Haunted hospitals and insane asylums serve as the backdrop for numerous ghost stories and horror movies. Yet the true horror lies buried in the dark and brutal pasts of these crumbling institutions. In the late 19th century, care for the sick and mentally ill was far from humane. Patients in asylums were often treated like animals, locked in cages and subjected to unethical treatments and practices. Unsurprisingly, many hospitals and asylums are alleged to be haunted by more than their terrifying history.
Today, many of these buildings now lie empty and abandoned—except, of course, for the lost souls who remain within their walls, waiting to be seen.
1. Haunting of Room 502
Waverly Hills Sanatorium located in Louisville, Kentucky is often referred to as the ‘Most Haunted Hospital’ in America. Perhaps best known of all of Waverly’s otherworldly residents is the spirit of a former nurse who reportedly hanged herself in room 502. Her spirit is said to haunt the now notorious room as does another nurse who is said to have fallen from the same room’s window. Scattered screams and mysterious footsteps can often be heard echoing down the empty hallways. The above photograph was taken during a paranormal investigation and appears to show a shadowy figure. Investigators claim this is proof of the infamous nurse of room 502.
2. The Old Fort Douglas Hospital
Taken at the Old Fort Douglas Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, this eerie photo clearly shows what looks like a man in a straitjacket. Investigators from Utah Ghost Investigation snapped the photo on the third floor which once served as the hospital’s asylum. They claim no one other than the team members were present in the building at the time this photograph was taken.
3. Waverly Hills Shadowman
After hearing about the haunted reputation of Waverly Hills, an adventurous thrill-seeking lone traveller decided to go and investigate Waverly’s paranormal activity for himself. He took this picture while wandering the rooms of the sanatorium. The photographer swears he was alone at all times and was surprised to see this dark figure next to a gurney captured in one of his photos. Is this the spirit of a former patient still wandering the hallways?
4. The Craig Dunain Hospital
This photograph was taken in 1998 at the Craig Dunain Mental Hospital located in Inverness, Scotland. The picture appears to show an apparition of a ghostly figure dressed in white standing in the corner of a room by a window. Locals who are well aware of the history of the notoriously haunted building claim that the specter is a former patient of the mental hospital.
5. The Wandering Spirit
We return once more to Waverly Hills. Tom Halstead, a professional photographer and an investigator with Missouri Paranormal Research, took this shot in 2006 during an overnight investigation of the notoriously haunted sanatorium. Many believe the spirit to be Mary Lee, a former patient at the facility who is said to still wander the hallways to this day.
6. Radnor Lunatic Asylum Apparition
Adam Smith captured more on camera than he’d bargained for when he took a photograph of the abandoned Brecon and Radnor Lunatic Asylum in Brecon, Wales. Smith was walking past the building when he spotted what appears to be a shadowy figure looking right back at him from the first-floor window of the former psychiatric hospital. He was more than a little surprised considering the building has been closed and sealed up for more than 15 years.
7. The Nursing Station Spirits
During a paranormal investigation at the South Pittsburg Hospital in Tennessee, the Screaming Eagle Paranormal Society managed to take this chilling photograph. Captured near the second floor nursing station, two ghostly shapes appear in the shot; both are transparent but with one casting a shadow on the floor. The group confirmed that there was no one visible in the hallway at the time the picture was taken.
8. The Grim Reaper
This photo was taken by a resident of a nursing home. Prior to the photograph being taken, members of the staff and other residents repeatedly heard the sounds of a door opening and closing along with a room call light turning on and off. When staff went to check they found only an empty room. This picture was taken roughly 15 minutes after the death of a patient in the facility. Is it possible the shadowy figure seen in the picture is the spirit of the person who had just died? Or perhaps the grim reaper departing after a night's work?
9. Waverly Hills Shadow Child
This unnerving photograph was taken during a group tour of Waverly Hills Sanatorium in 2014. The photographer claims there were no children in the tour group at the time it was taken, and that this chilling picture was snapped accidentally by her phone.
10. The Ghosts of Lima Tuberculosis Hospital
The Lima Tuberculosis Hospital in Allen County, Ohio closed its doors in 1972 and has since been abandoned. Despite this, the hospital has become a popular destination for urban explorers and ghost hunters who are drawn to the eerie old building. It is said that if you go into the basement of the tuberculosis hospital at night, you can see apparitions of dead bodies on the floor and ghosts of former patients wearing nightgowns. Yet the most common sightings are of shadow figures that dart in and out of the rooms and have been known to follow visitors as they explore the hospital grounds.
One urban explorer who was willing to risk a ticket uploaded this picture to a website for abandoned buildings after his most recent visit to the hospital. The other photos submitted contained no other evidence of a black figure or any ghostly activity.
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This Story Was First Published on Occult Museum.