Located in Marion County, the small community of Mannington hosts one of WV's most popular urban legends: The Witch's Grave at Highland Cemetery.
Perhaps the abandoned chapel became a hub of alleged Satanic activity due to a much older urban legend surrounding one of the interred citizens of the cemetery. Highland Cemetery is reported to be the final resting spot of Fairmont's most famous witch.
The lady in question goes by many variations of name. Zelda, Sarah Jane, Serlinda Jane, and simply, the Witch of Highland, are among the many variations. Her tombstone, however, reads something to the affect of Serilda Jane Whetzel, date of death: May 29th, 1909.
Legend states that Ms. Whetzel's tombstone is upside down, and contains the imagery of a staircase descending down into the fiery mouth of a demon. Although buried in what was a Christian burial ground, Ms. Whetzel had her tombstone faced away from the rest of the flock in obvious defiance. The witch herself, along with a gentleman, often referred to as a warlock, have been seen in the vicinty of the grave, and quickly disappear when approached.
Although seemingly unbelievable, there is a grain of truth in these stories. The tombstone itself IS quite strange. Firstly, it DOES face away from the rest of the stones in the cemetery. However, it is obvious that the tombstone has been knocked down, and replaced in a new position. According to locals, any attempt to restore the stone to its original position is met with opposition from local vandals, quick to undo the work.
Secondly, there is a staircase motif carved on Ms. Whetzel's tomb. Generally, staircases in tombstone symbolism represent the passage into Heaven. These are often accompanied by weeping willow trees in the background, symbolizing mourning. Due to stone weathering and a slightly off-kilter perspective, it DOES give the illusion that the staircase is not ascending into Heaven, but DESCENDING into something not as pleasant! Today, services are once again being held in the small chapel, so please be respectful and obey all laws if visiting the cemetery.
The video above comes from YouTube user cemeterytan and shows an excellent collection of images from the cemetery and chapel, including close-ups of the "Witch's Grave".