There was a time when those who suffered with a mental illness were not treated well. Over the last one hundred years, the number of abuse reports regarding mentally ill patients is staggering. Years ago, many of the procedures that were used to try to cure these diseases were actually forms of torture, to a slightly lesser degree. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that many American asylums are said to be quite haunted.
Below are some of the most haunted mental institutions in the US, along with a bit of the demented history associated with each.
Danvers Insane Asylum
This location resembles a castle more than a hospital. Danvers was home to criminals who were mentally ill, include those who had a tendency towards violence. There were many reports of inmates murdering each other, as well as staff members. Danvers would go on to become so understaffed that dead patients could be left to rot for days before being removed. The spirit activity here is reported in the hallways and in the back area, where there is a cemetery.
Rolling Hills Asylum
Rolling Hills initially started as a farm in 1827. The East Bethany, New York property went on to be used as a home for the poor, struggling, and mentally ill. In the 90s, Rolling Hills began being used for other purposes, such as antique shops. Even so, reports of the sights and sounds of the ghosts of former patients are still coming in to this day.
Willard Asylum for the Chronically Insane
Most who enter the doors of the Willard Asylum never returned to society. Sadly, many of the patients who died there still remain in the hospital. Willard was constructed in 1869 and was known for many ghastly treatments, including hanging patients by their thumbs when they refused to calm down. Of the more interesting ghosts in this haunted location is that of a female doctor who worked at the hospital before she herself went insane.
Richardson Olmsted Complex
Constructed in 1870 in New York, the Richardson Olmsted hospital was reportedly often understaffed. This led to many problems, including patients having to sleep in their own excrement. This hospital was used for many experiments, most of which involved essentially pulverizing the brains of patients, causing them to die. These experiments certainly may provide an explanation for the reports of the otherworldly screams that are often heard by visitors.
Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital
Folk singer Woodie Guthrie referred to Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital as “Gravestone” after he spent time there during the 1950s. This was because such a large number of patients died while Guthrie was there. Constructed in 1876, Greystone Park was closed in 2003, amid reports of sexual abuse that was taking place. Ghost hunters and visitors who are brave enough to enter Greystone say that they encounter the shadows of the former patients.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Interesting fact about the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – it is the second largest hand-cut stone building in the entire world (the Kremlin is first). This West Virginia asylum was constructed during the Civil War and served as home to some of the more notorious lunatics of our time, including Charles Manson. Ghosts of Civil War soldiers are often seen in this former asylum, as is a ghost by the name of Ruth, who is said to actively be haunting the location, even causing physical harm to some visitors.
Pennhurst Asylum is located in East Vincent, Pennsylvania. Pennhurst opened in 1908 and never really had a clean reputation, being widely known for abusing patients and other scandals. At this hospital, patients were reported to have been chained to walls, while young patients were forced to basically live in their cribs for years on end. Many murders took place, by both patients and staff. The spirits that haunt Pennhurt have been known to scream at visitors, with some warning visitors to get out, presumably while they still can.
Hudson River State Hospital
Hudson River opened in Fairview, New York, in 1871. Hudson River functioned as both a mental institution and a tuberculosis hospital. Many report hearing ghostly voices in its halls. Perhaps the ghosts are telling visitors of the abuses that took place there many years ago.
While we no longer have these types of institutions in the US, we still have not worked out the best means for caring for those with mental issues. It is quite possible that the psychiatric institutions that are in operation today could very well be the haunted locations that we are telling stories about tomorrow.