Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys

Lakin, West Virginia

Update: The Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys was purchased by AEP, and the building was demolished in November 2006.

I visited the Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys on April 12, 2003. Since there are so many stories, I have the photos on a separate page. Click here to view them.

Also, check out the Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys page at Abandoned for even more great photos (and lots of information)!

The Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys was built in 1924 in Lakin, West Virginia. Several state funded institutions for African Americans were built during this time, largely due to the efforts of three African American legislators: T.G. Nutter, Harry Capehart, and T.J. Coleman. This industrial school had all African American staffs and inmates. The inmates worked at the surrounding farm that surrounded the building until it closed in 1956. After it closed, the land was owned by the West Virginia Department on Health and Human Services until they sold the property to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture in 1976. In 2006, the land was purchased by American Electric Power (AEP) and the building was demolished.

When I first heard about the Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys, I was under the impression that it was an old psychiatric hospital. Many stories and urban legends surrounded the old building. However, the old Lakin Hospital for the Insane was actually located across the road, on the site of the present Lakin Nursing Home. Only a few of the remaining hospital buildings remain. However, since most people believe the industrial home was actually the hospital, I will share the stories on this page.

The Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys is one of the area's most well known haunted locations. I have talked to several people who have experienced strange things while exploring the old building. Nate, a website visitor, told me that one of the well known ghost stories is about an inmate pushing a nurse down the steps that go to the basement for no apparent reason. The nurse was found dead at the bottom of the stairs. I guess they blamed the patient's actions on his disorder.

After visiting the industrial home, I received an e-mail from Joe with an additional haunting story about Lakin Hospital:

At one time Lakin State Hospital was considered the 'lobotomy capital of the east'. In the days following the creation of the procedure, it was regarded as the premier treatment for nearly all forms of mental illness. The doctors at Lakin Hospital became renowned for the speed and ease with which they performed the procedure, and patients from states across the country were sent there to be treated. At one time they logged nearly four hundred in a single day, and often these procedures would be done without the benifit of even the crudest anesethtic, with the patient simply bound to the table.

The way the story goes is that several years after a patient was released he returned to the directors home one night, overpowered him, and performed his own very crude lobotomy on the director. Though I can not report having seen or heard the resultant ghost, suppossedly if you stand in the fields around the house at night you can hear the good doctor pleading for his life...

Now, I usually just dismiss these stories as urban legend only. However, in March 2006 I read a book called The Lobotomist by Jack El-Hai, and I discovered that maybe there is a tiny bit of historical fact in this story! The book is about the life of Doctor Walter Freeman, the most well known lobotomist. He helped pioneer the surgery in America, and he traveled across the country to perform lobotomies at mental institutions (for more information about the procedure, please visit The book was very interesting, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about lobotomies and the doctor who made them infamous. But on to Lakin Hospital...

While the number in the ghost story is greatly exaggerated, it turns out a very high number of lobotomies were performed in West Virginia institutions, by Dr. Freeman himself. Here is a quote from The Lobotomist:

"Freeman devoted an intensity and energy to his mission in West Virginia that surpassed nowhere else. Over the next four years he frequently visited the state, with the result that its per capita rate of lobotomy was the highest in the nation. In 1950 Freeman operated on additional patients at West Virginia hospitals in Huntington, Lakin, and Spencer."

The book gave more details about a specific period in 1952:

"Between July 18 and August 7, 1952, Freeman operated on 228 West Virginia patients."

Freeman is quoted as saying that only twelve days in that timeframe were actually devoted to operating, the rest were used to interview the patients; both before and after the operations. A few paragraphs later, I read another reference to Lakin Hospital:

"At the hospital in Lakin, a segregated institution for African Americans, Freeman was pleased when he returned "a week or so after operating upon twenty very dangerous Negroes and found fifteen of them sitting under trees with only one guard in sight. It was the first time that they had been out of the seclusion rooms for anywhere from six months to seven years." The Lakin superintendent soon discharged half of this group from the hospital."

Lobotomies were very crude operations, and many of the patients never fully recovered. Since it was such a horrible surgery that many patients didn't want to have, perhaps the hospital is haunted by their ghosts. You never know!

Many people have experienced creepy things while visiting the Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys. Here are a few stories that visitors have shared with me (you can read about my experiences on the Day Photos page)...

In April 2005 I received an e-mail from Jesse L. about his creepy experience at the Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys:

I've been to Lakin around 6 times now, the last time I went was the first time I'd seen anything scary though.. My name is Jesse Lewis, my friend Seth Dearien wrote this in his journal...

