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Dare to trespass Haunted Asylum in LA County

Principal entrance to the Asylym at Descanso St., and Erickson Ave.
Principal entrance to the Asylym at Descanso St., and Erickson Ave.
Selene Rivera

More than two decades have passed since the Hollydale Mental Hospital in the city of Downey, in the southern region of Los Angeles County was abandoned, but the eerie feeling of ghostly presences watching you walk by hasn't.

Some locals claim apparitions of figures looking through the rundown windows of the asylum, lights that seem to turn on and off by itself and even creepy laments from ultra tomb. Perhaps it's all rumors, say some skeptical. Or is it that mortals deny fearfully the idea that certain spirits still roam this world begging for a prayer for their eternal rest?

"Whatever it's in there, it is certainly supernatural, it causes shivers and it attracts daring live souls who dare to defy the unknown as police eagerly patrol the place located on 56 Descanso Street, just steps away from the court house", says city Resident Maury Guzman. "Dare to trespass anyone?" he adds.

The history behind the Mental Hospital is where the "rumors" begin. According to city documents, the structure first served as a sanatorium to treat tuberculosis and polio, but years later it was converted into a psychiatric asylum, where many lives were lost due to the ineffectiveness of medicine and old methods to treat the insane; the lives of those who wanted to be cured and recurred to the hospital with hope, but never made it out, at least with a smile. In the 1980's the building was shut down and replaced by the newly remodeled Rancho Los Amigos Hospital.

But that's not what some locals say it truly happened at the asylum. Many rumor that the hospital was shot down after the gruesome dead of a priest by a patient.

One sunny morning, after the hospital priest finished giving a mass to the patients behind a room surrounded with iron bars, one of the patients managed to get near the priest and beg for a confession. The priest -guarded by the Hollydale securities- asked to be left alone with the mental male. Once the guards were gone, the patient took a knife out of his pocket and with no compassion slashed the priest's throat. Then, he took the priest keys and opened the room freeing all the patients at the mass. The patients started running through the building, slamming doors, throwing chairs around and banging walls. Doctors, nurses and securities couldn't control the insane as some managed their way out of the building to the nearby houses.

Ever since, authorities shut down the Hollydale, the building was fenced up and bungalow after bungalow was boarded up displaying signs that read "No Trespassing".

Currently, the LA County Sheriff Department affirms the asylum was no longer needed, but assures that the structure is currently used as a training camp for sheriff officers, and that anyone trespassing will be severely punished.

When driving near the Hollydale, people can't help but feel that something is watching them, daring them to look in the windows as it also demands them to respect the ground. Dozens of feral cats have made this place their home. In front of the property, a giant magnolia tree and the shadows it casts against the asylum warn anyone once and for all to leave, but would anybody dare to trespass?


  • Alicia North 4 years ago

    This asylum is in fact scary. If you drive by you will feel someone watching you for sure.

  • Vincent Bander 4 years ago

    Interesting story and description. Not too many know about this place. I have to check it out for myself.

  • Allan Moore 4 years ago

    Another place to take pics of, not only because of its old structure, but also because all the boarded windows. If you get lucky, I do believe you may get a "ghostly pic".

  • Beto Guzman 4 years ago

    I covered a note for television about this hospital. I was able to tresspas the place with my reporter. THere are papers scattered all over the place. It's totally abandoned. We did hear wierd noises, and i think i saw a shadow, probably a person, a ghost, im not sure but we didn't stay long. It was a different experience.

  • Chad 4 years ago

    I can't wait to go to this place. I hope for a good pic inside the place.

  • hannon 4 years ago

    this is so creepy. I always wanted to go to this place because friends talk about, yet everytime i have a chance i can't find it.

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    I just drove by this place last night. It was sooooo scary!

