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Some of the Most Haunted Insane Asylums on Earth

Elizabeth's an experienced freelance writer who loves writing about all things creepy, spooky, and paranormal.

Weston State Hospital in Weston, West Virginia.

Weston State Hospital in Weston, West Virginia.

Some of the most haunted places on earth reside right here in the U.S. If you have read my other articles, then you will already have some insight on the gruesome acts that have taken place in these horrid buildings. Illness, tragedy, and death are only a few of the freakishly hellish things that occurred in these places. The history itself is enough to make one's skin crawl, but the residual energy it has cast over these buildings have long kept the dead from leaving. These spine tingling stories will have you on the edge of your seat. So step inside these brutally fearsome castles and perverted holy places of despair!

Most Haunted Insane Asylums on Earth

  • Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
  • Essex Mountain Sanatorium
  • Norwich State Hospital for the Mentally Insane
Looking out from within.

Looking out from within.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is probably one of the most haunted places in America. The SYFYs channels Ghost Hunters (2008) and Travel Channels Ghost Adventures (2009) has claimed that the asylum is not for the faint of heart and has rightfully dubbed it "One of the Scariest Places on Earth."

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, also known as the Weston State Hospital, A state run psychiatric hospital, is located in Weston, West Virginia. Finished circa 1864 the 242,000 square foot building was built to house 250 souls whom at the time were considered to have mental delusions and other complications of the mind including Schizophrenia, bi-polar, and dementia. Like so many asylums of its day the number of patients increased dramatically over a short period of time and by 1950 the asylum became home to over 2400 patients including the infamous Charles Manson himself. Cruel and unusual medical treatments were used on patients to cure these matters of the mind. Full frontal lobotomies, shock therapy, water shock treatment, and torture were only a few of the ghastly treatments used within these walls. Every mental institution nightmare you could imagine occurred. Padded cells, restraining devices, solitary confinement, and beatings by brutal warders and vicious inmates were just a few of the dispicable acts that took place.There were documented deaths there that numbered in the thousands, with many buried on site, thus making this one of the most haunted places in America.

The last couple of decades at the hospital were extremely violent. Patient to patient killings and female violations were frequently reported throughout the last few years of operation. There was even a report that a nurse went missing for nearly two months before her body was found dead at the bottom of an unused staircase. It was these horrific events that are said to contribute to the high level of paranormal activity within this massive structure. By 1994 the asylum was deemed un-usable, conditions were likened to that of a German death camp, and closed for good. It was purchased, along with its 300 acres of land, in September 2007.

Death is evident in the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. The paranormal activity that is said to occur within these ominous walls is proof that the dead have yet to leave. With so much turmoil, violence, and death it is no wonder that the asylum is home to a vast amount of paranormal activity. The sounds of squeaking, rolling gurneys can be heard throughout the hallways. Reports of screams and ominous voices yelling warnings and such can be heard throughout the facility. Full body apparitions of patients, a nurse, and even a civil war soldier named Jacob can be seen in certain hallways roaming aimlessly along a path that no ones seems to know. Strange sounds and banging noises only lead to the speculation that the asylum is haunted. Is it or not? Try it out for yourself and be sure to let us know!

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is one of my favorite places. It is one of the only remaining asylums in the country that still stands. Fortunately, you can still see this place in all of it's heyday glory, even take a ghost hunt tour or two at midnight (The owners are now offering tours 7-days-a-week and haunted tours on Friday nights and overnight stays on Saturdays). You never know just what might pop up... mwhahahahaha.

Essex Mountain Sanatorium

In 1869 in Essex County , New Jersey 325 acres of farmland were purchased on the border of Verona and Cedar Grove to establish the Essex County Asylum for the Insane. The facility, mainly aimed at curing tuberculosis patients, caring for orphaned children, and taking care of the mentally ill was known as the Essex Mountain Sanatorium, or simply the "Hilltop". According to records the facility instituted practices such a shock therapy treatment, full frontal lobe lobotomies, and physical beatings on over 400,000 patients. The death total numbered somewhere in the thousands. "Poorly clothed and sometimes naked, these legions of lost souls were shown pacing aimlessly on the wards, lying on the filthy cement floors, or sitting head in hand against the pock-marked walls" (Deutsch 1948, 41, 49).

