Tour the 13 Creepiest Abandoned Mental Asylums and Hospitals in New York
As we approach Halloween, I think it's appropriate to take a look at some real-life creepy places around New York State. And you can't get more frightening than potentially haunted mental asylums and infectious disease hospitals. These are locations around the state where people were sent to spend the rest of their lives and more often than not, die. Some of the really unlucky residents had experiments conducted on them like lobotomies and electro-therapy. Typhoid Mary was even quarantined to one of the hospitals since she was carrying a disease that was incurable at the time. I honestly think it's for the best that most of these places remain abandoned. The bad vibes will make your skin crawl just by watching the videos below, never mind actually being in the actual location.
1. Roosevelt Island Smallpox Castle
Roosevelt Island, New York
Talk about bone-chilling; imagine walking around a place where sick people were forced to live, but most often die. Smallpox was often looked at as a “filth” disease. It affected poor people and people of color. The hospital, once known as Blackwell Island, was located on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, New York City. The smallpox hospital opened in 1856, but the island was also home to prisons, hospitals, and a mental asylum. In 1972, after it was abandoned, it became New York City's "only landmarked ruin."
The Smallpox Hospital, sometimes referred to as the Renwick Smallpox Hospital and later the Maternity and Charity Hospital Training School, was a hospital located on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, New York City. Originally designed by architect James Renwick Jr., the 100-bed hospital opened in 1856, when the area was known as Blackwell's Island.[A century after it opened, the hospital was closed, and the building eventually fell into disrepair. ~ Wikipedia
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2. Hart Island Women's Asylum
Long Island Sound, New York
In addition to serving as a women’s asylum at one point, Hart Island has approximately one million bodies buried on it. The Island houses the graves of the poor, prisoners, the unclaimed, and the diseased.
Hart Island was used as a quarantine station during the 1870 yellow fever epidemic. In that period, the island contained a women's psychiatric hospital called The Pavilion, which was built 1885, as well as a tubercularium. There was also an industrial school with 300 students on the island. ~Wikipedia
The Island came into use again due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the deadly virus overwhelming New York City morgues, the public cemetery on Hart Island became home to many people who died from COVID-19. You can just feel the sorrow and sadness of the island without even taking a trip there.
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3. Buffalo State Hospital
Buffalo, New York
The 13 building complex, had been abandoned since 1974. Hotel Henry had brought some new life to the complex, but it closed in February of 2021.
Among Western New York’s allegedly most haunted sites stands the architecturally acclaimed H.H. Richardson complex, begun in 1871 and opened in 1880 as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane or the Buffalo Asylum Psychiatric Center. ~Center for Inquiry
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4. Utica State Hospital
Utica, New York
The hospital opened in opened on January 16, 1843. The last patients left the facility in 1977.
Within the massive Greek Revival hospital, facilitators regularly performed lobotomies and electroshock therapy. Patients lived in filth, confined to cramped quarters with little care. It was here that doctors invented the Utica Crib, an inhuman, long, shallow cage where they kept agitated people to calm them down or to punish misbehaving residents.~ TimeOut
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5. Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center
Dover, New York
The Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center opened in 1924 in Wingdale, NY. It was open for 70 years and thousands of mentally ill patients were treated there.
Over the years, the Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center adopted numerous experimental methods of treatment of the mentally ill. In the 1930s, the facility joined several other institutions on the vanguard of a new insulin shock therapy for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia and other compulsive disorders. Later, when the method of electro-shock therapy was created, the hospital was again a pioneer in implementing the method as a treatment for its patients in 1941. When neuropsychiatrist Walter Freeman developed a new method for treating a wide range of psychological conditions that became known as a lobotomy, the Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center was the preeminent institution for frontal lobotomy in the state of New York. ~ Atlas Obscura
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6. Rolling Hills Asylum
East Bethany, New York
The Rolling Hills Asylum housed poor and destitute people and families, orphans, the handicapped, mentally ill, drunks and, criminals.
Check out the official announcement in the Batavia Times newspaper from December 9, 1826:
Notice is hereby given that the Genesee County Poorhouse will be ready for the reception of paupers on the first day of January 1827 … The Overseers of the Poor of the several towns of the County of Genesee are requested, in all cases of removal of paupers to the county poorhouse, to send with them their clothing, beds, bedding and such other articles belonging to the paupers as may be necessary and useful to them.
