Old psychiatric hospital

18 Abandoned Psychiatric Hospitals, and Why They Were Left Behind

Ovid, New York

Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane

An abandoned asylum where patients have been forgotten but their possessions remain.

42.6792, -76.8794

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Added by Molly McBride Jacobson

Beacon, New York

Zelda Fitzgerald's Abandoned Sanatorium

The abandoned husk of a mental institution that failed to save a Jazz Age icon still sits nearly unchanged.

41.4888, -73.9679

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Added by Luke J Spencer

Gwangju-si, South Korea

Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital

The abandoned hospital whose elaborate ghost stories cover up the dirty truth - an uneventful sanitation issue and other mundane reasons for its demise.

37.3624, 127.3347

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Added by Shannon Ohaire

Wingdale, New York

Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center

An abandoned asylum once on the cutting edge of lobotomies may be reborn as a Christian college.

41.6355, -73.5700

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Added by cgrant7692

Ruthin, Wales

Pool Park Asylum

This abandoned asylum in Wales might look haunted, but it's still beautiful.

53.1004, -3.3350

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Added by Catherine

Glendale, California

Rockhaven Sanitarium

Once a place of peaceful repose, this sanitarium now faces an uncertain future.

34.2113, -118.2384

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Added by littlebrumble


Medfield, Massachusetts

Medfield State Hospital

Unlike other abandoned asylums this empty institution welcomes visitors, just don't go in the buildings.

42.2072, -71.3313

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Added by kendrawashere

Thiells, New York

Letchworth Village

Decades after testing the polio vaccine on unwitting patients, this historic mental hospital sits in ruin.

41.2124, -74.0235

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Added by fleshxharvest

Laurel, Maryland

Forest Haven Asylum

This abandoned asylum was once a state of the art facility before devolving into one of the most deadly mental institutions in American history.

39.0988, -76.7864

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Added by EricGrundhauser

Volterra, Italy

Ospedale Psichiatrico di Volterra

This real life asylum of horrors is now an abandoned ruin that hides the unbreakable code to one patient's insanity.

43.4000, 10.8756

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Added by CQ


Severalls Asylum

This abandoned house of horrors had a "trial-and-error" philosophy regarding mental health care.

51.9185, 0.8937

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Added by Rachel

Queens, New York

Creedmoor Psychiatric Center's Building 25

A long abandoned hospital building on the outskirts of NYC.

40.7373, -73.7325

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Added by Hannah Frishberg

Denbigh, Wales

Denbigh Insane Asylum

The decaying ruins of Wales' first asylum for the mentally ill.

53.1746, -3.4212

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Added by Annetta Black

Weston, West Virginia

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

A particularly creepy abandoned hospital that sparks interest for lovers of the supernatural.

39.0388, -80.4712

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Added by cinapelayo

Coquitlam, British Columbia

Riverview Hospital

Historic psychiatric asylum and most-filmed location in the Great White North.

49.2455, -122.8089

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Added by morinaga

Bronx, New York

Hart Island

The loneliest island in New York.

40.8536, -73. 7704

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Added by Oliver Hong

Waltham, Massachusetts

Fernald State School

Run by a eugenics advocate, this aging institution conducted secret radiation experiments sponsored by Quaker Oats.

42.3911, -71.2106

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Added by jrginsbe

Staten Island, New York

The New York City Farm Colony

This former institution is slated to be converted into upscale retirement housing this year.

40.5959, -74.1378

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Added by Hannah Frishberg

9 Abandoned Asylums That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

By Natasha Ishak | Edited By Leah Silverman

Published November 30, 2020

Updated July 16, 2021

From New Jersey to Australia, take a look at the most disturbing abandoned asylums — and learn about the horrors committed there.

In the 19th century, mental health practitioners tried to reform the facilities where people living with mental illnesses were commonly sent. They envisioned sprawling facilities that would replace the overcrowded and underfunded shelters where patients were typically treated. Today, however, these abandoned asylums sit in decay, a bleak reminder of how horribly they failed in their mission.

Because patients with mental illnesses were commonly abused or stigmatized, doctors resolved to open hospitals, or asylums, where they could live and be treated without bias. These asylums were largely built as sprawling estates equipped with amenities like sustainable farms and entertainment centers, and patients appeared to receive the most progressive treatments in mental health medicine at the time.

