The Most Haunted Asylums

by on Dec.27, 2012, under From the Web

Reposted from Ghost Stories and Haunted Places | Go to Original Post

 Mental Hospitals and Asylums seem to draw ghost
stories the way a light on a dark night draws bugs.  Ghost stories cling to them like moss and
collect over time until the dead patients wandering the halls  outnumber the living.   There is an irony to this.  These hospitals were built to be places of
healing where the broken and lost could find sanctuary and solace, but these
plans often go awry and accidents and apathy turn healing to hurt.  Tragedies linger in the shadows of these
hospitals and collect like dust over time.  

I have worked at several asylums during my career as
a psychologist and many times these places are not creepy.  They are places of healing and the staff
fights the darkness with art therapy and recreational therapy and all the
things mental health professionals do to make hospitals a place of
healing.    However, sometimes the sad
condition of the chronically mentally ill can’t be combated by these tools and
bad things happen.  Things happen that
are so bad, that evil seems to remain in the old hospitals.  It seeps into the foundations of the buildings
and creeps up through the walls tainting everything inside.  Bad doctors and staff turn bad things into
travesties and these hospitals become places of fear.  According to many, the ghosts cling to the emotions
that are kept in the hospitals.   Across
the nation, there are many hospitals that are considered to be haunted.   These hospitals have tragic histories and
their stories can send chills down the spines of even the bravest souls.  Here are a few of my favorite haunted
asylums:

Trans-Allegheny
Lunatic Asylum

This is considered by many to be the most haunted
hospital in the United States.  This
hospital was founded in Weston West Virginia in 1864 and was then called The
Weston State Hospital.   The hospital had
250 beds and houses some of the sickest patients in the region.   Although the hospital was built to house
only 250 patients, by 1950 overcrowding turned the hospital into something out
of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
and the building housed as many as 2500 sick souls.  Even Charles Manson spent some time at this
notorious hospital.   The hospital
witnessed all the worst of the early treatments for mental illness and frontal lobotomies
and water shock treatment were the mainstays of early treatment here.  However, the worst tragedies occurred when
the patients hurt each other.  There were
several patient to patient killings here and one nurse vanished only to have
her body discovered under the stairs two years later.  Death became common place at the Trans-Allegheny
Lunatic Asylum.  In 1994, the hospital
was considered unusable and it was close.  
Those that have visited this hospital say that they hear phantom noises
throughout the hospital.  They hear
ghostly screams and wails.  Full body
apparitions have been seen wandering the hallways and strange noises come from
the darkness.

Bryce
Hospital for the Insane

Alabama Hospital for the Insane was designed to be a refuge for the mentally
ill. Its architecture was designed based on the ideas of Dorothea Dix and
Thomas Story Kirkbride. It was meant to be moral architecture that would
contribute to the healing process within the hospital The hospital opened in
1861 and for a while it held to the ideals of Dix and Kirkbride. The first
superintendent, Peter Bryce, was an idealist and he had studied mental health
in Europe. He believed that patients should be treated with respect kindness.
He even abandoned the use of restraints. The hospital was later named for Bryce
and it went on to be the model for progressive mental health care.

 Time quickly eroded Bryce’ legacy, however. By 1967, there were more than
5200 patients residing in a facility that was never meant to hold that many.
Observers described Bryce as a concentration camp and a model for human
cruelty. In 1970, one patient named Wyatt started a class action law suit
against the Alabama’s other mental hospital, Searcy State Hospital. This lead
to major change in the way the mentally ill were treated in Alabama. The number
of beds was cut drastically and humane treatment of the mentally ill became an
absolute necessity. The landmark Wyatt v. Strickney Case would change Bryce
drastically. Old Bryce was the African American portion of Bryce Hospital and
was notorious for being even crueler than its white counterpart. After Wyatt v.
Strickey and desegregation, Old Bryce was shut down entirely and other
buildings were used. The African American patients were integrated into the
white population.

 Old Bryce still sits quietly deserted, however, as a reminder to the old
days when patients were held like prisoners with no rights. It is covered in
graffiti and has been vandalized many times. It’s even been set on fire.
Trespassing is forbidden here, but the curious have reported seeing all manner
of horrors coming out of the dark around Old Bryce. Lights flicker on an off in
the building that has no electricity. Phones ring in rooms with no phones.
Phantom lights drift from room to room. Furniture moves on its own and
footsteps echo through the abandoned hallways. The living patients may be gone,
but many believe Old Bryce is still filled with the ghosts of those who once
suffered in its walls.

 Norwich State Hospital For The
Mentally Insane

Norwich Hospital for The Mentally Insane was built in 1904 in Preston,
Connecticut and is known for the dark ghosts that live inside of it.  The Norwich Hospital was designed to house
the worst of the criminally insane patients in the state and, until 1971, it
did just that.  It was home to murders,
rapists, and other violent offenders. 
The hospital is situated on 900 acres of woodland and is utterly isolated
and crumbling.  This façade has added to
the horror stories that have built up around the violent people that lived within
the hospital and has created a collection of ghost stories so large they could
fill a book.  Suicides and murders fill
the history of Norwich Hospital and those who have died there never seem to
leave.  Witnesses describe hearing
screams in the darkness Faces appear out of nowhere and strange mists and
lights are seen in the halls.

 Searcy State Hospital

 Searcy State Hospital is located in  the most Southern part of rural Alabama.  Prior to being a state hospital the old
hospital has a long and dark history that is very difficult to find, but easy
to see upon casual observation. The hospital is encased in long, chipped, white
walls that seem as old as anything in the United States. From outside these
walls, you can see a battered watchtower that gives testament to the fact that
the hospital is in the same location as a 300 year old fort. The fort bears
witness to American history and was originally a Spanish fort. It switched
hands during the Louisiana Purchase and became a US fort. After the US took
possession of the fort it was converted to a military arsenal and became known
as the Mount Vernon Arsenal. The Arsenal switched hands again several times and
was taken by the Confederates during the civil war only to be passed back over
the United States again in 1862. From 1887 to 1894, The Arsenal became a
Barracks and was used as a prison for the captured Apache people. The most
famous of the Apache people to be held in these barracks was Geronimo. The
infamous Aaron Burr was also held at this secluded prison at some point.
 
In 1900 the Barracks were transformed once again and the prison became a
mental hospital. Searcy hospital was built as the African American mental
hospital in Alabama. Conditions in the hospital were beyond questionable and at
one time there were over 2000 patients in the crowded hospital and all were
seen by one psychiatrist. All patients were expected to work in the fields.

The hospital was desegregated in 1969, but its history is all around it. The
hospital is still used today, and although the residents live in new buildings,
many tell stories of ghosts and devils that linger in the white walls and
abandoned buildings that surround the new facilities. These stories are usually
ignored, because the patients are crazy, but I’m not the only sane person who
saw a few ghosts while they were working there.

Searcy served as the inspiration for my new novel, Circe. Its tragic history
and haunted atmosphere serve as a backdrop to the chilling tale of a young
intern slow decent into madness. If you would like to read more about Searcy,
you can find my book at:

 
www.amazon.com,    http://www.lachesispublishing.com/products.asp?cat=2

 

 

 

 

 

 

               


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