So, before we even get to the building we're driving up towards it... and I saw this weird flash of something run by the car, so I said "What is that?!" now that wasn't that scary... could've been an animal, when Jesse said "What?!" like he was scared I said "Nothing, just that building... what building is that?" because we had just drove by one of the Lakin buildings. So when we park behind Lakin, Jesse says to be quiet, he heard some people talking, so I shutup real quicklike, and then we both heard really loud footsteps, we were pretty startled, so we locked the doors and leaned back in our chairs for a minute... nothing. That made it a little scarier that we both heard the footsteps but saw nothing. So we got out and walked around for a minute, as soon as we got out Jesse goes "Do you have the shotgun?" in an overly loud voice, because we thought there were people there and we wanted to scare them off, I replied "Yep, got it right here," then I said, "Did you lock the car?" outloud, and a little too loud, he said "Yeah," then proceeded to whisper to me "No, I want to be able to jump into that car as fast as possible just in case."

Okay... so that was the end of us being outside of Lakin, then we walked in... first walking around front and checking the area thuroughly with a flashlight to make sure no one was there, then we went around back and entered. First, he shows me around, its pretty routine, nothing exciting or scary... except that we were in an old abandoned insane asylum, in the dead of the night and we'd already thought we heard "people." So we walked into this pretty large room, and as we approached the center of the room we both heard something and looked at each other in a state of horror, we exchanged glances - we had both lost our breath it was so terrifying. I heard Jesse breathing deeply, inhaling then exhaling, then I heard myself do the same, and I realized we both were extremely fucking scared. The sound was from above, we were on the first floor of three, and I looked up as I heard the most horrifying sound I'd ever heard, mainly because of where we were when it happened: a deep growling sound, at first, that I thought sounded like a dog growling, then it started to sound like a handsaw sawing back and forth, not through wood though, it sounded like something more soft being sawed into. Jesse said he heard more of a really deep painful moaning. We both thought about turning back then... but we didn't.

There was a autopsy table upstairs on the top floor, around the back of the asylum, a large window was behind it - it looked like a very shallow bathtub, there were red stains around the drain at the end of the table, blood would go into this drain during autopsies... that doesn't necessarily mean it was a blood stain, water damage can make that same color. There were other moments where I could've sworn we were being followed, and it felt like someone was behind me. Jesse had the flashlight the whole time, and I was behind him... this made it really scary for me, being left behind in the dark every now and then... but Jesse's job was pretty fucking frightening too. He was the one who had to go around corners and shine the light into the dark, and you never know what you might see in an abandoned insane asylum. We then went to the basement, you have to walk outside to access the stairs to the basement, around back and to the left. Boldly at the bottom of the stairs it says in red spray paint "Keep out. That means you." We went down anyways... mattresses and carpet all over the place, and a cushioned chair as soon as you walk into the door to your left...nothing extremely scary down there...there were two rooms, as far as we could tell, seperated by a large metal-link door.

We were done with the Asylum itself, we then headed to the garage area, nothing out of the ordinary there. The office building and post office... both had files and paper strewn all around... the smell of stale wood and mildew filled the air. Blood stains on the wall where someone killed themselves back in the 80's at the top of the office... no inhuman sounds or extremely frightening instances in these three buildings. We couldn't get into the farm building, it was locked up real nice and tight, Jesse tried to kick down a door, but that didn't work, it was a heavy metal door, that wasn't going to happen.

We then headed to the hospital director's home... also abandoned. This place was really scary, it too smelled like stale wood and mildew, and didn't look very structurally stable anymore. We looked around the first floor... nothing too scary. This place was alot worse than the other buildings though, it just felt more ominous. Then we approached the stairs, I said "Are we going up there?" - I didn't feel comfortable walking up those stairs they didn't look very stable at all, we made it up them alright though... then came the scariest shit yet... I don't know why Jesse didn't run out of there right then. Jesse walked into a bathroom upstairs...and then looked at me in horror and said "Did you hear that?" I hadn't heard anything... then we continued throughout the upstairs, looked in a mirror together, just making funny faces into it... goofing around. Then I felt a cold chill and was like a little creeped out. Then we started to leave, Jesse began to go down the stairs, with a little haste - understandably, that sound he heard was fucking scary. So, he has the flashlight and he starts to walk down the stairs without me.. I said "Jesse wait up man, please slow up." -- then I heard it: a deep exhale behind me, I turned around and saw nothing but blackness, I turned forward again, and saw nothing but blackness, then I said "Jesse! Stop! PLEASE STOP!" And then quickly went down the stairs and told him I heard it too. We proceeded to leave the building quickly, and walked back over to the main building and got into the car. We then did a donut in the grass and left.

I received another story from Jesse L. about his next trip to Lakin:

Pulling up to where Lakin is silhouetted against a clear sky is one of the creepiest things I have ever seen. There are several buildings there but we went to the largest, main building. All the windows are broken out and plants were growing up over it, not to mention it was really dark, really quiet, and the place is pretty big. We pulled down the paved road by the security building and a street light went out, convincing my friend Sloan that it was a sign we should leave. We parked behind the main building, rolled the windows down, and turned the car off to listen to see if we were the only ones there.

