Why would I group schools and asylums together, you might ask? The answer has something to do with crazy, wild, lunatics roaming the halls of both at some point in their history. Sorry if that offends any one who might have roamed the halls of an asylum at any time. Or a school.
This is part 3 of 5 of a series full of ghost stories, from haunted bridges to houses, and forests to amusement parks. One from each state, from Alabama to Wyoming, for that ghost-hunting road trip you know you want to take one day!
States covered in this part are Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.
Arizona – Yuma Territorial Prison
This one is pretty calm, as far as haunted prisons go. The prison itself was never really anything special, with the most haunted room being what was once called the “dark cell,” where they put inmates who misbehaved. There are no records of prisoners dying in the cell, but a writer for the magazine Arizona Highways requested to be locked in the cell with nothing but bread and water to eat and drink, for two days and nights. She lasted only a few hours, freaking out and claiming that she wasn’t alone in the cell.
Could it be the ghosts of the inmates’ boredom have remained behind to frighten anyone who might disturb their bored states?
When you have a website devoted to your state’s most haunted colleges, and they can make a top 10 list (meaning there is more than 10…), you might need to rethink the workload you put on your students. McKendree U is just one of them. The alumni house is supposed haunted by an entire family of three, including an infant. The infant died in the old nursery, and that room is said to be colder than anywhere else in the house. Also, the organ in the sanctuary will up and just start playing by its own damn self. That, together with the student who reportedly hung himself in the bell tower, and can still be heard walking around in the upper floors, makes me think I would be playing hookey a LOT.
Iowa – University of Iowa
Location: Iowa City
Having three women show up in your dorm room may sound like a normal story from someone’s college days, but when they’re ghosts of three women who fell in love with the same man years ago, and killed themselves in a triple suicide (triplicide?), that’s one big bucket of ah hell no.
The room where they supposedly killed themselves is empty, and some strange things have been reported to happen in there. Voices when nobody is in there, and even a binder getting sucked back into the room when a student tried to take it out. One way to get the ghostly trio to appear, according to students in the dorm, is to start fighting with your friends. Due to the circumstances surrounding their demise, it sounds like all they want to happen is for everybody to get along!
Kentucky – Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium
Anyone who has ever wanted to see a ghost has wanted to go to this place, myself included. I’ve been *this* close to going on a road trip with a buddy of mine. We’d do it too, if we weren’t such big chickensh#ts.
Considered to be one of the most haunted places in America. And rightly so; with anywhere from 8,00o to over 60,000 deaths reported there, due to the incurable TB, there shouldn’t be any shortage of ghosts. Reports of playing children, slamming doors, disembodied…everything, and ghost lights are rampant in the abandoned hospital.
Massachusetts – Danvers Sate Hospital
Location: 450 Maple St, Danvers
Fun fact about this place: it’s rumored to be the birthplace of the frontal lobotomy. And no, I don’t mean the alcoholic beverage. The fact that it supposedly invented one of the most barbaric, unsuccessful methods of treating an insane person wasn’t enough; it earned the name Hell House on the Hill for many reasons. The things that went on there caused the doors to be shut eventually, but it became one of the most violently haunted places ever. To jab a long spike into a person’s eye, wiggle it around, and leave them to wander around the rest of their lives in a non-violent daze was considered a cure to insanity, but electroshock therapy, torture, and other methods helped give the hospital the reputation it has today. Feelings of despair and sickness, and seeing and hearing screaming apparitions are common experiences for those who dare to wander its halls now.
Montana – Old Montana Prison
Location: Deer Lodge
Abandoned prisons are right up there on my “have to visit and spend a night in” list, right next to a funeral home and septic tank. Old Montana Prison was built in 1871, and was used until 1979. If you go there and stay the night, you’ll get the full haunted prison experience! Shadows with no bodies, footsteps with no feet, and whispers with no tongues are the easy ones; crap flying, getting ghost-choked and overwhelming feelings of depression are there to really give you not only the haunted prison experience, but what it must have been like when it still housed inmates!
New Jersey – Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital
Location: 59 Koch Ave, Morris Plains
What started out as a spacious, grand asylum whose staff believed in uncrowded conditions, giving patients fresh air, and that the mentally ill could be cured, Greystone went downhill, just like pretty much every other asylum of its time. Overcrowding, patient on patient violence, suicides, abuse of patients by the staff. Thanks to all of that, and the overall creepiness of the decaying interior of the place, staying overnight there is extremely ill-advised. If the ghosts don’t get you, the asbestos will!
North Dakota – St. Joseph’s Hospital
Still in operation, St. Joseph’s halls are filled with pretty typical ‘haunted hospital’ stuff, like moaning, voices in the cafeteria when nobody’s there, and the call lights in empty rooms going off. The basement is creepy, of course; laughter and footsteps can be heard down there. What makes this hospital special, however, is its possessed elevator! It goes to the morgue, and it goes up and down by itself, taking unseen visitors to the cold, dark room where they spent a good amount of time after their death.
Ohio – The Ridges Asylum
Unfortunately for the kids at Ohio University, what used to be an insane asylum is now part of the campus. Imagine how hard it would be to take a test with all that wailing and screaming, and not just from your fellow students. The use of electroshock therapy and lobotomies (when it was an asylum, not a school) was common, along with abuse and neglect, two things that seem to be a common theme in these old asylums. And schools!
One of the most well-known legends surrounding the joint has to do with a woman who died in the asylum, and the outline of her body still stains where she died. Ew.
Rhode Island – The Ladd School
What do you get when you take a mental hospital built in 1907, overcrowd, understaff and under equip it to the point where the patients are neglected so badly that they begin dying, and not forget the fact that all of the patients are legally and/or criminally insane? You get an future abandoned building that will be majorly haunted! The same sounds that drifted through the halls while the place was operational apparently still drift. Moans, screams, whispers, cries, even growls are heard, and strange touching by unseen hands, shoving, and things being knocked out of hands are a common occurrence.
Wyoming – Wyoming Frontier Prison
This is your typical haunted old prison, with apparitions and voices without bodies aplenty. With all the deaths that have happened at prisons, especially the older ones, you’re going to have plenty of chances to get haunted. This particular prison is home to a pretty mean ghost, according to reports. And rightly so; according to this site http://www.hauntedhouses.com/states/wy/frontier-prison.htm at one point, the prison started executing prisoners. One death room housed a device known as The Julien Gallows, where the prisoner stepped onto a trap door, and waited for the contraption to open the door, where they dropped through. The fall didn’t break their neck; it was just far enough for them to die of strangulation. I’m guess the really mean spirit haunting the place was probably one of those poor nine souls who had to go through that, before the prison started using an hydrocyanic acid chamber for its executions.
Want to read more haunted tales from other states?