Strange True Stories

Creepy Stories And Urban Legends From West Virginia 

Jacob Shelton
Updated February 7, 2020 63.9k views 10 items

West Virginia is an isolated state, surrounded by deep forests, mountains, and miles of uninhabited land. Known for its grittiness and, sadly, for its poverty, West Virginia also has creepy stories. 

West Virginia has an odd assortment of cryptids, some possible alien sightings, and a lot of Civil War ghosts. These creepy stories from West Virginia are exactly what you want to hear late at night as you drive its desolate highways. 

The Mothman Does West Virginia
The Mothman Does West Vi... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Creepy Stories And Urban Legends From West Virginia
Photo:  Jason W./Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The Mothman is a cryptid that was spotted up in West Virginia in the 1960s (and has allegedly appeared in other locations, from ancient times to present day). Mothman is said to be a harbinger of misfortune or doom wherever it appears. Its first appearance in West Virginia dates to 1966 in Clendenin, WV, when a man digging a grave saw a bird-like creature. That same year, it appeared to two young couples outside of a former TNT plant, where it was described by one of the men as being "shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six or seven feet tall, with big wings folded against its back." The Mothman was allegedly seen later that evening by a building contractor who described the creature as having eyes like "bicycle reflectors." 

Between 1966 and 1967, many people had Mothman sightings. In 1967, the Silver Bridge that connected Point Pleasant, WV, and Gallipolis, OH, collapsed during rush hour traffic, killing 46 people. Author John Keel wrote in his book The Mothman Prophecies (which was later made into a movie of the same name) that the collapse of the bridge seems to have been caused by or at least foretold by Mothman. Mothman legends have also been tied to stories of run-ins with the "Men in Black," who are believed to be government spooks.

The Greenbrier Ghost
The Greenbrier Ghost is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Creepy Stories And Urban Legends From West Virginia
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

How many ghosts do you know of that helped solve a homicide case? Elva Zona Heaster's alleged ghost did just that, reportedly helping to solve her own demise in 1897. Heaster married Erasmus Stribbling Shue in 1896. 

In 1887, she mysteriously passed. Despite the local custom in Greenbrier County, WV, of letting the ladies of the town clean and dress a woman's corpse, Shue handled all of it and behaved oddly at the funeral. Heaster's mother, suspicious and grieving, prayed to learn the name of the culprit. She began to have nightly visions of her daughter's ghost explaining that she'd been slain by her husband. Heaster's mother took the information to the local prosecutor, who then helped dig up the body. Through an autopsy, they learned that Heaster had been attacked and strangled. Shue served trial and was convicted of murder.

The Grey Flats Ghost
The Grey Flats Ghost is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Creepy Stories And Urban Legends From West Virginia
Photo:  Adam Moss/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

While walking along the Grey Flats Trail near Beckley, WV, a group of friends encountered what can only be referred to as a shadow person. The figure appeared to be completely black and wearing a long coat and wide brimmed hat. When the group encountered it, it rose up out of their view in an inhuman way. One of the friends suddenly became sick to her stomach, and so the group fled in terror.

Other local explorers say there used to be a farmhouse on that part of the trail, which might have something to do with the apparition. 

The Bowyer House Of Winfield

Paranormal investigators who are local to Winfield, WV, have many stories about the Bowyer House, built by Captain John Bowyer around the year 1841. After Bowyer passed, the house sat empty for multiple generations.

According to local lore, everyone who has been inside reports a general feeling of unease, and some people have even reported seeing a headless horseman from the Civil War era roaming the premises. The house was featured on the TV show Haunted Collector, where the current owner said he might turn it into a B&B.