Some of the most famous abandoned asylums started out with amazing intentions. They were meant to help fight against the ever-raging battle of mental illness. Unfortunately, these places were overcrowded, understaffed, and highly underfunded, which ultimately led to their demise.
Within their walls, untold horrors occurred neglect, unethical practices, and even torture.
1) Abandoned Asylum 49
This abandoned asylum was doomed from the very start. The Old Toole hospital, now known as Asylum 49, opened in 1953 and was severely underfunded. It was built by Samuel. F Lee, who had initially intended to use the building as a home for his family. When his family left Utah in 1913, it then became a refugee house.
When the hospital opened, it didn't even have a morgue. They simply stacked the bodies in a small, dark unrefrigerated room until a coroner signed off on their deaths. Much later, the hospital was turned into a retirement home. However, it seems the seniors were not the only people residing in the hospital.
There have been many reports of seeing and hearing children playing though there were none around. When a child's spirit is spotted, it is considered to be an omen of death. Most paranormal researchers believe that they may not be children at all but demons.
The hospital seems to favor the number three. Three famous apparitions can be found in the hospital itself. A nurse, the man in black who likes to reveal himself at 3 am, and the third is a little girl that may or may not be a little human girl. Patients also tend to die in sets of three. So after one death, beware, for more are sure to follow.
2) The Abandoned Asylum Of Craig House
This now empty mansion was built in 1859 and is the first and oldest psychiatric hospital in the country. Founded by a Scottish doctor, Craig House gave the patients intensive talk therapy, among many other forms of treatment.
After numerous tragedies such as failure to treat schizophrenia, suicides, low funding, and charging an outrageous fee for mediocre care, it was forced to close its doors in 1999. It was then bought by Robert Wilson, who jumped to his death in 2013.
For the last eight years, this abandoned asylum has sat empty. It was purchased in 2018, but what will come of this beautiful, slightly sinister place is unknown.
3) The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Abandoned Asylum
Trans-Allegheny Asylum is one of the most disturbing asylums out there. This sprawling building rests on a 666- acre campus. Coincidence? I think not.
Designed by Richard Andrews, it was built to house 250 patients at any given time. However, in the 1950s, there was almost ten times that number in the crowded and vial conditions.
The hospital was finally forced to close its doors in 1994 and is now used as a popular tourist destination for photographers, history buffs, and paranormal adventure seekers alike.
4) The Abandoned Asylum Of Medfield State Hospital
From the time it was built in 1892 to 2003, this hospital has seen thousands of patients with an extensive range of mental instabilities. The original facility had 58 cottages on its ground. Only three dozen of them are still standing today.
Visitors are welcome to roam the grounds of this beautiful sprawling campus but are forbidden to enter any of the buildings. This abandoned asylum has appeared in many movies thought the years.
5) The Abandoned Asylum Of Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center
This abandoned asylum first opened its doors in 1924 just to the west of the Connecticut border. This hospital had been in operation for over 70 years and had seen hundreds if not thousands of people come through its doors.
Throughout the years, the facility became almost self-sustaining with its 900-acres, which contained a dairy farm, golf course, bowling alley, and even a bakery and ice cream shop. At one time, this sprawling campus was home to more than 5,000 residents and even more employees.
Unfortunately, due to its questionable practices, such as insulin shock therapy for schizophrenia, electroshock therapy, and frontal lobotomy that caused irreparable harm to thousands of its patients, the hospital ultimately closed its doors in 1994.
Two decades later, this abandoned asylum is in a state of disrepair, buildings crumbling, graffiti covering its once beautiful architecture, weeds and trash now taking up most of its grounds.
There was a small ray of hope in 2013 when a developer began renovating the property though work was suspended due to health concerns from exposure to asbestos which was settled in 2016. However, work has never resumed.
6) The Abandoned Asylum Of Willard
This beautiful Victorian building was built in 1869 and took a slightly different approach to treating its patients. Men and women were housed in separate wings of the hospital, and violent people were sent off to their ward. Patients of this asylum were free to roam the property as they pleased but never to leave.
Unfortunately, these patients were also subject to treatments that are now recognized as inhuman, such as ice baths, electroshock therapy, unnecessary surgeries, and lobotomies. There is a cemetery on the hospital's grounds, and the graves are marked only with numbers rather than the names of the unfortunate souls lost.
This abandoned asylum is one of the most popular around the world. The last patient walked out of its doors in 1995. Since then, the Department of Corrections has used a few of its outer buildings. The asylum itself is left sitting untouched belongings of both staff and patients alike sit where they were left as though waiting for their owners to return.
7) The Abandoned Asylum Of Forest Haven
This abandoned asylum opened its door in 1925 in Fort Meade, Maryland, with the dream of serving children who have mental illnesses, physical disabilities, and other restrictive issues. For decades it housed the children helping them to develop the functional skills they needed.
Like many others, Forest Haven suffered from low funding, cut even lower in the 1960s when qualified staff was replaced with less than minimum wage employees. During this time, untold horrors, reports of physical and sexual violence, neglect, and many other unusual causes occurred. When a patient died on campus, their bodies were processed and buried in unmarked graves.
Forest Haven closed its doors in 1991, but most buildings remain intact in a great state of decay. A single headstone is the only marker of the burial field, the final resting place of victims of the horrors within its walls.
8) The Abandoned Asylum Of Hart Island
This island has a long dark history. The first people on the island were civil war prisoners who died while imprisoned there. In 1870 it was home to those affected by the Yellow Fever epidemic, where many of its patients died.
Later it becomes the home of a lunatic asylum for women, a tuberculosis treatment center, a children's correction facility, and even a secret army base during the cold war.
Today though, it serves as a sort of "potter's field" for the state where unidentified bodies and even body parts are given a proper burial. Oddly enough, the island does offer public tours of the grounds. Though primarily only to those who can show proof of a family member buried there.
Recently Hart Island was back in the news, as thousands of New Yorkers, who died from Covid, have been buried in mass graves on Hart Island.
9) The Abandoned Asylum Of Letchworth Village
This abandoned asylum opened its doors in 1911, built to provide those with severe mental illness, physical handicaps, and developmental problems a safe, peaceful place to live.
Upon opening its doors, the village became almost immediately overcrowded, with the vast majority of its patients being children. Short staffing and underfunding soon led to a disgusting amount of abuse, both physical and sexual, neglect, and even questionable medical testing, as it was one of the first facilities to test the polio vaccine.
After the Willowbrook State School scandal in Staten Island, like many others, Letchworth Village shut down and was left to decay. Many years later, a golf course and public park were built on the part of its grounds leading to an odd landscape of crumbling, deteriorating buildings and manicured grass.
10) Severalls Abandoned Asylum
This beautiful structure was built in 1910 and was an absolute nightmare for most of its then residents. Over 2,000 patients were housed in the asylum at any given time, many of which required hospitalization. Others included women who were admitted by their families for being raped or bearing illegitimate children.
In the 1960s, this abandoned asylum offered music therapy, art therapy, and accessibility to medications needed by its patients. The hospital shut down in the early 1990s, but part of it remained open to house elderly stroke patients.
These patients were then transferred to Colchester, and the grounds of this place then became a ghost town, except for satellite villas that operate as research facilities.
In 2016 most of Severalls was demolished to make way for a significant road and housing development.
These abandoned asylums are beautiful. The architecture reminds us of the beauty of the past, the untold horrors a lesson taught to future generations in the health care system. These buildings have stood through time as a beautiful symbol of a time long gone.