- Religion and Philosophy
Letchworth Village, Rockland County, New York
I have never heard of any mental asylums with a good reputation, but this one has to take the cake as the rumors of neglect and the indignity of those who had to be there have surfaced over the years. I had heard vague talk of the place years ago, but had moved it to the back of my mind and the spark was not renewed until a recently episode of Ghost Adventures aired that featured the run down mental hospital. Why you may be wondering, honestly the information on the place is not the greatest and it was slated to be demolished back in 2007, obviously this did not happen as it is still there. I have heard that some buildings are in use and some are supposed to be rehabbed, no confirmation on it though.
Letchworth Village for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic was built in 1908 and like many other places started out as a great idea that somewhere along the way did a 360 into horrible conditions and abuse that is all anyone seems to remember. The village was apparently the idea of a Quaker who thought that the feeble-minded and epileptic deserved a chance to live as normal of a life as possible and so the intent was good. It is said that the patients there grew their own crops and did indeed live the way they seemed to want to, somewhere along the way horrible things are said to have started occurring there.
Some believe that the place began to go bad when in the 1950’s a new vaccine for Polio was administered to a patient at Letchworth, he was 8 years old. When this young boy did not die when given the new vaccine or seem to suffer any other side effects they then administered the vaccine to 19 other patients, all children. The village seemed to take a head long dive into the abyss of despair as rumors began circulating about the treatment of patients including children who were left unfed, unclothed, unbathed and uncared for. Neglect was rampant, which is not unusual it seems for mental institutions of that time but the talk of experimentation on the patients is something not found in all mental hospitals.
Another aspect that also gives Letchworth its ultimate in creepiness is that there are quite a mass of unmarked graves there and since back then it was just the thing to drop off your retarded child and forget they existed this may not be surprising, but how did all these patients die? Of course you expect there to be deaths at any institution but there are literally hundreds of unmarked graves, was it due to experimentation or neglect, or both?
The buildings are said to be quite haunted and the building that housed the “brains” is said to be one of the most active. Yes you did read that correctly, apparently when certain patients died their brains were harvested and stored in glass jars that were placed on a shelf. Up to 50 brains were said to have been placed on the shelves of the lab, could this be the cause of the disturbances that happen in the village? Voices, sightings, noises and what appear to be shadow people have been spotted at Letchworth along with those that venture there becoming overwhelmed with despair and sadness. Should it be any surprise that many consider the place to be haunted?
What adds to the creepiness is that fact that it looks like everyone just got up and left one day never to return. Patients and employees alike left clothing, books, pictures, and personal items everywhere and not only that but patient files have been left scattered throughout rotting away in boxes along with the medical equipment that was used there. The beauty of the area is definitely admirable and to this day is enjoyed by many but for the few unlucky souls who can sense the sadness that survives in and outside the buildings of Letchworth Village the beauty is forever marred by the horror that lingers there.