Paranormal fun: Trans Allegheny Insane Asylum

My apologies in advance — I had to really shrink down the size of the main photos to get them to fit in the confines of this spacing…

So, a group of us went down to Weston, WV on Saturday, to visit the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. This is one of these “haunted” spots that was featured on “Ghost Hunters” (and they even declared it “haunted”). While I’ve never seen that episode (nor many of the Ghost Hunter shows, to be honest), it was still pretty cool to take a day trip and head down for a little ghost hunt.

Only in W.Va. does a lunatic asylum need to have a “posted” sign…

For me, this was more of a “for a lark” kind of a thing. I mean, I love stories of the supernatural, but actually going hunting for ghosts … I dunno. I mean, yeah, a side of me would love to do it, but a side of me would also love to dress up like a Klingon. Maybe not something I would do independently, but if there’s a group of folks going to explore, then yeah, I wouldn’t mind going along.

So here’s the low down:
1) The building itself is awesome. Just huge. Second-largest sandstone building in the world, next to the Kremlin. We’re talking 15 foot ceilings, 4 floors, 2 feet thick load bearing walls (and all of the walls are load bearing), lots of moulding (and mold). If you’re a fan of old architecture, this place is awesome. Run down, obviously, but awesome.

2) The tour guides are fairly bad. They walk you through, but they don’t have the skills to be good guides. They start their spiel before everyone is in the room, so half of the early stuff, I missed. They are straight from the hills of “by God West Virginia” — so while they are pretty friendly, they speak like, well, West Virginians. Expect phrases like “During the Civil War, the 7th Ohio Infantry come down here and took gold…” and “…they used this wheel for rehab, like to get them to work their rotary cuff…” However, there was a little girl volunteer who was with us who really new her craft. She could tell you which rooms were more haunted than others, the difference between dust and orbs in photos, and everything else. The other group had a guide who told them “I don’t believe in any of this stuff,” but then would recount stories of odd things. She also felt that it should be converted into a strip mall. (Because, you know, folks would travel down there to visit a strip mall.)

So, yeah, in essence, it’s a giant run down building that is slowly being restored. And since we’re talking W.Va., this means that they may get a floor done in the next 50 years. Most of the other buildings are blocked off and not included in the tour. I didn’t hear any voices, no weird sounds, and certainly didn’t see any apparitions. However, I did get “poked” (I was standing still, and my shirt suddenly went in and touched my gut like someone had flicked me), and in about 10 of the 130 pictures that I took, I got those odd “floating orbs” in them.

Now, whether these orbs are dust, water vapor, ghosts or angels (all of which I’ve heard them called), they are remarkably similar and consistent in their details. And yes, with my little 7 megapixel camera, there was detail to them. And what I also found interesting was that not everyone got pictures of the orbs, even though most of us were taking pictures in the same areas. For example, in the auditorium, I got a buttload of orbs on the left hand side, but not really any on the right. Others, standing within 4 feet of me got pictures of them on the right, but not on the left. Lighting? Dust on the lenses? I don’t know.

So, here’s my orb photos, and I’ll highlight and crop in on some of them. (And I didn’t alter any of these in any way, shape or form. Heck, I had to use MSpaint to crop them…I don’t even have any other photo programs on the computer). Make of them what you will.

No. 1:  If you look on the door to the right, you’ll see a circular “discolored mark”

When I zoomed in on it, I came out with this:

Now, here’s what’s funny. All of the orbs that I found in my pics have that distinct “eye” in the middle.

No. 2: In the upper right corner…

Zoom in and…

No. 3  Similar, but different door…with an orb low on the door

Kinda weak, but eh, you can still see the detail and see that it’s pretty similar to the previous ones. And there could be more, but it’s really too faint to tell.

No. 4: The Auditorium. It’s the mother lode of orbs.

If you look on the bulletin board and almost directly below it on the floor, there’s some orbs..

The Bulletin Board Orb: You can make out the “eye”:

The floor orb:

High orb: (near the top, to the right of the BB orb)

There’s more in the photo, I’m just too lazy to mark them all.

No. 5: More Auditorium Orbage

Comparing the orb to the plaster/mortar on the brick: Not the same thing.

The orb on the left:

Again, more orbs floating around in the pic…just don’t feel like marking them all up.

No. 7: The Becca Orb (on the left). Named after Becca, the woman in the pic.

