Ghost hunters and aficionados of the paranormal are always on the lookout for target-rich environments, and you can’t get much better than some of the abandoned mental institutions that can be found across America. Insane asylums, as they were once called, were dark creepy looking buildings where those diagnosed with what could have possibly been cured today, were locked away from society. Patients were subject to all sorts of archaic and brutal treatments in attempts to free their demons. Many of them died as a result. For this very reason, the majority of these still standing structures are haunted beyond description.
Many frightening tales have been told by curiosity seekers who dared enter one of these buildings. It’s the general consensus these tortured souls are not friendly sorts, so if you visit one don’t expect Casper the Friendly Ghost to greet you with a wide-toothed grin.
How curious are you? If ghost hunting is your thing, or it just sounds like something fun to do, it doesn’t get any better than this.
The Norwich State Hospital for the Mentally Insane – Preston, Connecticut
Violent criminals who pleaded insanity were locked away behind the red bricks of this psychiatric torture chamber, later wishing they had opted for life in prison or the death penalty. It was that horrendous.
They were mixed in with patients who shouldn’t have even been there. Many of the so-called crazy patients were suffering from things like tuberculosis and drug addiction and this was as good of a place as any to properly dispose of them. Besides, psychiatric medicine was new and unexplored and the quacks needed an endless supply of guinea pigs.
Compared to this place, patients in other asylums were living in Disneyland. Don’t worry about having your head screwed on straight before you visit, it’s going to need adjusting by the time you’re through anyway. You’re going to be hearing some things that’ll make your nose hairs quiver.
Prepare yourself, if at all possible, to be scared witless by full-throated, gut-exploding, blood-curdling screams. Children’s voices will have you wanting to run, but once you’ve made it this far you’re in for the ride. Oh yeah, objects are going to move. There’s one more thing you should know, it’s built right over an ancient Native-American village so it’s doubly haunted.
The doctors and nurses lived on the grounds and the complex was totally self-sufficient with their own power and even a bowling alley. Outsiders rarely entered. Patients suffered physical and sexual abuse, long periods in solitary confinement, they were starved and beaten, tortured, used for experimental brain surgery, and ultimately, many of them died at the hands of the asylum’s staff.
Every type paranormal activity imaginable has been witnessed here. Shadowy floating figures, sudden mists, voices, moving objects, hearing steps, you name it. Norwich State Hospital for the Mentally Insane is like one-stop shopping. It has it all.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – Weston, West Virginia
The Kremlin is the largest hand-cut masonry building in the world. The second largest is the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. And boy, is it spooky looking. Just the word lunatic is enough to send shivers. Let’s put things in perspective. Charles Manson was once a patient here.
Originally built in the mid-1800’s to house 250 patients, they ended up with roughly 2500, give or take. The facility could not sufficiently handle the overcrowded conditions and living conditions became at the very least, grim. Sanitary conditions fell by the wayside.
Out of control patients were locked like animals in cages or chained to walls, reminiscent of a medieval dungeon. A great majority of them were lobotomized, and quite oddly, suffocation was a major cause of death.
Paranormal activity is an everyday occurrence. It never stops. Dead Civil War soldiers roam the grounds as if protecting the equally as dead inhabitants. To say the hauntings here are extreme would be a huge understatement.
The first floor houses, Ruth. She hated men and would throw things at them. Visitors have been shoved against walls and whistled at. Ruth can sometimes be seen wandering the hallways.
On the second floor, a patient was stabbed 17 times by another patient, and the two patients across the hallway hung themselves. Voices have been heard saying, “Get out.”
The third and fourth floors are out of control. Almost demonic in nature. Screaming, footsteps, shadows, the whole nine.
It’s open to the public so go do some exploring. If you can handle it, that is.
Athens Lunatic Asylum, Athens, Ohio
This asylum specialized in treating the criminally insane. Most of the patients were admitted by the court, but when the asylum ran low of patients they would pay families to turn in one of their own members who might be having trouble. The families were led to believe a stay at the asylum would be peaceful. Patients could picnic on the grounds while receiving a well-deserved rest.
Unruly teenagers were turned in by their parents and older folks were dropped off by their kids. Before long the asylum became overcrowded and new methods of dealing with the patients were implemented. Common practices included ice-water baths, lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and any other cruel untested methods the doctors could conjure up.
A patient in 1978 was playing hide and seek with a nurse when she disappeared for good. A month later a maintenance worker found her body in the attic where she had found a good hiding spot and never came out. It is said an imprint and stain of her body can still be seen on the floor. Multiple attempts have failed at cleaning the stain.
The patient, Margaret Schilling, still haunts the place today, and apparently, she has lots of company. The graveyard out back is where criminally insane patients with no next of kin were buried in numbered graves with no names on the markers. It’s been said they freely roam the grounds at night.
Though it is not open to the public, and even paranormal investigators have been denied entrance, just a walk around the grounds and through the graveyard is enough to convince anyone they want to be long gone before the sun goes down. Or, maybe not
These haunted sites reflect the shameful history of “treating” the mentally ill. You would be hard-pressed to find any other sites that are more jam-packed with spirits trying to make themselves heard.