Top 10 HORRIFYING Mental ASYLUMS in the United States

Top 10 HORRIFYING Mental ASYLUMS in the United States

Top 10 HORRIFYING Mental ASYLUMS 10. Topeka State Hospital Where : Topeka, Kansas
Years of Operation: 1872 to 1997 It’s hard to come to grips with the medical
justification for castration, but somehow the practitioners at Topeka State Hospital
found the practice suitable. After Kansas law saw it fit to administer
castrations for “habitual criminals, idiots, epileptics, imbeciles, and insane” in 1931,
Topeka State Hospital went on to perform 54 castrations. If castrations were not enough to frighten
you, accounts detail stories of a patient who had been strapped down so long that his
skin began to grow over the straps. In addition, patients were victims of rape
and other forms of abuse. What makes the abuse of patients at this hospital
so disconcerting is that it was later revealed that many of the identities and illnesses
of the patients were unknown, with the hospital lacking the proper paperwork for them to be
committed. Somehow, the Topeka State Hospital remained
open until 1997. 9. Waverly Hills Sanatorium Where: Louisville, Kentucky
Years of Operation: 1910 to 1961 The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is another case
that demonstrates man’s willingness to experiment on his fellowman with little regard or concern
for his well-being. While not exactly deemed a mental asylum,
the Kentucky hospital housed tuberculosis patients during an era of medical uncertainty
on the subject. Without a prevailing paradigm for medical
treatment of tuberculosis, doctors resorted to barbaric methods. Cases of doctors’ removing ribs and muscles,
and even having inserted balloons into the lungs to help them expand more are well-documented. The death rate at Waverly Hills Sanatorium
has come under fire with independent researchers and medical personnel at the sanatorium claiming
different figures. According to Assistant Medical Director Dr.
J. Frank W. Stewart, the highest number of deaths in a single year at Waverly Hills was
152. Independent researchers have argued that number
is closer to 162, and have extrapolated that over 50 years Waverly Hills Sanatorium was
open, approximately 8,212 died in their care. 8. Overbrook Insane Asylum Where: Cedar Grove, New Jersey
Years of Operation: 1896 to 1975 Operations began in 1896, with Essex County
officials designating 325 acres of land as the new location of the County Asylum for
the mentally ill. Specifically chosen for its scenic view, officials
believed its remote location and high altitude location would provide a healthy, peaceful
setting for patients to rehabilitate in. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Soon after opening, the patient-to-staff ratio
became unbalanced, leaving too many patients in need of care that they weren’t getting
from an overworked staff. The results were frightening. Conditions were so bad that 24 patients froze
to death in their own beds in the early 20th century while more than 150 patients went
missing and were never found. Despite all of this, Overbrook remained open
for nearly a century, eventually closing in the 1970s. 7. Willowbrook State School Where: Staten Island, New York
Years of Operation: 1947 to 1987 One of the most important cases on our list
is the Willowbrook State School – a state sponsored institution for children who were
intellectually disabled that became the catalyst for reform of mental health institutions. Things were so bad at Willowbrook that during
the 1960s, Robert Kennedy referred to it as “zoo-like” and a “snake-pit.” Initially designed for 4,000 children, by
1965 Willowbrook contained a population of 6,000 people. First-hand accounts claimed that patients
were left to wander around the facility covered in their own urine and feces. However, what’s more troubling is the experiments
that the doctors carried out on the very children they were supposed to care for. Struggling to find answers about the outbreak
of Hepatitis, medical researcher Saul Krugman “used the children of Willowbrook to answer
those questions. One of his studies involved feeding live hepatitis
virus to sixty healthy children,” according to researcher and author Paul Offit. “Krugman watched as their skin and eyes
turned yellow and their livers got bigger. He watched them vomit and refuse to eat. All the children fed hepatitis virus became
ill, some severely. Krugman reasoned that it was justifiable to
inoculate retarded children at Willowbrook with hepatitis virus because most of them
would get hepatitis anyway. But by purposefully giving the children hepatitis,
Krugman increased that chance to 100 percent.” The great horrors of Willowbrook led to the
passage of a federal law — the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980 6. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Where: Weston, West Virginia
Years of Operation: 1864 to 1994 An amalgamation of many of our other cases,
the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum had it all. Built to house only 250 patients, by 1949,
the hospital had over 2,400 people in its care. A 1938 report by a survey committee organized
by a group of North American medical organizations found that the hospital housed “epileptics,
alcoholics, drug addicts and non-educable mental defectives” among its population. Those that they were not able to control were
locked in cages with others even being lobotomized with rudimentary instruments such as ice picks. All in all, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum’s
