Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Investigation

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, constructed between 1858 and 1881, is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America, and is purportedly the second largest in the world, next to the Kremlin. It was designed by the renowned architect Richard Andrews following the Kirkbride plan, which called for long rambling wings arranged in a staggered formation, assuring that each of the connecting structures received an abundance of therapeutic sunlight and fresh air. The original hospital, designed to house 250 souls, was open to patients in 1864 and reached its peak in the 1950's with 2,400 patients in overcrowded and generally poor conditions. Changes in the treatment of mental illness and the physical deterioration of the facility forced its closure in 1994 inflicting a devastating effect on the local economy, from which it has yet to recover.

The first floor has a wing that is called the Civil War Wing which is the oldest part of the hospital. It is also sometimes referred to as the Veteran’s Area. Along a hallway on this floor was a patient named Ruth how was very violent towards men and would often throw things at them. On the second floor in Ward 2 was a general purpose ward and further down was the men’s ward. On the third floor is where Geriatrics is located along with the Nurses Quarters and an Auditorium which once housed plays and movies and also was a chapel for a time. It also hosted policeman’s balls in the past. The opposite hallway is where some of the most violent female patients were housed in the past. Individual isolation cells were where many were shackled to the floor originally in chains and later in leather restraints. At the end of the isolation hallway is Dean’s Room where an patient almost hung by two fellow patients and when they noticed he was still moving, that dragged him into the room, place one end of the bed post on his head and they both jumped on the bed until the post penetrated his skull instantly killing him!

The fourth floor hallway was gutted by a fire in 1935 and they installed wooden floorboards instead of concrete. Along this hallway is Lily’s Room which is in Ward R. It is an especially creepy part of the building.


Located at:  71 Asylum Dr., Weston, WV. 26452

Telephone: 304-269-5070



Hauntings: On the first floor a number of people have been pushed up against walls and have heard whistling sounds emanating from down the hallway. People often encounter the ghost of Ruth along this hallway as well.

On the second floor in Ward Two very near a room where a man was stabbed seventeen times by another patient, shadowy figures have often been encountered. Just across the hall from this, two patients committed suicide by hanging themselves from curtain rods within the room. A number of investigators have captured EVPs saying “Get out” at this location and many will hear their names called out by the spirits.

On the third floor Nurses Quarters, doors close by themselves. Our tour guide Zach even claimed to have seen an apparition of a nurse in the corridor to the left for a fleeting glimpse. It greatly shook him up at the time. In the Geriatrics Hallway, shadowy figures are encountered and many strange noises. Across the Geriatrics where some of the most violent female patients were kept, people hear their names called out and disembodied screams in the distance along with footsteps. The ghost of Dean apparently haunts the room where his violent murder took place at the end of the isolation hallway and a nurse named Elizabeth can sometimes be encountered here as well. At the end of the next hallway is where a ghost called Big Jim has been encountered and numerous EVPs.

On the fourth floor, Ward R is perhaps one of the creepiest hallways in the entire hospital when it comes to feelings and sensations. This is where the ghost of Lily can sometimes be communicated with. Another investigative group was here taking pictures when they captured a black blog which was indistinguishable and when they asked their SB-7 Ghost Box what it was, the Ghost Box responded with “Demon.” There is another weird apparition called a “creeper” that apparently crawls or slinks along on the floor. The sounds of someone or something banging on pipes can often be heard and the ghosts of both Jessie and Andrew frequent this hallway.

The GRS investigated the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum on March 9, 2013 and the team included: Kathie Para and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Bob Davies. This was a public event.








Equipment setup: Since this was a public event and we were constantly being moved from floor to floor, no equipment was set up. I used hand-held equipment only such as: Tri-Field Natural EM Meter, Melmeter 8704-REM, SB-7 Ghost Box, Ovilus X with DTD, digital IR camera, digital camera, digital tape recorder, Sony Nightshot IR 8mm camcorder, Bionic Ear.

Experiments performed: EVP, SB-7 Ghost Box and Ovilus X with DTD sessions were conducted on all floors.

Personal experiences: During our very first EVP on the 2nd floor multiple people including I saw a dark running shadow figure come out of a room, cross the hallway, go into the dayroom and then disappear not long after I mentioned that patients had visitors waiting for them in the dayroom. Right after the shadow appeared, the Ovilus said, “I’m here.”

While doing the initial walkthrough, several times Kathie and I both heard disembodied screams in the distance. Some were picked up while some were not. I clearly heard three disembodied screams in the 4th floor hallway along with strange noises that sounded like floor creaks and everyone was sitting down and not walking at the time of the sounds. I got a little dizzy and disorientated in one corner of Big Jim’s room and something apparently grabbed Bob’s leg there also.

Kathie Para: I, Kathie Para, visited this location with Dale for an 8 hour overnight investigation on March 9, 2013. We were in the main Kirkbride building which is massive in size. We were also joined by Bob Davies from another group from Champaign, IL. The investigation was divided up into a two hour session on each of the four floors.

We started out on the 2nd floor where we had some EMF activity, unexplained lights were seen, lights were being blacked out and a shadow was seen by at least two people moving into a room after Dale told it to go into that room during an EVP session. This could not be debunked.

