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 Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

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PostSubject: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:31 pm



Overview
The first thing that strikes most visitors to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is its massive size. Constructed between 1858 and 1881, the main structure is 1,296 feet long, consists of 4 floors, 9 acres of floor space, 921 windows and 906 doors. The asylum is considered the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America and the second-largest in the world after the Kremlin.

Located in central West Virginia, the asylum appears to be nestled in the great green Appalachian Mountains, its imposing facade just across the West Fork River serving as the backdrop for the small town of Weston.

The asylum was designed by the renowned architect Richard Snowden Andrews following Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride's Linear or Moral Treatment Plan for mental health-care facilities. Its long rambling wings were arranged in a staggered formation, assuring that each of the connecting structures was well-ventilated and received an abundance of therapeutic sunlight and fresh air.

Composed primarily of blue sandstone, the German and Irish stone masons carved beautiful arches, moldings, window trims, flowers and Celtic details, such as script, faces and gargoyles onto the exterior of the asylum's 3-foot-thick walls. Ironically, the gargoyles were thought to ward off evil spirits.

Two of the asylum's most striking features are the 200-foot central clock tower and the long driveway that encircles a welcoming fountain just beyond the front entrance.
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PostSubject: Re: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:34 pm



Atrium

The atriums of the Kirkbride Building are located in the center of each of the 4 floors of the structure, directly under the clock tower.

The 1st-floor atrium consists of the entrance to the main foyer or hallway. It will also be the entrance to the lockdown at the end of the black carpet during the live event.

There are 2 museum rooms to the immediate right and left of the main foyer that have been restored to look exactly as they did in the '30s and '40s, including the furnishings. These rooms also include historical photos and medical instruments used to perform some of more heinous medical procedures.

The asylum heritage and ghost tour office is located on the left side the main hallway. There you can always find a friendly tour guide or buy a souvenir T-shirt.

The asylum's famous "coffin" staircase begins on the right side of the main hallway. The staircase was named for the unique coffin-shaped spiral its banister creates as it winds through the building. This spiral is best viewed by standing on the 4th-floor landing and looking directly down through the middle.

The doctors' apartments are located off the 2nd-floor atrium. It's obvious that the doctors, and sometimes their families, enjoyed much nicer surroundings. If visitors squint their eyes just right and ignore the shabbiness earned with age, they can still see the ornate fireplaces, book shelves, fancy lighting and verandas.

The nurses' quarters, on the other hand, were more practical and utilitarian. Located off the 3rd-floor atrium, the plain rooms were constructed to house many nurses working multiple shifts.
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PostSubject: Re: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:42 pm



Ward 1

A cantankerous older patient named Ruth was transferred to Ward 1 (1st floor, south corridor) from Ward C for violent women. She was often strapped into a wheelchair and stationed in the hallway where she proceeded to yell obscenities at passersby. Many believe old Ruth still haunts Ward 1, shoving tour guides because she can't verbally thrash them.

Other paranormal events on Ward 1 have taken place in the "stretcher" room, the mirror in the bathroom and the dorm room at the end of the hall. Apparitions in Victorian dress and a shadow man have also been spotted on the ward.



Civil War Wing

When the Civil War began in 1861, the asylum was still in the early stages of construction, and Virginia's secession from the Union brought all non-war-related work to a halt. Colonel Erastus Bernard Tyler marched his Union soldiers into Weston and turned the partially built asylum into Camp Tyler. Control of the asylum would change hands several times throughout the war, and the tolls of war would fill its beds with soldiers suffering from trauma-induced mental illness.

The asylum's single-story Civil War Wing consists of the LOVE corridor and 3 "fingers": the barracks, the original kitchen and pharmacy, and the training rooms.

Considered by many to be the most haunted area in the Kirkbride Building, some tour guides refuse to enter the wing alone or at night. They have reported having their hair pulled, doors slamming, horrific smells and physical attacks.