Eventually, in 1943 a cure for tuberculosis was found. This advance in medicine made tuberculosis a treatable disease. By 1946 almost all patients who suffered from this disease were cured and the number of ill patients residing in Essex decreased dramatically. No Longer needed the asylum was eventually abandoned in 1970 . The foreboding buildings that once sat atop the hill were left to fall into ruins for almost 2 decades.

Since then, stories and rumors have circulated about the the strange occurrences that are known to have taken place here. Tales were told of escaped lunatics that roamed the hallways of the derelict buildings and made their homes in the subterranean tunnels that permeated the facility’s foundations. (These tales are not unsubstantiated claims as with many asylums once its doors were closed patients without immediate family were left to fend for themselves. Usually, they became vagrant and would take up residence in the only place they knew, the abandoned asylum.) Although the asylum is patrolled and is trespassing is well, to say the least, forbidden, ghost hunters and alike have occasionally been granted permission to explore the old buildings. In doing so most of them have had the snot scared out them and its no wonder when tales of screaming voices yelling for them "to get out" or wondering ghostly children who lurk behind every twist and turn on the 3rd story floor wait patiently for the right moment to strike. Some people have reported ghostly apparitions appearing out of nowhere walking the halls, unexplainable strange mists, ghostly footsteps, and a wheelchair that seemingly moves about on its own. As if phantom voices and ghostly mists aren't enough to tingle every hair on your body the atmosphere itself washes a sense of fear and foreboding over you. With hospital beds, gurneys, and medical equipment strewn about the place, from a time that no longer exists, one can not help but to imagine what lurks behind closed doors.

Courtesy Of

Courtesy Of

Norwich State Hospital for the Mentally Insane

Norwich State Hospital For The Mentally Insane resides in Preston, Connecticut and has a reputation of being a very haunted building. Of course, the dilapidated condition of the facade contributes a lot to the assumption, as does the history associated with it. Built in 1904 the hospital housed patients suffering from mental illness, chemical dependency, tuberculosis and harbored violent patients found guilty of crimes by insanity. "Up until 1971 the Hospital housed and treated the very worst Criminally Insane patients that Connecticut had to offer. The majority of murderers, rapists and violent criminals that successfully copped an Insanity plea found themselves committed to the infamous Salmon Hall, the asylum’s maximum security building. The rogues’ list of patient inmates that passed through its doors is a long one…" (Source).The population began in the low 1000s but by 1960 the census had risen to a whooping 3,600 people. Treatment for patients consisted of hydrotherapy, shock treatment, heavy sedation and other less humane acts of violence including but not limited to sexual and physical abuse.

The hospital grounds surround an enormous 900 acres of the Connecticut woods, an area isolated from the outside world, with a large number of brick buildings that appear to be of Gothic-style architecture (most likely Kirk-bride) of which most are connected by a series of underground tunnels.These Underground tunnels stretched back towards the Thames river, connecting almost all the structures with a traversable passage ensuring that travel from building to building was easy. Then in 1996 due to de-institutionalization the Norwich Sate Hospital For the Mentally Insane closed its doors for good. This massive structure is now vacant and owned by the state.

"The first documented tragedy to occur at the asylum was the suicide of a patient. Edward K. Arvine, a lawyer, had voluntarily admitted himself as a sufferer of “melancholia.” In December of 1914, he hanged himself in his room withan improvised rope of torn bedclothes, attached to an iron grating. His death would be but the first of many tragedies at the institution. An explosion of a hot water heater in 1919 killed two employees, teamster Fred Ladd and night attendant Thomas Duggan. Hospital cook Fred Smith, while crossing the road, was struck and killed in 1925, by an automobile driven by Robert Anderson, a supervisor at the nearby tuberculosis sanatorium. Annie Prudenthal, a trained nurse and former patient at the hospital, killed herself with a knife at her home in 1930, after having been discharged from the Norwich Hospital only a few days before"(Source). (For more horrific accounts of death at the hands of this beast take some time to visit this site. There are over a hundred accounts of murder and death that occurred at the asylum.)

