Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Forgotten House and Cabin

Cruising along the back roads from West Virginia to Gettysburg, PA, we came across two equally amazing abandoned structures.  Sharon and I saw them down a somewhat paved road and knew we needed to stop and take pictures.  We hiked up the road and notice they were sitting along another two-lane road.  I was drawn to the large two-story home.  It looked like it had been abandoned for many years.  To me, it was a beautiful piece of art for me to photograph.  The other building looked like a small cabin.  Sharon got a reading on that structure for our next Abandoned Places book.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Moundsville Penitentiary

Across the street from the Grave Creek Mound is a massive stone medieval castle-like structure which is the West Virginia Penitentiary (Moundsville Prison).  The prison opened in 1876 and was constructed to hold 480 prisoners.  By the 1900’s, the prison started to experience overcrowding and they started working on enlarging the prison.  In 1929, the construction was temporarily halted because of the war causing an iron shortage.  By then, the penitentiary accommodated over 2,400 prisoners with three men to every five by seven cells.  The expansion was finally finished in 1959, but by then the prison had a reputation for violence and harsh punishments. In 1986, the West Virginia Supreme Court made a judgment proclaiming that the tiny cells were merciless and harsh punishment.  They ordered the West Virginia Penitentiary to be shut down.  The last of the prisoners were moved out and relocated in 1995.

Today, the prison is a place where tourist can visit and roam the halls while learning of the buildings history.  The structure is also used as a training facility. While walking around, you may not be alone.   Many have witnessed seeing and hearing paranormal happenings they can’t explain.  Because of the prison’s brutal and deadly past, people feel that many of the prisoners are still hanging around.  Some of the claims are around the buildings so called “hot spots”.  One area, the North Wagon Gate, is where death row inmates were hung, and then in later years, put to death in the electric chair. 

Sharon and I did not make the tour, but we did take in the massive fortress from the outside.  Perhaps, she and I will someday be able to see the prison from the inside and walk alongside the spirits who still live there.  Here is a website on all the tour information and history of this incredible place:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grave Creek Mound

In the town of Moundsville, West Virginia, and near the Ohio River sits the massive Grave Creek Mound.  As we were driving down the streets of Moundsville and looking for it, we got stuck at a red light.  I said to Sharon, “we should be able to see the mound because it is so big”.  Right after saying that, I turned to my right and there it was.  You just can’t miss the immense green grassy hill right in the middle of town.  It is also located across the street from the colossal Moundsville Prison.  (That place is featured in my next post.)
The Grave Creek Mound is about 69 feet high, 295 feet in diameter, and is one of the most prevalent cone-shaped burial mounds found in the United States.  It was built sometime between 250-150 BC and is crafted of more than 60,000 tons of dirt by the Adena people.  Historians believe the mound was constructed in various stages by the many burials at various levels inside the mound.  In earlier times, the mound was surrounded by a moat which was about 40 feet wide and five feet deep.  There was only one walkway to get across the dirt ditch to the mound.  In the early 1800’s when archaeologists were able to get inside the mound, they found Adena Hopewell remains and ornaments next to a small sandstone tablet.

The Delf Norona Museum was built next to the site and opened its doors in 1978.  Inside, you will be treated to many displays of artifacts which explain how the ancient Adena civilization survived and what their way of life was like.

Sharon and I didn't get to the Grave Creek Mound early enough to walk to the top of the mound.  However, we were able to walk through the museum and enjoy all the artifacts and other items which were on display.  For more information on the history or visitation times for the mound and museum, check out this website:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Norman's Farm

Driving along the back roads of West Virginia, we came across this abandoned farmhouse.  We almost missed it because of all the growth all over the shell of the structure.  We stopped and noticed a building in the background which looked like it collapsed.  We took pictures of the structure before walking over to the farmhouse.  We noticed a cow staring at us.  He looked like Norman from the movie "City Slickers".  Norman would not keep his eyes off us the entire time we took pictures of the house.  This was another of my favorite places.  I just love how the vines engulfed the entire place.  It looked so beautiful.  Norman and his buddy kept a watchful eye on us until we got in our car.  I am so glad we found this empty gem.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Quiet Church and Hidden Cemetery

It is always great when you see a lone structure sitting along the the highway.  The church looked abandoned so we had to stop and take pictures.  As I was snapping away, Sharon told me to look across the street.  There it was, tucked in the forest among the trees was a tiny cemetery.  Scattered were several headstones that looked like they have been there for years.  It was an eerie site with the darkness of the trees surrounding the graves.  This stop turned out to be much better than we expected.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mothman and the Bunkers

You can’t go to Point Pleasant, WV without hearing about the Mothman.  There are many stories floating around about what it is and if it was responsible for the collapse of the Silver Bridge in 1967.  Some believe it is the harbinger of doom, an urban legend, while others think it is a protector.  It was reported by witnesses as seeing the winged creature flying over the bridge right before it fell into the river.  This event spawned a book “The Mothman Prophecies” and a 2002 movie with the same name.

The Mothman is an infamous winged cryptic first seen in Point Pleasant in 1966 by two couples driving near the TNT area.  This area is an abandoned TNT factory from World War II and where many reported sightings of the creature have been seen.  The couples described what they saw as a “flying man with ten-foot wings with red glowing eyes”.  After their story in the Point Pleasant Register, several others came forward with stories of seeing the huge bird-like creature especially near the area of the bunkers.

The bunkers are located in the outskirts of town near a Christmas tree lot and nuclear plant.  There have been many reports of paranormal activity especially in the second of the three bunkers.  People have seen strange orbs, shadow figures, and felt like they were being touched by unseen forces.  Sharon wrote a great post on the myths of the bunkers and our experience.  Check it out:  Ghost Hunting Theories.

At one of the gift shops in downtown historic Point Pleasant, we were given a map to the bunkers.  We were both very curious to see them considering all the stories we heard about them.  We turned down a small road just passed the Christmas tree lot and counted the turnoffs to get to the road where the bunkers are located.  We found the turnoff, but the road was blocked off with a closed gate.  We parked the car, got out, and an uneasy feeling came over me.  I looked down the path we had to walk and saw a dense forest on one side with a mucky pond on the other.  I felt so uncomfortable about being there as we walked towards the bunkers.  Sharon was feeling it too.  We didn't get too far when we glanced back at the car and a police vehicle passed by, came back, and stopped.  We made up some story that we were taking pictures of the pond because we were from Arizona and water is rare in that state.  It was lame and I am pretty sure he didn't believe us.  Part of me was glad to see him, but the other part of me wanted to see the bunkers.  We got back in the car and headed back to Point Pleasant.  Someday, we will see those bunkers and hopefully experience something paranormal.

Point Pleasant has a 12 foot tall metallic statue of the Mothman in Gunn Park.  Every year since 2002 they have a Mothman Festival.  This is held on the 3rd weekend of every September.  For more information on this event, check out this website: