Southern WV Ghost Stories

Halloween is approaching, and it’s the time of year spirits are said to be stirring. Southern WV has several of its own ghost tales.

Here are a few of our favorite haunts, one from each Southern WV county:

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    Sweet Springs Resort turned Sanatorium – Now Abandoned – Monroe County

      Fayette County’s Haunted Tracks

Walking the tracks from Wierwood to Pax, you  might catch a glimmering glimpse of the Fayette  County ghost lights. But be careful: there’s more in  store if you do.

Late at night, travelers who trek the tracks spot the  ghostly lights ahead of them. If your curiosity is  piqued, you’ll just have to wait: you can walk as  quickly as you’d like, but the lights will linger the  same distance away from you. Until you reach the  bridge, that is.

At the bridge, the lights converge, forming the  stumbling figure of a headless man. As you watch  him, he will disappear. But not for long.

Look behind you. He has reappeared there, heading  straight toward you. Get out of his way. He’s about  to relive his death, tumbling over the cliffside.

Tales say that as he tried to avoid an oncoming train, he was beheaded, and his body was thrown into the water below.

He returns to find his missing head, but he might be searching for all eternity.

Raleigh County’s Theater of Spirits

The regalia was in place and people flocked in to celebrate and honor the veterans at the new Soldier’s Memorial Theater. The bleachers filled up as people were seated. Too many people. The seats collapsed.

No one was killed in the fall, but this is still the beginning of the story, the bad omen that hovered over the theater from its start.

Bob could tell you, if he were still alive. Maybe he still will. He hangs around the theater, and you can hear his footsteps at night.

Bob lived in the basement. He’s an older gentleman, still roaming his old home in his ’30’s style attire. He’s also been spotted on the balcony, the creepy locale that a female voice also haunts. She whippers through the halls, and sometimes she will simply say, “balcony.”

It’s not clear whether she’s warning or inviting the late night guests of the theater, but it seems there’s more to the story of the balcony that has yet to be uncovered.

And the disembodied whispers and footsteps aren’t the only ghostly sounds around the theater. Children can be heard laughing, and a saxophone plays, even when there isn’t one in the building.

Wyoming County’s Ghostly Troubadour

If you’re looking for a ghostly tune, you need only ask at Bud Mountain in Wyoming County. The spirit of Berg Hammond is said to still roam there, and Berg never turned down a request to play.

Berg was a traveling salesman, roaming the countryside, from farm to farm in his horse-drawn wagon, peddling wares and offering up the lively conversation of a seasoned traveler. He sold instruments alongside his other goods, and never missed an opportunity to put on a show, especially with his fiddle. People loved him, and often offered him a bed for the night.

But not every night. One stormy evening, Berg was crossing the mountain late in the evening, hoping to find a place to sleep on the other side.

The fog was heavy and the roads were narrow. Berg and the horses tumbled over the mountainside, crashing to their deaths at the bottom.

On stormy nights you can hear his fiddle echo across the mountain. And, true to his nature as a showman, if you ask him, “Berg Hammond, let me hear your pretty fiddle,” he will wake from his eternal sleep to comply.

McDowell County’s Paranormal Creature

Be careful wandering near Sandy Huff Hollow Road in McDowell County. Whatever is lurking there has supposedly made victims of several local pets.

The creature that hunters and ATV riders report seeing stalking the area is a large, 4-legged dog-like animal. But it’s not quite a dog, since it rears up and walks on hind legs, too.

It stalks after intruders, and one woman said when she noticed it from her window, it noticed back. It came up to the house, and it must have been more than curiosity, because she said it was scratching and banging the doors all night.

Greenbrier County’s Historical Haunt

The Greenbrier Ghost is no mere story. She has documented testimony in court for her own murder.

Zona Heaster fell ill, and was found dead in her home. It was declared heart failure. And yet, it was not as simple as it seemed.