Sloan refused to enter the building and I don't blame her. We shone the flashlights into all the windows and listened but didn't hear anything. She said it was bad karma and that she wasn't getting a foot closer to that place. Everyone else still really wanted to go in but didn't want to leave her out in the car so I proposed we drive off the grounds and sit so Sloan would calm down. Sloan said she didn't believe in ghosts though, just the bad energy. We drove around to the front of the house and off the grounds to a gas station to sit. After Sloan said she really wouldn't mind if we went in and looked around, I turned the car around and we headed back.

The second time we got there, we went around the other side of the building and around the back. Heather, Josh, and I all got out of the car and began to walk in. We walked around on the first floor some then headed up the stairs. When we got to the top, the doorway entered into a long hallway. Josh told us to stop. He said that that was the exact place in a dream he had and that on the right when he went through the doorway, and old woman was standing there and said "Look what you've done, You've woken me up." I was sure at the time that he was just messing with us, but what happened after that made me a believer.

We walked to the right because the hallway was shorter that way. There were just some rooms and sinks and graffiti, then when we got back to that doorway, we heard a squeek and flapping. A bat was moving around and obviously it freaked us out. Well, we headed down the other way all the way to the end where a door had fallen and there was a busted up bathroom. Nothing too seriously scary. We got into the stairwell on the other side of the hallway and went up to the third floor where the rusted autopsy table was. We walked through a huge room where the ceiling was collapsing and to the other side; nothing special. Then, we went back down to the first floor.

We weren't really scared because nothing had really happened except for a bat screeching. We walked through the kitchen where there was a big open serving window for trays and stuff. The doorway on the other side was clear so we went through into the eating area. This is where, I swear to God, I almost had a heart attack. The line was Me in front, Heather in the middle, and Josh in the back. Josh was talking and when we got midway into the room Heather and I froze. A woman was CLEARLY talking on the second floor. There was no question to whether or not I heard it, I know I did, and so did Heather. She wasn't whispering, she was talking just as loudly as we had been, just as loudly as Josh was right then. The voice came through the ceiling of the room we were about to enter and I half expected someone to come through the doorway. We couldn't tell what she was saying because she was mumbling, but Josh stopped talking and Heather and I just stood there frozen for a second. Then Heather whispered, "Holy shit," and I said, "Let's get the fuck out of here right now," and we all just turned and started running.

We ran back through the kitchen, through another room or two, and back to the car. As we were running, I could swear something was watching us, was right behind us. We were all screaming for Sloan to unlock the doors and we jumped in. We were so hysterical our eyes were watering and burning and we couldn't just SAY what had happened, we were yelling it. I pulled out of the where we were parked and back past the farmhouse and some other abandoned buildings. I stopped the car and looked back to say something, but behind the car I saw the shadow of a man walking toward the car and freaked out. I drove away from there pretty quick, and back to civilization.

The whole ride home, Heather and I couldn't believe it, Josh didn't even hear it, and Sloan was very glad she didn't go into the building. I kept freaking out at any little light or movement on the road and kept talking about how messed up that was and Heather agreed. Things have happened in that building before. That was around the 8th time I had been there, it was the first time for Heather and Sloan, and Josh had been there with me before. The only times I've ever been scared were my last two trips. The previous trip with Seth was almost as bad, we heard breathing (Well I heard breathing, Seth didn't, then going down some stairs he heard it and ran in horror) We didn't just make that up. We both heard it, no one else was around. There were no other cars and it was completely silent. There were no footsteps, not creaking, just a woman talking loudly on the second floor (the voice came from almost exactly where Josh had said the woman in his dream was standing, and in the SAME EXACT location my friend Seth and I heard a growling type noise one week before this happened), and who knows what she was saying? She could've been saying, "Look what you've done, You've woken me up." Or maybe we were too loud and woke her up. Whatever it was, it was the scariest thing I've ever experienced first hand, and I'm shaking still thinking about it.

In July 2005, I received an e-mail from Charles about his trip to the Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys:

My name is Charles and I went to Lakin Hospital last night for the first time. It was me and four friends, and I am not the kind of guy who scares very easily. When we pulled up in the car everyone was kind of jumpy, and when we got out we shined our lights at the house and saw someone in the window. This made my friends not want to go in so I took charge and went in first with my video camera. It turned out the figure in the window was a bit of graffiti on the wall. As we walked through the house, we heard several noises that startled a few people. I love to be scared, but I also believe there is an explanation for everything so I went towards all of the noises to find out what they were. That is when a bat almost hit my camera, lol. But we went on up to the 3rd floor and turned all of our lights out, then we heard the same noise that Jesse was describing on the main page. It did sound like a growling dog or something like that. But I figured out later on in the night, by following the noise, that it was a water filtration device that was in the lake behind the post office. We also heard some noises that I can't describe because you can't hear my voice on an e-mail, but they turned out to be pigeons in the attic. So we went through all of the buildings and didn't see a thing, or even hear anything that couldn't be explained for sure. The only thing that we couldn't figure out was the drop in temperature on the left-back side of the house. In one room that we entered it was about 10 degrees cooler that any other part of the house and I do believe it was in the kitchen, but I might be wrong. To tell you the truth, the only thing that creeped me out the entire night was all of the goddamn bugs. When we were driving back home my friend felt something on her hand so she turned on the dome light and there was a tick on her. So we all jumped out of the car and started stripping in the middle of the street. I was covered in ticks, haha, my worst fear. Well, I just thought I would tell you my little story, please get back at me if there is some place that you think I might like or actually be scared of, I would love to see it.

