Old, Abandoned Mental Hospital Photos That’ll Creep You Out

Photos of abandoned places often go viral. They are prime material for photographers and explorers, both amateur and professional, to venture out and get glimpses of the past, anywhere from amusement parks to malls. Abandoned old mental hospital photos are on that list, mainly because they are certified-creepy by many internet users. While it’s interesting to look at the equipment and decor left behind, there’s something haunting (and terrifying) about every abandoned mental hospital.

Whether it’s the unspeakable horrors done on-site in the past, or rumors of ghosts in the buildings, they can be just as scary as some horror movies. See the phenom for yourself as you click through this list of old mental hospital photos and read the story behind them.

Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane 

The Willard Asylum For The Chronic Insane has been shut down since 1995. Its past still lingers — an attic full of suitcases from patients past was discovered, still full of all their possessions: photos, teacups, jewelry. 

Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane 

The morgue is very much intact today, as seen above. The autopsy tables are perfectly in place. 

Forest Haven

Forest Haven was a live-in facility for both children and adults with Intellectual Disability (ID). It was closed in 1991 due to years of allegations of abuse, medical incompetence, and deaths from aspiration pneumonia. 

Forest Haven

This abandoned mental hospital is tied to rumors of medical malpractices and horrific practices: shock therapy, hydrotherapy, and lobotomies. The haunted history of the shut-down institution remains a focal point for urban explorers as they venture in to see a glimpse of what was. 

Danvers State Hospital 

This psychiatric hospital was a victim of overcrowding. It was originally built to house 500 patients but quickly filled up with over 2,000 patients, causing patients to be put in both the basement and attic. 

Danvers State Hospital 

The overcrowding led to countless issues in the hospital. The growing list of patients did not cause any growth to the staff, patients were left without any care and sometimes deaths were not discovered until days later.

In 2005, a development company bought the property and tore down many of the buildings in an effort to create apartments. A strange fire stopped construction in 2007, causing many to believe that ghosts of patients have cursed their former site of suffering. It isn’t the only abandoned mental hospital rumored to be ridden with vengeful ghosts…

Metropolitan State Hospital 

Opened back in 1930, this abandoned mental hospital was often referred to as a prison for its patients. Young patients were strictly disciplined and sedated. For those interested in mental hospital history, its nicknamed “The Hospital of Seven Teeth.” One patient named Anna Marie Davee was murdered by another patient while she went out a walk on the grounds. Her killer had revealed where he had hidden her remains around the grounds, along with seven of her teeth he kept for himself. 

New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum

Founded in 1948, the asylum didn’t start its more notorious practices until 1907 with the rise of medical director Henry Cotton. He believed that infections were the key to mental illness, he ordered staff to remove teeth and other body parts he believed to be behind patients’ issues. 

New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum

Sadly, the horrifying practice didn’t end with Cotton’s death — it continued until 1960 in the asylum’s many rooms, as seen in the photo above. 

Craig House

Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, once spent some time at this abandoned mental hospital in Beacon, New York. The site has a haunting history, especially when it comes to famous figures. Jane Fonda’s mother, Frances Ford Seymour committed suicide here. Rosemary Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s sister, was sent here after her lobotomy at the age of 23. 

Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital 

This creepy abandoned mental hospital was known as one of the most haunted places in South Korea due to all of the folklore surrounding it. It was even the inspiration for a horror film titled Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum. However, the tales are hardly tied to the real cause of its shutdown. Unsanitary conditions, low funding, and issues with sewage led to its closure.

Topeka State Hospital 

Topeka State Hospital is widely talked about for its highly questionable practices. When sterilization laws began to be passed, the practice grew at hospitals like this one. The first law was directed at “habitual criminals, idiots, epileptics, imbeciles, and insane.” The second version of the law passed four years later targeted the same group but removed the requirement for the court’s approval, enabling the practice to become widespread. 

Walter E. Fernald Developmental Center

This institution has gone down in history as a mental institution with highly questionable medical experiments, including eugenics and nuclear medicine. Many of the experiments were done on the institution’s pediatric patients. 

