29+ Chilling Photos of Abandoned Psychiatric Institutes


| LAST UPDATE 05/02/2022

By Hayden Katz

Sites that were once the place to heal have quickly turned into something out of a scary movie after being left abandoned. From Upstate New York to the U.K., here are some psychiatric institutes that were left to rot.

Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center

Once upon a time, the Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center was known for performing lobotomy surgeries on their patients. But today, what's left of the controversial hospital remains in the New York town of Dover.

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Jonathan Haeber via Flickr

When the psychiatric ward first opened up in 1924, they established themselves as being "for the care and treatment of the insane." And they were - until they closed their doors in 1994 when society began to choose rehabilitation centers over institutions for those with mental health disorders.

Pool Park Asylum

Ever since they shut down for business in 1990, the old Pool Park Asylum building has been left alone, which eventually made it look like it was haunted. Since no more patients or doctors are roaming the halls, the atmosphere is eery and arguably quite creepy.

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Andrew Gibson via Flickr

But long before the wooden floors were a victim to water damage, the building was home to roughly 120 patients. It was originally opened as the psychiatric ward in 1937 when the building was bought by North Wales Counties Mental Hospital, which needed a second location.

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Medfield State Hospital

For just over a century, the Medfield State Hospital took in thousand of patients until it shut down in 2003. The abandoned building wasn't demolished or destroyed like other nearby institutes in Massachusetts - instead, it can be visited by tourists who wanna take a peek inside.

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Boston Globe / Contributor via Getty Images

It had also been used as a filming set in many hit movies, including Shutter Island, The Box, and Knives Out. But in 2014, the building was bought by the Town of Medfield, so what will happen to it in the future is still unknown. While they make plans for it, the former asylum remains an abandoned area.

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Letchworth Village

The Letchworth Village was first opened with the intention of being a place for “the segregation of the epileptic and feeble-minded.” The goal was to make the place more progressive and feel like a village so it could feel more personal for the patients.

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Darryl Moran via Getty Images

But sadly, it quickly became a nightmare when the institute was overcrowded. It became understaffed, and its reputation was tarnished. In 1996, their doors were finally closed, and the building was abandoned. Some areas surrounding the former village were repurposed, but many parts of the chilling building remain untouched.

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Forest Haven Asylum

This rotting building was known as an awful place to be long before it was even abandoned. When Forest Haven Asylum opened its doors in 1925, it became a home for many mentally unstable kids who were taught many skills needed to be viewed as "normal" in society.

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Darryl Moran via Getty Images

But as their financial stability declined, so did their recreational programs. Sadly, the patients were neglected by the staff, and many of the children spent their final days in the asylum. Ever since it shut down, visitors have been strictly prohibited from entering the now-destroyed building.

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Severalls Asylum

Different types of patients have called the Severalls Asylum home. Their variety of mental struggles meant the institute had various types of programs to help, including music therapy and art therapy. But unfortunately, lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy were also common here...

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Simon Webster via Shutterstock

When doors officially closed in 1990, the asylum was used as a research facility. But when that ended, the building was never used again. For years it sat vandalized and abandoned, and in 2016, the building was finally demolished to make way for a new road.

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Creedmoor Psychiatric Center

What was once an institute filled with hundreds of unstable patients is now a neglected, grimy old building. When Creedmoor Psychiatric Center was opened in 1912, the patients were required to work on a farm as part of their rehabilitation treatment. The program was deemed well until the 50s, when deinstitutionalization began.

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Frank Franklin/AP via Shutterstock

Quickly the center's reputation was ruined, which unfortunately led to a plethora of crimes being committed and many patients moving elsewhere. These days the halls of the building are left empty, except for the occasional birds that fly in and fill the place with dung.

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Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

From 1864 to 1994, the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was an active institute in West Virginia. But, like many asylums at that time, they were incorporating inhuman practices to help their patients. This made it a popular tourist trap for visitors to see the chilling asylum.

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EVA HAMBACH / Staff via Getty Images

There are even ghost hunt tours held there for people to participate in, especially those who are major fans of the supernatural realm. But be warned, the structure of the building is haunting and the things that once occurred in those halls may frighten many.

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Ospedale Degli Innocenti

The Ospedale Degli Innocenti in Volterra, Italy, was ultimately shut down due to the reported brutal treatment that was given to the patients. The conditions were horrid, with every 200 patients sharing 2 toilets and 20 sinks. And it was common for the doctors to administer electroshock therapy.

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Gianni Dagli Orti via Shutterstock

Allegedly, they even induced some patients into comas. Sadly the ones who called the asylum home were often treated as prisoners and were neglected by the nurses. This type of cruel treatment finally was put to an end in 1978 when they left the building to rot.

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Danvers State Hospital

Due to overcrowding at the Danvers State Hospital in Massasshuates, they had to close down in 1992. The staff couldn't handle the surplus of patients that rose from 500 to 2,000 very quickly. Unfortunately, neither the nurses nor the 200-acre farm was incapable of housing that many people.

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Boston Globe / Contributor via Getty Images

“The number of patients sent here has for a considerable time been too large, and the increase continues to exceed all relief from removals….The crowded condition of the hospital was not provided for in its design or construction," reported the 1885 Annual Report of the Trustees of the Danvers Lunatic Hospital.

