Updated: Oct 30, 2019
For the first blog of 2019, I decided to change things up a bit. In this edition of the Tell-Tale Traveler, I will highlight some of the haunted places that I visited over the years. I have been fortunate enough to conduct ghost hunts at some of these locations, while others have been daytime visits. Regardless if you are a believer or a skeptic or even just a history buff, I recommend you take a trip to at least one of these haunted locations in 2019.
If you’re looking to visit a haunted museum and also see a location featured in the “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” look no further than the Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri. It is also one of the “50 most unique museums in the world” and for good reason. The Glore is truly an unsettling and interesting museum and that’s not even taking in to account the ghosts that haunt the building. The museum is housed in the former State Lunatic Asylum Number 2. The museum is located in the former clinic and it would have served many of the patient’s that were held behind the barbed wire in the older part of the asylum. The museum includes artifacts from the building’s history as well as replicas, medical equipment, displays and documents that illustrate the history of mental illness and mental health treatment throughout the ages. I found the original patient art to be particularly interesting, as well as the information on the chilling use of lobotomies in psychiatric treatment. Other exhibits include restraint cages, hydrotherapy tubs and the “lunatic box,” a form of treatment used in the 18th and 19th century. Visitors may be shocked by one display that includes 1,400 items including buttons and safety pins that were ingested by a former patient with PICA. This museum is not for the faint of heart during the day but at night ghost hunts throughout the year give visitors a different view of the Glore.
The Glore is thought to be the eternal home of some former patients who were buried in unmarked graves in a nearby cemetery. The morgue was located in the basement of the building and there is a display of the old morgue currently in the museum. That area is particularly creepy and gave me strange vibes. During the day! Voices have been heard in the basement and other visitors have reported seeing a man run down a basement hallway, toward the elevators. A male spirit has also been spotted on the 3rd floor. He is well-dressed so one has to wonder if perhaps he was a former doctor at the clinic. An elderly man has also been seen wandering through the hallways but he is not known to interact with visitors. For those who feel like venturing to the Glore for an overnight investigation, you are in luck because investigations are offered throughout the year.
Missouri is also the home to a haunted winery so if a former psychiatric hospital is a little too dark for your liking, just head an hour south to sample a few spirits or search for the ghostly kind. Belvoir Winery is a hidden gem in Liberty, Missouri. It is home to some very tasty wines but also residents of the former Odd Fellows’ compound that was located on the property. For those unfamiliar with the Odd Fellows, they are a fraternal order that uses rituals and symbols designed to “elevate the character of mankind.” They believe in helping the sick, relieving the distressed, burying the dead and educating the orphan and it was by these principles that the Odd Fellows’ Home was built in Liberty. Only three buildings remain from the original compound including the Administration Building, the Old Folks Building and the Old Hospital. The grounds were previously home to a school and dormitories for orphans but those buildings have been torn down. The old cemetery remains on the property with nearly 600 bodies having been buried there. The Administration Building now houses the winery, an Inn and hosts several weddings and special events throughout the year. I also recommend that you sample some wine especially the Naked Pink and the aptly named Boo’s but back to the spirits of the ghostly sort.
I visited Belvoir on a cold night in October. All of the buildings were included on the ghost hunt so we were able to explore the full property, however, some parts of the Administration Building were off limits. When we investigated the hospital, we were told about the ghost of a singing lady and also a gentleman that tends to be a bit mischievous. My friend also felt very nauseous while in one of the hallways on the second floor and we could hear odd sounds. I honestly can’t tell you what we heard, maybe a growl but it was certainly strange. Upon venturing to the Old Folk’s Pavilion, things became rather quiet despite the fact that odd sounds have been reported in the building. Other reports include apparitions and orbs but I did not experience anything while in the building. The last stop on our investigation of Belvoir was the Administration Building. We were taken to an area that once served as rooms for the orphans. Our guide for the evening brought along a spirit box so our group decided to conduct a spirit box session. On three occasions, the box picked the name of three separate individuals in our group. However, that was the only strange occurrence in the Administration Building during our visit.
Reports of ghosts seem to be quite prevalent in this area, as one can take a short drive from northern Missouri to Atchison, Kansas. Now, Atchison is not the Kansas of the Wizard of Oz. It is an old railroad town situated on the bluffs of northern Kansas near the Missouri River. Atchison is also home to the Sallie House. This home has always been on my list of must visit haunted locations due to it being featured on many television programs starting as early as the 1990’s. The house is known to be extremely haunted with many of the former residents reporting paranormal activity. Some of the activity is thought to be demonic in nature. Residents were scratched and would experience intense drops in temperature. The most prominent story surrounds a little girl named Sallie. Originally, the lower level of the home was used as a doctor’s office, with the doctor living upstairs. In the early 1900’s, the little girl was brought to the office suffering from some sort of illness, one story states she had an appendicitis, while another states pneumonia. Regardless of the story, little Sallie would die from her illness, either due to a botched surgery in the case of the appendicitis or malpractice on the doctor’s behalf, if little Sallie had been stricken with pneumonia. It wasn’t until the 1990’s though, that reports of Sallie’s ghost began to circulate. Sallie is known to move items, especially toys, leaving them in a circle in the center of the room. She turns lights and appliances off and on and pictures can be found hanging upside down. She has been seen on at least two occasions. She often behaves as a mischievous child would but reports of demonic activity have been associated with what appear to be child ghosts so one has to wonder is Sallie a child at all?
I did not do a ghost hunt but instead attended a daytime tour of the property. The house is of a medium size with a very creepy basement. We were given a set of dowsing rods to use while visiting the home but being that I was unfamiliar with dowsing rods at the time, I received no responses and really didn’t know what I was doing. Photography was permitted and we also did some EVP’s while there but there were so many people on the tour that the audio was not useable due to background noise. My friend and I took photos of the exterior of the home. After reviewing the pictures later, my friend did notice a strange image in one of the windows but we could not confirm what it was and wrote it off as just a glare from the sun.
