In 1896, Essex County Asylum for the Insane was build on 325 acres of lane in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. The asylum was more commonly referred to as Overbrook. From the onset, the asylum was at full capacity, often housing thousands of patients at once. Additionally, the asylum was severely understaffed. On the grounds of the asylum stood a train station, as well as a power house and a boiler. The patients at the asylum were mostly fed by food that was grown in the fields on the grounds. A bakery and firehouse were also built within the complex of Overbrook.
It was said that it was a town within a town, but with an ever growing patient list combined with minimal staff and developing drugs, it was set up to fail, and fail it certainly did. Due to the sheer amount of patients, many were left without a bed and were forced to sleep on the cold asylum floors. In 1917, disaster struck when the asylum’s only boiler malfunctioned and 24 inmates froze to death in their beds while they slept. Disease was often rampant in Overbrook.
As time progressed and mental health issues became better understood, grim methods such as lobotomies and electroshock therapy became outdated. This was a blow to the already failing asylum, who used both methods in abundance. The asylum eventually closed in 2007, with over 10,000 patients dying within the confines of the walls. It isn’t much surprise that many say Overbrook is haunted - several visitors have claimed to witness a nurse wearing a 19th century nurses uniform, walking around the asylum conducting checks.