and the Devil himself...

and the Devil himself...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Western State Lunatic Asylum, Inspiration for John Carpenter's 'Halloween'

On the 25th of February, 1848, the Legislature of Kentucky provided for the location and erection of a lunatic asylum. On the 30th of November, 1861, the main building was destroyed at mid-day by fire. The 210 patients escaped uninjured, except one, who fastened himself in his room, near where the fire originated, and perished in the flames. The court house and other buildings in Hopkinsville were used to temporarily house the unfortunates. Around the time of the fire workers and supplies at the hospital were routinely captured by both Confederate and Union armies to serve both sides. 

By October, 1871, there was (nearly) one insane person in every 1,000 persons of the population, of whom there was room in the two asylums for only 850, and both were full.... 

This Halloween night, the overcrowding will result in some of the inmates being housed at the Mariah Moore House, home of the wife of one of Bowling Green's founders.

Join us for a haunted dinner party with tales of mayhem and murder most foul from the archives, ghost stories and fortune telling. 7-10pm. Cost is $5 per person, (to cover the cost of banquet room and setting), $10 with tea leaf reading. Tarot readings by appointment.

Bring your favorite ghost stories to share and come in Victorian costume and/or as an inamate of the asylum, chosing from the list below. 

A Haunted Halloween, 1880 

Suggested Guests:

Choose one to attend as by adopting their primary characteristics throughout the party. Each inmate will be 'committed' at the beginning of dinner. Interaction with others as your character is strongly encouraged to create an immersive improv theater experience. E-mail me with your selection or for more info at

...Each character is based on a Victorian patient of Western State Lunatic Asylum, names, dates and varying amounts of detail have been changed, not a historic reference....

Your host:

Winifred Wiggens committed 1/23/1880, in asylum twice.

Symptoms: Ill since her brother died; staying awake all night; thinking she is dying; threatens to kill herself; sees dead people.

Other Guests:

Lallie King, committed 2/16/1880
Symptoms: Roving disposition; wants to run away.

Miss Lucy A. Brown, committed 3/21/1880
Symptoms: Believes cats are located under the floor with telephone wire attached to their tails and by this means messages are communicated to neighbors and she receives news from the community.

Clive Johnson committed 3/30/1880
Symptoms: Violent; tried to kill himself and family.

Sam Sanders, committed 4/27/1880
Symptoms: Dispondency and talking of God; says he will be lost if not allowed to go to jail. 

Virginia Eggers, committed 5/5/1880
Symptoms: Thinks she has been eating poison, rats, snakes, etc.; thinks some one will do her injury; sees pictures on the wall.

Frances Woods, committed about 1880
Symptoms: Curses; raves; fights the walls; believes she is going to be robbed and killed.

Annie Hamilton committed 1880, been in the Asylum once 20 years ago. 
Symptoms: Shouting; singing; praying; wants to preach; no concentration of thought; nervous.

Florence Goode committed 6/7/1880
Symptoms: Easily frightened and prone to flights of imagination; afraid of poison.

Mrs. Puss Dixon  committed 6/17/1880 
Symptoms: Last Sunday said she had gold in her side; this morning said she had died and been resurrected.

Walter Lund committed 8/23/1880, sent to Asylum once before.
Symptoms: Dug a grave and tried to bury himself.
Henry Matthews committed about 1880
Symptoms: Fractous; ill; vicious; contrary; thinks men will care for him; talks in rambling way; threatens to burn house; keeps axe.

Alvin Parker committed 9/3/1880
Symptoms: Believes mob after him; expecting to be killed.

Mrs. E.B Rook committed 10/20/1880 
Symptoms: Melancholy; cries and talks of being lost; thinks the Devil is after her.

George Stone  committed 3/6/1880
Symptoms: Excessive use of morphine.

Dollie Jane Rose committed 7/7/1880
Symptoms: Thinks she is bound by the Devil; carries her Bible with her and quotes scripture.

Mrs. H.G. Slaughter committed 1/27/1880; in Asylum twice.
Symptoms: Imagines danger; crys or weeps spasmatically; religious fanatcisim.

Fletcher Hicks committed 1880
Symptoms: Silly; says she is a child of God; talks about religions; speaks about Dr. God being her doctor.

J.S Fox committed 1880
Symptoms: Thinks women are after him because he is good looking. 

Hattie Hart  committed 2/1/1880, in asylum twice.
Symptoms: Abusing her husband; shouting; talking about religion.

Josiah Witcher committed 12/22/1880, in Asylum four years ago.
Symptoms: Farmer and minister of the Gospel, became crazy in pulipt. 

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