horrible treatment of patients undoubtedly contributed to the tens of thousands of lives
the asylum claimed during its surprisingly long years of operation. 5. Byberry Mental Hospital
Where: Byberry, Pennsylvania Years of Operation: 1907 to 1987 Civil disobedience seems to have gotten a
bad reputation in our current political climate, but it’s certainly effective. When Charlie Lord, a conscientious objector,
was assigned to duty at the hospital, he took 36 black-and-white photographs which was enough
to shut down Byberry Mental Hospital. The photos led to mass outrage with even First
Lady Eleanor Rossevelt pledging her support to combat the issue. Other reformers compared the conditions to
“nazi concentration camps,” and described the overcrowded conditions where patients
were sleeping in their own feces and urine. Multiple first-hand accounts describe the
overwhelming filth of the facility and the patients’ ability to roam the facility naked. Lord’s images of the inhumane conditions
were published in a 1946 issue of Life magazine, and sparked widespread reforms of mental health
facilities. With public pressure growing, the facility
was force to downsize and eventually close its doors. 4. Bloomingdale Insane Asylum Where: Morningside Heights, New York City
Years of Operation: 1821 to 1880 Established in 1821, the Bloomingdale Insane
Asylum was formed with the intention of morally rehabilitated mentally ill patients. However, the hospital’s practices strayed
greatly from its “moral” principles. Journalist Julius Chambers managed to expose
its revolting practices in 1872 by taking extraordinary measures. With the help of a senior editor of the New
York Tribune, Chambers managed to have himself committed to the Asylum for ten days. After exiting the institution, “he published
a story detailing the inhuman practices at the asylum, including patients who were kicked
and choked until they bled, and, in some cases, “driven to suicide by systematic cruelties.” As a result of his muckraking, the Bloomindagle’s
Insane Asylum was forced to release twelve patients at the facility who were not mentally
ill. In addition, Chambers’ subsequent book,
A Mad World and Its People, led to reform for the rights of the mentally ill. 3. Pilgrim Psychiatric Center Where: Brentwood, New York
Years of Operation: 1941 to Present In the case of Pilgrim Psychiatric Center,
the gross misconduct of a single patient is more telling than the rampant abuse of its
populace. In the 1940s, Belulah Jones was taken to Pilgrim
Psychiatric Center, at the time the largest hospital/asylum in the world. Belulah was admitted by her husband after
her pregnancy with her last child, resulted in psychosis. Familly members state that her husband consented
to the leukotomy only because doctors said it would work and was the only alternative. There, Beulah Jones had 15 rounds of electroshock
over 10 weeks, despite her delusions continuing. Later, a lobotomy was performed where doctors
drilled holes into her brain and swiped at the frontal lobes. Belulah Jones’s story led Christine Johnson,
her grand-daughter, to pour over her file and demand answers on the use of the medieval
practices and why a Nobel peace prize would be awarded to a man that legitimized lobotomy
and made it into a public practice, Dr. Egais Moniz. After spending decades in the facility, in
1972, Belulah Jones was released. Somehow Pilgrim Psychiatric center is still
open today. 2. Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital Where: Morris Plains, New Jersey
Years of Operation: 1876 to present Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital does not
differ greatly from many of the other wards on this list. It was guilty of overpopulation – squeezing
2,412 patients in a space meant to hold no more than 1,600. Additionally, Greystone administered Insulin
shock therapy, electroconvulsive therapy on veterans suffering from PTSD. However, what makes Greystone unique is the
fact that it housed one of the legends of folk music, Woody Guthrie. Guthrie had a stint at Greystone from 1956
to 1961; he was suffering from Huntington’s disease, a hereditary, degenerative nervous
disorder which would eventual prove terminal. During his stay there, Woody referred to Greystone
as “Gravestone.” Guthrie wrote hundreds of letters from “Wardy
Forty”, the nickname of his hospital wing, which goes to show that patients who are diagnosed
with mental illness still need the human contact and interaction that we all do. 1. Pennhurst Insane Asylum Where: Spring City, Pennsylvania
Years of Operation: 1908 to 1987 While abuse to any patient is reprehensible,
Pennhurst Insane Asylum’s treatment of children puts it in a league of its own. Built to educate and care for the mentally
disabled, Pennhurst soon came to be identified for just the opposite. As a result of investigative reporter Bill
Baldini, in 1968, the public learned of the horrible conditions in the asylum. The news report, titled “Suffer the Little
Children, showed neglected children’s screams filling the air, large scale physical and
sexual abuse and a general lack of empathy towards patients. The report also revealed that children who
bit one another got a warning, with a second warning leading to a child’s teeth being
pulled out. After a second report by former resident Terry
Lee Halderman, the courts found that over 3,000 of the institution’s patients were
not receiving adequate care, and the institution was closed.

