If you are looking for a spooky adventure, you might want to visit some of the most haunted asylums in America. These places were once home to thousands of mentally ill patients, many of whom suffered from abuse, neglect, and horrific experiments. Some of them never left, and their restless spirits still roam these abandoned buildings’ corridors, wards, and basements. Here are ten haunted asylums in America that you should avoid…or dare to explore.
1. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, also known as the Weston State Hospital, was a massive psychiatric hospital that operated from 1864 to 1994. It was designed to house 250 patients, but at its peak, it held over 2,400, many of them crammed into overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.
The asylum was notorious for its brutal treatments, such as lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and ice-water baths. Many patients died there, and some were buried in unmarked graves on the grounds.
Today, the asylum is a popular destination for ghost hunters, who have reported seeing apparitions, hearing screams and voices, and feeling cold spots and touches. The asylum also offers tours, overnight stays, and paranormal events for brave visitors who want to experience its dark history.
2. Pennhurst Asylum, Pennsylvania
Pennhurst Asylum was an institution for the mentally and physically disabled that opened in 1908 and closed in 1987. It was originally named the Pennhurst Home for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic but later changed to Pennhurst State School and Hospital.
The asylum was overcrowded and understaffed, and many of the patients were abused, neglected, or exploited by the staff or other inmates. Some of them were also used as subjects for medical experiments or sterilized without consent.
The asylum was exposed by a TV report in 1968, which led to a series of lawsuits and investigations that eventually resulted in its closure.
It is now a haunted attraction that offers tours and events for thrill seekers. However, some claim that the attraction is not only staged but also real, as many paranormal phenomena have been reported there, such as voices, shadows, and physical attacks.
3. Danvers State Hospital, Massachusetts
Danvers State Hospital was a psychiatric hospital that opened in 1878 and closed in 1992. It was built on the site of the former Salem Village, where the infamous witch trials took place in the 17th century.
The hospital was known for its Gothic architecture, its sprawling grounds, and its use of lobotomies and other controversial treatments. The hospital also inspired the setting of the horror novel and movie “Session 9”, which depicted the hospital as a place of evil and madness.
The hospital was demolished in 2006, but some parts of it were preserved and converted into apartments. However, many people believe that the hospital is still haunted by the spirits of the former patients and staff, who have been seen wandering around the building or staring out of the windows. Some have also reported hearing screams, laughter, and music coming from the empty rooms.
4. Athens Lunatic Asylum, Ohio
Athens Lunatic Asylum was a psychiatric hospital that opened in 1874 and closed in 1993. It was located on a hill overlooking the town of Athens, Ohio.
The hospital treated patients with various mental disorders, as well as tuberculosis, epilepsy, and alcoholism. Some of the treatments used at the hospital included hydrotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, insulin shock therapy, and lobotomies.
The hospital also had a cemetery where over 1,900 patients were buried under numbered markers. The hospital is now part of the Ohio University campus, but some buildings remain abandoned and decaying.
Many people claim that the hospital is haunted by the ghosts of the patients who died there or were mistreated by the staff.
Some of the most famous hauntings include a patient named Margaret Schilling, who disappeared in 1978 and whose body was found a year later in an unused ward; her stain is still visible on the floor where she died.
Another haunting involves a patient named Billy Milligan, who had multiple personality disorder; he claimed that one of his personalities could communicate with spirits at the hospital.
5. Rolling Hills Asylum, New York
Rolling Hills Asylum was an institution for orphans, widows, paupers, criminals, and mentally ill people that opened in 1827 and closed in 1974.
It was originally called the Genesee County Poor Farm or Poor House; later, it became known as Rolling Hills Asylum or Rolling Hills Hospital.
The asylum housed over 1,700 people at its peak, many of whom died there from disease, violence, or suicide.
The asylum also had a morgue, a cemetery, and a crematorium. The asylum is now a museum and a haunted attraction that offers tours and events for visitors.
Many paranormal investigators have visited the asylum and reported encountering various spirits, such as Roy, a 7-foot-tall man who his parents abandoned; Nurse Emmy, who still cares for the patients; and Raymond, a child who likes to play with toys.
