Three of my favorite haunted asylums!

So the Ridges, which was also known as the Athens Mental Health Center, is in Athens, Ohio. This joint was originally intended to house the “criminally” insane, sounds like a party right!  The Ridges opened its doors on January 9, 1874.  This is a massive, and elaborate institution and the grounds were park-like, with statues and fountains, giving the asylum the look of a classy resort.  At first it kind of was, but later on, it was more like a “last resort”.  This place was supposed to nurse both the mentally and criminally insane folks back to health with care and concern while living in gorgeous surroundings.

Yeah, we already know that all of these places start out just like this, everything is all peachy in the beginning, and then the shit hits the fan. It’s the usual bullshit ya’ll.  First comes the overcrowding, and then they’re under staffed, and then the torture and macabre experiments kick in.  Places like this were usually paid per patient by the federal government, so of course they start snatching up crazies from all over the place.  They even started taking in old folks turned over by their families and rebellious teenagers that were checked in by their parents.  If I had been around back in the day, My mama would’ve kicked me out of the car at the front door and kept going, that’s a fact!

The Ridges had been built to house 200 and now there were almost 2000 in a building that only had 544 rooms. Patient treatment took a turn for the worse. Typical treatments used were Ice water baths, electroshock therapies and lobotomies, along with bleeding, freezing,and kicks to the head which were thought to  “shock” the illness out of the brain.

Now, the least crazy patients were kept near the center of the institution where the admin offices and employee housing was. The violent patients were kept at the ends of the wings and the furthest from exits and everyone else, so they weren’t tended to as often as the other patients. But man when they were, it was like the doctors were trying to make up for lost time! These crazy bastards were the ones that had the pleasure of experiencing these “shock” treatments. They were living breathing guinea pigs.

So with all that being said, It’s important to add that there are over 1700 unmarked “documented” graves on the grounds, God knows how many more are there though. As you can imagine, there’s more than a couple of disgruntled patients still hanging around the asylum and the cemetery today.

But the one that gets the most press here is the ghost of Margaret Schilling. Check this out:

On December 1, 1978, Margaret disappears from one of the wards. Rumor has it that she was playing hide and go seek with a couple of nurses, but the nurses got distracted and forgot to go look for her. On January 12,1979, 42 days later, they found her lifeless body in the abandoned top floor of ward 20. That ward had been vacated for years, it had been last used to house sick and infectious patients.

Maintenance men found her naked body laying on the floor, her clothes were folded neatly beside her. Her bodily fluids had seeped out of her, she basically had to be peeled off of the floor. The official cause of death was supposedly heart failure but the reason behind it remains a mystery. The floor is stained in the shape of a human female figure where she was found. Folks say that her spirit can be seen peering from the window of that room. People have also said they’ve heard disembodied female voices, lights, shadow people and the sound of squeaking gurneys.


Next up, Danvers State Mental Hospital

Danvers Lunatic Asylum is probably one of the most notoriously haunted and intriguing places on earth. It’s another massive structure that sits on the top of Hawthorne Hill. This joint is so daunting that it earned the name “witches castle on the hill”. Danvers was built in 1878, and was considered a architectural masterpiece.

Here’ where it gets real yall! This joint is sitting right smack dab in the middle of what used to be Salem Village you know, where the actual witch trials began in 1692. Yeah a lot of folks assume that the witch trial kicked off in Salem but that’s not historically correct. The first actual trial went down at a church on Center street in Salem Village. The trials were later moved to a larger building in Salem when hysteria ran rampant and onlooking spectators swarmed the church. And here’s another kicker, the most fanatic of those witch trial judges, Johnathan Hawthorne, lived in a house that his father built in 1646 tight where the asylum sits today. There’s even a rumor that John Proctor and 4 other accused witches were hung there in 1692. Crazy little backstory there right!

Danvers was the epitome of advancing health care and treatment back in the day, But just like all the rest, yeah you got it, overcrowding, under staffing, budget cuts and then the real madness starts. yeah, we’ve heard this one before right! Yeah, this joint was being referred to as a hell hole, comparable to a German death camp.

Between 1940 and 1950, Danvers housed over 2,600 crazies in a building designed for 600. Due to over crowding it relied on drastic medical treatments, you know where I’m going with this, shock treatment, hydrotherapy, insulin shock therapy, psycho-surgery and lobotomies.

Patients became haggard and grim, A lot of the time they were locked up in solitary confinement in a space no bigger than a small bathroom. They were dressed in rags if they weren’t naked, many of them resorted to lying on the filthy cement floors. It was so bad that the dead patients would go unnoticed for days.

Finally in 1992, Danvers shut its doors. The remaining patients were carted off to other insane asylums and the joint was locked down. Several years go by while the building sat abandoned. In 2005 the property was bought and parts of the hospital were demolished. What remained was renovated and turned into an apartment complex, HA! Seriously!

With such a shit tastic history its no wonder why Danvers was dubbed one of the scariest places on earth. Those people living in the apartments have reported flickering lights, full body apparitions, hearing invisible footsteps and doors opening and closing on their own and the sounds of tormented wailing echoes through the hallways. Peaceful living right!

