The small town of Weston, West Virginia is the home to the Trans Alleghenies Lunatic Asylum. Completed in 1864, it is often considered the second largest hand cut stone building in the world, behind only the Kremlin in Moscow.
Designed by Richard Andrews, it is nearly 1/4 mile long with wings coming off the main building. It was designed to house 250 people, but by the 1950s nearly 2,400 patients were jammed in.
Weston has seen better days. From a peak population of 9,000 it now is home to about 1/ 3 of that.
Once the hospital closed in the 1990s a group purchased the historic building from the state and has done some partial restoration.
Some of the center sections, including the auditorium, have been restored.
There is also a small museum with a number of items – including original patient art.
Some of the displays show the sad approach to mental health in past days – including a display for a lobotomy.
But we are not here for the museum – we are here for the darker side of the history of the place.
We took the ‘Paranormal Tour’. The building has a reputation of being one of the most haunted places in America.
Perhaps it has something to do with this room – the lobotomy ‘recovery’ room. Not really sure exactly what a recovery from a lobotomy was like, but I doubt it was very pleasant.
Our tour Val entertained us with ghost stories – including one for this room where they did a video shoot and a ‘ghost’ appear in some of the promotional photos.
The stone structure and general decay of most of it definitely adds to the aura.
Some of the wings had inspirational paintings remaining on the walls from the 1990s when the building closed.
Abstract art? Nope – seriously peeling paint on a ceiling with the bars on the stairway.
Numerous TV ‘ghost hunter’ type shows have stayed here overnight and filmed.
When I asked why a few of the rooms had this orange tile – Val demonstrated that they were the ‘restraint rooms’ – note the small round patches on the tile on the right side of the photos – it is where the restraints were secured to the wall.
Why is this door only to be use by ghosts? We are 3 floors up with nothing on the other side but air – and a 30′ drop to the ground.
The wings last were painted to different the mens wings, from womens, from childrens (yes, children), and the criminally insane.
At a few places in the facility you find offerings to the ghosts, such as candy and cigarettes.
The children’s section has to be the saddest. Some children had the misfortune of being born there and end up being raised there since their mother was a patient and they had no other family.
The staff believes if you leave other ‘offerings’ such as the baby carriage that it will attract the children ghosts.
Having been in a few buildings like this (Mansfield, Moundsville, etc) this one was in much better shape un-restored than those.
In this room Val was summoning a ghost named Larry to turn the flashlight on and off. Some on the tour were hardcore believers and were really into it (which added to the overall amusement of the afternoon) while others hmm – looked up the story of ghosts and magnetic flashlights on the internet (not going to give a spoiler here).
Val did a great job sharing the stories of the Trans Alleghenies Lunatic Asylum. Unfortunately I did not see or feel any ghosts.