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Topeka State Hospital

Topeka State Hospital was arguably known for giving its patients many odd treatments during their stay at the asylum. The practice of sterilization was unfortunately popular at this Kansas site for "habitual criminals, idiots, epileptics, imbeciles, and insane," according to reports.

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Topeka Library via Flickr

More and more people became victims of this procedure when the law changed and the doctors no longer needed a court's approval to administer the sterilization. After many years of neglect and questionable treatments, the hospital was shut down and abandoned in 1997.

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Essex County Hospital

When a nearby hospital started to become overcrowded with patients, the Essex County Hospital was opened to help out. It didn't take long before the new institute, which was opened in 1820, was also filled with many patients who were deemed not of sound mind.

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Simon Webster via Shutterstock

Unfortunately, the conditions behind the walls of the now-abandoned building weren't always top tier. In 1917, around 24 patients didn't make it through the night when the hospital's boiler stopped working. The doors were closed for good in the 1970s.

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Whittingham Hospital

Before the Whittingham Hpsitak became a haunting site, it was possibly the largest psychiatric institute in the U.K. They were even the first ones to introduce electroencephalogram (EEG) tests to diagnose patients. For the most part, it was seen as a decent center - until one unfortunate incident.

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ANL via Shutterstock

In the late 1960s, rumors spread that the nurses were providing inhuman treatments. After an investigation was done, they learned these rumors were, in fact, true. And ever since the truth was revealed, the business of the hospital declined. This led to its inevitable closure in 1995.

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Waverly Hills Sanatarium

There are various films and TV shows that depict asylums as a torturous place to be institutionalized. And that depiction may have been made thanks to Waverly Hills Sanatarium - due to the scary stories that have been told about what went on behind those walls.

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Dylan Lovan/AP via Shutterstock

But it wasn't just the patients who reported terrifying tales, rather also the staff who worked there. One nurse who had an affair and illegitimate pregnancy with the hospital's owner ended up taking her own life. The building was officially left abandoned in the year 1961.

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Terrell State Hospital

It was 1885 in Texas, and many hospitals in the area began to experience overcrowding when their beds were getting filled up faster than the staff could handle. That's when the Terrell State Hospital opened up to keep patients from being sent to jail cells as there were no more hospital rooms.

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margaret via Flickr

But unfortunately, it didn't take long for the institution to close its doors in 1925. Yet it was open long enough for the asylum to have a tarnished reputation. The old building currently has an overwhelming creepy vibe... we wouldn't suggest walking through these halls at night.

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St. Elizabeth's Hospital

Dr. Walter Freeman was arguably very infamous for how many lobotomies he would perform in just one single day. And these harsh procedures were often done in what was once known as St. Elizabeth Hospital. According to one historian, he believed the doctor conducted 228 lobotomies in 12 days.

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The Washington Post / Contributor via Getty Images

The chilling rooms where Dr. Freeman held these operations were described as "something out of a horror movie." If that is what it looked like while the asylum was still up and running, we can't even imagine how the building must look now that it's been abandoned…

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Rancho Los Amigos

While it may have been described as being a "friendly" asylum, Rancho Los Amigos staff were reportedly anything but to the sick patients who once lived here. There have even been speculations by supernatural fans that the patients who spent their final days here still roam the halls...

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Jonathan Haeber via Flickr

But whether or not that may be true, we can't deny this abandoned asylum sends chills up our spine. Even many individuals who have visited the old ranch have reported feeling like someone was watching them the whole time. Safe to say that's pretty creepy.

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Pennhurst Asylum

Pennhurst Asylum has often been referred to as one of the most haunted ones in the entire country. It's been speculated that some awful things once happened behind the walls of this now long abandoned building. Apparently, some patients who were uncontrollable were chained up...

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Matt Slocum/AP via Shutterstock

Since 1908 hundreds of patients walked in through the doors of the hospital... and some sadly never walked out. The neglect was reportedly so severe that even when the Pennsylvania asylum was closed down in 1986, all the possessions that were inside were left to rot inside.

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Glenn Dale Hospital

Before it was turned into an asylum where patients with mental illness were treated, the Glenn Dale Hospital focused on patients suffering from tuberculous when it opened in the 1930s. The entire land was made up of 23 buildings filled with sick individuals.

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Preservation Maryland via Flickr

But sadly, these patients were left to fend for themselves when the hospital was shut down in 1981. But due to the underground tunnels system, many who were left homeless were able to find a way back into the abandoned building. These vagrants were probably the culprits of some horrid stories that come from the hospital.

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Fairfield Hills Hospital

Those who were deemed "criminally insane" were sent to the Fairfield Hills Hospital for treatment. But unfortunately, they were known for giving their patients inhuman medical procedures, including lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and psychosurgeries.

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u/mateorw via Reddit

When deinstitutionalization started to spread in 1995, the asylum officially decided to close its doors. But nothing ever happened to the building - there were never any new developmental plans. To this day, the eerily empty building stands tall in Connecticut.

