Tour the 6 Most Haunted Mental Hospitals
During the fall, ghost tours and haunted house tours become very popular. Often, haunted tours are just historic tours where people are shown where they might see a ghost if the conditions are right. But, there are certain places where so many dark and twisted things took place that the conditions are always right to witness the suffering of spirits that remain there. These places are the haunted mental hospitals that dot the landscape.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the lists of reasons that people were admitted to these facilities ranged from (what are now known to be) actual medical conditions, chemical imbalances, mental issues, poverty, crime, and even just when people became too much of a burden for their families. The mental hospitals of that era had some of the most horrific and torturous “treatments” that you can imagine. Reading these treatments is like reading entries out of Dr. Mengele’s experiment journal. It makes a lot of sense that these places would at least be very creepy, if not actually haunted. Here is a list of six of these haunted mental hospitals that offer tours, and one even allows you to spend the night!
Haunted Mental Hospitals
1. Athens Lunatic Asylum: Athens Ohio
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This facility is now owned by the University of Ohio, and the main building houses the Kennedy Art Museum, offices, and classes. Due to this, the buildings are in good shape for use. This facility is not the run down abandoned terror factory that you might be expecting. However, the tour does give you a good sense of what a stay at the asylum would actually be like for the resident. The facility was run from 1874-1993, and boasts frequent paranormal activity. Tours fill up fast, so book yours ahead of time.
2. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium: Louisville, Kentucky
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is located in Louisville, Kentucky, and was actually not a mental hospital. Waverly Hills was a tuberculosis hospital from 1926-1961, and the facility was completely self sufficient with its own zip code, store, and slaughterhouse. The staff and patients all lived on site. After it was no longer needed as a hospital, it became an geriatric facility. Regardless of what it was used for, Waverly hills is known to be one of the most haunted places in the U.S. The facility has regular tours, and it also hosts a haunted house at the end of October.
3. Rolling Hills Asylum: East Bethany, New York
The Rolling Hills Asylum was originally named the Genesee County Poor farm, and was established in 1826. A poor farm was essentially a facility that was funded by the local government to house those who were poor, down on their luck, widows, orphans, disabled, criminals, and mentally ill. It was a sort of dumping ground for the dregs and unwanted of society. All of the people were called inmates, and they were forced to work on the grounds. The facility has a long history of paranormal activity, with many stories of sightings, audible encounters, and investigations. The facility has guided tours and ghost hunts that you can be a part of.
4. Pennhurst Asylum: Spring City, Pennsylvania
Sorry for the spam – I really dig this shot because on the left, they're trying to keep a few buildings open for a yearly Halloween ghost tour – but on the right, most of those buildings are completely boarded up and forgotten so I was able to capture a balance between rejuvenation and decay. The structure in the middle is the administrative building, the source of the corruption at Pennhurst asylum.
The Pennhurst Asylum was originally known as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic, and it started taking patients in 1908, but within four years the facility was severely overcrowded. They classified the residents as either imbeciles or insane, and believed in treating the feeble minded as potential criminals that needed to be kept away from society. The facility even had an in house eugenicist to determine if the patients were fit to procreate, and to investigate why the feeble minded were genetically inferior. Pennhurst was closed in 1977 when a judge determined that the facility violated the civil rights of the patients. The site has several attractions, including multiple guided tours of areas named the dungeon of lost souls, the tunnel of terror, and the Ghost Hunt that is a self guided tour through the most paranormally active location on the site. Pennhurst also hosts a very creepy haunted house in fall.
5. Willard Asylum for the Chronically Insane: Ovid, New York
The Willard Asylum was opened in 1869, and it quickly became a dumping ground for the neglected and unwanted of other asylums. Whole buildings were committed to treatments like electro shock and lobotomies, and a cemetery with thousands of headstones that are marked with numbers only and no names. The site was closed in 1995, and there were still hundreds of patient suitcases on the site. The site used to host annual tours, but so many arrived for the 2015 tour that they did not offer a tour in 2016. They may do a tour in 2017, but it is still unknown if that will happen.
6. Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum: Weston, West Virginia
We saved the best for last. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1864, and was designed for 250 residents. The facility was quickly overcrowded, which was a common occurrence in the history of haunted mental hospitals. The asylum housed “mental defectives,” and inmates that would not behave were locked in cages. The Asylum has been featured on several T.V. shows, including Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, and Paranormal Lockdown. There have been many apparitions seen and heard over the years that may be one of the hundreds of souls that perished on the grounds. The Site offers heritage tours and ghost tours, and if you are up for a good scare, they have special packages that allow you to stay the night in the asylum.
These haunted mental hospitals are some of the most haunted places in the US. If you are looking for a good scare to get you into the Halloween spirit, then these locales are a good place to start. Do you know of any other haunted asylums that you can recommend? If so, please comment below.