We’ve all heard much of West Virginia’s wacky history — from Mothman to alien sightings and the like. But there are some shocking things that happen in West Virginia that you may never have heard about. Unit now, that is.
1. A botched execution ended public hangings at the state's penitentiary.
Public hangings at the West Virginia State Penitentiary were stopped in 1931 because a prisoner was decapitated when while he was being hanged.
2. A company refused to believe West Virginia has a town with this name.
In 2010, Microsoft banned a user from Xbox Live for using Fort Gay as his address. The company initially refused to believe the town in Wayne County actually exists. The town’s mayor eventually appealed to the company before the issue was corrected.
3. A man was charged with assault for passing gas.
In 2008, a man in South Charleston was charged with assault for farting. The man had already been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving when police say he passed gas and fanned it in the direction of the officer. The man said he had to use the bathroom but police wouldn’t let him. The assault charge was eventually dropped.
4. Father's Day was partly inspired by this tragic event in West Virginia.
The Monongah Mining Disaster, in which more than 350 miners lost their lives, is thought by some to have contributed to the start of Father’s Day in the United States. The 1907 mine accident left 250 widows and 1,000 fatherless children.
5. Men aboard the USS West Virginia lived for 16 days after the ship sunk.
Three bodies were found in a storage room aboard the USS West Virginia after the ship was re-floated after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The men had survived for two weeks after the attack, according to a calendar found there.
6. You know your favorite song about West Virginia? Well...
Maybe this one should be labeled "shocking things that DIDN'T happen in WV." When John Denver recorded Country Roads, he had never even been here. And neither had the men who wrote the song, according to songfacts.com. (Let's still sing it, OK?)
7. A newspaper publisher once pranked his readers with a terrible smell.
A newspaper publisher in West Virginia was once reprimanded by the postmaster general after he added potent onion juice to the ink he printed with, which caused an offensive odor. It is among Richwood News Leader publish Jim Comstock’s best known practical jokes.
8. A disagreement about textbooks lead to violence in this West Virginia county.
In the 1970s a disagreement over textbooks in Kanawha County lead to 9,000 elementary school students in the county being kept home. A bomb was planted at an elementary school, school buses were attacked with guns, and the homes of children who attended during the boycott were stoned.
Did you know about these stories? What other shocking stories about West Virginia do you know? Let me know in the comments.