In August 2005 I received the following story/information from Tara F., a website visitor:

Myself and another friend traveled to Lakin State Hospital some fifteen years ago and found a truly bizarre sight. It was nothing like what I saw in your pictures. None of the graffiti was there, the room on the main floor just to the left was completely full of medical records, exam rooms still had a goodly deal of instruments still left in the mirrored cabinets that were still hung on the walls. The third floor was still set up with the frames of the cots and there were a couple of pairs of small mismatched shoes thrown over in the corner.

The most bizarre part was when we decided to go into the basement. As we first entered the basement there was a steel cage with a padlock that was full to the brim with very old shoes. Most of the pairs of shoes belonged to younger females. As we went over to where the cafeteria tables were still set up, there was a portable bulletin board that had been hand painted. On the left side were stick figures that were clearly boozed and drugged up and on the right side were figures that were happy go lucky with flowers and balloons in hand. Over the picture on the left side was the phrase "Before Lobotomy" and the right read "After Lobotomy."

As I said, the office on the ground floor was full of records that we spent almost an hour reading with numerous tales of abortions and lobotomies perfomed on site. I should also mention that the sinks that were in the exam rooms near the office were long trough like sinks that had neck rests on one end and stirrups used in gynecological exams on the other end. Which was proof positive that the procedures must have been performed on sight. In addition to that, numerous records for billing purposes on the medical equipment and supplies were all over the place.

I felt - as I do in most places with this kind of a history- this overwhelming urge that a million voices were trying to tell me to stay and investigate and tell their stories. I am so sorry that my friend was not more responsive or respectful of the place. As I think that I was supposed to stay for a while to at least try to hear what they were telling me. The thoughts and feelings of that day have stayed with me and I feel today, as I write this to you, the same as I did then; female souls are there and want so badly for people to know the atrocities that were performed there totally against their will.

I can also tell you that most likely I will have my reoccuring dream of this place tonight, as I always do when I think about it this long. It isn't a horrible dream, just one of trying to get away and being brought back time and time again. I hope this sheds some insight into your adventure there.

In September 2005 I received an e-mail from Sara Renee about her trip to the Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys:

Some of my friends and I went to the hospital Friday. Of course, some weird things happened. One of my other friends, who had been there about 4 or 5 times, told us to wear crosses. So we did, but one of my friends didn't because he thought nothing would happen. Boy he was wrong! He tried to go up to the attic but something wouldn't let him. It was holding him there. Then he decided to get down, and as soon he started going down it pushed him down. We took a picture of it, and it looks like a man was pushing him. We were walking around. All of us had flashlights - it was just the 4 of us until 4 other people came. But anyway, we went into the hospital, it was about 8 or 9 o'clock, and my flashlight went out. We couldn't get it back on. So my cousin's boyfriend gave me his. In about 5 to 10 minutes, the flashlight that he gave me went out. Then when the other 4 people showed up, we were walking around and one of them had a digital camera. She said she charged it all the way up and about 10 minutes later the batteries went dead. Is that weird or what?!

In May 2006 I received the following e-mail from PRabb33647:

I was a VISTA Volunteer (Domestic Peace Corps) assigned to Lakin State Hospital in June 1965. Never heard of all the "ghost" stories, but it was a working hospital at the time. I do recall the nurses telling the horror stories of the lobotomies that had been performed years before. They told of one German doctor who performed so many of them. He would pull back on those "picks", blood would spurt out, and he would say, "Well, this one's a goner" and walk away. I remember one patient, who supposedly was once a pro ball player. He had a lobotomy years before, and all he did was stand in the hallway all day swaying from side to side. He was blinded from the procedure and all you could see were the whites of his eyes. I haven't been back to that area since I left in 1966, but am planning on a West Virginia trip this June. I didn't even know the hospital was closed until I pulled up your web site. I will say, when I worked there, the hospital staff were some of the finest people I had ever had the pleasure to meet.