For the next haunted location, you’ll have to travel to the beautiful state of West Virginia. Also, home to the Mothman and Moundsville Penitentiary. Both locations that I hope to visit. There is actually an entire festival devoted to the Mothman each September. It’s on my bucket list. But on to Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum located in the historic small town of Weston, West Virginia. Coincidently, Trans Allegheny, also known as the Weston State Hospital was a bucket list item as well. I highly recommend Sherri Brake’s book on the location. It is an excellent account of the history and haunts of the building. For all of the darkness and sadness that would eventually occur in the building, one can’t help but be in awe of the largest hand cut stone building in the United States and reportedly the second largest in the world, second only to the Kremlin. It looms over Weston like something out of period horror film but at the same time, the building is incredibly beautiful and almost gives the feel of stepping back in time. Construction on the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum began in 1858 and would conclude in 1881 with plans for the building to house 250 patients. However, before the asylum could even open, in 1861, the Civil War would affect the city of Weston and turn the site of the future and only partially built asylum into Camp Tyler. The completed southern wing of the asylum served as Union barracks and the main foundation was a stable. The area would change hands on a few occasions and the asylum grounds were even raided and items for the first set of patients were taken. The asylum would finally open as planned with long hallways intended to give patients plenty of sun and fresh air, as it was believed that it would help to cure mental illness. However, over time, the asylum would become overcrowded, housing nearly 2,600 patients at its peak. Reports of abuse and inhumane conditions ran rampant. Hydrotherapy was used and patients who could not be contained were kept in cages. Walter Freeman, also known as Dr. Lobotomy was known to visit the asylum, giving lobotomies to as many as 25 patients a day with some other hospitals reporting that he charged $25.00 for each lobotomy that he performed. The hospital would finally close in 1994.
In the years since, parts of the building have been restored allowing the location to became a haven for ghost hunters and lovers of history alike. I was able to attend one of the overnight paranormal investigations with three friends on a rainy weekend in May. We decided to tour the main building but tours are also available for the Medical Center, Forensics Building and Geriatric Building. There are many stories of former patients that have remained at the asylum in the afterlife. One patient was reportedly murdered by his roommates. They placed the foot of one of their bed on the roommate’s head and then one of the boys jumped on the bed, I don’t think I have to describe what happened next but needless to say, the man died. One of my friends felt strange while in this room and also smelled an odd scent that was not obvious to my other friend and I. Many other interesting things occurred during our visit. During our time in the Civil War Barracks, I experienced an extreme headache that seemed to disappear upon leaving the area. We also experienced orbs in a kitchen area while trying to speak with a Civil War soldier named Jack. Orbs were also present in the auditorium and in the hallways. When we tried to make contact with a small girl named Lily, who is believed to have been born in the asylum, a ball seemed to roll a short distance across the floor in response to our prompts. We also heard several doors slam but no one but our group and one other group were witness to it and we saw no one on that floor. All in all, I would say that Trans Allegheny lived up to the stories and I highly recommend that anyone interested in the paranormal take a trip to this beautiful and haunted location. And just a sidebar, there is an amazing Italian restaurant called Thyme Bistro in Weston. It is right across the street from the asylum and would make for a fabulous meal before visiting Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. The flatbread is amazing and when my friend saw his filet mignon, I think he actually salivated.
That will do it for this spirited edition of the Tell-Tale Traveler. I hope you feel inspired to visit one of these reportedly haunted locations and maybe you’ll experience a ghostly encounter of your own. In the least, you can say you survived a night in a haunted location and lived to tell about it, or didn’t require an adult diaper. Happy Haunting!
Haunted Road Trip Itinerary
1) Glore Psychiatric Museum – 3406 Frederick Ave, St. Joseph, Missouri 64508 - (800) 530-8866 - Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00am to 5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00pm - 5:00pm - Cost: $6.00 - Adults, $5.00 - Seniors, $4.00 - Students, Free - Members and Children Under 6 - www.stjosephmuseum.org – Ghost Hunts: $129.00 and available at www.ghosthuntsusaexclusive.com/collections/glore-psychiatric-museum-missouri
2) Belvoir Winery – 1325 Odd Fellows Rd, Liberty, Missouri 64068 - (816) 200-1811 – Hours: Monday through Saturday - 11:00am to 8:00p, Sunday 12:00pm to 6:00pm - Cost: Wine Tasting- Free, Paranormal Investigation - $60.00 - www.belvoirwinery.com
3) Sallie House - 508 N 2nd St, Atchison, Kansas 66002 - (800) 234-1854 – Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm – Cost: Self-guided Tours - $10.00, Guided Tours for groups of up to 10 people - $150.00, Overnight visit for groups of up to 10 people - $100.00 per person – Paranormal Investigation - $65.00 per person – Tickets available at www.visitatchison.com/haunted-atchison/haunted-history/sallie-house/ - History and Info - www.thesalliehouse.com
4) Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum - c, 71 Asylum Dr, Weston, West Virginia 26452 – Hours: Tuesday through Friday and Sunday 12:00am to 6:00pm and Saturday 10:00 to 6:00pm – Cost: Ghost Hunt of Main Building - $100.00 per person, Ghost Hunt of Forensics Building, Medical Building and Geriatrics Building - $100.00 per person, Paranormal Tours - $40.00, Daytime Paranormal Tours - $35.00, Flashlight Tours - $10.00, Heritage Tours - $30.00 or $10.00, the Criminally Insane Tours - $15.00 and VIP Tours - $35.00 - www.trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com