Paranormal State Illustrated


Taking a close look at what you see and hear on a “Real Life. Drama.” TV series.



Ryan said that practices who used an inverted pentagram are known as Satanists or devil-worshipers. This is a limited and one-sided viewpoint of what the star / pentalpha / pentagram is, and how and why it was included in the former Penitentiary.

Earlier, I believed this architectural element used a two-high by three-wide grid of Golden Rectangles as an underlying format to position and size the design elements, including the star, small circle, diamond-shapes, and interconnecting framework. But on a visit at the Former West Virginia Penitentiary to observe and make measurements of the piece, it became clear that the overall design does not conform to an exact 2-high x 3-wide grid of Golden Rectangle.

The use of a five-pointed star, with one point facing downward, is consistent with the logo of the women’s organization for female relatives of Master Masons, the Order of the Eastern Star. The Order of the Eastern Star not a cult. I am not yet certain if the architectural element on the fourth floor of the Warden’s Tower in the former prison is their symbol/logo, or, if this was simply a decorative window whose purpose was to let sunlight shine through this east-to-west facing piece.

It is my opinion that if this is the star logo of the Order of the Eastern Star, the motif could have been incorporated into the architectural element for the prison, most likely put there with good intentions. With further speculation, a reason that the “window” was covered up could’ve been likely due to a situation that caused the local (Moundsville, West Virginia?) OES to no longer display a visual representation of the organization.

First published: 02 Feb 2010
Last updated: 1 Dec 2010

Written by: Ernie Marsh

An inverted star is portrayed as being a symbol of Satanism or devil worship. But it has a simpler reason and meaning for being in the Penitentiary.

Note: I visited the former West Virginia State Penitentiary on 09 Nov 2010 and examined the architectural element with a professional woodworker. I will further revise this review at some point in the future.

Screenshot 1, from Paranormal State, “Darkness Falls”

Michelle Belanger looking at the inverted star.

I ask Ryan, didn’t the pentagram, used by Satanists, also use the head of a goat inside of the pentagram, and, didn’t Satanism come into popularity in the 1960‘s? That’s well after the prison was constructed.

History shows that the Order of the Eastern Star was formed by a Mason, Poet-Laureate for Masonry, Dr. Rob (Robert) Morris documented in the year 1850. But the core foundations for the OES seems to have its roots based on Masonry, many years before. The OES was an organization formed for female relatives of Master Masons, about the time of the Civil War, since women were not allowed to be a Mason. A founding basis for life-lesson’s used scripture as it appears in the Bible, with The Three Wise Men (Magi) who said they saw a star in the East, and came to see the Christ child. It is the largest fraternal organization, with the exact date of it’s conception unknown. Much of the OES organization’s structure is based on Masonry. They are not a cult.

As a logo, Morris used what’s referred to as the Star of Bethlehem (a.k.a. the Nativity Star) with one of it’s points facing downward. The star symbolizes one point downward towards the Earth, towards the Christ child, and, the two points pointing upwards are symbolic as if one’s arms are uplifted to God. Note: this star/pentagram, was/is revered by Pythagoreans and people alike because of it’s mathematical correlation to the Golden Ratio. And, the star/pentalpha was used symbolically by Pythagoreans as an emblem of health.

Each point on the star represents a Biblical, historical woman, and has a specific color corresponding to each point (woman) with a symbolic meaning: Jephthah’s daughter Adah (blue), Ruth (yellow), Esther (white), Martha (green), and Electa (red). Each of the women (points on the star) are symbolic of a particular life-lesson. This isn’t the best meaning, but maybe I’ll write a more clearly defined version at some time in the future. Note: the star in the former prison did not have points made of colored glass.

When the star appears by itself, it represents an independent chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. Some chapters formed a Grand Chapter. As a means to indicate that the independent chapters are on the edge of the star and come together as one, each of the five points on the star was joined with a straight line. That is how a large pentagon circumscribes the star. The pentagon-outside-the-star was due to the mere fact that the points of the star were “connected.” The small pentagon inside the star is due to the natural result of drawing the lines of the star. At some time, the Order of the Easter Star decided to invert the small internal pentagon for a later version of it’s logo, so it wouldn’t be associated with a pentagram and the false connection to devil worship.