In June 2006 I received an e-mail from Zach M. about his trip to Lakin:

I was driving down Route 62, patiently looking for the hospital, but I had no idea where I would even find it. After miles of driving, finally it popped up in the distance and instantly I knew I was there. I pulled around the back by the "Lakin State Farm" building. I was a little freaked out being there alone, but it went away, so I walked up towards the main building. After scoping out the area, I went inside. I just kept snapping pictures, keeping my 4-cell maglite firmly in hand. The sun was setting, so all of the rooms on that side were really bright. I finally made my way into the cafeteria area when I heard the sound. I'd seen birds flying out of the windows, and I was aware of the sounds that birds make. This was nothing like their sound. It sounded like a gutteral moan that turned into a muffled scream. It was either on the 2nd or 3rd floors, but it was RIGHT above me. I stood in my tracks, figuring that if I heard footsteps, I would quickly leave. No footsteps followed, so I went back through the hall and took about 20 more pictures. I heard the noises again, so I went outside again. I figured I'd driven 2 hours, so I couldn't chicken out. I got about 20 outside shots before I decided I'd take off. As I was walking back around the rear side to make the trip across the field and back to my car, I heard what sounded like some whispering voices in that upstairs window. I saw nothing, but I know I heard voices. I felt like something was watching me walk back across the field to my car, so I looked up toward that nearly ivy-covered window, and I saw a flickering light in that same window. I grabbed my videocamera as quickly as I could and turned it on. I caught the end of the flickering, but I'd missed the wildest part. I just had the feeling that something had seen me come in, heard me downstairs, did it's best to drive me out of there, and felt good that it had succeeded.

In June 2006 I received an e-mail from Diane P. with an observation regarding one of my photos:

I found something in one of the pictures - it's in the day photos section of the Lakin School in West Virginia. The photo is called "Looking at the upper floors." If you look at the top, in the far right window, there is a woman in a blue dress standing with her arm held out from the elbow. I've cropped and enlarged it so you can see it better.

Here is the cropped photo Diane sent:
ghost photo

In December 2006 I received the following e-mail from PJ M:

I was wanting to let you know there is one thing that you don't know about. Lakin was cursed ever since one of the doctors did a lobotomy. It was a mad house, and there would be nights that I would go into the basement and I would always find a tortured soul of someone who was supposed to be dead, but was not. I used to be a patient in Lakin State Hospital.

In January 2007 I received the following observation from Russ D., regarding one of my photos:

If looking at the school in the last picture, it looks like a figure standing in the shade to the right of the home.

Here is the photo Russ is referring to:

ghost photo

In March 2007 I received the following e-mail from Liljen B. regarding Lakin:

We visited the school in February 2006. We took photos and had some experiences. My daughter saw a little boy in one of the top windows, in the daytime. That night we all had different experiences: we heard a man and women talking, then we heard doves. We did check to see if there was any sign of birds, and there was none. My sister heard noises in the basement of the building, in the back. We also checked out the doctor's house and it was spooky by itself. I really hate they tore it down, because we would have liked to have visited it again.

In December 2007 I received the following e-mail from Jerry K. regarding the Lakin facility:

Around October 2006 my sister, my boyfriend, and I went to Lakin State Hospital. I had been there once, but the person I went in there with freaked out so we left in about 10 minutes. My boyfriend did not believe in ghosts, so I thought I'd prove that there was something there. Just by driving into the driveway of the hospital I sensed spiritual activity. At age 11 I became very hypersensitive to spirits and had alot of interest. We arrived there just before it turned dark so we could go through the other buildings before entering the hospital. We got really cold, so before we went in, we went to the car to grab some sweatshirts. As we were about to get back out of the car, we heard footsteps and voices; we were all spooked so we sat there for 5 minutes with the door locked. As we were walking towards the entrance we all felt something horrible. It felt like something knew we were there. We finally walked in, and right when we did, we all had this feeling of felt like people were trapped and it was really sad, and then we also felt an angered spirit. This spirit did not want us there. We went down the hall to the right and had the feeling someone was behind us, like almost on top of us. We freaked so we quickly walked back down. We walked towards the cafeteria, and just like mentioned in other experiences, we heard a loud painful moan. We didn't know what to do so we went to exit. Right before we walked out, there was something beside my boyfriend and it said, "Get out now!" Clear as day, very loudly. We ran out to the car, and I turned to look at the building one last time. There was someone standing in the first window at the top floor, to your left. For a week or two afterwards there was a boyfriend and I even glimpses of a dark figure. I have a feeling still today that there are souls trapped that were tortured, but something or someone is keeping them hostage. I feel sorry and terrible, like there is something I need to do. By any chance did anybody see a big pile of clothing in that one bulding? They were old and grungy. I believe those might have been the clothing of the patients. It was about two or three feet high.