But due to overcrowding in these facilities, isolation from society, and a limited understanding of mental health among doctors at the time, these asylums quickly devolved into sites of torture. Patients endured brutal “treatments” like ice baths, electric shock therapy, purging, bloodletting, straitjackets, forced drugging, and even lobotomies.

These psychiatric hospitals were eventually shut down as society’s knowledge about mental health evolved with modern medicine. Many of these former asylums still exist today, even though they are abandoned and destroyed from decades of neglect. And because of their brutal past, many believe that these abandoned asylums might even be haunted.

The Now-Abandoned State Asylum In Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

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The Philadelphia State Hospital opened in 1903 following a state bill which declared that every county was required to have a facility for its mentally infirm.Rana Xavier/Flickr

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Rana Xavier/Flickr

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The hospital quickly became overcrowded, which made hiring qualified individuals to work as its staff all the more difficult. As a result, most of the hospital's staff were regular people with no medical qualifications.Rana Xavier/Flickr

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Over its 80-year operation, patients were abused by staff and other patients alike. One groundskeeper reported coming across two corpses in the late 1980s.Rana Xavier/Flickr

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Rana Xavier/Flickr

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In 1919, two orderlies working at the hospital confessed to strangling a patient until his eyes popped out. They blamed their actions on PTSD from World War I and were kept on staff even after they confessed.Rana Xavier/Flickr

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Rana Xavier/Flickr

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The abandoned Byberry Hospital is now covered in dirt, grime, and graffiti.Rana Xavier/Flickr

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Rana Xavier/Flickr

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The pharmaceutical company Smith, Kline, & French (now GlaxoSmithKline) owned a lab at the hospital. It is alleged that the company conducted unethical drug testing on patients — most likely without the patients' consent.Rana Xavier/Flickr

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Even after the abuse at the hospital was uncovered in a 1946 TIME exposé, the state psychiatric hospital continued to operate until it was finally closed in 1990. Rana Xavier/Flickr

Inside The Ruins Of 9 Abandoned Asylums Where The ‘Treatments’ Were Torture

View Gallery

Today, healthcare professionals refrain from using the terms "mental asylum" or "insane asylum," and instead refer to these institutions as psychiatric facilities. But at the turn of the century, "mental asylum" was common parlance.

In the early 20th century, abuse against patients in these mental asylums was rampant, but few places were as violent as the Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, where multiple homicides were later uncovered.

The facility opened in 1903 as a working farm for the mentally ill, and patients from other overcrowded mental health hospitals were sent there to heal. But the humble treatment facility quickly became overcrowded itself and was expanded into a multi-campus hospital.

The hospital's ballooning number of patients made it difficult to recruit qualified staff, so the facility hired non-medically trained individuals to bridge the gaps. This indiscriminate hiring practice produced staff that was ill-equipped to handle patients with mental illnesses and who often resorted to violence.

In 1919, two orderlies confessed to strangling a patient until his eyes popped out and then blamed their actions on PTSD from World War I. Despite their confession, the two orderlies were kept on staff and even given a pay raise. And this violence continued for years. In 1989, a groundskeeper stumbled upon the corpses of at least two other patients.

Violence between patients was just as common. At least one staffer reported witnessing a patient stabbing another patient with a sharpened spoon in 1944. In 1987, a female patient was raped and murdered. Her body was finally found after staff noticed patients carrying her teeth.

Unethical medical practices were also reportedly carried out in the now-abandoned asylum. The pharmaceutical company Smith, Kline, & French (now GlaxoSmithKline) owned a lab at the hospital, where they allegedly conducted questionable testing on patients, likely without their consent.

The hospital's history of violence first made its way to the public in a 1946 LIFE Magazine exposé and then again in the early 1980s when it was dubbed a "clinical and management nightmare." Even though Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey ordered the facility to be closed in 1987, the hospital didn't officially close its doors until 1990.

Today, the abandoned asylum still stands as a frightening reminder of the horrors that once took place there.

Abandoned psychiatric hospital Allenberg in the Kaliningrad region - Our Urals and the whole world

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Home Russia Abandoned psychiatric hospital Allenberg in the Kaliningrad region

The abandoned psychiatric hospital Allenberg is one of the most mysterious and mystical places in the Kaliningrad region.

The medical institution was called "Provinzial Heil-und Pflegeanstalt Allenberg" , which is translated as the Allenberg Provincial Psychiatric Hospital.

