Hospitals are naturally places where sad and lonely deaths sometimes occur, seemingly a key ingredient for souls refusing to relinquish contact with the physical world. No wonder hospitals are hot spots for paranormal activity. If you love tales that will send a shiver up your spine, here are the stories of four of America’s most haunted hospitals and a haunted house located right next door to a hospital.
1. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, West Virginia)
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum opened its doors to mentally ill patients in 1864 as the Weston State Hospital. Patients lived in unsanitary quarters, were often malnourished, and received rudimentary medical treatment. Some were restrained for hours on end awaiting what was then primitive electroshock therapy and even cruder lobotomies. Hundreds of patients died in asylum.
It’s not surprising that two decades after the asylum closed, its maintenance and preservation staff insist that ghosts roam the halls. One manager reported 40 doors slamming shut at the same time. Visitors have seen a ghostly boy standing in a corner. Reported too are whispers in empty rooms, squealing gurney wheels down vacant halls, and screams from the former electric shock room, giving those who report hearing them nightmares for weeks afterwards.
2. Rolling Hills Asylum (East Bethany, New York)
Established in 1827, the Rolling Hills Asylum served patients as a hospital, orphanage, and nursing home. There are over 1,700 documented deaths with hundreds more unidentified bodies believed buried at the site. After closing its doors in 1974, it’s said that many who had sought help there refused to leave upon parting this life.
The second floor’s east wing is called the “shadow hallway.” Eyewitnesses say shadows, long severed from bodies to cast them, flicker, scurry, and crawl into cracks to escape the prying eyes of the living. The phantasm of a seven and a half-foot tall resident suffering giantism who never left his room has reportedly appeared a number of times.
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3. Alton Mental Health Hospital (Alton, Illinois)
Alton Mental Health Hospital was built in the early 1900s and soon earned a reputation for mistreating patients, subjecting them to crude electro shock therapy, lobotomies, and cold-water treatments that some report lasted hours if not days. Considered cutting edge practice back then, they would appropriately be labeled torture today.
Some staff, patients, and visitors have reported hearing unusual noises, undecipherable whispering between people no one sees, doors slamming inexplicably, and nurses on duty hearing a disembodied voice ask meekly, “Who’s that?” People report the sensation of being touched by unseen hands. One photo showed an orb with a man’s face in agony.
The facility is still operational today, but thrill-seeking visitors and paranormal “investigators” are politely told to get lost.
4. Danvers State Lunatic Asylum (Danvers, Massachusetts)
Said to be built atop the original Salem Village — therefore, on the site of the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692 — the facility was intended for up to 600 patients in 1878. That number climbed to over 2,600 without the staff or resources to care for them. Patients were often left isolated and unattended. Some walked the halls naked. Misbehave and they’d stitch you into a straitjacket and ignore you for days. Nearly 12% of its patient population died in 1939 alone.
Jeralyn Levasseur’s father was Danvers’ administrator for a time, and she grew up on the grounds. She recalled apparitions she encountered: angry, scowling specters who terrorized her and her sister when they were children. She’d even have her bedcovers yanked off in the middle of the night.
In 2006, most of the Danvers buildings were demolished and apartments put up in their place. But residents complained of seeing apparitions (former patients?), sensing the presence of others in empty rooms, and witnessing doors open or slam shut on their own. In 2007, a mysterious fire demolished several apartments and utilities buildings.
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5. The House on Lindley Street (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
Why include a house on this list of America’s most haunted hospitals? Since supernatural phenomena have been reported to survive one building’s demolition to inhabit a new one raised in its place, can they escape a hospital’s walls and wreak havoc in a surrounding neighborhood?
That’s one explanation for an infamous paranormal event in a house not a stone’s throw from a Bridgeport, Connecticut hospital in a neighborhood which was mostly rental housing for nurses and other medical professionals.
In 1974, the family in the tiny four-room house called police. Police scanner chatter brought the media, followed by hundreds of curiosity seekers. The milling crowds forced cordoning off of roads around the hospital and hindered ambulance access to the emergency department. Nurses and other staff on that street had to elbow their way through the throngs to and from work.
Over several weeks, police detectives, reporters, a parish priest, and paranormal sleuths Lorraine and Ed Warren entered the home to witness the stuff of nightmares. Sudden eruption of thunderous banging from no apparent source…a crucifix shattering into pieces…furniture upending violently, others moving silently across the room…a refrigerator levitating and rotating on its axis…knives from a knife block slicing the air inches above those seated at the kitchen table…a spectral entity visible to five people separating into four…one of the entities lifting and flinging the 10-year-old daughter against a wall. The public devoured every leaked tidbit via radio, TV, and newspapers for months.
Finally, pressured by the mayor, the hospital president, and Chamber of Commerce to end the disruption to the city, Bridgeport Police Superintendent Joseph Walsh announced, “Case solved.”
The 10-year-old daughter was “caught trying to tip over a TV with her foot.” She was the one creating the havoc (despite not being present, witnesses insisted, during many of the strange incidents.) But, according to Walsh, “There are no ghosts in Bridgeport. Nothing to see here, everybody move on, thank you and have a nice day.”
The announcement worked with a fickle public already losing interest in the story. Soon the roads around the hospital cleared.
Walsh lost the trust of his rank-and-file when he essentially labeled first-hand accounts of police detectives as lies. He’d be forcibly “retired” some years later. Sadly, in 2015, the 10-year-old daughter, then 51, died in Ohio. So reviled for the hoax she somehow “perpetrated,” alone and friendless, she had no one to take possession of her ashes for proper burial.
So the next time an eerie feeling takes hold of you while working a night shift, and you feel like someone is looking over your shoulder — and you think, “I’m tired, it’s just my imagination”…is it?
Have you ever experienced a paranormal encounter? Share your story in the comments below.