In February 2008 I received the following e-mail from Ashley:

About a month ago, my partner and I decided to go to the site of the Lakin Hospital. I had come across it on the internet, and almost immediately after seeing it, I was drawn to it. It was very unsual. So we decided to make the eight hour trip from Baltimore to Lakin. When we arrived it was almost 4 AM and we couldn't really see anything except for the new hospital. We were driving down a road passing the hospital when I pussed out. I asked Krys to pull into the delivery parking lot for the new hospital. I saw something shoot across the road and I flipped out. While we were sitting in the parking lot, I asked her to turn off the car because we weren't really supposed to be there and I didn't want to get caught. So we sat there, freezing and scared shitless. I really wanted to wait until dawn to scope out the area so we could see better. While we were sitting in the lot, we both heard male voices literally screaming bloody murder across the field. Then we started hearing females screaming in agony. I actually started crying. I was seeing flashes of images and it was freaking me out. I finally calmed down and was able to fall asleep. I was so tired and had to drive back home. I think I'd been asleep for like 20 minutes when I had been awakened by the screaming again. Finally the sun started to come up and I woke Krystal up so we could continue before we left. I have to say that I think they made a HUGE mistake demolishing that building. Whatever they decide to put on that land, the spirits will wreak havoc on it. I really don't understand how people can live back there and not be freaked out. The building may be gone, but the spirits are still very much around that site.

I received an e-mail from Patricia in June 2008 regarding her trip to Lakin:

I think in the year 2002 or 2003 I went to Lakin with groups of people. I have video tape to prove to you. I saw two colored boys and a man who looked like a doctor. I saw lots of souls on the third floor. I never told anyone about this until a year ago...then I told my friend about it. OK, so this place was bought by AEP. If they build on that land in the future, they will be sorry. The new building would have ghosts everywhere because their souls are not at rest. I had a dream about the place: there is a girl wearing a red dress, and she is deaf. The doctor, or someone who worked there, raped and then killed her. They buried her right inside the building that they tore down. She is a white girl, and it seemed like she lived somewhere in Point Pleasant. That is the reason I am looking for this girl, to find out who she was.

I received an e-mail from Becky in July 2008 regarding her trip to Lakin:

I live in Ashland, Kentucky which is about an hour away from Point Pleasant, West Virginia. My mother had taken this picture of me and a friend standing in font of the Lakin Hospital. Zoom in to the very top window. Look in the far left corner of the right hand panel (above the red arrow). It was creepy to know that we were being watched this whole time. Out of all my visits and experiences with Lakin, this tops them all. I found some bones on the first floor under some dirt. I snatched a bone fragment before we had to run out of there to avoid being caught. My biology teacher was unable to identify what species it came from.

We also explored the old abandoned house next to the hospital. Upon entry, I felt uneasy, sick, and an overwhelming sadness. Since childhood, I was sensitive to the spirit world. We later found out that a lobotomist had lived there and was murdered in that house by one of this former patients. I've never had a feeling like that, not even in Lakin.

When I was standing in the room with a table in the middle and a shallow tub against the wall, I felt an unkind presence. The feeling got stronger as I walked towards the open window. My mother and I explored every floor and room of the hospital, photographing every room, hallway and stairwell.

After we returned to town, my mom had realized that her 35mm film camera (not digital) had jammed and did not take one single picture in the hospital.

I would love to go back to Lakin at night and do some real spirit hunting, and possibly get some answers about what went on in there.

I received an e-mail from Myssi in September 2008 regarding her trip to Lakin:

As amatuer ghost hunters out of Ripley, WV, we have had experiences that are so numerous we couldn't even mention them all about Lakin State Hospital.

Those that stand out include the first thing that was caught on film. My boyfriend and nephew were the only people in the building at that time, and my boyfriend stated he heard what was a "low growl." On film, it is the very clear voice of a child proudly proclaiming "I'm thirteen!"

We have had things fly off the wall from an empty space at us. We have heard what we described as "tinkling music." We have an EVP of a male voice in a whisper saying slowly "I don't want to die." We have ON FILM a form flying straight into the camera. On the still shot behind it is a very clear human form walking through a door. We have heard voices and got numerous orbs, but the best thing that ever happened was on a night when I couldn't enter the building. I had been inside that building a hundred times. And for some reason, that night the feeling of dread was so intense, I turned away at the doorway and apologized to my crew, stating I just couldn't enter that night. And I'm glad I couldn't...

We have, ON FILM, a door slamming in front of the four crew members. No one was near the door, and anyone that knows that place knows how old and heavy those doors were. The film crew was focusing on something on the second floor, down at the end of the hallway. The camera kept going out of focus. And then suddenly, the door in front of them to the right slammed shut. When I say slammed, I mean if there had been fingers in that doorway it would have taken them off. Dennis, who is never freaked out by anything, says very calmly, "Folks, I think it's time to leave." But the others were already on their way out.

The next day, during the day I might add, we went back to test the doors. While standing upstairs, I challenged the spirits saying, "If you are present, slam the same door you slammed last night." After about a minute of waiting, the same door slammed shut. Needless to say, the two that were with us were outside before I even had a chance to turn around. But Dennis and I investigated. There was no wind blowing, no one else present in the building, and there was no way that door, especially the same door, could slam shut on its own.

I LOVED Lakin. It was beautiful. It was historical. While they were tearing it down, we all just sat one night and stared at the rubble. Knowing that the area would never be the same without that building. They were taking history and reducing it to nothingness. And what about the poor souls that were there?

