5 Disturbing Unsolved Mysteries In West Virginia That Will Leave You Baffled
Mysteries are fun to think about when they’re on TV and in books, but they’re a little darker and more tragic when they’re in your home state and home town. Unfortunately, every state in the U.S. has its fair share of alarming news and tragic local legends. You may even be able to identify your own town in this lore. Here are five of
West Virginia’s unsolved mysteries.
1. The murder of Sister Roberta Elam
Sister Roberta Elam was found raped and strangled to death in broad daylight at Mount St. Joseph in Wheeling. She had been on silent retreat and had gone out to a secluded area to meditate when she was killed, according to media reports. No one has ever been charged in the nun's death. The incident was particularly rattling for the community because of Sister Roberta Elam's status as a nun and the fact that the crime took place on the property of the convent, a holy and theoretically safe space.
2. The murder of Irene Wilson
Irene Wilson was 52 in 1963 when she was brutally stabbed over 50 times and killed in her home at Broomstick in Calhoun County, according to the Hur Herald. Though some suspected her husband, no one has ever been charged in her death. Her husband died a few months after his wife. Irene, who is described as a well-liked Christian lady, was killed one night as her husband was at work as a nightwatchman. When he called Irene and got no response, he became worried and called a neighbor to check on her. The neighbor sent two teenager girls, who discovered the gruesome murder. Here's another instance where the woman was in a supposedly safe place, her own home, and still met a horrible fate.
3. The disappearance of the Sodder children
On Christmas Eve in 1945, the Sodder home in Fayetteville burned down. Four children survived the blaze but five children went missing and no trace of their remains was ever found. Their parents believed the fire to be a cover for their abduction, even though the local coroner declared them all dead. A billboard was erected nearby to seek tips on where the children might be. Investigators were also hired to seek them out. There have been no suspects in their disappearance but some have speculated that an illegal child-selling agency took them, according to Unsolved Mysteries Wiki. The last surviving Sodder child, who was 69 in 2012, said she doesn't believe her siblings perished in the fire but that something else was at work.
4. The murder of LaRoy Earl Gorman
Gorman, a 62-year-old businessman, was shot execution style while he got in his car at the Steak & Ale restaurant in Charleston, say the media reports. Police believed a car had been waiting there for him for more than an hour. When he came out of the restaurant he and the person in the car argued and then he was shot. Four witnesses reportedly spoke with police but police believed there were others who declined to come forward, according to WestVirginianews.blogspot.com.
It shows how much our world has changed that in the 1980s a murder like this in the middle of the street could go unsolved. Now there would be cameras everywhere that would be utilized to identify the shooter.
5. The death of Danny Casolaro
Casolaro, a freelance writer and reporter, was found dead in a bathtub in Martinsburg in 1991. His wrists had been slashed 10 to 12 times and a note was found.
His death was ruled suicide but his family argued he had instead been murdered.
His brother said that Danny had been receiving harassing phone calls, some of which were threatening. They also argued that he was squeamish about blood and that if he were to have committed suicide, he would not have done it by slitting his wrists. Some believe Danny was killed by a clandestine government agency, but no evidence of murder was ever found. It's hard not to be a little suspicious that perhaps a journalist who dug a little too deep was silenced.
These were just some of the Mountain State’s unsolved mysteries. Unfortunately even in the calmest, quietest communities or the safest of spaces, horrible and unexplained things can happen. Like any state, West Virginia has its share of hidden horrors. Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below.
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
More to Explore
Haunted Places in West Virginia
What are some creepy haunted sites in West Virginia?
These are just a few of the bizarre and disturbing happenings around the state. You might find more at these haunted spots.
The Old Hospital at College Hill in Williamson
Haunted Majestic in Huntington
Ramsdell House in Ceredo
Brandy Gap Tunnel #2 in Salem
West Virginia Prison in Moundsville
The Haunted Haymond in Sutton
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston
William Tompkins House in Cedar Grove
Abandoned Coal Company Houses in Layland
Templemoor in Lost Creek