Abandoned Asylums and Haunted Hospitals

Most of us in the paranormal world know about the dark history and twisted treatments that had previously taken place behind the doors of most mental institutions. Because of this, a lot of the abandoned asylums and hospitals that we hear about today are plagued by paranormal activity and why they are a go-to type of location for paranormal investigators. Let’s explore some of these places and the haunting history behind them…

St. Crispin’s Hospital in Northamptonshire, England

Have opened in 1876, St. Crispin’s was a psychiatric facility located near Duston village in Northhampton, Northamptonshire, England. Additional units for children were established in 1887. The hospital served as a military hospital during the First World War and became Northhampton Mental Hospital thereafter. As part of the Doctor Who series, the hospital was used for filming for a six-part story called The Talons of Weng-Chiang. The mortuary was depicted as a Victorian operating theatre.

After closing down in 1995 due to the opening of Care in the Community, the hospital fell victim to vandalization and even fires when in August of 2014, over eighty firefighters responded to a call when a large fire broke out and again in 2015 when arsonists set fire to one of the buildings, badly damaging it. Today, it still remains abandoned where urban explorers and paranormal enthusiasts and investigators take advantage of its empty state. Or, well almost empty as it has been partially redone for residential use with a mental health unit still currently runs here.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV

By Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant)

Trans-Allegheny (or Weston State Hospital) was constructed from 1858–1881 and was in operation for over a century from 1864-1994 in the town of Weston, West Virginia. Although being originally designed to only house 250 people, it became widely overcrowded in the 1950s with 2,600 patients. Things took a turn for the terrifying when the hospital found itself to be apart of the West Virginia Lobotomy Project in the early ’50s, lobotomizing patients in an effort to help the issue of overcrowding. By the 1980s, the population in the hospital decreased when the treatment for the mentally ill changed at a point where patients weren’t ‘controllable’ and were often locked in cages. During that time, the governor wished to build a different psychiatric hospital then turn Trans-Allegheny into a prison but instead, it was simply shut down in 1994.

It is now a popular paranormal destination for tourists and ghost hunters and is considered one of the most haunted asylums in the United States, maybe even the world! It’s been featured on Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal Lockdown, and Ghost Stories. They offer regular tours, ghost tours, and you can even dare yourself to capture the paranormal on your own!

Pennhurst State School and Hospital in Spring City, PA

The first buildings of Pennhurst were constructed from 1903-1908 and it was originally known as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic, open for the mentally and/or physically disabled in the area of Southeastern Pennsylvania but within four years after opening, Pennhurst was pressured to take in immigrants, orphans, and criminals. Patients were classified into various categories: imbecile or insane, physically healthy or epileptic, and good or poor teeth/mouth health. Later in the ’60s, news arose about the harsh treatment conditions for the patients then in 1983, nine Pennhurst employees were charged with slapping and beating patients and apparently would arrange for patients to beat and assault each other. The court case of Halderman v. Pennhurst State School and Hospital about the abusive claims and controversy led to the institution’s inevitable closure (in 1987) as the Judge ruled that the conditions violated the constitutional rights of the patients.

Today, Pennhurst is widely explored by paranormal investigators and urban explorers, for it is heavily believed to be one of the most haunted institutions and was apart of “The World’s Biggest Ghost Hunt,” by A&E where teams were spread out and given permission to explore the 110-acre property, including areas that weren’t ever previously investigated. People have reported seeing full-body apparitions, hearing mysterious and strange noises, being physically attacked, and even more. Maybe it’s possible that the abused and the abusers still reside at Pennhurst in the afterlife…

Aradale Mental Hospital in Ararat, Australia

Originally known as Ararat Lunatic Asylum, it was a psychiatric hospital located in Ararat, Australia (south-west Victoria). It is the largest abandoned lunatic asylum in Australia and opened in 1867. It has a feature that is especially distinctive referred to as the ‘Ha-Ha’ wall around the patient’s courtyards as it was used to keep those housed from escaping but the walls sit low as to not be confused with imprisonment. Aradale has two sister institutions: Kew Lunatic Asylum (Later referred to as Willsmere) and Beechworth Asylum (later known as Beechworth Hospital).

