MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – The Moundsville Penitentiary, home to some of West Virginia’s most violent and vicious criminals. It’s attracted ghost hunters and TV crews the world over, itching for a glimpse beyond the veil of our world, and into the next.

“The Moundsville Penitentiary was established in 1866, closed in March of 1995, it was in operation for 129 years. And when it closed down, it was still the home for about 650 of the state’s worst inmates.”

THOMAS STILES, Executive Director of the Moundsville Economic Development Council

A state institution notorious for housing murders, rapists and kidnappers now serves as a tribute to the history of Moundsville. But it’s also become a beloved tourist attraction for fans of the paranormal.

“You don’t know what to expect. Whether you’re here by yourself, whether you’re here in the middle of the day or middle of the evening, it happens. It’s there. I can show you multiple pictures of things that have happened here, that you just…there’s no explanation for them. There’s just no explanation for them.”

THOMAS STILES, Executive Director of the Moundsville Economic Development Council

The Penitentiary brings in 30 to 40 thousand visitors to the Moundsville-Marshall County area for the 8 months each year that it’s open. During the Halloween season, they operate one of the areas most spectacular haunted houses, known as the Dungeon of Horrors.


It features nearly 50 actors, and a diverse array of frightening, yet stunning sets, with spectacular special effects.

“There’s haunted houses everywhere, but I’m gonna tell you right now we have got the best. You can come into a haunted house, in a haunted facility with the history behind it. Great atmosphere, great show, you won’t be disappointed.”

THOMAS STILES, Executive Director of the Moundsville Economic Development Council

But the haunted house show is but a drop of water in the ocean of terror you can find at the Moundsville Penitentiary.


You can take guided tours of the facility during the day, with a focus on history. You can also take tours at night, to get a first-hand look of all of paranormal hot spots. Places like the psych ward, or the infirmary, where visitors reporting seeing things beyond belief, and comprehension.

“The paranormal activity in the prison is not a show. It’s real, as I’m standing here right now. Whatever you find is in there.”

THOMAS STILES, Executive Director of the Moundsville Economic Development Council

You can visit WVPenTours.com for all the details on whichever tour you’re brave enough to take.

Spooky Steve will return next Friday on 7NEWS at 5 and 10, as long as that kid doesn’t send me to the cornfield.