The walls speak. The hallways echo with the sound of screams and terror. The rooms look like they had housed rabid animals and not human beings with severe mental ailments. And through it all, there’s a raging thunderstorm outside and bursting lightning that throws shadows across everything.
That’s usually the picture perceived when anyone speaks of an abandoned asylum. Most of the time, these are just the imaginations of some wonderfully twisted storytellers. But sometimes, these stories echo true.
Here are some insane asylum stories that have given us all chills!
Insane Asylum Stories that Shocked a Nation
A Willowbrook State School once stood on the grounds of New York Staten Island. Though replaced by the College of Staten Island, some of its abandoned buildings are still standing, rotting away, while its walls are holding within it the horrific stories of the mistreated, abused and neglected children who were once sane – until they stumbled upon the nightmarish Willowbrook.
Ironically, Willowbrook was owned by the New York Department of Mental Hygiene. But to everyone’s surprise this place was about the filthiest, freakiest, and overly crowded places they’d ever seen. Unsuitable for anyone, let alone disabled children.
Originally, it was designed to be a clean, safe home for only 4,000 patients, but it held over 6,000 patients. Given the circumstances, you can imagine how the murky rooms and halls looked like. Children were sleeping on the floor, under the beds, and sometimes naked in the hallway.
The children who had the atrocious misfortune of staying in this place were sexually, physically and medically abused, extremely neglected, and easily exposed to murder. The universe must’ve heard these children’s agonizing, unearthly screams, because journalist Geraldo Rivera exposed the freak show that is The Willowbrook State School to the nation.
Rivera’s investigation uncovered how Dr. Saul Krugman and Robert McCollum cruelly performed inhumane experiments on these children. One of the studies had Krugman force-feeding the hepatitis virus in milkshakes to 60 healthy children; his reasoning was that the children were going to suffer from hepatitis either way. The investigation definitely did shed some light on the on-going atrocity, but that’s not all. Apparently Willowbrook was a home for the infamous serial killer, Andre Rand.
Finally, seven years later, the Willowbrook hellhole was officially shut down for good; or so we think. The College of Staten Island was constructed on the same grounds, along with some of the cursed Willowbrook’s buildings. Students claim to hear ‘shadowy figures’ yelling at them; sometimes these shadowy figures even push them.
To this day, people still hear creepy stories about Willowbrook, but listening to stories is nothing next to living them. So, if you’re ever around the area, make sure you live to tell the tale of the haunted Willowbrook.
Insane Asylum Stories with an Everlasting Corpse Stain
How horrific is it, that the place that promises you safety and care is the same place that abuses its power against you when you’re at the most vulnerable state?
The Athens Asylum welcomed people with open arms after the Civil War, given the dreadful state that the people were in. Anxiety, epilepsy, posttraumatic stress, and high libidos were common, but the treatments were inhumane to say the least.
This asylum had a garden, farm fields, greenhouses, a carriage shop, a dairy, and an orchard. Initially everything that the asylum owned was meant to benefit the patients, but ironically the staff thought it’d be a good idea to put their patients on these fields to work.
That’s not all. The asylum quickly hosted 2,000 patients, which was over three times its capacity.
The number of patients surely increased, while the number of the staff stayed the same. But at least most of these staff was professionally trained to take care of mentally unstable patients, right?
Wrong. Most of the staff hadn’t had a lick of any sort of training background whatsoever. Add to that bad treatment, misdiagnosed patients, lobotomy and shock therapy to the mix, and we’ve got the perfect recipe for a cruel, insane asylum.
One can only imagine how things were with so many patients, and hardly as many staff members. Patients were neglected, beaten, and were placed in crowded rooms. These rooms were only meant to hold 1 patient instead of 10 or more.
But it gets worse! The things that the staff did in the female ward was beyond insanity. Women, who would naturally exhibit signs of sexual desire, would be later diagnosed with hysteria. These doctors believed that they were sick because of “menstrual derangement”. These women were going through their menstrual cycle, and for that they were “treated” with freezing, shock therapy, kicking, and sometimes lobotomy. Because apparently menstrual pain isn’t enough.
One of the women, Margaret Schilling tried to escape, and went missing for 42 days. Since the asylum didn’t do anything about it, she was accidentally found in an abandoned ward that was used for patients with infectious diseases. To add to the creep factor, her clothes were found neatly folded next to her, while Margaret’s dead, decaying body lay on the floor.
Apparently her body had decayed so much that there was still a gooey imprint of her outline on the floor that still exists to this day, despite the staff’s hopeless attempts to clean it up.
Finally, the asylum was closed for good in 1993, and The Ohio University was built there instead.
Students say that they can hear the embodied screams; some even have seen Margaret trying to escape the room. People always feel unbearable dread when they’re around the area, and the stories and rumors only make staying there worse.
Insane Asylum Stories that Inspired H.P Lovecraft
If you’re familiar with Lovecraft’s work then you can only imagine how bad this asylum was to inspire such a brilliant author to write the twisted, frightening Arkham Sanitarium that still haunts our thoughts to this day.
Not only did Danvers State Hospital inspire Lovecraft, but it also inspired Batman’s Arkham Asylum. It was built in the 19th century in Massachusetts, and get this, the asylum was built in the same place where the Salem Witch Trials judge John Hathorne once lived. Creepy right?
The Asylum’s gothic design and history might already sound horrifying, but it gets even creepier. This asylum followed in the same footsteps of any classical insane asylum. It was only meant for 600 patients, but ended up hosting around 2,400, and of course a low staff count, and of course, there’s the usual insane asylum treatments such as shock therapy and lobotomy.
Here’s the twist, though. This asylum was the first to operate the transorbital lobotomy, where an ice pick is inserted through the eye socket and into the brain. Soon enough, it started to keep patients such as the elderly, who had children that didn’t want to take care of them anymore, mentally disabled, alcoholics, drug addicts, and insane criminals.
The staff used treatments like shock therapy and lobotomies when they didn’t even need to; it was just so they could keep their numerous patients under control. Of course. due to the extreme neglect, patients started dying there, and their bodies were found days later.
Their cruelty didn’t end there; the doctors were using lobotomy to cure anything from natural ailments such as daydreaming and back aches, to delusions and depression. Visitors described how dirty the patients were, how they were creepily wandering in the halls, and sometimes blankly staring at the walls. Some of these patients weren’t even suffering from anything, and the extremity of the treatments are what drove them insane.
The asylum was of course shut down, and its buildings demolished. Some patients left the asylum, while others are spending eternity under its grounds. The asylum’s buildings don’t exist anymore, but its cemetery sure does. So if you ever want to go on a ghost haunt, you know where to go.
Truth Behind the Tales
No matter what people want to believe, one cannot deny the fact that asylums can be really scary places. Experimental medical strategies, orderlies abusing patients, and the ravings of those locked behind closed doors inside padded rooms. It isn’t hard to imagine the screams echoing through the centuries, living on forever to haunt the thrill-seeking adventurer who decides to set foot in any of the asylums mentioned above.
Then again, maybe some of us just like being haunted…