Do thoughts of the paranormal make you feel paranoid? If not, then a stop at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum may just be the haunt you're looking for.
A state-run hospital for the mentally ill and the criminally insane for more than a century, the asylum has a history of unexplained voices, sightings and other reported bumps in the night. The place recently was certified as haunted by a group of nationally televised ghost hunters.
TALA offers ghost hunts both during the day and at night. Paranormal tours last about two hours, and visitors are guided through what are considered to be the ghouliest of spots in the facility. You are allowed to bring cameras, recorders or any other equipment that would make you the envy of the Ghost Busters.
If you want to take the experience to the next level, try spending the night inside the asylum. Overnight hunts start around 9 p.m. and last until 5 a.m., and you can explore all of the dark and dank corners of the asylum.
There also are special October ghost hunts designed for the strong of heart, and private ghost hunting groups with their own insurance are welcome.
To register for a ghost hunt or to find out more, anyone interested can call 304-269-5070 or visit the website at trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com.
TALA also offers historical tours for those wishing to learn how mental illness was treated and the patients cared for during long forgotten days.
There are two such tours available, one 45 minutes long and the other 90 minutes. The shorter tour also showcases the first floor of the vast hospital, while the longer version takes in all four floors. Visitors can learn of pioneering treatments and of the gold robbery that helped West Virginia become a state, visit doctors' and nurses' residences and see Ward F, the place where the scariest of patients were housed.
Tours of the first floor leave every 30 minutes, while the longer tour departs every two hours. The last 45-minute tour departs at 5 p.m., while the final 90-minute tour leaves at 4 p.m.
The asylum offers a Civil War history tour, which also includes a trip into downtown Weston. The 120-minute walking tour visits historical sites, such as the First Exchange Bank, where the famous gold robbery occurred.