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“We’re all tickled to death that someone is in there and using the space and bringing it back to its heyday and letting it be all it can be,” she said. “If you love architecture and you love history and you love the paranormal, you’re going to love that building, and that’s just all there is to it.”

Not that there aren’t critics. Some mental health advocates were outraged by the name change and still are.

“I still think it is inappropriate to capitalize on the sad history of that place and to promote the stereotypes that are attached often to mental illness,” said Ann McDaniel, executive director of the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council. “There’s enough fear out there about people who have mental illness. We don’t have to make it scary.

“It sensationalizes,” she said. “If they were just educating people, that would be good. But when you have haunted houses … when you have trails called the ‘Psycho Path,’ that kind of thing is negative.”

About once every six months, Ms. Jordan said, she gets a call from someone concerned about the name.

“And then they book!” she said. “So who cares?”

The Jordan family has experience with mental health issues, she said, and its exhibits educate people on treatments once considered state of the art but now considered horrifying - electroshock therapy, lobotomies, cold-water baths and cagelike cribs that were hung from the ceiling, to name just a few.

The seven museum rooms also feature more than 120 pieces of artwork - pottery, paintings, quilts - that patients made in therapy. Disassembled for the winter, when the unheated building is cold and damp, the displays include the superintendent’s books, nurses’ logs and more.

The asylum is working with West Virginia University to create an interactive exhibit featuring storyboards, photos and recorded interviews with former patients and staff. The museum is a popular stop with junior high and high school history classes, but also with students of nursing and abnormal psychology.

“Primarily, there were people here who were trying to make it better for the mentally ill,” Ms. Jordan said. “But there were still people who believed in what they called ‘thump therapy’ … and that’s just the people who came in angry and would just beat the patients. Unfortunately, that did happen.”

The key to the Jordans’ success so far has been a diversity of offerings, from Civil War and hospital history tours to “mud bogs” for four-wheelers and trucks, and a 25-band Moonstruck Music Festival. It hosts year-round paranormal tours and ghost hunts, even inviting TV celebrities to give seminars and lead special private hunts.

Ms. Jordan said the asylum is making about $600,000 or $700,000 a year, but she still doesn’t take a salary, and every dollar goes back into the business.

“And I’m fine with that,” she said. “As long as we’re able to keep the building open.”

At the end of October, her payroll totaled about $161,000, but maintenance expenses were more than $295,000 - and that was before the wintertime shutdown and the ramping-up of repairs.

And so she adds attractions, with an eye to running a year-round business this year.

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