One tour guide claims to have played ball with a spirit she believes to be the ghost of a little girl named Lilly. She would roll the ball and an unseen force would throw it back to her.
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PostSubject: Re: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:50 pm



Ward 2

A double-suicide hanging and a homicidal stabbing have made Ward 2 (2nd floor, south corridor) of the Kirkbride Building investigation-worthy.

Asylum staff discovered 2 patients hanging from the pipes in an apparent double suicide in room 408.

An enraged patient ambushed another patient near the urinals in the men's bathroom and stabbed him -- 17 times -- to death with a homemade shiv.




Ward 5

Ward 5 is on the 3rd floor in the south corridor of the Kirkbride Building. Today it's full of crumbling wallpaper and chipped paint; presumably it had a sunnier look for its younger patients back in the day. It also has more common areas and open spaces for greeting visitors, watching TV, socializing or the random game of cards.
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PostSubject: Re: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:55 pm



Ballroom

If there were ever a perfect place for a residual haunting, the ballroom on the 3rd floor off the atrium of the Kirkbride Building would be it. This 2-story room was where the patients and staff gathered for activities, movies, to celebrate holidays and for special events. It had a stage, a projector room (above the ballroom on the 4th floor) and a sound system.

And it didn't stop there; the outside community used the ballroom for balls, cotillions, banquets, parties and weddings. The local high school even used it for their proms. In a building filled with so much death and suffering, it's interesting to imagine the patients lying in their beds listening to the squeals, laughter and music of carefree teenagers just steps away.

Even though years of neglect and water damage has taken its toll on the ballroom, and yellow tape now warns visitors to keep off the wooden floor, one can't help feeling the haunting presence of the past.
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PostSubject: Re: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:01 pm



Ward C

The most dangerous female patients at the asylum didn't have far to go to find someone of the opposite sex they could relate to. Ward C (3rd floor, north corridor) of the Kirkbride Building was next to where the most violent male patients were kept on Ward F. The 2 wards were separated only by a locked door. Before entering Ward C, armed guards would first look through the small window on the door to make sure there were no patients lurking in the hallway. Female patients on Ward C were known for their stealth maneuvering and surprise attacks.

This room on Ward C was used for bathing unruly female patients. Their hands were bound and attached to this apparatus above their heads so they could be safely hosed off and cleaned.



Ward F

Stories from Ward F (3rd floor, north corridor) are not for the faint of heart. Keep reading only if you've become desensitized to extreme violence.

As recently as 1987, 2 patients tried to kill another patient by hanging him from a pipe in seclusion room 1. When that didn't work, they proceeded to take him down and finished him off by crushing his skull under the leg of a bedpost.

One of the same patients involved in the "bedpost" murder snuck out of his room during a shift change one night and beat another patient to death in the hallway.

Tour guides and visitors have reported being tapped on the shoulder by an unseen force, hearing the sound of invisible gurneys rolling down the hallway and a male voice whispering sinister warnings in their ear.
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PostSubject: Re: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:06 pm



4th-Floor Wards

The 4th floor consists of homier hardwood floors, skylights and small apartments (think college dorm rooms) where visitors and family members stayed at the asylum, as well as the less-threatening alcoholics and functioning mental patients with day passes.

Sounds nice, right? Well think again, because there's an extreme level of paranormal activity on the 4th floor.

Tour guides have watched the door to room 688 slowly open and close by itself. They've also heard what sounded like a shotgun blast from behind the same door.

All the doors on a ward can be shut tight and found wide open an hour later. Tour guides have actually been chased off wards by what sounds like running footsteps behind them.

One visitor tells a story about a white light or orb as large as a soccer ball forming and moving down the hallway before spreading out into a fog and dissipating.

Another visitor believes an entity entered her body. She couldn't breathe and almost fainted before it left her feeling completely drained.

