Do you ever dread going to a hospital? Can’t stand the thought of all the needles and bodily fluids and sick people just meandering everywhere? Who could blame you? The waits are long, the co-pays are expensive and the halls smell like antiseptic and it burns your throat. Not to mention the throngs of screaming children that always seem to be at every hospital at all hours of the day. If you’re not careful you could go into a hospital with a cold and leave with a staph infection. Nobody likes going to the hospital for really obvious reasons, the most obvious being it’s where people die. The gown they give you was probably just on a dead guy, hospitals suck. But for all the hassle and discomfort they evoke in us they’re nowhere near as bad as the places that made this list. Once you read up on these demented examples of medical care you’ll be hugging your doctor and kissing your health insurance card. You might even go sit in an ER waiting room just to soak up the comparative good vibes. The hospitals on this list boast a very high admissions rate and a very low discharge rate, not exactly the goal of a hospital. Experimental treatment methods, inattentive staff and highly infectious diseases make these hospitals something straight out of a David Lynch surrealist nightmare. So grab some Purell and Emergen-C and pray you never end up getting checked in to any of these places.
Whittingham Psychiatric Hospital takes us over to England where everything is weird. Whittingham is notorious across the pond for its history of abuse towards patients and is believed to be haunted by those who were tortured there. Many patients were never treated while staying at Whittingham and were subjected to inhumane acts such as being locked outside in severe weather and being strangled with wet towels. Two nurses filled a patient’s slippers with rubbing alcohol and proceeded to light him on fire. On top of the countless psychiatric patients who died under extreme abuse the hospital was also commandeered during WWI and WWII to treat injured soldiers, many of whom died from their wounds.
Opened in 1878 and entirely self contained, Danvers State Hospital is built near the site of several hangings during the Salem Witch Trials. Danvers is widely accepted to be the birthplace of the pre-frontal lobotomy also known as an ‘icepick lobotomy’ performed without anesthetic and involves hammering a long sharp cannula through the thin layer of bone underneath the upper eyelid and behind the eye socket. Due to severe overcrowding patients were often subjected to unnecessary sedation, lobotomies, restraints and shock therapy as a means of control. At its closing in 1992, The National Guard dispatched over 80 ambulances to transport the last of the suffering patients to new treatment facilities. Danvers State Hospital is the inspiration for The Arkham Asylum, which exists in the Batman universe.
Located in Norway just outside of Oslo, Lier Psychiatric Hospital might be the most upsetting on the list. Lier was paid to conduct experiments on its patients by the United States government and the US Department of Defense to test the effects of certain drugs on the human mind and body. The US also helped its pharmaceutical companies run human trails and conduct drug research on these patients without their knowledge or consent. Many patients died due to the unapproved drugs being administered. The US government also conducted an LSD experiment on the patients of Lier much like those performed by the CIA.
Norwich Insane Asylum is most famous for it maximum security “Salmon Hall” which housed the most violent, criminally insane patients. Most of whom were guilty of gruesome murders such as John Franklin who stabbed his neighbor 21 times during a schizophrenic episode, Ernest Skinner, a 17 year old boy who set his neighbor on fire after hacking him to death with a hatchet, Joan Gronwoldt who drowned her three children, Matthew Naab who claimed that God was telling him to kill sinners and Solomon Brooks, a patient who escaped Norwich, found his way home and killed his wife before being found and taken back to the asylum. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about Norwich is its astronomically high number or patient escapes. Many of the violently insane that escaped were only recaptured after they’d killed more people and some were never recaptured at all. It’s rumored that some of the violent escapees still live in the vast labyrinth like tunnel system beneath the asylum. It was even suggested by the medical staff that the ‘hopelessly insane’ be killed immediately, as there were incidents of patients being chained to their beds for as long as five years.
