So you're probably wondering how a set of sinks could be "spooky", right? Well this photograph is (to me) more eerie than spooky......
Like yesterday's Spooktography post, this photo was taken at the Weston State Hospital - known now as the Trans-Alleghaney Lunatic Asylum.
The main building at the Weston State Hospital, which was designed to house most of West Virginia's mentally insane (and in the early 19th century, other "undesirables") is called the Kirkbride building. The name refers back to psychiatrist Thomas Kirkbride who believed a nice building layout with well manicured landscape could help treat the mentally ill. The building design was used at numerous mental institutions around the US during the 1800s.
The Weston State Hospital had been open for over a century, so walking through the different buildings it was interesting to see how the architecture changed to fit the currently prevailing theory on treating mental illness. The Kirkbride building was amongst the oldest buildings on the hospital grounds and was probably the nicest as well. Most patients had private rooms built in a long corridor. Nurses had a station at each end of the hall and the decor and paint schemes in the rooms was soft and calming.
Spaced throughout the patient rooms were group bathrooms, similar to a college dormitory. The bathrooms held a few showers, toilets, and pod of sinks.
I remember taking this photograph for two reasons: 1) the light from the windows made the room seem bright and welcoming, although it had clearly decayed from years of abandonment and 2) despite the dis-repair, I could still envision what it must be like to stand there as a patient and brush your teeth.
So what makes this photo spooky? To me, it's the thought of what these sinks must have seen during their lifetime. How many patients of various conditions washed their hands here? How many patients looked into that mirror and cried for home? It gives me tingles down my spine to think about, which is why I am sharing it for today's Spooktography.
Remember this Halloween that while it's fun to act like a crazed zombie for a night, there are people who spend every day struggling with mental illness. These posts are designed to be a little light-hearted to put you in the Halloween spirit, but deal with very real and personal issues and I have the utmost respect for giving historically accurate information, rather than telling a "ghost story."