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Moundsville Penitentiary is the third episode of Season 1 of Ghost Adventures. Zak, Nick and Aaron go to Moundsville, WV, to investigate and confront the tortured souls that remain inside the abandoned Moundsville State Penitentiary. The prison was mired by evil, torture and death for over a century.


Zak, Nick, and Aaron travel to Moundsville, West Virginia, a small town around the Ohio River that grew up around a colossal and imposing penitentiary. For almost 1000 men, this prison was the last stop on their lives of crime, either executed by hanging or electric chair or murdered by other inmates through gruesome methods (stabbed, hung, cooked in hot pots, and so on), or by escaping through suicide. By many accounts, some of the tortured souls who served time here remain.

The GAC begin their investigation into Moundsville Penitepenisntiary's history. Moundsville has the dubious honor of being on the United States Dept. of Justice's top 10 most violent correctional facilities during its 190-year history, and one of the most bloody institutions in the United States. Zak is led into the boiler room of the place, where a former inmate named R.D. Wall says he was jumped by other inmates, who cut and stabbed at him with dull shivs. Zak interviews various people such as the elderly Ray Gaughenbaugh, who was captured in a particularly noteworthy riot at the penitentiary 20 years ago, where the inmates went into combat against the guards.

Back at the 1930s, the guards would spot an inmate walking by the wall outside of the maintenance area; they would sound an alarm and investigate, but would find that nobody was there. Other shadow people have been seen here, such as the famous photograph of a shadow person down a hall. In 1995, the prison closed its doors for real, but by many accounts the ghosts/spirits of 998 men who died in here still roam free.

The penitentiary is just across the street from the residential areas of Moundsville, so Zak starts going to various houses for information. A housewife named Barbara Applegarth, tells him that she and a group of other people had witnessed a full-bodied, 6-foot tall, transparent apparition down in the basement of the penitentiary, by the boilers. The apparition bent down as if to pick something up, and turned and was gone just like that. Lori O'Neil, who worked at night a couple years ago, went down to the Sugar Shack and witnessed a light that formed a mass of a man who looked like he was digging. She says that in general, if one is investigating ghosts at the penitentiary, 3:00 AM is the time to be out there, because that is the "witching hour". One former guard was up at the Wagon Gate where the gallows were, and the sound of the gallows trap door opening was heard, but nobody was there. Another eyewitness two years ago heard "COME MEET THE DEVIL" spoken out loud, and in another instance saw an older person go into the penitentiary and come back out with a huge unibrow-like scar on his head.

At one point in their pre-investigation, Zak & Co. encounter Tom "Redbone" Richardson driving in, who explains he was a prison inmate in there from 1966-1983. Redbone agrees to show him around inside the penitentiary for historical context. He shows Zak to a "gun cage" where guards watched over inmates in a dining hall below, and he says he witnessed during a riot a man getting hurled into what he was cooking his pot of beans with, and as the rioters stood on the lid the man was cooked alive until his meat fell off. Then he shows which prison cell he lived in for 9 years, and this is the first time he's been in this cell since his release in 1983. Lastly, he shows the other cell he was in alongside a good friend of his for a period of time, where he recalls that the friend was killed by other inmates in cold blood.

Zak has former internal coordinator Tom Stiles show him around the paranormal hot spots, such as the Sugar Shack, which was a recreational area for the inmates where the officers didn't supervise quite as closely. One day he was carrying tools through this area with nobody around him when he felt a hand grab his arm. Then Stiles takes Zak down to where R. D. Wall was stabbed and beheaded in the boiler room. Noises, sounds, and voices have been heard in this area, and a face apparition has been seen as well.


Zak & Co. begin their lockdown starting at 8:00 PM until dawn. They agree to only use night vision so that the spirits don't see them coming. They head to the North Hall and begin their provocations of the evil spirits. An hour in, they get some EMF spikes and cold chills, and then they see a figure pass by a doorway in the direction of the north hall cell block. They immediately investigate the area, and set up a night vision camera there. Before they even have the chance to hit record, Zak hears footsteps leading right to him, and his EMF detector soon registers all the way up to a 40. They finally get around to hitting record on the camera.

They head towards the Sugar Shack to where they taped down a spot to place a static night vision camera. Aaron snaps a digital still-shot of Nick, and the photo shows a very strange glowing anomaly far in the background whose brightest spots could be said to be glowing eyes. They get to where the internal coordinator was violently grabbed on the arm, and Nick agrees to stay in one area by himself; as Aaron tapes him sitting down on a chair, the camera records a pulsating orb. Three hours into the investigation, the night vision camera they set up earlier to cover the North Hall captures a faint EVP of male voices yelling from out of the cells, in addition to countless unexplained noises of scratching and shuffling, and at one point the camera readjusts its auto-focus as if something was passing in front of it, even though nothing is visible at all.


  • Apparition: A digital photo taken by Aaron shows what seems to be a small, bright orange head with glowing eyes behind Nick.
  • EVPs: Laughing, "I'll kill you", "I've gone away", "look up, I'll kill you"




  • The first penitentiary investigation.
Season 1 Episodes
Bobby Mackey's Music WorldHoughton MansionMoundsville PenitentiaryRiddle HouseSloss FurnaceAbandoned NJ Psychiatric HospitalEdinburgh VaultsOld Idaho Penitentiary