You've heard the stories and you know of at least one that you live near, but have never had the guts to go and check out for yourself... And we don't blame you. While hospitals are first and foremost a means for medical treatment, once vacated, they can turn into something much more sinister and uninviting. Whether it's through means of natural decay or the state of treatment after rowdy teenagers break in and mark their territory, abandoned asylums are wild places. These halls hold stories that many try to forget as they drive or stroll by but there's simply no pushing down that feeling of dread and terror you feel while in the presence of something so scary.
The United States is home to plenty of abandoned ruins that have made their mark on history, but none are as surprising as the list of mental institutions that have gone uninhabited and unused for decades. Many of these were used as early treatment centers as long as a century ago, and the once state of the art facilities are now only home to outdated medical equipment, empty hallways, and the whispers of the past that cling to what once was. These are places that no human should ever spend a substantial amount of time in because regardless of what you believe, buildings such as these tend to play tricks on the mind. Whether it's a feeling of not being alone or spotting something out of the corner of your eye, these ruins are best left alone for good...Lest you want to walk into something you simply can't explain.
24 Yankton State Hospital
This hospital has since been worked on to restore parts of this abandoned hospital, such as the lobby pictured above which features Sioux quartzite and is one stunning feature of an otherwise eerie shell. The hospital was opened in 1880 and only had five employees after the first six months, who took care of a total of 31 patients. Unfortunately, the individual needs of patients were not initially recognized, leading to many who were not getting what they needed as far as diet, care, and support. The hospital became overcrowded very quickly, also housing those who suffered various problems pertaining to the abuse of substances, making for a tense environment with a poor reputation. Although this hospital was recently viewed as a historic landmark, it's not a place we'd want to spend too much time in.
23 Willard Asylum For The Chronic Insane
The scariest thing about this empty hospital is the possessions that have been left behind by its former patients in the form of hundreds of suitcases. This asylum got its start in 1869, however, an asylum for those seeking refuge from their inner demons, it was not. Patients arrived at the hospital seeking help and were instead treated in the same manner in which they felt -- Crazy and insane. The most common method for treatment was done by neglecting patients since the idea of mental illness was not something that was understood during the Victorian Era. Rather, these patients were admitted as a means to keep them out of and away from society, rather than treat the cause of their perceived insanity. Patients were free to wander the grounds, although they were still put through treatments options such as ice baths, electroshock therapy, and operation theaters, which would be deemed inhumane in the current time. To drive home the mistreatment of patients further, a cemetery is found on the asylum grounds with nameless grave markers -- Only numbers.
22 Waverly Hills Sanatarium
This is the hospital that many people think of when they think of an abandoned asylum and for good reason. The Waverly Hills Sanatarium has made national television shows for being amongst one of the most paranormally-charged places in the country, as well as the world. Originally a school, Waverly Hills became a hospital in 1908 in order to treat tuberculosis patients. Due to the nature of the disease and the fact that so many were sent there without much hope of recovering, it became a bleak and destitute place to live, let alone spent time in. The hospital staff had their own issues along with treating patients for an, at the time, incurable disease, resulting in many stories that reside within these walls today. One of which follows the life of a nurse who took her own life following an affair and pregnancy by the owner of the hospital. Those who have tried their own luck reports feelings of unease and even physical pain, including scratches and an unnatural presence.
21 Trans-Allegheny Hospital Lunatic Asylum
Boasted as the second largest asylum in the entire world, Trans-Allegheny has quite a history that's spoken of carefully, in hushed tones. Although it was only designed to hold up to 250 patients, by the 1950s, the hospital saw upward of 2,400. During this time, experimental treatments were all the rage and medical decisions were not always ethical. Due to this, many patients lost their lives after being sent to Trans-Allegheny as a result of trial and error procedures that were not proven helpful. Additionally, those who were sent here were often done so without a legitimate reason, such as simply just being "lazy". While obviously, this is not a medical condition, patients were still treated as though they were just as ill as the clinically insane.
20 Tooele Hospital
The Tooele Hospital was not always viewed as a bad place to be; it was opened in 1897 as what was then referred to as a "family house", then soon took on the treatment of the elderly and special needs patients. While there is nothing definitively dark or sinister about this asylum, it was the location where Stephen King's "The Stand" was filmed and has been the subject of many a paranormal investigation. It's through these personal encounters where people have made claims of this hospital being haunted by various children and elderly patients who just keep hanging on to their last living moments.
19 Terrell State Hospital
After its opening in 1885, Terrell State Hospital was originally known as the North Texas Hospital for the Insane. It was the answer to the overcrowding of the only other hospital located in that area of Texas, as patients had no choice but to be kept in local jails until a hospital with enough room was opened. Terrell State wasn't open very long before closing its doors in 1925, but that was enough time for its walls to house the stories that often accompany asylums for the insane. Today, several buildings are still abandoned and locked down while various parts of the hospital are up and operational. It's not a place you'd want to be alone, as everything has been left in its 1925 condition.
