Today we might think of hospitals as shiny clean marvels of modern medicine that save lives but hospitals didn’t always have the best of reputations.
The first hospitals were founded in the early 18th century but the idea of the hospital as we know it today didn’t really come about until well into the 20th century.
Before anesthesia and modern medicine, hospitals were often places of horror where otherwise well-meaning doctors used what little medicine or skills they had to heal the sick and wounded, often with disastrous effect.
Over the years many hospitals were shut down because the ghosts of those past practices were never forgotten. Not all were demolished however and some of those abandoned hospitals remain still standing today.
Here’s our list of the 5 most haunted hospitals in the United States.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium – Kentucky
Opened in 1910 to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients the Waverly Hills Sanatorium was closed in 1961 due to improvements in medicine but after a turbulent history that include experimentation on and abuse of patients. Locals claim that the Sanatorium was equipped with a “death tunnel,” a chute which was used to dispose of dead patients from high floors with those dead bodies are said to haunt the building to this day.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – West Virginia
In operation from 1864 until 1994, be it in its final days as a state hospital, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum it was originally designed to hold 250 people but became overcrowded in the 1950s with 2,400 patients at any given time. Hundreds of people died in the Asylum during its time in operation with many former patients, including those from the Civil War, said to haunt its corridors today. The Asylum is also a popular destination for paranormal television shows having appeared in four different series.
Rolling Hills Asylum – New York
While we think of Asylum’s today as treating the mentally unwell this wasn’t always the case, and the Rolling Hills Asylum, founded in 1827, is one such example with the Asylum providing shelter for poor, orphaned, destitute, habitually drunk, blind, elderly, mentally and physically handicapped, and even criminals. Treatment was extraordinarily poor, with patients being chained to walls, given mind-altering drugs, lobotomized and shocked as part of their treatment, often leaving them worse off than when they first arrived.
Athens Mental Hospital – Ohio
Operating from 1874 until 1993 the Athens Mental Hospital provided services to a variety of patients including Civil War veterans, children, and violent criminals suffering from various mental disabilities. Known as one of Ohio’s most haunted locations the hospital earned a terrible reputation as a site which used the now completely discredited treatment of lobotomy on patients.
Pennhurst Asylum – Pennsylvania
Opened in 1908 as a state school for the mentally and physically disabled Pennhurst Asylum grew to be one of the largest asylums in the country and catered to over 10,000 patients at one point in time. Pennhurst was accused of dehumanization and was said to have provided no help to the mentally challenged, resulting in it appearing in a famous 1968 report by NBC called “Suffer the Little Children.” It was finally closed in 1986 following more allegations of abuse and is described today as one of the most haunted buildings in the United States.