Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum 2015 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 May 16, 2015 and the team included: Kathie Para, Marge Sucha, Katherine Meagher, Michael Wright, Sandy Weber and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Bob Davies, Lori Leger, Chris Cochran, John Isberg and Ryan Buckley from Champaign Urbana Paranormal Society.








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: Melmeter 8704-REM, SB-11 Ghost Box, Ovilus X, digital camera, digital tape recorder, Sony Nightshot IR 8mm camcorder, Dowsing Rods, Laser Grid, REM Epod.

Experiments performed: EVP, SB-11 Ghost Box and Ovilus X sessions were conducted on all floors along with some Dowsing Rod sessions.

Personal experiences:

Kathie Para: GRS investigated this four story location along with four members of C.U.P.S. Members of GRS present were: Mike, Kat, Marge, Sandy, Dale and myself. Our group and C.U.P.S. members were assigned to Kyle, a Trans Allegheny guide. This was my second time investigating this building and expectations were high.

First Floor:  In the cafeteria and kitchen area we heard a few yells and screams; we had very high Melmeter readings, K-II activity and flashlight activity

In Lily’s room the trigger object large ball in the middle of the room appeared to move.

The hallway right outside of the isolation room was exceptionally active. We got high readings on the Melmeter and Dale got prolonged goose bumps and freezing cold hands. Dale seemed to be the object of the activity and we thought it might be Ruth, the spirit of a patient who disliked men and would throw things at them. Marge, while standing by Dale, had the hair on her neck stand up and also got goose bumps. With the Ovilus on, Ruth was asked if she wanted us to leave. We got no answer. Dale then asked if she wanted everyone to leave or just him. The Ovilus answered “you”. At that very same moment we heard something being thrown a short ways down the hall. Assuming this was a pissed off Ruth; we respected her and moved to another area.

Second floor: While standing and listening to Kyle talk in Ward E, the male ward, I was leaning against the wall and a gigantic blast of cold air rushed past me. It was so strong it startled me and I began to see if anyone else noticed a wind. No one else felt a thing and there was not even a faint breeze after that.

In the children’s ward we did an EVP session in Emily’s room. We had quite a lot of K-II activity here in direct response to our questions. Marge felt as if she was touched on her neck.

The Day Room on the second floor showed some activity on the K-II meters.

The “suicide room” where two teenage boys hung themselves with bed sheets gave me a headache and I had to leave and stand outside the door. I asked if they killed themselves on purpose or was it an accident. Reviewing my audio I got a faint response to this that sounds like “suicide.” Dale and I also heard a distant yell while standing outside this room.

Third Floor: This floor housed the most violent patients and criminals and also the geriatrics ward. Big Jim’s room provided a lot of K-II activity during a dowsing rod session. Also, one member’s ghost box turned on all by itself. We also had a little activity in “Dean’s room” including hearing a very soft voice on my recorder later, what sounded like a yell and the word “horrible” from the Ovilus while talking about the murder that took place in this room.

Fourth Floor: We spent significant time in the hall right outside of “Jim’s room”. K-II activity was consistent on more than one device. There was a chair inside the closet of Jim’s room. According to Kyle, that was Jim’s chair and he didn’t like it when anyone else sat in it. Of course, Bob, one of our group went into the room and sat on the chair. At this time Dale turned his Ovilus on. It immediately said “you get right up….out of”. During the rest of the time Bob sat in the chair the Ovilus kept saying “up…up.”

I don’t believe this location was quite as active as it had been during my visit two years earlier but it did not disappoint.

I would be eager to return to Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum for a third time!


Katherine Meagher: This historically preserved asylum is the biggest I have ever seen. I liked the fact that they really put the money they get for tours and investigations back into the building. I also found out that there is a vigorous training program that the volunteers go through just so they can volunteer.

When we first stepped through the doors the K-II Meters were going off instantly. Not saying I put all my faith into electronic devices saying there are ghosts in the building. The young man that was giving the tour was full of history and had a good rapport with the possible entities that were there. He did a dowsing rod session that was unbelievable.

I have gone through the evidence that I acquired and will send it in once I have revisited it to make sure it was an EVP that I picked up on my recorder. There were still a lot of people that were in the building and contamination was high.

