Wednesday, 16 December 2015
The Ten Most Haunted Asylums Mental Hospitals and Asylums seem to draw ghost stories the way a light on a dark night draws bugs. Ghost stories cling to them like moss and collect over time until the dead patients wandering the halls outnumber the living. There is an irony to this. These hospitals were built to be places of healing where the broken and lost could find sanctuary and solace, but these plans often go awry and accidents and apathy turn healing to hurt. Tragedies linger in the shadows of these hospitals and collect like dust over time. I have worked at several asylums during my career as a counselor and many times these places are not creepy. They are places of healing and the staff fights the darkness with art therapy and recreational therapy and all the things mental health professionals do to make hospitals a place of healing. However, sometimes the sad condition of the chronically mentally ill can’t be combated by these tools and bad things happen. Things happen that are so bad, that evil seems to remain in the old hospitals. It seeps into the foundations of the buildings and creeps up through the walls tainting everything inside. Bad doctors and staff turn bad things into travesties and these hospitals become places of fear. According to many, the ghosts cling to the emotions that are kept in the hospitals. Across the nation, there are many hospitals that are considered to be haunted. These hospitals have tragic histories and their stories can send chills down the spines of even the bravest souls. Here are a few of my favorite haunted asylums: 1. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum This is considered by many to be the most haunted hospital in the United States. This hospital was founded in Weston West Virginia in 1864 and was then called The Weston State Hospital. The hospital had 250 beds and houses some of the sickest patients in the region. Although the hospital was built to house only 250 patients, by 1950 overcrowding turned the hospital into something out of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the building housed as many as 2500 sick souls. Even Charles Manson spent some time at this notorious hospital. The hospital witnessed all the worst of the early treatments for mental illness and frontal lobotomies and water shock treatment were the mainstays of early treatment here. However, the worst tragedies occurred when the patients hurt each other. There were several patient to patient killings here and one nurse vanished only to have her body discovered under the stairs two years later. Death became common place at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. In 1994, the hospital was considered unusable and it was close. Those that have visited this hospital say that they hear phantom noises throughout the hospital. They hear ghostly screams and wails. Full body apparitions have been seen wandering the hallways and strange noises come from the darkness. 2. Bryce Hospital for the Insane Alabama Hospital for the Insane was designed to be a refuge for the mentally ill. Its architecture was designed based on the ideas of Dorothea Dix and Thomas Story Kirkbride. It was meant to be moral architecture that would contribute to the healing process within the hospital. The hospital opened in 1861 and for a while it held to the ideals of Dix and Kirkbride. The first superintendent, Peter Bryce, was an idealist and he had studied mental health in Europe. He believed that patients should be treated with respect kindness. He even abandoned the use of restraints. The hospital was later named for Bryce and it went on to be the model for progressive mental health care. Time quickly eroded Bryce' legacy, however. By 1967, there were more than 5200 patients residing in a facility that was never meant to hold that many. Observers described Bryce as a concentration camp and a model for human cruelty. In 1970, one patient named Wyatt started a class action law suit against the Alabama's other mental hospital, Searcy State Hospital. This lead to major change in the way the mentally ill were treated in Alabama. The number of beds was cut drastically and humane treatment of the mentally ill became an absolute necessity. The landmark Wyatt v. Stickney Case would change Bryce drastically. The lawsuit was brought on by a patient and set minimum standards of care of inpatient populations and would improve the treatment of the mentally ill drastically over time (http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2375) Old Bryce was the African American portion of Bryce Hospital and was notorious for being even crueler than its white counterpart. After Wyatt v. Stickey and desegregation, Old Bryce was shut down entirely and other buildings were used. The African American patients were integrated into the white population. Old Bryce still sits quietly deserted, however, as a reminder to the old days when patients were held like prisoners with no rights. It is covered in graffiti and has been vandalized many times. It’s even been set on fire. Trespassing is forbidden here, but the curious have reported seeing all manner of horrors coming out of the dark around Old Bryce. Lights flicker on an off in the building that has no electricity. Phones ring in rooms with no phones. Phantom lights drift from room to room. Furniture moves on its own and footsteps echo through the abandoned hallways. The living patients may be gone, but many believe Old Bryce is still filled with the ghosts of those who once suffered in its walls. 