As far as paranormal activity people have encountered and reported hearing blood curtailing screams both human and in-human, the voices of children, physical movement of artifacts like wheelchairs and gurneys, moaning, footsteps, and a torrid of other ghostly sounds. Human faces appearing out of the shattered windows with in the dilapidated building have also been encountered along with strange lights, shadow figures, and ghostly mists.

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Norwich is probably a hot spot for paranormal debate at the present time as Syfy's Taps team just recently aired their investigation of the asylum last night May 5th 2010. Scare factor topped the charts as the show was ultimately impressing. Although no full body apparitions appeared for their 15 minutes of fame the evidence the crew did capture was nothing less than startling.

If you have noticed, I am one of the fortunate ones that are drawn to the mysterious and the macabre and I say fortunate because when you are experiencing these places first hand you are experiencing a genuinely true piece of history that no book, article, or website could ever convey. The paranormal aspect of these adventures are a positive side note. Imagining the history that occurred within those walls are what truly makes your spine tingle, a tingle that even the best paranormal photos or video streams could ever do. Over the years I have accumulated many visits to some very interesting places including graveyards, supposedly haunted houses, asylums and the list goes on. Each place was defined by its own "personality". Many were cold and barren and freakishly morbid where others had a subtle but off charm to them. Either way, to see the deteriorating paint, the crumbling fixtures, and left behind mementos of a forgotten past those are the things that I will never forget. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, a heaven and a hell, a great black abyss, or skeptical of any after life, there lies in these massive structures experiences waiting to happen that would surely change your mind.


ghost lady on February 22, 2018:

"so scary" not

Ellie Pendergrass on June 08, 2017:

After Life paranormal Society is investigating trans allegheny in september. They still have a few tickets available if any of you are interested experiencing her for real.

Fred on January 03, 2016:

Just so you know, the information you have put up about the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, is not correct, nor part of the history of the building in particular. If you are going to post about the building and its beautiful livelihood, make sure you check your facts and have the correct dates, names, treatments, and so forth.

DyanneP on August 08, 2015:

My Husband & I have been to & into a good number of closed mental facilities...I read ALL of the books & knowing the history makes a HUGE difference when you go to see these places...most of them are coated with asbestos & are in fierce amounts of disrepair...So, PLEASE be very careful should you decide to go into any of them !!! But, they are EXTREMELY freaky places...very disturbing !!!

Sarah on April 23, 2015:

I would like to tour one of these places. Do you know if you can tour any of them or stay over night in one that still stands

pointblank009 from Buffalo on October 22, 2014:

Those place look spooky, but I have a real-life haunted asylum for you all. Let me know what you make of it:

mary on October 11, 2014:

We went 1st weakind of oct to prospect place in trinway ohio it was great as far as the house we was a little disapointed owner posted that you would have the house to your group of hunters and that the house was 28 rooms this may be true but at least 5 to 7 rooms are locked and the owner lives in the house on one side of house nice place but just saying he should b ve told us i would

superphilman on October 02, 2014:

If you like Abandoned Mental asylums, you might like this:

A video of three guys exploring a 200 room Mental asylum in the UK

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on October 01, 2014:

Great Hub, but chilling. Not because it is haunted, but thinking of the real lives lived there. Worse are relatively few years ago these places were finally closed. I am bi-polar and what a horrible idea that one could actually landed up there!

bosnia freaks on February 12, 2014:

very well written

BMT23 on December 13, 2013:

Did you see any ghosts on your over night stay?!

annadfetty on October 13, 2013:

Went to Trans-Allegheny for an overnight ghost hunt two years ago...Very cool historic campus...and the history is still 'living' there...

