Who’s Haunting Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum?
If all you did was look at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum building without knowing anything about it, your first impression might be that you’re looking at an Ivy League University. Its “Neo-Gothic” architectural style was...
Read More "Who’s Haunting Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum?"
8 Super-Scary Halloween Activities for Adults
Halloween is for the young at heart, but it’s not just for kids. There are many Halloween activities for adults that will leave you and your friends shivering in your shoes while you live it...
Read More "8 Super-Scary Halloween Activities for Adults"
Debunking Ghosts – Surprising Phenomenon You’ve Probably Never Thought Of
With all this talk about ghosts, it’s easy to get carried away and mistake the mundane for the paranormal. So it’s time for some healthy skepticism. It’s in everyone’s best interest to be truthful about...
Read More "Debunking Ghosts – Surprising Phenomenon You’ve Probably Never Thought Of"

Who’s Haunting Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum?

If all you did was look at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum building without knowing anything about it, your first impression might be that you’re looking at an Ivy League University.

Its “Neo-Gothic” architectural style was prevalent in the day for institutional buildings like schools and hospitals. It could be said that the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum’s appearance belies its troubled history.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, aka Weston State Hospital
Photo: Upstateherd [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Built the late19th century, it’s situated on over 600 acres. It’s a formidable structure, made of hand-cut stone and is listed on the United States Register of Historic Places. The immense structure was once known as the Weston State Hospital in Weston, West Virginia.

The first impression of a scholarly place of knowledge and learning, or healing and recovery, is deceptive. Some might even say it’s deliberately misleading. Behind a facade of compassion and serenity, supposedly based on rationality and science, was a house of horrors that makes a Rob Zombie movie look like an episode of Ozzie and Harriet.

Was Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Always so Bad?

No, not in the beginning. It didn’t start that way. But remember the saying, “The road to Hades is paved with good intentions.” You can’t find a better example of that than the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. 

During the 1850s, a movement stirred to reform and improve the treatment of the mentally ill. The movement wanted to change the publics’ perception of those stricken with mental illness. 

Leading this movement was a woman named Dorothea Dix. In 1864, she convinced the Virginia General Assembly to commit the princely sum of $125,000 to the construction of an asylum.

This new asylum would be the very embodiment of a new, compassionate treatment for the mentally ill, as espoused by Dr. Kirkbride, another reformer of the time. In fact, buildings in this particular style was named after the doctor. They’re known as Kirkbride Buildings or just Kirbrides. The style was quite popular up until the late 20th century when most of them were abandoned/demolished due to their costly maintenance requirements as well as shifts in psychiatric treatment rationales.

What was so Different about Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum?

For many, many years prior to Trans-Alleghany, the mentally ill were treated like dangerous criminals. They spent their days locked away and were denied basic human needs like food, water, sanitation, or even sunlight. The average farm animal lived better than many of those with a mental health condition in the 1700s or early 1800s. 

You might be interested to know that the word “bedlam” was the actual name of an especially notorious English asylum in the early 1800s. The term means a place of utter chaos, degradation, and suffering. Dorothea Dix and Dr. Kirkbride hoped to change this for the better. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was one of the first. They expected it to be one of the most exemplary of this new, more “modern,” philosophy.


The Differences

Remember, this was 1864!

The Trans-Alleghany hospital developed under several new and “radical” mindsets. These were not mere concepts from a baseless theory. Instead, the actual physical structure of the buildings and the grounds surrounding it reflected these ideas. 

The concepts were:

  1. Patients needed plenty of sunlight. Therefore, the windows were large and numerous.
  2. Rooms were spacious and comfortable, eliminating overcrowding.
  3. Patients required quality, nutritious food.
  4. Patients needed the freedom to move about the grounds as they chose.
  5. Patients needed an aesthetic, pleasant, non-threatening environment both inside and outside the buildings themselves.

These principals seem basic and obvious to our modern-day sensibilities, but in 1864 these were new and very revolutionary ideas.