6. Byberry Mental Hospital, Pennsylvania
Byberry Mental Hospital was a psychiatric hospital that opened in 1907 and closed in 1990. It was located in the Byberry neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The hospital was notorious for its overcrowding, understaffing, and abuse of patients. Some of the horrors that took place at the hospital included patients being chained to walls, beaten by staff, raped by other inmates, or left to die in their own filth.
The hospital was exposed by a series of photographs taken by Charlie Lord, a conscientious objector who worked at the hospital during World War II. The photographs showed the appalling conditions and suffering of the patients and sparked public outrage and reforms.
It was eventually closed and demolished, but some people believe that the spirits of the patients still haunt the site. Some have reported seeing apparitions, hearing screams and moans, and feeling cold spots and touches.
7. Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, New York
Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane was a psychiatric hospital that opened in 1880 and closed in 1974. It was located in Buffalo, New York. The hospital was designed by the famous architect Henry Hobson Richardson in a Romanesque style.
The hospital had two main buildings connected by corridors that formed a bat-wing shape. The hospital treated patients with various mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and dementia. Some of the treatments used at the hospital included hydrotherapy, electroshock therapy, lobotomies, and insulin shock therapy.
The hospital also had a farm where patients worked and produced food for the institution. The hospital was closed due to deinstitutionalization and neglect; some buildings were demolished, while others were left abandoned and decaying.
The hospital is now being renovated and converted into a hotel and conference center. However,
some people claim that the hospital is still haunted by the ghosts of the patients who suffered there. Some have reported seeing shadows, hearing voices and footsteps, and feeling cold drafts and touches.
8. Taunton State Hospital, Massachusetts
Taunton State Hospital was a psychiatric hospital that opened in 1854 and closed in 1975. It was located in Taunton, Massachusetts. The hospital was one of the first state hospitals in the country; it was also one of the largest and most progressive.
The hospital treated patients with various mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.
The hospital also had a school, a library, a chapel, a theater, and a cemetery. The hospital was closed due to deinstitutionalization and budget cuts; some buildings were demolished, while others were left abandoned and vandalized. The hospital is now partially reopened as a forensic psychiatric facility.
Some people believe that the hospital is still haunted by the spirits of the patients who died there or were tortured by the staff. Some have reported seeing apparitions, hearing screams and laughter, and feeling watched or followed.
9. Bartonville State Hospital, Illinois
Bartonville State Hospital was a psychiatric hospital that opened in 1902 and closed in 1973. It was located in Bartonville, Illinois. The hospital was built on the site of an abandoned insane asylum that had never been used due to construction problems and superstitions.
The hospital treated patients with various mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and epilepsy. Some of the treatments used at the hospital included hydrotherapy, electroshock therapy, lobotomies, and insulin shock therapy.
The hospital was closed due to deinstitutionalization and deterioration; some buildings were demolished, while others were left abandoned and decaying. Private investors now own the hospital and plan to restore it and use it for various purposes.
However, some people claim that the hospital is still haunted by the ghosts of the patients who
lived or were buried there. Some have reported seeing apparitions, hearing voices and noises,
and feeling cold spots and touches.
10. Eloise Asylum, Michigan
The Eloise Asylum is a former psychiatric hospital located in Westland, Michigan. It was established in 1839 and expanded over time to cover a vast area of 902 acres with 70 buildings. The facility had its own police and fire department, post office, bakery, slaughterhouse, amusement hall, cattle herds, greenhouse, cannery, and tobacco field. At its peak, Eloise housed around 12,000 people. Over time, the number of buildings decreased to just eight over roughly 50 acres.
The hospital has gained notoriety as one of the most haunted places in Michigan. There have been reports of strange moans, screams, and roars on the old grounds. Some people claim to have seen the spirit of a woman wearing white on the upper floors and roof. Others have heard moaning and believe they are the souls of tormented patients. The old Eloise graveyard is also said to be haunted.
A portion of the former Asylum has been turned into a haunted attraction bearing the same name.