Abandoned Allenberg Psychiatric Hospital. Photo: Dmitry Kustarnichenko

Construction began in 1848 on the left bank of the Alle River, the opening took place in 1852. Over the years, the institution expanded: by 1837 there were 250 beds, and by 1900 there were as many as 1,000. the number of seats is already up to 1400.

Most of the buildings were built in the 1850s in pseudo-Gothic style, which adds additional gloom and mystery to this place. It was the largest East Prussian institution of its kind. In the “best years”, so to speak, up to 1,400 patients were kept here.

To get here you didn't have to become a real psycho in the classical sense of the word. For example, sleepwalking or severe depression was sometimes quite enough. They tried to treat patients in various ways, sometimes not quite humane in modern times. Dmitry Kustarnichenko

Abandoned Allenberg Psychiatric Hospital inside. Photo: Dmitry Kustarnichenko

At the beginning of the Second World War, in 1940, the hospital was closed and the Nazi SS garrison was placed on its territory. There are versions that incurable patients were simply eliminated, and the rest were sent to other medical institutions.

In 1945, the troops of the Soviet Union took the city of Königsberg and drove the Germans out of there. The Russian military unit was located here until 2013. Later, the buildings were abandoned by the military: now the building is completely abandoned.

For people with a rich imagination, there really is where to roam. Just imagine what could happen in a building for 100 or even more years!

You walk through the buildings and directly imagine how Randle McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, is wrapped in a straitjacket, dragged to the operating room, where they do a lobotomy. By the way, in one of the buildings there is graffiti with Nicholson! Very relevant! Dmitry Kustarnichenko

According to Dmitry, the recently abandoned complex was transferred "to the balance sheet" of the Kaliningrad region. At the moment, it is not known what will happen to the building in the future.

Where is the abandoned psychiatric hospital located and how to get there

Allenberg Psychiatric Hospital is located in Znamensk (the former German village of Velau), Gvardeisky district of the Kaliningrad region.

Distance from the city of Gvardeysk - about 15 km (15-20 minutes by car), from Kaliningrad - 55 km (45 minutes by car.

Can solo travelers get there? Dmitry writes that despite the restrictions, it is possible to get there:

A Chopovets stands at the main gate and does not let anyone in. But the territory is large, the fence is full of holes, and in general it is not difficult to climb over it. The guards, apparently, have no instructions to drive uninvited visitors. Be careful when visiting! Somewhere the floor failed, somewhere else something is wrong. But overall, the buildings look pretty solid. The Germans build, as you know, for centuries! Dmitry Kustarnichenko

The ruins of the Allenberg hospital, Kaliningrad region. Photo: Dmitry Kustarnichenko

Allenberg Hospital on the map

GPS coordinates: 54.610289, 21.222961

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940 years in Velau (now Znamensk) in East Prussia. The hospital was built in 4 years (from 1848 to 1852), on the left bank of the river Alle (Lava). After the opening on September 1, 1852, the first 59 people were sent there from the Königsberg clinics. In 1873 the number of beds increased to 250, in 1900 to 1000, and by 1929 the hospital had 1400 patients. It was the largest complex in the region, in addition to hospitals in Tapiau and Olsztyn. There was even an expression “he is from Allenberg” - this meant that the person had mental problems. At 19In 09, a smallpox epidemic broke out in Allenberg. During the war also many patients died of influenza, tuberculosis and malnutrition and in 1918 there were only 586 patients left. In 1940, the hospital was closed, incurable patients were killed, and the rest were sent to families or other hospitals. Until the year 45, the SS garrison was located here. After 1945, the buildings were transferred to the Soviet Army and used as a military unit.
Initially, a tank regiment was based, and later 4 military units were deployed on the territory at once: 68510,64301, 43 anti-aircraft missile brigade, 01907, 81 radio regiment. All hospital buildings (barracks) are typical - 3-storey buildings with a basement and an attic. The headquarters and dining room (church) are not typical. Also on the territory of the part there is a water tower built at the end of the 19th century.
The military units were disbanded and left in 2013. Kirkha on the territory of the complex received the status of an object of cultural heritage of regional significance. In February 2010, by a decree of the Government of the Russian Federation, it was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, which it had never belonged to before. The Lutherans left, and the church became abandoned.


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