100 thoughts on “Top 10 HORRIFYING Mental ASYLUMS in the United States

  1. I hate to tell them but byberry state hospital was not in byberry Pennsylvania it is the Northeast Philly

  2. Being depressed and anxious I went to an out patient place oaks intetgrated Betlin NJ . While there one of the therapist there constantly was pestering me to have my heads . I did not comply but thought to myself what gave him the right to pester to shave my head .

  3. I think the old mental hospital ( Crownsville hospital center ) which is a mental hospital for blacks over a hundred years old, they tortured and killed blacks and had them as slave labors and left them in unmarked graves and this place shut down in 2004 the buildings just sit there now abandoned. Should be on here

  4. Just called asylums and mental institutes has a ruse so medics and their cronies were able to inflict modern day torture and get away with it.
    Really nothing has change from medieval times. Cruel and inhumame people.

  5. Nazi’s at work. They just may not have been German. They just keep experimenting with or without permission. Sickening.

  6. Sad thing alot of people in the medical field still treat people with mental disorders like there not human. Arizona is full on non caring assholes at hospitals .

  7. “approximately 8,212 people” ? That doesn’t sound approximate…that sounds specific. Approximate would 8,000. Or even 8,200.

  8. Norwich State Hospital is totally haunted and the creepiest place you’ll ever visit, if you dare wander around in the dark…

  9. I have a mental Asylum in my town and it is known for a kid that suffocated to death while being body bagged in 1998

  10. For school we did this project where you wrote about Kansas landmarks and then you got to go visit them with your classmates someone did the Topeka state hospital and we went there it felt just like haunted

  11. And so no since 1979 in the United States we have no mental health facilities. Because now we jail are mentally ill. And make a profit off of them

  12. I know people who aren't crazy at #2 they have cerebral palsy… I was their councillor at a ARC they were bussed too as an art director. I quit after hearing the stories …. Starvation and freezing temps every day story….:'(

  13. How come every time people get administrative control over other people they want to treat them like this? if every landlord, apartment owner, retirement home etc had their way it would look like these places..

  14. The mentally ill have nobody to care for them because they can't defend themselves ,nobody gives a damn.

  15. The reasons these places existed. Ppl didnt want to be bothered with disabled relatives. In the 70s ppl.didnt want their property values go down so they threw their. Children in these snakepits. Nice what white Christain America allowed huh?

  16. These might be bad…but they are NOTHING compared to WW2 Unit 731 in Manchuria China. Look it up… warned that it is horrible and 100% REAL

  17. When #6, TALA closed down, I was case manager for several patients when they began living out in the community. The 27 year old sister of one patient was scalded to death there. When one female patient saw men in white nursing uniforms walk by, she would begin screaming "no sex!" There were rumors of babies being fathered by staff and murdered at birth. Supposedly the grounds are full of unmarked graves, although I can't verify that.

  18. I literally pass pilgrim ever morning for work. Definitely a creepy place to drive by. Kings park will always be creepier just based on the state of how the buildings are now

  19. It's horrible what happened to people who suffer with their mental health. Lobotomies and shock treatment…and other things makes me think if it helped. Mental health is definitely a huge issue. Didn't know woody Guthrie was in an asylum.

  20. University of California Berkeley.
    University of New Hampshire.
    The United States House of Representatives.
    The City of Chicago.
    The City of San Francisco.

  21. Psychiatry an industry of death. Is bad and evil forever! It's like saying SS Nazi groups would be better today….. NOWAY. Jts based on Psychiatry the ideology was similar , Pseudoscience and Eugenics with "Treatments" Psychiatry id most legal criminal killing and torture in the world and billioms multi billion. Dollzr industry,

  22. Lived in Louisville Kentucky about 10 miles from Waverly Hills I grew up there lived there for over 30 years as teens we would get drunk and sneak into the hospital it deserves to be on your list only thing is I think it should be #1. I loved this list thank you…

  23. You need to do some more home work. The lima state mental hospital that later became a prison in the 1980's will change this list.

  24. Ive been on a tour of the Tranalleghany lunatic asylum. Very interesting. Byberry was located in Philadelphia, byberry neighborhood.

