Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was opened during the Civil War and operated until 1994. It was built to accommodate 250 patients but by the mid-20th Century housed 2,400. I cannot imagine that did the damaged psyches who lived there any good.

The focus of this half hour episode was the ghost of Lilly, a little girl born to one of the patients and raised at the asylum until her death at the age of nine. Investigators Sara and Shelly did most of the sound bites with some solid information from psychic Tammy Wilson. I was interested to find that Tammy had gotten exactly what Lilly told me prior to the points in the show the information was revealed.

This being a show called “Ghost Stories” Lilly was made out to be some sort of creepy lost child waiting for the unwary to enter Trans-Allegheny. I absolutely disagree. I realize most people would think being raised without family in a mental hospital would warp a child, but Lilly seemed remarkably well adjusted.

Psychic Tammy Wilson had an experience of Lilly repeatedly holding her hand and tugging on her clothing like a little kid would when looking for attention. Tammy had the impression Lilly had no fear of strangers and was searching for someone.  

I saw Lilly as a young girl, maybe six or seven in a white dress and dirty blond hair. She was nicely if simply dressed and her hair was cared for, with ribbons keeping it out of her face in two little free flowing pigtails on the top of her head.

Sara talked about the wide variety of reasons people were put away in Trans-Allgheny in it’s early years of operation. Reading novels and displeasing a husband were some of the most trivial. If someone had gotten a bad batch of whisky they might be committed. Drunkenness was so rampant in the 1860’s that I suspect it was the cases that ended up blind or brain damaged that were hospitalized regardless of their desires in the matter. Sadly unwanted children, or those whose parents were too poor to feed them were dropped off as were mentally ill children who had severe behavior problems.  

The second floor, painted a soothing blue, housed the children. Lots of haunting activity up there from children whispering to ghostly children playing ball with several local female investigators. Interestingly, Lilly remains on the ground floor near the main entrance. I got the distinct impression she didn’t want to miss anything or anybody!

I asked about Lilly’s mother and was told she was a patient at the hospital who gave birth once committed.

Psychic Tammy Wilson found the ghost of Lilly’s mother on the third floor. The woman’s name started with an E and she arrived pregnant. The show cited a records search done and sure enough a 1920’s entry for a woman whose first name started with E and who gave birth inside the hospital was found. The blurring of the magnified name entry wasn’t particularly well done, so I think the woman’s name was likely Ella. She was a single child of a New England family. Ella told Tammy that Lilly grew up being told her parents had both died in an accident after leaving her at the hospital and thus could never come back to take her. Tammy noted that Ella never left her room

I asked Ella why she never left her room. Ella told me she was a “shut in” one of those deeply frightened people who could not and would not leave their own homes. Her absolute refusal to go outside coupled with her shameful pregnancy is what landed her at Trans-Allegheny. That honestly seemed to suit her just fine. Nobody was trying to make her leave her room. As she got older I believe her mental state deteriorated further. This might explain why nobody ever took Lilly upstairs to meet her mother.

I got no impression of any mental illness in Lilly. She was a lively, curious little girl who was treated like the staff pet or mascot. Apparently the cook did her hair every morning. Lilly told me she died of smallpox.

Sara recounted a candy incident with Lilly. A piece of wrapped candy was left on a chair on the main level. The investigators went to a different part of the building and when they came back the candy wrapper was all that was left on the chair. Sara told of an EVP (not played) in which Lilly said, “Thank you for the snacks.” My guides have advised me to take that one as a paraphrase, that Lilly did thank the investigators for the candy, but the quote wasn’t verbatim.

Shelly and Sara both told of a box of Cracker Jacks that was set on the edge of an old sink in the area Lilly is known to frequent. At first the box fell over and then started to spin. Then it fell into the dry sink and rattled as if someone were trying to open the box. This was followed by sounds of Lilly chewing. This series of events was recreated for the viewers pleasure.

Tammy said Lilly is not interested in leaving.  Lilly further told me that Trans-Allegheny was home to her as she had never known anything else.  


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About Lynne Sutherland Olson

Professional Psychic Medium
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