The only time a circle appears around the current version of the Eastern Star logo is only after the pentagon is drawn around the points. The “circle” of the Order of the Eastern Star’s current logo is actually comprised of three, individual circles.


A fundamental reason that the star in the former West Virginia Penitentiary would have a circle around it could be due to the fact that it is a simple, elegant solution, done as a means to include or “suspend” the star in the “window” frame to make it easy to see. Had the star been attached to the framework of the “window” by straight pieces without a circle as a transitional element, it would have been harder to see that it’s a star because the connecting framework could be confused with the straight lines of the star. Therefore, the circle around the star acts as a transitional element to encapsulate it, visually separating it from the supporting framework so it is more distinct. While a star-in-a-single-circle is not the logo for the Order of the Eastern Star, the star was/is their logo, and the circle around the inverted star in this instance, served as a transitional element for two purposes, 1) to make the star visually distinct from the supporting framework, and 2) provide a more elegant means of including and attaching the star.

Simply stated, Freemasons take a good man and make a better man out of him. Freemasons didn’t allow women to be members. Rob Morris is credited as founding the Order of the Eastern Star, and based it’s precepts on Masonry. Freemasonry is surrounded in secrecy. A lot of skills that builders (masons) used were well-protected and guarded trade secrets. Some of the secrecy and teachings are comparable to the Greek philosopher, Pythagoras. Pythagoras was also known as a great mathematician, and his name is attributed to the Pythagorean theorem (a 2 + b 2 = c 2).

The star / pentalpha / pentagram resides on two levels: 1) what it means symbolically, and 2) what it represents as an item of mathematical perfection.

The image captures are from video I had shot 09 November 2010, during a visit to see the architectural element.

The glass comprising the star does not appear to be colored. It looks darker, but this is most likely due to less light transmittance through the smaller pieces of old glass, dust that’s collected on its surfaces, and the less amount of light falling on the smaller pieces. Printed paper logo examples for the Order of the Eastern Star often have colored star-points.

This architectural element is most likely, on a basic level- a window to let sunlight shine through the east-to-west facing direction. The downward pointing star motif is consistent with the logo of the Order of the Eastern Star, but I have not (yet?) found conclusive evidence that it was designed and installed by Freemasons, or for the purpose as a visual representation for the Order of the Eastern Star. But I find it interesting that it was covered. Why cover a ‘window‘ that lets sunlight shine through?

It’s my opinion that the architectural element was incorporated into the West Virginia Penitentiary as a symbol to help correct men and women, who have strayed from good graces. So at this time, I believe the most likely reason this architectural element was covered by a false-wall, was to remove the symbol of the Order of the Eastern Star from view, because a situation took place where the local group for the OES was in violation of one or more of the international organization’s tenets.

Contrary to what Ryan said, there is no evidence to support his statement that the former penitentiary was constructed by devil-worshipers, or that the architectural element is “a symbol of true evil that took place in the Warden’s Tower.” Some wardens raised their families in that building, so I ask Ryan, how can you make that statement? I plan to provide more information about this subject, and, if Ryan reads this and would like to comment, I will post his response.

Ryan stated:

Ryan: Obviously there’s some New Age beliefs that use the pentagram but most practices that use the inverted pentagram are known as Satanists or devil worshipers. [...]
Ryan: If part of this prison was constructed by devil worshipers, then that could be what’s keeping the dark spirits locked inside. Or the pentagram could simply be a symbol of true evil that took place in the Warden’s Tower.

Soon after that, he says:

Ernie Marsh/

A likely reason the architectural element is where it is, is because it visually opens the space from the east-side to the west-side of the Warden’s Tower. If this were simply a decorative window, it would let sunlight into the east/west spaces.

This is a view from the other (west) side of the architectural element. On the upper right is a stairway that leads to the roof above the fourth floor of the Warden’s Tower. There’s also a stairway below the ‘window’ that connects the third and fourth floors.

Ernie Marsh/

Paranormal State made it look like the star/pentagram could have been covered up as a means to hide a devil worshipping symbol. I think that idea is a load of crap. Most likely, if this architectural element is a symbol of the star from the Order of the Eastern Star, an event took place within the OES organization that deemed it necessary to cover the architectural element. It appears the framework is made of white pine (wood), glazing to hold the glass in place, and had been painted.

Ernie Marsh/