Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum’s Famous Ghosts

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylums Famous Ghosts

Abigail Woolard, Co- Editor-in-Chief

Many skeptics and believers alike come to see if they can spot some of the famous ghosts that supposedly roam the halls of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Some of the most well-known spirits are Little Lily, Dean, Big Jim, David Mason, and Slewfoot.

Lily’s room where she usually is found. Her room ended up being redone as a way to honor her spirit.

Little Lily

Little Lily is one of the most well-known ghosts.  This is one of the most prominent versions of Gladys and Lily’s story. Glayds was sent to the asylum when she was supposedly raped by civil war soldiers. When she was admitted she found herself pregnant. Gladys passed during childbirth, leaving her infant left alone. The nurses in the ward immediately took to the little girl, naming her Lily. According to legend, the child only had one home for a very short period of time. When Lily was nine she contracted pneumonia, which ultimatially killed her. Now people like to visit Lily’s room and bring her things like toys, stuffed animals, and candy. Many people state that the toys will sometimes move and even the candy will disappear. Many believe this is Lily way of “playing” with the quest. 


Dean, Big Jim, and David Mason

Big Jim and David Mason brutally murdered Dean. Both murderers were criminally insane and included in the asylum’s top 10 most dangerous men. The two inmates repeatedly tried to hang Dean but had little success. Sadly, one day Dean’s luck ran out. They forced Dean’s head down under the bedpost, then jumped on the bed, killing him. Dean is known to be a quiet spirit. He has spoken a few times, but any time the shadows of Big Jim and David come around he seems to disappear. It is said that when these two shadows show up, the energy in the room changes, causing some people to feel ill and uncomfortable.


No one knows how the man known as “Slewfoot” got his nickname. Supposedly, he roamed the upper floors and killed and tortured people in the upstairs bathroom. To this day, he haunts the bathroom and the upstairs floor.

Some of the residential ghosts considered less hostile are Ruth, The Civil War Soldiers, Nurse Elizabeth, and James.

One of the many corridors where multiple people were housed.


On the first floor, there was a female patient named Ruth. She resided in the Civil War wing with the veterans. According to her legend, she hated men with an unbelievable rage. To this day, some people say that she will throw things at men if given the chance. 


Civil War Soldiers

The asylum was opened during the Civil War. When the war ended, many soldiers were admitted into the hospital. They were put in a wing that was called the Civil War Wing. Most of them ended up dying in the hospital, cursed to haunt the halls forever.


Nurse Elizabeth

There is not a lot known about Ms. Elizabeth. It is said that she went from floor to floor, taking care of the patients in need. No one knows what happened to her, but she roams the halls with the other ex-residents of the hospital.


There isn’t much to say about James, since the man managed to stay out of trouble, but it is said that he died from a heart attack in one of the upstairs bathtubs.

It is sad that someone could get admitted for simply reading a novel.


These are just a few of the multiple souls that are lost in these halls. It’s a tragedy what happened to them. Back in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, people would be admitted to asylums simply for seeming to be a bit “off.” The list for admittance was completely outrageous. Some people were put in there who didn’t deserve to suffer such horrible treatment.

If you would like to learn more about some of our residental ghost you can go to:

Asylum, T. (2023). HISTORY AND HERITAGE TRANS-ALLEGHENY LUNATIC ASYLUM. Retrieved 31 March 2023, from


If you would like to know more about the rumors of Lily and Glayds you can go to:

Olsen, E. (2016). Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and the Haunting Enigma of Lily – America’s Most Haunted. Retrieved 31 March 2023, from