14 Super Terrifying Haunted Asylums From Around The World

Voting Rules

Vote up the haunted asylums you'd be most scared to spend the night in.

The history of insane asylums is plagued with terror and abuse. A multitude of asylum and psychiatric patients have lost their lives, dignity, and maybe even what was left of their minds as a result of cruel and overcrowded confinement. Moreover, the "treatment" of mental illness in the past often involved horror movie-style methods. 

It's no wonder that - like the real-life homes that became haunted in the wake of horrifying events - most of the creepy abandoned buildings that once housed hundreds of mental patients now inspire many ghost stories and are home to continuous paranormal activity. This list compiles just a few of these haunted institutions that can be found around the world.

  • 1
    610 VOTES

    The Norwich State Hospital Housed Violent Criminals

    The Norwich State Hospital for the Mentally Insane was built in Preston, Connecticut, in 1904. The hospital housed patients suffering from everything from mental illness and tuberculosis to chemical dependency and violent tendencies. The hospital even housed criminally insane patients charged with murder and rape.

    People claim to have heard intense screams that seemed to have come from humans and non-humans alike, as well as footsteps and the voices of children. Lights, shadows, and mists have been experienced. Wheelchairs and gurneys have been witnessed in motion, and human faces have even been seen in broken windows.

    610 votes
  • 2
    836 VOTES

    Pennhurst Asylum Is Home To The Spirits Of Disgruntled Children

    Pennhurst Asylum in Pennsylvania was opened in the early 20th century as a home for mentally disabled children. It was overcrowded, scantily staffed, and poorly funded by the government - which led to overworked and desperate staff members practicing cruel punishments. Children were drugged, chained to their beds, and isolated for extended amounts of time. A reporter revealed the horrors of the asylum in 1968, and it was shut down a few years later.

    Though it is currently run as a haunted house attraction, previous caretakers of the property claim that the place is haunted by upset spirits. Some reports include the sound of footsteps, empty rooms emitting piercing screams, and slamming doors. Investigators of the property have experienced negative paranormal activity that may be linked to poltergeists, such as being touched or shoved and having objects thrown at them. One investigator was even scratched by an entity. 


    836 votes
  • 3
    921 VOTES

    The Waverly Hills Sanatorium Is Haunted By Nurses

    The Waverly Hills Sanatorium Is Haunted By Nurses
    Photo: Kris Arnold / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky, was constructed in 1910 for the treatment of people with tuberculosis. Over the span of its operating years, around 63,000 patients perished inside of Waverly Hills. This sanatorium also has a special tunnel that was built for the express purpose of moving materials - like dead bodies - out of the building and down the hill it sits atop. The tunnel is now known as the "body chute," and many hauntings experienced at Waverly Hills are centered around the tunnel - whether they involve the ghosts of dead patients or of doctors who opened up and drained the patients before their transport in the chute. Many incidents involve strange shadows, closing doors, and ghostly apparitions. 

    One particular ghost who is known to haunt the sanatorium is a uniformed nurse who is said to tell people to leave Room 502. Apparently, a nurse had previously hung herself in that very room. Another nurse is said to have jumped from the top of the sanatorium after working in Room 502.

    921 votes
  • 4
    454 VOTES

    The Buffalo State Asylum Is Full Of Screams

    In 1880, the Buffalo State Asylum opened in New York. This facility's treatment of the mentally insane was comprised almost entirely of terrifying experiments, including but not limited to cutting open patients' heads to isolate sections of their brains, electro-shock therapy, and placing patients in tubs of water for extended amounts of time. Most of the documented ghost activity there involves sounds, not sights.

    A frequently reported sound is that of a blood-curdling scream that travels from the end room of each wing, though nothing is ever found upon investigation of these screams.

    454 votes
  • 5
    823 VOTES

    The Athens Lunatic Asylum Has A Permanent Patient Imprint

    The Athens Lunatic Asylum Has A Permanent Patient Imprint
    Photo: Leslie K. Dellovade / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Athens Lunatic Asylum opened in 1874 in Athens, Ohio. The asylum treated mentally and criminally insane patients. The accompanying cemetery is the burial site of many patients, and many people have reported ghost sightings and unidentifiable screams there.

    A popular paranormal story linked to Athens involves a patient named Margaret Schilling. In December 1978, Margaret was playing hide-and-seek with nurses who eventually became distracted by the demands of other patients. The nurses forgot about Margaret, and a year later, her body was found by a maintenance worker. Apparently, an immovable imprint of Margaret's body, clothes, and hair remains visible on the floor despite decades of cleaning.

    823 votes
  • 6
    525 VOTES

    Saint John's Asylum Was The Site Of Many Patient Deaths

    St John’s Asylum in Lincolnshire, England, was built in 1852. Because of the way staff mistreated the patients and the painful procedures they administered - like electro-shock therapy - it is not surprising that many patients are believed to have committed suicide there.

    A well-known story is that a patient hung himself at the top of a particular set of stairs within the asylum. Loud screams have been heard within the remains of the asylum, and fires have been seen from the windows. A nearby pub has even reported seeing the ghosts of nurses and patients roaming about.


    525 votes