Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Historic Weekend in WV

Last Friday evening the Mrs. and I headed to the Greenbrier located in White Sulpher Springs, WV. The Greenbrier was founded in 1778 and is famous vacation spot for many celebrities and political figures. Perhaps it's most famous for "the Bunker." This was a chamber designed for the POTUS in the event of a nuclear holocaust in the 1950s.

It looks very presidential, doesn't it?

Notice the colors. Pretty much everything was teal. Not really what you'd expect, eh?

Definitely different and slightly pretty, in my opinion. Is it weird that I found my next destination more interesting?

Early Saturday morning I crossed the state and headed to Moundsville, WV to help a friend film a documentary about a serial killer named Harry Powers called "Romeo Must Hang." He is believed to have killed many others, but only five murders were ever confirmed. Harry would contact women by mail and promise them love and money. They'd move to be with him and then he'd kill them and take their belongings. And yeah, I played the part of Harry.

This is the outside of the State Pen. Even the outside looks crazy, right? It was opened in 1876 and closed in 1995. There were at least 94 executions here. Many people were hanged (like Harry Powers), while others met their maker in the electric chair.

It was even spookier inside. Here's where the majority of prisoners were kept. There are four stories of cells. It smelled of dust and metal. There was nothing comforting about the place.

Two people stayed in each cell. Crazy.

Here's the shower. I think I'd rather be dirty.

And, of course, Old Sparky. This is the original electric chair of the WV State Pen. I don't even want to know what the bucket of water is for.

A couple of interesting stories from the Harry Powers experience:

I had a lot of spare time between shoots, so I wandered around the prison by myself. Right before dusk I visited the 2nd floor infirmary where the prisoners received medical attention. There was no power in the prison, but the glow from outside made it bright enough to see. There were rooms with x-ray equipment, large baths, dentist chairs and hospital beds, some majorly creepy stuff. At the end of the infirmary there was a dark area with tons of open doors that you couldn't see into. It was just too dark. As I passed a couple of the rooms, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I immediately turned around and hurried back down the hall and down the steps. I got a little weirded out, but I still don't believe in ghosts.

Speaking of ghosts, as I walked around the prison dressed as Harry Powers, everyone looked at me like I just kicked their dog. At first it didn't occur to me that people knew who Harry Powers was, but man, they definitely did. Everyone working at the prison or visiting that night on "ghost tours" knew Harry's story. People even stopped to take pictures with me. VERY VERY WEIRD.

Bringing Harry Powers back to life for a couple of days was fun, but geez, that dude was a jerk. And seriously, the Greenbrier is overrated, but it's a lot more pleasant than the state pen!

1 comment:

  1. you need to watch the Green Mile to see why they used the bucket