Tours LLCour sister company, offers spectacular trips to the most mysterious and supernatural places in the world. One of their signature tours explores Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales. Take a look at some of the spectacular offerings, some led by celebrity ambassadors! 

Mysterious Adventures Tours


 More reads about Haunted West Virginia...


The Big Book of West Virginia Ghost Stories (Big Book of Ghost Stories) Paperback – July 17, 2019 by Inc. Visionary Living (Author)     Real West Virginia Hauntings: Volume 1 Paperback – May 10, 2019 by Dave Spinks (Author), Rosemary Ellen Guiley (Foreword)     Paranormal Files West Virginia Paperback – October 11, 2019 by David Weatherly  (Author), Ross Allison  (Author), Dave Spinks (Author)


  • As Seen on Para TV
Understand This:

This property, as part of our network, has been added for they may have history, validation, or folk tales of having spirited activities. Please take caution in approaching and visiting these locations, since courtesy, respect, and caution should be a top priority in every Haunted Investigator's style. Also do realize, some of these places may have permanently closed, changed ownership and/or names, or just are not available for your visits. Please respect this.

We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided on this listing, but offer it as a first step in finding your next haunted travel destination. Please do confirm with the property before making any plans to visit.

If you visit, tour, or investigate this property (or any of our properties), we are not responsible or held liable for any outcomes, lack of evidence, or injuries associated with your travels. This is only for entertainment purposes, and information provided is only as found in public domains (or as offered by the associated contributor (as a claimed property).

For more information, please read our TERMS OF SERVICE (linked below).



Please select from the tags below to see more listings like this one!

Date added: Dec/08/2019 | Last time updated: Aug/25/2020

Don't See Your Business or Favorite Haunt Listed?

    facebook instagram pinterest tumblr twitter

We participate in several affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. All of our affiliate programs are intended to provide a means for us to earn small fees by offering respected, relevant and useful products to our readers. These efforts will not be an extra cost to you and are paid directly by the advertiser as commission. Thank you for providing the opportunity to offer these products and services to you, while helping us to sustain our content delivery efforts on this website.

Hello! Please Log In