Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Princeton WV's Haunted Mercer County Courthouse


Mercer County Courthouse. Photo taken by Theresa R.
The Mercer County Courthouse in Princeton, WV is an imposing, limestone structure built by architect Alex Mahood in the Art Deco design.  Construction began in 1930 and the courthouse was officially opened for business in August 1931, making it Mercer County's sixth official courthouse building since the 1860s!

When the courthouse was first built, an interesting feature of the 4-story central area was that the jail was located on the top floor, yet the holding cells were located in the structure's basement.  The jail is no longer operational as a jail, but the staircase connecting the two areas has subsequently been named one of the most haunted areas of the courthouse.  But, it seems like the rest of the courthouse is pretty active, too!

Numerous employees, from all branches of employment related to the courthouse, have reported similar issues for years.  It seems as if anyone working past normal business hours is never truly alone...

The entire courthouse is plagued with sightings of shadow beings, phantom voices, and apparitions of people who allegedly disappear right before one's eyes as they are approached.  In one eye-witness sighting, Sheriff Department's Senior Deputy Wardell Wilborn was working in the sheriff's office right at shift change.  Right after the man he was relieving left, he saw an apparition walk by on the other side of the room.  Thinking it was the other deputy returning to retrieve a forgotten item, he investigated and found no one was there.  Wilborn went as far as calling the other man's phone to see if he was still in the building---he wasn't; he was already safely at home.

In another incident, a member of the janitorial staff was cleaning up in one of the courtrooms when he began hearing voices, when he should have been the only one there.  Leaving the room, he banged his knee, and heard one of the phantom voices comment on his clumsiness!

Because reports of unexplained activity were so widespread, the paranormal investigation group Signs of Ghosts, led by Princeton native, Mark Painter, investigated in 2010.  The group captured some compelling evidence, including several EVPs.  You can read more about their investigation in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph article, linked below!

National Register Application
Is Mercer's Courthouse Haunted? Bluefield Daily Telegraph Article

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