18 St. Elizabeth's Hospital
This abandoned hospital in D.C. has a past with a Frankenstein of a doctor. Famous for his lobotomies, this hospital was the home of Dr. Walter Freeman, who was famous for not only the act of his surgery of choice but for how many he would conduct in a day. One historian claims that the doctor once completed at least 228 lobotomies over a span of only 12 days. His patients included JFK's sister, and it seemed as though no one was off-limits for this out of control neurosurgeon. Freeman documented his "cases" and his operating room was often described as looking like "something out of a horror movie". The most scary part of this history is that everything still remains the same to this day behind the walls of this empty hospital. Everything down the equipment is still in place, accompanied only by the stories about how each piece was used.
17 Rancho Los Amigos
This seemingly "friendly" ranch became an asylum for the mentally ill, handicapped, elderly, and homeless in 1888. While some surrounding buildings are still in operation, the abandoned asylum still remains untouched, holding within it the same setup as it had a century earlier. Patients were often anything but happy in this "ranch of friends" that was intended to house them safely, and there are stories of those who have taken their own lives as well as the spirits of those who never actually passed on. Visitors report unsettling feelings of being watched by those referred to as "The Watchers" as well as being drawn to focus their attention on the building that has been abandoned all these years. Those who had no family or friends before their passing at the asylum were laid to rest in Potter's Field, which was washed out in 1914, causing the caskets of some to be carried away in the flood. It has since been relocated, but those laid there continue to experience unrest, according to eyewitness accounts.
16 Pennhurst Asylum
With a reputation for being the most haunted in the country, Pennhurst truly tops our list as having one of the most disturbing and cruel histories out of any hospital in existence. While it still sits abandoned in Pennsylvania, if walls could talk, they would be screaming. Pennhurst is rumored to have seen some of the worst torture of patients by doctors and employees, which included anything from chaining people to walls, to ignoring the cries of babies and the taking of innocent lives for seemingly no reason. While its chilling history began in 1908 and held over 10,000 patients, it continues to scare the daylights out of all those who dare to step foot on these grounds. Over a span of 120 acres, people have reported anything from being yelled at to get out to physically being pushed by an unseen force. As if witnessing things flying across the room wasn't bad enough, the hospital has been left in its original state, complete with patients' belongings left where they laid in 1986 after the asylum was eventually shut down.
15 Metropolitan State Hospital
Although its one of the newer abandoned hospitals on the haunt scene, the Metropolitan State Hospital has no shortage of scary spooks. It was built in 1930 and designed to help children and those with mental illness. Eerily enough, the building that was intended for children, the Gaebler Children's Center, has been described by former patients as more of a prison ward than an actual pediatric center. While there are stories that have never been confirmed, one that has a steadfast history is that of a patient named Anna Marie Davee, who fell victim to that of another patient who had it in for her and apparently, her teeth -- Which were kept as a souvenir after she met her demise by his hand. Horror story or real-life asylum history? Either way, it's scary.
14 Kankakee State Hospital
Kankakee State Hospital remains partially open, however, it was originally intended for the treatment of those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. While many might walk into these hospitals and feel terror, another emotion that is common is that of sadness. It's easy to grieve for them when you stumble upon the cemetery that sits on the grounds of the Kankakee State Hospital, where many lie in their final resting places in nameless graves, leaving behind nothing but a headstone. Up to 4,100 people are buried here and to this day, it's still unclear whether these graves hold patients of the nearby hospital or contain the history of that land by those who fought and lost their lives in the Civil War.
13 Glenn Dale Hospital
Glenn Dale joined the ranks of tuberculosis treatment int he 1930s upon its conception and took on cases that ranged from children to adults. The entire hospital consists of 23 separate buildings which later became a house for the criminally insane, making it not only a huge abandonment but an area with twice as much tortured history. Many of the patients who were admitted are rumored to have come from horrific situations that caused their eventual mental instability, and its these patients people have claimed to see apparitions of to this day. After the hospital closed its doors to the public in 1981, many people were left on the streets and had nowhere to go but the recently abandoned building. With so many underground tunnel systems, it was easy to find a way in -- Thus creating a vicious catch-22 that resulted in the horror stories we hear of Glenn Dale today.
12 Fairfield Hills
This hospital in Connecticut was intended to be of a huge help to alleviate a neighboring hospital that was experiencing overcrowding. Intended to be home to those who were mentally unstable, otherwise known as "criminally insane" during that time, Fairfield Hills was once known as being a beautiful property in 1931, home to up to 4,000 patients. Complete with underground transport between buildings of which there was 16 total, this hospital also boasted some other features: electroshock therapy, lobotomies, hydrotherapy, and psychosurgeries. The hospital would eventually close in 1995 and become abandoned soon after, but not soon enough, some still believe, to keep restless spirits from echoing cries of the past and the poor treatment they received while living.
