Famous Haunted Places--Haunted Mental Hospitals and Sanatoriums

Mental Hospital and Sanatorium Hauntings

What happens to people who are mentally ill when they die? Do they suddenly become clear minded and are they no longer tortured by their delusions? Some find relief from their mental ailments, I’m sure; some don’t. Several of the most haunted locations that have been investigated are abandoned mental hospitals. Here are some reports of mental hospital hauntings.

Athens Mental Health Center ("The Ridges"), Athens County, Ohio

One of the inmates of this mental facility, Margaret Schilling, disappeared in December of 1978. Her body was found on the top floor in January of the following year. When her body was removed from the floor the employees noticed that her outline remained on the floor. The phantom outline was so detailed that it actually depicted Margaret’s hairstyle and the folds of her clothing. Although the stain was repeatedly cleaned, it always reappears, and can still be seen today. Employees have reported seeing and hearing the ghost of Margaret Schilling and others who have died in the hospital wandering the halls at night.

.Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville, Kentucky

Cold spots, disembodied voices, and ghosts roaming the halls are among the symptoms of this infamous haunted medicalfacility. Although not a mental hospital, the TB sanatorium saw it’s share of tortured souls. Hundreds of patients died at this hospital, many of whom were probably not taken care of as well as they should have been. There have also been numerous investigations at this location, and many TV shows documenting their findings. This building is on everyone’s list of “Most Haunted” buildings in America.


The first structure on this site was built in 1887, but it was never used and then torn down in 1897 because of design flaws. The new buildings were completed 1902. The strange occurrence at this location is that of the haunted Graveyard Elm. The tree has been reported to emanate sounds of sobbing, wailing, weeping and moaning. Are the phantoms residing at the asylum crying for the many who have experienced tortured deaths there? No one can be sure. There have been many times when people have attempted to cut down or burn the tree, but those behind the effort have quickly given up once the tree began vocally complaining about the process.

Northampton State Hospital, Northhampton, Massachusetts

This lunatic asylum was built in 1856. Overcrowding and neglectful patient care contributed to the hospital’s closure in 1993. Many unmarked graves surround the building. Some of the Paranormal activity reported at the site consists mostly of sounds. Visitors hear footsteps, doors opening and closing and whispers. Sometimes visitors hear the squeak of wheels as if someone is pushing a wheelchair or a gurney through the old halls. One wonders if paranormal activity will continue as it has on so many other sites where buildings have been demolished, but the spirits remain. The television show Scariest Places on Earth featured the hospital. The investigating groupn also reported hearing the telltale footsteps and odd noises.

Clovis Sanitarium, (Wolfe Manor) Clovis, CA

Not only was this building once used as a sanitarium but it was also used as a convalescent home. Its future is a haunted hotel; and that’s exactly how the new owners plan to advertise it. Some of the activities in the house have been audible conversations from unseen participants, EVPs of an old woman laughing, cold spots and voices insisting that visitors “Get out!.”

Byberry Mental Hospital, Philadelphia, PA

As with most of these facilities, many reports of patient mistreatment abound. Because of these atrocities the facility was closed in 1990. There are underground catacombs and tunnels that were built under the main building and other structures on the property. Brave visitors who have ventured into this area report seeing a lunatic spirit who is believed to be a former patient of the faculty. The angry entity apparently chases curious intruders out of the tunnels with a machete.


There are many more abandoned mental hospitals around the country, and most of them are reportedly haunted. There have been thousands of mentally ill residents of these facilities that apparently are unable or unwilling to cross over after their deaths. Many of these facilities have been investigated by Paranormal Investigation teams that have gathered a great deal of documentation of survival after death… and many have run from the buildings in fear of the mentally ill who have found a way to remain where they experienced many tortured memories of their past lives.




Laurel Falls, Great Smokey National Park

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Comments 50 comments

baller 7 years ago

i believe that spirits who have been tortured will stay here on earth after death because that was alll they knew in life....excpecially mentally ill souls...they dont realize that they are dead and need to move on in order to find peace within themselves

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 7 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

I agree, Baller; but I'm not sure they don't understand they are dead. I think they just are afraid to move on because they know they have to atone for the deeds they perpetrated while alive. Because they are mentally ill, I don't think they understand that they were not always responsible for what they did.

Thanks for the comment.

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brookevstheworld 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Interesting... I'm from Peoria, IL and I've gone many times to the Bartonville Insane Asylum because it is a big "haunted" attraction where I'm from... but I've never heard of the haunted Elm. I always thought it was the building that was said to be haunted. Glad you wrote about it though! :)

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 7 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Thanks Brook~ Next time you visit the Asylum, check out the tree, if its still standing. It probably is! :o)

newboyzfan44 7 years ago

this was very interesting to me because i like to read about haunted stuff =)_

Amanda 7 years ago

I am from Pekin,IL which is very close to the asylum and I have heard many stories of the haunted elm growing up and how you can hear it crying and that they had performed labotomies on their patience and everything it's been a big deal forever where I am from. the guy booker is the spirit that is in the elm