Love the hub.

dreamingof this on January 21, 2013:

I keep having a dream of a mental hospital that is haunted. It is located in A city by the museum area.. it is a building not a house type structure. Have you any idea where it is or if it exists. I had to paint the walls outside.. last was vacant,now in the current dream it was in use.. still haunted.

onetouchnewlife on January 02, 2013:

I loved this. Thank you. Will work well for my second novel.

manofmystery24 on December 31, 2012:

Wow, a lot of great work on this hub efeyas! Asylums have been known to suppose to take care of the disabled or mentally unstable, but instead resort to barbaric treatment. Letchworth Village was also a pretty bad place and an active paranormal location. These places are REALLY active though. Voted up and shared!

Paul on October 18, 2012:

This is some very cool info. I've recently become interested in abandoned/haunted buildings, asylums, hospitals,etc.

It doesn't seem like many are truly abandoned any more though. Most have people patrolling them or have guided tours through them now.

Lucymcg1 on October 17, 2012:

Do you have any idea where I can get a hi rez image of the first image you posted? I would love it as a backdrop...

Mickell on October 07, 2012:

No rolling hills asylum awe

cc on October 03, 2012:

i need to know where there is an abandoned asylum we could get in and not have to pay to get scared!!!

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on September 14, 2012:

This hub was written years ago and it seems the only thing you can pick apart is the Essex Mountain Sanatorium (as you haven't come forth with a wealth of knowledge of any of the others), so it seems that I need to revamp that section (as I said I would look into the research and correct it but it seems my only problem is that I have the Essex Mountain Sanatorium and hospital confused somewhat, maybe you could leave credible source for the information you leave). As for being a grammar natzi........I have nothing to say to that. It isn't like the hub is unreadable. I'm not a professional writer, I do this as a hobby, so excuse me. Where in the rest of the hub do you not see pictures that corespond correctly to each section???

echc on September 14, 2012:

The wealth of historical inaccuracies (as well as grammatical errors) present here, taint this entire webpage. You should at least make sure the pictures of said "insane asylums" correspond with the name(s) presented. For example, the pictures you detail next to the Essex Mountain Sanatorium blurb are not photos of the former sanatorium at all, but rather, of an entirely different complex known as as Essex County Hospital Center, or just simply, Overbrook. Essex Mountain Sanatorium was demolished years ago. In your text, as quoted: "Although the asylum is patrolled and is trespassing is well, to say the least, FORBIDDEN, ghost hunters and alike have occasionally been granted permission to explore the old buildings"; here you are referring to the Essex County Hospital Center's buildings and property. For the Essex Mountain Sanatorium "Hilltop" property is currently a county park and completely legal to enjoy and hike, where as the Essex County Hospital property is patrolled and posted as "no trespassing". The county hospital buildings have also been host to numerous ghost hunting shows during years past.

twosheds1 on September 14, 2012:

Sean, I think those may have been editor's notes. I do video for a living, and I've never seen a script that wasn't typed, had no page numbers, etc.. I suppose it's possible to have a non-typed script, but that kind of stuff is usually written well ahead of time. Corrections and changes would be hand-written on the typed script. Also, the first page says "Camera 1" on it. A script, even a shooting script, wouldn't differentiate between camera numbers. Cameras are numbered on location.

That doesn't mean GH doesn't fabricate their evidence or make stuff up. There are tons of vids on YouTube of outtakes that show them engaged in some questionable activities. I don't think the whole show is faked. I think the folks in GH/TAPS are sincere, but the producers probably want to fake some stuff just to keep the show interesting.

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on September 14, 2012:

Sean, not being a "dick" at all. But I believe you misread the information as I am talking soley about the Essex Mountain Sanatorium, which , in fact was, a hospital for turburculosis patients, amongst other things. Which you state in your "historical inaccuracies". As for the other information you mention , I will certainly recheck over my informationa and correct if need be. PS I am girl, not a man, man :) and I live in NJ and have visited here before. So no, not all of my information comes from the internet!!!

EsseXploreR on September 13, 2012:

Ok, you have no clue what your talking about man. The Essex Mountain Sanatorium and the Essex County Hospital are 2 completely, separate, county owned institutions. There also used to be a jail within the immediate area of these 2 institutions as well.