In spite of its size, the hospital’s design accommodated only 250 patients. So you can see its designers were not just paying lip service to these concepts.

So What Went so Wrong?

Despite all the new, compassionate, and progressive ideas that went into building the place, the general attitude towards mental illness was still shameful. Sufferers were locked away, hidden and forgotten. They were an embarrassment. 

Due to this attitude, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum soon became a dumping ground for “undesirables.” These were people who were not necessarily insane; for the most part, they were merely noisy, slow, hard to handle, odd and different, or merely inconvenient. In fact, many folks were put away for such “afflictions” as

  • Imaginary female trouble
  • Masturbation
  • For employing birth control

Notice the sexism! This article by the Daily Mail provides a more complete list of the types of things people were admitted for. That was unfortunate enough, but such a wide door also led to overcrowding and a decline in the quality of care. 

The asylum was also big business leading the surrounding area to become economically dependent upon it to an unhealthy degree. Soon, it became a matter of maintaining the cash cow and making sure that no bad news–or anything else that could upset the status quo–ever saw the light of day. This attitude lack of transparency led to abuses.

How the Asylum became Haunted

Soon, patients packed the hospital. As many as five people crowded into rooms meant only for a single occupant. Overwhelmed facilities like the kitchen, gardens, waterworks, and dairy could no longer provide needed food and water. Malnutrition and its attendant problems, diseases, and disorders soon became rampant. There were so many patients that the orderlies could not control them, and they overran the facility. 

It was Bedlam all over again.

Out of desperation, the uncontrollable patients wound up locked into cages. The general attitude of the staff deteriorated into “they’re just animals.” Thus, the situation descended even further. It went from mere neglect and inattention to the worst sort of outright abuse and sadism.

Why is the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Haunted?

It’s well known that locations where egregious injustices have occurred, tend to be rife with hauntings. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum certainly qualified as one of these places. 

Patients murdered other patients, for one thing. In one case, two patients ganged up on another and killed him according to this episode of Portals to Hell. They tied a bedsheet around his neck and raised him off the ground until he passed out, doing this repeatedly. They also used a metal bed frame to crush his head. One man held the victim down and put the bed leg on his skull, while the other man jumped up and down on the bed.

A few weeks later, a nurse was reported missing. Her body was found at the bottom of an unused staircase.

Hydrotherapy, insulin shock therapy, electroshock therapy, lobotomies, and trans-orbital leukotomies were rampant. These are practice, now considered barbaric and tortuous, were commonplace and frequently used arbitrarily. The resulting spiritual and mental turmoil resident in the building would be thick enough to cut with a knife.

Another Source of Trauma

For a while, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was also home to the infamous lobotomy specialist Dr. William Freeman. Freeman was really more of a carnival barker than a doctor. It is rumored he would sometimes perform surgeries dressed in a straw hat and striped shirt.

He went so far as to set up a “lobotomobile” and drove around the country performing the procedure in people’s living rooms. If you’re not familiar with this procedure, realize, it involves driving an instrument through the eye socket and into the brain in order to sever certain connections, “freeing” the patient his obsessions, compulsions, and delusions. All too often, though, it freed patients from their personalities and intelligence, turning them into walking zombies.

He would perform it on anyone deemed “difficult” or “uncontrollable” during the 50s. How this helped somebody is anybody’s guess. Quite a few of these were performed at the asylum, most or all of them were completely unjustified. Fortunately, the medical community now views this practice as barbaric and it’s no longer used.

The Ghosts

This now-defunct hospital has been repurposed as an attraction, in order to raise money for its restoration and preservation. It is open to the public for tours and ghost hunting, which you can learn about here.

Some of the ghosts that roam the property include a child who was born in the hospital. She likes to play with visitors through the use of her toys.