3. Norwich State Hospital for the Mentally Insane Norwich Hospital for The Mentally Insane was built in 1904 in Preston, Connecticut and is known for the dark ghosts that live inside of it. The Norwich Hospital was designed to house the worst of the criminally insane patients in the state and, until 1971, it did just that. It was home to murders, rapists, and other violent offenders. The hospital is situated on 900 acres of woodland and is utterly isolated and crumbling. This façade has added to the horror stories that have built up around the violent people that lived within the hospital and has created a collection of ghost stories so large they could fill a book. Suicides and murders fill the history of Norwich Hospital and those who have died there never seem to leave. Witnesses describe hearing screams in the darkness Faces appear out of nowhere and strange mists and lights are seen in the halls. 4. Searcy State Hospital Searcy State Hospital is located in the most Southern part of rural Alabama. Prior to being a state hospital the old hospital has a long and dark history that is very difficult to find, but easy to see upon casual observation. The hospital is encased in long, chipped, white walls that seem as old as anything in the United States. From outside these walls, you can see a battered watchtower that gives testament to the fact that the hospital is in the same location as a 300 year old fort. The fort bears witness to American history and was originally a Spanish fort. It switched hands during the Louisiana Purchase and became a US fort. After the US took possession of the fort it was converted to a military arsenal and became known as the Mount Vernon Arsenal. The Arsenal switched hands again several times and was taken by the Confederates during the civil war only to be passed back over the United States again in 1862. From 1887 to 1894, The Arsenal became a Barracks and was used as a prison for the captured Apache people. The most famous of the Apache people to be held in these barracks was Geronimo. The infamous Aaron Burr was also held at this secluded prison at some point. In 1900 the Barracks were transformed once again and the prison became a mental hospital. Searcy hospital was built as the African American mental hospital in Alabama. Conditions in the hospital were beyond questionable and at one time there were over 2000 patients in the crowded hospital and all were seen by one psychiatrist. All patients were expected to work in the fields. The hospital was desegregated in 1969, but its history is all around it. The hospital is still used today, and although the residents live in new buildings, many tell stories of ghosts and devils that linger in the white walls and abandoned buildings that surround the new facilities. These stories are usually ignored, because the patients are crazy, but I’m not the only sane person who saw a few ghosts while they were working there. Searcy served as the inspiration for my new novel, Circe. Its tragic history and haunted atmosphere serve as a backdrop to the chilling tale of a young intern slow decent into madness. If you would like to read more about Searcy, you can find my book at: http://www.lachesispublishing.com/products.asp?cat=2 5. Rolling Hills Asylum Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, New York, is one of the most haunting asylums in America. In 1827 it opened its doors and was known as the Genessee County Poor Farm. It provided housing for all manner of lost souls. The poor, the blind and the mad were all kept here. In the 1950's it was turned into the Old County Home and Infirmary. The property has had many owner since then. It was an antique mall for a while and was finally bought by the Carlson's. The Carlson's were the first to really describe the paranormal activity in Rolling Hills. The Carlson’s describe strange phenomena, with reports of disembodied voices, doors slamming and being held shut, footsteps, shadowy figures, and misty apparitions. 6. Pennhurst Asylum Pennhurst Asylum had a long history of patient abuse and neglect. The sorrows in the hospital had built up like a mountain on its steps. Stories tell of patients that were chained up and children that were caged in cribs. There are even rumors of patients being murdered here. Pennhurst opened its doors in 1908 and was called The State School for the Mentally and Physically Handicapped. At one time, it housed more that 10,000 patients that were poorly cared for and abused. In 1986, the hospital was shut down due to allegations of patient mistreatment, but the ghosts of those who were hurt here seem to find no justice in this closure. Stories of the haunting here include moving objects, hostile voices, and ghosts pushing and touching those that dare enter Pennhurst's haunted halls. 