Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Reston, WV. August 2014)
Formerly known as the Weston State Hospital, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was built on 666 acres and was meant to serve as a sanctuary for the mentally ill when it opened in 1864. Most of the early work was done by prison labor, although the final stonework was completed by skilled stone masons brought in from Europe. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum began taking residents in 1861 long before it was completed, and patients were continually added until the structure was completed some 20 years later. It was still in operation as an asylum in 1994 when it was closed. It was reopened in 2007 to host historic and paranormal tours.
Originally built to house only 250 patients, by the 1950's its population had increased to approximately 2,400 patients in what was described as overcrowded and poor conditions. Prior to the 18th century when persons displaying aberrant behavior could be brought to an asylum like Trans-Allegheny, they were thought to be possessed, and treatment of these persons was barbaric especially if they had no family or friends to take responsibility for them. Many ended up in prisons, and even when they had families they were mostly hidden away without any attempt to cure them or help them assimilate back into society since insanity was considered incurable.
The first floor has a wing that is called the Civil War Wing which is the oldest part of the hospital and is considered one of the most haunted, as is the 4th floor, even though the entire facility is considered haunted. Many treatments that are now considered barbaric were used such as electro-shock therapy, lobotomies, and ice-water baths among others. Not only did patients die of natural causes, many committed suicide or killed other patients or nurses. Many female workers were raped. In one case, a nurse mysteriously went missing while on duty in the asylum. Her rotting body was found two months later at the bottom of a stairwell in an obscure corner of the building.
Walking through the empty hallways and rooms, where peeling paint and barred windows encourage the belief that proof of residual hauntings such as footsteps and the sound of gurney wheels are self-evident, Miami Ghost Chronicles’ investigators Henry and Marlene felt that many souls who either lived or worked in this location still walk the shadows. No EVPs or photos were gathered during the walk through the building owing mostly to a lack of time, however personal experiences such as darting shadows, and noises heard at the end of empty hallways confirmed that TALA is indeed a very haunted structure.
The Ghosts of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA)
William Cook (Born ? - 1891) William “Billy” Cook was a resident on Ward 5 and Ward 3. Shortly after being committed for 1 year he took his own life on August 23rd, 1891. He died of shock after turning the hot water on in the bathtub and jumping into it and scalding many parts of his body. He was described as intensely demented. His ghost has been communicating via flashlight sessions mostly on the 2nd floor (Ward 5) and the 3rd floor (Ward 3) centering around the shower room. He also produces loud bangs, rolling and dragging noises and the sound of footsteps through water.
Jesse Albright (1888-1949) Jesse Albright died on July 14th, 1949 after living at TALA for over 7 years. He died from organic illness in his body, and his extended family claimed his body and he was buried on the grounds in the 3rd cemetery.
Jesse’s ghost is reported as a “talker” who whispers in guests’ ears and he is known to answer to his name. He also communicates via a flashlight and a K2 meter. He also drains batteries.
Jacob Ayers (released from TALA 1910) Jacob was born and grew up in West Virginia; however after his release from TALA nothing else was heard from him again. In life he was known to be an alcoholic who contributed to his illness. While he was a resident of the asylum it is believed he slept in one of the oldest wards on the southern end of the facility. As a ghost he interacts with visitors using a flashlight, a K2 meter, and he is known to follow them around. At times he is cooperative, however other times he growls at visitors, and even though he probably has been walking the hallways of the asylum for many years, he was first documented in 2008 by Jason and Grant from Ghost Hunters.
Jane Harvey (1865-1884) Jane died by her own hand on November 6th, 1884. It is unknown how long she was actually at the asylum. She lived on the 2nd floor on Ward B. At this location many visitors have had contact with an entity named Jane. Visitors have complained of pressure on their chests, and a strangling sensation. Jane’s presence is presaged by a bitter chill in the air and spikes on the K2 meter. She has been recorded on EVPs.
Lawrence “Larry” Carroll (1900-1942) Larry was admitted on multiple occasions to TALA the last time being in 1941. He only had an 8th grade education and suffered greatly from mental illness in which he exhibited violent behavior towards others. Larry was apprehended in connection to the murder of a local 15 year old boy, who was killed by Larry on his way back from church to his grandmother’s home, and whose body was found in a cave. He was was beaten and then buried alive.
Communication with Larry is usually on the 4th floor, and he keeps company with another ghost named Frank. Contact with Larry has an unfriendly tone as objects have been thrown at visitors.
Thompson House (Newport, KY. August 2014)
The Thompson house was built in 1814 on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River by Senator Richard Southgate. Over the years it hosted many guests including Abraham Lincoln before he became President, and later generations of the family stayed in the home, building on the original 2 bedroom cabin which was first built on the site. In 1920, descendant John Thompson invented the Thompson machine gun or “Tommy Gun” which became one of the favored weapons of prohibition era gangsters.
