The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

West Virginia State Penitentiary

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Penitentiary as seen from summit of Grave Creek Mound
Now a tourist attraction and training facility, the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville, WV, operated as a prison from 1876 to 1995. Some paranormal groups consider the Moundsville prison among the most haunted in the United States. Legends include that of the prison's occupation of a Native American burial ground. Reports include former guards seeing phantom inmates and a shadowy figure wandering the premises, as well as unexplained noises, voices, and cold spots.

The penitentiary has appeared in books, movies, and television programs. Moundsville native Davis Grubb set his 1953 novel "The Night of the Hunter" in Moundsville. The novel was later adapted into a film, "The Night of the Hunter," directed by Charles Laughton and James Agee and starring Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters. Grubb also set his novel Fools' Parade in Moundsville. The novel was adapted into the 1971 film "Fools' Parade," starring James Stewart, Kurt Russell, and George Kennedy. In 2000, MTV debuted a show, "Fear," at the prison. Syfy's show "Ghost Hunters" and ABC Family’s "Scariest Places on Earth" featured the penitentiary in 2006, and the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures" in 2008. A&E Television's "Paranormal State" and Discovery Channel's "Ghost Lab" have more recently toured the facility.