Most insane asylums were abandoned so abruptly that they still contain the terrifying remnants of the past. We can only imagine the unorthodox and immoral practices that went on behind these closed doors.
This is the grand receiving lobby of the abandoned Unit 2 building at Mont Alto Sanatorium in Pennsylvania. Unit 2 was a children’s preventorium; basically a prophylactic tuberculosis shelter for kids. This is the room at which parents would drop off their children, not knowing how long it would be before they would see them again (if ever). While most of the surrounding buildings are still very much in use as a geriatric center, Unit 2 was abandoned, and now decay has set in in this lobby - at the center of which, inset into the ground, is the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Letchworth Village - An abandoned residential institution located in Rockland County, New York in the hamlet of Thiells
Originally built in 1911 as a residence for the physically and mentally disabled of all ages. Letchworth Village at its peak consisted of over 130 buildings spread out over many acres of land.
On February 27, 1950, the first trial case of the polio vaccine in the United States was administered to an 8-year-old patient. After the patient suffered no side effects, the vaccine was administered to 19 more of the institution’s children. In 1972, a New York affiliate of ABC News featured Letchworth Village and its appalling conditions in an episode called Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace which helped lead to reform of similar healthcare institutions throughout the United States.
Letchworth was described as an ideal center for the mentally challenged and praised by the state at first. Yet, rumors such as the mistreatment of patients and horrific experimenting continued to circulate long after its closing. Former worker Dr. Little presented in an annual report in 1921 that there were three categories of “feeble-mindedness”: the “moron” group, the “imbecile” group, and the “idiot” group. The last of these categories is the one that could not be trained, Dr. Little said, and so they should not be taken into Letchworth Village, because they were unable to “benefit the state.” the various jobs that were assigned to the male patients included loading thousands of tons of coal into storage facilities, building roads, and were expected to farm acres of land. A disturbing realization upon a review of Little’s reports is that many of his patients were young children. In 1921, the 13th Annual Report lists the number of patients admitted that year. 317 Out of 506 people were between the ages of 5 and 16, and 11 were under the age of 5 years. The negative energy surrounding Letchworth is heightened because so many of the patients were young children. Visitors observed that the children were malnourished and looked sick. The Letchworth staff claimed in the Report that there was a scarcity of food, water, and other necessary supplies but that was not the case. Children were often the subjects of testing and some of the most cruel neglect. Many of the children were able to comprehend learning but were not given the chance because they were thought of as “different.” Patients were forced to dwell in cramped dormitories, because the state would not complete the construction of more buildings. Barely ten years after being constructed, Letchworth’s buildings were already overpopulated, cramming 70 beds into the tiny dormitories. Nearly 1,200 patients were present during 1921. Over-population was one of the harshest conditions at Letchworth. By the 1950s, the Village was overflowing with 4,000 inhabitants. Quoting a spokesman for the State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Corcoran confirmed that families abandoned their relatives there. Families of patients seemed to be just as neglectful as caregivers of the facility.
By the mid-1980s, the institution was no longer being adequately funded nor properly managed and residents, including children, continued to be found unclothed, unbathed, and neglected. In addition to rampant abuse among the institution’s residents, staff also suffered abuse at the hands of fellow co-workers which included incidents of rape. In 1996 the institution was permanently closed down, and many of its abandoned structures have since fallen into serious disrepair.
Nearing the end of Call Hollow Road, Rockland County, there is a wide path dividing thick woodland. A large memorial stone shows the words “THOSE WHO SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN” and a list of hundreds of names. Behind this memorial are T-shaped markers bearing numbers which mark hundreds of nameless victims who perished at Letchworth. The cemetery lays half of a mile away from the institution. The old grave markers reveal only the numbers that the dead patients had been given, because families refused to allow their names to be known. Patients’ names are buried in the archives at Letchworth Village, off limits to the public. Hardly anybody visits these graves. Few people ever did. Letchworth Village still cares for the old burial ground, sending a crew every few months to mow the tall grass, straighten the markers and clear away the garbage.
In 2011, Letchworth was featured on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures cable-television series on Season 5, Episode 6 which originally aired on October 28, 2011.
This is maybe relevant, maybe not, but I just remembered the first time I read Animal Farm, by George Orwell.
I was 13, and I was having one of the worst years of my life (back then). My mother and I were homeless, which meant we were trash to basically everyone who knew or found out. It meant we were less-than-human to certain government agencies, in particular. This also meant that, because we were kind of living between her friend’s house and a shelter, that she wanted to send me up to my grandparents so that I could have a ‘fun’ summer instead of a stressful summer. The thought was nice, and I did have more fun up in the middle of the woods than I did when I returned ‘home’, with the cockroaches and the bloody knife I found hidden above the bathroom mirror of our shelter room. I was still stressed, though. Really stressed. Stressed and kind of bored, because there wasn’t anything I could do about the situation, and neither of my grandparents had a lot of money, themselves, and we were all basically trying to pretend this wasn’t happening.
