The Little Girl in the Asylum
Lilly was her name. The name Lilly means flower of innocence. Her home? The massive stone cut building now known as the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
Weston’s most famous building took many years to complete with a stall out of funds during the Civil War. The 242,000 square foot building had construction beginning in 1858 with it originally being built to house around 250 patients. It opened its door to patients in 1864 in the newly-formed state of West Virginia. In 1913 it was known as the Weston State Hospital and has had various names thru the years. The hospital was home to thousands of men women and yes, even some children! By 1950 there were over 2,400 people calling the Asylum home.
Details and the story varies a bit as is common with tales such as Lilly’s but one thing is true. till this day some people claim to still see or feel her presence in the main building of the Asylum.The tale says that Lilly was the name given to a child born to a patient at the hospital in 1863. Her mother was allegedly a woman by the name of Gladys. Gladys was one of the many unfortunate casualties of the American Civil War. Legend says she was abandoned by her husband and had been abused in her home by a roaming and raiding band of soldiers who accosted her repeatedly. It is said that she went “mad” and was admitted to the Asylum where she found herself pregnant, abandoned and a ward of the state.
When the child was born, she was named Lilly and the staff stepped in quickly to take her. The story relates that the poor child only lived a few hours. We can only imagine the sadness and grief felt by her mother, and also perhaps a bit of relief as well as her giving birth to a fatherless child.
Today, paranormal investigators flock from all over the world to visit Lilly’s room on the first floor of the hospital. They bring presents such as toys, stuffed animals and candy. Some claim the candy disappears and many have told me they have watched as a plastic ball rolls across the floor unaided and almost as if a child is playing with it. One woman investigator on one of my haunted history tours told me that she heard giggling in Lilly’s room and she was the only one present. Others have captured EVP (electronic voice phenomena) of little children’s voices in the area. I find it fascinating.
What intrigues me is the alleged fact of Lilly’s passing being after her birth and yet when she “appears” or “speaks” it is as if she is a child of 3 or 4 years of age. Could it be other children’s spirits or ghosts that are attached to the building? I would like to think that it’s just a playful energy that is intriguing ghost hunters and psychics and not the fact that it is the actual ghost of a child. I would like imagine that some kind psychic or sensitive has helped them pass over and that they are at peace now in Heaven where all little children who have passed on are at play.
If you go to visit Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum on a day tour or a nighttime event, be sure to ask where Lilly’s room is. When they show it to you, step inside and say a quiet “hello” and a prayer for the little girl in the Asylum with the name meaning “flower of innocence”.
Sherri Brake is a paranormal researcher, author and Haunted Heartland Tour owner. You may email her at SherriBrake@gmail.com or visit her website at www.HauntedHistory.net