Apparently, whoever lived in this cell was well-behaved enough to be given his own TV, what the hell?
After getting a load of the maximum security North Hall digs, the cells in the “moderately bad guy” hall almost looked livable. According to Wiki, “[t]he fate of the prison was sealed in a 1986 ruling by the West Virginia Supreme Court which stated that the 5 x 7-foot cells were cruel and unusual punishment.” Nine years later, the prison peaced out when all the inmates were moved to a larger facility in a nearby town.
Volunteers got to be locked inside the cells. Of course, Chooch was all over this. I only wish they’d have kept him longer.
The guide told us that on one of her tours, a man was taking pictures of his wife and daughter in one of the cells, but every time he looked at the pictures on his camera, the cell was empty.
The guide said she saw the pictures herself and could confirm that his wife and daughter were not appearing in the photos. A girl in our tour group lunged for that cell immediately after hearing the story, but the phenomenon must be particular because she showed up in all of the pictures.
Ghost shit never happens when I’m around!
Another outdoor area where the general population criminals could exercise and, I don’t know, mill about? Lay on their backs and look at the clouds?
There’s a chapel out there, and a bathroom, the wall of which had to be knocked down after an inmate was killed in there.
Entrance to the Sugar Shack. This was an area in the basement where the inmates could go during inclement weather, but they entered at their own risk. They were completely unsupervised down there, and even though there’s no record of anyone actually dying, it’s still considered the most haunted area of the prison, due to all of the violence and suffering that occurred in there. We didn’t get to go inside during our tour, which means I’m going to have to go back and take one of the ghost hunt tours, so if anyone wants to join me, holla atcha girl.
Old Sparky! I think he speaks for himself.
The museum room was fascinating. I think I want to decorate my future invisible house with prisoner art work. I mean, I already have a small collection thanks to my death row pen pal’s penchant for abstract water coloring.
(I shouldn’t be concerned that he painted a nude of me, right?)
Next possible Christmas card in the series…
Chooch seemed particularly interested in the weapon wall. Go figure.
My favorite part of Moundsville is its connection with Charles Manson.
Manson grew up in this area, and his mom was even imprisoned there when Manson was a kid. So he wrote a letter to the warden, asking for permission to be transferred so he could be closer to his childhood home. He also thought he would be treated better there.
The warden’s response was a simple yet effective, “It’d be a cold day in Hell.”
Can you imagine how different Moundsville’s history would be if Manson’s wish was granted? He would have taken control of that prison right off the Aryan Nation and god only knows what would have happened next.
Anyway, I pointed to Manson’s picture and asked Chooch if he recognized him. He looked at me like I was a dummy and said, “Um, yeah. He’s the guy on your cards.”
That night, Chooch watched some of Manson’s interviews on my phone. It was a really awesome bonding moment for us. Thank you, Moundsville!
Have you ever read Helter Skelter? If not, you should. It’s basically the entire Manson story, from his crazy cult start to his imprisonment. I’ve got a copy I could send you but you would have to promise to send it back when you’re done. I read it every few years, just to remind myself I could be more fucked up.