The Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA) is a pre Civil War asylum acting as both a hospital and mental health facility until 1994. It has been featured on several television shows about the paranormal and is said to be haunted. It housed both people with mild mental illness as well as the criminally insane.
I took my curious daughter and a friend to the TALA to see for ourselves what it was all about. We were not disappointed. There is a 45 minute tour going for around $10 to a 90 minute tour for $30. We opted for the historical tour for $10.
Tour guides dress the part of the nursing staff at the asylum.
The ominous facade of the TALA as you drive in, the upper floors housed the most violent of residents, but all windows had bars. During the Civil War, when West Virginia was Virginia, both Union and Confederate troops camped on the lawn in front of the building.
One of the asylum wards in disrepair.
Superstitious stone masons carved heads above the exit doors around the asylum to keep the "evil spirits" inside.
Above is a recreation area for residents and below is one of the wards restored to how it looked in the early 20th century.
Below is our tour guide at the end of the tour. Guides were knowledgeable of the history and myths surrounding this fascinating facility. If you are ever in the heart of West Virginia, a trip to the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is a must.