I have to say, if you want to go to a well-preserved building with professional guides, this is the place for you.

Marge Sucha: We arrived early evening.   Temperature was low to mid 70's.

We did our first EVP session in the Kitchen.   In this area we communicated with a spirit the staff calls Jack.  We had the flashlight turn on and off on command and also did a Dowsing Rod session. 

Next we moved to the Cafeteria.  While doing an EVP session we did hear a distant scream but I was unable to pick it up on my recorder. 

Lily's Room (Playroom) I did not have any experiences in this room.

First floor, Isolation - Dale, Kathie, Sandy and I decided to investigate this area.   There is a spirit in this area the staff refers to as Ruth.   Ruth does not like men and has been known to throw things at them.  It felt like most of the activity in this area revolved around Dale.  We had Temperature fluctuations and heard what sounded like something being thrown at us.  Several of us felt the temperature change around us.  The Ovilus said the word OUT.   Dale asked "Do you want us to leave or do you want just me to leave?"  Ovilus replied You--- Out. 

2nd floor- Emily's Room/ Infant - Ages 10 - We did have some K-II hits in this area.

Visitors Lounge/ Day Room- This area seemed fairly quiet that night.  While going over my evidence I did pick up a distant scream.

2nd Floor Common area.  While everyone else went down to the first floor I stayed upstairs in the common area and did an EVP session alone.  Later one of the investigators came back up and while we were having a conversation I caught a whisper on my recorder.

3rd Floor - Dean's Room, I did not feel anything in this room but did pick up a whisper on my recorder.  

 4th Floor we had some K-II hits and some interesting responses on the Ovilus

TALA was a very interesting place to investigate.  Lots of history in this building.   I would love to go back sometime.

Sandy Weber: Equipment:    Sony night shot video camera, Infrared camera (FLIR), dousing rods, and Tri-Field Natural EM meter

Phenomena witnessed by investigator  

“Jack’s room” (old pharmacy): A spirit named Jack is alleged to frequent this room.  Our guide used a flashlight with a sensitive on-off switch to communicate with something, and appeared to turn the flashlight on and off in response to the guide’s requests.   The guide then left the area and we continued to attempt to communicate with “Jack” using dousing rods.  The rods appeared to move in response to a request to point to where “Jack” was in the room and to answer questions.  When leaving the room one member of the team detected a brief spike in magnetic reading.  By that time, the Tri-Field was not in use, being too sensitive to use while walking.

“Lily’s room:  A beach ball was placed in the middle of the floor to see if it would tempt “Lily” to play.  As Dale passed near the ball it appeared to move slightly.  While Dale does not think he brushed against it, this is a possibility.  A coin was placed on top of it after it was seen to move, but the coin did not fall off.  Some voices of investigators in other areas contaminated the sound recording.  There was no evidence on my video camera or FLIR.

“Emily’s room”/Room for children under 10 years old:  A K-II meter used by Kathie Para seemed to turn on in response to an invitation to come closer and make the light go on.  Marge Sucha thought something touched her neck. Some voices of investigators in other areas contaminated the sound recording.   There was no evidence on my video camera or FLIR. There were no spikes on the Tri-Field.

Women’s admitting room/day room:  My cell phone vibrated – even though it was turned off.  Some voices and footsteps of investigators in other areas contaminated the sound recording, and flashlights contaminated the video.   There was no evidence on my video camera or FLIR. There were no spikes on the Tri-Field.

“Suicide” room:  Kathie Para developed a headache in this room.  Some voices of investigators in other areas contaminated the sound recording.   There was no evidence on my video camera or FLIR. There were no spikes on the Tri-Field.

“Dean’s murder” room:  There was too much reflection in this room to use the FLIR.  Investigators in other areas and passing cars contaminated the sound recording on my video camera.  There was no evidence on my video camera or spikes on the Tri-Field.

Female geriatric area: Kat Meagher sat inside a cage in this room and used the dousing rods.  The rods appeared to answer her question.  There was talking in the background that contaminated the sound recording.  There was no evidence on my video camera or FLIR. There were no spikes on the Tri-Field.

