Paranormal Travels, Thurmond, West Virginia

Sherri Granato By Sherri Granato, 28th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Paranormal>Ghosts & Spirits

The dark hollow of Thurmond, West Virginia was once considered one of the greatest railroad towns along the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. It is now considered one of the most haunted.

The Haunted Boomtown where Ghosts Dwell in the Darkened Hollow

Native Americans had a strong belief that the dark hollows of West Virginia were haunted by evil spirits. So it comes as no surprise that reports of supernatural encounters have grown over time, and thousands of sightings, many reputable, have been documented by eye witnesses, folklorists, and parapsychologists daring to visit the darker parts of West Virginia.

The dark hollow of Thurmond, West Virginia was once considered one of the greatest railroad towns along the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. This boomtown, located in the New River Gorge area flourished with the highest revenue in the state during the early 1900's with its overflowing amounts of coal brought in from area mines. Thurmond's banks were the richest in the state, and the town's stores, saloons, and hotels were loaded with customers on a daily basis. Trains continually passed through the town, and at one time the depot served as many as 95,000 passengers a year, but the town witnessed a rapid decline in population as the advent of diesel locomotives, and less coal coming in from local mines forced families to look elsewhere for steady jobs. Businesses began closing their doors, and soon only a handful of residents remained.

Thurmond, West Virginia is located in the southern heart of the state among lush scenery and winding hills. The ghost town is located just off of route 19 at the Glen Jean exit onto route 25, and is surprisingly untouched by the elements that have played havoc on the remaining structures over the years, and as I entered this miniscule ghost town I was immediately drawn to the left-over barren remnants of what was once booming businesses, now standing empty and lifeless, but begging to be explored. The streets are long gone and the ghost of a once booming railroad can only be detected by the tracks that still remain. The heart of the town faces the tracks almost as if it is waiting on passengers to stop by and visit. Luckily, the depot has been fully restored and sits in its prior glory of days gone by, and offers visitors a museum packed full of remnants from another era.

The characteristics of Thurmond mimic a typical Appalachian coal mining town which is what enticed film director John Sayles to film the movie Matewan on location in the downtown strip of Thurmond. The movie illustrated events that took place in the average coal miner's life from working long hours with little pay, accidental deaths, bad working conditions and attempts to unionize the coal mines for better pay and safer working conditions.

Physicians and modern medicine were not very common in West Virginia in the late 1800's through the early 1900's as West Virginians relied on tonics, home remedies, and folk healers due to their limited familiarity with formally educated physicians, and because of their beliefs, many coal miners and residents suffered from prolonged and miserable deaths. These ghosts from long ago have been known to inhabit various locations throughout Thurmond, usually at night during the full moon as legend would have you believe. Many appear to be tortured souls walking aimlessly throughout the small town. The most frequently reported spirits are that of a man carrying a sword, and an army uniform has been seen walking around without a body through the local graveyard.

Most visitors report that the daylight hours run smoothly and without incident as they tour the Thurmond's visitor center with its historic furnishings from the coal mining era, and the structures that have stood proudly through the years. Amazingly, the town of Thurmond remains virtually untouched, and a glimpse of the past can be seen through the bank, saloon, hotel, and a church that remains along with the two dozen homes left in almost livable condition. A few residents have remained deep in the hills of the town, and are eager and willing to talk about the history if you happen to run into one these friendly mountain folk, and if not then the National Park Service will be glad to answer any of your questions. It is interesting to note that Thurmond is one of the historic sites featured in the "Teaching with Historic Places program".

Hours of Operation:

Memorial Day through Labor Day: Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

September, October, and May: Weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Appalachian, Coal Miner, Folklore, Ghost, Ghost Town, Graveyard, Haunted, Home Remedies, Hotel, Legend, Medicine, Native American, Paranormal, Parapsychologist, Physician, Saloon, Spirit, Supernatural, Tortured Souls

Meet the author

author avatar Sherri Granato
Sherri has lived in several haunted properties, including a morgue turned basement apartment. Instead of fearing the paranormal, she has opted to embrace, investigate and understand it.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
29th Jul 2014 (#)

Sherri, as always you have written an excellent article about the history of Thurmond, West Virginia. In it's day it must have been full of hustle and bustle. I would love to see the train depot today.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?