Anyone who knows me well will tell you that what I hate more than almost anything is being told what to do. Being bullied riles me up like nothing else in this world (or the next). Therefore, these last few months, with their fleeting and sometimes not-so-fleeting moments of abject fear of some otherworldly nemesis set on my destruction, have gradually pushed me toward full-scale rebellion. Perhaps it is dangerous to cast lures into the spirit world from time to time, but at the end of the day, we consist of both body and spirit, while spirits are only spirit, so who has the real advantage? So it was that, almost exactly three months after my car wreck and a couple days shy of my birthday, I found myself again crossing the threshold of a place I’ve written about before: the imposing, unsettling, and vaguely threatening Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, located in Weston, WV. (If you haven’t read the previous post and are interested, it can be found here: https://vyxen74.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/the-scariest-place-on-earth/.)
While I may be defiant, I’m not stupid. I did some research on how to protect yourself as best as possible from spirits, and one of my friends had brought me a cross that I gratefully wore. It was with a weird mix of trepidation and excitement that I began this, my first real investigation in several months. And as always, TALA did not disappoint.
The first notable stop of the evening was the geriatric ward. This part of the building has a stifling, thick atmosphere and an unpleasant odor, as if the noxious miasms of despair, old age, insanity, and ill health have seeped into the very walls. Nothing too untoward happened, but I did feel an overwhelming sense of sadness, much like what I experienced upon first venturing onto the battlefield at Gettysburg. Of course, that could have been an empathetic reaction to the lives the people incarcerated here must have led. You could be put in the asylum for any number of capricious reasons, and I can only imagine the confusion and utter lack of hope the elderly inmates must have felt. Whether legitimately mentally ill or just unwanted, there was no chance that they would leave these walls alive. Bad enough to suffer the pains and indignities of age, but to do it in an environment of hopelessness with no love or light to ease your way is a fate no one deserves.
From the geriatric ward, we moved on to its opposite, the children’s ward. Here we heard something indescribably compelling and heartbreaking – the voice of a little girl. One of our group members, seated in the middle of the long wing, exclaimed that he had heard a child singing. We congregated near that area and shortly thereafter, the other female member of the group and I both heard a little girl speaking. For some reason, the male group members didn’t hear it, and it seemed that she would mostly speak while the guys were talking. We distinctly heard her say hello twice, along with several other indecipherable words and phrases. I tried to dismiss it as some kind of strange echo of the guy’s voices, but to be honest, even I have a hard time explaining how a man’s deep voice could create an echo that sounded like a tiny girl’s voice.
On the second floor of the asylum, we sat quietly in the pitch black corridor and conducted an EVP session. As we did so, we distinctly heard the sound of a door creaking open or closed. It was a metallic sound, and after hearing it for the third time, we literally opened and closed every door on the wing in an attempt to replicate the sound. Surprisingly, the old wooden doors don’t make any sound. The only door with a metallic squeak was the one leading into the ward – and it hadn’t moved at all. This was very similar to what happened to us in the children’s ward during a previous visit. On that trip, we heard the door right next to us moving – but it wasn’t actually moving. All I can figure is that it’s a residual sound, a ghostly replica of the millions of times these doors must have opened and shut when the building was in operation. Similarly, when we moved to the third floor, we heard what sounded like tapping on a window pane nearby; however, no source for the noise could be found. A former patient, perhaps, tapping a mindless tattoo on the glass while spending interminable hours gazing out at a world lost to them forever?
The final part of the evening was spent in the company of Copperhead, who may be familiar to some of you as a contestant on the TALA episode of Paranormal Challenge. Two of us accompanied him into the cavernous darkness of the old kitchen, which is supposedly inhabited by a male spirit who has physically scratched several females over the last few months. This was the ultimate final exam for me – if I was going to get over my fears of the unknown, this was the place. I even resorted to mild provocation, and felt vindicated when I emerged unscathed. We did hear what sounded like an exhale and some other odd noises coming from the very rear of the kitchen, but nothing outstanding and certainly nothing too terrifying. At the end of the evening, on our way out of the wing, we stopped by the stretcher room, so-called because it’s filled with stretchers, natch. Copperhead did a quick-burst EVP session and actually thought he caught a male voice, although it was impossible to determine what it said while listening to it on the fly.
Driving along the broken paved road away from the asylum at 5 AM, I did experience a momentary spurt of fear – I faced a 2 hour drive along winding mountain roads after being up for almost 24 hours. If something were trying to kill me, this seemed an opportune time. But then I girded up my loins, cranked up my music, and hit the road, singing at the top of my lungs to keep myself awake. I will admit, it was a bit eerie when it got lighter and I realized there was to be no sunrise – the world was enshrouded in thick fog, obscuring the tops of the mountains and dropping down to enfold me and my car at unexpected intervals. But I lived to tell, and sometimes that is enough.