Day 12:

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – Weston, WV

Halloween had finally come, and my plan for the day was touring an old insane asylum. No, I didn’t actually plan it out that way, but it just kind of worked out. I got up and went through my morning routine and made my way to a local state park river access area to make myself some coffee and oatmeal. The first tour at the asylum wasn’t until noon, so I had a bit of time to kill. For about an hour I just sat by the river sipping my coffee and enjoying the peace and quiet. Sometimes the quiet, uneventful moments are my favorite.

This section of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum has been refurbished to look as it did when it was first constructed – Weston, WV

Finally the time came for me to make my way to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. When I arrived I was met by the sight of a stunningly ornate yet eerie building (which I later found out is the second largest hand-cut sandstone building in the world. It’s only second to the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia). The setting was perfect: grey sky, cold air, and a light drizzle of rain. What a perfect day to explore an old asylum, right? I decided to take the full historic tour rather than the paranormal tour. Yes, I know, it was Halloween, but the real history of what went down there was just as unnerving as the ghost stories. Everyone else that showed up while I was there was taking the paranormal tours, so I just had two cool older ladies on the tour with me. Old women seem to be a common theme on this trip so far. It’s fine with me though, because they’ve all been pretty cool. These particular women were on a road-trip too, so I got to talk to them about traveling for a bit before the tour started.

This is how time has changed the asylum – Weston, WV

The full tour was an hour and a half long, and it included sections of the hospital that had been refurbished to show how it would have looked during it’s time of construction, and then there were sections that were left with their deterioration. The hospital had been open from the late 1800s and shut down in 1994. It remained closed until 2007 when it was privately purchased at auction by the owners that have it currently. It was pretty amazing to see how these patients lived and hear about their treatment, which needless to say wasn’t too great. It had been an incredibly overcrowded facility, and many of the people that were admitted there really didn’t need to be there. There were many reasons such as novel reading, laziness, anxiety, depression, jealousy, and even just being a woman could all be cause to have you admitted. Because of this, they quickly outgrew their capacity. The facility was built to house 250 patients, but at their peak there were over 2,600 patience being kept in the hospital. I could go on and on about what I learned about that place, but I already ramble enough as is, so I’ll leave it there. I ended up spending about four hours at the asylum in total. After the tour was over we were open to explore a large portion of the bottom floor and see some of the museums they had set up. Overall it was an incredibly interesting stop, and it made my previously uneventful Halloween pretty neat.

This is how time has changed the asylum – Weston, WV

I had plans to visit a couple of state parks the next day, so I decided to head in that direction and stay in a dispersed camp ground in the Canaan Wildlife Area. However, when I got there I saw that it was at the very top of a mountain, it was incredibly secluded, and there was really bad weather coming in. My instincts told me not to stay there, so I looked for the nearest Walmart so that I could at least be in population if it did end up snowing like forecasted. Yeah, the nearest one was an hour away. I decided it was better to be safe than sorry, though, so I made my way to the bottom of the mountain. Luckily when I got there it was a little town called Davis, WV, and there was a Dollar General and a Shop ‘N’ Save. They were kind enough to let me park there overnight, so I didn’t end up having to drive very far at all. I’m really glad I made that decision, because the wind was blowing at 30mph all night, and the temperature was quickly dropping. Definitely not something I wanted to be alone on the top of a mountain for. I could feel every gust of wind, and it almost felt like my car was going to blow away (spoiler alert: it didn’t). It was a pretty nerve wracking night, for sure, and it really did make me homesick. That kind of weather wouldn’t be scary in a house with people around, but it definitely was while I was alone in an SUV.

Luckily I was able to talk to my boyfriend Joseph on the phone for a while. I mean, that’s been pretty standard on this trip, but I definitely needed it that night. The sound of a familiar voice, especially his, was really comforting. It did make me want to just turn around and go home right then, though. I would be comfortable and safe at home, I would get to be with the people I loved, and I wouldn’t have to worry about potentially getting snowed in, but I knew that it would be worth it to work through it. Having him as well as my other friends and family there to support me has really been what’s helped me in the tough times.

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