I went there last week in the daytime with my daughter. You cannot even tell it was ever there. The sadness and emptiness I felt was overwhelming. I didn't sense any spirits anymore. Hopefully they were released to the light. I told my boyfriend that I wished we would have done a cleansing prior to them tearing down the place, to send the lost souls on their way. But it's like he said, "it was over so fast. We didn't have the time." They had said for years they were going to tear it down. We never really believed they would.

Do you believe the souls are still there? I'd like to think that they are. I felt connected, and it would be great to connect again.

We lost the greatest ghost hunting place there ever was when we lost Lakin. Our group disbanded. Thousands of dollars worth of equipment, thousands of places to go, but nothing will ever match that place.

I received an e-mail from LBC in August 2009 regarding her trip to Lakin:

I was 16 and in high school. I had always loved the huge building along the river. When we would drive by it in the day, it looked sadly haunted. In the evening, while the sun was setting, you could see the sun sparkle through the bits of broken glass of the windows. It was beautiful and painful. At night I could barely look at it. I'm naturally a big chicken. I'm terrified of the dark, but yet I stay up and watch ghost hunting shows with my mother, only to have my eyes dripping with water from fear and my body covered in goose bumps. During my junior year, we were given an assignment of a 10 page paper to complete on anything we wanted. I don't know why I chose Lakin. I did research on the building and learned that there were buildings: A house for the Chief of the Hospital, a nurse's dorm, the farm, and several buildings. I went to the hospital and searched for hours for old newspaper articles. I found patients' names and physicans who were in and out. The famous Dr. Walter J. Freeman and all about his ice-pick methods. I asked questions to anyone who would have the smallest connection to the place. At one point I remember being told that there were a few tunnels from the second basement to the other buildings. I don't know how true this is, or if it is at all. I was also informed that the remains of patients were buried in the back and unmarked. I have been to the building twice and the land that is left once.

My first visit was totally illegal and for my project. I borrowed one of those now old and huge digital cameras from the photography class and went with my then boyfriend. I was already nervous, but insisted we enter the building through the front door right after I snapped a shot of the wire gate on the porch. The iron had the date 1929 worked into it. We entered and the air felt stiff. Almost as if there were many someones hiding. Sounds crazy, but as though they were trying to blend in with the wall. I obviously didn't see anything, but that is the feeling I had. I snapped some photos and commented on all of the trash and how a walmart bag can be found anywhere. We walked through a few rooms and then back outside. The floor below the main floor - not the basement, was our next entrance. We went around to the side door to enter. The door was stuck and I was okay with that. I felt a little more nervous. The person with me barely grasped the door handle and it opened. At the time I felt stupid, like I was too weak to open the door that was easily opened. Now, I think that maybe something really didn't want me in there flashing my camera around. As soon as the door was opened, there was a bad sign lying in the floor. A dead bird on the ground and a room filled with mattresses several feet high - ( I remember reading another e-mail that you received about a pile of clothes - it is possible that they were seeing the mattresses). We walked by several doors and then came to the stairwell. For some reason I could not look at those stairs. I could not force myself to look. I pointed the camera and clicked the button twice - the first picture turned out perfect, but the second picture appeared very unusual! I didn't see a person, no weird orbs in that one, and not mist. The picture just seemed very different from the first. It was almost as though there was a picture and picture frame hanging on the wall, and the picture looked lighter. We walked out the back door and took a few pictures. At one point we were facing the farm buildings and discussing whether or not to check those out. The sun was in my eyes and I turned around to suggest we finish up with the basement and leave when I saw, not out of the corner of my eye but a full line of vision, the door on the third floor through the windows open and close, and open and then swing for a moment like it was slowing to a close. It was early October and very sunny. No wind whatsoever! My hair was not blowing in the wind, the grass was not moving, the trees that were on the same level as the door were not moving. My boyfriend ran around to look through the windows to see if anyone was up there. We watched the door to see if anyone came out on the ground floor and nothing. We were completly alone. I wanted to hurry and finish with the basement after that. Just one photo in the doorway and we were out. We walked down the stairs, and after the last step my heart stopped and then sped up! There was foam at the bottom, and I thought we were falling through the ground. After my heart got started back up, I snapped my pictures and found lots of dust specks that appear to be orbs. There was one that I have a feeling was an orb. The best way to describe it would be to take a picture at night when the fireflies are out. This was October, and fireflies are gone by August. And this squiggly line of glowing light was most definitely not dust!! I was wearing a light scarf that warm evening - one that isn't meant for keeping the neck warm, just an accessory. Many times in the few minutes that we were in the basement, my scarf was tugged. The one time it was tugged so forcefully that a thread was caught on my necklace latch and was pulled. Seconds after that I was reaching for the door handle of the car yelling to my boyfriend that I got all the pictures I needed.

