I *DO* Believe in Spooks!

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (1864-1994)

The building sits on a rather ominous 666 acres and follows what is called the Kirkbride plan. Long wings that were staggered to allow additional fresh air and light were supposed to provide a curative effect, but the asylum was a living hell for the people that called it home.

I’ve always loved old structures and looking at the photos of this particular asylum really gets the small hairs on the back of my neck standing up. Sure, the place is creepy. It’s also beautiful in a run down, decayed sort of way. Some people might call these photos “ruin porn.” I guess a lot of people enjoy searching for photos of old, abandoned places on the internet and exploring those places in real life. It makes sense. Seeing the cavernous space that is the TALA is very intimidating. With its eroding walls, peeling lead paint, abandoned “therapy” rooms, and debris scattered over the floor, it is certainly a sight to behold. The minute you look at a photo of the place, you begin to wonder what life was like for those sent to TALA. Issues of overcrowding, (the structure was built to house 250 and topped 2,400) sanitation, and ill treatment of patients topped the list of common problems, so their existence was likely an awful one.

Visitors say they’ve seen full bodied apparitions and heard voices on all floors. Although it is said that over 100 people lost their lives here, it is suggested that this number may be much higher. TALA served as a military post during the Civil War, so the property is steeped in history and in the energy of those who lost their lives here.

From trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com:

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, constructed between 1858 and 1881, is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America, and is purportedly the second largest in the world, next to the Kremlin. It was designed by the renowned architect Richard Andrews following the Kirkbride plan, which called for long rambling wings arranged in a staggered formation, assuring that each of the connecting structures received an abundance of therapeutic sunlight and fresh air. The original hospital, designed to house 250 souls, was open to patients in 1864 and reached its peak in the 1950’s with 2,400 patients in overcrowded and generally poor conditions. Changes in the treatment of mental illness and the physical deterioration of the facility forced its closure in 1994 inflicting a devastating effect on the local economy, from which it has yet to recover.

If you’re brave enough, you can tour the structure. The 2 hour tour features 4 major activity hotspots while the 8 hour tour is an overnight excursion into the belly of the beast to seek out the paranormal entities that reside there. The 8 hour tour is led by an experienced ghost hunter, but they let you do your own investigations if you choose. Past participants have stated that the guides took a step back when asked and allowed TALA to speak for itself. Many visitors said it did!  Prices range from $10 to $100 for the overnight tour. It’s an experience you won’t likely forget.

Have you toured the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum? Tell us about it!

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

Tweet us @hauntheadscast

Photos courtesy of Trover.com

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Beginnings

If you’ve found your way here, it means you’ve got paranormal interests that range from reading about paranormal phenomena to exploring abandoned and allegedly haunted places and everything and anything in between. Perhaps you’ve experienced something in your life that has caused you to question if we’re really alone on this earthly plane or if we share this existence with those who have crossed over. That’s how I got here.

Welcome home.

If you’ve found your way here, it means you’ve got paranormal interests that range from reading about paranormal phenomena to exploring abandoned and allegedly haunted places and everything and anything in between. Perhaps you’ve experienced something in your life that has caused you to question if we’re really alone on this earthly plane or if we share this existence with those who have crossed over. That’s how I got here.

I was 8 when I first realized I was sensitive, sometimes called clairsentient.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, eventually moving in with them when my parents divorced. They lived in a large house in a small town, a town called Paradise in Newfoundland, Canada, surrounded by untouched woodlands that were great for a child with an intrinsic need to explore. I enjoyed spending time in the woods and would sit for hours under trees that, I was sure, were over a hundred years old. I’d lie on my back and look up at the canopy, watching the wind move through the branches and leaves and feeling completely at peace. It wasn’t until the sun began to set, the streetlights began to burn brightly, and the woods began to darken that I would make my way back home. It was at the point I walked in through the back door, down the back stairway, and into the rec room that I began to feel ill at ease.

It wasn’t that I was uncomfortable about coming home. I loved my grandparents and I enjoyed living with them. I had everything I needed. I never felt ignored or alone. Truthfully, never feeling alone was part of the problem.

I constantly felt pressure on the top of my head. It was as if someone was placing their hands and lightly pushing down. I also had the sensation of walking through spider webs. I would wipe my face regularly, but the feeling remained. In addition, I experienced temperature changes when inside the house and would frequently feel the small hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention. The rec room, in particular, made me feel especially uneasy.