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 6 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Thanks for sharing the information, Amanda. There certainly are a great deal of unexplained phenomena out there! :o)

colluymsjulie 6 years ago

;i have read these stories,about the haunted sanatoriums. my favorite is the waverly hills sanatorium. tuberculosuis, was horrible when the hosptial was first openend. that was really scarry, i wonder, what was going through all those patients mind.;the tunnel chute;. ;boy iam i glad i wasn't sick in 1926. and the two nurse, who killed themselves.

patricia hellums 6 years ago

;i think that ;waverly hills sanatorium' is indeed the most haunted hosptial, in america. i have, read a lot about this place, on the internet. all those poor patients, about 60.000. whew, a lot of pepole and the ' the body chute; scarry as real. patty

Christine B. 6 years ago

There were a great deal of tortured people in these homes and people who are tortured in life, are usually just as tortured after death as they were while alive. These types of places, along with jails, are always haunted.

ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York

you are way cool!

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 6 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Thanks, Ceciliabeltran! :o)

Smiley  6 years ago

Wow that is so cool. Me and my friend tell scary stories and she found one on the waverly hills one and ever science then I been so intrested in it all all the haunted saniturams and stuff!!!!!!

bruce 6 years ago

people claim that eastern state school and hospital in bensalem was haunted after it had closed down. i was there for over a year and a half almost two years and had never experienced anything odd. neither has anyone that i ever ran into when i was there. well it makes for interesting reading anyhow

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 6 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Thanks for stopping by Smiley and Bruce. The paranormal is very interesting, and not scary, as TV and Hollywood would like you to think. There are a few negative spirits, but 95% are not, and just want us to know they still exist. :o)

Suzanne 5 years ago

I am in a quandry as I want to present an acurate as possible account of what happened in our local Mental Asylum and have been told not to upset The Script which has been written for me to learn as I take people around MayDay Hills Mental Asylum In Beechworth Victoria Australia. Is it just an act or do I hunt for the facts. I am very interested in what you have put on hubpage. Sincerely Suzanne.

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Thanks, Suzanne. Have you seen any paranormal activity at your local Mental Asylum? I would guess that you have because I haven't heard of one that ISN'T haunted!! The poor souls. If I were you I'd do some touring on your own with a camera and a recording device before visitors arrive and see what you come up with! And then let me know at edparanormal@gmail.com. I'll publish your experiences in one of my Paranormal Musings monthly Newsletters. :o)

chrysanthi 5 years ago

i believe there are some souls that still are here on earth.. but most of them just like our souls and everyone's soul lives eternally and reincarnated to different bodies and come again to earth to find out what really happened and "clear" the soul.. some souls sacrificed in order for other souls or humanity to understand some things and help them get better as human beings and as souls made of love!!

Carla Holbrook 5 years ago

I believe in spirits and I believe in life after death I believe there's Heaven and Hell. And I also believe of the spirits of dead people who have chosen to stay behind in this world. But as far as I've read in the Bible it never really says nothing about spirits or being mentally ill. As far as I know they can be forgiven in the list of things God can forgive anybody of only thing is blasphem of the holy spirit. And I also believe in angels^j^

Kitty 5 years ago

Everybody seems to think mental patients were criminals or something... back in the day it was a crime to be mentally or physically disabled. Or a disgrace at least, therefore those people were put into asylums/sanatoriums, were often buried without names on their headstones, either nothing or a number, generally a number. Just saying that they weren't necessarily bad people.

My guess is, they either don't get they're dead or are too afraid to move on, as the asylum/that life is all they know, and mentally ill people often attach themselves to items/places. anyway yeah, haha, never visited a haunted asylum before :O I don't think we actually have any here :(

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my article. No, mentally ill patients are not evil, nor are they criminals... they are simply confused while alive, and sometimes their confusion doesn't clear up after they pass to the other side.

Wolfyone profile image

Wolfyone 5 years ago from Central Maine

Very interesting article. While I have never been there myself, the oldest of mental facilities in the area I live is still in operation. I've never researched it but it I have heard reports of it being haunted. Your article makes me want to check out info on the one in my own back yard now. I believe there is more to this world than we can see, and touch. Hauntings will always be a controversial subject, with those who have experience the odd or unexplainable and those who have not, arguing what is true. Having experienced, I know which side of the debate I stand on. Thanks for the info.

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

I always say, "Everyone's a skeptic until they experience it themselves... then, look out!" Ha-Ha... Thanks for stopping by Wolfyone--I hope you have the time to read more of my paranormal musings. :o)

Wolfyone profile image

Wolfyone 5 years ago from Central Maine

That is absolutely the truth. There is a big difference between believing and knowing. We may choose to believe in something because it makes sense to us. We know something when we live it, experience it.

St Albans Sanatorium 5 years ago

My experience at St Albans in Radford, Virginia leads me to understand that the energy remains active based on the trauma humans faced in their final mortal hours prior to the change we call death.