The most recent visit was with my mother. The building had been torn down for a year or so, and she had never even pulled onto the property. So we did, and the foundation was recognizable. We were in the back where the steps would have led down to the basement. They must have filled in what was left of the basement. It still felt weird there. It was a beautiful day with a nice breeze and very warm. There were a few pieces of glass around, and a few broken screws. Mom spotted a couple of bricks and thought it would be cool to have one. So in our backyard herb garden there is a brick half burried in the dirt that is from the Correctional School for Boys/ Hospital for the Colored Insane.

Since the brick has been in our home, my mother has experienced only one strange occurance. We don't feel that they could be related, but this one experience has been the only experience she has ever had. A night that I was back at my apartment with my sister and friends, my mother woke up to her door opening and heard footsteps across the room to her side of the bed. She had not opened her eyes, and figured it was one of us. She said "what do you need?" and then felt a nudge against the side of the bed. We sometimes do that with our knees and then say hey mom. She didn't get a response, so she opened her eyes and was a little taken back. She remembered that neither of us were home. I have heard of pieces of furniture and a building having an attached spirit. I really hope this is not the case, if so that brick will be back where we found it very quickly!!!

I received an e-mail from an anonymous website visitor in January 2010 regarding her experiences as a nurse aid at Lakin:

As a nurse aid at the age of 16 years old in 1982, a black male resident told me the story of having to hold the boys down while they had "ice picks put in their eye" lobotomies. He was a sweet, sweet man that told me "No maam, after that pick broke off in that boy's eye; I never helped again." Tears fell down his cheeks.

These stories are not folklore; they are actual happenings of what happened to God given human souls...believe it; if we do not give history its due, it is bound to repeat itself.

I received an e-mail from Laura G. in July 2010 about something she noticed in one of my photos:

I was enjoying your photos of abandoned places when I noticed one of the pictures at Lakin School for Colored Boys (shame they tore it down). I noticed something odd in one of the photos you took, and it doesn't look like anyone else saw it, so maybe it's just me.

I swear I see a child standing in the doorway of the photo you have labeled "first floor." I enlarged the area and overlaid next to the original section. I swear it is a child, you can see bare feet, hands, and what appears to be a blurred area where a head would be.

Here is the photo:

ghost photo

As you can see, I enlarged the section I'm talking about and blew it up. Please tell me what you think.

I received an e-mail from Miranda in December 2011 about her trip to Lakin:

It was back in June of 2005. My friends and I were just 16 years old and decided out of the blue one night to take a drive up there. We live in southern Ohio so the drive was roughly an hour and half drive for us. It was me and five other of my friends. When we got there we explored a bit and generally scared the crap out of ourselves. Two of the girls I was with wouldn't go inside, so I came back out to check on them. As I was sitting in the car I looked up to the third floor of the building and saw two sets of eyes staring back at us. I alerted the others that we were not alone and one of them braved the trek up the steps. They surveyed the room and saw that no one was there. She came back down and we looked back up the sets of eyes returned. You could feel it in the air - the sadness and sense of despair. I have visited many "haunted" places, as well as attended one the most supposedly haunted to schools in the country (Ohio University). The trip to this place is one of the sadest places I had ever been. I always wanted to go back but by the time I was able to, the place had already been torn down. After seeing these eyes, which I can only assume were children, we left. I only wish I had a camera at the time to capture it.

I received an e-mail from Lindsay in May 2012 about her trip to Lakin:

I went there with three of my friends since we just live a short distance away. We were bored and thought why not, let's go. We pulled around back, grabbed our flashlights, and walked in thinking we wouldn't even witness anything. It was about the time we reached the 2nd floor that we actually heard something, all four of us knew it, we were pretty much all huddled real close together because we were already creeped out seeing some of the old equipment and that sorta thing. When we got a little further in we walked up the steps and into a hallway and just froze. The hair on our necks and arms stood straight up. About that time we heard whistling plain as it could be, just like it echoed in a long hallway almost as if it were a janitor. It wasn't any of us, and we knew that other than the four of us the building was vacant. I almost cried, that scared the shit completely out of me. Although I'm not a skeptic, I wasn't really expecting anything that particular night at Lakin. After that I was ready to go and not go back like ever. But we proceeded to go to the top floor anyway, and the scariest thing was that it literally felt like someone was breathing down my neck or following right behind me. Then I saw an old operating table or lobotomy table or something, that was scary all in itself. After actually leaving the building I could not shake the fact that it felt just like someone was watching me really close or right on my heels. There's another building across the way and as we were driving off we all witnessed the same exact thing, there was definitely an apparition of someone or something standing in the front of that building. To this day I will stand behind this story 100% because every word is true. Although it's been torn down for AEP uses, I've never been back or around that place...only driving past and even that gives me chills.

I received an e-mail from Amanda F. in October 2012 about her trip to Lakin:

Below are two photos that I took while visiting Lakin. The unknown lights appeared in some of the photos and are unexplainable.

ghostly image

ghostly image

Did you have any strange experiences at the Lakin Industrial Home for Colored Boys? If so, please send me an e-mail and I'll post your story on the site!

Where do you want to go? Select your destination: