By Linda Heath
I recently traveled to Weston, West Virginia to tour the abandoned West Virginia Lunatic Asylum, now known as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA). Built between 1858 and 1864, it was a part of the Kirkbride Plan that was to bring a better quality of life to the many mentally deficient and disabled individuals that up to this point were left to abuse and death.
Of course, as we know, many of these asylums, although clean and warm, still led to abuse and experimentation on the mentally ill. And this asylum has had its share of horrible stories and sad endings.
TALA is actually in much better shape than some of the other Kirkbride asylums I’ve visited in the past. The main Kirkbride Building is in great shape, the architecture is stunning and according the televisions’ Ghost Hunters show… also comes complete with a number of named ghosts. Unlike Greystone (the NJ State Lunatic Asylum), I didn’t have any ghostly experiences while I went from floor to floor with my camera.
I have a love for abandoned buildings. It’s just sad to see such lovely historical buildings collapsing and being demolished. Especially the Kirkbride buildings which were all beautiful in their architectural design.