CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The West Virginia State Parks system (WV Parks) recently released a list of parks that are having fun Halloween activities this year, but what it didn’t mention is that almost all of the parks also have a spooky or haunted past.
Because this year’s Hunter’s Full Moon falls on Saturday, Oct. 28, the weekend before Halloween, there are additional programs available at the following state parks. And for those who are searching for the paranormal, here are a few ghost tails associated with the parks.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
In addition to its famous railroad, WV Parks announced that Cass is having an evening of Halloween Fun Time on Oct. 27 starting at 5 p.m. Families are encouraged to dress up for a costume contest and then trick-or-treat at the park’s main buildings. The park is also hosting an educational, 3-mile Full Moon Hike on Oct. 28.
What the list didn’t mention is that the Cass Scenic Railroad trip to Bald Knob goes through a completely abandoned ghost town. Established in 1902, Spruce was a settlement along Shavers Fork of the Cheat River that served as the base for the Greenbrier, Cheat and Elk Railroad and then the Western Maryland Railway in the 1920s, according to the Mountain State Railroad and Logging Historical Society. In the 1950s, the equipment in Spruce was retired, and 20 families of workers left the area. The area was completely abandoned by the early 1960s.
Now, the only distinguishing features of Spruce are the interchange between the Cass and CSX railroads and ruins of the ghost town. Although several railroads still go through it, the only road to Spruce is a tiny path.
North Bend State Park
North Bend State Park is having a few spooky programs for all ages at its nature center, including a “Skulls and Bones” program at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27 and a campground trick-or-treat at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28.
But if you’re really looking for a trip into the paranormal, on the North Bend Rail Trail just a few miles from the park, legend says that Silver Run Tunnel is haunted by the ghost of a woman in white who was killed by a passing train. Train conductors during Ritchie County’s oil boom reported seeing the woman in the center of the tracks inside the quarter-mile-long tunnel. Believing they had hit her, the conductors would stop in a panic, but when they searched for a body, they never found her. Silver Run became notorious among conductors for the mysterious woman in white.
Kanawha State Forest
“Bat Night Bonfire” at Kanawha State Forest aims to break the stigma surrounding the flying mammals, despite what horror movies might say. The program is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28 and will include s’mores, hot coffee and kid-friendly activities, according to the event.
However, according to a different article by WV Parks, the abandoned coal mines in the state forest that provide habitats for bats once served a completely different purpose. During the Prohibition, the mines were the perfect place for moonshiners to hide their stashes. According to a sign at the trail site, when the CCC Snipe Trail mine was sealed in by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1941, “crews discovered 26 mash barrels abandoned by bootleggers.” Although not a spooky as a woman in white, the Kanawha State Forest is definitely haunted by ghosts of the past.
Blackwater Falls State Park
Like the Kanawha State Forest, Blackwater Falls State Park is using Halloween as a reason to educate people on bats with a “Mysterious Moon, Full Moon” program at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, but there is a creature much scarier than a bat that legend says lives at the park.
The scheduled program is inspired by werewolves, but the real spooky past of Blackwater Falls is based on several 1970s sightings of Bigfoot. Although there have been sightings of the debated creature across the state, sources say that during the 1960s and ’70s, there was a major spike near Davis and the Blackwater River canyon. Based on research from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, Tucker County has had four reported Bigfoot sightings, including three that are considered Class A—which “involve clear sightings in circumstances where misinterpretation or misidentification of other animals can be ruled out with greater confidence”—by the organization. Nearby counties Pendleton and Randolph have the most Bigfoot sightings in the state.
Twin Falls Resort State Park
Twin Falls is hosting a campground-wide trunk or treat where local businesses will be camping out and giving out candy. The event will be from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28.
But candy might not be the only Halloween treat you find because several places at Twin Falls are rumored to be haunted. TikToks posted by a Wyoming County paranormal investigator suggest that there are two ghosts in the park lodge as well as the ghost of a headless man on the Falls Trail and the ghost of a cat that was murdered by its owner’s husband on the Hemlock Trail.
To learn more about spooky and creepy pasts and haunts at West Virginia State Parks, click here.