Trans Allegheny Asylum : Doctor or Sadist?

Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – – 71 Asylum Drive, Weston, West Virginia, USA – MAP

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History

Constructed between 1858 and 1881 on the “Kirkbride Plan”, the modern phase of cures based on moral standards.  Creating Trans Allegheny to allow in lots of sunlight and provide comfort.  Didn’t take long to drop these standards.

The main building opened in 1864 with the original hospital being designed for 250 patients.  By 1880 it had over 700 and by the 1950’s over 2,600 patients called Trans Allegheny their prison.

Overcrowding  Violence – – 
It was happening since the beginning, however the public was informed by the Charleston Gazette in 1949.  A series of articles showed horrible conditions, with patients living many to small rooms in filth, broken furniture and no heating in Winter.

Historic photo of Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Historic photo outside Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

A disaster mixed with many disturbed, some violent patients and not enough doctors, nurses and orderlies to watch them.

Several cases of patients murdering each other, including an attempted hanging.  Two patients pulled another from a bed, then using bed sheets they hanged the man from the ceiling.

The sheets didn’t hold, crashing the patient to the floor.  Enraged, they put his head under a heavy metal bed frame and jumped up and down on the mattress crushing the patients head.

The staff also in danger with one reported account of a nurse.  She disappeared, causing many to think she was outside the building.  The police involved, but they must not have thought to search Trans Allegheny because why would she be in a place of cures.

Two months later, the nurse’s body was found at the bottom of an unused staircase.

Dr. Walter Freeman – – 
A famed American physician specializing in Lobotomies.  He gained popularity by inventing what was nicknamed the “ice pick lobotomy”.  This avoided drilling the skull by use of a long, sharp pick slid through the eye-socket.

Dr. Walter Freeman, the ice-pick lobotomy
Dr. Walter Freeman, the ice-pick lobotomy

Was considered a successful method, until some high-profile problems.  Dr. Freeman performed this on the sister of American President John F. Kennedy, Rosemary when she was only 23 years old.  It failed and she spent her entire life in an institution.  This may have inspired her sister Eunice, who created the Special Olympics in 1962.

Dr. Freeman worked at Trans Allegheny which became his experiment ground.  As one nurse recalls in 1939,

“It was my second day of work when I was asked to bring the doctor a male patient.  I didn’t know who he was, or why he needed the patient.  Found a good one, who could dress himself and go to the bathroom alone.”

They say the patient wasn’t able to do or feel anything after the surgery.

Freeman performed so many lobotomies, including it’s rumored up to 228 in one week at Trans Allegheny.

INTERESTING FACT :: The infamous doctor was disturbingly portrayed in “American Horror Story : Asylum” by actor James Cromwell.

Ghosts

Many people visiting the Asylum for the first time are greeted by a white haze that floats out from dark corners.

Little Lily – –
Haunting the 4th floor in Ward R before a fire gutted it, changing the original structure in the 1930’s.  Her conscious energy still remains, constantly talking with ghost hunters investigating the building.

The Kitchen and Staff inside Trans Allegheny - - circa 1914
The Kitchen and Staff inside Trans Allegheny – – circa 1914

There are 2 origin stories of Lily.  Either a former patient who spent a short life inside the walls of Trans Allegheny, or she was born to a female patient and kept safe by hospital staff until dying of pneumonia at only 9 years old.

Many have left her toys spread around in her room on the 4th floor.  Lily’s been known to move them around, such as rolling a ball back and forth with visitors.

Woman in Kitchen – –
Workers and visitors constantly feel like they’re being watched.

A security guard felt this near the kitchen.  It was making him anxious just before seeing movement from behind an opening.  He saw a grayish figure.  Would only say it looked like a woman, maybe because of the shape.  He felt she was staring out at him.

PICTURES BELOW :: Historic photos done from inside Trans Allegheny.  Upon examination one may conclude the building is underutilized by patients.  Our guess, this was setup… and one look at the beds in the dormitory shows different.

 

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