Construction of northern New Jersey’s Essex County Hospital for the Insane, known locally as Overbrook Asylum, began in 1896 and continued through the early 1900s. It was built to ease overcrowding at Newark Hospital, but it wasn’t long before it started experiencing some trouble of its own.
Thousands of mentally ill patients who required daily care were sent to Overbrook, and it was soon operating at full capacity. To handle this enormous patient influx - as well as provide for the needs of the workers - Overbrook grew into a small town complete with farms, a power plant, firehouse, theater, school, bakery, and much more. It even had a semi-professional baseball team. The facility required so much fuel and other resources that a railroad stop was constructed to service it.
There are a lot of stories of tragedy at Overbrook, and given the time period and the nature of the institution, many of them are surely true. But one stands out. As reported by the New York Times, Overbrook’s boilers failed for 20 days during the frigid winter of 1917. Twenty-four patients froze to death in their beds, and many more suffered frostbite.
Along with other asylums, Overbrook began to decline in the 1960s with the advent of new psychiatric medications and other treatments for mental illness. By 1975, it was maintaining only a very small patient population and most of the buildings were abandoned. By the mid 1990s, no more patients remained. The buildings and their contents - including patients’ records dating back to the late 1800s, were left to rot.
During the latter half of the 20th century, Overbrook became a New Jersey legend. Ghost stories proliferated, and venturing onto its decaying grounds became a rite of passage for many youths in the region.
In the 2000s, a lot of the buildings were torn down. Yet, a massive complex of structures remains - a testament to Overbrook’s former dominance of the surrounding area.
I visited in April 2014.
(For more photos of this site, see sets two and three.)
This is a paranormal experience my friend told me (and which I’ve got her permission to publish here). It happened to her some 8 years ago and nowadays I can feel her fear when she talks about it. It was in Spain, in an abandoned asylum (psychiatric institution) in Seville. It is famous for its reported screams, laments and laughs. The neighbourhood have listened things which have even made them thought someone was being killed. And when they called the police nobody was there. The Asylum has been abandoned for 10 years ‘til today.
She and her friend had to do an essay for a class, so they thought it was quite a good idea to ask questions in that Asylum for their essay and have a good mark. They thought it was an ordinary Asylum, so they wouldn’t have problems at getting onto the zone. My friend’s mom called there and a nun answered with a soft voice. The nun and my friend’s mom kept talking about the visiting hours to make an appointment for my friend and the other girl to go and ask some questions. Finally, the nun gave them the hour they could go there and the next day they went to the Asylum.
When my friend and the other girl arrived, they got very surprised. The Asylum was abandoned; they found the windows’ glasses broken and the building was deteriorated, dark inside and in the corners, and with no entry or exit. Everything was scattered on the floor and the ground seemed to be swallowing the walls. They didn’t understand, so they thought that maybe the Asylum was closed but still being used for other matters. With no entry, they jumped the fence and walked through the dead grass ‘til they arrived to the building. Again, with no entry, both girls got into the Asylum. They didn’t hear a thing, nor a single bird singing around. They only could hear their own steps. They kept looking for the nun at least, but there was nobody there.
Suddenly, things started to get worse. As far as they were walking through the Asylum, both girls began to hear screams from other floors. They didn’t want to take a glance and got petrified at first. They ran to another room, but screams were also there. Soon, not only screams was everything they could hear but also laments, people crying desperately and laughs, too many laughs, as if they were having a party or, maybe too, laughing at my friend and the other girl. And nobody else was there, just both girls. Not even the nun at the telephone the day before. They literally escaped out of there and went home. A few days later, my friend’s mom asked her how it had been. My friend confessed she didn’t want to tell anything about it because she didn’t want her mom or family to think she was crazy, but that it was terrific, and told about what happened. Her mom was surprised, as she could not have words for it. Then she told my friend she would call again and talk with the nun, maybe she gave the wrong address. My friend agreed and both called the nun again.
The number didn’t exist.
At first they thought they dialed the wrong number, so they tried again.
The number didn’t exist.
The nun didn’t exist.
She prefers not to talk about this nor to know anything else about the Asylum. But she IS sure about one thing: she says she knows the nun is still waiting for her to go to the Asylum for her visit.
Fuck Yeah Nightmares Mod James: 8/10 That is super spooky. Thanks for sharing the scares!