11 Essex Mountain Sanatorium
Built in 1896, this sanatorium was initially intended for the treatment and eventual curing of tuberculosis. Unlike other sanatoriums during that time, this hospital fell into disuse and was eventually just abandoned, leaving all of its hilltop buildings to succumb to nature. Though the building remained empty, the echoes of the past were still very much active, leaving anyone who walks through with an eerie, over-your-shoulder type of feeling. It's rumored that everything inside has been left exactly the way it had been in the early 1900s, including shift reports, padded rooms, and the contents of nurses' lockers and patients' rooms. It's rumored that many patients had returned to the abandoned grounds and people are urged to use caution if visiting. Parts of the hospital have since been torn down, though, leaving nothing but rubble where there was once just terror.
10 Ellis Island Immigration Hospital
Today, the Ellis Island Hospital is available for tours, although certain parts still remain off-limits. It is abandoned and was first used as a hospital for immigrants passing through Ellis Island between the years of 1901 and 1924 when it was converted to a psychiatric hospital for soldiers. Shortly after that, it was used as an internment camp, taking a historical turn to something much darker. While there are no specific stories shouted from these abandoned halls, walking through hallways that held patients divided by disease is enough to give anyone goosebumps. One tour guide does describe the psych ward rooms as having been "recreational cages", where immigrants would remain until they were deported.
9 Danvers State Lunatic Asylum
Danvers State was destined for terror as it was built on the land that originally belonged to the Salem Witch Trials. The hospital sits on what was once the original village of Salem and appropriately earned the nickname of "Witch's Castle on the Hill". During the 1940s, Danvers State began its reputation that some refer to as something similar to a concentration camp; patients who were put in the hospital to be helped were left to waste away into nothing, being ignored to no end. The staff seemed to ignore and avoid just about everything which led to poor treatment or, in many cases, no treatment whatsoever. The building itself has since been demolished but people continue to report paranormal goings on that simply go beyond what you'd expect.
8 Creedmoor Psychiatric Hospital
Something you don't expect in the middle of Queens, New York, is a partially abandoned psychiatric ward. Building 25 has been left to be reclaimed by nature while everything in it has been left to either decay or sit for an infinite passing of time. Creedmoor was built in 1912 and once housed hundreds of patients, many of which suffered from conditions such as schizophrenia and psychosis. The hospital's reputation was doomed from the start, as dysentery set in and made hospital conditions virtually inhabitable, however, the hospital remained open. By 1974, crime between the staff and patients had spiraled out of control, enough to launch an investigation into the goings on behind closed doors. The conditions of patients were sad and rumors of just about every crime you could think of slowly floated to the surface, until 1984 when one crime was not only proven but brought to light, leading to the eventual closing of Building 25's doors. Everything has been left in its original position, including equipment and personal belongings, as it was in the late 1970s. Although the building has fallen victim to vandalism and squatters, its grotesque history remains.
7 Central State Hospital
Central State Hospital in Georgia is the type of place that parents would threaten sending their children to in order to get them to listen. However, this hospital was home to a sinister history before becoming abandoned. As if the years following weren't enough, the first patient at Central State passed on due to was what ruled to be "maniacal exhaustion". What that is, exactly, remains a mystery, but he would be one of many to find out what happens when a hospital takes on any patients, is overcrowded and understaffed. With a ratio of one staff member to every 100 patients, medical treatments were unethical, drastic, and often unnecessary. The treatment of these patients before the hospital was eventually shut down in the 1960s can only be classified as degrading, and it soon came out that the rumors were true -- Some of the hospitals "doctors" were actually patients, too.
6 Kings Park Psychiatric Center
Kings Park Psychiatric Center, which is now part of a state park located on Long Island, New York, was once home to the mentally ill before medicine and treatments were modernized. Similar to Creedmoor, Kings Park has its own building with a dark reputation: Building 93. This tower wasn't intended to look as scary as it does, but, in fact, all of Kings Park boasts an atmosphere that is sensed from the moment you walk onto its grounds. The hospital once prided itself on "new age" treatments including lobotomies and electroshock therapy, leading to immoral and often irrational medical decisions. The hospital was surrounded by everything it needed to be self-sustaining at the time but fell into disuse in 1966. Kings Park is what you'd typically expect when walking into an abandoned psych ward, though it's not one we suggest visiting anytime soon. Or at all.
5 Buffalo State Asylum For The Insane
Often looked at in quick glances by students attending the nearby Buffalo State campus, the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane was built in 1880 and is still believed to be overtaken with paranormal activity to this day. In its heyday, the asylum saw thousands more than it should have as overcrowding became a massive issue. It is said that spirits remain in the tunnels connecting the individual buildings and, for some reason, have a particular affinity for them. Others report feelings of not being alone and just generally feeling uncomfortable, which is completely understandable for an asylum that boasts such a creepy nature as this. While it may have been a state of the art facility in the late 1800s, now it's outdated, empty, and daunting.