7. Danvers State Hospital Danvers State Hospital was another asylum built with the best intentions and structured based on the theories of Thomas Story Kirkbride. Like Bryce Hospital, Kirkbride's theories of compassion and advocacy only lasted a brief period of time in Danvers State Hospital and the hospital eventually succumbed to overcrowding and rampant patient abuse. Danvers State Hospital is located in Massachusetts and served as the inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft's famous Arkham Asylum which eventually inspired the asylum in Batman. The building was used in the movie Session 9 and served as the inspiration for the game Painkiller. By 1939, Danvers housed 2,360 patients and was so crowded that patients were known to die and their bodies would go unnoticed for days. Electroshock therapy was used as a means of regular punishment and a way to control the patients and treatment was lost in the need to keep the patient population under control. Danvers was known as the birthplace of the prefrontal lobotomy and numerous patients had a small pick shoved up through their eye socket in this hellish procedure that severed the frontal portion of their brain. Danvers was closed in 1992 and most of the hospital is gone now. But the cemeteries, tunnels, and remains of this institution that inspired some of the darkest asylums in modern fiction still remain host to haunting stories. 8. The Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry Byberry was started as a small work camp for the mentally ill. In 1936, the hospital was turned over to the state and named The Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry. Like all of the hospitals on this list, conditions here gradually declined until they became deplorable and horrific. Patient abuse and neglect were standard of care. Photos documenting care at this hospital showed patients kept naked in hallways lined with feces. In his 1948 book, The Shame of the States, Albert Deutsch described the horrid conditions he observed: "As I passed through some of Byberry's wards, I was reminded of the pictures of the Nazi concentration camps. I entered a building swarming with naked humans herded like cattle and treated with less concern, pervaded by a fetid odor so heavy, so nauseating, that the stench seemed to have almost a physical existence of its own." The hospital was closed in 1987 and eventually demolished, but the miles of tunnels that were built beneath the facility remain and stories of the horrific haunting in these tunnels will send chills down your spine. On account says the ghost of a man with a knife still takes victims in these tunnels. 9. Wernersville State Hospital Wernersville State Hospital in Pennsylvania has a less horrific history than many of its predecessors. However, the ghost that is said to roam its hall is so terrifying room has to be made for it on the list. The ghost of a headless orderly who died there is said to wander its halls. Wernersville is still home to 185 patients and despite its ghost stories, is said to take good care of its patients. 10. Peoria State Hospital Peoria State Hospital has gone by many names. The hospital was completed in 1902 and was then called The Illinois Hospital for the Incurably Insane. It is also know as Bartonville State Hospital. This haunting asylum was built based on a cottage system plan and had 33 buildings, a store, a power station and a community utility building. More buildings were added over time and the grounds currently consist of 47 buildings. The ghost that is said to haunt Peoria is named Manuel A. Bookbinder. He is commonly called Old Book. He is a patient who worked burying all the patients that died in the hospital until his own death. According to local lore, he cried for all the deceased he burred and that upon his own death over one hundred witnesses saw him crying at his funeral by an elm tree. It is said his weeping can still be heard today.
There is a house at the end of the street in our neighborhood. Most people don't know it exists. It is hidden behind tall grass and old trees and has been abandoned for years. It sits quietly in the shadows behind a black fence. We wouldn't have known of its existence if it weren't for a fire four or five years ago. The house caught on fire and fire trucks and sirens made us look for their origins. The house had burnt a little. Tonight, some friends and I went exploring. We don't know much about the house. One of my friends knew the builder of our neighborhood. She claims that the house was owned by a man from India who abandoned it and moved to Europe. The inside of the house tells a different tale. The house is huge. The front room has a strange mural on the ceiling with King of the Sun written on it in French. Two identical rooms sit on either side of the front room. Both rooms have massive fireplaces. There is a dual staircase and the upstairs is chilling. It is littered with children's toys and the center rooms of the second floor look like a daycare. The doors are cut in half and there is a sink and mini kitchen for preparing food and changing diapers The daycare rooms are lined with cute sayings for children like "daydream". Everything is rotten and decayed. The windows are broken and vines are creeping in through the boarded up windows. There is a master suite with a large fireplace and several other bedrooms. One of the other bedrooms is slightly unnverving. The dropdown attic is open in the closet and children's toys are spilled out in a mass on the floor. In the attic, boxes of children's toys sit surrounded by children's clothing. I have no idea about the real story of this house, but I can't help but feel it has something to do with a family that lost a child and just left. The man who owned the house has been gone for over a decade but the house is now condemned. He just left the house filled with children's toys and clothing and when you walk upstairs into that nursery, you know he left something else behind. Something not quite alive.