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Ellis Island Hospital

This building has become so infamous for its stories that many tourists can go to Ellis Island Hospital for a tour! Anyone walking through the empty halls can see how much history the building holds. Before turning into a psychiatric institute, the hospital was a place for immigrants to stop while passing through Ellis Island.

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Stephen Chernin / Stringer via Getty Images

Chilling stories have emerged about the past of the New York asylum. One tour guide even revealed that they had "recreational cages" where the patients or the immigrants were forced to stay. That was, until it was officially closed down for good back in 1951.

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Central State Hospital

Central State Hospital in Georgia was arguably best known as the place where disobedient children were threatened to be sent by their exhausted parents. But unfortunately, those who were actually admitted to the hospital had to endure harsh treatment.

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farrargirl via Wikimedia Commons

Due to nearly all the beds being filled up and the lack of staff members, the patients didn't get the care they needed. Apparently, for every 100 patients, there was a ratio of 1 nurse! The things that allegedly occurred behind the asylum walls before it was closed in 1960 are truly haunting.

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Kings Park Psychiatric Center

Long before the deinstitutionalization movement, the Kings Park Psychiatric Center took in many patients who were deemed mentally unstable. When they first opened their doors in 1885, surgeries like lobotomies were seen as beneficial and a "new age" technology.

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Ken Buglione via Getty Images

Unfortunately, many of the patients there fell victim to the questionable treatments until the hospital permanently closed in 1966. Since then, the old building has been abandoned. Currently, it is seen as a part of a state park located in Long Island, New York.

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Buffalo State Asylum For The Insane

As its name suggests, the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane was where hundreds of patients were taken for treatment. Since it was opened so long ago, in 1880, the types of things there were done in the hospital would probably be banned in today's world.

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u/Antiquarian23 via Reddit

Like many similar asylums, the place was completely overcrowded and eventually had to be closed down. And now, the deserted building has been said to be haunted by the ghosts of those who once roamed the halls. Some even reported feeling like someone was with them when they visited the creepy site.

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Athens Lunatic Asylum

For some reason, numerous abandoned psychiatric institutions were once a house of madness. The Athens Lunatic Asylum was uncontrollable when too many patients started to be brought in -while not enough nurses were available. Before it was shut down in 1993, the story of Margaret Schilling was spread all over.

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Nikos Papanikolakis via Getty Images

The patient was playing hide and seek with a nurse who eventually forgot she was a part of the game. Sadly, Schilling stayed in her hiding spot and wasn't found until a whole year later! The neglect and cruel treatment are probably what caused all the creepy tales that have been told about the now-abandoned hospital.

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St. Albans Sanatarium

At the time that the St. Albans Sanatarium was open, many unethical treatments were seen as being helpful for the patients. But, of course, as we know today, these procedures and rehabilitation programs were not beneficial for anyone dealing with a mental condition.

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Rick Stillings via Flickr

Regrettably, the things the doctors did to the patients sometimes led to death or even lifelong defects. It's safe to say that walking through this hospital would send chills up our spins, as many of the surgery rooms, such as the electroshock therapy one, have been untouched since it closed in the 90s.

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Roosevelt Island Hospital

This chilling site has been called one of the most haunted places in the country. And while we can't be certain of that, we do know that the vibe of this abandoned site seems pretty creepy considering what was once held behind the now destroyed walls.

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SeanPavonePhoto via Getty Images

From its opening in 1856 and its permanent closing nearly 100 years after, roughly 450 patients spend their final days in their hospital beds. Today, the chilling ruins remain right outside New York City, where anyone could potentially visit. But maybe not for long, as a redevelopment plan is in the works.

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Rolling Hills Asylum

Even today, the Rolling Hills Asylum looks the exact same as when it was first built back in 1827. The creepy abandoned building was once known as a farm called Genesee County Poorhouse. But it soon was turned into a home for those who were misplaced, orphaned, widowed, or mentally ill.

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Jennifer Kirkland via Flickr

Sadly the patients were all in need of different treatment, but the staff wasn't able to know who needed medication, rehab, surgery, etc., leaving nearly all of them neglected. It's been said that roughly 1,700 people probably took their final breaths on the property. This is why so many ghost hunting tours are now held here.

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Asylum on Poveglia Island

This creepy asylum was placed on Poveglia Island since it was far away from the mainland of Italy. At first, it was known as a place where patients with infectious illnesses were sent. That was until 1922, when it was turned into an asylum for those dealing with psychiatric conditions.

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imagoDens via Getty Images

It quickly became known as the "plague island" thanks to its chilling reputation. Even though it has been years since it was officially shut down and abandoned in 1968, even today, stories about former patients haunting the island are spread among many.

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Denbigh Hospital

Many asylums were eventually closed down after too many patients were accepted and overcrowding began to occur. This typically led to understaffing and not enough resources for all the patients in the hospitals. And that's exactly what happened with Denbigh Hospital.

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ANL via Shutterstock

It was originally set to hold roughly 200 people, but somehow over 1,500 individuals called the asylum home. With so many people to take care of, the doctors and nurses took great measures to keep order. It was even rumored that they put them in cages. Thankfully it was shut down in 1995.

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