Today’s blog post is a result of a request for information. When a friend contacted me about some information regarding the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV, I decided the easiest way to share my writings on the subject would just be to compile them all together, in one place. But something odd kinda struck me as I was doing so. You see, although the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is often credited as being one of the most haunted locations in West Virginia, if not the country, as of today, I have actually written very little about the many documented ghost stories and suspected encounters with the paranormal!
Rather, I’ve chosen to highlight some of the more forgotten stories from the asylum, from interesting inmate stories, to tragic murders not currently associated with any hauntings. Part of this is because I feel like so much has already been written about the ghosts of the former Weston State Hospital. The Miami Ghost Chronicles is an awesome website that I reference often when it comes to TALA hauntings, and Sherri Brake’s massive book, The Haunted History of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, is a wealth of information. So, I feel like that aspect has been covered pretty thoroughly already. What has received far less attention is just the normal, day-to-day glimpses into asylum life, and those who died tragically but have largely been forgotten in time.
I promise that in the future, I will post more stories about the actual ghosts who haunt the halls of the old hospital. But until then, if you find yourself making a visit to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, take a look at some of the stories below. You never know if some of the people mentioned here are still sticking around, waiting for the right person to tell their story to. Happy Haunting!
1. Reasons for Being Admitted to an 1800′s Asylum: This list of reasons why patients were admitted to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum/Weston State Hospital between 1864 and 1899 is pretty scary. Examples such as uterine derangement, novel reading, and time of life make it easy to see how an ‘unwanted’ woman could easily be committed by her father, her husband, or even a brother and locked away for however long they wanted her gone. I also go into a short explanation of how diagnoses worked at the time, explaining some of the more…interesting…reasons for committal.
2. The Legend of Lilly: A TALA Ghost Story: Who is Lilly, the first little girl of the Trans-Allegheny to make herself know to staff members? She was first spotted back when the hospital was running a Halloween haunted house attraction and has quickly become a favorite spook of paranormal investigators. Was she the child of a patient, or a patient herself?
3. Suspicious Deaths at the Weston State Hospital (1992): In September of 1992, the Weston State Hospital reported two patient deaths that made the newspaper. George Edward Bodie was murdered by another patient (who was involved in a previous murder at the hospital) and Brian Scott Bee’s badly decomposed body was discovered, believed to have been a victim of suicide.
4. TALA Tales: Sonny’s Story: In 1975, William P. Hall, otherwise known as Sonny, was set on fire by another inmate while the two and several other men were locked into an enclosed balcony area. Sonny passed from his injuries and his father was able to successfully sue the hospital.
5. TALA Tales: The Tragic Case of Ivan Hoover: Ivan Hoover was a troubled young man who had suffered a tragic accident, leaving him mentally delayed. When he decided that his aging parents could no longer care for him, he killed them, and attempted to head South to find a job, but was found by law enforcement and sentenced back to the asylum. He made several escapes, but always found himself back in the institution until later in life when he was presumably released into the care of his brother.
6. Forgotten Murder at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum: In 1963, Muriel Creamer was killed by another patient, Wanda Janes. Janes freely admitted to strangling Mrs. Creamer because she had made improper advances against her.
7. 1877 Murder at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum: A local newspaper reported in 1877 that a patient at the hospital had been murdered by another patient. The unlucky fellow had been beaten to death with a bed slat. The perpetrator had no history of homicidal tendencies, but claimed that God had told him to do it.
8. TALA Tales: Annie All Alone: In 1917, the sheriff of Wheeling received a request for help from the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. They were looking for any living friends or relatives of a lady named Annie Bogart, who had been at the asylum for over 35 years and was now gravely ill. No one ever came forward, and Annie died alone, then was buried in the hospital cemetery.
9. Madness and Mistaken Identity at the Weston State Hospital: In 1931, hospital officials notified Mrs. Amanda Kurl that her brother, George Marzic, had died. He had been admitted two years prior. However, in 1936, a recently lucid patient now claimed that HE was George Marzic…and the family and hospital agreed!
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