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The Top 5 Most Terrifying Asylums in America

We all look at the ruins of sites where Victorian asylums once were in dread. We look at its Gothic architecture, and admire its beauty, but wonder what horrors happen inside. Haunted asylums are a popular destination for ghost hunters and lovers of history and the paranormal. Next time you encounter an asylum, you just might be able, and in fact, encouraged to take a tour by a local historical society, or like organization. How cool is that!?

We all look at the ruins of sites where Victorian asylums once were in dread.  We look at its Gothic architecture, and admire its beauty, but wonder what horrors happened inside.  Haunted asylums are a popular destination for ghost hunters and lovers of history and the paranormal.  Next time you encounter an asylum, you just might be able, and in fact, encouraged to take a tour by a local historical society, or like organization.  How cool is that!?

1.  Danvers State Hospital, located in Danvers, Massachusetts exsists now as an apartment complex with much of the original elements still exsisting of the original Victorian Gothic architecture on its exterior.  I often wonder aside from the complaints of how overpriced the aparments are and how horrible the management is if the tenants experience residual hauntings, or friends from the other side.  Danvers State was the site of the first "successful" frontal lobotomy.  I would imagine this means the patient didn't die in this crude surgery as there is really not much to driving an icepick-like instrument through a person's brain to render them "emotionless".  Most of Danvers State burned to the ground, before the apartment development went in.  There was also a destructive fire during the building of the development, which is definitely sinister and scary.  Danvers State Hospital is speculated to be the inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham Asylum, which is also featured in Batman!  Session 9 was filmed inside Danvers State Hospital before it was demolished in 2006.  

2.  Waverly Hills Sanitorium, located in Louisville Kentucky, is the site of an old tuberculosis hospice.  Tuberculosis was a huge epidemic at the turn of the century.  Many people died in this sanitorium in the prime of their lives terrified and alone.  The sanitorium was completely self-supporting with a fully functioning farm that fed all its patients.  Paranormal tours are encouraged, including sleepovers at Waverly Hills Sanitorium for a mere $100.  There are day tours as well for the less daring.  I know I wouldn't be caught dead sleeping there over night, no pun intended.

3.  Athens Lunatic Asylum aka "The Ridges", located in Athens, Ohio is rumored to be the home of many undead guests, including a woman who was assumed to have escaped, who starved to death in the hospital and leaves her body's imprint in a part of the former lunatic asylum that is now part of Lin Hall, which is a residential area of Ohio University.  Athens Asylum housed tuberculosis patients as well as mentally ill residents at the turn of the century, much like other asylums of its time.  For many years, Athens' biggest source of employments was Athens Lunatic Asylum, imagine that?!  Parts of the asylum are a mental health hospital still, and some parts are Ohio University housing.  There are many document cases of lobotomies performed regularly at Athens Lunatic Asylum.  Two main reasons women went to Athens Lunatic Asylum was for going through menopause and for what we now know as Premenstrual Syndrome and Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.  Imagine being committed for PMS or for going through the change of life? 

4.  Taunton State Hospital in Taunton, Massachusetts is terrifying!  Its said that you can hear screams and banging in the woods behind the grounds of the hospital.  You get a horrible, eerie feeling standing outside this hulking Gothic brick building.  Taunton State Hospital is under the threat of clousure and will leave the Massachusetts South Shore without a mental health facility for many miles.  Part of the hospital functions as a juvenile detention center and a psychiatric facility for minors.  Apparitions can be seen outside by some.  There is activity in the hospital, but because of the change in the original structure, most of the activity seems to be outside. 

5.  Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, located in Weston, West Virginia used to be known as the Weston State Hospital.  Paranormal or  tours are available and encouraged for those who wish to visit the former Weston State Hospital.  Many confused, unhappy, and deranged patients arrived at Weston State and never left.  They died while being committed, which was much longer than it is now these days.  You may have been committed back at the turn of the century, and have never been sent home.  Its beautiful and includes a huge working clocktower on the front entrace.  Its the second largest sandstone structure in the world!  There is much history in addition to ghostly sightings and EVPs caught at this location.  Tours are $100.

Wouldn't a parnormal road trip be fun.  New England is a good place to start!

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Comments (9)

Excellent overview! I'm most familiar with Waverly Hills Sanitorium because I did a writeup about this site several years ago.

One of my favorite topics, interesting from so many angles. There's one near Pittsburgh PA that has a pretty dark history, as well as one in Rocherster, NY.

Coming from Massachusetts, I remember hearing news stories about patients at Danvers State Hospital all the time. I do remember it as a scary place.

Creepy, I wouldn't be doing the sleepover either Amy. Interesting read though :-)

I'm from Mass, too, Sandy. My family lives right behind it. There are no reports of the apartment complex built over it having problems other than the fact that people hate living there as far as reviews online read, lol. They are so creepy. I'm absolutely doing a part two and I've written other articles online about some of these places. There are so many scary historic sanitariums, sanatoriums, and asylums. Poor farms are pretty creepy, too. I wrote an article on Squidoo about the poor farms, eek makes me crawl in my skin.

Totally amazing article! I love reading these types of pieces from you. Thanks!

Thanks, Athena. I started to get on a crazy roll with my history articles and it gets my mind moving in that direction. I'm on a tangent this week, lol!

The amount of negative and evil entities that reside within these "places" are enormous. They are gaining a gravity of momentum and target new people continually for the intent of possession and attachment. I have known many groups who unintentionally suffered from this situation and continue to suffer still, this many years later. Very interesting article indeed!

Debbie, its definitely a bad idea to play with these types of things. I absolutely hear you on that. Driving by and gazing upon these sites is good enough for me, lol!

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