What lies behind the stone walls of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum? You may think it’s just the remnants of a disturbing past that’s long gone…. Or, is it? Is that tortured past really past? It appears that the abandoned, rundown dormitories and stark white-colored cells are about all that’s left of this old hospital, which was constructed from 1858-1881 Although the new proprietors have begun to preserve a small portion of the historic property, the remaining 80 percent of the facility remains just as it was over a 100 years ago.
At its height during the1950s, the hospital hosted more than 2,500 mentally ill patients. Designed to house only 250 patients, overcrowding and mistreatment of the patients became the norm. With massive deterioration and lack of funding from the state, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was forced to close its doors in 1994. It remained empty for more than 12 years.
The year 2007 brought new life to the closed hospital when the state of West Virginia decided to put it up for auction. The winning bidder was Joe Jordan, an asbestos demolition contractor from Morgantown, who purchased the historic structure for $1.5 million. His plan was to convert the hospital into a commercial operation under a fairly simple business model. For the faint of heart, the hospital offers historic tours, much as you would see at a museum. For ghost hunters like me, however, they offer paranormal and criminally insane tours.
In July 2019, I, along with my daughter and her friend, packed up the car and headed northwest to Weston, West Virginia, in hopes of seeing the spirits who are said to patrol this former insane asylum. It’s about a 5-hour trip from Indian Trail to Weston. Its beautiful drive, but the mountains can be quite daunting if you’re not used to driving over them.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by employees, all dressed in vintage 1950s white nurses’ uniforms. We signed a waiver of liability, were assigned a tour guide, and off we went. As we made our way through each ward, it became increasingly clear that this place was indeed filled with paranormal activity. Our very knowledgeable tour guide painted a fairly ominous picture of the torture and despair endured by patients who were housed in the cells for decades.
The tour lasted about 90 minutes, and at first, the facility seemed to be nothing more than an old empty hospital. However, that feeling of normalcy was short-lived.
Next, we entered the nurses quarters. Just as we came into the ward, I immediately began to pick up some negative energy. I could sense an entity directly in front of us — then it was gone. I took a picture, hoping to catch what I had just felt, but I was left with a photo of an empty hallway, as you can see below.
However, to my surprise, the tour guide showed me a picture taken at night at the same location by another tourist. That photo confirmed what I had sensed —an aberration was right in front of us.
If you look in the center of the picture, you can see an image of an entity of what appears, possibly, to be a nurse.
This picture is a copy of the one above; however, I’ve enhanced it by simply raising the mid-tones to better see the ghostly object. To my knowledge, no other modifications have been made. It’s believed that a nurse was murdered on this wing by a violent inmate.
The fourth, and probably, the most convincing photo, is below:
There’s an interesting story behind this picture. According to our tour guide, a rock band was shooting a music video in the former lobotomy operating room and captured this image. The man in the forefront is the guitarist, who is oblivious to the fact that someone is watching him in the background. It wasn’t until the video was uploaded to YouTube that astute viewers discovered the ghostly image behind the guitarist. It is said to be the doctor who performed the lobotomy standing in his office, which is connected to the operating room.
As the tour winded down, we were escorted through a few more empty hallways and then ushered back to the main entrance. We had succumbed to the July heat and was ready to check into our hotel for the evening. In the midst of our adieux, I realized that I must return for another visit, but next time will be at night.
In conclusion, there are always going to be critics who will argue that these photos have been altered or that they’re fake, or they just don’t see what I see. However, for the more open-minded people of the world like me, these photographs are very compelling, if not irrefutable, evidence that this old insane asylum remains the dwelling of lost souls to this day.
So, if you’re looking for a paranormal experience, then this is the place to visit. If you’re as lucky as I was, you might get to hear the town siren go off. Trust me; it will spook you as much as the spirits at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.