Many years ago, I visited Fort Siloso at Sentosa with my dad and our visitor from overseas. The four of us – my dad, my uncle (the visitor), my cousin and me were in a good mood as we were touring Sentosa by the monorail (the monorail was still in operations back then. My dad and uncle were interested in war stuff so we decided to stop at Fort Siloso to take a look at the buildings and cannons there. Everything was pretty good as we climbed around the Fort Siloso and took pictures with the cannons around. But finally we decided to go and walk the underground bunk. It was really hot outside, but the moment we went in, it was like the air con was turned on. Which is totally weird because I couldn’t see any air con around. But I had to do the stupid thing and started to stare at all the dark corners of the long bunk to see if i can spot an air con. Barely 20 steps in to the tunnel, I realize someone or something was watching me. All the hair on my arm was raised. I scan around the bunk, there were tourist in front of us but they were talking and looking around. My dad and uncle were busy talking with my cousin. The feeling of being stared at was getting harder to ignore and the vibes i get was that the thing or person was not pleased with me. I started to turn around to find the source to pinpoint the area where the person/thing was. I couldn’t see anything in the dark bunk but I could sense a presence at one dark corner. I wanted to run and scream at this moment as I can sense the anger and resentment in the stare. But yet I felt silly so i just fasten my pace and let my dad and uncle catch up with me. When we finally exit the tunnel, my dad turned and looked at me and said,” Why are you so pale? You look like you have seen a ghost?” I was closed to tears at the moment. But I figured if the presence did nothing to me, i better pray and ask for forgiveness. So as we all walked away, I started to chant a little Buddhist pray and ask for forgiveness. That was the end of the story then. A few years later I went back to Sentosa to do camping with my friends and we started to explore the different areas of the island (I refused to go Fort Siloso). We came along this old building that is like bunks or classrooms. It was empty and strangely all the windows and doors are wide open. We were just walking past it when I go that feeling of being watched. Without saying much, I whispered to my friend to start walking very fast. When they hear the urgency of my voice they started to walk very fast but silently with me. All the time, I was chanting Buddhist chant. Suddenly, without warning, a few of the doors of the building started to bang shut. At that moment, all of my friends started to run. I hesitate and look back, there was no wind blowing that afternoon, the trees around barely moved. But I saw a few doors bang shut on their own and open again. Needless to say that was the last time i visited that area. But today, I cant recall where this building was…does anyone?
I live in Texas, I won’t say which city though. This happened when I was a young kid. I was in my backyard at night with my sister and dad watching the stars and out of nowhere we saw this orange glowing thing in the sky above us, it was rotating in place and stopped in the sky for a few seconds as if watching us, then shot off in another direction at warp speed. It was crazy I’ve never seen anything take off that fast before, it left a little trail of its image behind as it shot off, that’s how fast it was. Anyway, a month or two later not sure how long afterward cause I only experienced the first part, me and my sister shared a room when we slept in separate twin beds. My sister woke up and the light was on in our room. Apparently, I was asleep and slept through it all. She woke up and saw this small white thing at the foot of her bed staring at her. I’ve asked her to draw it to me before. It’s small with a kind of glowing white skin, huge red eyes outlined by yellow, next to it was another small white hump but she couldn’t tell if that was part of the small thing or another one altogether. Anyway when she saw it she got scared and hid under her blanket frozen and when she peeked through a hole in her blanket, it was right in her face staring at her through the hole. She doesn’t remember if she passed out or what after that. Sometime later she slept alone in the living room and woke up in the middle of the night and said in the dark she could see the outline of that white small thing staring at her, though she said she was half asleep during this encounter so she doesn’t know if it was a dream or if she was just sleepy and seeing things. I always wondered if this small white thing was related to that “UFO” type thing we saw, or was it just a random demon/ghost encounter? That is all.
I will like to share my encounters during my recruit in Seletar camp at bravo block 2002-2004 situated at near MT line where people rent the tonner and rovers. Bravo was then shifted to old bravo which is worse cos a female regular sergeant commit suicide there.. stayed there for last 6 months.talk about the first bravo block, my encounter starts during my third day of army which is cruel to me as i not prepared for it. It happens like this: It was late around 9pm when everyone goes for a bath and nights off at 10.30pm.. i finish my bath and while i walking back to my bed while the light is off and which at the last 2nd bed of the bunk from the entrance, i saw someone squatting beside my cupboard facing my cupboard which i was still at the first few bed so when i get more and more closely the figure getting blur and blur until it like vanished into thin air… like ppl smoking the smoke vanish into thin air just like that.. dunno how to explain …. i was panicked and i act normal untill i tell my buddy about it… lucky nothing else happens later…. Next encounter is at lim chu kang camp which we attached there for training for 1 month. their bunk can sleep the whole company one.. very big… plus scary also.. i was awaken at night during sleep by someone like smoke again… this time worse.. i actually got up and follow it to the center of the bunk just beside my bed which can view the whole bunk something like the row view the beds all at the sides. the moment i notice WTF i got up.. the thing i follow just gone in thin air like smoking smoke… i called my buddy up but no response.. i panicked and go back my bed covered myself with blanket and telling myself that if something gonna touch me or call me i gonna shout really loud… but nothing happens the bunk is very quiet… so i took out my amulet put under my pillow and go back to sleep. tml morning i told my friends about it.. So did you ppl at least see something like mine ? they dun really harm you .. maybe they wanna say something or wat ? cant really understand it….