Walter E. Fernald Developmental Center

Quaker Oats sponsored its radiation experiment. MIT researchers studied the way the body absorbs calcium and iron by feeding patients cereal laced with radioactive tracers. Boys were told they were joining a “science club” with exclusive prizes. The institution also suffered from overcrowding, hosting around 36 boys to one room, as seen in the photo above

Essex County Hospital 

Originally opened to aide a nearby hospital’s overcrowding, this abandoned mental hospital quickly become full of patients. In 1917, the hospital’s only boiler failed and 24 patients froze to death, while another 32 suffered from frostbite. 

Souris Valley Mental Health Hospital 

This Canadian mental hospital combined occupational therapy, recreational therapy, and more experimental techniques: insulin shock therapy, LSD therapy, and lobotomies. 

Whittingham Hospital

At one point, this creepy abandoned mental hospital was the largest mental hospital in Britain and is known for pioneering the use of electroencephalograms (EEGs). 

J Ward

This institution was originally a prison and was later converted to a maximum-security psychiatric ward for the criminally insane. Visitors can now book a tour at the asylum, which now serves as a museum. 

Asylum on Poveglia Island

Located on what was known as the “plague” island, this abandoned mental hospital is just one of the many creepy aspects of this island. The island became a place to quarantine those with infectious diseases. Thus, tales of ghosts of ill Venetians haunting the island they died on run rampant to this day. 

Asylum on Poveglia Island 

Rumors of paranormal activity and hauntings surround the island in popular culture. However, the island being ridden with death from the plague is enough to add it to the “creepy” list, just like the images of all these empty beds. 

Harlem Valley State Hospital 

This abandoned mental hospital was in business for 70 years before budget cuts shut them down. They were known for using experimental methods to treat their patients: frontal lobotomies, insulin shock therapy for schizophrenia, and electroshock therapy. 

Pool Park Asylum

Opened as a way to help overflow from a nearby Denbigh Insane Asylum, this asylum is known for its beauty. While plenty of its copper and lead decor has been looted, its ornate wooden staircase, as seen above, is still standing despite water damage.

It’s neighboring Denbigh Insane Asylum is another creepy abandoned mental hospital – find out why in the next slide. 

Denbigh Hospital 

A common theme among mental hospitals is overcrowding and Denbigh Hospital is no exception. Despite only being built to serve 200 patients, its numbers reached a total of around 1,500 patients. Treatment of its patients was rumored to be quite horrifying, with many patients said to be caged and lobotomized.

Urban explorers have said that they have heard groaning coming from empty rooms, spreading tales of haunting. 

Medfield State Hospital 

At its peak, this hospital’s campus had 58 different buildings. Currently, about 35 of the buildings are still standing. While its interior is locked away and deteriorating, visitors can walk the grounds freely to get a glimpse of the buildings today.

You’ll never guess how Hollywood is involved with this abandoned mental hospital, find out in the next slide. 

 Medfield State Hospital

The old mental hospital has been a filming location for many Hollywood movies, including Shutter Island, The New Mutants, and The Box. In the image above, one of the hospital’s buildings can be seen in Shutter Island.

Surprisingly, this wasn’t the only abandoned mental hospital eyed by the Shutter Island production team…

Worcester State Hospital 

Shutter Island’s crew originally wanted to film at Worcester State Hospital, however, demolition of surrounding buildings put their plans to a halt. It has now been fully demolished as its structure was deemed a total loss. 

Letchworth Village

This institution did nothing to hide the experimental practices that took place within its walls, with one of them being a polio vaccine being tested on a perfectly healthy eight-year-old patient. 

Willowbrook State School 

Previously one of the largest state-run institutions for patients with mental disabilities in the US, Willowbrook is now one of the most infamous mental institutions in history. In an effort to figure out a hepatitis outbreak, researchers used the patients at Willowbrook by feeding live hepatitis virus to 60 healthy children.