Today’s story was sent in by a fan who had an interesting experience at the Former West Virginia State Penitentiary Moundsville, West Virginia. The facility officially opened in 1876 and during its 119-year life as a penitentiary the facility held some of the most violent killers, rapists, and other criminals. Many never left the institution alive. It comes as no surprise that this type of environment would leave behind more than a few wandering spirits.
After the prison closed, the Moundsville Economic Development Council leased the complex for 25 years. Today it serves a dual purpose as a training facility and a tourist attraction. Today’s story takes place during a tour of the facility.
I grew up thirty minutes south of the former West Virginia State Penitentiary. My Grandfather worked there for a bit when he moved back to the area. My Father’s first haircut was given to him by an inmate that was serving time for murdering his wife and mother-in-law by tying them up and pushing them into a wood stove. Because of my proximity to it growing up I probably toured the Penitentiary a half dozen times, each time I just had an uneasy feeling while touring it. Fast forward to 2019 I get an opportunity to tour and get some pictures with my then new camera.
I was ready for a great tour, I had my camera, two backup batteries I had charged that morning, and a couple different lenses. The tour was going great until the guide let me go into the kitchen area. Typically it’s off limits for tours due to the roof leaking and the wet floors being a liability issue. They made an exception because I was the only one on this tour. The guide told me I could explore the kitchen and freezer areas and when I was done all I had to do was take a left and I’d be back in the cafeteria. I took some pictures in the kitchen and started down the hallway the freezers are in.
The hallway was pretty dark and when I attempted to take a picture my camera gave me a message that the object I was trying to photograph was too close to be focused on. I tried taking another picture and it tried to focus but then gave me the same message. I gave up and tried changing to my low light lense. When I tried taking another picture it didn’t even try to focus, it just gave me the same ‘too close to focus’ message. I turned and took a picture of the kitchen from the hallway, that picture was perfectly fine. I turned back around and got the same focusing message. I turned it out of auto focus and forced it to take a picture. For some reason it was super grainy and the lighting was weird. I tried to take another one and my screen went black- no error, no low battery warning- it just went black. I tried swapping out batteries for one I had charged that morning, it was dead. I tried the other backup battery, also dead. Eventually I made my way back around to the tour guide. He asked me if I got any good pictures. I told him my batteries died, and he looked completely unphased. All he asked was ‘how much power does your phone have?’
I pulled out my phone that I had charged on my way there that had been 100% when my tour started an hour prior; it was now down to 8% and in power saving mode. When I told him about that he just shrugged and told me that was why he no longer goes into the kitchen area. Apparently it’s pretty notorious for draining electronics. I still haven’t been able to explain what happened and since then I have taken pictures in darker places without having a similar issue.
Thanks to the fan who sent this in! This is a pretty interesting story, I myself would like to go on a tour there one day. Tours are given every hour on Tuesday – Sunday, 11:am – 4:00 PM. Also remember if you have a story you would like to share let us know we would love to feature it! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out some of our other ghost stories