4th floor outside “Jim’s room”:  Dale’s Ovilus was particularly active here and may have said “UP!” and “You get right up!” when Bob Davies sat in “Jim’s” chair.  A flashlight turned on for about 2 ½ minutes before turning off.  There was the smell of something burning.

4th floor room with 3 closets:  There may have been a groan recorded on my video camera, and Dale’s ghost box may have given responses (which other members of the group heard but I did not).  

Summation: There was no evidence collected that I would consider conclusive evidence of paranormal activity.  However, there were a number of interesting subjective experiences of paranormal activity as reported above.  Also, the subjective experiences reported by Trans Allegheny staff are numerous and impressive. 

Michael Wright: The Asylum opened in the late 1800’s and it remained operational until the Asylum closed in 1994.

In recent years the Asylum has opened as a historical landmark and for Paranormal Investigating.
I was fortunate enough to go on an investigation to the Asylum. The most impressive feature was the massive size of the building and the recent rehab work that was completed.

There were several groups of people investigating the building the same time as GRS, We all sat through an orientation meeting on the first floor we then split off into separate groups on each floor.
We started off investigating on the first floor in the Kitchen area where there was quite a bit of K-II activity that seemed to be responding to our group’s facilitators. My recorder was in another room and it picked up some very faint whispers but it could have been from other groups in the building. Also did EVP sessions in Lily’s room and out in the hallway where the checkerboard was setup. There was some K-II activity in the hallway but did not pick up any EVP’s.

On the second floor there was a great deal of K-II activity during the walk through, We heard noises but again it was hard to distinguish if it was coming from other people in building or from something else. Felt very uneasy and had a cold spot on my shoulder outside the restroom where the murders took place.

On the third floor we did a Dowsing Rod session with our facilitator which was the highlight of the evening for me, the Dowsing Rods actually bent upwards responding to the questions. There were K-II Spikes and temperature fluctuations when we moved down the hallway.

The fourth floor was fairly quiet but when I was walking down the long hallway I saw shadows moving in several places. It was very late so it could have been eyes from being tired.
One day is not enough time to spend investigating in such a large building so I would definitely return to Trans Alleghany to investigate further if the opportunity arose.

Dale Kaczmarek: One of my most interesting experiences occurred at the first floor isolation ward where some of West Virginia’s first HIV positive cases were kept. This was later used as a drunk tank. The Melmeter began to spike around the entrance to the doorway and got as high as 1.5. It stayed a constant .6-.8 for quite some time. Then, all of a sudden, I began to experience the coldest chills on my arms, hands and legs. It wasn’t a draft coming from the door, as other researchers there initially did not feel anything cold. This went on for several minutes and then completely dissipated. An Ovilus X recording made then captured a unique response to a question asked. I asked, “Do you want ME to leave?” The Ovilus replied with, “You!” I believe we may have been in contact with the spirit of a former patient called Ruth who was housed on that floor and did not like men. Since I was the only male in the group at the time, I believe this was the reason that I was targeted.

During the initial walk-through, I got a 4.5 hit on the Melmeter in the hallway by the kitchen. I and several of the group heard a disembodied groan on the fourth floor room with the three closets.

The most interesting Ovilus response was on the fourth floor near Jim’s room. There was a chair in the closet that apparently a ghost by the name of Jim likes to sit in and gets very upset when others sit in his chair. Bob Davies decided to push the bubble and sit in the chair. I turned on the Ovilus and before a question was even asked, in phonetic mode, the device said, “You get right up!”



Evidence collected:

1st floor distant yell tala.MPG – during the initial walk-through on the 1st floor, a distant yell can be heard in the background.

2nd floor distant yell tala.MPG – during the initial walk-through on the 2nd  floor, a distant yell can be heard in the background.

2nd floor faint whisper tala.MPG – while conducting an EVP session on the 2nd floor, a question was asked, “Did you mean to kill yourself or were you just goofing around?” A faint whisper is heard in response.

2nd floor whisper tala.MPG – whilst talking amongst themselves, a very strange-sounding whisper is heard in the background.

