A roadside attraction since 1973, the Mystery Hole was the brainchild of Donald Wilson, a Union Carbide retiree and navy veteran. The Mystery Hole has been an eye-catching sight on a bend in U.S. 60 near Hawks Nest, a Quonset hut with a statue of a gorilla on the roof and a Volkswagen Beetle that appeared to have crashed into its side.
Souvenirs, trinkets, and old posters awaited inside, but the main attraction was Wilson himself. He always provided a friendly greeting and offered a tour through the Hole, a mindbending walk beneath the building to a realm where the laws of gravity and Newtonian physics seemed to have found no foothold. The cost was $1 for those who had it and nothing for those who didn’t.
Wilson was a deeply religious man who delighted in bringing laughter and amazement to his visitors. He was fond of quoting Proverbs 17:22: ‘‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,’’ and gently interwove evangelical themes with his discourse about the mysteries of the Hole. Visitors frequently returned, often bringing new initiates. The Mystery Hole garnered a great deal of press and was the subject of a song by Ann Magnuson and a painting by artist David Riffle.
Donald Wilson died February 21, 1998, and the Mystery Hole closed. In 1999, Sandy and Will Morrison bought the roadside attraction and reopened it. The Mystery Hole has kept up with modern technology and now boasts its own web page.
This Article was written by Rick Wilson
Last Revised on October 20, 2010
Magical Mystery Hole Tour: West Virginia Loses an Icon and a Roadside Attraction with Creator's Death. Charleston Gazette, 3/1/1998.