By 1888, Southgate House as it was known then was sold to the Maddux family, and in 1914 it became the property and meeting place for the Knights of Columbus. In 1948 it was rebuilt due to a fire.
Eventually it changed hands and names, and it is now a venue for rock music groups and is known as the Thompson House.
Marlene and Henry with Miami Ghost Chronicles visited the home with Wanda Kay, during the middle of the day, and either due to the time of day or the fact that a photo shoot was taking place over the 4 floors of the home, and lots of people were running around it was difficult to document any type of paranormal occurrences whether firsthand or on any photographs (EVPs were totally out of the questions because of the noise and persons talking in the background).
Some of the ghosts that supposedly haunt this home is Elizabeth who during the 1850s hung herself after thinking her husband had been killed in a steamboat accident (it turned out later he hadn’t even been on the boat that day), which could account for the reason she haunts the widow’s walk of the home. Another female entity is thought to be Francis Parker who once owned the home. Manifestations include opening and closing of the front door by unseen hands, moving a Christmas tree, and the sound of a piano being played when no one is there. (Close to this piano, and an adjacent locked room was the only place that energy was felt as well as a cold spot). Other apparitions are a small boy, and a Civil War confederate soldier. Wanda Kay also reported that the home served as a stop over for the Underground Railroad and that runaway slaves were hidden in the basement as they made their way towards freedom.
Bobby Mackey’s Music World (Wilder, KY. Aug 2014)
It was bad timing on behalf of Miami Ghost Chronicles in being able to visit haunted Bobby Mackey's Music World while it was open. Marlene & Henry met with Wanda from Wanda Kay's Ghost Tour to visit the Thompson House which is not far from Bobby Mackey's. As you can see by the photos, it was too early in the day. Wanda did confirm that she no longer offered tours or DJ'd at Bobby Mackey's after many years because she felt that it was too dangerous due to the type of entities that haunt the building. Based on her description not only the well known ghosts of Pearl Bryan and her murderers Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling, or Johanna haunt the building, but she described what sounded like elementals and demons, which might be due to the slaughter of animals on the site, as well as claims that it was used by satanists to perform rituals in the building. There have been other murders and suicides tied to the site over the years, and possibly other events that have never come to light. No doubt this location is toxic on a paranormal level.
The hauntings at Bobby Mackey's have been well documented over the years by different sources. The Ghost Adventures show visited several times starting in 2008 and consider this one of the most haunted sites they have investigated.
Arch Creek Park, North Miami, FL September 2003 (New Investigation pending for Winter 2014)
In September 2003, Miami Ghost Chronicles was invited to participate in a new ghost tour hosted by Eric King, which would be held at a little park tucked away in North Miami by the name of Arch Creek Park. The park is named after an early settlement in this area named Arch Creek. Surrounded as it was then (2003), and now by modern buildings, it’s hard to imagine that this area of ground was crossroads for many travelers long before the birth of Christ. The Tequesta Indians, one of South Florida’s ancient indigenous people, lived in this area, arrowheads, other artifacts, and a midden was found nearby; later the Seminoles, and then early pioneers of the city that later became Miami.
Remnants of a Coontie mill built in the 1850s can still be seen cut into the limestone along the creek. During the Seminole Wars a Military Trail between Fort Lauderdale and Fort Dallas on the Miami River, included crossing a natural, 40 foot limestone bridge. Underneath it runs a creek that flows from the Everglades to Biscayne Bay. As early as 1895 Henry Flagler brought visitors and settlers from the Eastern United States, and the bridge was a meeting place for local residents. By 1903 a train depot had been built nearby in order to ship out the pineapples and tomatoes planted by early settlers. A present day replica of the limestone bridge is found at the park; the original one mysteriously collapsed one day after the park was founded in 1973.
Ghost stories retold based on the experiences of visitors to the park and the employees are campers disappearing from the grounds, eerie footsteps heard in the thicket, as well as the bungalow which serves as the park office and nature museum. Faces have been seen at the window, murmuring voices thought to be those of the Tequesta are heard in the night, and undoubtedly who ever walks the shadowy trails is not alone.
Kenilworth Lodge, Sebring FL (July 2014), attending the PIA Conference.