Beechworth Shock Therapy Room
Originally named The Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum, located in Victoria, Australia, Beechworth operated for 128 years before its closing in 1995. Surrounded by walls with deep trenches on one side making the walls appear short and non-prison like from the outside but dauntingly tall and trapping to the patients inside to prevent escape, the walls were affectionately named “Ha-Ha Walls”. It only required two signatures by doctors to be admitted and eight to be discharged so it was much harder to get out than in. Electroshock therapy was administered with next to no regard for patient safety and many patients were left to convulse until their bones had broken and their teeth were shattered. One patient disappeared and despite search efforts his body couldn’t be found, until one day a nurse spotted a dog chewing on a human leg. The patient’s body was found in a tree so badly decomposed his leg had fallen off; it’s still unclear what killed him or why he’d disappeared at all. It’s reported that his ghost has been seen several times lingering around the gates to the asylum early in the morning. Another patient was pushed out a window by another patient who wanted her cigarettes. The woman was Jewish and her body was not allowed to be moved until a Rabbi had seen it, so her body was left lying out in front of the hospital for 2 days until a Rabbi arrived. Her ghost has been reportedly seen standing on the spot where she fell.
Thought to be the most haunted hospital in the US, Waverly Hills Sanatorium was home to some of the countless victims of the TB outbreak known as the ‘White Plague’ in its short 50 years of operation. It’s believed that as many as 64,000 people died within the walls of the hospital. The most common cause of death at Waverly Hills was due to experimental surgical procedures gone wrong. Operations included removing ribs, pieces of the lungs and collapsing parts of the lungs to combat the disease. The surgeries were painful and most patients died during or immediately after the operations. There are several legends surrounding room 502 of the hospital in which two nurses committed suicide several years apart and unrelated to each other. Perhaps the most haunting feature of Waverly Hills is the “Death Tunnel”, the 500ft body chute used to transport the dead out of the facility without other patients seeing them. Apparitions of both nurses as well as countless patients have been spotted wandering around the now abandoned hospital.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, previously Weston State Hospital is notorious for its alarmingly high rate of patient murders. Two patients attempted to hang another patient and when they failed they crushed his skull under a steel bed frame. A female nurse went missing mysteriously, her body was found hidden at the bottom of an unused staircase nearly two months later. Another incident occurred where a male patient stabbed another 17 times. Several patients were kept in cages and beaten by the medical staff.
During the First World War at the Ypres Salient in Belgium, British troops dispensed at gas attack that severely wounded, blinded and even killed a squad of German troops. Among those in that German squad was Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler who was hysterically blinded and not blinded by mustard gas as his comrades had been. When taken to a Bavarian field hospital all of those injured in the squad were treated, except for Hitler whom the doctors refused to treat because they deemed him “war neurotic” or unable to cope with the horrors experienced on the frontlines and sent him to the psychiatric unit of Pasewalk Military Hospital where he would be kept until the end of the war. At Pasewalk he was diagnosed as a “psychopath with hysterical tendencies” and was treated with hypnosis and electroshock therapy. He was eventually released at the end of the war. Hitler experienced several bouts of blindness in the hospital as his mental state worsened, spending several hours a day obsessing over the state of the country and the world. Its widely believed that Hitler’s stay at Pasewalk Military Hospital is the event that tipped his mind over the edge and Pasewalk has had many reports of hauntings, possessions and anomalies possibly by some of Hitler’s countless victims who have returned to the hospital that failed to prevent the massive tragedy Hitler later caused.
Opened in 1913 in Essex, England, Severalls Asylum was one of the only hospitals in history to have virtually no restrictions on patient experimentation. That’s right, the staff of Severalls got to do whatever they wanted to the patients whether it had scientific merit or not. Many people were admitted simply for being an annoyance to their families, not because they suffered from a mental illness. Women were committed for post-partum depression, having illegitimate children and even being victims of rape. Unnecessary experimental procedures such as lobotomies, electro-convulsive therapy and unsafe psychotropic drugs were given to scores of patients regardless of if they needed the treatments.
The old Changi Hospital in Singapore is infamous in the country for being extremely haunted. During WWII the hospital was overtaken by the Japanese Secret Police known as the Kempeital and used as a POW camp as well as many of the wards being converted into torture chambers. Many people have reported seeing apparitions of the soldiers who were tortured and killed there as well as the Japanese soldiers who were executed at the hospital at the end of the war. Hospitals alone have a pretty high chance of being haunted but a hospital turned war prison camp/torture chamber/execution ground turned back into a hospital? There are some serious ghosts in this place.