7 scary abandoned asylums with ghostly residents

abandoned asylums fi

Note: The content found on this website is intended for entertainment purposes and may have themes of a disturbing nature. Proceed at your own risk. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

7 scary abandoned asylums & their ghost stories

From disturbing pioneering treatments to the chilling reports of paranormal activity, these abandoned asylum sites offer a glimpse into a bygone era of psychiatric care.

These institutions, once bustling with activity, now stand silent, but the stories they hold are as loud as ever.

Let’s take a closer look at these institutions and the tales that linger within their crumbling walls.

1 abandoned asylum

1. Byberry Mental Hospital, Pennsylvania

Byberry Mental Hospital, located in Pennsylvania, opened its doors in the early 20th century. It was initially designed to provide care for people with mental health issues.

Over the years, however, the conditions inside Byberry began to deteriorate. Reports emerged of overcrowding, poor sanitation, and inadequate treatment.

The Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry A History of Misery and Medicine Landmarks abandoned asylums
The Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry: A History of Misery and Medicine

Disturbing events and treatments, such as the use of restraints and isolation, were not uncommon, painting a grim picture of life inside the hospital.

Ghost stories and tales of paranormal activity have become a significant part of Byberry’s legacy since its closure. Many visitors and former employees have reported paranormal encounters within the walls of this abandoned asylum.

Stories range from hearing unexplained noises, such as footsteps and whispers, to sightings of shadowy figures that seem to vanish when approached.

3 abandoned asylum

2. Old Topeka State Hospital, Kansas

The Old Topeka State Hospital in Kansas, which opened its doors in the late 19th century, was once a bustling center for psychiatric care.

It aimed to provide a refuge for individuals with mental health issues. However, as the years passed, the hospital became known for its troubling conditions.

Reports highlighted issues like overcrowding and inadequate treatment. Treatments at the time included methods now considered inhumane.

This included forced sterilization, chaining patients to their beds for extended periods, and the use of hydrotherapy in ways that were more punitive than therapeutic.

5 abandoned asylum

With its history, it’s no surprise that the Old Topeka State Hospital has become the subject of many ghost stories. Visitors to and paranormal investigators of the abandoned asylum have reported a range of experiences.

These include sightings of apparitions believed to be former patients and unexplained sounds, like doors slamming shut on their own and disembodied voices.

3. Milledgeville State Hospital, Georgia

milledgeville state hospital central building abandoned asylums

Milledgeville State Hospital in Georgia, once known as the largest mental institution in the world, has a complex history.

Established in the 19th century, it was designed to provide treatment for people with mental illnesses. Despite its noble intentions, the hospital faced significant challenges over the years, including overcrowding and underfunding.

This led to less-than-ideal conditions for patients, with reports of inadequate care and the use of methods such as electroshock therapy and lobotomies.

2 abandoned asylum

Many who have visited the abandoned site or studied its past report unexplained phenomena. These include sightings of spectral figures wandering the halls, sudden temperature drops, and mysterious voices.

Such tales suggest that, despite the hospital’s closure, the spirits of its former inhabitants may still linger, unable or unwilling to leave the site of their earthly struggles.

4. Trenton State Hospital, New Jersey

New Jersey state lunatic asylum, Trenton - Engraving abandoned asylums

Trenton State Hospital, located in New Jersey, was one of the first mental health facilities established in the United States.

Opening in the mid-19th century, it was initially seen as a progressive step towards providing humane care for individuals with mental illnesses.

The hospital’s notoriety peaked under the direction of Henry Cotton.

Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine by Andrew Scull casts a spotlight on this forgotten chapter, revealing a medical scandal of shocking brutality.

Madhouse A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine abandoned asylums
Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine

Cotton, convinced of a singular cause behind mental illnesses — chronic infections leading to “focal sepsis” — embarked on a merciless crusade against what he perceived as the root of psychosis.

His radical approach led to the removal of teeth, tonsils, and even major organs such as stomachs, spleens, colons, and uteruses.

The consequences of Cotton’s experiments were devastating: many patients died, while thousands more were left severely disfigured or maimed.

Despite the nature of his practices, Cotton faced no opposition from his contemporaries. This era of unchecked experimental surgery went largely unquestioned, casting a long shadow over the hospital’s history.

Many who have visited the now-abandoned grounds report eerie experiences that suggest the past still haunts its buildings.

These include sightings of ghostly figures believed to be former patients, unexplained noises, and voices heard in the empty halls. Some visitors have described feeling sudden, inexplicable drops in temperature, adding to the chilling atmosphere of the site.

