The Danvers State Insane Asylum
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What’s up guys! I have finally gotten the energy and nerve to create another video story time about what was once another haunted location here in Massachusetts. I am REALLY hoping to make this become a regular thing because I would love to get back into YouTube and share spooky stories with the world (Especially some lesser known locations). Anyways, today’s video will focus on the Danvers State Insane Asylum that was created back in the mid to late 1800s. I have also wrote up a brief description of the history (and why it is considered so haunted) for those of you not looking to watch the video. But for those of you who DO watch it. Please please PLEASE like and subscribe so I can create future content for you guys! ENJOY!
Land originally purchased from Francis Dodge by the Commonwealth in 1874, the 500 acres terrain outside of Boston became the site of the State Lunatic Hospital.
The need for the hospital arose when a Boston location shut it’s doors causing other asylums in the area to overflow with patients. As many know in the late 1800s and early 1900s (even into the later years) asylums were a place where anyone who even slightly stepped out of the norm of society could be placed in. This caused a LOT of overflow as well as buildings over maximizing capacity and poor conditions within. So when the idea of creating a new hospital in an open space that was out of the way of any major city came about, it was immediately acted upon.
Now I am not going to dive too far into the history of the building because for the most part it was actually pretty revolutionary for it’s time. By the time the hospital opened it’s doors in 1878 the massive complex went well over it’s building cost budget. Over the years as the hospital advanced, the buildings expanded to offer new opportunities for patients and staff alike but mainly to try and combat overcrowding. This is something Danvers was not able to accomplish. The issue of overcrowding started quite early on in the institutions growing history. But unlike others in the area, the hospital was considered one of the first of it’s kind mainly due to their HUMANE practices (In the 1800s sense of humane I should specify). In fact, it was one of the first asylums that believed there was human ways to assist those living with mental illness of disabilities such as occupational therapy.
During this time period, many were still skeptical of these treatments mainly due to the superstitious nature of society. Prior to treating patients like human beings, they were sometimes seen as demonic or possessed depending on their condition thus leading to very inhuman and severe treatment practices. It was Danvers that decided it was time for a change.
That lasted until around the 1930s when overcrowding reached a all-time high. Staffing and funding was low, and the number of patients only increased. This led to an increased yearly death toll and the decrease of living conditions for the patients within. They even resorted to keeping many in straight jackets solely to try and contain the amount of patients within the facilities.
1941 brought the fire. Starting in a barn on property, the fire caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage only increasing the funding problems the facilities held. From there, things only took a more drastic turn for the worse. The overcrowding continued as the staffing remained the same (low). Electric shock therapy and lobotomies started being practiced within the property and were seen as humane at the time.
As the years went on throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the hospital grew more and more out of date. Patients were leaving or being sent away while the foundations of the buildings slowly crumbled down around them. Upkeep was impossible due to the poor funding and more issues slowly arose bringing the entire property under investigation.
Finally in 1992, the hospital closed it’s doors for good, sitting abandoned, looming over the city of Danvers as a reminder of what was. In 1998 efforts were made to identify all the bodies buried within the property to give the lost patients proper respects.
By 2008 the entire property was renovated to become luxury apartment complexes. But not without some unfinished business from the passed-on residents that still supposedly roamed the empty halls.
Along with the hospitals practices and somewhat tragic history, the Gothic theming of the building was very iconic. Although it doesn’t fully exist to this day, it still may be very familiar to those who might not have ever even heard of the hospital before. The popular horror movie Session 9, starring David Caruso, was filmed within the walls of the abandoned Danvers State Hospital back in the early 2000s. The hospitals iconic gothic theme is also said by some to be the inspiration for American Horror Story’s second season Asylum. Set in the rolling hills of rural Massachusetts, the building used for filming is almost identical to that of Danvers old hospital. It is also noted that mentions of towns and places surrounding Danvers have also been said throughout the season including Framingham where Sister Jude (played by Jessica Lange) hit a small girl with her car.
So why am I giving you this long history lesson you may ask? Well aside from the horrific events that no doubt occurred within the wall of the asylum, there are rumors that many of the hospitals patients refuse to move on. I mean hundreds died there a year AND they have a cemetery on site. How could it NOT be?? Nurses and staff working in the facilities would mention the feeling of being watched or followed when walking alone down the large halls of Danvers State. Once the facility was closed for good it became heavily monitored to deter those from going in in attempt to ghost hunt. But those who got past the security told stories of disembodied voices (presumably from past patients) crying out for help or moaning in pain. Many also stated hearing footsteps and shadows passing by while wandering the building. There have also been those who would walk their dogs or simply wander around the building and see what they believed to be apparitions starring out at them from hospital windows. Spooky stuff man.
So there you have it guys, another lesser known haunted located in the United States. Please please PLEASE like and subscribe to my YouTube channel if this was something that interested you! I would love to continue created haunted location content or haunted stories about some lesser known places or cases across the globe. Have a great (and spooky) day!