Jesse was a long-time patient who now whispers in peoples’ ears. Jane has a habit of going for the neck. Visitors claim to feel strangling sensations and pressure around their necks due to this spirit in Ward B. A patient name Larry was violent in life and continues to be so in death. It is claimed that he enjoys throwing things and is not exactly friendly to visitors, according to Miami Ghost Chronicles, who also list exact locations where the ghostly inhabitants appear.

 
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8 Super-Scary Halloween Activities for Adults

Halloween is for the young at heart, but it’s not just for kids. There are many Halloween activities for adults that will leave you and your friends shivering in your shoes while you live it up on October 31st.

If you’re having a Halloween party or get together and need ideas for things to do on Halloween, this list of Halloween activities for adults will get your creative juices flowing. It’s a dead man’s party. Who could ask for more?


And now, for your list of Halloween Activities for Adults…


#1 Horror Movie Charades

It’s true! This a fun game at a party or get together with friends. As the name implies, this is the classic game where folks try to guess what you’re trying to say, but you can’t use your voice. But in this Halloween version, the topics are all horror movie-based.

I like to use IMDB.com for things like this because there is so much useful info there. In this case, you’re going to go there and use the advanced search tool to make up a list of words before the party.

On the IMDB site, just type in “horror” as a topic and take a look at what comes up. In the different query results, you’ll likely find words that relate specifically to the horror movie genre. That’s what you want.

Make up a list from those selections. You can type it or handwrite it, whichever works for you. Then either cut or tear the list into strips, folding each carefully to conceal the name written on it.

Make up a list from those selections. You can type it or handwrite it, whichever works for you. Then either cut or tear the list into strips, folding each carefully to conceal what’s written on it.

Or, you can just buy a Halloween Charades game like the ones they sell on Amazon.

Try to fold each piece so they’re the same size and shape as much as possible. Place these list packets in a bowl or hat and voila! You’ve got the topics for your horror movie charades game!

#2 Scary Movie Trivia

This is another Halloween activities for adults game that requires some brainstorming. Make a list of your favorite scary movies. Again, go to IMDB and look them up. In each IMDB listing, there is a section for trivia about the movie or the actors, etc.

Use that information to create questions. Write those questions down on index cards. Then, play your game Jeopardy-style or come up with your own rules.

#3 Play Hide and Seek in the Woods…at Night

If your home is situated on some acreage, you have the perfect set up for this. In fact, I wouldn’t want you to do this anywhere else. The big downside about this is safety, so take that into account and think ahead. Make sure your place doesn’t have any rocks or logs laying on the ground that people could trip over.

You’ll also want to place lighting in advantageous areas so people can see where they’re going. It could also be played at dusk while there’s still enough daylight to see.

Hide and Seek at Night
Image by Tomasz Pro

Once you have the safety issues worked out, the game is what it sounds like. Hide in the woods and try not to be found.

Whoever is “it,” looks around until they find every player. The first one found, gets to be it on the next round. Nothing could be spookier on Halloween. Just be sure nothing unsavory jumps out at you!

#4 An Evening of Murderous Intent

This is pretty much an elaborate, real-life game of Clue, where each guest is a player in the game, and each has his or her own identity and personality traits. And of course, one of those players is the murderer.

The object of the game is to collect clues throughout the evening and then guess who the murderer is. The person who figures it out first wins the game.

You should ensure people don’t randomly blurt out peoples’ names. By the way, there are many of these games for purchase on Amazon. Like this one:

Take the idea a step further and make the game the party’s theme and mention it on the invitation.

You could provide information about the game before the party and assign each guest their character. That way, people could come in costume, already dressed as their character.

#5 Costume Contest

This is pretty self-explanatory. You can have different categories to make it more fun. You could also have people vote by putting their choice in a bowl. All votes can be gathered up and tallied.

You could also solicit votes by going around the room during the party and hand out paper and pencils.

Announce the voting during the party periodically to remind people. Have the drawing at a particular time at the climax of the party.

Different categories could be the funniest costume, most original, scariest, or maybe even most out of character to the way a person really is.

