History of Trans Allegheny Insane Asylum
Constructed between 1858 and 1881 on the “Kirkbride Plan”. This plan based on modern cures from moral standards. Trans Allegheny was setup to allow lots of sunlight and provide comfort.
Didn’t take long to screw this over.
The main building opened in 1864 with the original hospital being designed for 250 patients. By 1880 it had over 700. By the 1950’s over 2,600 patients stuffed inside what many called a insane “prison”.
Overcrowding Violence – –
Violence since the beginning. The public found out in 1949 from the Charleston Gazette. A series of articles showed horrible conditions. Many patients to each small room living in filth, with broken furniture and no Winter heating.
A disaster mixed with the disturbed. Many violent patients with not enough doctors, nurses and orderlies to watch them.
Several cases of patients murdering each other. One when at night two patients pulled another from his bed. Tying up the bed sheets and hanging him from the ceiling. The sheets didn’t hold. Enraged, they put his head under a metal bed frame and jumped on the mattress until he was dead.
The staff also in danger with one report of a nurse. She disappeared. Many thought she left the building. Police got involved, but found nothing. Must not have searched the building. For two months her body rotted a the bottom of an unused staircase. Murdered and left there by patients.
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.
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.
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.
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.