  • sipsip 3 years ago

    ive been inside about three times recently i was there maybe 3 weeks ago but the place is under sum kind of construction that it wasnt under before but i did get the scare of my life in a room i heard voices before but recently i actually saw sum one to the right of me :o

  • Frances Drenkow 3 years ago

    I love this property! It's right behind St. Matthias H.S./ Pius X Campus, which is actually considered Downey.
    I grew up in the Hollydale area and have always explored the property, as kids we would ride our bikes collecting fruit in the summer, pine cones and colored leaves in the fall. The high school (Pius X) even attended a type of career day there in the old auditorium. I still drive through the property often and admire the old craftsman houses and other outbuildings, there even used to be a tiny post office along with the chapel. When we took walks through the property, back in the 80's we saw patients in wheel chairs or on crutches, being led through therapeutic exercises on small paths and equipment. It never seemed like the patients were anything but physically ill. There is also a small parcel of land that belongs to the city of Downey, which they use to decorate their floats for the Rose Parade. Oh yeah, as kids we did think we saw someone in an upstairs window of what looked to an abandoned building, but that just intrigued us. We love the architecture and the park like feeling you get there. I would love to live in those old buildings whether there were other neighbors or not. It's BEATIFUL!

  • nickolas 3 years ago

    I went to this place with one of my friends and it sucked cus a cop just comes out of nowhere and starts playing 20 questions and he acts like hes scared of something in that place with his hand on his gun and he was shaking??

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    if you do go than be careful a cop is always watching that place they have patrols that go through that place every 15 minutes or so

  • kitty 3 years ago

    I used to go all the time. Cops do patrol often at night. One time during the day I drove up and the glass door opened up all by itself stayed opened for a few seconds then closed.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    Anyone been caught?

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    I heard they have plain clothed cops now doing undercover work trying to catch trespassers. I'd love to get inside and check the place out.

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    No cops were there when I went. Tons of noises. Lots of souls that just need a friend. Lots that probably want to inflict the pain that they once endured onto you. Im sure cops are only scared when they confront tresspassers because im dont know wheather you are a physical manifestation of a spirit or not. im sure theyve found people walking around, started questioning them and as soon as they turned around they thought tresspasser was gone. Make like a ghost and vanish backin to the building when you see a cop. keep exploring and maybe you can set some sould free in the meantime.

  • Jerry Daniel 2 years ago

    Rancho never was an insane asylum, and I don't know where they got the title Hollydale Insane Asylum. I am probably the oldest person alive who knows the true history. I came there in 1948 as a 10 yr old boy who had polio. I started in Ward K, also known as Ward 70. It was dark and dreary and mostly iron lung patients. One cold January morning the power failed and the respirators went silent. It was frightening, but nobody died. Rancho had it's own post office called the Hondo. They had good PTs, but the rest of the medical service was lousy. We had a hard time getting the first TV on the ward. It was run by a cranky old RN, and everybody was afraid of her. There is so much I could tell. When I came Rancho was the LA County Poor Farm, and the indigent old men just kind of disappeared. And who burned down the theater ?. They showed movies and held AA meetings. The canteen was popular, but no place for kids.

  • NIghtmare 2 years ago

    the place is scary, for sure.!!!

    The Reporter, Selene Rivera also from Downey California is a Slut, big time.!!

  • Anonymous 2 years ago

    I recently went yesterday with my friends and we got caught sadly. they patrol 24/7. we didnt get to go inside the buildings but we are glad we didnt. the cops told us theres something i forgot the name but that if you breath it in it causes cancer in time. Good thing we were all honest and did not have any weapons or drugs on us. They just let us of with a warning so we can not go back to trespass or we will get a fine next time. All you need is to be honest with them. There was also and undercover cop passing in just a white truck not a police car.