As for the rest of the historical inconsistencies.

- The first building built on the Essex County Hospital Property was built in 1896. It was referred to as the "star ward"

- The Essex County Hospital was NOT a tuberculosis hospital, that was the Essex Mountain Sanatorium. The Essex County Hospital was a Psychiatric Hospital

- The hospital was not referred to as the hilltop, the land it's on is.

- The Essex Mountain Sanatorium closed in 1979, and the Essex County Hospital was completely closed in 2007. I say completely because some buildings were abandoned before the full closure.

Also, my friend was here right after Ghost hunters did there live investigation here, and he found a piece of paper that turned out to be a script {} Also, in my 200+ trips here, I have never had a paranormal encounter. Food for thougt.

Also, I realize I'm being a total dick, and I know its not your fault. It just bugs me when people don't get there history correct. I'm sure you are just reproducing things that you have read on the internet, but I want to emphasize they are SEPARATE institutions. For more history and pictures, you could check out my Facebook page for the place.

once again sorry for being a dick, it just really pisses me off.


Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on August 27, 2012:

Thank you! I am glad you found some value in the information!

RandomPerson on August 26, 2012:

This is plain awesome. The history of these kinds of places really intrigue me, leaving me wanting to know more. Thank you for giving me the information I wanted.

AmyInTheRojo on August 02, 2012:

Niiice! I would never explor these places, but the history really intrigues me. How they used to be so inhumane with the treatment!

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on July 25, 2012:

Your welcome.

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on July 25, 2012:

Looks Interesting! Wish I could make it! I would love to have those pictures for this hub! Thanks Twosheds1!

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on July 25, 2012:

Thank you gail641, I agree!

Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on July 24, 2012:

I think that it would be neat to visit the haunted asylums. It sure is horrible how they treated mental patients like they did. Good thing those asylums were finally closed for good. Great hub and very interesting, too.

twosheds1 on July 24, 2012:

I stand corrected! It's THIS Saturday!

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on July 24, 2012:

So cool! I would have loved to go! I don't do much photography but I could make the most out of it I'm sure :)

twosheds1 on July 23, 2012:

Trans-allegheny recently had an open house for photgraphers (or it might still be coming up). I wanted to go, but it was kinda pricey: $132.50!

The asylum looming over Athens, Ohio, has its share of stories, too. Now, ironically, it's an art museum, offices and housing!

Athena on May 14, 2012:

this is helpfull...

Cecilia on April 04, 2012:

All so in SA and no places like this here and im in even a smaller town than caretonville lol.

Thanx just love reading it.

bard on February 11, 2012:

awesome man, awesome

emotjie on February 10, 2012:

wish we had places like that near us. I live in s.a. in a small town named carletonville. loved all the info!

Azriel on February 09, 2012:

@lexy it does bother me that people trash them, not due to the vandalism so much as the lack of thought behind it, not only are they damaging a piece of history but people lost their lives so couldn't that also be considered disrespect of the deceased?

gradeAmerican on October 30, 2011:

just the picture of that red brick building creeps me out! eesh!

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on October 12, 2011:

Lexy thanks for reading and commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed. Wishing you much success in your endeavors :)

Lexy on July 18, 2011:

Thank you Efeyas. This page was truly fascinating and incredibly insightful. Without a doubt you included some really awesome locations.

I have an interest in both psychiatry/psychology (and of course, paranormal activity), particularly in the methods used over the past two centuries, to "cure" the mentally ill.

Its really sad and unfortunate that these buildings have been or possibly will be torn down. And also that people feel the need to trash them. Its a shame for people who are interested in this subject and want to learn or see some history...

Thanks again ^^

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on June 29, 2011:

Thanks everyone for your comments! Iam glad you enjoyed this hub :)

Nancy- I would recommend the Southern Mansion in Cape May. It was actually on Ghost Hunters and reported to be very haunted!

Robyn Yve from Winnipeg on May 06, 2011:

Loved this!