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

I concur... And there is always a great deal of physical and emotional trauma associated with a sanatorium. Thanks for stopping by. :o)

Indarnil 5 years ago

well i just dont know what to say....the article has been wonderful and again at the same time so painful to read, i really cannot come up with this whole idea of a mentally ill patient being tortured instead of getting treated. i believe every assylum has its own share of hauntings and paranormal activities

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

I agree with you, Indarnil. There seems not to be anything power-hungry and greedy people are capable of doing for their own benefit. Its a very sad and unacceptable human trait, I'm afraid. All we can do is be vigilant in our reporting and attempt to correct the terrible situation whenever we see it happening.

Indranil 5 years ago

christine can you please post a few more real asylum hauntings. I reli wanna know more about it. I recently came across the movie "Grave Encounters". Its about a haunting in Marylands Collingwood mental hospital. Its where all i started getting interested in this

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Great idea, Indranil... look for another post next month.

Thanks for the suggestion. :o)

indranil 5 years ago

anytime and sure i will be waiting for your next post

patty collums, 5 years ago

i have read a lot on more haunted sanatoriums besids waverely hils haunted hosptial. and how mentally ill patients were treated, that was soo cruel, no matter if thay have a mental proublem thay shoulnt be treated that way. i don.t blame them i would haunt the place where i died too; specially if i was treated cruel. patty

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 5 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

I agree, Patty.... who could blame them for haunting these places. Look for my next article on More Haunted Mental Hospitals at the end of November. Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment.

Judy S. 4 years ago

I got interested after watching 2 seperated movies that are about a haunted Mental Hospital. And let me tell you it is interesting when someone can do that go thru something like that go thru a mental hospital. Or stay in one for the weekend.

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 4 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

It was a very sad situation. Thank heavens they have improved the treatment for mentally ill patients a great deal since many of these hospitals were first instituted. And before there were hospitals, people used to lock mentally ill relatives in closets and tower bedrooms.

patty collums 4 years ago

thanks for the commment christine b. people are cruel, no matter what those people wheter, thay were mentally ill, whichn isn't theire falt should had never been treated cold hearted, nurses, and doctors are supposed to be kind not cruesl to the patinces. i would haunt any of the hosptials if i were treated thay way too.

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 4 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

So would I!!! :o)

Tanmoy naskar 4 years ago

Is the spirits who dwells. On this earth is real. The people who are mentally ill and insane in their behaviour have many grief stricken possibilities and must have some underlying matter tone on this condition. The problem of this ghostly experience really freaking me and I. Believe. That they. Should let undisclosed in the front. Of this world

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 4 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

I'm sorry, but I don't understand your comment.

KateGallagher 4 years ago

Imagine being confined in that hospital. If I do not have a mental illness, for sure, I will have one. LOL!

medical practice seo(http://impyre.com/)

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 4 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Unfortunately that happened a lot back then. It was a good way to get rid of someone and then take over their finances and property. If you paid off a greedy doctor, it could be easily done. The people who were sent to these hospitals were often sane when they arrived, but being in a place like that for long would have turned them insane eventually. They were treated inhumanly and most never came out until they died. It's no wonder that all of these buildings are haunted by the poor souls who spent any amount of time inside one of them.

INDRANIL 4 years ago

umm christine, i wanted to ask u something

see here's the thing, the time when the patients died, they were down with mental illness and the kind of cruelty they went thru made them all the more agitated. after dying such a disastrous death, does the mental instability still goes on with their souls. or is it that after death they finally get peace?

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 4 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Of course no once can be sure, but because there are so many incidents of hauntings at these places, I have to assume that at least some of them do not find peace in death. I think they would have to move on to the other side in order for them regain their sanity and peace. If they haven't moved on because of the trauma they endured before death, they are probably still in an abnormal state of mind.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Frank mercurio 4 years ago

Christine thanks for including byberry in your article,as a young teenager right after the hospital closed me and some friends went exploring around midnight. It was the most scary feeling i have ever had we went to the tunnels but were so scared to enter. We seen plenty of dead animals all over the tunnel entrances. We heard what sounded like voices coming at us. We dropped everything ran and never returned again. Have you heard anything specific after it closed??? Hauntings or sightings?

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 4 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Only what I have already written about, Frank. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us. Too bad you didn't have a camera with you. Photos would have been great! :o)

imtinan 2 years ago

hey! can u tell me..

Is collingwood mental hospital really haunted??

Does paranomal things exist there, like souls of mental that died of some cruel doctorzz action??

cox if it is.. I would like to be there after your answer...

plzz dnt tell a lie!!! if u r not like to tell me.. say it... i dnt mind....

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 2 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Since Collingwood Mental Hospital is a fictional place, I think I can say with some authority that it is NOT haunted. It was the site of a haunting for the movie, Grave Encounters, and is NOT a real location.

imtinan 2 years ago

thank you dear..

one more question plzz..

name some most haunted places u have ever seen or heard about them....??

Cox I have some thesis to do about paranomal activity, so plzz tell me a real 1..

then i start my work on it.. i really want a real haunted location where i can manage my work with my crew...

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 2 years ago from Medina, Ohio Author

Please read any of my posts on this site for the information, especially thos that begin with, "Famous Haunted Places."

sonja 2 years ago

Collingwood psychiatric hospital is a real place but it is actually located in Maryland it was open from 1895 to 1963. It housed over 80,000 of Maryland's mentally ill & disturbed!

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