John Denver’s song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” come to mind when someone hears West Virginia. Just by listening to the song, you can imagine how scenic West Virginia is. It is also known for Civil War history, architectural masterpieces, grand resorts, and a whole lot more.
What makes West Virginia all the more exciting, however, is the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Hundreds of patients died at the asylum and many claim to have seen or felt the presence of these patients’ ghosts.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum’s façade. (Link: https://www.roadunraveled.com/blog/trans-allegheny-lunatic-asylum/)
The History Of Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was built sometime in 1858 and most of the people who worked on the building were prison laborers and skilled stonemasons from Germany and Ireland. Because of the American Civil War in 1861, construction was interrupted and it only resumed in 1862. It was completed in 1871 and separate rooms were added for black people in 1873.
As a psychiatric hospital that operated from 1864 through 1994, it admitted a lot of patients who suffered from alcoholism, epilepsy, drug addiction and the like. The huge construction was designed by architect Richard Andrews and it was designed as it was in order to maximize sunlight and fresh air. It even had a farm, dairy, waterworks, gas well, and a cemetery. Andrews wanted it to be a self-sufficient facility designed to make patients feel at home and restored. However, because there was overcrowding years after it opened, the patients began to starve and this contributed to the decline of their mental health.
One of the patients at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. (Link: https://www.culturabizarra.com/locura-psiquiatria-manicomios-antiguos/loco/)
Originally, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was designed to house only 250 people. However, by 1880, it housed 717 patients. In 1938, it housed 1, 661 patients. And in the 1950s, it was already overcrowded because there were more than 2,400 patients. Also, it was reported sometimes in 1949 that one wing had poor sanitation, insufficient furniture, not enough lighting and heating while the other wing was more luxurious.
The patients at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum were usually physically restrained and treated inhumanely. It was so easy to have someone dropped off at the asylum back in the day because no questions are even asked. Some of the treatments done to the patients include ice water baths, bloodletting, insulin coma therapy, confinement cribs, and electroshock therapy.
Other patients at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. (Link: https://dionisopunk.com/2017/09/27/trans-allegheny-lunatic-asylum/trans-allegheny-1900s/)
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was also later known to be the home for West Virginia Lobotomy Project, which was a move to reduce the number of patients in the asylum. Lobotomy referred to a surgical operation that involved incision into the prefrontal lobe of the brain believed to treat mental illness. Lobotomy was practiced using an icepick. In some cases, it calmed the patient but in most cases, it left the patient brain-damaged and drooling.
The ice picks and restraints used at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum for the practice of Lobotomy. (Link: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/505599495643309530/?lp=true)
By the 1980s, the number of the patients at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum reduced because there were already changes in the treatment of people suffering from mental illnesses. However, there remained the uncontrollable ones, who were usually locked up in cages.
By May of 1994, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was closed down. The hospital was later auctioned by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in 2007. A man named Joe Jordan bought it for $1.5 million and opened it to the public as a tourist spot. Tours are now offered at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and it features paintings, poems, and drawings made by the patients. Also, the tour guides are dressed in clothes that resemble the nurse’s outfit during the 19th century. Also, the medical equipment and furniture remain in the building so visitors could get a feel of how it was being there back in the day.
Medical equipment at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. (Link: https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/eco-tourism/stories/at-this-former-lunatic-asylum-history-mingles-with-new-ghosts)
One of the beds at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. (Link: https://www.artofabandonment.com/2018/10/trans-allegheny-lunatic-asylum-weston-wv/)
There are historical and paranormal tours at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum most days of the week. Paranormal tours starts at sun sets and usually lasts for two to three hours. For those who want a longer tour, they can stay overnight of book a private tour of the hospital.
The Paranormal Activities At The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Given the horrifying and traumatic experiences that the patients had at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, the building is said to be one of the most haunted places in the whole world. Indeed, a lot of paranormal activities have taken place here. Ghosts range from Civil war era ghosts, children, former staff, and former patients.
Some employees claimed that they had to quit after they heard squeaky wheels rolling along the tiled hallways and seeing spirits walk through walls. Others also claim that there is a ball of light that moves rapidly in a hallway and they have seen apparitions dressed in white spying at them. One doctor who worked at the asylum claimed that one spirit followed her home and still bothers her to this day.
The fourth floor hallway of Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. (Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbetts/7516699364)
The First Floor Ghost At Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The first floor of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is referred to as the Civil War wing because it was built before the Civil War broke out. This is the oldest part of the hospital and is said to be haunted by a patient named Ruth. Ruth allegedly hated men and threw things at them. Now, her presence is felt in the hallways of the first floor and harms visitors. They get pushed up against the walls and they hear whistling sounds.
The first floor of Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. (Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g59638-d1049077-i124573330-Trans_Allegheny_Lunatic_Asylum-Weston_West_Virginia.html)
The Ghosts Of Ward 2 At Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Other ghosts that live in Ward 2 of the second floor of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum are said to be the result of the violence that occurred in that room. Here, a man was stabbed 17 times by another patient and two more patients took their own life by hanging themselves using the curtain rods.
Ward 2 of the second floor at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. (Link: https://patriciatemplesphotography.com/2015/09/08/trans-allegheny-lunatic-asylum/second-floor-room-2/)
Some people who have experienced paranormal activities here claimed that they saw shadowy figures and an EVP even captured the words “Get out.”
The Man Who Was Killed On The Third Floor At The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
A man was supposed to die by hanging after two other patients attempted to do such. However, when the man lived after the attempt, the two other patients beat him to death. The ghost of the dead patient is said to haunt the room to this day.
The other ghosts on the third floor have been identified as man named Big Jim and a nurse named Elizabeth.
Strange occurrences on the third floor include doors closing by themselves, shadowy figures, and strange noises.
The Ghost Of Lily On The Fourth Floor Of Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
On the fourth floor of the asylum, another well-known ghost belongs to a child named Lily. She is said to wear a white dress and is around nine years old. She used to sit in a room filled with toys and waited for anyone to play with her. Some claim she was dropped off at the asylum by her parents while others say she was born there. She died of pneumonia.
Now, she likes playing with visitors. In the room she haunts, the toys move around and a music box turns on by itself. Lily reportedly talks to some visitors, switches the flashlights on, and giggles.
Lily’s room at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. (Link: http://theresashauntedhistoryofthetri-state.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-legend-of-lily-trans-allegheny.html)
Other paranormal activities that take place at the fourth floor of the asylum are loud banging on the pipes, screams coming from the electro-shock room, throaty moans, breathing, and hysterical laughter.