WESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — This past weekend the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was host to the fourth annual Hearsemania, a convention of modified hearse enthusiasts who get together to show off their tricked-out funeral vehicles, and more unique events are planned throughout the fall.
Four different hearse clubs came together for the event, one from West Virginia and three from western Pennsylvania; one couple came all the way from Wisconsin to participate.
“I always wanted one as a teenager,” Thomas Williams said, a visitor from German Town, Wisconsin. “I went to school for printing, but my school also offered classes on mortuary science, and I always thought that sounded interesting.”
Thomas and his wife Linda bought their hearse through an eBay listing in Indiana. The vehicle had no bids, so they decided to take a chance on it. Since then they have been in the hearse hobby for about three years and recently attended Hearsecon 2022 in Denver, Colo.
“It’s a really friendly group here, they’re not hardcore. We decided we wanted to make the drive down here after the show in Moundsville last year,” Thomas said.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have people like Greg Fields, who has dedicated hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours to the hobby. Fields said he owns six different hearses, one of which he was happy to rev on camera.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about having a good time,” Fields said. “It doesn’t matter what it costs. People ask me ‘what’s the gas mileage?’ and I’m like ‘buddy, if you build that engine, you’re not going to care what kind of gas mileage it gets.'”
If you missed this year’s Hearsemania there are still plenty more events going on at the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum over the next month, including zombie paintball and tours inside a new part of the building that was opened up this year. According to Operations Manager Rebecca Jordan-Gleason, barely anyone has set foot in the new area before now.
“WARNING: This haunted house is not for the faint of heart,” is the message you’ll be greeted with when you visit the haunted house webpage. This haunted house will take you into the hospital of a demented doctor who has “brought his patient’s nightmares to life,” and runs Thursday through Sunday beginning at dark. This experience contains moving floors, flashing lights and tight spaces, and is not recommended if you are pregnant or claustrophobic. Tickets can be bought online or at the asylum and start at $30. This is one of their most popular events and is prone to selling out in the final few weeks of operation, so if you want to go, go early!
Fall Festival – Oct. 1
The Fall Festival is a free-to-attend, family-friendly event taking place all day on Saturday that will host a variety of food and craft vendors. The festival will feature historic and paranormal tours, kids and adult costume contests, and a karaoke contest. The haunted house and Zombie Paintball will begin at dark and continue until 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Click here for the full Fall Festival schedule.
During the Zombie Paintball event, guests will be seated in the back of an armored military vehicle and armed with paintball guns to fend off the zombie hordes that threaten the city of Weston. This ride is weather permitting and is available on Friday and Saturday nights from 7-11 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Asylum for $25 per person. Trucks leave every 30 minutes and the event will run is available until Oct. 29.
The Asylum Ball – Oct. 22 @ 6 p.m.
A costume contest and live music event all under one roof. The event will feature four different music groups and a costume contest with five different categories to enter: Scariest, sexiest, best couple/group, superhero/villain, and funniest. Earning first place will net you $400 and 4 tickets for the Halloween Ghost Hunt, second and third place will get you $200 and $100 respectively and also come with two tickets to the Halloween Ghost Hunt. Contestants can only enter one category.
You must be 18 years or older with a valid ID to enter. The party is BYOB and guests must be 21 or older to drink. Advance tickets are on sale now for $30, or can be bought at the door for $35. Click here to buy your tickets or to find out more information on The Asylum Ball.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum offers many different hunts over the next two months – a full list of them can be found here. During these hunts, guests will spend the night in the asylum and are assisted by guides as they search the building for paranormal activity. Hunts last between six and eight hours and will have you explore different areas of the asylum including the main building, patient medical center, forensics and the geriatrics buildings. Tickets for overnight hunts start at $100 and can be purchased at the ghost tours webpage.
Paranormal tours will take you to the four hottest spots in the 242,000-square-foot complex. These two-hour tours begin at 10:30 and last until 12:30. You can find a list of paranormal tour dates here, reservations are required.
Flashlight tours are quick, half paranormal, half historic 30-minute tours that will take you through the Kirkbride building and patient medical center. Tickets are first come first serve and are only $10. Tickets are available on-site only.