The third floor was full of activity, especially in the violent male ward.  Not long into the start of our walk through I heard a woman’s scream. This was also heard by Dale in real time and caught on my audio recorder. I also felt something playing with the back of my collar while standing still and listening to Zach, our guide. One of the guys in our group, Corey, claimed to have felt as if someone was pushing him forward and also grabbed his leg. This was right outside a room known as “Big Jim’s room”. We also heard a squeak that sounded like a metal cart being pushed down the hall in this same area. My recorder did pick this up. Dale, Bob and I went into Big Jim’s room to investigate and both Dale and I felt dizzy in there. Zach said this was one of the most ominous rooms. In this hall there looked like lights were being blocked out by shadows and unexplained lights.

During an EVP session Dale and I heard an unexplained scream while in Dean’s room, where a patient named Dean was violently murdered by two other patients. This scream was caught on my recorder and after asking someone who was outside the room if anyone in the area screamed we were told no one else heard it.

Dale and I spent time in an isolation cell using the Ovilus and ghost box. We got some interesting responses which included names and the phrase “calm down”. That was interesting because that’s what a patient in the isolation cell in the violent male ward would have been told.

The fourth floor didn’t disappoint. I felt as if I was being patted on the head several times throughout this floor. We did an EVP session in a hallway with myself, Dale, Bob and Zach where there were numerous noises, most of which seemed to be in response to our requests. I captured many of these on my audio recorder. They were coming from all directions and I felt like I was watching a tennis match looking back and forth. Bob saw a head pop out of a room and back in again. There were also flashes of light being seen.

The first floor was the only place I really felt uncomfortable. We didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked there because we went there last and after about seven hours of walking and investigating in the cold (temps in the 40’s and some temps in the 30’s) we were cold, sore and getting tired. While Zach was giving us some history I did capture a whisper that seemed to be telling him to shut up. Immediately after that I also captured a cry. This is also the area I smelled vomit.  

This was an awesome building that didn’t disappoint! I’m giving it four stars!


Evidence collected:

Blackie.MPG – during a Ghost Box session on the 2nd floor a question was asked, “Blackie are you here with us?” The Ghost Box responds with something that sounds like, “Blackie” or “Becky.”

First floor cry.MPG – during a walk through on the first floor, a distant audible cry is heard and recorded in the background.

First floor shut up. MPG – during a walk through on the first floor, a very clear and audible “shut up” was heard and recorded.

Fuck you.MPG – during an EVP session on the 2nd floor near the double room where the suicides took place, a question was asked, “Why did you do it?” A true EVP was heard in the background saying, “Fuck you!”

Hi.MPG – during a Ghost Box session on the 2nd floor the Ghost Box says, “Hi.”

I’m here.MPG – during a Ghost Box session on the 2nd floor the Ghost Box responds with, “I’m here” right after the shadowy figure was seen moving into the Dayroom.

Moan.MPG – during an EVP session on the 2nd floor near the double room a disembodied “Moan” was recorded.

Murdered.MPG during a Ghost Box session on the 3rd floor isolation cell a question was asked, “What did they do to you in this cell?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Murdered.”

Noise1.MPG – during an EVP session the first of 3 noises is heard and recorded in the fourth floor hallway.

Noise2.MPG – another noise in the fourth floor hallway

Noise3.MPG – another noise in the fourth floor hallway

Perhaps.MPG – during a Ghost Box session on the 2nd floor a question was asked, “Do you need help passing through?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Perhaps.”

Scream1.MPG – the first of 3 screams heard and recorded on the 4th floor hallway walkthrough

Scream2.MPG – another scream on the 4th floor hallway

Scream3.MPG – another scream on the 4th floor hallway

Scream4.MPG – a scream heard and recorded on the 1st floor hallway during the initial walkthrough

Scream5.MPG during an EVP session on the 2nd floor near the double room a scream was recorded

Scream6.MPG during an EVP session in Dean’s Room on the 3rd floor a scream was heard and recorded

Scream7.MPG another scream recorded

Shadow.MPG - during an EVP session on the 2nd floor a number of researchers see a shadowy figure move across the hallway and into the Dayroom. The video however doesn't show the figure, only their reactions.

Squeak.MPG – during the initial walkthrough a squeak was recorded in the distance

Tom Brown.MPG during a Ghost Box session in the 3rd floor isolation cell a question was asked, “What’s your name?” The Ghost Box responds with, “Tom Brown.”

Voice1.MPG during an EVP session in the 3rd floor isolation cell a voice was recorded

Voice2.MPG another voice was recorded in the 3rd floor isolation cell

Whispery Voice.MPG – a whispery voice was recorded

Conclusions: This was an absolutely crazy location to investigate! However it was so huge, 294,000 square feet that we quickly ran out of time and energy walking all over the place. Not only did we have to initially tour the floors with our guide, but then we had to walk back to those locations that interested us for EVPs and experiments. This was double the walking. While it was only in the 30s throughout the building which also contributed to fatigue, there was so much more that I wanted to do but soon found myself out of stamina along with Kathie and Bob. We did not even return to the Civil War section or Ruth’s hallway to conduct any experiments even though I did very much wish to visit those locations.

I never heard so many disembodied voices, screams and sounds than I did within the confines of this building! The spirits of those who once inhabited this locale surely must still be bound within these walls either due to the way they were treated or the way that they died. It’s a very haunted but sad place at the same time. Seeing a shadow person on the 2nd floor was exciting and in listening to the video tape it became apparent that the others simply didn’t copycat my sighting because they pointed out where they saw the image even before I mentioned where I saw it which was excellent verification that they had seen the same shadow image also!

I would love to come back here one year for a private event with more equipment, cameras and a command center to monitor locations remotely. I’m sure with more equipment running and multiple experiments and EVP sessions going on at the same time, the greater the chance to capture more evidence in this most haunted asylum.

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