There's even a large fan in the wall at the end of Ward T (south corridor) that can communicate. People have asked it questions, and it answers "yes" by slowly rotating to the right or "no" by slowly rotating to the left. Here's the funny thing about the fan: Its blades are too heavy to move without electric power, and there's hasn't been any power on the 4th floor in years.
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PostSubject: Re: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:10 pm



Arts and Crafts Wing

The Arts and Crafts Wing extends from the north site of the Kirkbride Building. Here patients were taught how to paint, sew, make leather goods, weave rugs on a loom and make ceramics in a kiln. Arts and crafts were used as therapy, and the patients enjoyed working with their hands, sharing and sometimes selling their products to the staff and family members.

In recent years there's been a considerable amount of break-ins on the north end of the Kirkbride Building, so the owners of the asylum decided to secure the building 24/7 and rescue a dog at the same time. Their security comes in the form of a giant Great Dane named, "Boo." During the day, Boo hangs with the tour guides, greets visitors and plays in his large fenced-in yard, but at night, he roams the Arts and Crafts Wing, ready to protect the ghosts from the ghost hunters.
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PostSubject: Re: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:18 pm



Medical Center

The Medical Center has never been open to the public since the Asylum closed its doors in 1994. Well, it's time. Ghost Adventures has been given unprecedented access to investigate the Medical Center during the live event.

Zak, Nick and Aaron will explore the procedure rooms where barbaric acts disguised as medical procedures -- lobotomies, hydro, insulin and electric-shock therapy -- took place on a daily basis.

They'll explore the autopsy rooms where doctors dissected human brains, looking for the hidden source of mental illness, and the morgue where the dead were kept in cold drawers, waiting for someone to claim them.

You may even get to see the 2nd floor of the Medical Center, where the rooms appear frozen in time, untouched for 15 years.

Located behind the Civil War Wing of the Kirkbride Building, next to the Geriatrics Building, the Medical Center is waiting patiently to reveal its secrets.
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PostSubject: Re: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum   Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:37 pm



Tuberculosis Building

Built in 1940, this building quarantined Tuberculosis (TB) patients. Visitors to the asylum can still see the screened sleeping porches. (At the time, it was believed fresh air could help ease respiratory problems.) After effective therapy for TB was developed in the '50s, the building was used to house the mentally retarded, as well as those suffering from Cerebral Palsy and severe epilepsy. Today the former TB Building, which sits on the south side of the front lawn, is used as the haunted house during Halloween.



Greenhouse

For those patients that were willing and able, they could find work in the kitchen, the laundry, on the asylum farm or in the greenhouse. They could grow vegetables to contribute to the asylum food supply or plants to beautify the wards and grounds. Today the greenhouse stands broken and overgrown with weeds on a hill overlooking the Medical Center.

There is, however, a less flowery story of a patient that had been missing for a week. After searching everywhere, the asylum staff finally discovered his body hanging from a necktie in a large tree next to the greenhouse.



Forensics Building

Built in 1949, the Forensics Building housed those offenders declared criminally insane by the criminal courts. The facade of this silver structure is covered in hundreds of small window blocks, making it a sinister standout among the other red-brick buildings. It sits tucked away, almost hidden, on a small hill behind the Geriatrics Building. This building is no longer open to the public.



Geriatrics Building

The Geriatrics Building is one of youngest structures in the complex. It housed the aging mental patients and other elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia. It sits next to the Medical Center behind the Civil War Wing of the Kirkbride.

The 1st floor of the Geriatrics Building will serve as the epicenter of activity for the research, evidence review and interactive teams during the live event. Tune in to the broadcast or join the live video chat to check it out from the inside.



Kitchen and Cafeteria Building

The food was prepped in the kitchen on the 1st floor, and the meals were served in the cafeteria on the 2nd floor where the able-bodied patients came to eat. The building sits directly behind the Kirkbride Building and has a covered portico extending from both the north and south side. This building is no longer open to the public.



Wards M, N and O

This building sits on the northeast corner of the complex behind the Arts and Crafts Wing of the Kirkbride Building. Built to house patients, it also contains an underground fallout shelter built in the early '60s as a civil defense measure. This building is no longer open to the public.
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