This happens in 1998, I was then working as a salesgirl in a boutique which sells Muslim lady traditional clothes at Golden Landmark Shopping Centre which is located around Arab Street. That night around 9.30 pm me and my senior collegue,Shikin were cleaning up and are about to close the shop. Shikin was 4 months pregnant at that time. As we were about to close, Shikin excused herself to go to the ladies. She went alone but a minute later she rushed back, looking pale and shaken. She told me to close the shop quickly and go back home. So i pulled down the shutter and we make our journey home together(we take the same bus. As we were walking outside the building Shikin revealed to me what had she saw a while ago. She told me that as she was about to entered the ladies, she saw a very pretty Malay lady who was wearing a 1950′s-style baju kebaya’s outfit and a selendang standing inside. The Malay lady was adjusting her selendang in front of the mirror. As Shikin walked inside, all of a sudden the Malay lady turned her head sharply and looked at her. The Malay lady’s eyes were big and she was staring straight at Shikin’s eyes. Shikin was stunned on why the lady had to look at her like that. As they stared each other eyes, it was then that my collegue noticed that the Malay lady was wrapping the selendang tightly around her own neck as though she was trying to strangled herself with the selendang. All the while her unblinking eyes continued to stare into Shikin’s. Shikin found some courage to turn around to go back to the shop to where I was.There is really something not right about the Malay lady and it frightened her. The next day i learned that Shikin was hospitallised as she suffered from misscarriage. What was strange was when the doctor found out that the unborn fetus strangle itself with her umbilical cord. Shikin resigned after that but i still keep contact with her, and to this day she stills believe that the lady in the toilet have something to do with the miscarriage. The way the Malay lady wrapped her selendang tightly around her own neck seems to show the fate Shikin’s unborn baby had to die. My mother says that the Malay lady was a pontianak.
In 2005, I made a trip to Bangkok alone. Prior to travelling, I did some research on the Internet to book a cheap hostel room in Bangkok. I decided to stay at this modern hostel in a private housing estate. The hostel was 4-storey high. I was allocated a 4-female bedroom on the top floor. When I arrived at the hostel, it was already past midnight. I opened the bedroom door quietly so as not to disturb the 2 backpackers who were sound asleep. I chose to sleep at the upper bunk of double decker beds a the 2 lower bunks were occupied. When I woke up the next day, I was alone. The 2 female backpackers had left the hostel. On the second night, I returned to the hostel late at night. When I unlocked the bedroom door, I realized I had the room to myself that night. That did not pose a problem to me as I was used to sleeping alone. After cleaning up, I moved my personal belongings from the upper bunk to the lower bunk of the same bed. I was already in bed and the room was cooled by the air-conditioning unit. Before I drifted to sleep, I had an unusual experience. A thought suddenly crossed my mind, asking me what if the bed shook. Immediately, the double decker bed shook violently for a few seconds! I just pretended to ignore the shake and stayed put under the blanket as if nothing happened. I thought that if I ignored the mischief, ‘it’ would give up and go away. Seconds later, I felt a mysterious cool breeze that blew directly under my blanket from an unknown source behind my left shoulder. That could not be the breeze from the air-conditioning unit as the unit was located above the double decker bed. The next day, I woke up feeling all right. I could not explain what happened last night though. So, I got ready to explore Bangkok that day and returned late at night again. By the third day, I was feeling apprehensive about sleeping in that bedroom alone. I wanted to check out and looked for another hostel but I had already paid for a 4-night stay in full when I checked in on the first night. At that time, I did not know I had the right to request to change the room, which I did not exercise. So, I braved myself to sleep inside that creepy room for 2 more nights. That night, after cleaning up, I stayed up outside the room seating on a couch and watching television. I thought I could delay the time to be spent in that room by staying up very late at night. Unfortunately, a tired body and mind needed to rest. I had not choice but to go to bed. As I stood beside the double decker bed before I slipped in, I saw a tall skinny translucent white apparition standing in front of me beside the head of the bed. I could not see its face but only its lanky body without arms or hands. It looked as if it wore a white robe. Seconds later, it disappeared into thin air. Mysteriously, I was not disturbed that night and on the last night. I never return to that hostel since then and still could not believe that a bed could shake on its own without a logical explanation.