• Lexi Ponder

West Virginia asylum a top location for ghost investigators

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, built back in 1858, is one of the United States’ most haunted places to visit today. This asylum is located in Weston, W.Va. Construction of this building took place between the years of 1858 and 1881, but the work was interrupted by the onset of the Civil War. Patients were finally able to be admitted to the asylum by 1864, which was when it was then renamed the “West Virginia Hospital for the Insane.” The construction ended by 1881; ironically, the hospital grounds covered 666 acres.

Around 1880, the hospital held about 717 patients but was only supposed to hold 250. By 1938, the hospital’s population doubled, and then around the 1950’s, the number being housed rose to around 2,600 patients. During this time, the building changed its name again to “Weston State Hospital.”

According to The Lineup, “A series of reports published by The Charleston Gazette in 1949 revealed poor sanitation and a lack of furniture, light, and heat in much of the building.” The patients who the hospital staff could not control were continuously locked in cages; some had lobotomies performed on them – sometimes using icepicks – while others were neglected. There were also cases reported and unreported of patients killing other patients in the asylum. In one incident, two patients hung another using bed sheets; when he didn’t die, the two cut him down and crushed his head using a metal bed frame.

However, even faculty of the asylum was not safe from the violence: many of them reported being attacked while on duty. One case included the nurse of the asylum who went missing mysteriously. Her body was found two months later hidden at the bottom of an unused staircase.

By the 1980’s, the hospital’s population finally decreased; however, the treatment that the patients received was not any better than before. Finally, in 1994, the hospital was shut down “due to the changes in medical practices from the previously antiquated, treatments, many of which we now consider torturous.” Even today, some who enter the hospital claim to see the figures of those patients and staff who died there moving throughout the hallways at night, along with the occasional moving objects in rooms.

Since the closing of the hospital, it’s been a “hotspot for paranormal investigators.” Even in today’s entertainment, the treatments of those patients are mentioned in social media and television. In the hit television show, “American Horror Story: Asylum,” the writers “depicted the treatment patients received in places like Trans-Allegheny with a fair amount of accuracy,” according to Blum House. Even now the building offers ghost tours and visitation to the hospital.