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On a January afternoon, the temperature hovers in the upper teens, the sky threatening to blanket the coal-rich hills of West Virginia with snow. Information about lodging, dining and other area attractions, including the boyhood home of Confederate Gen. By day, historical tours are offered. By evening, visitors can wander through the darkened corridors in search of the ghosts of former patients and even spend the night -- if they dare.

The unit, with pastel-colored paint peeling from the walls, seems to go on forever; the hospital is just 25 feet shy of a quarter-mile long. But several hours south of Pittsburgh, in north-central West Virginia, the true stories are every bit as terrifying as the movies. The architect thought sunlight and fresh air could cure mental illness. As we move farther down the corridor, past rooms with narrow slits in the doors so staff could observe their charges, we arrive at the oldest part of the facility, a wing built in During the war, the camp changed hands several times during clashes between the Confederate and Union armies.

It was my second day of work. They asked me to take one of the male patients from the regular part of the hospital to the medical center. Walter Freeman told her to wait; he just needed a few minutes with the patient. The young nurse had no idea that the doctor was the famous -- some would say infamous -- lobotomist who traveled around the country using an ice pick or similar tool to damage the brains of thousands of patients. He would feed himself, dress himself [and] go to the bathroom by himself, but he would never have any emotions again.

Lamb concludes the chilling tale noting that as late as there were still lobotomized patients on the wards at Weston. No wonder participants in the nighttime ghost tours repeatedly tell of hearing groans and screams from long-dead patients, including a still-disturbed one named Ruth.

Doors will open up and hit them in the face. Whether they come for the history or the haunting, visitors often leave shivering -- not only in January, as I did -- but on muggy afternoons in August too. Southwest Airlines flight cancellations continue into Monday. Halloween is near! Add these 14 L. All Sections. About Us. B2B Publishing. Business Visionaries. Hot Property. Times Events. Times Store. Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options.

By Jay Jones. Reporting from Weston, W. Next we visit an area that squeamish guests may want to skip: the medical center. More From the Los Angeles Times. Business Southwest Airlines flight cancellations continue into Monday. Lifestyle Halloween is near!

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