5. Fergus Falls State Hospital, Minnesota

Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center abandoned asylums
Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Chad Davis from Minneapolis, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fergus Falls State Hospital in Minnesota opened its doors in the late 19th century, embodying the era’s optimism about the treatment of mental illness.

Designed according to the Kirkbride Plan, it featured long, sprawling wings intended to promote healing through exposure to natural light and air.

Despite these good intentions, the hospital faced challenges common to mental health institutions of its time, including overcrowding and underfunding, which led to substandard care.

Reports from the period detail the use of restraints, isolation, and excessive electroconvulsive therapy without proper consent or consideration for the patient’s condition.

Additionally, lobotomies were performed as a last resort for what were considered untreatable cases, often resulting in significant and irreversible damage to the patients’ cognitive and emotional capacities.

These methods were aimed at control rather than cure, and underscore a dark period in psychiatric treatment — where the dignity and autonomy of individuals were frequently overlooked.

Explorers and paranormal investigators drawn to the site have reported strange occurrences, such as unexplained sounds, sightings of shadowy figures, and objects moving on their own.

6. Letchworth Village, New York

Letchworth Village building Dec 11 abandoned asylums
Photo: Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Letchworth Village, located in New York, was established in the early 20th century as a residential institution for the physically and mentally disabled.

It was envisioned as a progressive facility that would offer its residents a chance to live in a more homelike environment compared to the more institutional settings of the time.

However, despite its initial noble intentions, Letchworth Village eventually faced criticism for its overcrowding, understaffing, and inadequate care.

6 abandoned asylum

Notoriously, it became the site of unethical medical experiments, including the testing of the first polio vaccine on its residents without consent.

Conditions at Letchworth Village were further exacerbated by overcrowding, poor hygiene, and inadequate nutrition, which compounded the residents’ suffering.

Reports and investigations revealed that many individuals were left unclothed, unattended, and in squalid conditions, painting a stark picture of neglect.

This neglect was not just physical but also emotional and social, with minimal efforts made to provide education, socialization, or enrichment activities, which are essential components for human development and well-being.

Many visitors to Letchworth Village report ghostly encounters. These include sightings of apparitions that seem to reflect the troubled past of the residents who once lived there.

Explorers have recounted experiences such as hearing unexplained voices and noises or feeling sudden cold spots in various buildings across the site.

7. Taunton State Hospital, Massachusetts

Taunton State Hospital Dome abandoned asylumsTaunton State Hospital in Massachusetts was founded in the 1850s. It was built to alleviate overcrowding in other hospitals by providing care and treatment for mental health patients.

However, as the years unfolded, the promise of Taunton State Hospital was overshadowed by practices and incidents that have since become infamous examples of the inhumane treatment often associated with historical psychiatric care.

Such practices included, but were not limited to, excessive use of restraints and solitary confinement — often employed not as last resorts for safety but as standard responses to any form of non-compliance or inconvenience posed by patients.

Haunted Massachusetts Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Bay State abandoned asylums
Haunted Massachusetts: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Bay State

Lobotomies were performed at Taunton State Hospital as a means of controlling “difficult” patients.

The criteria for deeming a patient difficult were broad and subjective, leading to irreversible alterations to many individuals’ personalities and abilities to function.

This approach not only disregarded the basic dignity of individuals but also contributed to the worsening of their conditions, leaving scars both physical and psychological.

The hospital is now famous for its ghost stories and paranormal legends. Many who have visited the abandoned site tell of strange encounters.

Reports include sightings of shadowy figures thought to be former patients wandering the abandoned asylum halls, unexplained noises, and feelings of being watched.

One of the most chilling tales involves the so-called “shadow man,” a figure seen lurking in the basement, where it’s said that unauthorized treatments were once performed.

7 abandoned asylum

Preserving the stories of abandoned asylums

These relics of the past are bearers of stories that have shaped the present.

For those interested in exploring abandoned asylum spaces, remember to prioritize safety, legality, and sensitivity towards the souls that may still linger.

abandoned asylums by matt van der velde
Abandoned Asylums: A photographic journey

Never venture alone and consider the impact of your presence on these historical sites.

Let’s honor the memory of those who once called these places home by preserving their stories. 👻

DON’T MISS! 10 most haunted hospitals in the US: Guaranteed to creep you out!

Share the scare!

If you’d like to share this post on Pinterest, please feel free to click save on the image below. And thank you for your support!

abandoned asylums (Pinterest Pin)

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

read at your own risk