Kenilworth Lodge was built in 1916 by the founder of the city, George Sebring, in a Mediterranean Revival style. Throughout the years several stories have been reported by guests, they describe hearing voices to loud stomping outside their room, and when they approach hotel personnel about this they are told no one else was staying on the same floor. Other have claimed they have felt their mattress sink in as an invisible person gets in bed with them or seeing a shadow standing at the foot of the bed as well as feelings of being watched and experiencing uneasiness while using the staircase. Room 213 is supposed to be haunted by a young woman who committed suicide in the room by shooting herself in the head. Several years later, another woman used the same room, and committed suicide in the same fashion. The ghost of George Parker, a former manager who died in the hotel in the 1950s, has been seen on multiple occasions. Another area that is reportedly haunted is the basement.
Miami Ghost Chronicles attended the 3 day conference held by PIA, in which several other paranormal groups from Florida including the FL chapter of MUFON attended. There were several workshops held that covered interesting topics associated with the paranormal, as well as plenty of time to network and meet other who work in this field.
Rolling Hills Asylum, NY (April 2014)
This was a great visit to the Rolling Hills Asylum. This was an unofficial paranormal investigation, and we didn't come truly prepared to capture any evidence with the exception of a 35mm camera. Later Sharon and Jason from the Asylum graciously came along with 4 of the participants of that night's walk through with some equipment and pointed out hot spots, including communication with the spirits using a flashlight.
In one of the pictures below, my companion Henry (x-cop from NJ, wearing black hat) stares at me with wide eyes (yes...he was very startled), later he explained that the reason was that he had seen the doll move, which can be seen in the same picture behind him next to the organ. In another picture he smiles nervously as he sits in the barber chair. He thought that his hair had been touched, and the same thing happened to another participant about an hour later as we sat in the hallway of the 3rd floor right outside the double doors of the sunroom.
In another picture Henry stands next to a child's play stroller and again he claimed he saw this doll move, and if you notice you will see a stuffed "Pluto" doll in the stroller. Later in the night we mentioned the event to Sharon and Jason from the Asylum who both laughed and said now they understood why their ovilus had kept repeating over the word "Pluto" various time throughout the day, however they kept thinking of the planet not the Disney cartoon. No doubt an entity wanted to bring attention to something.
We came by during the day, and even then this location is very spooky, and I stood out in the roadway to assess that even now in modern times it is very remote, so when this location started as the Genesee County Poor Farm in the early 1800s it was meant to isolate those who lived there and keep them on the fringes of society both figuratively and literally
West Virginia Pententiary, Moundsville (April 2014)
This prison was in use from 1867 to 1995. In 1863, West Virginia seceded
from Virginia at
the height of the American Civil War. Consequently, the new state
had a shortage of various public institutions, including prisons; the Wagon
Gate was the only building at this site during the Civil War.
The first building constructed on the site was the North
Wagon Gate. It was made with hand-cut sandstone,
which was quarried from a local site. The
state used prison labor during the construction process
The conditions at the prison worsened through the years, as
the facility would be ranked on the United States Department of Justice's Top
Ten Most Violent Correctional Facilities list. One of the more
infamous locations in the prison, with instances of gambling, fighting,and
raping, was a recreation room known as "The Sugar Shack".
In total, thirty-six homicides took place in the prison. One
of the more notable ones is the butchering of R.D. Wall, inmate number 44670.
On October 8, 1929, after "snitching" on his fellow inmates, he was attacked by
three prisoners with dull shivs
while heading to the boiler room. In 1983, Charles
Manson requested to be transferred to this prison to be nearer
to his family. His request was denied
January 1, 1986 was not only the beginning of a new year,
but also the date of one of the most infamous riots in recent history. The West
Virginia Penitentiary was then undergoing many changes and problems. Security
had become extremely loose in all areas. Since it was a "cons"
prison, most of the locks on the cells had been picked and inmates roamed the
halls freely. Bad plumbing and insects caused rapid spreading of various
diseases. The prison was now holding more than 2,000 men and crowding became an
issue once again. Another major contribution to the riot's cause was the fact
that it was a holiday. Many of the officers had called off work, which fueled
the prisoners to conduct their plan on this specific day.
From 1899 to 1959, ninety-four men were executed. Hanging was
the method of execution until 1949 with eighty-five men meeting that fate. The
public could attend hangings until June 19, 1931. On that date, Frank Hyer was
executed for murdering his wife, however, when the trap door beneath him was
opened and his full weight was put onto the noose, he was instantly
decapitated. Following this event, attendance at hangings was by invitation
only. The last man to face execution by hanging, Bud Peterson from Logan County, lies in the prison's
cemetery, as his family refused to claim his body. Beginning in 1951,
electrocution became the means of execution. Ironically, the electric
chair, nicknamed "Old Sparky", used by the prison was
originally built by an inmate there, Paul Glenn. Nine men died in the chair until the state
outlawed execution entirely in 1965