* Next up, the ByBerry Mental Hospital-

Byberry was a scandalized and horrific institution that was originally created as a mental health facility. They took pretty much every flavor of nut job in here. But from what I can see, there was never any “Everything was all good in the beginning” here. This place immediately started buzzing with rumors of incidents and allegations and more were piled on every year it was open.

There were tales of Murder, rape, child abuse, overcrowding, and naked, shit-covered patients wandering around in the hallways. This madness went on for almost the entire 60 years it was open. And besides that there was an affiliated corporation that funded experiments on patients because they knew they’d never have to answer for it.

One of the last and more horrific rumor to come from Byberry was about a young girl that was admitted in 1987. She was suffering from post traumatic stress, when more counseling was done it was found out that her mental issues originated from her having been raped when she was a child. Well, while institutionalized at Byberry, she was being constantly raped by other patients and staff. Eventually she was raped one last time by an inmate, he then murdered her and hid the body on a overgrown section of the grounds. Well, several of the other patients had stumbled across her rotting corpse and were enjoying playing with it, and other things. Her body came to be discovered when one of the other patients was caught by a staff member showing off her teeth.

When her body was found, so were a few others. But not all of them were rape victims, There were tons of stories about patients that wandered out of the facility and showed up on the grounds, at surrounding neighbors homes or in the middle of the highway, more times than a few, these patients were found dead from either having froze to death or committing suicide.

In 1988 this joint was closed down for good, but by then, it was no more than a human cesspit of despair. Now as we know, a lot of the mental asylums that were around in the early 20th century were deplorable. Most all of them were know for macabre methods and inhumane treatment as well, but Byberry is rumored to be the most horrifying of all of them.

Byberry’s reputation was similar to all the others when it came to the overcrowding and neglect “thang”. Budget cuts caused the asylum to fall into in disrepair and the patients wound up unclothed, starved, and sleeping in hallways filled with human waste. Many patients were forced to live huddled in decrepit, dingy rooms with no socialization or supervision. Every mental institution nightmare you can imagine could be found here. “Padded cells, restraining devices, solitary confinement, beatings by sinister staff, violent inmates, lobotomies and electric shock ” were just some of the maddening treatments they used here. This joint was a “real life house of horrors” murder , suicide, and brutality reigned.

Here’s some of the high points of Byberry’s history:

Patients were often restrained for weeks on end, starved drugged and beaten. Every once in a while one of these poor bastards would manage to break free and tried to make a run for it. Well in 1919 that happened, and when two orderlies chased him down they choked him to death, so brutally that his eyes popped out of their sockets. Well these two dudes were fired but then were rehired a few days later at higher wages.

In fact, in 1987 a patient sued the hospital for holding him in a 4 point restraint for 3 years.

and that corporation I mentioned earlier, the Smith Kline French company, yeah they were testing out Thorazine along with some other mind bending drugs on these folks.

Now a lot of folks died here, some from experiments, some from abuse or neglect, some were murdered by the staff and some committed suicide, but there are a few that were murdered by other inmates, here’s an interesting little example: In 1987 a female patient was murdered by a male patient. He killed the chick then dismembered her body. He then took to scattering her body parts all throughout the property. He was found out after several other patients were caught playing with the victims teeth and mandible after having found them on the grounds.

Oh and you’re gonna love this, At one point the male inmates or patients, were allowed to supervise the children’s ward. Now sit and imagine the absolute worst things that could have come of that, because that’s what happened.

In 1990, state authorities closed the doors. But that didn’t really put an end to things. Some of the worse off of the crazies committed suicide, the remaining 2500 plus nut jobs were set free to roam the streets.
So yeah, as you can imagine, there’s a lot of crazy stuff still going on there today. One freakish legend is about one of those former inmates that was freed. He was a mentally, violent patient who reportedly still lurks around in the catacombs beneath the facility. He’s said to be hiding there just waiting to slice the throat of anyone that should cross his path.

There’s actually a documented case of this happening to a paranormal investigator. He was down in the tunnels with his camera man when he felt something slide across his neck, then he was shoved into the stone wall. After he was able to compose himself enough to get the hell out of there, the camera man shined the light on his neck, documenting a deep, but non lethal cut.

There are also rumors that a gang of satanic occultists have moved in to the dilapidated building. The satanic rituals that are said to take place here have possibly opened up a door to hell within these walls. That would explain the growling sounds and bodily welts and scratches have been reported.

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2 Responses to Three of my favorite haunted asylums!

  1. Chris LAUER says:

    Danvers State used to scare the shift out of me when I was a kid. One of my best friends moms was a nurse there….horror stories she had. My other best friend lived across the highway from there, we were scared to death one night, got word there was an escaped lunatic out and about. We drove up there a night just once…..never again. I would not live in those apartments if you paid me. What did they do with the bodies? I saw the grave markers years ago.

    • Lyn Gibson says:

      Hi Chris, brave soul you are! As far as the bodies, I can’t answer with any certainty. There is some documentation that they were moved, but, some say they are still there. We may never know! Thanks for the comment! Keep it creepy! V””V

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