Haunted insane asylums are not for the faint of heart. During the early and late 1900s, asylums were places of horror, death, insanity, and injustice. Preserved forever in the form of hauntings is the horrors that happened in the walls of these asylums. Here is a list of the top haunted insane asylum in America.
#1 | The Ridges – Athens, Ohio
Athen’s Asylum for the Criminally Insane first opened its doors in 1874, nearly 143 years ago. The institution housed over 200 patients. In the early 1900s patient count rose to 2,000. If that isn’t enough to make you insane, the asylum reverted to physical abuse, water treatment, shock therapy, and lobotomies.
Don’t know what lobotomy is? It’s where they cut connections in the brain’s prefrontal lobe. Can’t imagine how cutting the brain’s tissue can treat mental illness. But hey, doctors thought it would work.
Officially closing its doors in 1993, Athen’s patients all left except for one. Margaret Schilling disappeared in 1978. Not until 42 days later did they found her dead body in the locked and abandoned northward. The shape of a human figure is a stain on the floor where she laid dead. But Margaret’s soul is still present today. You can see her peering from the windows of the northward. People also have heard disembodied female voices, calling out for help.
#2 | Danvers State Lunatic Asylum – Danvers Massachusetts
One of the most haunted places on earth, Danvers State Lunatic Asylum has a long history of pain and death. Before the asylum, the original Salem witch trials began in the town of Salem Village which is Danvers today. If the asylum couldn’t get creepier, the actual hangings of witches took place in the same exact location as the insane asylum. Hence the asylum’s nickname as “Witches Castle.” This asylum is considered the birthplace of the lobotomy among other horrors like doctors overdosing patients on insulin and shock treatments to control population. Most patients could be seen pacing aimlessly and rocking back and forth on cement floors.
Danvers was closed down in 1992, left empty and abandoned. In 2005 the property was turned into apartments using the original structure. There are reports of flickering lights, full body apparitions, hearing ghostly footsteps and doors that open and close on their own. Would you like to live here?
Byberry is by far the worst insane asylums to have been admitted in. Quickly expanded its patient population tales of abuse and neglect followed. Lack of money left the asylum in shambles. Starving, cold, and sleeping in raw sewage, the patients’ experience the worst of conditions at Byberry. This asylum is the trademark for all Hollywood movies depicting insane asylums- padded cells, restraining jackets, solitary confinement, beatings, lobotomies, and electric shock. This asylum became known as a real-life house of horrors.
After its closing, Byberry became a magnet for all sorts of unwelcome visitors like vagrants, satanic cults, and gangs. Today it stands vacant and forgotten. Beneath are miles of catacombs. Which, of course, has given rise to creepy stories. One urban legend claims a former violent and insane patient still lurks in the tunnel below. He waits with a large knife to slice the throats of those who trespass. Rumors say he is the keeper of the gates to Hell opened by satanic ritualists. Byberry may be empty of human life, but there is still things living inside.
#4 |Willowbrook State School- Staten Island, New York
Famously known as “snake pit,” this facility was an institution for mentally disabled children. In the 1960s Robert Kennedy toured Willowbrook and was stunned by the “zoo-like” conditions. You could find patients wandering around covered in filth. It wasn’t until a reporter investigated the institution did the truly horrible conditions spark outrage. As a result of its terrors, Willowbrook was the inspiration for the storyline of American Horror Story’s second season Asylum.
In 1987, a man who worked at the institution killed a young girl on the abandoned grounds of the school. He buried her body there and may have killed as many as 11 other victims during his employment. Today, you can see dark figures on the abandoned grounds, hear children laughing and playing. And most terrifying of all, feel small hands of a child touch your arms. Rumors of satanic rituals and unearthly howls in the nights ward off curious adventurers.