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Quick History of Trans Allegheny Insane Asylum | Weston, West Virginia

Built between 1858 and 1881 on the “Kirkbride Plan”.  A plan based on modern cures. Kindness and morality. Trans Allegheny was setup to allow tons of sunlight and provide comfort.

Didn’t take long to screw this over.

Ghostly History Episode at End

The main building opened in 1864. The original hospital designed for 250 patients. 

  • 14 years later it held 717 patients
  • In 1938 there was 1,661
  • By 1949 (year of the article) there was over 1,800
  • The number peaked at 2,600 in the 1950s

The word spread. People called the asylum an “insane prison“.

Violence from Too Many Patients

The known list of patients reported in 1938 included terms strange today. Listing types as…

  1. Epileptics
  2. Alcoholics
  3. Drug addicts 
  4. Non-educable mental defectives

There was violence right from the start. Behind closed doors. Only known to the staff and patients.

Took a newspaper writer to expose it.

Then the public found out. Articles written by the Charleston Gazette in 1949.  Showing the conditions. 

Patients trapped in small rooms. Living in their own filth. Using broken chairs and bed. With no Winter heating.

Horrid condition mixed with disturbed people.  Some very violent patients with not enough doctors, nurses and orderlies to watch them.


Several times patients murdered each other. 

One time 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 up and down, crushing his head under the leg.

The staff was also in danger.

One report of a nurse who disappeared.  Many thought she left the building.  Police got involved. They found nothing. 

Must not have searched well.  For two months her dead body lay at the bottom of an unused staircase.  Murdered by patients and left to rot.

Ghost Guide Daniel’s Ghostly History Episode

Here’s Ghost Guide Daniel’s original Ghostly History episode on the Trans Allegheny Asylum…

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