After the funeral, Zona’s mother looked up from prayer to see her daughter standing in the corner. She rushed to her side, but as she did so, the apparition disappeared before her.
The next night, she returned. And she spoke.

Zona told her mother, in full detail, the truth of her final moments: she had been murdered. Strangled. So Mrs. Heaster went straight to the prosecuting attorney, who had a proper autopsy performed on the body.

You see, the first time around, the examination of the body had been rushed. Zona’s husband was clutching the woman’s head, grieving.

Why had he been so protective of her head? Insist she wear a scarf at the funeral? What of his two previous wives, one of whom also died mysteriously?

As the autopsy was underway, he said they wouldn’t be able to prove it was him. Curious, that he seemed to know what the autopsy would find: that Zona had been strangled to death.

Her husband was convicted of her murder, but insisted his innocence until he died in prison, as solidly as Mrs. Heaster insisted her daughter had returned to her to seek justice.

Summers County’s Tall Tale Haunt

A Summers County legend still lives on, though he is no longer alive. Big Bend Tunnel is the supposed site of the famous contest between steel driver John Henry and the machine.

As the tale goes, John was the quickest steel driver around. And when a salesman rode through with a mechanized version of his job, he feared even his skills couldn’t save him.

But he wagered a challenge anyway: Henry vs. the machine. If he won, the workers kept their jobs. If not, the machine replaced them.

He hammered away, and raced against the mechanized device, keeping up pound for pound with his hammer. The workers looked on, their jobs on the line. John Henry was a steel driving man, who in the end proved tougher than machine. But the strain was too much for him, and he died after his win.

Known by song as the “Steel Drivin’ Man,” his legend still lives, as a ghost still hammering away in the night. Passers-by hear the pounding as he continues his duties even after they put him in his grave.

Monroe County’s Sanatorium Spirits

Does one ever expect the tortured souls of a sanitarium to settle? The old Sweet Springs Sanatorium in Monroe County is no stranger to paranormal activity, despite being left abandoned for years.

The furniture sits scattered about. The rooms lie in disrepair. And many ghosts are said to wander the dark corners of the building.

Voices whisper through its halls. People have seen unexplainable things, like human-like figures drifting through the grounds.

Sometimes you don’t see them. You feel them. In addition to the eerie feeling of a presence, that you are not alone in Sweet Springs, you sometimes feel that presence reach out to you, literally. A light tap the the shoulder or a brush against the arm.

“Abandoned.” Indeed.

Nicholas County’s Lost Lovers

All odds against them, a couple in Summersville have kept their love burning even after death.

She was a prisoner, so he planned to help her escape— by hiding her in a coffin.

Romantic though it was, their plan didn’t succeed, and neither survived the escape attempt.

The bell tower on the courthouse mysteriously tolls a tune for the long-passed lovers.

Then again, maybe love does not conquer all. The courthouse has been the site of numerous other battles and slayings, so maybe the bell tolls for some other ghostly inhabitant, reminding the living of a long, dark history.

Mercer County’s Courthouse Ghosts

In fact, look into nearly any courthouse in the state, and you’re bound to find tales of ghostly presence. It seems the law does not sit well with the non-living.

Mercer County is certainly no exception. Workers have come to accept that they are not alone. They report seeing figures stalking the halls when no one is around, and the visitors promptly disappear when approached.

Most of the time.

One worker swept the courtroom after hearing voices only to find he seemed to be alone. At least, nothing living was there with him, he was certain. He turned to leave and banged his knee on the way out, and to his shock, a bodiless voice nearby commented on his clumsy move.

The stairs are a hub of activity for the ghouls. The stairwells lead all the way to the former jail cells.
Ghost hunters report powerful spiritual energy, and say they identify several distinct ghosts lingering in the courtrooms.

Mercer County is no stranger to haunts. We also wrote about another ghost hub, the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, recently.

Whether they’re real or not, the stories of spiritual sightings around Southern WV never seem to cease.

Which Southern WV ghost story is your favorite?

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