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Updated on December 1, 2011
Former Camarillo Mental Hospital, Camarillo, California Now--California State University-Channel Islands
Former Camarillo Mental Hospital, Camarillo, California Now--California State University-Channel Islands

by Christine B. © 2011

In February, 2009 I wrote an article about six famous haunted mental hospitals and/or sanitariums. I published the article on my Hub Page site ( and have had over 15,000 readers enjoy the account. (This site reports to me how many “hits” I get on each of my over 200 articles.) Among the many comments I have received from readers of this article was one that asked me to write about more haunted former mental facilities. I promised I would. So, to keep my word to that loyal reader, and for the other 15,000, here are more reportedly haunted former mental hospitals and sanitariums.

Fallsview Psychiatric Hospital – Cuyahoga Falls, OH

This facility was privately owned and was closed in 1996. Throughout its years of business many patients had died in the building. Some of these tortured souls have never left. Visitors and the almost 500 staff members heard strange noises in the rooms and throughout the halls on a regular basis. Objects were also moved in rooms when no one else was around. The facility is now closed, but the building is still there, but used as something else.

Edwin Shaw Hospital– Akron, Ohio

This hospital was the site of the former Springfield Lake Sanitarium. As such it served as Summit County's Tuberculosis Hospital for fifty years. In 1960 the building was expanded to house the Sunshine Village Orphanage. The building is now empty. During its years of operation staff members reported occasional spirit sightings and hearing unexplained noises. Another annoying manifestation was doors opening and closing on their own and mysterious phantom footsteps were also often heard. Many times when the building’s mess hall was empty, employees heard the sound of people having lunch. When they would check it out, there was never anyone there.

Bradford Sanitarium -- Bedford, OH.

The building was constructed in the 1920s. It burnt to the ground in 1936, and was not rebuilt. The spirits who lingered in the building must not realize that it is no longer there, because glowing orbs are often seen at night where the building once stood.

Camarillo State Mental Hospital – Camarillo, California

This state mental hospital was built in 1936 and closed in 1997. In 1950 over 7,000 patients, including some as young as 11 years old, were housed in this facility. During its early years of operation brutality to patients was the norm; and it wasn’t until the 1970s when the care turned from incarceration to rehabilitation. Needless to say, many died from mysterious causes before then.

There have been hundreds of reposts of spirit/ghost sightings, strange and unexplained noises, mysteriously moving objects, and coincidental deaths. Many people who enter the building today report getting headaches, feeling nausea, dizziness and fatigue. Others have a frightening feeling of being watched and/or threatened. Phantom voices and children’s laughter has been heard near the former petting zoo area.

The spirit of a woman in white has been seen roaming the hallways of the bell tower. Other spirit sightings include an old woman who walks the grounds outside the bell tower, an unidentified man who sits at the bus stop and a vocal spirit who haunts the woman’s restroom in the bell tower.

The facility has had so many first- hand accounts of unexplained activity that it is believed to be the inspiration for the Eagles hit, “Hotel California.”

In 2002, after being extensively renovated, the building became the California State University-Channel Islands. The building’s exterior remained much the same as it always had been, but the inside cells were converted into classrooms and dorms. The spirits who reside there have not left, however, much to the chagrin of the students.

Overbrook Insane Asylum – Essex County, New Jersey

This facility was built in 1896 high on a ridge overlooking the Peckman River. By the 1950’s thousands of mentally ill patients resided at the asylum. (It seems sad to me that there could be that many people who were so mentally ill. It was also the practice of some unscrupulous people to commit relatives to these facilities in order to take over their property and/or wealth. If the people sent to at these asylums weren’t insane when they arrived, it wouldn’t have taken long for them to become insane once they were there for awhile.) The property was self-contained, having its own farm and railroad station. As with other mental hospitals of the time, patients suffered from cruel and often inhuman conditions. Many died and were buried on the property.

With the creation of mental health medications in the 1960s and 70s the population of the hospital dwindled significantly, and many of the facility’s buildings were abandoned. Essex County officials announced in 2007 that a more modern hospital was being constructed. They planned to covert the Overbrook site into a 90-acre county park.

Many of the old buildings are now gone, and the buildings that remain are guarded closely by the local Sheriff’s department for trespassers. The facility property is thought to be haunted, so that is the main reason why there have been so many snooping around the area. If the buildings that remain and that have been renovated are haunted, the employees aren’t talking openly about it.

I’m sure there are hundreds of abandoned former mental hospitals and sanitarium’s world-wide. Because of the often traumatic circumstances surrounding the lives of the people who once resided there, I can confidently surmise that they would all have paranormal activity associated with the buildings and the property. After all, most mentally ill people are haunted while they are still alive… it would stand to reason that their condition wouldn’t change much after they pass away.



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