Put the contest on the invitation so when people receive it they can start strategizing their costume and how to win. Maybe play up the prize a bit.

#6 Blood-Curdling Contest

When thinking up Halloween activities for adults, this one is a screamer. What I mean is, it’s noisy. It’s best done in a rural location, so you don’t disturb the neighbors. The gist is, you’ll have a screaming or a howling contest at your party.

Again, you could have different categories like the loudest scream, best howl, highest-pitched, most blood curdling, etc.  Have the crowd help you vote.

#7 Ghost Stories Contest

Sit around the campfire and share your favorite ghost stories. Let the crowd vote. Make it spookier by holding a flashlight to your face while you tell it.

Again, announce it on the invitation that guests should come prepared with a ghost story, whether they have it on paper or out of their head. You could also allow people to find short stories on Amazon and tell them, too.

Flashlights are a good idea for those who are reading off paper. Need a ghost story? Check out this page.

#8 Pumpkin Decorating

Everyone knows about pumpkin carving, but what about pumpkin decorating? Yes, you read that right. Pumpkin decorating.

With this activity, you use paint, markers, glue, paper, scissors, glitter–anything you can think of to decorate your pumpkin without cutting into it.

No muss, no fuss, and no pumpkin guts.

On the other hand, if you carve a pumpkin, you could have some roasted pumpkin seeds or pumpkin bars. The choice is yours!

I hope these ideas for Halloween activities for adults has gotten you thinking of things you can do this spooky season. You know you want to scare your friends. So get on out there and do it!

Debunking Ghosts – Surprising Phenomenon You’ve Probably Never Thought Of

With all this talk about ghosts, it’s easy to get carried away and mistake the mundane for the paranormal. So it’s time for some healthy skepticism.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to be truthful about ghosts because it does nobody any good to foster superstition.

When considering an instance of what may be considered paranormal, keep these surprising causes in mind. It may save you from seeing something that isn’t there. You might also be interested in these ways to tell if your house is haunted.

Meteors Can Cause EVP

Isn’t that idea out of this world? Literally, it is and it’s 100% true. I didn’t even know meteors were that common until I discovered this fact. When I think of meteors, I think of the movie Armageddon, where one comes to Earth, and kiss your booty goodbye.

Turns out, catastrophic space rock events only come to Earth every few million years or so. But, about 100 tons of dust, debris, and rock hits the Earth’s surface every day. 100 tons!

There’s good news, though. As rock and metal penetrate Earth’s atmosphere, they heat up to super-high temperatures, then burn up as they approach. Therefore, we rarely sense the impact.

The thing is, as they’re flying by, they have the ability to interfere with radio signals and other electronics. This is why you can be in Alaska and pick up a radio station in Mexico, for example, although that may be an extreme example. The point is, you can pick up signals far away from their originating source, which can make some people think they’re hearing voices from beyond.

Meteors can cause EVP
Image by laocaohenmang

Here’s How They Cause EVP

As they fly by or burn up, as is the case with falling stars, they can affect radio waves. In fact, they can cause radio signals and voices to appear where they normally wouldn’t.

The result is a radio broadcast many miles from its point of origin that shows up on your voice recorder. Imagine living in Wyoming and hearing Mexican radio. Or talking that doesn’t sound like a radio show. That’s what I’m talking about.

While this sounds far-fetched, it is. But it’s a scientific fact and one you probably wouldn’t ordinarily realize. I guess Chicken Little was right. The sky really is falling and it happens every single day whether you realize it or not.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Check it out on JPL’s site here.

Low Frequency Sounds Cause “Haunted” Feelings

Now this one seems to be a likely cause for many phenomena.

You know how dogs can hear high-pitched sounds that humans can’t? For humans, low-frequency sound waves, those that are just out of our range of hearing, can cause strange phenomena in our behavior and perception. It can disrupt balance and cause exhaustion. It can also contribute to hypnotic states.

