West Virginia Penitentiary

Moundsville, VA

The West Virginia Penitentiary is a gothic-style prison located in Moundsville, West Virginia. Now withdrawn and retired from prison use, it operated from 1876 to 1995. Currently, the site is maintained as a tourist attraction and training facility. On February 7, 1866, the state legislature approved the purchase of land in Moundsville for the purpose of constructing a state prison. Ten acres were purchased just outside the then city limits of Moundsville for $3000. Moundsville proved an attractive site, as it is approximately twelve miles south of Wheeling, West Virginia, which at that time was the state capital. The first building constructed on the site was the North Wagon Gate. It was made with hand-cut sandstone, which was quarried from a local site. The state used prison labor during the construction process, and work continued on this first phase until 1876. In addition to the North Wagon Gate, there was now north and south cellblock areas. In 1929, the state decided to double the size of the penitentiary because overcrowding was a problem. In 1959 the penitentiary completed the expanded facility. In the 1960s, the prison reached a peak population of about 2,000 inmates. The fate of the prison was sealed in a 1986 ruling by the West Virginia Supreme Court which stated that confinement to the 5 x 7-foot cells constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Within nine years, West Virginia Penitentiary was closed.

September 4, 2010
Investigators: Beth Rosen & Matt Rosen with guests Nick Wendling, Karen Memmolo, Kathy Sellers & Heather McLean.

Location Photos: Click to enlarge


Infirmary: After recently reported activity in the Psych Ward, our investigator tries to provoke a response in the adjoining Infirmary area. Her provocation is met with an eerie and belligerent request.
Infirmary: After hearing noises, we ask the responsible party to join us in the Infirmary area. To our surprise, their ‘arrival’ is accompanied with an unexplained bang.
Infirmary: Once again, we get the same unexplained bangs. In no way could they be debunked as plumbing or building settling. On the contrary, they were ‘unsettling’ to say the least.

March 30, 2012
Investigators: Beth Rosen, Matt Rosen & Travis Spitzer with guests Nick Wendling, Eric Singleton & Jon Michael.

Location Photos: (click to enlarge)


Infirmary: Talking from an adjoining room, Beth asks if anything present can make a loud bang to indicate its presence. Surprisingly, something complies… again and again.

September 2, 2016
Investigators: Beth Rosen, Matt Rosen, Heather Olsen, Travis Spitzer, Steve Waide & Damion Tellier.

Location Photos:

Findings: Nothing to report.

August 12, 2022
Investigators: Beth Rosen, Kathy Sellers, Jenny Breitbarth with guests Nick Wendling, Eric Singleton and Jennifer Kozlof of NAPS North Carolina, Heather Elliott, Troy Haney, Heidi Johnston and Jenn Stubstad of Off-Grid Paranormal .

Location Photos: Coming Soon

Grave Concerns Paranormal does not view findings presented on this page as evidence of ghosts or the paranormal. These are merely experiences that we can not explain at this time.