The following were eligible for assistance:
Habitual drunkards, lunatics (one who by disease, grief or accident lost the use of reason or from old age, sickness or weakness was so weak of mind as to be incapable of governing or managing their affairs), paupers (a person with no means of income), state paupers (one who is blind, lame, old or disabled with no income source) or a vagrant. ~ Rolling Hills Asylum
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7. Hudson River State Hospital
Poughkeepsie, New York
After the Utica Psychiatric Center became full, the state opened the Hudson River State Hospital to serve NYC and the eastern counties in New York State. In October 1871, construction on the main building was completed and 40 patients were admitted. As more buildings were opened on the campus, it was treating as many as 6,000 patients in the early-1950s. The hospital was eventually abandoned in the 1990s. While some of the buildings were demolished in 2016, the Kirkbride main building, library, activities hall, chapel, and a tower of the north wing were all preserved.
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8. Letchworth Village
Thiells, New York
The hospital was constructed in 1911 and closed in 1996. The campus is still open to people to stroll around.
Letchworth Village is a former institution for the mentally and physically disabled in Haverstraw, New York in Rockland County. The Thiells facility was the unfortunate location in which many patients were used as human guinea pigs to test experimental clinical trials. Perhaps the most notable experiments were the trials to test the polio vaccine, which happened to be the first experiments for the vaccine in the world using a human test subject. ~ Untapped Cities
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9. North Brother Island
East River, New York
North Brother Island is the place where the infamous Typhoid Mary lived and died. Mary Mallon was quarantined on the island for more than 20 years. She died there in November 1938.
The northern of the islands was uninhabited until 1885, though a lighthouse was built in 1869. In the mid-1880s the Riverside Hospital moved there from Blackwell's Island (now known as Roosevelt Island). Riverside Hospital had been founded in the 1850s as the Smallpox Hospital to treat and isolate victims of that disease. Its mission eventually expanded to other quarantinable diseases, initially typhoid and then, smallpox and tuberculosis. ~Wikipedia
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10. Kings Park Psychiatric Center
Kings Park, New York
It once housed 9,000 patients and had over 100 buildings on its campus.
The official name of the hospital in its first 10 years was the Kings County Asylum, taken from the name of the county that Brooklyn occupied. The hospital was revolutionary at the time in the sense that it was a departure from the asylums of folklore, which were overcrowded places where gross human rights abuses often occurred. The asylum, built by Brooklyn to alleviate overcrowding in its own asylums, was a "farm colony" asylum, where patients worked in a variety of farm-related activities, such as feeding livestock and growing food, as this was considered to be a form of therapy. ~Wikipedia
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11. Rockland State Psychiatric Center
Orangeburg, New York
Portions of the Rockland Campus are still in use and run by New York State’s Office of Mental Health.
The oldest abandoned buildings on the Rockland campus that are still standing are generally closed to the public. The campus at its largest size once represented one of the largest intact psychiatric hospital facilities in the United States. In 2017, 60 acres of the land containing abandoned buildings were sold to JPMorgan Chase for the construction of a data center, and significant demolition of most buildings in that parcel was completed in 2018. ~Wikipedia
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12. Bayley Seton Hospital
Staten Island, New York
It was constructed in 1831 as a U.S Marine Hospital, making it Staten Island's first hospital. In the 1990s the hospital began to offer services for women with drug problems and the Amethyst House, a women's Drug Abuse Treatment center opened there. Even though it is still in use, eight of the campus’ 12 buildings have been abandoned.
From 2014 to 2019, the TV series Gotham used the hospital as a setting for interior and exterior scenes set in Arkham Asylum. The Amazon series Hunters also used the campus for filming. Many films have shot on the campus including “The Adjustment Bureau”, “Salt”, “Terrifier 2” and the locally shot comedy “Abnormal Attraction” starring Malcolm McDowell, Bruce Davison, Gilbert Gottfried, and Leslie Easterbrook. As of 2020, the main hospital building was still in operation at reduced capacity. ~Wikipedia
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13. Seaview Hospital
Staten Island, New York
Built in 1905, the Seaview Hospital is still operating in a few of the buildings, but many were abandoned, leaving the campus to give off creepy vibes. It was at one point, one of the United States’ largest tuberculosis sanatoriums.
Seaview Hospital was a historic tuberculosis sanatorium, now a national historic district located at Willowbrook on Staten Island, New York. The complex was planned and built between 1905 and 1938 and was the largest and most costly municipal facility for the treatment of tuberculosis of its date in the United States. ~Wikipedia
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