  25. I grew up in Clinton Valley in Pontiac Michigan. Glad they closed that place down. They had way too many people in there mixed with kids

  26. Mental hospitals were really terrible places back then! What with unsanitary conditions, lobotomies, electro shock therapy, etc. The scariest part was that you didn't have to do much to earn an involuntary commitment!

  27. Que triste que en los hospitales psiquiatricos del primer mundo se haya dado la culturizacion narcisista de olvidar el lado humano hacia los pacientes

  28. I am Psychiatrist and it makes me feel so bad that in develop countries the mental institutions act in that no human way. The Psychistry need to be the most humanitarian side of the medicine

  29. All care homes are open and likely to have abuse unless they are inspected regularly and full recording cctv of all activity is made. I think the incredible size of these American institutions did not help but in the end it is the doctors that are so willing to experiment on what they deem are worthless specimens and the staff who support them getting ever more complacent about the patients treatment.


  31. So what is the difference in an asylum and a psych hospital?

    Because I have been to a psych hospital. Lol

  32. I'm getting sick and tired of people saying Waverly hills was an asylum. Do more research before you speak on the topic. Waverly hills was a sanatorium for TB patients from 1926-1951. People can't do research and label it as an asylum before they know what it was.
    Now, with the "experiments".. I want you to research all of the procedures they did, and see how many are still done today

  33. All of these institutions are/were bad but Pennhurst takes the cake on badness. What too many Americans fail to realize is the narrow thread that separates them from becoming guests in these types of institutions some of which are still in operation.

  34. Would you believe there are people who still think the United States is a civilized country with intelligent people?

  35. I have heard of the one is Louisville Kentucky cause I live in Kentucky. My older cousin wanted my mom to take him 😂

  36. Wonders where the Metal hosptail in Athens ohio would rate ….my grams was there from 1924 to 1976. .parts of the place are closed an off limits an said to be haunted

  37. the picture of the boy crying in the thumbnail was not in a mental asylum.
    he was a canadian first nations boy who was targeted for removal
    in one of the many canadian death camps called a "residential school".
    there are still living survivors. have some respect.
    dont exploit their image and misrepresent them for your own gain.

  38. Houses of horror. Anyone seen the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest?" I guess this is how a lot of prisons are today since they also house the mentally ill.

  39. Say what you want about inhumane standards, but people 100 yrs ago didn't shoot up schools or garlic festivals…

  40. Having grown up on Long Island in the early 70’s, anytime I knew the car would be driving past Pilgrim State, I ALWAYS closed my eyes, it was that creepy and it’s even more creepy now that most of it is closed and abandoned.

  41. How can a person decide they want to go into the medical field and help people end up hurting the ones who need help the most … really sad

  42. What the f#<% is wrong with people?! How could this inhumane evil keep happening all the way into the late 1900’s. It’s scary and absolutely horrible.

  43. I thought for sure, the Central State Hospital in milledgeville Georgia would have made your list!!! It was named, milledgeville insane asylum in the early 1872, look into it, milledgeville has a lot of haunted history

  44. Westernstatehosptal is very bad in virginia. Old one was bad and the new is worse. They forced me to take pills that had nothing to do with my sickness . They forced me to take pills that made me smell like a wet dog. I was refused a shower when i asked when they let me shower they did not let me have soap.

  45. If there's a #Stigma in Society of Mental Illness then #Who Becomes Mental Health "Professionals" People in Society The Same with Police Officers,Etc.

  46. One asylum that is missing from this list is the Western State Hospital in Seattle, the one that actress Frances Farmer was in and out of. The way she described it in her autobiography , it was an absolute hell hole.

  47. I’m disgusted but people are still abused, it’s true !! Everyone is affected either by illness or family or friends
    Stupid stigma . Shame on that dr who fed those children live hepatitis

  48. There are many individuals from Willowbrook still alive today. If you work in the direct support field or in day programs you will meet many of them. Many small scale group homes opened in response to Willowbrook closing down. Many laws were passed and they now have better protections in place. As horrific as Willowbrook was, it was the beginning of many changes to ensure developmentally disabled individuals were provided the care they need.

  49. The earliest death camps that were full of Doctor?,Nurse? Serial killers😉,in any book,they should be written down as such.

  50. …..ok so I had a dream about Topeka State Hospital. I live in Kansas btw about an hour from Topeka. In the dream I was a "patient" trying to escape at night. After sneaking through the hospital I finally found my way out and ran down the front drive and down the road till I was picked up by someone in a car that looked to be from the 50s. It was freaky as hell. BTW Topeka State Hospital no longer exists….

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