Nancy on March 12, 2011:

I would love to tour some of these places... Do you know of some good tours in South Jersey???

Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on February 25, 2011:

Again I love this. I could read stories like this all day long

kislany from Cyprus on February 17, 2011:

Great hub, I really enjoyed reading it. I am drawn to haunted places, there is usually so much pain from the past involved. It is said, yet so intriguing...

Michael Murchie from Parts Unknown on February 09, 2011:

Brilliantly written and researched, I thoroughly enjoyed it, thank you !

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on January 09, 2011:

Sean Dee, if your checking back, which i am sure you might, you can find the contact info for several of the places, given they haven't been demolished yet by searching the internet. I will try to find some info and post it here as well. Good luck

Sean Dee on January 08, 2011:

Post up some contact numbers for these locations. Or email me at ,

I want to spend the night by myself in these locations and take pictures.


Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on January 06, 2011:

Thank You A.B.- I am glad you enjoyed this hub. Hopefully, in the near future, I will be writing another.

amybradley77 on January 05, 2011:

Thank you so much for sharing this, not enough people are true believers and some who are, they are too controled by fears to really learn anything at all about this. I look forward to more of your work here. A.B.

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on December 28, 2010:

Thanks Ms Chievous glad you enjoyed it and I can imagine how many visitors they must get especially around Halloween!!

Birkin, thanks for stopping by glad you enjoyed it!

Birkin on December 18, 2010:

Very informative and interesting. Thanks for an awesome read!

Tina from Wv on October 27, 2010:

The Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum also encouraged the use of partial lobotomies preformed on site back in the day. It is definitely rockin now with their haunted house. I think over the weekend they took on a thousand customers a night!

nice hub!

Oh and..

mwhahahahahahahaha :)

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on August 31, 2010:

Thank You!

ryokowaren from USA on August 31, 2010:

Great hub. I voted up.

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on June 21, 2010:

Epigramman thank you for your nice comments I am glad you enjoyed it!

Outdoorsguy-Please let us know when you do finally get the chance!

outdoorsguy from Tenn on June 19, 2010:

great hub.. enjoyed it. Ive wanted to go to the one of Death Tunnel fame in Kentucky just haven't gotten around to it yet.

epigramman on June 18, 2010:

well your hubs are notoriously haunted with your exciting writing and fascinating subject material along with world class research -I am impressed and now I am possessed!

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on June 14, 2010:

KMH I agree with you but unfortunantly they continue to do so even with security patrolling the areas. Maybe one day some of these spirits will scare the c*** out of them and they will leave for good. :)

KMH on June 12, 2010:

I wish that vandals wouldn't ruin it for other people who just want to experience these places...

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on June 10, 2010:

Thanks Tom as I am your big fan now too!

tom hellert from home on June 10, 2010:

I hated it when I had to stay at the sanitarium.. it was no fun (hehe), i love this anrd your other hubs BIG FAN BIG FAN

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on May 26, 2010:

It never fails to amaze me what human beings can do to other human beings. No wonder these places are haunted!

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on May 10, 2010:

BJBenson thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my hub! These places are really interesting the sad part about it is that many are inaccesible or being torn down. Although there are still many that offer active ghost tours so if you ever get the chance try it out!

BJBenson from USA on May 07, 2010:

Love the hub, makes me want to see these places to see what I would feel from them. Maybe some day.

Elizabeth (author) from Some Sunny Beach, USA on May 07, 2010:

Thanks FrankiesGirl6Yr for your comment. And you are right they knew little about inflictions of the mind. The sad part is that not only were the practices, to say the least, unethical but they allowed what they didn't understand to get completely out of control! Since when does a geriatric person need shock therapy!??

Thanks Again!

FrankiesGirl6Yr from South Carolina on May 06, 2010:

Great Hub!!Some may think I'm crazy, but I would love to tour these places. Asylums facinate me. It's a horrible fact that these places and the Dr. running them knew little about the disease they were treating, so by not understanding it they did what they "thought" was best and that was to torture the sickness out of them. Thats insane within it's self

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