This perspective begs the question: Those foreboding feelings people experience when they think they’re encountering something paranormal–are they really paranormal or is there a low-frequency sound occurring in the area?

EMF Can Play Tricks on You

Electromagnetism occurs when an electric current is charged or is moved. (Electromagnetic Frequency Detectors = EMF Detectors). Therefore, anything that is powered produces EMF when its turned on and current is flowing.

It’s a scientific fact EMF can do things to your brain like cause you to feel out of balance, put you into a coma, or even make you feel like you’re being watched or followed Doesn’t that sound like something from many haunted houses stories? Bad wiring can really be a hazard both fire-wise and paranormally. So take EMF into account whenever you feel you might be haunted and get it checked out.

EMF can play tricks on your brain.
Image by engin akyurt

Ghost Detectors Are Easily Manipulated

Apparently, those ghost detectors that are used to portray the presence of spirits are easily faulty. It seems the K-II meter can be manipulated just by holding it. Remotely, it can be controlled by radio signals. It can be interfered with by people in the room or unseen EMF activity in the area. So be aware that ghost hunting equipment is fallible.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Can Cause Hallucinations

There are other ideas like mold and carbon monoxide causing mental issues that could be perceived as ghosts. While I’m sure they are real possibilities, most people don’t have mold in their home and carbon monoxide causes death. I highly doubt these things are the cause of all the sightings that get reported. On the other hand, a desire to see a ghost is another cause that could very well be behind them.

The idea of the afterlife ignites enough passion in people to keep the most intelligent individuals glued to the topic. Truth is, people have been trying to prove that ghosts exists for decades. They explain various phenomenon and have come up with an entire methodology of finding disembodied spirits and technology to do it with. The more ghost hunters try to display to the world that ghosts are real, the more detractors will come up with explanations to disprove and discredit them. It’s a neverending cycle.

Ghosts, Hauntings and Halloween

Welcome to Ghosts2Stories.com, the place where things go bump in the night.

This site is rife with ghost stories. You can choose from categories like these:

But … there’s so much more here.

You’ll find creepy ghost videos and an ever-growing list of high-quality ghost movies in case you’re hankering for a scare, but don’t know what to watch.

Haunted Woods Drawing

© Syd Klaman. All Rights Reserved. 

If you want to discover some new haunted places, like real haunted houses, haunted hotels, or haunted inns and pubs, follow the links here and enjoy the info.

And what is the best time of year for ghost hunters and ghost lovers?  Halloween!   Which is why this site also celebrates that special holiday because ghosts and Halloween go together.

No matter what your taste, I’ve gathered some really fun and spooky things for you to do in October or any time of year, for that matter.

What will you get when you visit Ghosts2Stories.com?  Hours of fascinating reading and scary things to do!

Realize that some of the stories here may not be appropriate for young audiences. So parents, please use discretion. I appreciate it.

Dead Tombstone
What do you want on your tombstone?

Be sure to keep an eye out for downloads that are scattered around the site. I know that reading online can be inconvenient, therefore, I do offer some free downloads so you can grab and go. If you do download, please tell your friends about me and/or share my site on social media. The more the merrier!  Just don’t re-post or sell my stuff because that is just not cool.

And finally, for those folks who enjoy writing a good ghost story, check back often for contents. I’d love for you all to participate!

Meantime, take your time and browse the site. Then, come back often and enjoy the party!

-Brenda, Webmaster

Where to you want to go now?

Read a Ghost Story
Check out a Haunted House
Browse Haunted House Movies
Find something for Halloween

How to Tell if Your House Is Haunted

You may wonder how to tell if your house is haunted if unexplained things keep happening to you. Like hearing voices or footsteps. Or unnerving things that cause you never to want to be alone in your own house. Whatever it is that’s going on, take a deep breath and don’t jump to conclusions. Instead of freaking out, check out this list to see if you’re living in a haunted house or if there’s some other reason for what you’re experiencing.