If you’re sensitive or have spoken to, or read about, the experiences had by sensitives or clairsentients, you know that the above descriptions are some most frequently relayed by those who experience the presence of otherworldly influences. I suppose the best way to explain my clairsentience is to relate an experience I’ve had.

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My first experience with the paranormal occurred in the rec room. I awoke after 2 am, feeling sick. I hung my head over the side of my bed and closed my eyes, waiting for the sensation to pass. Eventually, it got so bad that I had to get up and go to the bathroom to be sick. When I exited the bathroom ten or twenty minutes later, I looked down the hall past my grandparent’s room. Their door was closed, as was the guest bedroom door across the hall. All the lights were out except for the small nightlight by the door to my bedroom. As I looked down the hall, I began to see lights dancing on the ceiling and the floor. They would brighten and fade and seemed to be emanating from the stairwell that led to the rec room. I walked slowly down the hall and to the top of the stairs, listening hard to see if anyone was actually down there. I could hear soft muttering sounds, almost as if someone had left the tv on low. I couldn’t remember if I’d turned the tv off when I’d used it that afternoon, so I ascended the stairs, fumbling for the light switch at the bottom. It was then I realized I felt heavy. The air around me seemed to buzz and I began to feel cold. As I stood in the darkness, the light intensified and, out of nowhere, people began to appear.

They drifted into the scene as if propelled by the wind and swayed back and forth. They were dancing. Their clothing looked to be from some bygone era, long coats, tall hats and collars, and billowy dresses. It was as if they were somewhere between where they were and where I was in time. Their hands, legs, and faces were blurred, almost resembling the static on a tv channel to which you don’t subscribe as if they weren’t coming in clearly. If I strained, I could hear music playing softly.

I gasped, backing up the stairs, anxious to get away. At the sound, the figures stopped dancing and turned to look at me, their faces smudged like charcoal drawings, dark in some places and lighter in others. I turned and ran as fast as I could up the stairs and back to my room, feeling the carpet burn my knees as I clumsily retreated. I hid under the covers, quaking with fear, and waited for the sun to come up.

In the morning, I awoke, feeling groggy and disoriented. I didn’t feel sick anymore, which I was happy about. I shook my head. I must have dreamt the whole thing. There was no other reasonable explanation.  I asked my grandmother to run me a bath because the plumbing in the house was old and sometimes the pipes would “stutter” if you turned on both too quickly.

As I undressed in the bathroom, still disbelieving of the experiences I’d had a few hours before, I felt a sudden sting. I stepped out of my pants and examined my shins and knees. Both were red and angry and rubbed raw in several spots, others stippled with small scabs.

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I still feel pressure on the top of my head, still feel spider webs across my face and arms, still feel the fine hair on the back of my neck stand on end, and still occasionally see spirits. At present, several spirits reside in the house I now share with my spouse. I know they’re there and I can feel them strongly in certain areas of the home. I’ve simply come to terms with my sensitivity and accepted it as something I will always experience. The spirits currently surrounding me don’t feel malicious and they’ve never hurt me, so I live with them. In my opinion, this house is as much theirs as it is mine.

Once we get that far, I hope you’ll enjoy Haunt Heads. The podcast will feature a couple of haunted places, spaces, and maybe even items in each episode. In time, I hope we can include some of your experiences. It should be a blast. =)

All the best,

Your Fellow Haunt Head

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com

 

Haunt Heads: A Podcast that Goes Bump in the Night.

On our podcast, we talk about some of our favorite haunted locations, relating our thoughts and feelings on some of the spookiest and fantastically active locales, past and present and, once we get that far, maybe even read some of your haunting experiences on the show! We might even dabble in some true crime stories because let’s face it, nothing messes with the energy of a place more than murder.

Do you like ghost stories? How about exploring spooky or abandoned places? Have you ever experienced a haunting? If you answered YES to any of the above questions, you’ll fit right in with us!

On our podcast, we talk about some of our favorite haunted locations, relating our thoughts and feelings on some of the spookiest and fantastically active locales, past and present and, once we get that far, maybe even read some of your haunting experiences on the show! We might even dabble in some true crime stories because let’s face it, nothing messes with the energy of a place more than murder.

The show should be a lot of fun. There will likely be wine or some sort of malt beverage involved. We’re working on the first few episodes now so STAY TUNED!

Your Fellow Haunt Head,

Janine

hauntheadscast@gmail.com