There’s too much creepy fun out there to save it all for October.
If your tastes run to the uncanny, you’ve probably already done the tours at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston and the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville. Never fear—there’s plenty more within a day trip or an overnight of Morgantown to keep you deliciously spooked all summer long. Here are five of our favorite paranormal destinations.
Sutton WV (1 hour 30 minutes)
Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Everyone knows the 10-foot-tall cryptid that menaced Braxton County residents in 1952. Today we all love that spade-hooded, metal-dressed bizarrity like our own West Virginia ancestor. Visit the museum to see decades of media coverage, enjoy Flatwoods Monster costumes that have been used in plays and parades, and check out other memorabilia. Complete the town’s scavenger hunt—find five huge monster-themed chairs around town to get a sticker. And now you can double your cryptid fun: The West Virginia Bigfoot Museum opened Memorial Day weekend just a couple blocks down the street. Stop in to see a display with bigfootprint casts made in West Virginia, plus exclusive bigfoot apparel and more.
Point Pleasant WV (2 hours 45 minutes)
Monday–Thursday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sunday noon–5 p.m.
Mid-century was a great time for unexpected anatomies in West Virginia. In 1966 and 1967, not two decades after the Flatwoods Monster incidents, Point Pleasant was visited by the flying, red-eyed Mothman. Thanks to the 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies, in which paranormal author John Keel linked the sightings with the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River, and the 2002 Richard Gere movie by the same name, the creature’s fan base has only grown over time. The Mothman Museum offers eyewitness testimonies and rare historical artifacts, and the museum shop is chock full of Mothman-themed keepsakes. Don’t miss the giant gleaming Mothman statue just outside the museum. For the complete experience, visit the McClintic Wildlife Management Area seven miles north of town, the site of the World War II-era West Virginia Ordnance Works—better known to Mothman enthusiasts as the TNT Area—and location of many sightings. Better yet, catch a Mothman Museum TNT Bus Tour. And for celebratory revelry, schedule your visit around the September 18–19 Mothman Festival.
Cameron WV (1 hour 15 minutes)
Thursday–Saturday 1–7 p.m.
Billing itself as “the national museum of the paranormal,” the Archive of the Afterlife receives and houses items people believe to be haunted. Old dolls and photographs, an embalming table, and an electric chair execution cap are among the museum’s creepy relics. The Archive makes its artifacts available for public viewing and for study by paranormal researchers, and it offers education on spiritual protection from haunted objects and any entities attached to them. Archive of the Afterlife has been featured on many of the paranormal programs and websites you love. And if you actually haven’t been to the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, open seven days a week this summer, make your trip a double feature.
Windber, PA (2 hours)
First Saturday ghost tours; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday overnight stays
More than one death has been recorded over the course of this circa 1890 building’s motley past as a train station, brothel, funeral parlor, wedding venue, and more. A ghost tour the first Saturday of every month covers the entire hotel, including the World’s Largest Ouija Board on the roof and the nearby Anne Rice Doll Collection Museum. Want more? Stay overnight on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday in any of the six suites—the Vampire, Frankenstein, Beatnik, Shakespeare, Mermaid, or Dragon suite. Your stay includes a ghost tour, and overnighters are invited to explore the entire hotel to their hearts’ content.
Harpers Ferry WV (2 hours 45 minutes)
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 8–9:30 p.m.
More than 50 years old, Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry claims to be the oldest ghost tour in the U.S. Its well-preserved colonial-era setting, rich in Civil War history, is the perfect context for an eerie lantern-lit, 19th century–attired historical ghost tour. Go early and enjoy the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and a good dinner before the ghost tour.