First Sign in How to Tell if your House is Haunted : Cold Spots

If your house is haunted and ghosts are trying to manifest, you will get cold spots. Keep in mind this happens in just about any house, especially older ones that aren’t insulated well or energy efficient. So the chill needs explaining. If you want to know how to tell if your house is haunted, check the windows and doors for drafts. Then make sure the fridge door is closed. Then if there’s nothing to explain the cold spots, keep your eye out for other signs of the paranormal.

Shadows can be a way to Tell if your house is haunted
Image by StockSnap

Electronic Disturbances

Do your lights flicker, or do you have odd electrical interferences? Do your batteries go dead suddenly? This can be cameras, voice recorders, cellphones – anything that has a battery. If so, it could be the sign of a paranormal presence because ghosts extract energy from their surroundings in an attempt to manifest. They don’t have their own physical power, so have to draw it from outside themselves and electronic devices.

Smells

If you’re selling perfume or tobacco that isn’t yours, check to see if there’s someone in your place that could be causing it. If that proves harmful, check your trash in case somebody tossed away an item or items that could explain it.  Ghosts often define their presence through the use odors and fragrances. So if there’s no apparent reason and you’re learning how to tell if your house is haunted, just know it could be the sign of a haunting.

Objects that Move or Disappear

Sometimes ghosts will move things to try to get your attention or to play games with you. This takes an enormous amount of energy though, so it isn’t common. If objects keep moving from their assigned place or if things like furniture suddenly appear in the wrong place, you could have a ghost in your house. If you’re investigating how to tell if your house is haunted, check it out. Maybe your roommate is the one who moved your shoes. Or perhaps it’s someone in your family trying playing tricks on you.

Animals

The next way to tell if you’ve got ghosts is animal reactions. It’s nothing new to say that dogs, cats, and other animals have heightened hearing kills and an awareness of things beyond what the eyes can see. Dogs will bark at things that aren’t there. Cats will hiss at the corner of the room, but our eyes don’t know who or what they’re battling. If this happens to you repeatedly, it could be a sign your house is haunted.

Animal Reactions are One Sign in How to Tell if Your House is Haunted
Image by dahancoo

Feeling Watched

Another way to tell if your house is haunted is the feeling of being watched. A lot of people who live in haunted houses say this happens a lot. If there is a presence in your home, it will sometimes come from a corner of the room or some other place in your house.  It could be a way to tell that your house is haunted.

Shadows

Does your house have darkened corners, even on sunny, well-lit days? Do you see things move out of the corner of your eye? If so, first get your eyes checked. Make sure the shadows you’re seeing aren’t because of some physical object sitting in front of a sunny location. If all of those things are eliminated, your house may be haunted.

Opening Doors

Do you have doors that open and close on their own? If so, you could be experiencing a haunting. Sometimes, you might feel an unknown someone sitting on the bed with you. Or maybe one of your kids’ toy trucks powers up on its own and begins rolling across the floor when nobody is even near it. Or if your daughter’s doll starts talking and it’s sitting alone in a chair. This is a very strong signal someone unseen is visiting you.

Levitating Objects

This one goes without saying because what would you think if you saw objects levitation? It’s a rare phenomenon and pretty unexplainable unless you live over some sort of vortex that manipulates the earth’s magnetic fields. If you’re looking to tell if your house is haunted, his one will likely generate an immediate call to a paranormal investigator.

Levitation is a Strong Signal in How to Tell if Your House is Haunted
Image by Josep Monter Martinez

Finally, How to Tell if Your House Is Haunted

This list is how to tell if your house is haunted. Keep in mind there are usually everyday, mundane reasons for all of these things. If any of these things happen to you, be rational, and look for logical, physical reasons for what you’re experiencing. Do not jump to conclusions. It actually might be a good idea to log these activities in a book. Call in a paranormal investigator and get your house looked at. ­­ Here’s a good place to start with that. You can also check out this page to discover other real haunted houses.