Remote West Virginia campground includes its own ghost

Remote West Virginia campground includes its own ghost
Might a headless ghost still haunt the forest around Bakers Run Campground on Sutton Lake?

There are many remote campgrounds in West Virginia, but few are as remote as Baker's Run Campground and boast their own ghost.


Only 30 minutes from Interstate 79, the campground near Sutton, West Virginia, may feel remote as a result of the way it tucks into the Allegheny foothills on the Elk River at the back of Sutton Lake, and that's much of its allure.

A young angler waits for a nibble at the Bakers Run Campground on Sutton Lake.

At the end of a paved country road, deep in a mountain valley, far from city lights, campers and anglers here may feel hundreds of miles from civilization—most especially when it's time to tell ghost stories around the campfire.

According to most versions of the once-famous tale, the ghost is that of Jacob Beamer, who was fond of moonlight walks. He met his end one night when he was hit by a train and decapitated.

For many years afterward, his ghost was said to appear to wanderers at night as it searched for his missing head.

Beamer had been a resident of Centralia, a ghost town of which no more than a few houses and a church and cemetery are left.


Jeff Mace, who owns Jeff's Grocery, where campers may buy firewood and sundries, grew up in sight of the campground at Centralia and said he heard about Beamer's death when he was young but hadn't heard of the ghost lately.

"I heard about the decapitation when I was very young, but as for a ghost, I can't say," he recalled, though he had speculated the railroad cut in which Beamer was discovered is located near the store and would be happy to tell visitors about the area.

Mace has been operating the store for 30 years and has seen many regular campers come and go. Many have returned year after year to fish or just relax far from traffic and city lights.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates Baker's Run, includes 77 camping sites, of which more than a quarter line the waterfront. Eight sites offer full water and electric hook-ups, and 26 have electric hookups. Each site has a table, fire ring, and blacktop pads for campers.

The facility includes a shower house with hot showers, and a host is available at the campground to assist campers. Pets are welcome, though they must remain on a leash.
A family facility, the campground includes a playground, horseshoe pits, a beanbag toss, and volleyball and basketball courts as well as trails for hiking and biking.

ATVs are not permitted at Sutton Lake, though Baker's Run is near many miles of dirt or gravel county roads.

Fishing on the lake is excellent, especially where bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and walleye are concerned. It’s also great for boating, including pontoon boats, kayaks, canoes or anything that floats.

There's a launch ramp in the campground and an extended “no wake” zone. For more speed, there are 14 miles of lake between Bakers Run Campground and Sutton Dam, according to the corps.

In search of an ideal camping experience where the campground ghost story can be taken to a new level? Bakers Run may be the place.

Need more than a ghost to have a good time? Sutton Lake has recently become famous for alleged sightings of a , and the whole of the region is renowned as the site of the crash landing of the .

For more information on visiting Sutton Lake and surrounding Braxton County, contact the Braxton County Convention and Visitors Bureau through its , call 304-765-6533 or email

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