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Destination Bizarre:  West Virginia

There's tons of abandoned asylums dotted throughout the USA — remnants of a time when mental health was still something misunderstood by medical professionals, and where many of the treatments were truly barbaric. City RV Rentals has found a few bizarre yet interesting places to visit in West Virginia if a sense of adventure for the peculiar excites you.

Trans‐Alleghany Lunatic Asylum, Weston WV Formerly known as the Weston State Hospital, this West Virginia facility served as a sanctuary for the mentally ill in the mid‐1800’s. The history of the building holds fascinating stories of Civil War raids, a gold robbery, the "curative" effects of architecture, and the efforts of determined individuals to help better the lives of the mentally ill. Tour this nationally recognized landmark and see how it left a lasting impression on local and national history. Daily heritage tours are available for both small and large groups.

(View of the outside, photo courtesy of

Mummies of the Insane, Philippi WV In 1888, farmer and amateur scientist Graham Hamrick bought two two female cadavers at the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane (aka: Trans‐Allegheny Lunatic Asylum). West Virginia's own backwoods Dr. Frankenstein mummified them with his patented embalming potion, just as he had done in earlier experiments with vegetables, snakes and the head of a man that he kept in a jar. Hamrick succeeded, all too well. The well‐dried fruits of his labor are still in Philippi. Two mummies, in glass‐topped wooden coffins, are displayed in the Barbour County Historical Museum bathroom. You can see them for a dollar a peek.

(Philippi WV, photo courtesy of

West Virginia Penitentiary, Moundsville WV Near the epicenter of West Virginia’s “City of the Dead,” the presence of the old penitentiary at Moundsville has fueled a perfect storm of psychic activity. Suicides and executions, violent inmates and violent guards — parapsychologists postulate that the turmoil of prison life worsened disturbances caused when prehistoric burial mounds here were decimated by European settlers. Established in 1876, the castellated West Virginia State Penitentiary is now a civic center for the city and is open intermittently for historical and paranormal tours.

(View of the outside, photo courtesy of

Parkersburg, WV There’s no generally accepted reason for the relatively large number of hauntings experienced at Parkersburg. Perhaps activity here is a result of its situation on the Ohio River at the mouth of the Little Kanawha River, once known as the River of Evil Spirits. Native Americans feared its floodwaters, in which whirlpools would quickly appear. Weeping statues, shadowy phantoms, and outright evil revenants inhabit its historic mansions and wander its wharves and avenues.

(Parkersburg in the winter, photo courtesy of

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