Dark and Gruesome Times
Within the Walls of West Virginia Penitentiary
Moundsville, West Virginia
Charles Manson writes the Warden
Some have stated that the infamous and crazed murderer Charles Manson once stayed at the penitentiary. This is completely false. However, there is a very strong connection between Manson and the prison... his mother!
Charles Manson wanted the transfer because he wanted to be close to his mother who was doing time at West Virginia. He mailed a personal letter to the Warden asking to be transferred. Manson took care to not focus on his mother in the letter, but instead made it nostalgic to return to his roots in West Virginia. Manson lived with his aunt and uncle in McMechen, West Virginia while his parents served out five years for robbing a service station in 1939.
From the letter written by Charles Manson on March 10th, 1983
This tactic failed because the Warden didn’t want such a man to be in his prison.
The ending of the letter is quite interesting. Manson attempts to paint himself in a positive light:
The letter was kept as a memento and is hanging in the prison museum near “Old Sparky”.
110 years this prison stood as a deterrent to the criminal element of West Virginia. Finally in 1986, the prison was scheduled to be shut down because the tiny cells were considered “cruel and unusual punishment”. It took 9 years to transfer all inmates away.
Many felt this would be the end of the prison’s history. Nobody could have predicted the building would live on, and become even more infamous. This time it wasn’t the punishment of the living, but the search for the dead that brought people through its doors.
The Ghosts of West Virginia Penitentiary
Believing in the ghosts of West Virginia Penitentiary is like believing in the Grave Creek Mound; it’s just there. Many felt the history of this great building would end when closing in 1995, but the building lives on just like those who occupied it.
Residual energy is the explanation that many have for why this place is so active. This energy is what’s left over from years of emotion, task and reaction. A prison is a place with extreme amounts of all of these, making the argument valid. However this doesn’t explain why some have felt personal interactions with the ghosts.
The revolving door of justice
The front door of the prison is a revolving door made to ensure prisons couldn’t attempt an escape when first being introduced to the building. Officers and guards would escort the prisoner up to the locked device, would be cleared to move forward and bring them into the secure lobby of the administration building.
The internal lock on the revolving device has long been set in the open position. It’s not uncommon for people to see this door slowly spinning on its own. This could be a strong residual presence because of the many inmates who walked through this device.
Hot spots are areas known for their paranormal activity because many people have experienced something strange there. Some of the best Hot Spots around West Virginia Penitentiary are:
Do you want to go to the West Virginia Penitentiary?
Haunted Hamilton does bus trips to this location usual twice a year.
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Photos: © Main photo by Tim Kiser
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