West Virginia State Penitentiary

Prisons hold many people who have done despicable things. We as a society seem to be infatuated with prisons for a number of reasons. Not only are they needed, but we also have a fascination with the true crime genre that the individuals residing inside can provide. Another aspect of prisons that we seem to flock to is the fact that even the guardians of these criminals have the ability to be horrible monsters, all in the name of the law. So the prisons in turn have their own stories they can share. That may be true of the West Virginia State Penitentiary.

Moundsville, WV, is the home to the West Virginia State Penitentiary. Originally built in 1866, and similar in style to the prison located in Joliet, IL, the prison began accepting prisoners in 1876 until it closed in 1995.

In a span of 60 years, 94 men were executed, primarily by hanging, but some by electrocution as well. The prison had four distinct areas for prisoners: The Alamo, where the worst guests of the prison earned 22-24 hours in a 5′ x 7′ cell; New Wall, which was for the general population; Rat Row, which was for prisoners who testified against others and needed special protection; and Honor Hall for those who had earned special privileges. If you found yourself being housed in one of the 10 worst prisons in the United States, you may have had dealings in the “Sugar Shack”. This was the recreation area of the prison; but the recreation included gambling, fighting, rape, and even murder. This area of the prison remains a hotbed for paranormal activity.

One of the infamous prisoners who requested to be relocated here was Charles Manson, his letter remains on display in the execution chamber. The prison may have been the inspired by the Shawshank Redemption (Novella: Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King) as in 1992 three inmates tunneled out through the greenhouse.

Even though the prison is no longer housing prisoners, some of those who once lived there, may still be there. The prison hosts many paranormal tours, and you may encounter the Shadow Man, you may hear echoing sounds from souls that your eyes can no longer see, or even be accosted by unknown forces. The lowest levels of the prison host a dark entity that if you dare to explore, be warned.

If you have visited the West Virginia State Penitentiary, please share any of your experiences with me!

You are your own best investment!

Entrance to the Sugar Shack

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