3rd floor Dean’s room strange scream tala.MPG – while conducting an EVP in Dean’s Room on the 3rd floor, a very strange sounding scream in heard echoing through the corridors. While some in the group believe it may have come from a bar across the street, the noise does sound very close and appears to be within the building and echoes.

3rd floor whisper tala.MPG – you will hear some researchers talking first and towards the end of the clip, a lot of whispery voices conversing.

Chills isolation tala.MPG – this video segment was shot on the 1st floor in front the Isolation Room when Dale Kaczmarek began to experience extreme chills, hairs rising up on his arms and neck, cold spots and EMF hits on the Melmeter upwards of 1.5.

Distant scream tala.MPG – a faint scream can be heard in the background.

Faint scream 3rd flr tala.MPG – during our initial walk-through of the building on the 3rd floor, a faint scream can clearly be heard in the background.

Groan tala.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session on the 4th floor in the room with the three closets, a disembodied groan is heard by all that did not come from the Ghost Box.

Here tala.MPG – while conducting an EVP session on the 3rd floor in Big Jim’s Room, a question was asked, “Big Jim, where are you standing at tonight?” A response was heard that says, “Here.”

Horrible tala.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session in Dean’s Room on the 3rd floor, a question was asked, “What happened in this room?” The Ovilus responds with, “Horrible.”

Howl tala.MPG – while conducting an EVP session on the 1st floor, a howl was heard in the background.

No tala.MPG – while conducting an EVP and Dowsing Rod session on the 3rd floor in the room with the cage, a question was asked, “Do you mind visitors coming like this on weekends?” A response was captured that sounds like, “No.”

Not that creep Dean tala.MPG – while concluding our EVP session in Dean’s Room on the 3rd floor, a whispery voice is heard saying, “Not that creep Dean!”

Orb tala.MPG – while conducting our initial walk-through on the 1st floor near the Isolation Room, a picture was taken inside the room and immediately a light anomaly is seen traveling from right to left.

Out tala.MPG – while investigating around the Isolation Room on the 1st floor, the Ovilus X suddenly says, “Out.”

Response1 tala.MPG – nearing the end of our investigation of the Isolation Room on the 1st floor, a question was asked, “Who do you want to leave here?” A response is heard coming from down the corridor which cannot be made out.

Scream1 tala.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the hallway near the kitchen on the 1st floor, a scream is heard in the background.

Up tala.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session on the 4th floor near Jim’s Room, a question was asked, “You want Bob to get up?” The Ovilus responds with, “Up.”

Us tala.MPG – while conducting a Ghost Box session on the 4th floor in the room with the three closets, a question was asked, “Who just groaned in here?” The Ovilus responds with, “Us.”

Whistling tala.MPG – during our initial walk-through of the 3rd floor, a strange whistling sound is heard in the background.

You get right up tala.MPG – during an Ovilus X session on the 4th floor near Jim’s Room. Bob Davies had just sat down in a chair that allegedly belongs to a spirit named Jim who often becomes agitated when people use his chair. As soon as the Ovilus was switched to phonetic mode, it says, “You get right up!”

You tala.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X session on the 1st floor near the Isolation Room, a question was asked, “Do you want us to go away? Do you want ME to go away?”  The Ovilus responds with, “You.”

Conclusions: While this visit to Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum wasn’t as active as far as disembodied screams during our initial walk-through, it did not disappoint me either. There were plenty of personal experiences especially at the Isolation Room where I was apparently attacked by the spirit of Ruth and told to leave. This was also documented by EMF readings; however the cold spots did not seem to register on any devices except the human body which is often the best piece of equipment you can use during any investigation. It can instantly pick up the minutest amounts of static electricity, chills and other tactical responses.

There were also a lot of other very intelligent responses both through the Ghost Box and Ovilus but some great Class A EVPs like the one captured in Dean’s Room that says, “Not that creep Dean!” It proves that there are a lot more than just residual energies that abound in this location but also some true earthbound spirits that still cling to this place for their various reasons. It’s always a great place to revisit as the location seems to have a constant flow of spirits and never-ending adventures. I would not hesitate to travel back here again or perhaps investigate the Medical Building instead.

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