No. 8: Volunteer orb: Named after the volunteer on the left:

Floor orb:

Cluster in the middle of the picture: I didn’t notice these at first, but there’s like a gaggle of 3, and there were more lower and to the left of them. But they’re pretty faint.

Now this one doesn’t contain any orbs, but it was taken about 30-45 seconds after the Volunteer orb photo (I’ll have to take a look at the time stamps). I just flipped the camera horizontal. No orbs.

However, when I first took the Volunteer orb photo, I looked and said, “Oooo, I think I got an orb!” The volunteer turned, took a picture of the same spot, and said, “Like this one?” In her photo, it was practically dead center of the picture. I wish I would have gotten a copy of it. I may try and track her down to see if I can.

So, yeah, it was a good time. I’m certainly not trying to say what these things are, cause I don’t know. But it’s pretty cool to look at and make wild speculations.

Oh, and on a funny note: Apparently in the first group that toured, there was a guy who was really into paranormal investigations. He did EVPs and such. However, what’s really funny about him and his girlfriend is that they had parked right next to the asylum, and have electric seat adjustments in their car. When they were getting ready to leave, the driver’s seat was all out of whack. He rolled down the window and said “Holy cow, look at this!” When he opened up the car door, his knees were in the steering wheel, and the seat was reclined almost all the way up. Yeah, he could have been screwing with us, but I really don’t think he was.

So, anyway, if you get a chance and have the interest, this could be well worth your time to check out.


9 Responses to “Paranormal fun: Trans Allegheny Insane Asylum”

  1. 1 WTF
    June 27, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Well i will have you know not all of us “West Virginians” talk like that. That’s just the stupid ones and the story goes like this “We were surprised on Sunday morning, June 30, 1861. I was awakened by the sound of fife and drum and heard the tramp of soldiers marching by my house.” Thus begins Dr. Thomas Bland Camden’s memoir of life in Weston during the Civil War.
    This first tramp of soldiers’ feet returned again and again during the war. Weston was from the first a furiously busy military post that changed hands over and over as the Union and Confederate armies contested for its control.
    Local citizens could fear for both their lives and property as one army captured Weston from the other. Many sympathizers on both sides followed “their” army as it retreated from town; and they left behind their homes and property.
    The armies came because of the roads. Weston sits at the intersection of the Staunton to Parkersburg Turnpike and the Weston to Gauley Bridge Turnpike, the two major, easily passable roads in the area. (They are now, respectively, Rt. 33 and south along Rt. 19.) Whichever army controlled those roads could move troops and bring up supplies and ammunition. For both armies, occupation of Weston was essential. Far from being outside Civil War history, Weston’s Citizens had each day shaped by the military presence and actions. That exactly what we are supposed to say so i don’t know the name of your tour guide but who ever it was said it completely wrong.

  2. 2 Jasmine
    October 25, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I have been interested in the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum for a couple of years now but I have never had the courage to actually take a tour there, but I have actually seen the building in person. I enjoyed your story but I am from WV and I did not like your comments about West Virginians. We are not all uneducated!

    • October 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm

      Jasmine, sorry to offend. I joke about West Virginians in the same way that I joke about other folks who live out in the sticks (regardless of the state that they live in). It’s like when I tease my family or friends who are, let’s say, more “ruralish” — it’s not a matter of being mean — it’s a matter of playing around and bantering.

      But, unfortunately, you don’t know me in person — so my comments come across as mean-spirited (no pun intended). So I will say this … the people of Weston were very hospitable and friendly (there was a festival of some kind going on while we were there, so we got to meet and chat with some of the locals). And I think it’s safe to say that the gaggle of folks that I was there enjoyed our time there. I know many of us would go back — it’s just a matter of getting the time to do it. 🙂

  3. February 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    We sponsored an investigation in this building in summer 2008 with the actual cast members from Ghost Hunters and I can honestly say it’s one of the creepiest buildings we’ve ever explored. Imagine being in this place at 1am with little more than flashlights as illumination…

    • February 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      Oh, man, that would be awesome. I’d love to do that. If you ever go back, let me know … that would be a blast.

  4. April 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Would you mind if I used this last picture for a poem cover picture? Can I leave a link to your blog?

    • April 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Not at all! I just ask that you give me credit for it. 🙂

      (And thanks for asking for permission!)

      • April 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm

        Ok, thank you! would you like a link, I edited it a bit to fit the poem?

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