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    ive been inside the hollydale insane asylum its creepy :0 there is alot of things you will find in there creepy things and the cops always are in the building driving around there i member when i got arrested for being inside the building and the cop told me i shouldnt be in the because theres alot of pesisits whatever that is and that you would get cancer in like ten years lol i guess he just didnt want to tell me anything about the building but cops will be cops

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    yeah so true the cops told me the same thing that i will get cancer within years and the gave me a ticket they didnt leave me with a warning they sayed for day time loitering and trasspasing some people are lucky and get away with it but i didnt ughh

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    its true they do have undercover cops, if you ever see a white truck a nice one hes undercover, and they have couples riding on bikes but really they undercover, i found out getting in from the fron is impossible go around to the back where the train tracks are theres a spot to get in, you have to hop two fences but dont worry its not barb wire i know the places is surrounded with barb wire but in back where train tracks are you will fined the spot that doesnt have it and you can get in wayyy easier then the front just keep your eyes open

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    The person who wrote the original article is seriously misinformed. It never had anything to do with Hollydale. It was the County (Los Angeles, for those who don't know what County it's in) Poor Farm in the late 1800s. It wasn't until the middle of the last century that it was a polio rehabilitation center. This stuff is easy to find by using google or another search engine. You might learn some history and take note of proper grammar and spelling while you're there.

  • Anonymous 2 1 year ago

    going there tomorrow. lets see....

  • Anonymous 1 year ago

    future f.e.m.a. camp

  • TP 1 year ago

    The "writing" in the article is atrocious... certainly no better than most of the comments here.

  • Michelle De Anda 1 year ago

    I went early during the day and it was guarded by A Downey Sheriff officer. He didn't bother me at all. I drove all over and took pictures, and I even cut some beautiful flowers from the premises and hope that it will create it's own roots and I can be able to plant it. Later at night at around 8:23pm I returned and it was such a peaceful place to drive through. The lights were also on over at some building that says "1926" and that is also the place where I cut the flowers, oh and this time, there was no one guarding the property. I am planning on returning and putting candles all over the property so who soul was left behind, can find the light and rest in peace. That is all these so called spirits need, honest, I did not hear one noise what so ever. I did notice a few cats over by the auditorium and now that I remember, there was a couple parked and I asked them about the history and they were dressed in 1950's clothing. They told me the history and I drove away and 3 minutes later I drove by the same place and they were gone. They mentioned that they were there for about two hours already. Weird! I'm going to go for a walk today later on and just sit there and observe and on Thursday I will put candles for the dead.

  • clint jack 1 year ago

    My friend was in the asylum and looked down the hall and saw a shadow that looked angry in a hospital gown and started walking toward them so they ran. They also got caught by cops driving away but didn't get a ticket. Just told them to never go back. I think its haunted forsure.

  • rosario lopez 10 months ago

    Its has been 4 1/2 years that me,my sister and 5 other people we were driving by when we went it was in the middle on the night the only was the light on in the parkinglot we saw a full body female under a light in back of her there was a trunk the one they use at the hospital both of them were in black from top to bottum.we all saw it n the car could not turn on.two or three days later i told my cuzin maybe that shadow was a sign of warning of disturbing the undead.until that day we have not gone back.i would like to know more history about what happend and plus i dont live far from the place like couple of minutes away i stay in cudahy.

  • maria 10 months ago

    i recently went last night / this morning at like 2 something. . i hopped the white wall and went to the back and then the side its all blocked upstairs but on the bottom floor its just as scary.. when i went there was no cops soo i didnt get caught.. it is forsure haunted tho i kept hearing shit

  • anonymous 10 months ago

    I was there last night wearing all black but believe me there is something that roams those grounds

  • anonymous 10 months ago

    I have a friend that says it is crazy in that place! There are rooms that the walls are all written on in Latin ! He said he has been way under and seen these light orbs that will come at you then disappear real quick! He has found a fingern ja

  • anonymous 10 months ago

    Asbestos is the content in the buildings that everyone is talking about and it is very dangerous and has been known to cause cancer ! Don't take any chances ! It was abandoned for some reason and that is probably it

  • anonymous 10 months ago

    Asbestos is the content in the buildings that everyone is talking about and it is very dangerous and has been known to cause cancer ! Don't take any chances ! It was abandoned for some reason and that is probably it

  • Karla 9 months ago

    I drove by with my husband in the night and it was eerie but I feel it was mostly due to the fact that there is not much around it such as residential homes or traffic. I drove by during the day and it didn't seems as scary.