If ever a place had a predisposition to haunting it would be a hospital. Like a well traveled portal, departures and arrivals are constant. The journey hasn’t been easy for many. In the days before modern treatments and drugs, hospitals were often places of ill treatment and primitive care. Early in the last century, even the best hospitals could offer few cures. Many hospitals were earmarked for the treatment of Tuberculosis. Before the arrival of antibiotics there was no cure for this highly contagious disease and treatments were modest, such as rest and good nutrition. Other treatments were painful and dangerous, such as the removal of ribs. Hospitals to treat mental illness were often places of misery with most patients receiving what would be considered barbaric treatment by today’s standards. Many of these old hospital buildings still stand. Abandoned, or in some cases shut down, they stand silent but not completely empty. Many say that these places are inhabited by the souls and pervaded by the emotions of past patients. Here are the top ten hospitals where you may stand witness to the testimony of the long gone. Be careful, these places are not for the highly sensitive or fearful among us.
Fall is haunted vacation time; here are some locations we have seen on our ghost hunts.
1) Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, KY http://www.therealwaverlyhills.com/
No doubt the most famous (or infamous) of the haunted asylums, the web is full of information about Waverly and it was featured on TAPS. This tour is awesome and it is indeed frightening. Despair seems to have left an imprint on the atmosphere here. I would recommend the 2 hour tour for $22 without reservation. Our guide was knowledgeable and had great dramatic timing. Next time we will stay the night….wish us luck.
2) Danvers State Hospital, Salem Massachusetts
This hospital for the criminally insane has the added bonus of being located in Salem. Salem is the best around Halloween but make reservations early. When we went it was booked solid and we stayed outside of town. Danvers was the location at which the horror film Session 9 was filmed. The hospital has a long history of severe overcrowding and outdated treatments such as lobotomies and shock therapy. Closed in 1992, there are many reports of frightening supernatural incidents. Visitors are allowed to tour the grounds but not the hospital itself.
3) The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, WV http://trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com/index.html
Another famous hospital that was designed by architect Richard Andrew, it is visually stunning. (Don’t forget your camera). The night tours were all booked. The daytime tour was excellent. We saw all four floors. The first floor is the best preserved. The building does have a quality to the air that seems…thick. The history is varied and interesting however; it is hard to concentrate during the tour as there is a feeling of something watching. Try not to be the last person in your group…
These next attractions I have included on the list for completeness as they are popular.
4) Oatland Island in Savannah, Georgia
During World War II, Oatland Island was a hospital open to the public. After the war the building was used as a research lab. Among the unusual incidents occurring there is the presence of orbs. Some say the source of the haunting is secret experiments that were done here during the war. Tours can be set up by visiting the website.
5) The Spanish Military Hospital of St. Augustine Florida
This is a reproduction of the original building. The original hospital stood from the late 1700s to 1821. The haunting in the original hospital seemed to manifest in feelings of inexplicable fear when in the building. When work began on the replica, it was discovered that the hospital had been built on top of an ancient cemetery. You can tour the replica which is rumored to be haunted.
6) The Old Tooele Hospital, Tooele, Utah http://www.haunted-places-to-go.com/old-tooele-hospital.html
The “Utah Ghost Organization” investigated this hospital and documented paranormal activity. The hospital was closed for business in 2016. Today it is a nursing home and home of “Asylum 49”. Created in 2016 this is a haunted house type attraction and takes place in the hospital.
These former hospitals are privately owned.
7) The Bartonville Insane Asylum http://www.prairieghosts.com/barton.html
Located near Peoria, Illinois, The original hospital was built in 1887 and torn down in 1897 after only ten years because of the rapid deterioration of the building. This is attributed to it being built over abandoned mineshafts. In 1902 it was reborn as a complex with a series of buildings. This grounds and cemeteries where patients were buried are reported to be haunted by the spirit of a gravedigger/patient with a written account of an incident witnessed by the head Doctor. The hospital closed its doors in 1972 and remains privately owned to this day.
8) The Hayeswood Hospital, Maysville, KY
Closed in 1983, this hospital needs expensive repair. It is privately owned and is being turned into apartments. Former patients have reported Shadow people and neighbors report strange sights here.
This one is next on my list for a visit.
9) The Inn at Herr Ridge, Gettysburg’s haunted Field Hospital http://www.innatherrridge.com/ghosts.htm
Built in 1815 this building was a tavern, it was used by the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War it was pressed into service as a hospital. Limbs were amputated and much misery was contained in its rooms. Today it is an Inn. Employees report many strange incidents. Tours are available to guests at the inn.
10) Essex Mountain Sanatorium http://www.mountainsanatorium.net/
I am including this on the list because the website is excellent. This building was a TB sanitarium from 1907 to 1987 when it was closed. The site has pictures of strange things in the building, a complete history and much more. Unfortunately the building has been torn down, check out this site though.
This list should give ghost hunters many hours of mysterious and chilling investigation. Just remember to behave respectfully when on tours and make sure to get permission to explore private property.