Due to the death toll of an estimated 13,000 during its years of operation, it’s no wonder as to why some people believe the hospital to be haunted. It’s been referred to as the most haunted place in ALL of Australia (according to Mamamia.com.au) with multiple accounts of paranormal activity, ranging from feeling nauseous and experiencing strange pain to hearing banging sounds that some infer to be the residual sounds of past mental patients banging their heads against the hospital walls. Also, people have reported being bitten and shoved… Would you stay the night here?

Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital in Gwangju-Si, South Korea

Located in Gwangju-Si, South Korea, the psychiatric hospital housed those with various personality disorders like schizophrenia and patients that had suicidal and homicidal tendencies. Although the institution apparently closed due to sewage problems, others believe the reason to be a bit more sinister. The most popular theory behind the abrupt close was a mentally ill psychiatrist that conducted experiments on his patients and when his cruelty was discovered, he fled to the United States but most experts state that this isn’t possible. Another rumor that rose to popularity was that a wave of mysterious patient deaths occurred due to the ghosts of former patients coming back to take vengeance.

Today, Gonjiam is thought of to be the most haunted place in South Korea by ghost hunters and truth seekers. And although Gonjiam is closed off to the public, many curious explorers sneak their way onto the grounds in an attempt to see the eerie location for themselves. Many claim that they experience a dreadful feeling while roaming and that the ghosts even follow them to their cars. Although the rumors aren’t confirmed, this hospital is utterly haunting. Would you visit? 

Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, MA

Located in Danvers, Massachusettes stands an abandoned asylum with a morbid past. It opened in 1878 to criminals that were mentally unstable and later came alcoholics, felons, and those who were mentally handicapped. But due to the additional patients, the hospital became severely understaffed to the point that those who died weren’t discovered until days later, found forgotten and left to decay. And if that’s not horrible enough, lobotomies and shock therapy were common and routine procedures here as some call Danvers the “birthplace of the prefrontal lobotomy.”

Many say that there are evil spirits that linger in the on-site cemetery. Perhaps those who were treated poorly and left to die came back to menacingly haunt the grounds. Likely residing as well are the ghosts of Salem witches. Afterall, Danvers used to be Salem Village… This location had also helped to inspire H.P. Lovecraft’s Arkham Sanatorium and Batman’s Arkham Asylum, and it was the setting of Session 9. Danvers State Hospital sounds like an intriguing place…also terrifying but unfortunately, you can’t visit the asylum anymore as most of the buildings were successfully demolished to make way for apartment buildings. Maybe the ghosts still reside in the current apartments?

Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, NY

Originally known as the Genesee County Poor Farm and established in December of 1826, it housed orphans, widowed woman and their children, the mentally ill and disabled, and minor criminals, all of them being referred to as inmates. They would tend to the needs of the self-sufficient farm by doing chores and tending to the outside animals. There were two shops here as well: one for selling pastries and jams and one for selling coffins for one’s own profit.

While the poor house was in operation there were over 1,700 documented deaths and they were buried in unmarked graves on the property. This is likely one of the reasons why the location is known to be so haunted. Paranormal activity includes doors slamming, sightings of apparitions (one being that of Roy Crouse, who died in 1942). Other shadowy apparitions are often spotted in what is called the “Shadow Hallway” as they peek out from behind doorways and shuffle and crawl along the area. If you dare, there many different ghost tours available. Would you visit or have you visited Rolling Hills Asylum?

While these represent a fraction of the many haunted hospitals and abandoned asylums in the world, I do hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, please consider subscribing so you never miss an upcoming post every Monday!

Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.

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