Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Haunted Pocahontas County: Denmar

Autumn clouds over Locust Creek

Another Pocahontas locality recorded as "haunted" is the old Denmar State Hospital. A lot of the older people here on Droop Mountain and Caesar Mountain worked there at one time or another. It is just a short distance away, on the Greenbrier River. I've heard stories about places in the hospital where no one wanted to go alone. One floor in particular made people uncomfortable, and there are stories of inexplicable voices and footsteps. The structure is now a prison. I visited there once, and found the bars slamming shut behind me disturbing enough to drive away thoughts of paranormal phenomena. Here's the report:

West Virginia Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium, Denmar
Nearly 1000 African-American women and men spent their last days suffering with Tuberculosis at this isolated location in Pocahontas County and nearly 300 of them are permanently laid to rest here. This is a very isolated and active paranormal location. In the mid 1990's the location was renovated and turned into a correctional facility and is not available for the public to visit.

There's another, more informative article about the Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium. (No discussion of ghosts is included.)

Deaths at the West Virginia Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Denmar. West Virginia History Volume 56 (1997), pp. 88-121.
The West Virginia Legislature created the State Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium in 1917. The Maryland Lumber Company sold 185 acres of land and numerous buildings in Denmar, Pocahontas County, to the West Virginia Board of Control. According to the 1918 West Virginia Legislative Hand Book, black tuberculosis patients, who were West Virginia residents, were eligible for admission to the sanitarium provided they could pay for their care. The Hand Book noted: "The reasonable expenses of poor persons admitted at the request of the authorities of any municipal corporation or county, shall be paid by such municipal corporation or county." The sanitarium admitted its first patients on January 31, 1919.

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